No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to Alcatraz. So I ordered tickets online and got us an early time to get on the Alcatraz boat.   I assumed we would be able to take the ferry into the city again but I found out that the ferry didn’t run early enough for us to make it in time to catch the boat to Alcatraz. So, we had to ride the bus into the city. This wasn’t that big of a deal because the bus stop was closer to the campground than the ferry and we would be going over the Golden Gate Bridge.


One of us was very eager so early in the morning. We only waited about 5 minutes and our bus arrived.

IMG_4849Here it is…..We got on, paid our fare and away we went.


It was a great ride and we all got to enjoy the sights.DSC_0723

There is the city. Then before I knew it we were at the Golden Gate Bridge.

DSC_0726This is the only picture I got from the bus……DSC_0728

Haha! It all happened so fast and before I knew it we were off.


I hope to be able to explore the bridge more the next time we go. Anyway, our bus stop was close to the Ferry Building and the Alcatraz building is just a short walk from there.DSC_0721

Ta-da….it took us about 5 minutes to walk to the building and after we showed our tickets we boarded the Alcatraz Flyer.DSC_0741

The ride out was gorgeous! The day was beautiful and we were excited to explore.DSC_0743

Leaving San Fran….


passing the Golden Gate….DSC_0756

and arriving at Alcatraz. We got off the boat and there was lady telling us about the different parts of the island and when Micheal heard there was a movie that’s the first place we went. Micheal loves to watch historical movies…..and youtube…Haha.DSC_0771

Along the way to the first building we saw signs welcoming the Indians. DSC_0770


I didn’t understand this until we watched the film and during the 1970’s someone came up with the bright idea to let the Indians live on the island. It didn’t last long because duh…..The buildings were all ready showing signs of wear which is why they moved the prisoners out about 10-15 years earlier. Another interesting fact was that families lived on the island with the inmates…..DSC_0779

One woman who grew up on the island said she never saw any of the prisoners, but would occasionally hear them if they got riled up.

When we finished the film, we headed towards the prison. We were quite surprised to find so many stairs and hills to climb. DSC_0783

Once we made it to the top of the stairs, we were treated to an amazing view.DSC_0786

There is a society that keeps the grounds up and there are several species of birds living  on the island.

We made our way into the prison and got our headsets for the audio tour. This is included in the price of the ticket and we were excited to hear more about this place.DSC_0788

First place is the shower room. Yikes!DSC_0790

Then, we headed into the cell halls and the audio told us to head down Michigan Avenue. All the halls are labeled so it made it very easy to get around.DSC_0792

The only problem with an audio tour was we kept losing Micheal.DSC_0797 Mike and I would stop to talk about some of the things we were hearing and the next thing you know Micheal would be gone.DSC_0815 Lost in his own audio world.

We came across the poster of the famous inmates. DSC_0808

Maybe Al Capone thought he was going to an island resort. He looked very happy in his mugshot.


Another interesting fact we learned was that the inmates kept themselves very busy by crocheting, knitting, and drawing. Several inmates were allowed instruments and would play into the night entertaining the other inmates.


The inmates could also hear the New Year’s Eve celebrations from across the bay. This was the view from a window that the prisoners could look out of.DSC_0836

We learned of two incidents in the prison. First, was a hostile takeover. This incident was so bad that the military showed up and had to cut holes in the ceiling where the prisoners were holding some of the guards hostage……

This room was gated all around….DSC_0828

and at the very top was the hole.DSC_0829

Grenades were dropped from the ceiling and landed on the floor all around the prisoners….DSC_0827

The white spots are where the grenades went off…..this is very exciting stuff for Micheal!

Then there was the time four inmates used a spoon to dig a hole through the wall. These men made paper mache heads and attached real hair from their haircuts to the fake heads. They put these dummies in the beds and fooled the guards. This is like MacGyver!DSC_0864

We didn’t get to see the real heads used for the escape but we did see a remake of one. This was one of the actual cells.DSC_0865


I could see how this worked for the men.


Here is another hole that had been dug out. Once they got through the hole they were able to climb in between the walls and out of the building. After that nobody knows what happened to them. One theory is that one of the men who had been learning Spanish possibly made it to South America.

As we headed out of the cell house….DSC_0871

we came to the kitchen and cafeteria.


You can see the knife silhouettes were painted on the wall. The inmates would help in the kitchen and this was how the cooks knew that all the knives had been replaced. We also got to see where the inmates had there dental exams….DSC_0880

and their surgeries, if needed. I don’t think they gave out free tooth brushes and stickers here!DSC_0883

After heading through the rest of the building we made it outside….and thats when I felt like this could have been a very peaceful place for these poor men.DSC_0860

I love how you can see the streets in perfect little lines. DSC_0861

I love all the sailboats. Here is a video I took….

WOW!! So we didn’t get to see everything at Alcatraz because it was getting late in the day and we wanted to see one more thing in San Francisco …Lombard Street. We got back on the boat, got back to San Fran and followed our google map to this famous street. Little did we realize we were headed straight up!DSC_0892

Once at the top of this first hill, we took a break.DSC_0893

We clearly weren’t done climbing.DSC_0895

Micheal told us that this street better be worth seeing after climbing all the streets…..DSC_0897

Just to give you an idea of what kind of crazy people we are. Yes we know there are cable cars but they were so packed we didn’t want to cram ourselves in. We finally made it!DSC_0900

I think someone is happy to see it! Micheal on the other hand was not as excited. Especially, after we told him we were climbing to the top of Lombard street so we could see the view up there. DSC_0899

Here is some video I shot. Traffic probably wouldn’t be so bad if the people didn’t stand in the middle of the road. But that’s just my own opinion.

He did walk up, with the promise of eating afterwards. I don’t know how the owners of the houses feel about all the foot traffic but we were happy to have the chance to explore the street. This was at the top of the street.DSC_0901

Once we got to the top, we saw the cable car. Haha, that’s when I had to confess to Micheal that we could have taken the cable car. I am pretty sure he won’t ever let me forget this afternoon.DSC_0902

After all this climbing we were hungry so we headed toward Ghirardelli Square to eat dinner. I thought the option for a chocolate sundae would be good after a long day. So down the hills we went. DSC_0904

Such a beautiful city and the views never disappointed us.


The square was filled with restaurants and shops. We chose to eat at The Pub for some BBQ. DSC_0910

It was pretty good. When we finished eating I was to full for ice cream…so sad. We were all pretty tired so we decided to head back to the ferry. No bus trip back for us. It was good but not as comfortable as the ferry. DSC_0914

Along the way we passed Fisherman’s Wharf.


There were shops and restaurants along this street. We did get to see the famous Boudin Bakery. They have been making sourdough bread since 1849 and they make delicious animal shaped bread.DSC_0916


I loved our visit to San Francisco! I hope to return and see more of this gorgeous city!



The Patricks take on Alcatraz 2015

Next up we start heading home..first stop, Nevada

Keep Calm and Camp On

Look out! Here we come!
Look out! Here we come!

After waiting for two winter storms to pass, we finally got to hit the road. We left Georgia on Friday, March 6 and we headed to  West Memphis, AR. We traveled through (sweet home) Alabama.

Birmingham, AL
Birmingham, AL

and made our way onto Hwy 78.  Our first stop was the Mississippi welcome center.DSC_0081I hate I didn’t get anymore pictures because this welcome center looked like an old antebellum home. Inside was a sweet lady offering fresh coffee and warm fire was burning in the fireplace. (I wasn’t feeling very well and didn’t have the energy to climb back up the stairs with my camera to get pictures) After a little walk around with Max we loaded back up in the truck.

We made it through Tennessee


and across the bridge into Arkansas.

Very tight lanes!
Very tight lanes!
But he isn't scared!
But he isn’t scared!

We made reservations at the Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis on the Mississippi River.

DSC_0116As you can see, there was some snow on the ground, but we weren’t scared…..not yet!

Hey, there’s Tom!

Once you turn in past the sign, the road got a little rough but then past the gate it was smooth again. (Imagine if you will riding on a dirt road in your house  and things bouncing all around…nice!)

Past the gate...that's better!
Past the gate…that’s better!

No, I didn’t take pictures of the bumpy road. I was to busy holding on! We made it to the office, got checked in and a nice man took us to our site. Yikes.

We left the paddles at home.

Wow! That’s a big puddle! So this didn’t look fun! We decided very quickly that we didn’t want to swim around our camper and politely asked for a site that wasn’t necessarily under water. The sweet man moved us to dryer spot.

I think we have a happy camper!
I think we have a happy camper!

One of the funny things about camping is the little surprises that can arise. In this case, we get the water turned on, I get the slides out and I go in the bathroom and there is a puddle on the floor. (Sorry, no pics of this, to busy cleaning up the water before it damaged the floor). Can you guess what happened? Drumroll……we have a crack in our toilet. Hahahaha…..No pun intended! This can only mean one thing, no water to the camper tonight. Which is fine because God has us placed right next to a very warm and clean bathhouse. (See pic of Happy Camper, bathhouse is right behind him)

Channelling his inner Tom Sawyer with his pants rolled up!

We decided after a long drive today and puddles in the bathroom it would be best to stay hooked up to the truck and eat dinner in. So we missed out on Memphis bbq but we did enjoyed our one night looking at the Mississippi river and dining on chicken salad sandwiches. Please enjoy our pictures of the Mighty, Strong Mississippi River!

I needed that warm coffee from the welcome center!
I needed that warm coffee from the welcome center!
He is so handsome!
I think this tree was left behind from a previous flooding. This is of course an educated guess.
Cracking the snow open…..that’s what he said he was doing.

We are planning on returning so we can go to Graceland and eat some bbq. I really liked this campground and would love to come back when there isn’t any snow on the ground. Next stop, Little Rock, Arkansas.




Trial Run

It’s usually a good idea to give something a try before you decide to do it. So we decided a trial run would be in order before we leave our home and co-exist in 34 ft of space. Where do we go? Well Pigeon Forge, TN is always a good idea because we can get apple fritters and get some shopping in at the outlets, of course it is winter and we are tired of being cold, so we decided on Destin, FL. Trying to be spontaneous we wait until we are headed south before making reservations. Probably not a good idea but we found a spot at Geronimo Rv Resort.IMG_3958 We have stayed here before and found it to be a very nice campground.  We needed WiFi due to work so we were given site #1 which is close to the office and it worked great.IMG_3959 The beach is 2 blocks down the road and the outlets are less then .5 mile away. (there is nothing like going to treat yourself after week 3 of homeschooling) 😉IMG_3957

We have a few restaurants that we like to visit when we come but we took the advice of an avid beach lover and went to Pompano Joe’s. We got the Mahi-Mahi Sandwich, Gulf Fried Shrimp, and Fried Chicken Fingers (of course). The food was amazing as is the view! We actually went back the next night and got two Mahi-Mahi Sandwiches to go. Yummy!!IMG_3933_2 We also visited Harry T’s one evening. We sat by the water and watched an amazing sunset. We ordered the Jerk Chicken Quesadilla, Shrimp Po Boy, and Fried Chicken Fingers (again…my child is a connoisseur of chicken fingers) You just can’t go wrong there!IMG_3903_2

On our last night we went to Fudpucker‘s.IMG_3938_2 The food was ok but we really just went to see the alligators. That’s where we got to see our first albino alligator named Pearl. They also have smaller alligators that you can feed and hold but we weren’t feeling very adventurousIMG_3950 that night.IMG_3940_2







Of course, you can’t leave Destin without stopping at The Donut Hole. They have doughnuts (obviously), pies, cakes, coffee, and serve breakfast. I decided on a piece of Peanut Butter Pie with a cup of coffee and I was not disappointed!IMG_3955_2 So, I guess you are wondering if we survived living in a small space with working,homeschooling, and just everyday living?  We did!

It was a great week with my two boys! I know we will have some challenges along the way but I believe with God we can conquer anything!