Authors Note: Warning – Another great “tourist day” with lots of pictures … as a matter-of-fact I had to split Sunday up into two separate posts to accommodate all the pics. This is post 2 of 2. Remember to use your laptop or desktop computer instead of mobile device to get the most out of the pictures… and if any of the pics don’t load, just refresh your browser.
After leaving Pier 33 where we parked the Silverado for our Alcatraz Island tour, we headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge since we still had some time before we were scheduled to meet up with my cousins for dinner around 6 PM back in San Jose.
We stopped along the way at a beach and caught another shot of Alcatraz Island.
And here’s the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
We drove towards the bridge and caught sight of the entrance to Fort Point. I’d heard of this fort and figured we’d stop to check it out.
We followed the entrance road to the Fort as the bridge came into view getting larger and larger:
Fort Point is located directly under the bridge on the south side.
We parked and watched the surfers trying to catch some waves just below the parking lot:
We entered the Fort and expected to have to pay for a tour, but found out it’s totally free 🙂
Here’s a National Park Service link for more information on Fort Point. (Click HERE).
The website says; “The Fort has been called “the pride of the Pacific,” “the Gibraltar of the West Coast,” and “one of the most perfect models of masonry in America.” When construction began during the height of the California Gold Rush, Fort Point was planned as the most formidable deterrence America could offer to a naval attack on California. Although its guns never fired a shot in anger, the “Fort at Fort Point” as it was originally named has witnessed Civil War, obsolescence, earthquake, bridge construction, reuse for World War II, and preservation as a National Historic Site.” Click link above for more information.
We climbed up the circular staircase (whew!) to get to the top of the Fort:
View down into the courtyard from the top.
Here’s some more scenic views from on top of the Fort’s massive walls near the gun emplacements:
View of San Francisco from the top of the wall.
And another view of Alcatraz Island from the top of the wall. The bird photo-bombed my pics 😉
I zoomed in for a pic of the opposite side of the bridge.
Another view on the top of Fort Point.
The (now) empty gun emplacements on the top of the walls. Stilla in the background.
Lighthouse on top of the Fort:
We walked down to the upper level (third tier) and toured some of the rooms:
Old barracks setup.
Building the Golden Gate Bridge info and displays:
We continued our tour on the next floor (second tier):
And once we were back down in the courtyard, we viewed some of the cannon and cannon related displays:
The mini-theater had a film running on the big screen. We only watched part of it since we had to get back to our little dog ‘Coach’ waiting in the Coach and our dinner date with relatives.
We left the Fort and drove back up to the entrance (south-side) of the Golden Gate Bridge. We checked out the parking lot to the visitors center but they charge a fee to park, so we just drove thru and entered the onramp to the bridge:
And then we drove across the bridge to the north side as Stilla snapped some pictures:
When we got close to opposite side, we saw a sign for Vista Point.
We pulled in, fought the other tourists for a parking spot, got out and took a couple pics:
View of Golden Gate Bridge from the north side looking back south from Vista Point.
We did a u-turn under the north side of the bridge and headed back across. We needed to be back in San Jose to meet my cousins for dinner by 6 PM.
We noticed signs that mentioned a toll (?!?) but the toll booths were empty. I went online this morning and found the following information at gocalifornia.about.com:
“If you’re northbound on U.S. Highway 101, it’s easy to cross the Golden Gate Bridge by automobile, but southbound, it’s more complicated.
In March, 2013, Golden Gate Bridge toll-takers stepped out of their booths for the last time, but that doesn’t mean they stopped collecting tolls. Instead, they’ve just changed the system and everyone who crosses the bridge by automobile pays using an electronic system.”
The website goes on to say: “Oops! I Already Crossed Without Paying – Don’t fret yet. You have at least 48 hours to pay your toll without a fine. You can pay using a credit card online or pay by telephone at 877-229-8655 (toll free) or 415-486-8655 from outside California.”
“If you cross and don’t pay, don’t think you’ll get away with it. The vehicle’s license tag will be photographed and an invoice will be automatically mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. If that’s a rental company, you can expect a bill for the fine, along with a hefty fee from the company, too.”
So, I guess I’d better pay our bill, eh? Gotta love California 🙂
We made it back to the Elks Lodge by 5:30 PM and little “Coach” was happy to get out and take care of “business” after being left alone for almost 10 hours. He did great (once again) and didn’t leave us any ‘surprises’ in the Coach. 🙂
My cousin Beth had been in contact with us throughout the day, and we arranged for her (along with her family) to meet us at the lodge to pick us up for dinner.
Beth and her husband Keith picked us up by 6 PM and drove us over to Harry’s Hofbrau.
This is a nice German-themed restaurant with a neat atmosphere and pretty good food. The best part of course, was getting to see my relatives 🙂
The restaurant has a buffet-style serving line. The place must be popular because we had a pretty long line to wait in for our food.
While we were waiting in the serving line, my cousin Phil joined us with his wife Tina and son Nathaniel.
The restaurant was rather loud so it was hard to have any large degree of conversation, but it was sure nice to see my Aunt and cousins (from my Dad’s side of the family). We made tentative plans to get together again while we are still in San Jose. Looking forward to that! 🙂 And thanks again Keith, for picking up the bill. See you guys again soon.