Sunday, August 16, 2015

A trip to prison...because that's what you do on an 8th Anniversary

A little known fact about 8th Wedding Anniversaries: everyone thinks it's the Bronze Year. But it's actually the Year of the Prisons. Alright, maybe not.

If you read my first post about our 8th anniversary, you might have guessed that we didn't actually end up in a random prison - although that would have been a story to tell; we finished our anniversary adventure with a tour of Alcatraz!

Random note about me: Despite living in California my whole life and Northern California for the last 10 years, I have never been to Alcatraz! We actually have tried to go several times, but they book out months in advance and we've had bad luck with trying to time it for our visits! Mr. Howard has, in fact, gone as a work team building activity a few years ago.
Please take note of my AMAZING hairstyle below. It's all the rage at Alcatraz. Everyone's doing it. And I am nothing if not a follower!
The tour was great; although, I am sure it would have been a million times better if we hadn't had an exhausting day already of walking close to 10 miles. We were a bit tired, to be honest. (If you are planning an Alcatraz visit, I suggest you make it all you do that day - besides some light sightseeing or a fun beach day! In other words, do not plan a 3 hour food and walking tour AND Alcatraz in one day!)
I, personally, am always a fan of tours! I think you get so much more out of an experience than you would just walking around guessing what things are. With the price of your admission, you get an audio tour of the cells, etc.! Do it! It really was the highlight of the experience for me. 
 It is crazy to think about how many famous prisoners were there. It's a little eerie, actually...Especially to see things like the morgue or the open showers with absolutely NO privacy and imagine Al Capone and The Birdman living there!! Eek. In the 29 years it was a prison, 36 inmates attempted escape and five of those have never been found. Of course, it's assumed they never made it and drowned, but I was a little curious if maybe, somehow, there's a prisoner out there who survived escape.
I was very surprised to hear that the prison guards' families lived on Alcatraz (almost, kinda, right among the prisoners)! In fact, when the kids would go to and from school, the prisoners would have to stop what they were doing to move out of the way and they'd watch them! That seemed like it would be an insane experience as a kid (and as a parent!), but those kids (obviously grown up) were interviewed years later and said they loved it! They loved living on Alcatraz and they always felt safe.

We ended up walking A LOT that day! A LOT! 11.43 miles, to be exact. I'm pretty sure if we ever lived in a city, we'd be hitting this mileage pretty regularly. I wish I could show you the elevation of those 11.43 miles because it seemed like every time we turned around, we were trekking up some ginormous hill.
Our anniversary trip came to an end when we got back to San Francisco and started our drive (in tons and tons of traffic) home to our little ones. My mom was so wonderful in keeping the kids for us! They made jewelry and pinewood cars...they went swimming...they watched movies...they cuddled on a mattress on the floor of her room (pretty much the highlight of the trip for them! They keep asking when they can camp out on Nana's floor again over night! I keep asking Nana too! Haha.)...and they went to the park! They were definitely loved! Thank you, Nana! We all love you!

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