So I didn't get around to posting about Day 8 yesterday, so I will cover days 8 & 9 today.
Day 8 - San Francisco to Paso Robles
I should mention that we had made plans to go to Napa Valley if time allowed, but unfortunately it did not. The time it took to get from Yosemite to San Francisco was a lot longer than we had expected. Nonetheless, this gives me a great excuse to go back to California :-).
On Day 8, which was July 10th, we had tickets for the Early Bird ferry to Alcatraz. We checked out of our hotel, then drove the van to a parking deck down near the Fisherman's Wharf. We got down to Pier 33 about 8:00 and were at the front of the line to board the ferry. It was foggy and windy, and rather cold. Regardless, we decided to ride on the top deck. There was a huge cloud parked on the Golden Gate Bridge, which was a disappointment considering we expected to get the best photos while on the ferry. Another cloud was parked on Alcatraz Island, which was actually kind of neat because it made it look a little more spooky! The ferry ride wasn't long, but it was really cold! If we'd thought it was cold and windy on the pier, it was nothing compared to what it was like on top of that ferry on the way over. I was nervous that Scotty might get seasick, as the water was a little rough, but he was fine.
Once on the island, we had to hike up the hill to get to the jailhouse. It was a good hike up there. They gave us audio tours which guided us throughout the jailhouse, telling us where Al Capone's cell was and where the guys were that managed to escape. It was really interesting, and pretty cool to be there where all those things happened. After the tour, one of the original inmates ( 1 of only 5 who are still living), Darwin Coon (see pic), was in the bookshop doing a book signing. So that was neat to meet him, but kind of disturbing that he was profiting off being an inmate. We still bought one of his books and got it signed, though! LOL.
We caught the ferry back to San Francisco at 12:30, and made our way back to the car. We started making our way to our next destination, Paso Robles. The rest of the day was spent in the car driving, other than a quick stop at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. That place was HUGE.
Our hotel in Paso Robles was SO NICE! It was a huge room, and it was all very updated and fancy, and it was a Best Western. I was quite impressed. We got to our rooms relatively early, around 8 pm I guess, so we were able to just relax and watch tv. It was sad we only had one night in such a nice hotel room. Haha.
Day 9 - Paso Robles to Los Angeles
The next morning, we woke up and headed out to make our way to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. On the way there, we drove through a wine country which was really pretty, and then we hit fog that was so thick you couldn't see 10 feet in front of you.
Our tour guide at Hearst Castle was old as dirt, and could hardly catch her breath to talk half the time. I suppose the fact that she was old went along with the theme of the castle - it looked like it was used in the 1500's rather than the 1900's. Everything was really old fashioned and dark. The best part of the place was the pool, which was AWESOME. I'd have given anything to swim in it. They actually had 2 pools, one outdoors and one indoors. Both were amazing, but the outdoor pool was my favorite, by far.
After the tour, we decided to go see the lighthouse that was on the coast just up from the castle. On the way there, we stopped at this place where Elephant Seals live on the coast. That was pretty neat - there were a bunch of them just out there on the beach sunbathing!
We had planned to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway on our way back to Los Angeles, but due to the wildfires, the highway was closed. So we were forced to drive back a different way, which happened to be a lot faster. We arrived in Los Angeles around 4 pm. With no plan for the evening (we thought we would get back very late), we decided to hit up some of the neighborhoods we'd visited before and find a few more celebrity homes. We went back to Bel Air to look for the original home from The Beverly Hillbillies, but it turned out that you couldn't see it at all due to the wall around it. Then we went to Brentwood to see Nicole Simpson's condo where she was murdered, and we couldn't figure out which one was actually hers. They had changed the numbers for the new tenants' privacy. After that, we went back to Beverly Hills to Robertson Blvd. I wanted to get a pair of flip-flops from Kitson.
When we arrived, we noticed there was something big going on at Intermix - there were tons of press and paparazzi, a red carpet, etc. This was quite exciting! On our way to Kitson, my mom asked the guy working at Armani what was going on and who was going to be there. He said that with that much press, it should be someone worth seeing. I went to get my flip flops, and then we all hung out on the sidewalk outside the Ivy and watched as the cars arrived. The first person we saw was Selena Gomez (she's on the Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney). We also saw Kim Kardashian (in pic to right w/ yellow dress), Lauren Conrad, Phoebe Price, Audrina Patridge, Karina Smirnoff, and the girl-twin from Heroes. I don't know her name. This was the most exciting thing EVER for me! We met some paparazzi and the valet dude at the Ivy. Haha. It was such a great way to end the night. We stayed until about 9:00 and then it seemed to be dying down, so we headed back to the hotel to get some much needed rest before our 8 am flight home the next day. It was an awesome trip, and and awesome end to an awesome trip.
I was able to upload a couple pics, and now the uploader isn't working again. So maybe I'll get them uploaded later. GRRR.
EDIT: Pics added. Included one of my mom with the paparazzi, which I found quite humorous.