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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Checking in from the Cable Car! – California & the Canyons

Welcome Family and Friends of Westcoast Connection California & the Canyons!

All 44 Trip Members arrived bright-eyed and bushy tailed to the San Francisco airport. Flying in from New York, Toronto, Boston, Washington DC, Cleveland, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Miami, Belgium and Beirut – all were greeted at baggage claim with games and neon posters.

After a quick freshen up at the hotel we headed to the city. Driving North with the Bay to the East, Jack and Jason “whhhooaaaa cool!” at the classic fog rolling over the Western hills from the Pacific Ocean. As we approached the Cable Cars an upbeat busker who provided us with lively music greeted us. On our must-do San Francisco mode of transportation we arrived in the Chinatown for dinner at a Westcoast Connection favorite restaurant, Oriental Pearl, for some amazing Chinese food. Josh insisted he had never had such good food letting the waiter know he should be proud to serve such vibrant food! Exploring the streets of Chinatown after dinner many interesting candies, trinkets and souvenirs prompted a few purchases—Jake L. insisted the lemon candy was the best. Ethan bought a panda hat in honor of the nickname of a San Francisco Giants player.

Day 2 and time for Alcatraz, or as Brant called it “The Traz”. Before we board we started our first battle of the sexes challenge with Pulse. With Daniel and Lizzie as our anchors the boys took the best-of-5 games 3-2. After arriving on the island welcomed by the flowery scent of salt water and fish, we headed to the top of the island to start our exploration. The silent headphone tour provided the information but the penitentiary provided the authentic ambience. The only noise to be heard outside of our guide in our headphones was the clicking of Caity’s camera, enthralled by the eerie prison. After the tour, and a quick visit to the gift shop, Max and Will discussed whether they thought the prisoners who escaped in 1962 could possibly be still alive today. On our ferry ride home inspired by their Trip Leaders, Jacob, Kole and Jared practiced their mind-reading skills in hopes of tricking their fellow trip members… and parents.

An exciting night at the Oakland A’s game had the teams going back and forth, capped off with a 3 run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the home team the win, prompting Sammy F., Danielle B., Danielle S., Megan, Lizzie and Leah trying to get on the Jumbotron. They may not have reached their goal but they entertained the crowd with their dancing and cheers.

Next stop: Golden Gate Bridge. The fog we saw on our first night prepared us for the sight we were about to see. Walking on the walkways of the bridge, group photos were taken up close to the iconic red beams. The smiles of the groups shone through the fog while they enjoyed this San Francisco essential. While stopping in Sausalito, Noah got sushi so he could have a California roll in California. Looking out at the water, it couldn’t have been more of a perfect day to admire the scenic view.

Since it is an Active Teen Tour we hiked up Lombard Street. The street may be too steep for cars to travel up and down straight, but not for walking. Carly, Hailey and Tarek proved their endurance and flew up the hill. Our perseverance paid off with a beautiful view of the city and ocean, providing another photo-op.To close off our time in Northern California we went bowling. Taking up an entire bowling alley we split into groups and wasted no time getting straight to the games. Dani R. worked hard to accomplish a score of 0, a point of pride. Jon came up with a variety of new ways to “bowl” and proved that it is possible to use your feet to get a strike.

Lombard Street

As we prepare to head to our second destination, our time in San Francisco was memorable. We saw famous sights, met new people and starting blooming new  friendships. Now on to water sports and camping in Lake Tahoe!

The Westcoast Blogger