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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

City By the Bay! – US Explorer

US Explorer - Golden Gate Bridge

Welcome Back Westcoast Families!

None of us can believe that we have arrived to our final destination on our 40 day adventure across the US – San Francisco, CA. There has been an enormous amount of memories, friendships, and jokes made throughout this journey and nobody will forget them.

As we departed from Lake Tahoe, we geared up for our last three days of adventure in the City by the Bay. After getting settled into the beautiful Westin Hotel, we headed over to the classic Mel’s Diner for dinner. This was the same place that the classic movie American Graffiti took place! We all had a blast eating some delicious food while listening to the old-school music from the jukeboxes. Sabrina, Lily, and Rebecca all loved singing along to “Sandra-Dee” from Greece. But the real excitement came later in the evening when the group arrived at the Club City Nites Disco where we danced ‘till we dropped. David T was literally jumping up and down when his favorite song was played.  Greg, Aidan and Matt Z. loved dancing in their matching outfits. It was definitely a high energy night.

The next morning, we all woke up after a wonderful night’s sleep ready for a jam-packed day. We began with a self-guided tour of Alcatraz. The day before we watched the Mythbusters episode “Escape from Alcatraz” so all the trip members were looking forward to seeing some of the real artifacts. Eric, Jeremy and Julia S. loved taking pictures in the solitary confinement room. All the trip members found the tour extremely interesting. At the end of the tour, the group was lucky enough to meet Al Capone’s niece who had recently written a book. Many trip members purchased the autographed book and are looking forward to reading it when they get home.

After we left Alcatraz, we spent some time at Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Ghiradhelli Square. Zak was extremely excited to check out the San Francisco 49-ers store and Greg and Alec and some of the other boys met Jeff Barnes, a line-backer for the Oakland Raiders. We then got to experience a true San Francisco experience and take the famous cable car up to Chinatown where we had a delicious meal as a group. All the trip members loved experiencing the crazy hills of San Fran as the cable car went uphill.

Our last day of the trip seemed to come out of nowhere. We spent the morning at the Golden Gate Bridge and in the town of Sausalito. Ben loved having the famous hamburgers from this town and all the kids loved taking pictures of the iconic red bridge. We made sure to capture pictures of all the trip members in their new trip sweatshirts. On our way back to the hotel, we made a stop at Lombard Street. All the kids were impressed with this twisty-turny street and the beautiful houses that rested on it. It was a low-key last day as we prepped for our banquet.

In the evening, trip members came down to the banquet room floor of the hotel ready to celebrate our trip and spend our last evening together. They walked into the room to find it decorated with all of our bus decorations we had accumulated over the course of the trip. Everyone was able to take pictures together before having dinner. Just before sitting down, we passed around a ball of yarn as we shared our highlights from the trip. We made a giant web of memories and cut the yarn into bracelets for each person to take home. We enjoyed a delicious dinner together before sitting down to watch a fantastic slideshow, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. The DJ got everyone up and dancing with all of the favorite songs from the summer and all the trip members got to write plane letters to their friends.

As we write this, the night and summer are wrapping up. It has truly been an incredible summer filled with laughter, long-lasting friendships and amazing memories. Thanks to all of the trip members for making it a summer to remember. We will miss you!

US Explorer - Golden Gate Bridge

Lauren, Ryan, Phil, Jess and Larissa