San Francisco Tour and Show – Day 81

San Francisco Tour and Show

Day 81 – June 20, 2003 – Friday

We continue to extend our stay with son Ryan in San Francisco. More phone help today. Ryan has hired a new helper to start on Monday. Alcatraz tours are sold out for the weekend!

32 years ago today, on June 20, 1971, Barbara Jane Gray Windsor and I flew from Dallas to Montego Bay, Jamaica on our honeymoon. It was a wonderful honeymoon provided by my parents. We have so many funny stories to tell from that trip! We’ll never forget the unmarked taxicab with a trunk full of bananas; the little guy who fixed the problem with the two single beds in our “honeymoon suite” by strapping the legs of the beds together to form one larger bed with a massive valley down the center; the 15-year-old Cadillac “limo” convertible with longhorns mounted on the hood that picked us up for horseback riding; the horseback ride that left Bozzie Jane bruised from ankle to ankle; the looks on people’s faces around the pool when they saw the young groom and his bride with bruised thighs and legs; and the glass-bottom boat that ran out of gas and drifted out into the ocean.

We went on the San Francisco Fire Engine Tour and Adventure today. It was one of the tours available from Ryan’s company — We rode around in a big, shiny red fire engine with bells clanging. The 1955 Mack Fire Engine has been beautifully restored. The tour went from the waterfront through the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and back again. We had seen all of these sights before, but never in a 1955 fire engine. Robert and Marilyn Katzman dressed us up in fireman coats and hats. Folks on the street certainly do enjoy seeing you pass by. The Katzmans are really nice people. Marilyn sings songs and tap dances, and she got all of us singing. We learned a lot about firefighting, and we got some good photos. It was a lot of fun. Robert and Marilyn live in a real, restored 107-year-old Victorian firehouse bought from the city when modern fire trucks became too large to fit through the doors. They have a Dalmation and their own fire pole. I forgot to ask if they know Richard Tuck. There are so many interesting people in the San Francisco area!

The Fire Engine Tour crosses the Golden Gate Bridge twice, and we crossed it a total of six times today. The bridge links San Francisco with Marin County, and it can be crossed by car, by bicycle, or on foot. The Golden Gate Bridge took more than four years to construct, and it cost $35 million. It is a visitor attraction recognized around the world. The conventional wisdom in the early 1930s was that it would be impossible to bridge the Golden Gate because of insurmountable difficulties. Joseph B. Strauss thought it could be done, and it was his dream to do it. Though Strauss lived for only a year beyond the completion of the bridge, his dream came true, and he built one of the world’s most impressive landmarks. The 1.7-mile long suspension bridge opened to vehicular traffic on May 28, 1937, at twelve o’clock noon, ahead of schedule and under budget. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the opening from the White House. The Golden Gate Bridge’s 4,200-foot-long main suspension span was a world record for 27 years. The bridge’s two towers rise 746 feet making them 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument. The Golden Gate Bridge crosses Golden Gate Strait which is about 400 feet deep. The two main cables that support the floor of the bridge are 4,200 feet long. These cables are 36 1/2 inches in diameter, the largest bridge cables ever made. Each cable is 7,659 feet long and contains 27,572 parallel wires, enough to encircle the world more than three times at the equator. The design of the Golden Gate Bridge is considered to be Art Deco.

Dinner was again provided by Ryan’s personal chef, Karen.

Tonight, we saw the renowned San Francisco show, Beach Blanket Babylon. It is a wonderfully entertaining show — more entertaining than many of the Broadway shows we’ve seen. Beach Blanket Babylon is hard to define; I guess you’d call it a musical comedy. There was great rock/pop music throughout — often with lyric changes to make the songs funny.

Beach Blanket Babylon is the longest-running musical in the world; it began in 1974. The show is hilarious with various “skits” and routines of different types. Each of the performers is incredibly talented. Val Diamond would be regarded as the star of the show, and this was her 25th year with Beach Blanket Babylon. She is outrageously funny, and she has an incredible voice that enables her to sing a wide range of songs.

The show is a musical spoof of pop culture, and the show continually changes to make current events part of the show. For example, Martha Stewart, the Dixie Chicks, and the French were the targets of jokes that generated a lot of laughter tonight. There’s a skit about Hillary and Bill and Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky and the many other young Clinton women. President and Laura Bush, the Bush twins, Elvis, Snow White, Madonna, Eminem, Diana Ross, N’Sync, James Brown, Barbra Streisand, Puff Daddy, Jennifer Lopez, Tina Turner, Oprah, Whoopie Goldberg, John Travolta, Prince, Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Barry Bonds, Mayor Willie Brown, the Beatles, Britney Spears, PG&E, and the Village People were also included.

Big hats are a BIG part of the show. The crowd absolutely loved the show, and we certainly did. It was a full house. When you come to San Francisco, Beach Blanket Babylon should be a MUST DO! Great, great time. As different from “O” as you can get, but equally entertaining. See When you book your tickets, be sure to get seats on the area in front of the columns that support the balcony. Go with an open mind and prepared to laugh, and hoot and holler and have a big time.

We met some fun people tonight. Two couples from Greenville, South Carolina were really, really funny. And we sat next to four women (Maryann, Mary Ann, Theo, and Glenda) who have been vacationing together every year for 14 years.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this website. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest, and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today:
San Francisco California — San Francisco Fire Engine Tour — Golden Gate Bridge — Beach Blanket Babylon