Experiencing Alcatraz

As I write this we are sitting in Chico, CA, having pulled in here after an aborted previous campground attempt (expect a post on how we feel about the Thousand Trails system so far). We were at this park nearly 2 years ago and just liked how it felt, how it was situated in town and the farmer’s markets that Chico boasts having the most in the nation of.

Sounds great and all, but at the moment it’s 108 degrees outside. One.Hundred. Eight. One of those days where you look at your various thermometers and think “I didn’t know you had a third digit!”.

And how are we coping?

Not well, really.

We’ve got all our windows plugged with the reflective foil inserts I made for them, the awning is out to keep the sun off what it can, and still the trailer interior temp is at 86 degrees and has been slowly rising all day. I’m breaking a sweat just sitting here. Yet it’s still better than being outdoors. I just walked to the park bathrooms and noticed it felt like it was hard to inhale the air was so hot.

Movies are expensive, we’ve nothing to shop for at the mall, and local AirBNB bookings are too expensive.

In short, we’re feeling uncomfortable and grumpy.

Trapped.

And yet.

And yet.

I’ve food. Water. Internet. Conversations with the outside. The freedom to find a different place to be.

Visits to places like Alcatraz are always a bit surreal for me. We did the audio tour, which provides you with headphones and a portable MP3 player featuring narration by men who both worked at and were prisoners on the island. Interlaced with their narration was background sounds that, put together with “being there” could at times prove quite powerful. But even then I know that once the crowds are gone and the last ferry or service boat has pulled away for the night Alcatraz would show a completely different - scarier - face. Then factor in company comprising the most dangerous and desperate men in the country and the experience of being emprisoned there is simply inconceivable.

It’s a strange thing, this fascination with a prison. Hundreds of people, many visitors to our country, touring a facility designed to break the hardest of men.  And a facility that is owned and maintained by the our government (and based on the maintenance needs we saw, at no small cost). Paying $22 for a photo of themselves not in front of the actual island, but in front of a photo of the island.

To what end?

So that we don’t do it again? So that we try harder to not need an Alcatraz? So that we feel better about our lot in life?

I still don’t know.

On the way to our destination

On the way to our destination

New rules for the Boyink house!

New rules for the Boyink house!

Twenty-two dollar photos against a fake background

Twenty-two dollar photos against a fake background

Pulling away from the dock

Pulling away from the dock

Pretty good self-portrait

Pretty good self-portrait

Bay marine traffic

Bay marine traffic

The island from the ferry

The island from the ferry

Almost looks like a postcard

Almost looks like a postcard

Alcatraz Building

Alcatraz Building

Having a picnic before exploring

Having a picnic before exploring

Roof weathered by the salt air

Roof weathered by the salt air

Water tower with now-historic graffiti

Water tower with now-historic graffiti

On CD or Seedy Street

On CD or Seedy Street

Looking up

Looking up

An Alcatraz Cell

An Alcatraz Cell

D-Block where the most dangerous men were kept

D-Block where the most dangerous men were kept

I can't imagine this is original

I can't imagine this is original

Harrison peeking in a solitary confinement cell

Harrison peeking in a solitary confinement cell

Cell air vent

Cell air vent

2 Comments Experiencing Alcatraz

  1. Picture of Wheelingit Wheelingit June 08, 2013

    Love SF! Our old home! You guys have got to get out of that heat. Anything above 90 in an RV is miserable. Come to the OR coast. We’re hitting around mid 60-70s here.
    Nina

  2. Picture of Boyink Boyink June 08, 2013

    Hey Nina -

    We’re due at Crater Lake next week - so we’ll go from 108 to snow..;)

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