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Summary: This was my last day in San Francisco before moving away for a PhD program, and I chose to spend it on Angel Island.  I caught a ferry there and rented a bike to explore it's perimeter, about 5 miles of paved road.  The uphill areas were taxing, but the downhill thrills made up for my struggles.  Angel Island is often called the "Ellis Island of the West" because it used to be a processing center for Chinese immigrants, commemorated by the Immigration Station museum today.  I caught the ferry back to Fisherman's Wharf in the afternoon, where I hung out for a bit and had some lunch/snacks.  My day ended with Blue Bottle Coffee, a local Bay Area brand.  

OVERVIEW
Time Spent Traveling: 7 hours
Mode of Transportation: Biking and walking
Activity Level: Some uphill slopes while biking but not a strenuous ride overall, quite a bit of walking
Tour Operator: None

ITINERARY
 (times are approximate and meant to only roughly illustrate the pace)
1.) Ferry Building to Angel Island Ferry (9:15-10:15am)
Bay Crossings:  Ferry Building  #1 Ferry Plaza, Store #22     San Francisco, CA 94111     (415) 362-0717
My only complaint about going to Angel Island would be the ferry schedule: On weekdays, the Angel Island ferry leaves ONCE from the Ferry Building, at 9:15am.  If you leave from Fisherman's Wharf or Tiburon there are more options, and I believe the weekend schedule is slightly better, plus there's the added option of departing from Oakland on weekends.  Overall though, I just felt like the ferries weren't that frequent to a popular tourist destination.  

Anyways, I got to the Ferry Building around 8:45am and bought a ticket ($17.50 roundtrip) from Bay Crossings, located to the right of the main entrance, and then headed out the back to the dock.  It was so foggy my pictures almost look like I used a black and white filter, but I did no such thing.
The ferry ride took about 1 hour, including a transfer at Pier 41 in Fisherman's Wharf.  It was definitely a foggy morning; some pictures to note:
Top row, middle: Ferry Building from the back, says Port of San Francisco.  Felt bittersweet on my last day.  
Middle row, left: The part of the Bay Bridge tourists usually don't see, because it's on the other side of Treasure Island.
Middle row, middle: I was amazed that while Alcatraz was visible, Angel Island behind it was so blurred by fog.  
Bottom row, middle: Golden Gate Bridge covered in fog!!  Like this never happens in San Francisco.  
Bottom row, right: Angel Island becoming visible as we approached it.  
2.) Biking Around Angel Island (10:30am-1:30pm)
The first thing I did after arriving on Angel Island was go rent a bike, which can be done near the ferry dock.  Since I hadn't eaten breakfast I went to Angel Island Cafe, where I was expecting to get a quick bite but the service was kind of slow.  The ham and cheese croissant I ordered was delicious, but the long wait was unwarranted.  The last piece of my croissant was stolen by a sea gull when I made the mistake of taking its picture, as I left my food "unattended" while getting my camera.  I should have known better from that look in it's eyes; picture taken seconds before it snatched my food.  
It was nearly 11am when I finished eating, so I was eager to get started on my bike ride.  The paved road for bikers is called Perimeter Road, and you have to walk your bike up an unpaved pathway to get to it.  The path is an uphill climb while you're pushing a bike no less, but pretty nice to look at.  The last picture on the right shows the beginning of the paved road that will soon intersect with Perimeter Road.
Perimeter Road is a loop so there's a choice to turn right or left when you get to it...and I chose to turn right because going left meant riding uphill.  It is the long way to the Immigration Station, which is what everyone wants to see on Angel Island, but Perimeter Road is a loop.  Here are some pictures from the first part of my ride:
I passed by Camp Reynolds somewhere along the way, but didn't stop because I'm not that into history.  A quick google search shows that it was built during the US Civil War to protect the Bay Area from Confederate sympathizers.
Next, I got to this lookout near Perles Beach.  It's really, really special...can you tell why?  Probably not with all that fog, but here you can see a panorama of San Francisco:  It starts with the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island on the left, then there's downtown San Francisco and Alcatraz, then the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito are on the right.  In this picture Alcatraz is sort of visible, toward the left behind that branch..  Later in the afternoon when the fog had cleared slightly, I returned here to take pictures (further down this post).  At least Perles Beach was visible, and so were the deer that came out!
From Perles Beach I continued riding toward the Immigration Station, struggling with some strenuous uphill areas but basking in the downhill thrills.  A sign atop one steep slope advised bikers to walk their bikes downhill, and I obediently obliged upon seeing the drop in front of me.  As I approached the Immigration Station, the number of deserted buildings I saw started to increase.  There was also a funny tree that had a trunk resembling...a house?  
I saw a few bikers go inside a decrepit building and followed them inside...and still have no idea what it was.  The building behind it had a sign that said the structure was unsafe, so I stayed away from there.  I really enjoyed this short detour before reaching the Immigration Station, because I thought this deserted, run-down place had a strange beauty to it.  Not a "happy" beauty when you think of what happened on Angel Island, but an elegant, somber sort of beauty.  Anyways, pictures are below so you can judge for yourself...and yes that last picture depicts the ruins of urinals.  
I finally arrived at the Angel Island Immigration Station, the island's main tourist attraction, and wondered if I was in the right place.  For the main tourist attraction of the entire island, it's really not that prominent.  There are plenty of signs that'll guide you toward the museum though, and it's quite a downhill slope to get there.    
The museum costs $5 for adult entry and is really small, consisting mainly of displays that show the living conditions of Chinese detainees.  The most interesting part was a Chinese poem carved into the wall, where a detainee wrote about his experiences.  An English translation is provided and shows that the author was highly educated, or maybe just really talented.     
After I got done with the museum, I noticed the fog was clearing a little.  The pictures below should contrast with the ones above, but it definitely still wasn't a completely clear day.  
Around 12:45pm I found myself back where I started, having completed the loop around Angel Island.  Since the day was clearer and the ferry wasn't until 1:55pm, I decided to go back to the lookout where you can see a San Francisco panorama.  It was clearer and I could the city past the fog, but still not fully clear.  The city's features were actually visible but you can't zoom in on an iPhone panorama, so they're a little hard to see in this picture.  I hung around for about 20 minutes to see if the fog might clear, but left to catch the 1:55pm ferry back to San Francisco.  
3.) Fisherman's Wharf (2:25-3:05pm)
Trish's Mini Donuts:   Pier 39 Concourse  San Francisco, CA 94133     (415) 981-4318
Chowder Hut Fresh Grill:  2890 Taylor St   San Francisco, CA 94133    (415) 391-4737
Boudin Sourdough:  160 Jefferson St   San Francisco, CA 94133     (415) 928-1849

After disembarking the ferry at Pier 41, I headed to Pier 39 for Trish's Mini Donuts.  Delicious, delicious, delicious...then I found out how they were made.  I'll pretend I didn't see all that oil...
After donuts I walked to Taylor Street near Pier 45, a *slightly* less touristy area of Fisherman's Wharf.  I went to Chowder Hut Fresh Grill for clam chowder in a bread bowl, very classic San Francisco.  I could get on a soapbox about how much food this wastes - no one can finish the bread bowl, see pictures below - when there are starving children in the world, but it was my last day in San Francisco so I splurged.  
After finishing my chowder I started walking toward the Ferry Building (30-40 minute walk from Fisherman's Wharf) and passed by Boudin Sourdough.  Sourdough animals are displayed by a window, a milkshake that brings all the tourists to the yard...  
4.) Blue Bottle Coffee at the Ferry Building (3:40-4pm)
Blue Bottle Coffee:  1 Ferry Building, #7   San Francisco, CA 94111
Always packed with long lines, Blue Bottle is a local Bay Area brand but has spread to other cities.  They're known for their drip coffee, which CNN Money touted as "The best coffee you may ever drink".    
After I finally got my cup of drip coffee, I decided it was time to call it a day.  I still had to do laundry, pack, clean, and get ready to leave the next day.  And thus, with this blog entry about my last day, I say goodbye to San Francisco.  



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