Sunday, February 2, 2014

Brookings Music Students Trip To San Francisco 2009

All year long, for twenty years now, My husband plans the big, end of the year Field trip to San Francisco with 40-50 school age choir students. For 17 years it was middle school kids, but he changed jobs 3 years ago and now has High School kids.  For 17 years we camped in sleeping bags on the floor of a school Gymnasium but the last couple we've graduated to bunk beds in Hostels.  His planning is intense and minutely scheduled

This year he might as well have not planned at all.

San Fran is about 8 hours south of us on a bus, some years we've gone by school bus but this year we had success in fund raising and splurged on a charter bus.  Last year we had no knee room and no luggage room and no bathrooms — this year we set out in luxury.

A short 2 1/2 hours from home we stopped at the Bayshore mall.  The driver dropped us off and said he'd pick us up in 45 minutes after we had lunch and he picked up a missing log book from a truck stop.  The Mall Food court was mostly closed down and wouldn't open until the bus was due, but the driver called.  He had turned the bus off at the truck stop — and it wouldn't start again.  The 45 minutes turned to three hours and we realized that the guided wagon rides through the Santa rosa Wild Animal Safari would not be something we could get to.  During that 3 hours, kids ate and tried hard not to blow their 3 day food budget at the mall.  And my Husband was on the phone trying to find a last minute replacement charter bus.    

Then He found one, hours south, in Santa Rosa, that could come and pick us up, get us to San Francisco and to the play we had tickets to, and to the Hostel afterwards,     but they had no bus for the next day   and then we realized that if they left Santa Rosa, and returned South with us, there was no way we'd make it by the 8 PM musical that my husband had paid $1,300 dollars for tickets to.

rescued from the broken tour bus
Then, a wonderful Lady named "Linda" from the Eureka School District said "I can let you have a school bus and driver and get you headed south to meet your driver and save some time."  And soon we were loading the Luggage and kids into a crowded bus with suitcases on top of everyone.  
Dropped at BenBow State Park
and that wonderful bus driver kept saying, "Oh, I can go a little further." until finally he dropped us at a green, riverside state park (Benbow)

So open up that Golden Gate
and within 10 minutes the third bus of the day pulled in to get us to S. F. over the foggy Golden Gate

almost late, we see the bus in front advertising the show
                                                        just in time for "Spamalot" (Monty Python),  Literally, the show started at 8:00 and the newest Charter bus dropped us off at 7:48   We laughed our way through a show full of rudely funny and somewhat inappropriate jokes and my husband had to hear a lot of comments about why he made them turn off "Blades of Glory" and then took them to this play.

So the charter bus hung around during the show and then took us to the Hostel at 11:30 and that driver was gone.

and 43 starving people checked in and then walked past Ghirardelli Square to an In and Out Burger at then 1:00 AM finally headed to bed, on hard wooden bunks that felt like heaven.

We woke up on Friday, Knowing we were stranded some 400 miles from home with no bus, and were due at the Exploratorium  soon, but we figured we could get a city bus to get there - except another stranger with bus number 4 said his charter bus company happened to have a driver and bus available for the day, so he took us around the city that day.

the kids posed at Exploratoium
The kids posed on the stairs
An Endless Selfie
and they loved all the hands on science stuff at the Exploratorium and that included a big, dark, Maze where you crawl and slide and climb.  Also Echo saw her Echo

Then we went to the De Young Museum and I loved the art, but most kids were too tired and didn't really look at it, but they did love climbing to the 9th floor tower and looking at the city.  Our home area has a couple of elevator's and 1 escalator and nothing past 4 stories.
De Young Museum
View from the Tower

and also from the tower
From there the charter bus dropped us at the cable cars and we rode, on Critical Mass Friday when people try to block the cable cars, down to Fisherman's wharf.


on a bed of broken glass
At the wharf we got to see a street performer do fire eating and walk on broken glass and finally lie down in the glass while someone stood on his back.

and we got to shop and eat and ride the Pier 39 carousel,
Pier 39
Then, exhausted and Cold, we piled into Taxi's, which most of these kids had only seen on TV.  And were Hostel bound once more.

Academy of Arts and sciences
The Last Day our original Charter Bus driver showed up in a replacement bus, the old one needed a whole engine replacement, and we went to explore the jungles and rainforest at the academy of arts and Sciences, with a great aquarium,a growing roof and a cool planetarium show,
Me on the Ferry
Then onto a ferry boat  past Alcatraz to Tiburon, across the bay from San Fran and to a divine Meal at the Dynasty for a Chinese banquet.
Then a fairly quiet return trip
My husband

My Boys <3 br="">
and home by 1 AM Sunday Morning.

The following are pictures that I had never actually included with the letter due to the cost at the time


  1. I am glad you had such a wonderful time in my hometown. You hit all the attractions and got some great shots. How did you like my buddy Claude the albino alligator? He is so cute. And despite popular opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than the golden gate shrouded in fog. Great photos. I found you on Redgage.

    1. We actually do this trip almost every yer and have since around 1990, but it used to be with 7th and 8th grade music students and the High School kids are a lot easier. I love Your City but laugh that we have to drive 7 hours South to get to "Northern CA" when we live in California just a few miles south of the border with Oregon.