San Francisco area sightseeing
To see other sights from our west coast trip click on:
International Puzzle Party, Oregon, Washington, Alaska Cruise, Alaska sightseeing,  or Flowers

We began with a day in Golden Gate Park, including a visit to the California Academy of Sciences Museum
Grass and wildflowers on the roof and a view across the park with part of the solar cell array that provides some of the power for the museum.

Just one of many exhibits.
The thousands of ladybugs displayed to show the different pattern of spots that you may find.
We didn't check all of them but we didn't find any two that matched.

The Aquarium
A mud skipper, only a couple of inches long.

The large tanks had a wide variety of sea life.
An albino alligator

The Exploratorium had lots of hands on science displays.
Polyhedra to be manipulated

A chain loop that rotated forming standing waves.  Touch it and they changed.

This galaxy is actually chips of dry ice on a metal plate.
As they slide and turn patterns form in the vapor.

In silicon valley between San Fransisco and San Jose we visited the Computer History Museum.
The punch cards provided programmable storage for the patterns a Jaccard loom wove.

The Babbage Engine.
Designed by Charles Babbage but not completed until 2002, 153 years after he drew up the plans.
The array of gears, levers, rods, and pins can be set to calculate using the method of successive differences.
It permits calculation of complicated functions without using multiplication or division.
It was intended to solve equations like these to produce tables that were widely used prior to the development of computers.
They are still used inside the computer but you just don't see them.

The computer is powered by this crank (the mechanical device not the guy, he was friendly and informative).
The program is controlled by the set of cams on the right.

Slide rules, hand held analog computers.

A replica of the first transistor

Early personal computers and some of their spawn.
This one is by Ohio Scientific and looks like the prototype of the first PC we owned.

PDP 11 a workhorse at Brookhaven for many years.

Inside a Cray-1 computer.
The length of each of the blue web of wires were selected to ensure the timing of signals was correct.

Golden Gate bridge walk
A fog bank covered the bay when we arrived.

As we set out we noticed the surfers below.

About here some people started to comment on their acrophobia.
If you hang way over the side you can get this view.

But this platform is safer.

The cables that suspend the roadway from the main support cables.

Looking back.

More than 1/2 way across.

A group of kayakers going out for a day on the bay.

We took a day trip to Sonoma, wine country.

A museum in a park there had this replica of an old time classroom.

The Sonoma area had a couple of other stops that you can see on the International Puzzle Party page.

Winchester house
Built by the widow of William Wirt Winchester and heir to the Winchester rifle fortune.
She had built, remodeled, modified the house for nearly 40 years.
Money was no object,  the fortune was estimated to be $20,000,000 and stock in the company gave her a $1,000 a day to spend.
Because of all the changes only 160 rooms remain of the 400 to 500 that were built.
This view from a upstairs window may give you an idea of some of the complex.

Stained glass windows and doors were everywhere.

Including in storage, waiting for her to order them to be used in some new location.

Ornate ceilings and floors throughout.
Few of the original furnishings remain.

Because of her eccentricities and the continual changes there are some inexplicable architectural features.
a stairway that goes up to the ceiling, separate doors for people of various sizes, others that open to reveal blank walls,
and this switchback stairway that has 42 steps each 2 inches high.

Some of the glass decorations in the gift shop.

We were treated to a barbecue lunch and then took a walk along this path through the redwoods.

Followed by an old time train ride through the forest.
Some folks spent part of the trip practicing string figures that I had learned during our visit to the South Pacific.

Along the way we came on these desperadoes stealing lunch and gold.

But granny grabbed a shotgun and took them down.

A tunnel near the end of the line.

The ride ended at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and amusement park on the ocean.

To see other sights from our west coast trip click on:
International Puzzle Party, Oregon, Washington, Alaska Cruise, Alaska sightseeing, or Flowers

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