Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 2 Tour 2 - Gone To The Ducks

We rode a DUKW to be more precise.

These DUKWs in particular belonged to the Ride The Ducks tour, which we took around San Francisco, and into San Francisco Bay. The 6x6 amphibious DUKW did yeoman service in World War 2 and beyond, and many still run as amphibious tours in the US and Europe.

The tour begins with a detailed and entertaining tour of San Francisco. Our driver, Captain Fantastic, gave humor-filled observations about the various sights of the city and accompanied them to appropriately themed music.

In addition to music, there was also quacking.

The quackers, conveniently shaped like a duck's bill made quacking sounds were handed out and all passengers were invited to quack to the music, quack at passers-by, or just quack if the mood struck. Music such as the chicken dance and the Danube Waltz warmed up the quackers quite nicely.

We saw lots of sights including Chinatown, Lombard Street, the shopping district, Fisherman's Wharf, and AT&T park where the San Fran Giants play.

Note the pyramid building in the backgroud. It's the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest skyscraper in San Fran. Captain Fantastic explained there was quite the resistance to it being built, but once built the opposition died away as removing it would have left the city-scape pointless. Yes, like I said, the tour had a sense of humor to it.

During our travels, we passed by a Muni streetcar.

Note the side stating "Zero Emissions Vehicle" -- it's powered by pure smug.

Actually, it's really a coal-powered vehicle, but since the emissions are far away, that doesn't seem to reduce the smug factor.

Then the important question, would this duck take to water?

Indeed, it did.

The transition to the water was pretty seamless, down the ramp into the water and we had turned into a boat.

We passed by barges, dry docks, and large RO-RO ships:

These ships, the MV Cape Horn and MV Cape Hudson, are designed to quickly load military equipment and rapidly transport it anywhere in the world it is needed. Fully loaded tanks can drive up the ramp and onto any of three levels on the ships and then drive straight off into battle if need be.

Nothing like seeing a large ship in the driver's side mirror.

Then it was time for the highlight of the tour: The kids got a chance to drive the DUKW!

Leah was the first kid on board to get a chance to drive, and with the Captain's instructions she turned the wheel to the left, performing an excellent left turn and avoiding a collision with the RO-RO ships. Her first time driving was a success. Abby was next and similarly did a great job. All other kids on board also got a chance and it was a very cool activity for all of them.

After the kids drove, we headed back onto land and completed the tour. Quite simply, there's no better way to tour San Francisco than by Duck! Simply an awesome tour.

No comments: