Thursday, August 15, 2013

San Francisco

August 7 - 11, 2013:

It feels great to be on the road again !  

We left Cindy's house at 9 AM, it was fairly smooth trip on Rt 10 - 57 - 210 - 134 - 101 to Thousand Oaks.  We made a pit stop in Quartzsite, AZ where we noticed this couple of professional full time dumpster divers in the McDonalds parking lot.  Things like this are common place in Quartzsite.  

We had a few sights along the way; First was a huge forest fire near Banning, CA which created a huge smoke cloud that filled the entire valley with haze.  We then passed a huge wind farm complex, the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm near Palm Springs, CA. There are 3,218 wind turbines in this farm, Interstate 10 passed right through it and it is an out of this worldly view.

Smoke from the forest fire

The traffic became heavier the closer we got to LA, as expected and it was not a fun drive, lots of crazy drivers all over the road !

We made it to the LaQuinta in Thousand Oaks, CA about 4 PM, tried out the hot tub, very nice.  We then found a healthy mexican theme restaurant nearby, Sharky's Woodfired Mexican, for dinner.  It felt weird to be out in the evening in cool air again.  

Friday morning we drove Rt 23 over the mountain Pass to the coast where we picked up Rt 1 North.  It was a really twisty up and down road, with many very expensive ranches, houses and great views.  We passed a couple of beach areas where lines of RV's were set up on the side of the road.  It was totally full, every space taken.  We decided to stop for lunch at the town of San Luis Obispo.  We had no idea what we would find there and were pleasantly surprised to find the main street filled with interesting restaurants and stores.  We ate at "The Buffalo Pub and Grille" which was very good. After San Luis Obispo we stayed on Rt 1 all the way to Monterey.  It is a monster of a road, exhausting with all the ups and downs, curves and incredible sights. It was a bit frustrating as I wanted to stop everywhere and explore, but no time for that today.  We need to return to this area !

View from US 1 along the Monterey coast

We arrived back at the Betabel RV Park near Gilroy at 7 PM, unloaded stuff back into the RV, everything was as we left it except for a colony of ants invading around the front door.  We decided to get some light diner, then just crash in the RV with the slides in.  We slept like babies, it had been a long exhausting ride !  

We were up at 7 AM, straightening up the mess somewhat, then hooked up and departed at 9:45.  It's now been a month since I drove the rig and it felt awkward the first 20 miles or so, then I settled down and relaxed.  The route recommended by Marin RV Park to Greenbrae went right through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I was a little nervous about this route and did some research, most people gave it good feedback, so that is what we did.  It is the most direct route for sure and the only part that was somewhat scary was in the city in tight traffic I was taking up the whole lane and it was very tight.  We arrived at the RV Park without a scratch and had an easy back in spot, nice and wide and everything worked.  This RV Park is within sight of the city, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and is within walking distance of the Ferry Terminal, the Bus Station and a Trader Joe's Store.  It doesn't get much better than that ! 

Sunday was a fun filled active interesting day in San Francisco.  We took the Ferry there, lots of San Francisco 49er fans going to the game.  It was a typical SF summer day, we are told, with lots of clouds and fog over the city.  The Ferry building was a big surprise, it was huge and filled with quality food vendors and restaurants.  Next was a restored trolley car ride on the "F" Line.  San Francisco has bought old trolley cars from all over the world and restored and modified them to run on their system, really cool !  We got off at Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, load with all kinds of restaurants along with great harbor views. We watched a very entertaining juggler perform who was equally comical and witty.  We then walked to a WWII Liberty Ship and an old submarine at a nearby pier to take a look and came upon a "Musee Mecanique".  The Musee was filled with old mechanical amusement arcade machines that still operated with a quarter put in the slot.  They were amazing !  We then stopped at "Boudin Bakery" the originator of San Francisco's famous sourdough bread, for a snack and a coffee, followed by a tour of their museum and bakery tour.  The museum was excellent, the history of the bakery is nearly as old as San Francisco itself. This bakery is incredible, I'm now hooked on sourdough bread.  We then went to Ghiradelli Square, another SF institution, thinking about getting an ice cream, but the tourist crowd and lines were crazy, latter for that.  We then took a peak into the Maritime Museum, were really impressed, put that on the "To Do List" for latter.  By this time, we needed adult refreshment (beer) and stopped for a quick one.  We then limped back to the Ferry building to catch the 6:40 Ferry back to Greenbrae.  I think we overdid it a bit, I'm now icing my hurting feet and Twinkles pedometer says we walked 22,629 steps or about 9 miles.

The Ferry ride to San Francisco

Ferry docking at San Francisco

How many corks in the trash can ?

Inside the Ferry Building food market

Street drummer using all sorts of cans

Fisherman's Wharf view

Rosie the riveter exhibit

WWII Liberty Ship on display

Arm wrestling at Musee Mecantique

Opium game at Musee Mecanique

Test your love at the Musee Mecanique

Inside Boudin Bakery-serious bread !

Walter Cronkite quote at the Boudin Bakery museum

Old sailing ship at the National Maritime Park

Ghirardelli Square

Crazy hydraulics on this old chevy

The America's Cup race is in San Francisco this year

Departing San Francisco on the Ferry

So much more to see and do, we are only starting, keep watching!

Twinkles and Slick

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