Yes, we actually drove through SF in my RV and survived! My sister, Que, was in SF for a medical conference, so we met her out by the beach, later drove across the Golden Gate Bridge.
03.02.2008 - 03.02.2008 65 °F
It was quite windy this morning when we got up at Half Moon Bay State Park, but of course that made for some big waves! I wanted to get my feet wet just a little bit, but the surf was so rough I tried to avoid going in any deeper then my toes. However while I was distracted taking a picture, I didn't notice a particularly large wave break and wash up almost to my knees - the water pulled so hard I wasn't sure if it would pull me over (I think if I'd lifted a foot to try to walk it would have, it was that strong) - but I stood fast and was able to get back, with somewhat damp jeans of course.
While we've certainly met some nice folks here in CA, they haven't been as consistently nice as in most states we've been in. When I stopped for gas just outside the park, another customer started cussing at me for blocking his way (like I can just zip in or out at will in an RV!) Of course, it didn't help that Mom decided to chip in and help offer ways to get out of his way - of course, she won't drive the RV so has no idea what sort of turns I can or can't do. We had a bit of a moment there, but seem to have survived it. As far as Californian's go, I'm generally glad I don't live here any more.
While we also generally skip the big cities, my sister Que and her partner Vivian were in San Francisco for a medical conference. When we realized we were all in the same area at the same time, we thought it might be fun to try to meet up. (Que & Vivian live in Seattle, so we do get to see them fairly often - but of course we've been on the road for several months now). Que said she hadn't been to a beach in a long time and I figured the road along the beach would be as easy to navigate as any, so we agree to try to meet up along the SF beach.
Somehow, Mom & I managed to navigate there without going around in circles too much (one anyway) and found a parking spot right across from Golden Gate Park, within sight of the Cliff House and Seal Rocks. The Cliff House is not the same place I remember as a kid. They've built something new at the same spot that just doesn't look all that special to me, but I guess we don't all have the same tastes in building styles?
We were also right across the street from one of the windmills at Golden Gate Park. There are two of these built in 1903 and they were actually used to water the landscaping in the park in the early 1900's. This one has been restored, the other is still undergoing restoration.
BTW - SF still isn't charging for parking along the beach! There are still a few bright spots for visitors here. Que met us at the beach shortly after we got there. Que and Mom enjoyed a walk out to the beach (believe it or not, I was trying to work on the blog for a few minutes).
A short time later, Vivian arrived and we somehow all managed to meet up without getting lost (cell phones come in handy in such situations).
We were right across the street from an old San Francisco landmark, the Beach Chalet restaurant. It was built in 1925, but had recently been restored. Vivian generously offered to treat us all to lunch there!
On the first floor are several murals that were painted in 1936 as part of the WPA program. I continue to be favorably impressed with all the public works generated by FDR's depression era programs to provide work for the unemployed. Also you will notice that I am not the only member of my family to have caught the photography bug!
We had a great dinner, I tried taking a picture but didn't want to use a flash so as not to annoy the other diners. I should have used a flash. Well, close your eyes and imagine us sitting by a window overlooking the beach (the RV in plain view across the street, as well as the sea wall and beach) - enjoying all sorts of good eats...
After dinner, Que & Vivian had to go get ready for a show later in the evening. Mom & I enjoyed seeing SF again but figured there were better ways to tour the city than in an RV and I wanted to head north and find a campground before it got too dark. We drove on up the street and turned as it passed the cliff house. When we got to where we needed to turn to get to the Golden Gate Bridge, there was a "No Left Turn" sign as Vivian had warned us, so we just went around the block - in driving, three rights equals a left. I thought the houses looked pretty typical for San Francisco, so while we didn't do much sightseeing in town, I stopped for this shot as we rounded the block.
In fairness to SF however, the streets and parking didn't seem nearly as bad as I'd expected (nor as bad as Boston or Philadelphia). We did get onto the correct street and onto and across the Golden Gate Bridge without a hitch. It was starting to get a little darker, but I pulled over at the vista point just across the bridge for some nice shots. It was surprising how many tourists there were at the vista point - almost no parking left. I guess March isn't a bad time of year for tourists to this area?
By the time we left the vista point it was really dusk, so we drove up to San Rafael where Mom had found a state park on San Pablo Bay, a little east of town. The China Camp SP was really nice, but just over some low hills from the town - and had no cell phone signals, so no internet. Here we were in the middle of one of the most populated area's in one of the most populated states, and continue to find rural space with no connections! Amazing.
Miles Driven - 59, Cumulative - 17,673
Camped at China Camp State Park, San Rafael, CA
Provisions - Gas $36.59 for 10 gallons at 127,505