Vegas to San Fran

Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
Trip End Nov 17, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, October 31, 2009

30/10/2009  - We packed up, checked out and hit the road. We had decided to take the quickest route from Las Vegas to San Francisco, along I-5, stopping off for one night at a town called Bakersfield in California. Taking this route meant we missed a few national parks, including Yosemite, but we saved a whole days travelling.

The drive from Las Vegas to Bakersfield, about 275 miles, took us 5 hours. We stayed at a cheap roadside motel and ate in a chain diner that night - cheered us up no end! Bakersfield was not the most welcoming place, but we were glad to be in sunny California.

31/10/2009 - We left Bakersfield early the next morning, eager to get to San Francisco. The drive through California was interesting, but looonnngg. We stopped off at a service station for lunch and saw at least three women with huge fake boobs - a sure sign you're in California.

We had heard on the news the night before that a 4 tonne piece of metal had fallen from Bay Bridge in San Francisco and it was subsequently closed for emergency repairs. Unfortunately, this meant we had to make a bit of a detour off our original route and cross over into San Francisco via San Mateo Bridge instead. As we approached the Bay area, the traffic was terrible. Five lanes of traffic all trying to cram over the one bridge. Eventually we got across and made our way through central SF to the northern tip, where we were staying. Driving through the centre was a bit hair-raising, but good fun riding up and the down the infamous San Fran hills

We had booked a hostel that seemed like a great place to stay. Although not that near the centre, it was set in a park right on the bay and overlooked both Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. The setting was lovely and the facilities (nice cafe, lounge and a pool table) made a pleasant change from the soulless motels we were used too. We were shown to our room in the basement. The room consisted of two single beds, a couple of chairs and a locker (a bit different to the MGM in Vegas!). It was dark and had a dingy smell, a bit like damp socks, but to make up for it there was a great view out of the window. There was a shared bathroom down the hall, which had only one shower in and a constant smell of poop, but we convinced ourselves we could handle it for the next four nights.....

We decided to venture to Chinatown for dinner and, armed with a map, made our way to the bus stop 10 minutes walk away. Not sure if it was just us, but we found the SF transport system so confusing compared to the other major cities we had visited. There is only one map that includes all the bus routes, tram routes, metro routes, overground train routes, cable cars etc on it, but you can't easily tell whether the route you want is a bus, train, or cable car, so you don't know whether you are looking for a bus stop, tram stop or train station. It's hard to explain, but honestly it's very confusing. Anyway, we were both tired and hungry, and a bit disorientated in the dark in a new city, but eventually we made it to Chinatown. We chose a  a Chinese restaurant that was packed with locals and had a wicked meal. Not only was it a Saturday night, but it was also Halloween, which is HUGE in America. Loads of people in the restaurant and in the streets outside were in fancy dress, and there was a party vibe in the air. We knew we were going to like San Fran....

We returned back to the hostel feeling a bit better after some nice grub. We had a couple of games of pool (Jim wiped the floor with me both times) and then retired to our 5 star accommodation for a good nights rest, or so we thought.....
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