Hello California - Part 1
Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
86Trip End Apr 01, 2012
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Next day, as we only have one day in San Fran, we try to hit everything. A walk through downtown, Chinatown and down to waterfront show San Fran to be a very pleasant city and easy to get about. We then hire bikes for the rest of the day and do the coastal route, past the many beaches and nice houses to the Golden Gate Bridge. We cross the bridge to eventually cycle to Sausalito where the reward is ice cream and then a cold glass of white wine overlooking the bay – definitely an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. We then get the ferry back across the bay, pass Alcatraz and back to the docks where we visit the sealions at pier 39
Next day we’re up early for breakfast at Taylor’s Cafe for some typical US breakfast – the hash browns were pretty good. And then we have to pick up our hire car from the airport, we get a transfer there with the hotel which give us a large black car, with blacked out windows and the biggest boot in the world considering it took four peoples’ backpacks/suitcases. The first stop is Yosemite Bug Hostel, just outside Yosemite Park which is meant to be about a 3.5 hour drive. In the end it takes us a little longer due to a traffic jam, a wrong turn and a stop at KFC which adds a good half hour onto the drive as the route we took back onto the main road took us through Hicksville and past some very interesting industrial areas.... But on the positive side the countryside was impressive, changing from dry scrub land to green fields of pistachios, almonds, corns and even vines. This is also where we introduced our road trip game – spot the most unusual/ridiculous sign which may explain some of the photos. On this road 'the speed limit is enforced by aircraft’ – whatever that may mean. Other classics include: ‘No volleyball north of the sign before 6pm’, ‘Speeding kills bears’ and the many signs informing us that this building may damage our health...
The hostel is as it says on the sign – rustic, but good sized, clean dorms and its own restaurant, plus it’s located just outside the national park. We decide to go and explore the local town called Mariposa, turns out that there isn’t too much going on and so we get some Chinese food in restaurant which has a real stuffed bear (a present from the locals apparently) and head back to the hostel for a beer.
It’s an early start the next day as we’re going to Yosemite and have to see as many trees as possible for Julie. So first stop is Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and they do live up to their name. Very tall redwood trees dominate the skyline and as we walk around we appreciate their size as well as the local wildlife – chipmunks and squirrels run along the forest floor and appear to be completely unaware (or unbothered) by our presence. Sequoias need fire to re-generate and can join together if they grow too close and so we see trees that have fused together, trees that are black from fire (caused by lightning) and one tree through which a pathway has been carved. Although impressive, we’re pretty tree-ed out by now and so drive to our next stop of our trip. On our way we pass deer and a pack (maybe three) of coyotes crossing the road in front of us – so our hopes are pretty high on seeing a bear
Friday we’re up early yet again as have a few places we want to get to. We have to drive back to San Fran which is a lot less eventful than our journey there and then to Half Moon Bay. This appears to be a nice residential area on the coast where people could commute into San Fran. We take a quick lunch spot and then go for a walk along the coast