Drive to San Francisco 8:30amSan Francisco
zig zag lombards street, fishermans wharf, cable car 11:30am
Drive to Muir Woods
Drive to Marin City
20min o/night #28547 check in out noon 415-461-5199 or toll free 888-461-5199. 7:30pm
Monday 15th April - San Fransisco
We left Mojave at about 7:00am and headed for San Fransisco - it would be a 5 hour drive and we needed to see Muir Woods National Park before closing and do sightseeing of San Fransisco, so there was no time to stay put and enjoy the freezing cold conditions
. On our way we still experienced extreme winds which we would later discover was not normal. Along the way we saw more wind farms going hell for leather, some didn't move at all but most were going so fast we could tell there were significant winds about, this yet again caused the driving to be less than ideal and the RV once again was difficult to keep in a straight line. We stopped for fuel twice on the way the 2nd time we had brunch at a place called Fosters - burgers and shakes, we each had a burger and settled out empty stomachs. We drove though a lot of very picturesque area mostly farms of Almond trees and flowers. It was now about 12:00pm and we only had another hour or so to arrive on the outskirts of San Fransisco. The traffic started to increase significantly which told us we were certainly getting close, despite the GPS sending us on a bit of a run around. We needed to back track just a little way to get us back on the right highway but did so without too much difficulty. Once we arrived on the edge of the city we could see San Fransisco in all its glory, the tall buildings stood proud as did 2 fabulous bridges - neither of which were the famed Golden Gate - well not just yet anyway. Within minutes we got our first glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge which Lilia appropriately named the Red Bridge. We had to drive very carefully as the roads were extremely narrow and definitely not designed for RV's, so much so that both side mirrors over hung both side lines and was a little scary to say the least, what made things worse was the huge winds which just kept thrashing us about, something which I was getting more accustomed to each time we experienced it
. We drove through the tight roads seemingly being the only RV in the city - as Wendy pointed out it would be like driving a huge RV through the little back streets of Sydney city - it just isn't something we would do nor expect to see but what choice did we really have.
We proceeded to find parking and entered a parking lot within a few blocks of Pier 39 at Fishermen's Wharf, this spot was chosen by me as I happened to see a lone RV parked within the car park, well it turns out that we could enter but we couldn't find parking nor could we exit due to the number of cars parks and the tight space in which you could maneuverer the vehicle, this turned out to be a bad decision on my behalf but we were pretty much stuck, so i carefully positioned ourselves in a handicapped zone and took up two spaces just to fit the RV, we paid $40 to stop there and figured we had better just stay put and hopefully when we return there would be some cars that had moved enabling us to get out of the sardine can we were in. The wind was absolutely howling and it felt like minus 10 but we proceeded to walk down to the main Pier and see the sights. 1 Day is definitely not enough, well 3 hours anyway to see San Fransisco as it needs a good couple of days to wander about leisurely and see everything. But we made use of our time and walked up Lombard Street to view the crooked street from afar, the closest we could get in the time frame we had but the kids could see it and were pleased anyway
. A few more blocks away was Fishermen's Wharf which we walked to, the crowds were amazing as this must be the number one tourist spot. We saw plenty of new and older cable cars which was again a bit of a novelty and fun to see, however catching one was out of the question as you needed to have exact coinage for each passenger, that meant $8 in quarters which we just didn't have. After some wandering of the shops and buying some souvenirs and a couple of books we continued to enjoy the various shops and the kids had a go on a beautiful old merry go round. Wendy was lucky enough to find a lovely charm for her Pandora bracelet of a San Fransisco cable car also which was lucky. We walked to the end of the pier and overlooked Alcatraz island but we could only view it for a short time as the wind was just incredible and made the temperature very uncomfortable. Jack bought some fish and calamari, we got a couple more squashed pennies for the kids collections - these are available pretty much everywhere as good little souvenirs, they each have a special little wallet in which to keep and display them also.
We were aware of the time and needed to get going soon to allow us sufficient time to get to and enjoy Muir woods - it was only about 40 minutes away but we had to get back to the RV, get the RV out of the tight parking and then navigate the streets of San Fransisco without hitting anything along the way. After clearing the way we were back on track and about to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
. It sure is a marvel to see and is absolutely beautiful and so big, driving across was a little hairy as the winds was just carving it up and the bridge itself was swaying happily. With 10 lanes of traffic the bridge was full to capacity so there wasn't much room for error if any, but i carefully got us across whilst the family enjoyed looking about, i unfortunately didn't really get to see much as i had my eagle eyes hones in perfectly on the white lines either side of the RV so as not to stray. Getting across was a bit of a relief and we could then concentrate on getting to the Muir Woods National Park - this is where the huge redwood trees are. I seems to think that i had been here as a young boy but I am actually not too sue as I remember driving through or seeing cars drive through the base of a huge tree. We arrived at the start of the entry to Muir Woods only to see a few warning about taking campers and large vehicles - neither of which was recommended, we would soon find out that this is a very tight and curvy patch of road which has significant drops either side of the road and was very scary to drive, most of the time i was doing 10 - 15 mph hour and had to to take extreme caution not to plummet over the side, needless to say Wendy was not real happy with the road and was pretty much beside herself the whole drive. It was about a 20 minute drive and we even missed the turn and now had to somehow do a u turn on these tight roads to get back, i was able to do so after a few minutes and then needed to make a very sharp turn in order to get through the entry
. It was one hell of a drive that I will never forget. Well we made it down the mountain and entered the park only to find out that there was no parking for RV's and all the spots had been taken by small cars, this was hugely frustrating as we needed to drive about a mile out of the park only to walk back, despite being told by 2 park rangers that we could park in the bus zone, when we tried to another park ranger lady said we were not allowed, what made this more frustrating was that there were cars which had done exactly what were were not allowed to do despite having already paid our park entry fees.
Well anyway we were in no position to argue and finally found a spot some 5 minutes away. we walked back via a nice path and entered into the park only to be overwhelmed by the large trees and the expansiveness of this particular forest, it was truly spectacular. We stopped by the gift shop and bought the obligatory souvenirs and continued walking through some tracks, we got lots of excellent photos many of which the kids were able to stand in or around some of the largest trees we had ever seen. Well it was now about 5:00pm and we needed to get going so as to find out RV park in a place called Marin City - this was on the other side of the San Fransisco and only about 15 minutes drive. We fortunately had another route to take so as to avoid the treacherous roads we took when we arrived and it was a little better. We made it to Marin City but the RV park office was already closed but had fortunately left a RV number for us to pull into and prepare for the night ahead, it was cold and we expected it to be a freezing cold night but wasn't so bad after all
. We had attempted to walk around and find something to eat, but after 30 minutes of walking in the freezing conditions we gave up and headed back to the RV to eat what we had leftover in the fridge, Pizza, Egg Rolls, Hot Dogs and Corn Dogs, luckily we did have some food available as we were all starving.
Lilia and I played her 1 Direction game until about 9:00pm and Jack watched a video, at about 9:30pm they were all fast asleep and i did a little reading.
Tomorrow we plan to leave nice and early to get through to San Fransisco to get some photos of the Golden Gate before peak hour traffic starts so it will be an early start. We will then head to San Jose to tour the Winchester Mystery House.