Santa Cruz, CA (Apr 18/14) – Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco is always a wonderous experience. Approaching from San Rafael, north of the SF, driving through the hot & dry hills, then onto the bridge… instant climate change!!! Hot to frigid cold, dry to ocean moist, resulting in windows fogging & the panic to turn on the AC (It’s already on!?!)… open the windows to resolve. This bridge is HUGE!!!
The view of the ‘City by the Bay‘ is beautiful as N&J make their way across the bridge, the blue white-capped waters of the ocean entering under the bridge, it all is so enticing… drawing you in.
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Fisherman’s Wharf could be considered the ‘heart & soul’ of San Francisco, colourful & vibrant, a people magnet by the looks of the crowded byways. The smell of the sea was very apparent with the cooling breeze blowing off the bay. Trying to decide which restaurant, was a challenge for N&J, they finally chose one to have a seafood feast… delicious!
N&J overnighted (pop-top left down) for a couple nights in the Haight & Ashbury neighbourhood (ground zero of the ‘Summer of Love‘ in the late 60’s), finding street parking a block off the main thoroughfare. Surprisingly quiet & friendly, they visited the many ‘hippie’ shops that still exist to this day. Later in the evening they took in a Burlesque show at one of the many pubs that dot the landscape.
‘Going to Prison’ was in store the following day, took a tour of the infamous Alcatraz federal prison, very popular… fortunately N&J made reservations a week before. The ferry boat leaves a dock located adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf, 40 minute round-trip included a good tour of the San Francisco Bay as well; brutally cold on the water due to the wind blowing in from the Pacific Ocean under the Golden Gate Bridge.
On day 3 N&J finished their visit to San Francisco taking in the ‘World Famous’ Chinatown (largest in North America), certainly got their exercise walking up/down those hills. Thankful for the cable cars & the street cars that serve the city.
Lombard Street (famous for it’s many movie roles) as seen pictured below with it’s very steep incline & eight hair-pin turns. Needless to say Hobbes (N&J’s beloved Westfalia camper van) DID NOT attempt the chance to drive this… not that the van’s brakes were in question (OK maybe just a bit!!!) 😉
Freestyle camping on their last night at the Golden Gate National Rec Area which is on the west side of San Fransisco… directly facing & feeling the Pacific Ocean. Strong winds created quite a ‘sand storm’, creating ‘mini sand dunes’ everywhere, but it was relaxing irregardless listening to the pounding surf in the distance. Off early in the morning continuing the journey south along Highway 1.