We arrive in Pacifica, about 1/2 hour drive to San Francisco. There are not to many choices around San Francisco area. We chose this one, because we could drive and not have to pay tolls or ferries to get to San Francisco, and it is along our Pacific Coast Highway adventure. We stay at San Francisco RV park, nothing special and like big parking lot, but is has views of the ocean and clean bathrooms. It also has laundry, Wifi, cable, pool. It is expensive, we paid $548.00 for 5 nights and that’s with a military discount.
Our first full day we drive 40 minutes to see Cupids Span Sculpture , near Ferry Marketplace.
We then parked in a parking garage for $20.00 for the full day, very cheap since Pier 39 parking garage is $45.00. You do have to be careful where you park as there are break-ins everywhere. Make sure you leave nothing at all showing in your car. We walked to Alcatraz Landing at Pier to get tickets for Alcatraz.
At this time of year you can walk up and get tickets, but during busy season, you should purchase weeks in advance, as they sell out fast. Book with https://www.alcatrazcruises.com/,they are the official concessioner to the National Park Service and is $37.25 for adults. You can also look ahead of time and see how many tickets are available. If you book elsewhere you pay $8.00 service fee. You need to arrive 30 minutes early. Allow 3 hours for sailing, tour and exploring on your own.
The tour gives you head sets to wear and you walk the prison on your own listening and moving along at your own pace.
You also see Rec Area,
and dining halls.
Some famous criminals include Al Capone (cell #181),
Machine Gun Kelly, Bird Man of Alcatraz.
The prison closed in 1963.
This is a must do.
Less than a mile away is Coits Tower, atop Telegraph Hill,daily 10-5:00 pm with very limited parking.
You can walk the lobby and see the cool murals
and outside vista points ( beautiful views )for free, or for $8.00 you can ride the elevator to top observation deck.
From here we drove to the famous Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world).
It is one block long and fun to drive down it.
Now we needed some coffee so we drove to Caffee Trieste, only 1 mile from Coits Tower. This is where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay, “The Godfather”.
Our second day we drive back and park in the same parking garage and walk few blocks to Pier 39 ( the Welcome Center is on the 2nd level). Pier 39 has shops/ restaurants. Also seal lions hanging out here.
Then just down the street is Fishermans Wharf, Cannery Row and Ghiaradellis Square. All walking distance of one another.
We then see Hyde Pier, which originally was Highway 101 (if traveling north you would have to take a ferry to continue on 101).
Also here is San Francisco Maritime, which we would have passed up but noticed we could use our America the Beautiful Pass, so we stop. Here you can walk on 3 old boats which was cool.
Right near here is one of the Cable Car lines,
so we pay $7.00 for a one way ride or you can buy pass to ride all day for $17.00. The cable car was first introduced in 1873, and it is a must do.
We take the cable car to Chinatown (largest Chinatown in US). We walk around and have lunch here.
There is also the Cable Car Museum (free), near Chinatown.
Day three we start at the 16th Avenue Tiled steps (they are beautiful and it’s free)
Next is Twin Peaks, dogs are allowed on leashes, parking and restrooms and it’s free. You will get 180% views of Bay Area and Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately it was a little smoggy so not great pictures.
This would be great place for sunset 🌅, or see the city lights at night.
Next to Haight Ashbury (corner where 1960’s flower power blossomed.
It’s the 1960’s hippie epicenter. Also here is Grateful Dead house (710 Ashbury) and Jefferson Airplane house(2400 Fulton).
Some shops along the way. Just a few miles away were the stunning Famous Painted Ladies (7 Victorian houses, in many movies, postcards AKA Postcard Row). Great photo ops across the street at Alamo Square Park.
Off to see the Full House house (1709 Broderick),
our finally stop of the day is the San Francisco Fire Dept 🔥 Museum , it is free but they look for donations. It is open Thurs-Sun 1-4:00 pm.
Off to see Golden Gate Bridge,
and I would definitely recommend going how we did, as oppose to other routes. We drove Lincoln Blvd (most visually stunning way to reach the bridge). It is less traveled and you go thru twisting hillside hugging Lincoln Blvd. Don’t do this in RV. Our 1st stop is Lands End Overlook, then Baker Beach (great views of bridge),
past the popular Batteries to Bluff hiking trail ( .07 miles and a local favorite). Next is the Golden Gate Overlook (again great views) and finally to Golden Gate Bridge. It is stunning and is worlds most beautiful suspension bridge.
It was completed in 1937.
There are vista points on both North and South sides of bridge. Parking lot is $5.00 for the day.
We are up for the challenge and decide to walk across the bridge. It is 1.7 miles each way, and we walked it round trip.
You can also bicycle across. If you drive across, which we will do when leaving, there is no toll to pay. But if you are coming back into San Francisco you pay a toll. This was a fun and exhausting day. A Must do.
Tomorrow we head an hour north over Golden Gate Bridge to Petaluma, our home base to see Napa Valley and more.
Petaluma KOA will be our home for 6 nights. This park has a lot, especially if you have kids. FHU! Wifi, cable, pool, laundry, petting zoo, dog park, nice playground. We pay $405.00 for the 6 nights with our KOA card. After setting up we head o downtown Petaluma. Lots of cute shops/ restaurants with some very pretty buildings. There is free parking in the 2 garages.
Today’s exploring will take us to Santa Rosa (there are 70 Peanuts statues through out the town),
you can get a map from visitor center,and then a visit to the Charles Schultz Museum, $12.00 admission.
We didn’t go in but checked out the ice rink next door and very nice gift shop.
Traveled north and stopped on Healdsburg, cute town with few shops, antiques. Then to Cloverdale, nothing special. Off to Lake Sonoma a very pretty lake.
From here we took Dry Creek Rd as afar as we could. Very pretty country road with wineries all around.
Stopped at the very cute Dry Creek General Store, for a drink and a blueberry scone, yummy 👅.
Today we have been on the road six months and still love each other ❤️
Day 186, we pack a lunch and our doggies 🐶 and drive 1/2 hour to Bodega to see St Theresa Church ( Victorian Hilltop Church) , it is 150 years old and seen in Alfred Hitchcock “The Birds”.
Next door, also from ” The Birds” is the original schoolhouse in which they took refuge and then tried to flee from the gulls and flocks of ravens. It is the Potter School right behind the church.
Now off to beautiful Bodega Bay, about 10 minutes from Bodega.
Good whale watching from Bodega Head and great views.
We then get on Highway 1 North towards Jenner (about 15 minute drive). We stop prior to Jenner to have picnic lunch
at Goat Rock Beach.
It is gorgeous and few people.
Definitely worth a stop.
Near Jenner you can see where the Russian River meets the sea. Sea Lions hanging out in the sand.
We take Scenic Highway 116 to the very small but very cute Duncan Mills. There is a coffee shop, general store and a cluster of 20 small shops. Pig Alley shop has some very nice jewelry. Back on highway 116, we take that to the Bohemian Highway South (pretty drive) to Highway 12, very nice drive.
Today is Valentines Day ❤️🌹🍷 and decide to just relax today. We do order pizza (deep dish) from Old Chicago Pizza in Petaluma. It was pretty good.
February 15th, we head out twenty minutes from Petaluma to the Marin French Cheese Co. It started in 1865 and is in the same location making it the longest continually operated cheese co in America. Brie and Camembert cheese, and are delicious. They have a pond you can picnic by. We just picked up sandwiches( they are very reasonably priced) for our own picnic at Point Reyes National Seashore, just a short drive from here. This is a very pretty drive. We stop at the Bear Valley Visitor Center and get maps and info, not realizing the Lighthouse will be an hour drive and closed today, but can see still see it just not tour it ,so we make the hour drive.
Near the Visitor Center is the Earthquake Trail, a short trail on the infamous San Andreas Fault, where you can see the fence that moved 20 ft after the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906.
The drive to the Lighthouse takes you through rolling green countryside with lots of cattle, even cattle in the road.
Also small lakes , ocean views, lots of curvy roads, define not in an RV. We saw coyote, deer, 🦌 and hawks.
Once at the Lighthouse parking lot we had to walk 1/4 mile each way to see the Lighthouse.
There is a shuttle when opened that takes you to the Lighthouse. Beautiful views and we even saw 2 whales 🐳 and 4 seals.
Nearby is Chimney Rock (elephant seals, whales) after 1.8 mile hike, we didn’t do this. You could easily spend a full day exploring the beaches, elk, etc). On our way out we stopped in the little town of Point Reyes Station, for a cup of coffee.
Our last day before moving on takes us into Napa Valley.
Our first stop is Ledson Winery and Historic Castle in Kenwood.
Time for lunch so we stop at the very cute and small VJB Vineyards and Cellars in Kenwood.
You can order pizza or Panini Sandwiches, Salads🥗 . We share a salad, panini sandwich and have a glass of wine on the outside patio. Worth a stop
Heading towards Sonoma we pass Sonoma Plaza (lots of restaurants and wine tasting bars). Next we stop at Meadowcroft 🍷 Wines tasting room in Sonoma. It is a cute little place, and we bought a yummy Reisling Wine from here, and they are very nice people. Worth a stop. Next door, few cute but expensive shops. Our final stop is Bouchaine Winery in Napa.
Tomorrow we head north, near the Avenue of the Giants.