Monday, June 20, 2016

San Francisco Area

9 June we pulled up stakes and made our way to Larkspur, CA.  They tell me we're about 10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The drive was only slightly challenging.  There was significant traffic as we approached the bay area but it mostly kept moving.  One of us maintained the death grip and I drove.

Our home for a week will be the Marin RV Park.  At first glance it appears to be nothing more then a parking lot.  And mostly it is nothing more then a parking lot.

But a very nicely maintained parking lot run by very pleasant, helpful people. Unbeknownst to us, our site was way narrow so they gave us two sites.  That made things much better  And, it's oh so cheap. Just pennies shy of $500 for 7 nights.  But lets be fair.  It's San Francisco, nearly.

One of the reasons we (you know, Debbie) picked this place is because it's an easy walk to a ferry terminal where we can board a ferry to San Francisco..  The other reason is that Aubree and Elizabeth used to live nearby.  They recently moved to the Seattle area, but we decided to keep it on the itinerary anyway.  So after we got settled we walked to the ferry terminal to check it out.  It'll be easy to get on the ferry and go.

Day two we hung around the camper and did stuff.  You know some banking, pay some bills, make some calls.  Adult stuff.  Debbie feels compelled to remind me that we (you know who) still have a life to manage.   Adjacent to the ferry terminal is a hip shopping/eating area so that night we moseyed over there for some health food.  Onion rings and pizza!  The best.

Saturday we drove to Point Reyes National Seashore located up the coast from San Francisco. It is 53,000 acres of glorious coastal terrain.  It's one of those areas where you must applaud the folks who set it aside for generations of enjoyment. Maybe the primary destination within the park is an 1870 lighthouse.  The structure strikes me as average among lighthouses

 but what a spectacular setting.

In addition to the lighthouse there are miles and miles of trails, shoreline, 100+ year old dairy farms and endlessly beautiful scenery.

I'm sure the locals really love having this jewel in their backyard to enjoy over and over again.  Time very well spent.  That evening we had a great surprise. Fireworks!!!  I had to check my watch.  Was it the Fourth of July?  I mean a massive display launched from somewhere very near the campground. Only later did I learn it was a celebration at a local park.

Sunday we got ourselves on the nearby ferry for a ride into the city.  The fare is not necessarily cheap, about $40 for the two of us RT, but certainly much easier then driving.  We spent the day walking.  I mean a lot of walking! I think it's reasonable to describe myself as a fairly motivated hiker, but believe me, Sunday was a full day of walking. I thought we would walk by the many piers to Fisherman's Wharf and way beyond. Well, we didn't get  nearly as far as I might have anticipated but it was still a mighty full day.  For you Fitbit fans, Debbie had 20,000+ steps before we got back to the camper.  We spent some time at Fisherman's Wharf, a madness of people.

We ate sourdough bread,

enjoyed the sea lions

and got out of the madness.

Something I must share that I thought was way cool.  I noticed several different bicycle rental companies, some with unique names.  Blazing Saddles was clever enough but the best was OUTSPOKE'N. Cute, huh?  If I could add a smiley face I would! The San Francisco ferry terminal houses many eateries.  For about bout $35 we got a couple burgers and fries. In all fairness, they were great burgers. Ferry ride home was pleasant and uneventful.  I guess I could have summed up our day by saying "we walked around all day".

So San Francisco really is full of interesting sights and people.  But you may have noticed that we didn't do some of the traditional San Francisco stuff.  We didn't because some years ago we vacationed in the city and did the more traditional activities.  Also, we didn't really want to deal with driving/parking in the city.  Additionally, it was really "cold" and windy many of the days we were in the area so we wimped out on things like walking across the bridge and blah blah blah.  OK OK, enough of my excuses and dribble.

Monday.  Muir Woods.  Huge Trees.  Beautiful!

 Love that brevity.

Tuesday we did a day trip to the Golden Gate Recreational Area,  It's a mere 80,000+ acres.  It does include Muir Woods, but much of it was military real estate that has been turned over to the National Park Service.  A huge portion of it is north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  But also to the north is Mount Tamalpais State Park (appears to be monsterous and pristine)  and Point Reyes National Seashore.  To the south is the Presidio.  If you're looking at a California map you'll see that there is a great deal of green space adjacent to San Francisco. Our day was spent at the Marin Headlands located within the Golden Gate Recreation Area which includes Forts Barry, Baker and Cronkhite.  The military presence is everywhere with a great many military buildings, bunkers, lookout positions, and gun emplacements. So we spent our day wandering.

If you're a fan of american military history, my guess is this is a treasure trove. Interestingly, given the huge military presence and fortifications, nary a shot was ever fired at the enemy from these locations. So the placards tell me.  Nonetheless, one must be prepared.  Beyond the military stuff, there is beautiful scenery, miles of trails, animal habitat, great views of the Golden Gate Bridge

and another cleverly situated lighthouse. It was closed, but we do have pictures of it from afar.  It's a very cool location.
Pt. Bonita Lighthouse
Speaking of cool, it was like omg cold and windy while we were there.  But, I'm thinking, that added to the enjoyment?

Really a great day.  Editorializing: that is one of the great aspects of this type of traveling. You do what you can do.  If you don't see it all you simply look forward to moving on to the next location.

Wednesday was far more laid back.  We drove a short distance to Sausalito, CA. Cute, ritzy, seaside town with hillside homes that look like they're built on top of each other.

We strolled, lets call it promenaded, ate a treat,

 and went home to do some laundry.

Now, I know you're dying to ask, " how are the dogs doing?"  WONDERFUL! When we're traveling with them in the truck we often ask each other, "did we forget the dogs?"  They virtually never make a sound. In the camper, they are under foot a little, but nothing even annoying and certainly no more then we expected.   We're successfully leaving them now for up to 8 hours and not an accident or eaten sofa of any description.  As traveling companions they get multiple walks and tons of attention.  If you asked them, I believe they would tell you that they are mighty pleased!  



  1. Nice blog brother Duane, glad to see you enjoyed our past local area. Did y'all do Chinatown,Lombardi Street, golden gate park and my favorite the Castro district and Haight Ashberry?

  2. Cold in Cali?! Who would have thought!
    Bummed we couldn't explore SF together; but looks like you had a nice time.

  3. Did I mention we're jealous??? We LOVE your almost makes us feel as if we were with you! We'll take what we can get!!! Miss you bunches!!!!!