I found this site very very helpful whilst planning our trip (two 21yr olds doing a 2 weeks trip - original thread is here http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum......&highlight=
I meant to do a trip report when we got back, but other things took priority. So here it is now! We travelled from 22nd June 2010 to 5th July 2010. One thing we were worried about was cost as we were students funding it from our part time jobs and savings from student loans, so I will include rough estimates of cost.
We arrived in San Francisco and went and got on a mini bus transfer (not pre booked - there are loads outside the airport waiting - I think it was $15 each plus a bit of tip). We stayed at the Green Tortoise Hostel http://www.greentortoise.com/san-fra...stel/index.php and it was great. We stayed in a private double room, cost $304.20 for 4 nights, there were tasty free evening meals 3 times a week, free breakfast every day, the reception people were very friendly and we made friends on the organised bar crawls. Cheap places to eat around - pizzerias, tacqueria etc. A tip for the free evening meals is to buy the cheapest crate of beer from the off licence a couple of doors down (discount for staying at the hostel) and share them round at your table. It's a great way to get people chatting.
We suffered from jet lag pretty badly - tired at about 7pm, and waking up at 3am. That first afternoon we just got our bearings and wandered around - we did A LOT of walking this holiday. We included china town, all up the promenade beside the sea, fisherman's wharf and just wandering up and down streets. The next day (23rd) we hired bikes (very cheap, again got a discount from the hostel, was $80 for 2 bikes hired all day). The bikes came with a map and the route went across the Golden Gate Bridge, round to Sausalito (where you could take the ferry back if you wished) then there was a slight detour up to Mill Valley where there were some big redwoods and some amazing big American houses, then around down to Tiburon, where we got the ferry back. This my favourite thing we did in San Fran. We saw such beautiful houses and scenery, it was like another world out of the hustle and bustle of the city. The weather was also completely different - very foggy and cold in San Fran and boiling hot across the bridge! We both got sunburnt, but were sensible enough to take plenty of water (as well as food - we saved a lot of money on this trip by preparing sandwiches instead of eating out).
Unfortunately, we're not the fittest of people and our legs burned like hell that night. An 18 mile bike trip isn't something we do very often! So the next day we couldn't walk fast. So I took the opportunity to drag Matthew round Macy's and did some ambling around the shops in Union Square. Didn't buy much but the window shopping was nice. We also just sat and people watched which is great fun. We were going to go on the trams but didn't really see the point - the queue was massive, full of tourists like us, it costs money and we preferred walking.
This night we had pre booked the Alcatraz night tour, so we ate at Hard Rock Cafe (voucher from book - buy one get one free on meal) and went on the tour. It was great, I really enjoyed it. Quite directed though with the audio tour lasting only as long as you have on the island pretty much - I would've preferred more wandering around time.
The next day (25th) our legs were feeling better, so we walked all the way across to Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately, we got a little lost and ended up walkinmg through the Tenderloin District - I'd read about this place and knew to avoid it and I was quite shocked just by how bad it was. We were only a few blocks from Union Square yet there were so many homeless people around and people openly doing drugs on the street. Nothing bad happened even though we probably were quite obviously tourists. But after that we walked through the Haight-Ashbury District which was interesting, some cool shops. The Golden Gate Park was a slight disappointment for me - mainly because it was horrible drizzly weather. We got the bus back across town to union square - very cheap only a couple of dollars. This was also fun, listening to the crazy people talk on the bus to no one in particular.
The next day we picked up the rental car from Avis - we were amazed by how cheap this was! $133 for 6 days rental, with drop off in Vegas! (Tip - it was much cheaper to drop off at Vegas airport rather than on the strip). We were talked into an upgrade at the counter, but it was only $6 extra a day, and we got a massive brand new Kia and it was lovely.
So we set off and Matthew managed to turn left at a junction and face three lanes of cars waiting at traffic lights! And then went the wrong way down a (quiet) one way street! Pretty scary but we soon got the hang of driving on the 'wrong' side of the road!
Next bit coming up......