This is my 25 Day 'on the road' report of a road trip from San Francisco CA to Denver CO, via Yosemite, Big Sur, Los Angeles CA, Tuscon AZ, Grand Canyon AZ, Monument valley AZ, Jackson WY, Yellowstone & Rapid City SD, to name but a few. Finished off with a couple of days in New York City, between 28th July & 21st August 2011.
I'm travelling with my 13 year old son, who wanted an American road trip with his dad after hearing about my solo East-West coast to coast road trip that I did 22 years ago.
We arrived at our San Francisco hotel (Holiday Inn Fishermans Wharf) at 23:00 on Wednesday after over 25 hours of travelling. Taxi to Manchester Airport (UK), Continental Airlines to Newark NJ, and then another Continental flight to San Francisco. The booked connection in Newark had been over booked by people who had been delayed by bad weather in the few days before, but we were able to get standby tickets for a flight only 2 hours later. Fortunatly there were just 2 no shows for that flight so we didn't lose a day. Pre-booked Super Shuttle from SFO to hotel was very efficient. We paid over the odds vis our travel agent but you can book on line or just turn up at the curb side. You have to wait until they get a van load (about 9 in ours) but the driver practically sprinted round the van to load/unload luggage.
Slept in late on 28th and then, after an 'American' breakfast (like a full English, but BIGGER), we stolled down to Pier 33 to catch the ferry to Alcatraz (Pre booked and tickets pre printed at home). Had a great time there, even though the bay was shrouded in low cloud & a strong wind whistled through the cell house. The self guided audio tour is still as excellent as it was the last time I was there.
Did some shopping around Fishermans Wharf. We live near Blackpool in the UK, which has simmilar tourist shops, but the shops in SF are much much less tacky and the staff are very friendly. We got essentials, like a TracFone ($20 from Wallgreens) plus another $20 for 60 minutes of credit (doubled to 120 minutes as the phone had double minutes already). I intend to use this for booking ahead and in case of emergency. Also a few non essentials, such as a Twinky, which my son has been wanting to try since he saw Die Hard and I explained what it was. He took one bite and dumped the rest in the bin. We rounded off the day with dinner at the Hared Rock cafe (our first vist). Food was passable, but nothing special. Service was OK.
Woke early on 29th, must be adjusting to PDT. Navigated to a couple of shoe shops that stock a particular brand of shoe that my son wanted, using free wifi and Google maps on his ipod touch. Where we come from there arn't enough free wifi hotspots to make this possible. Rode a cable car & then down to a company called 'Blazing Saddles' to rent a couple of bikes and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, visit the redwood trees at Old Mill park and then on to Tiburon to catch the ferry back to SF. There are a lot of companies renting bikes and a lot of people riding them across the bridge. I chose Blazing Saddles as I had seen their web site & they also have an operation in New York City, which we might try out. weather permitting. The staff were very friendly and the bikes were in reasonable condition (not much, if any, tread on the tyres, but then you don't go 'off road'). I really needed the 24 gears, and a larger saddle would have reduced the pain in my backside. They say it's 'down hill both ways', but you have to go up the hills before you can go down them.
We pick up our car tomorrow (Saturday) and drive over to Yosemite. Read future installments to see how we get on.