USA Road Trip

California & San Francisco again

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Day 6 – Tuesday 15th September

We did a runner this morning. Well we would have paid for our pitch but the office still wasn’t open and there was nobody around. Most campsites leave envelopes out for you to pay and put the money in a out of hours box – but not this one so it was free. It was a lousy pitch anyway!

Today was all about getting to San Francisco. Another place we had been before but we had liked it so we were looking forward to going. We had our eye on a free campsite at Marin Headlands.

We arrived in good time – a little bit pleased with ourselves as we could get the tent up and relax early today.So we arrived about 2pm and noticed a sign saying you had to get a permit for your car to leave it in the car park over night

beautiful Californian mountains

beautiful Californian mountains


We headed to the visitor centre nearby to get said permit – only to be told -: all 3 camping spots are booked for tonight so you can’t stay here”

Oh No!

Plan B was to find a motel. So we sat in the car and soon realised all the motels were well out of our price range as most were coming in around the $250 – $350 a night. Extortionate!

So plan C was our old favourite – Air B&B. With one in a great location and a sensible price, we emailed them to let them know we were on our way.

It took us a couple of hours to get there in rush hour traffic but by the time we had arrived we still had not heard back from the Air B&B’ers.

We decided to get some food and rang Air B&B to see if they could contact them to jivvy them up a bit and get an answer to us

beautiful Californian mountains

beautiful Californian mountains

. They were very good and got back to us but not with the answer we wanted. No luck contacting them so we rebooked with someone else and Air B&B said they would ring the new booking straight away for us.

No joy there either!

We tried a third and it was the same story. Does nobody read their emails or answer their phones in San Francisco???

So by now it was 8pm and we were tired and a bit stressed. Back to plan B.

A quick scout further afield revealed a hotel by the airport had some vacancies so we dashed over there. Only to be told sorry we are fully booked. What’s going on in this city???

Apparently there is a large IT conference this week and there is nothing left or its 10 times the normal price. Outrageous!

Bryan found a room available back across the city so off we went

Mount Shaska

Mount Shaska

. It was 10pm when we arrived and when we saw the room, well it was just a joke, $350 a night they wanted (about £230) and it was no more than a basic Travel Lodge type room. Well Jody said no way – they are taking the Mickey and we won’t let them take advantage of us like this.

Well it was gone 10pm now so what was left?

The Civic Centre Motel came to our rescue. Slightly better than the rip off Travel Lodge place but $100 a night cheaper, we looked at the room and took it. Still a disgusting price for a Premier Inn style room but better than the streets tonight that’s for sure!

Day 7 – Wednesday 16th September

Bryan went for a swim in the bay with his friend John. John had swum the English Channel a week after Bryan had and they had kept in touch ever since through a swimming web site.

Last time we were here Bryan had swum with the Dolphins Swimming Club but John was a member of the club next door so Bryan got the chance to swim with them this time




Jody had breakfast (which was included here) then her on-line interview for Rio Olympics this morning so that worked out well too. We have both applied to be volunteers at the Rio Olympics in July 2016 and part of that process is an on-line interview. Bryan had had his whilst we were in Vancouver so now it was Jody’s turn.

Then it was time to check out and it felt a bit like Ground Hog Day for us. The whole “find a room for the night malarkey” started all over again.

John offered us his floor so we popped over to his apartment but it was apparent as soon as we got there that he really didn’t have room for us. So not wishing to impose on him to such that extent, we went motel searching again.

This time we tried it the way which has always worked for us before – on foot!

We drove to Lombard Street (further down the road from the wiggly bit). Bryan stayed in the car internet searching and Jody started door knocking



. Not long after she started she found it. The Lombard Motor Motel wanted $225 a night plus tax. But the room was spotlessly clean and felt like a hotel – not a motel so we booked for 2 nights and breathed a huge sigh of relief that we didn’t have to go through all this again tomorrow.

We ate dinner across the road in a quite odd but very nice restaurant and even managed a bottle of wine. In for a penny as they say!

Day 8 – Thursday 17th September

Bryan went swimming again this morning. This time also joined by our friend Richard whom we had stayed with in his fabulous old cottage on the Yorkshire moors a couple of years ago.

Richard just happens to be in San Francisco as he it attending the IT conference that is making our lives a misery at the moment.

Today we ad decided to walk into the city a bit and see it in the sunshine as it had been freezing last time we were here.

Lakeport pirates

Lakeport pirates

We walked in the sunshine to Pier 39. This is a bit touristy but it has a nice atmosphere and planty of places for lunch. As we walked around the pier, we could hear all this strange honking and barking.

Well not so strange now, we knew exactly what it was and went to find them.

And there were loads of them. Apparently there are up to 300 sea lions here at any one time and they have all made their home here on these floating pontoons. Well this time we had a lot more time on our hands and stopped to watch them for ages. It was great fun to watch them leap out of the water onto the pontoon.

Another attraction we stopped to watch was the bakery. Not much of an attraction you are thinking but they make fantastic animal shapes from soda bread here and they have a big glass wall where you can watch the staff inside. Even better than that, the lady making all the shapes had a microphone so she can talk to the crowd watching outside. Nice touch!

Eventually we walked home again and dinner tonight was Indian. We hadn’t had Indian for ages!

Day 9 -Friday 18th September

Bryan went for a swim again this morning. This time with a large crowd from the club. Apparently everyone makes the effort to go on Friday and it is more of a fun swim




Then we were on the road and off to San Jose by 11:30am. Bryan wants to see Silicone Valley and the Apple HQ.

The traffic out was horrendous and it took us longer than we expected it to but we managed to see everything.

First stop – Google & Linkedin. Then we remembered Facebook were here too so we went there. Next was Apple HQ. Bryan was a happy little tourist snapping away.

We drove on as we had to find our campsite again. We were heading towards Yosemite National Park and were staying on the outskirts tonight. The scenery had got very pretty again and we had to stop at a Walmart for food and other bits and pieces. We were still hopeful of arriving in daylight but it was getting darker and darker as we got nearer.

Guess what? Yes we arrived in the dark again!

We are getting good at putting the tent up in the dark

Day 10 -Saturday 19th September

We didn’t do much today in the end

would you prefer red or white?

would you prefer red or white?


It was such a lovely spot we decided to stay here an extra night – it was free afterall – and we went into the nearest town for some lunch.

Lunch was great and later we thought about going for a walk. We even started walking.

But then we took a temperature reading and it was 100 degrees. Realising it was madness we just took it easy and relaxed by the tent. We had another great campfire – we love these evenings in the forest. Hope there’s no bears!


  •    Wiltshire, England

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  •    Wiltshire, England

  •    Tel: +44 117 2 302030


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