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Old 03-24-2012, 10:08 AM
rwd4evr rwd4evr is offline
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Default October Vacation Along CA Coast

My wife's niece is getting married in Burbank on Oct. 13. We decided that we would attend the wedding and take a week to 10 days of vacation to drive from Burbank to San Francisco.

We'll fly into Burbank on Oct. 12 and leave from San Francisco on or about Oct. 22.

I have been told that we should stop for part of a day in Santa Barbara, stay a day or 2 in San Luis Obispo, go on a tour of Hearst Castle, do some whale or sea lion watching, stay in Carmel or Monterey one night, possibly stop at "the Winchester House near San Jose, and stay the rest of the time in San Francisco.

One guy that work with asked me if we planned on visiting Yosemite National Park but that looks like it's about a 5 hour drive from San Francisco and worthy of it's own vacation. What good is only 1 day in Yosemite when there is so much to do along the coast?

Anyway, I'm looking for any suggestions on hotels or B&B's, good restaurants, wine, cheese, ice cream, etc. - you know - the mom & pop places that have the best of whatever that only the locals know about.

I would like to rent a convertible from the rental car company as October is usually great weather - better than July as I recall from my Mark Twain reading decades ago. Is that a difficult thing to rent? It's just the 2 of us and we can't do a ton of shopping because we have to carry it all or have it shipped home to Pittsburgh. I'm wondering if we can rent a Mini or one of those little Fiat 500 things. Easy on gas and easy to park in downtown San Francisco I would think. If I can't get something small, then I'm going to try for a Camaro rag top!

Any help is appreciated.

Bob
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:49 AM
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Hey Bob,

I never check the new posts, but its your lucky day.

I've lived all over the state and currently live in Morro Bay next to San Luis Obispo(SLO).

You'll be smart to get out of LA as soon as possible. Once you get to about Malibu you should take your Camaro convertible(fiat is too small have you actually seen one?) to Hwy 1 and cruise up the coast. There are some great driving roads, Mulholland comes to mind that connect to Hwy 1.

Santa Barbara is nice and its fun to drive along State St, but its mostly for site seeing and people watching. The same can be said for SLO too. So come in and check them out see the beauty around them, but that's about it. Monterey and Carmel are pretty cool too but for the same reason. Keep in mind that I live in SLO and go to Monterey and SB a few times a year so I probably take it for granted.

I try to make it out to Yosemite once or twice a year it is amazing!, but we go backpacking. Not to say that you can't drive through it and take incredible pictures because their are plenty of people who just pull over and take pictures. My only concern is that the drive from the coast to Yosemite is ugly and sketchy in some parts. So that 5 hours is kind of wasted. Also the waterfalls which is what you'll mostly see from your car will be not be dry or smaller because its so late in the season and we haven't had much rain/snow this year. Now you maybe able to go from SLO or SB to Sequoia(tall redwoods) and then cruise up to Yosemite and then back to Monterey.

San Francisco is a great CITY. I doubt you'll be parallel parking as much as you'll be paying $20 to park at a lot. So the Mini and Fiat aren't worth the deficiencies for the parking positives.

San Jose is working city not much to see there as far as I'm concerned and the Winchester House is kind of a joke like those old Route 66 tourist traps. Not worth it.

I would pick 2 out of 3 of the Coast cities. They are very similar as far as I'm concerned. You didn't say if you were going to do any surfing, kayaking or hiking that will help you decide on which coastal cities too. Then hit up the National Parks in the Central Valley in between coastal spots.

I use Trip Advisor, I think they are usually pretty good on finding the local hangouts.

Good luck
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:26 PM
1headlight 1headlight is offline
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Yeah I work in San Jose - there is no reason to go to San Jose.


I'd only stay one night on my way up the coast to SF. Santa Barbara, SLO, Big Sur, Carmel are nice stops but don't need days if you're heading to SF. Yosemite would probably be pushing it but doable. You might want to cut in on the 9 from santa cruz and take that to the 35 and then the 280 to get into the city. That's a nice drive. The 1 from Santa Cruz to the City isn't as amazing as what you'll already have seen and 9 goes up through the redwoods.

In SF I'd suggest for drinking La Trappe (locals type belgian beer bar/cave downstairs and restaurant upstairs) in Northbeach. I'd hit Vesuvios for a drink too. Comstock bar still has the old at bar urinal where you could piss at the bar in the old days. Probably oldest bar in the city it's worth a look. Lusty Lady peep show would round out pretty well - cruise in with your gal no coverage go into the live booth put in a dollar, screen goes up smile at the nekked girl for a minute and leave. $1 well spent. do it. If I was going to eat in North Beach I'd do Mona Lisa.

In Union Square area I'd suggest hotel Frank for lodging. Nice boutiquey hotel but not at all expensive (maybe $100 a night - cheap for SF). For drinking I'd suggest Bourbon and Branch - speakeasy place. Door in the wall place in the Tenderloin (just google map it to find it). Knock on the door, give the password (books) and they'll let you in. Recommend coming here earlier in the evening than late. Anyway a very cool definitely do once type of place.

In Mission district check out Medjools if it is a nice day - on the rooftop of a hostel has a great view of the city Mediterranean food in the day and turns into a lounge at night. Zeitgeist , Double Dutch, Toronado are good more locals type spots in the mission for drinks. Cha Cha Cha is killer latin food there (they have one in Haight and Ashbury too).

Haight and Ashbury has a lot of good breakfast places (good to pick up some pot too). Crepevine in the sunset is killer breakfast. Swan oyster depot is a family run locals place with insane seafood. It's just a seafood bar (no tables) so you're totally hanging out with the huge family of guys that runs it who are all real friendly and joking all the time. I'd recommend that pretty highly it's on Polk. Too much to list. Definitely go to Cal Academy of Sciences in the park, and just cruise around the park in general. Take the 49 mile scenic drive around the city. Off the path shopping Check out Filmore, Hayes Valley, Haight and Ashbury. Have fun.

Last edited by 1headlight; 03-24-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:47 PM
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I've lived in Cali all life, and even I got some pointers in this thread... Good stuff.
Spent my college life partying in UCSB, but one thing I do remember of how beautiful it is.
. They have a zoo as well if that's a lil something your family would like to check out.
Ive always wanted to check out hearst casstle, heard it is trully amazing. Apparently you will need more than a day to see it all. Either way, you are headed to gorgeous places in SB, SLO, SF, or even Silicon valley in San Jose.

Good luck on your vacation.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:18 PM
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Some very good suggestions. I would add that you might want to divert east a couple of miles at the Buellton exit to Solvang, a Danish village in a beautiful area. There is good food there. Get some pastries at Mortensen's Bakery. Then instead of staying in SLO, go on to Morro Bay or Cambria/San Simeon and stay there. We love that area and wish we could live there. You can base your trip to Hearst Castle from there and see the sea elephants as well. The Castle is incredible. Then drive up Big Sur on Hwy 1 to Monterey/Carmel.
We go to the Winchester House because my wife and granddaughter like it, but really there isn't much to it.
We spent last weekend at Cambria/San Simeon/Morro Bay and go there frequently. For good fish & chips and clam chowder, try Duckie's Chowder House in Cayucos.
I think you will get tired bouncing around in a Fiat or Mini. A Camaro or Mustang convertible would be great for the trip! Have fun.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbi9c1 View Post
I think you will get tired bouncing around in a Fiat or Mini. A Camaro or Mustang convertible would be great for the trip! Have fun.
^^ HAHA Agree.
One thing you want to be is COMFORTABLE! And of course, ecnomical on Gas. We may be up to 7$ a gallon come Oct...
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:00 PM
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:51 PM
rwd4evr rwd4evr is offline
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Just another reason that I love this forum and everyone that helps with technical as well as social question.

These are really great comments and suggestions. I'm going to be taking notes and loading stuff in the iphone so that we don't have to remember it all.

In checking a few hotels along the way, it is really interesting how the prices can change depending on the time of the year. I guess that March through July-ish must be a down time compared to October. Some places right now are about $120 but in October the same room can be close to $300 or more. So, the one suggestion for Frank's in SF will be my next thing to check.

Very true on being comfortable while driving. I was thinking more of the cost of the fuel while on vacation but if I'm going to need 6 months worth of chiropractor visits afterwards, what did I save? I'll just forget about small and try to get a Camaro or a Mustang convertible. I guess that I would have to call directly to try to reserve something like that instead of doing on-line.

Awesome information! Thanks again.

Bob
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:09 PM
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:14 PM
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rwd4evr- I grew up in the bay area, but for the last 7 years have lived near Sacramento. If your checking out the WH in the San Jose area which happens to be the part of the bay I grew up in, I would suggest the Fairmont Hotel downtown. Nice place & since it's your HM that's probably what you'd want. Also downtown has many great places to eat.
Now, for a spectacular side trip which I am now very close to, I would suggest Lake Tahoe. I am about 1.5 hrs from it & from bay area it's about a 3.5 hr run. Being that your coming in October, the fall colors will be in full effect there as well. Many places to explore in Nor-Cal. Enjoy & feel free to PM me if you need some more info!!
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