Steve and Jim's San Francisco Vacation

DAY 1: Arrive in San Francisco

The Downtown Mariott was nice, not fancy, but the rooms were clean and the breakfast was good. Steven got most of the rooms on this trip for free by using points, so we couldn't complain.

DAY 2: The Sights of San Francisco


The computer is programmed to direct driver and passenger on a two-hour loop around the Fisherman's Wharf area, out to the Marina District through Golden Gate Park and eventually down that part of Lombard known as the "crookedest street in the world."
Along the way, the computer plays recorded messages giving riders information, such as the fact that they are driving in the neighborhood of comedian Robin Williams or that liquefaction caused damage in the Marina District during the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, or that Lombard isn't even the crookedest street in San Francisco.

Unfortunately the GPS system in our stopped working about 30 minutes into the tour so we didn't hear any of this. GoCars sucks. We ended up trying to navigate ourselves by the map.

Fisherman's Wharf

The Presidio

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge, completed after more than four years of construction at a cost of $35 million, is a visitor attraction recognized around the world. The GGB opened to vehicular traffic on May 28, 1937 at twelve o'clock noon, ahead of schedule and under budget, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a telegraph key in the White House announcing the event.
The Golden Gate Bridge's 4,200 foot long main suspension span was a world record that stood for 27 years. The bridge's two towers rise 746 feet making them 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument. The five lane bridge crosses Golden Gate Strait which is about 400 feet, or 130 meters, deep.

Above is what the bridge should look like, but this is all we could see of it, appearently July is a very foggy month in SF

The Sutro Bath

Palace of the Arts

The Legion of Honor

In 1915 Mrs. Alma de Bretteville Spreckels fell in love with the French Pavilion at San Francisco's Panama Pacific International Exposition. This pavilion was a replica of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur in Paris, one of the distinguished eighteenth-century landmarks on the left bank of the Seine.
Alma Spreckels persuaded her husband, Adolph B. Spreckels, the sugar magnate, to recapture the beauty of the pavilion as a new art museum for San Francisco. At the close of the 1915 exposition, the French government granted them permission to construct a permanent replica, but World War I delayed the groundbreaking for this ambitious project until 1921

The Conservatory

Lombard Street

Often billed as the "crookedest street," San Francisco's Lombard Street is, in fact, neither the crookedest nor the steepest street in the city, let alone the world. Oddly, that fact doesn't deter the hordes of tourists who come every year to see this famous street, built with eight switchbacks on a 40-degree slope.


DAY 3: Sonoma Valley

Muir Woods

A National Monument Muir Woods preserves the last old growth coast redwood forest in the San Francisco Bay Area. The cool moist forest supports a surprising abundance of plant and animal life, from the coast redwood (the tallest type of tree on Earth), to the slimy banana slug, from the amazing Coho salmon to delicate trilliums. This forest refuge welcomes visitors from all over the world to experience the magic of the redwood forest.

Bartholomew Park Winery

Ravenswood Vineyards

Opened in 1976, Ravenswood markets its wine to a younger crowd, but the wine is still good. A nice guy gave us a behind the scenes tour. Steven thought we could have seen his grapevine (nudge, nudge, wink wink)

The Girl and Fig Restaurant

Jim messed up with the directions so we only ended up going to two wineries. We finished with dinner early and decided to go see the remake of Willy Wonka. Call me old-fashioned, but I think the midgets from the first version made much better Ompa-Lumpas than the CGI little people in the new version

DAY 4: Napa Valley

Domaine Winery

Our 2002 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir is complex and elegant with rich fruit tones of black cherry, cassis and violets overlaid with notes of chocolate, smoke and East Indian spices. Round forward fruit on the nose is followed by an extraordinarily balanced palate adding richness, body and a long velvety finish to this wine.

Trefethen Winery

Designed and built in 1886 by a Scottish sea captain Hamden McIntyre, the winery was originally known as Eshcol. He designed it to use a "gravity-flow" system. A horse-drawn winch would bring grapes to the third floor for crushing; gravity would then carry the juice to the second floor for fermenting and eventually to the first floor for aging. The winery was heralded in the local papers of the time as a "model farm".

This winery's only real claim to fame is that it is the first one North of Napa. The wines were truely substandard, you might as well have put grain alcohol in Welches grape juice.

Pinewoods Winery

Twin Pine Indian Casino

To make up for the previous day, Jim agreed to go to an Indian casio. He didn't realize that this would mean an hour drive over a mountain to get to it (think the Donner party).

DAY 5: The California Redwoods

The Avenue of the Giants

The Coast Redwood, (Sequoia sempervirens), is native to the Pacific Coast from southern Oregon to central California, extending not more than 50 miles inland. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is located in the heart of the coast redwood forest area in the Eel River Basin of northern California. Within the park’s 53,000 acres, there are more than 17,000 acres of old-growth forest. Rockefeller Forest, close beside Bull Creek and the Eel River, is one of the largest remaining tracts of contiguous uncut coast redwood forest in the world. The entire Bull Creek watershed lies within the park. These areas provide valuable habitat for old-growth dependent plant and animal species, including anadromous fish.
Coast redwood follows the fog and grows best at less than 2,000 feet elevation in areas of heavy winter rains and moderate year round temperatures. They are the world’s tallest living things. Some of them tower above 360 feet. The name, Sequoia sempervirens, is Latin for "ever living" – an appropriate name for these trees since many are 600 to 1200 years old and some have lived more than 2,000 years!

The Benbow Inn

DAY 6: Return to San Francisco

The Famous Chandelier Drive-Through Tree

On the way back to San Francisco, we visited the famous drive-through tree, and then stopped at another Indian casino (for Steven) and another winery (for Jim). Jeriko was picked at random, but actually turned out to be a good choice. The wine was good and the bored woman behind the counter was very friendly. The place was owned by one of the Fetzer offspring who could no longer use the family name because of a non-compete agreement with the curent owners of the Fetzer name. Before we went back into the city, we went up to the Marin Headlands, which offered a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Coit Tower

The Coit Tower was built in 1933 with funds from Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She was an eccentric personality who was best known for her support of the local firemen. After she died, she left one third of her fortune for the beautification of the city. The result was the Coit Tower, which is both a memorial for Lillie Hitchcock Coit and for the San Francisco firemen. The concrete tower was constructed by Arthur Brown Jr., who also built the beautiful City Hall.

DAY 7: More Sights of San Francisco

On Friday morning, we took the trolly cars to Fisherman's Wharf and back, stopping in China Town on the way. Notice the name of the store. On the way back, we sat next to a fat man and his little German boy-toy. It was revolting, and yet oddly compelling at the same time.
We Stayed at the W Hotel for our final night. The W was very cool, but seemed to try too hard to be cutting edge.