US West Coast trip

Chaps and chapesses,
Mrs Boogieman and myself are headed US bound in Sep to see what is to be seen along that thar west coast. The plan is to head to San Francisco for 5/6 days then hire a convertible Mustang and head south along Hwy Pacific 1. Although the drive is only 12 hrs (ish) as a straight run, I've allowed about 3/ 4 days to stop on the way. Arriving in LA, (we have 2 nights) we then drop off the car and then onto a plane for Las Vegas for the last 5 days.
Now I have been to Vegas quite a few times but none of the other places mentioned. Apart from the obligatory Alcatraz, anyone able to suggest where / what to do in any of the places or offer any advice? Thanks in anticipation


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San Francisco has all the tourist stuff like Pier 49. Worth taking a taxi up Lombard Street, checking out the cable cars on Market Street and maybe doing the tourist old style cable cars (of which there are three left if I remember correctly and worth doing early in the morning when all the other tourists aren't around). Check out the Ghiradelli chocolate factory and pop into Golden Gate park to see the old 49ers stadium at Kaiser Park. There is also a fantastic museum there about the history of the park and the growth of the city. Just up from the park is one of the old baths (now shut) where people used to take the waters. They evolved into spots where young men could get a quick bite and something to drink. Have a look round the old military camp called the Presidio, just south of the bridge. I would also enjoy the valley atmosphere of the city by checking out the various neighbourhoods like Noe, the Castro and Cole. More for atmosphere than any specific sights.

Hop over the Golden Gate bridge, go for a wander in the Marin headlands (like Scotland but with sun) and drop into Sausalito - where Otis Redding sang Sitting on the Dock of a Bay. Maybe plan the five bridges route around the bay which goes past San Quentin penitentiary and back in over the Bay Bridge. Avoid Oakland but enjoy Berkeley.

Dress for layers as it can be crisp in the morning and then the fog burns off.

If you're into wine, there are some amazing vineyards north of the city so worth planning for. The redwood forests (again north but a bit further) are spectacular and worth seeing if you have time.

Once you've left the city, head south and stop at Carmel, Big Sur and Monterey. On the way there you will go past Half Moon Bay which is one of the greatest surf spots in the world. Maybe drop into Bakersfield as that is the epicentre of the San Andreas fault.

Getting further south, I'm a little rusty as I only lived in San Francisco and didn't leave it a lot as there is so much to do!

Enjoy your trip.
I agree with Udipor, a trip to Carmel is a must, in fact why not stay over for a night, great resturants and you may even see Clint wandering around, not sure if his restuarant 'The Ranch' is still open but if it is he tends to pop in from time to time and say hello to the diners. Hurst Castle is a great place to visit, Mrs Driver and I found it a fascinating place, it really has to be seen to believed. You are doing one of the great road trips of the world and you certainly have the right car to do it in. Enjoy
In SF, go up Van Ness to a place called Tommy's Joynt, crap from the outside but excellent ambience and food inside and reasonable too. Personally would give Carmel a miss but take in 17 Mile Drive. Before you leave the Bay Area, take a couple of days in Yosemite National Park, awe inspiring.

Just up from Hearst Castle is a place called San Lous Obispo (SLO). Eat at the Apple Farm Inn (excellent steaks) and if you can't afford the room rate, at least have a look inside the Madonna Hotel, everything is pink!

Good idea to click ahead, as no doubt you will. Alcatraz will probably be booked-up so really advisable to pre-book your visit rather than just ask on the day.

Look-up event programmes for Monterey, Ventura, etc on your route, to find such as various festivals and fairs (inc. County Fairs).

Big Sur is OK, but rip-off central. Make sure you fill-up and keep topped-up at major location petrol stations. Avoid driving during rush-hours and stick to speed limits.

If you haven't had a convertible in that area before, think carefully. First time I had one I jacked it after two days. Too uncomfortable for touring in that heat and dust, and can be dangerous to Euros. Forget the buildings and the ocean, you're in a desert environment under a desert sun. Spend less on a hard-top and keep the AC low.

Have a nice day.:cool:


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