“Great American Dream Road Trip” — Preview – Part V

To those of you who have questioned as to why our Part V was not posted on the 27th as was promised, I can only say, “it has been one hectic week and weekends.

We are in the process of downsizing and moving into one of our final moves.  We will be staying in the central PA area but will still be keeping an eye open for something down south.  Afterall, being a snowbird has it’s benefits.  Like no shoveling snow.  Oh, and did I mention, no shoveling snow.

Of course one of the major drawbacks to a move is the disconnecting and reconnecting of utilities — such as internet.  So much for the reason, not excuse, for the delay in this posting…

Well we left you last time at the half-way point of our road trip.  Assuming we didn’t get lost in the Redwood forest we will be spending the night of “Day 48″, Aug 15th, between Eureka and Redding, CA.  We should be getting a before noon start on “Day 49″, Aug 16th as we head west to Lassen County where we will be right in the middle of where

the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountains meet the desert of the Great Basin.

We will probably get there too late to enjoy any of it so our plans are to spend “Day 50″, Aug 17th, exploring the area. The following day with an early start we expect to arrive in Reno, NV by noon. I guess we will take in a little gambling and spend the night of “Day 51″, Aug 18th, in the biggest little city in the world.

We will head out early on “Day 52″, Aug, 19th with plans of spending a leisurely day passing thru Virginia City, Silver City, and into Carson City, NV where we again will spend the night. Since there is so much to see and do in this general area, we may have to use up one of our option days. As I said before, we had six extra days to play with and used one in MT. Possibly one in OR and now one here in NV.

Getting an early start on “Day 53″, Aug 20th, we will travel back west through the Lake Tahoe area and on over to Sacramento, CA. Again we will spend the night and get up early on “Day 54″, Aug 21st and do our Capitol thing before heading out to San Francisco. Our plans are to spend a couple nights in the Bay Area and maybe do the “Wine Thing”.

We will probably leave early on “Day 57″, Aug 24th, and head down to Monterey. We are not sure of the route we will be taking and could use some help here. I guess we could follow the coast and go thru Santa Cruz but we would bypass San Jose. And if we go to Santa Fe, I’m not sure of how the roads are to Santa Cruz from San Jose. HELP!

We won’t spend much time in Monterey and will probably leave early on “Day 58″, Aug 25th to head south to San Luis Obispo. Again not much time is originally set aside for this part of the trip. The original idea was to leave early on “Day 59″, Aug 26th and head to Santa Monica. But common sense is telling me now that this is just too much coastal area and beach towns to just pass through without exploring. So once again we may have to use one of our option days which now brings us down to just two left.

Once we arrive in Santa Monica, we have intentions of spending a full “Day 60″, Aug 27th on the beaches or maybe taking a tour on into Hollywood.

As you may know, Santa Monica, CA is known as the final destination on RT 66.  Well for us, when we get back to you real soon with Part VI it will be the beginning of our trip back east with still lots to see.  See you then, and again, thanks for riding along.



San Francisco: The City You Don’t Want To Miss When In California

Article by Susan Backstrom

The US is packed with fascinating destinations and thanks to being married to a wonderful man I have gotten to see many. So wherever you choose to visit on your America tours, you will never be short of things to do and see. However, some places stand out to the extent that they become must-visit locations – and if you are planning to explore the West Coast, one of them is San Francisco.

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t drive. So for me to get away on a trip without having to drag my husband along, I have to rely on the help of others. In this case it was my two sisters treating me to a 60th birthday vacation. I got to choose where ever I wanted to go. I chose San Francisco. Of course traveling with my sisters leaves one drawback. The only time we are in the car is to the Airport. Once there it’s all tour buses, taxis, or some other form of public transportation. Where this has it’s benefits I do so miss the opportunity to just do as we like, pull over and photograph any of God’s gifts that we might pass along the way if we traveled by car or rv.

If you choose to travel through the west of the US on your adventure tours, you are certain to come across plenty of natural attractions that will live long in the memory. But make the time to include San Francisco on your schedule and you will also take home some fond memories of an urban area.

San Francisco is certainly a city with a difference. Ask anyone who has already visited and they will tell you it is unlike any other city in the US, thanks to its uniquely relaxed atmosphere and range of attractions.

One of the reasons it does not feel like any of the other major cities you will encounter as you travel across America is that parts of it still retain an old-fashioned feel. This is exemplified by San Francisco’s famous cable car system.

The trams first trundled up the city’s steep hills in 1873 and compared to modern transport systems, look like an anachronism. But there is a real charm about the cable cars that you are sure to enjoy as you rest your legs and take in the views over the city as you climb the inclines.

Much less charming than the quaint transport, but equally as interesting, is the fortress on Alcatraz Island. The imposing building was originally a military base, but is better known as the notorious high-security prison that no one could escape from – a reputation that meant the authorities chose to keep infamous gangsters such as Al Capone and Mickey Cohen there.

The prison has become part of popular culture after parts of movies such as The Rock, X-Men: The Last Stand and Escape From Alcatraz were set there. You will have the opportunity to see how much of it you recognise if you take a boat trip from San Francisco to Alcatraz Island and explore the prison – but don’t worry about encountering any fearsome inmates, as it is now a museum rather than a working jail.

There is also lots to see back in the city, including the range of attractions at Fisherman’s Wharf,where you can encounter everything from carousels to sea lions, together with museums and shops.

Animal lovers are sure to revel in the opportunity to see the California sea lions who live off Pier 39, while anyone interested in historic ships will find plenty to interest them at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Fisherman’s Wharf is also home to a number of other museums, including one dedicated to penny arcade games and an exhibition of wax figures.

You will also want to visit Union Square, which is the central hub of San Francisco. The huge plaza is next to the city’s theatre district and forms a large part of its main shopping area. The shops range from lavish department stores selling designer clothes to boutiques offering jewellery and street fashions, so you are sure to find a good use for your credit cards. Just be sure to hide the receipts and monthly statement from the husband.

Before starting a busy day of sightseeing, you may want to find a good restaurant for a hearty breakfast – something that isn’t too difficult to do in San Francisco. I suggest heading over to “Mama”s” on Washington Square. You can meet the hostess and host, Debra & Michael Sanchez and enjoy a great full course breakfast.

There is also plenty to do after dark, as the streets are packed with bars, clubs and live entertainment venues. But before you crack open that first beer, it is a good idea to go and see Golden Gate Bridge.This feat of engineering is impressive at any time of day, but the suspension bridge is at its most spectacular when lit up for the night.

You are certain to enjoy spending a few days in San Francisco, even if it is shrouded in its famous fog for much of your visit. So why not include it alongside natural attractions such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park when you are planning your tour of the West Coast of America?