If you’re going to San Francisco…

March 29, 2007 at 4:35 pm (Random thoughts)

How do you get there?

I am so so so excited about going on vacation with my wife. One of the great memories of my childhood were taking long road trips and now we finally get to begin this tradition in our family. We are headed to San Francisco! Even though it would be both cheaper and faster to fly there it surely isn’t close to as much fun as driving. Driving is the best if you have the patience for it. You get to see so much more, you really get the chance to connect with the places that you are passing through.

Though we drove to SF as a family probably 12-14 years ago all I did was sit in the back of the van and fight with my brothers, NOW I actually get the delight of charting the course and dictating when and where we rest. OOOOOH the POWER! But having never gone this road before I inquire of you, my faithful readers, what route do you suggest we take on our road north?

I purchased an Atlas last night 😀 and have carefully reviewed the three main options. They are as follows…

1) The scenic route. California State Route 1.

This is one of the most scenic roads in the entire world. It goes right along the coast winding it’s way though several little towns, passing over incredible bridges and under lengthy tunnels. Traveling on this route however will take a LONG time. The speed limit never gets above 55, the trip would probably take about 10 hours from LA (where we will be leaving from on Sunday morning) to SF (where we have reservation for Monday night).

2) The historic route. Highway 101.

OK so it’s not quite as historic as route 66 but it was the main highway route between LA and SF for many years. It’s a little slower then the 5 and not as scenic as the 1. But it’s more scenic then the 5 and much quicker then the 1. It’s either the perfect blend or the wishy washy compromise. I’ve never traveled the 101 so I really have no idea. That’s why I need your help!

3) The fastest route. Interstate 5.

This is the quickest route because it has the highest speed limit, the most lanes and the least reason to stop. It’s about 300 miles of farm land. I am pretty sure this is the way we went when I was a kid. I can remember looking off the road and seeing the crop rows fly by like the pages of a book. We entertained ourselves by memorizing ridiculous parts of the atlas like the population Tennessee, the state bird of Vermont and the state flower of Colorado. When we got sick of that we wouldn’t touch each other (“I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you.”).

This route would only take about 6 hours.

If we take 1 we will probably stay the night in Monterey. If we take 101 we will probably stay just outside of SF (maybe Santa Cruz) and if we take the 5 we will head into SF a night early or maybe go somewhere a little north.

Let me know what you think…



  1. Matt S said,

    State Route 1 if you have the time, no question. It is all about the scenery and there is a ton of it along this route. Cambria, Monterrey, Big Sur is some of the most beautiful coastline anywhere. You will not be disapointed. (although knowing your propensity to “go against the grain” you might 🙂 )

  2. danielbalc said,

    So you’ve done the highway 1? How long did it take you and where did you stay along the way?

  3. Matt S said,

    I have not gone since I have been married, but we are probably going to go this summer. There are alot of B & B’s and nice Inns and such with ocean views in Cambria, which is a cool little town. It reminds me of Laguna Beach, another place we love to go. check this out…



  4. danielbalc said,

    That reminds me. We have had a lot of debate over whether or not we should invest the time/money in Hearst castle. Many people have told me it is a “must see”, but closer people (my Dad) have told me it is a “must miss”. Have any of my readers been to Hearst? If so do you recommend it?

  5. Bruce S. said,

    Take 5 going North and one of the scenic options coming back. Thus giving yourself more time to experience Frisco. After what Barry and Barry are going to do to your Pads, you will need some refreshing scenery.

  6. danielbalc said,

    Thanks Bruce, but I was actually considering the opposite seeing as how I HAVE to be home by Friday I won’t really have the luxury of time on the way back.

    But you bring up a good point. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to spend time in SF?

    Bruce I imagine you spend considerable time there during your hippie daze, what do you recommend?

  7. Matt S said,

    The Wharf- Boudin Sourdough clam chowder bowls are a must.

    Athena might like Union Square, nice shopping.

    Chinatown is cool…try some food you definitely have never had before.

  8. Bruce S. said,

    You gotta take a walk down Market street area.

    The bridge – but don’t go after the game.

    Marin county. Find out how the beautiful people live.

    Haight-Ashbury. A must see. Unless body piercing doesn’t trip your trigger. On second thought it was kind of a let down.

    SF City Hall if you like architecture.

  9. 5najeras said,

    Just make sure you don’t have any rainbows on or near your car or persons.

  10. Matt S said,

    There is a bike ride tour you can do from the Wharf across the golden gate bridge and into the town of Sausilito which would be fun for you two as the marathoners you are.

  11. Anthony said,

    “But you bring up a good point. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to spend time in SF?”

    Ride the cable cars.

  12. Albino Hayford said,

    I vacationed 4 straight years in SF when I lived in Poway. Great city. I enjoyed the downtown area a lot, don’t miss fisherman’s warf or the cable cars (try to watch Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies first), the bridge, then pop in and say “hi” at Shiloh in Oakland. Steve and Portia are still the youth pastors there and they might even buy you lunch! http://www.shilohcf.org/

    The Hearst Castle stinks!!!! Waaaaaay overrated. I like Carmel (where Clint Eastwood was mayor), and definitely try to get in on the Alcatraz tour.

  13. danielbalc said,

    I’m hoping that the alcatraz tour is like the one on so I am married an axe murderer.

    “my name’s John Johnston, but everyone here just calls me vickie.”

  14. danielbalc said,

    What is the big deal with cable cars? In fact all public transportation that is a tourist attraction is kinda weird to me. The “El” in Chicago. the Subways of New York. The trolley in San Diego. Why are these things “attractions”?

  15. Albino Hayford said,

    The Cable Cars are attractions because they go almost straight up and down and are propelled by cables…kind of a roller coaster for fat people.

  16. Anthony said,

    historical reasons. also it gets you from the downtown shopping malls to Jefferson street. The subway to sbc park is nice, if you’ve never been on one. I’m sure you have.

  17. Lynn H. said,

    6 hours?? How fast do plan to drive. Better plan more time than that.

    Do Alcatraz if time permits. Enjoy the garlic fries at the game and make sure to join in the standing ovation for Barry. 🙂

  18. Bruce S. said,

    Good point on the 6 hours. That may get you past Fresno with good traffic.

    There will probably be a standing ovation for both Barry’s

  19. Echo_ohcE said,

    “we will be leaving from on Sunday morning”

    Hopefully AFTER going to church first.

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