Disneyland California and West Coast Trip Reports Trip Reports
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Old 5 Sep 17, 06:45 PM  
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Wandering around the West Coast - Day 13 – Bridalveil Falls, Tunnel View & the road to San Francisco

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Day 13 - Sunday 6th August 2017

We woke up at 8:15 am, got ready and packed up all of our belongings. We'd accumulated a fair few extra bags, so were trying to fit as much of it into our cases as we could. We were dropping our hire care off today, so would need to be able to leave everything with Bell Services at our hotel when we reached San Francisco. Don't think they'd appreciate lots of carrier bags in addition to our very heavy suitcases!

We had some success in condensing it down, but still had two hand luggage bags, a rucksack and a carrier bag with bottled water. Not too bad and any remaining toiletries would be dumped before we fly home later in the week.

We packed the car and checked out at 9:35 am. While Martin was sorting that at the Front Desk, I nipped to the food court to pick up a pastry each and a banana - I still had some fruit left from the other day.

We ate our breakfast in the car, then set off for Bridalveil Falls, arriving at 10am. We only had to go around the small car park twice to find a space. We set up off the trail, thankful that this was a short one - our calves still felt every step up the slight incline though.

We took some photos and were back at the car just 15 minutes after setting off. As the sky was blue today, we carried on the mile or so to Tunnel View, to try and get some clearer photos. The sky above the tunnel itself was bright blue but the view itself was still hazy - it was still beautiful though. The temperature in the car was only showing 73 degrees, but it felt so much hotter than that. Think it will be a warm day in Yosemite today, which will make the trails a bit tougher than we experienced yesterday.

We got back in the car and headed back down towards the valley. We stopped briefly on El Capitan Drive to take some photos there, as the sunlight shining on El Capitan looked lovely. Our three stops this morning had taken less than an hour, and that included the drive from Yosemite Valley Lodge. With sadness, it was time to move on.

The roads within Yosemite were a lot quieter today and we didn't hit any traffic problems leaving the park.

It was time now for the 4 hour plus drive to San Francisco. We made sure the emergency Pringles were accessible in the car, as travelling always makes me hungry for some reason. We hadn't thought about a stop for lunch anywhere. We would have to play that by ear, depending on the traffic.

We had a long, winding road as part of the 120 near Old Priest Grade, then there was a sign for a vista point. We pulled in and it was beautiful but I have no idea where it was - it looked like the information board had been stolen! It was very hot there though at 97 degrees. We passed the James E Roberts Memorial Bridge was shortly after it, which might help work out where it is, followed by a sign for Don Pedro Lake.

The first snack of the day came at about 12:30 pm when I ate some fruit. Not long after, the Pringles were opened. And that ended up being our entire lunch!

There was quite a lot of traffic on the road and our expected arrival time moved later by about 40 minutes.

We were in the queue for the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge just after 3pm. Only certain lanes allow you to pay cash, so the approach is slow, but it does expand to more cash lanes as you get closer. It took a while to get through the toll booths though.

We enjoyed our first glimpses of the city from the bridge and the weather was glorious - there seemed none of the infamous San Francisco fog, it was just a little bit hazy when viewing something from a distance.

As we approached and drove around San Francisco, the traffic was a nightmare! People just seem to move into the tiniest spaces without the use of indicators, and we nearly crashed once! There are also pedestrians and bikes everywhere, who take absolutely no notice of vehicles either. :angry:

We finally got to the Argonaut Hotel just before 4pm. I jumped out of the car to go to check in, whilst Martin got the doorman to help with our luggage, and watch the car while we checked in. We'd previously emailed the hotel asking for advice about unloading, as we were dropping off the hire car immediately afterwards. They said they could keep it there for 10 minutes for us. Luckily there was no queue, and as Martin came in with the luggage trolley, I'd almost finished checking in. The desk clerk said they'd deliver our luggage to our room, so we got the key and headed straight back outside to the car.

As the Avis office in Fisherman’s Wharf is closed on a Sunday afternoon, we’d had to choose the Union Square location to drop off the car. We set the satnav for Post Street, and off we went. We were hoping to go via the crooked part of Lombard Street, but the queue for it was enormous and we were getting close to our drop off time, so didn't want any extra charges.

We easily found the Avis garage, and the drop off procedure was very simple. We asked about getting a taxi, and they suggested just hailing one outside. We started to walk and realised that we hadn't really noticed any taxis since we'd arrived. Luckily Martin managed to flag one down fairly quickly and I was relieved to be safe inside. I didn't really like the feeling of Post Street – I had no idea which direction we were supposed to be heading, so was in a bit of a flap and I think it was not having a clear idea of where to go that made me feel uneasy, rather than anything else causing it.

We got back to the hotel, found our room and started unpacking. I really liked the room. It was quite narrow, but very long, with a sofa area and plenty of space. I also liked the way the lobby seating was set out.

We showered to get ready for dinner. We were meeting our friends from earlier in the trip, who were also in the city. It was their last night and we were splurging out with a visit to Ruth's Chris Steak House. We had previously visited one in Toronto and had a fabulous meal, and as they both like a steak, we decided it would be a good place for a final dinner.

We decided to get an Uber to the restaurant from our separate hotels. I'd never used Uber before, so registered using the hotel's wifi and fond a discount code worth a free $15 first ride. We went to the lobby around 7pm, ordered one and it arrived within 3 minutes.

We got to the restaurant, waiting for our friends to arrive, and were then very quickly seated. We ordered cocktails to begin with and were also brought iced water and fresh bread and butter.

Our friends shared an appetiser, I went without and Martin ordered the mushrooms stuffed with crab.

We all ordered a variety of steaks, but I only really noticed what Martin and I ate, which was fillet steak. We shared sides of garlic mash and broccoli. It was delicious.

We also shared a dessert, which was a key lime pie. It was huge, and we couldn't finish it.

With other drinks of wine and beers, the check arrived. It was sharp intake of breath time at $450, but as the last time the bill for two of us came to $260, we got off slightly lighter this time. I can't have drunk as much wine as before.

Suitably stuffed, we both ordered an Uber, said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel. I'm now an Uber convert – I was very impressed with both drivers and the whole process, so can see we’ll make use of it again in our last few days.
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Old 5 Sep 17, 08:12 PM  
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That key lime pie looks delicious!

Another morning of stunning views! You have been spoilt!

Index of my trip reports
2016 Quebec - Kuala Lumpar - New York City 2017 Dubai - Eurocamps France - Ontario and Quebec - So-Cal 2018 Montreal - Bangkok - New England 2019 Argentina - Quebec City - Hong Kong
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Old 7 Sep 17, 09:17 PM  
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Another great day! Hotel and meal look really good.
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Old 7 Sep 17, 09:38 PM  
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Great day, Ruth's Chris is one of our favourites!

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Old 3 Oct 17, 07:00 PM  
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Great day, quite eerie looking at the picture of El Capitain given the recent rockfall.
Well done negotiating the SF traffic !
Hotel and dinner look really nice, but phew , that's a hefty bill !
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Old 4 Nov 17, 06:45 PM  
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A lovely morning to finish your time in Yosemite. Your hotel room looks fab and is ideally located. We passed it a few times walking around that area. Dinner sounds lovely.
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