Nothing is so interesting as the first time you do it, and that is certainly true for traveling. When we started out on our first RV-journey to the south we chose the Pacific Coast as our guideline. From Vancouver, BC we traveled on I-5 through Washington State, Oregon and finally California. Of course the beautiful coast line was one of the reasons for choosing that route. So when we grew tired of the 4-lane I-5 we simply veered off to the waters edge. North of San Francisco there is Bodega Bay and there is Point Reyes National Seashore. Before we reached the ocean we had to cross the coastal mountains and since we just had replaced our tranny due to mountain driving on the Coquihalla,BC, we were careful not to get into more calamities.
From our diary 2005:
Arriving at Bodega Bay we learn that angels guarded our safety today as well. As we read about Bodega Bay in the local tourist brochure we understand that Highway 1, which we would have taken, had we ever found the turn-off from Willits, contains a very dangerous steep stretch of 11 miles south of the village of Jenner, which lies just north of Bodega Bay.
The bay is named after Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Cuadra, who took refuge in the natural harbor in October 1775. Bodega y Cuadrao is the first known European to have landed at Bodega Bay. The harbor was known for many years as Porto Bodega.
By 1874 it had two hotels, three stores and a livery stable.
Today the place lives of tourism coming west from Highway 101, from the close-by San Francisco and from the north over Highway 1. In 1976 the well-known Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude chose Bodega Bay for putting up their "Running Fence". Both had become famous from their various projects of wrapping buildings. Needless to say that they met a lot of local resistance here in Sonoma County. Their art can still be seen as documentation at the Bodega Landmark Gallery.
The only RV-Park we can spot is the Bodega Bay RV Park. Here we have Wireless Internet and a full-service camp site.
We decide to leave Bodega Bay and proceed to the Olema Campground which is a little farther down the coast and close to San Francisco. Luckily we have no idea what the road to Olema is like. It goes up and down and by all means with this incredible traffic from behind us and meeting us it turns out as the big adventure. After reaching Point Reyes we miss the entrance to the campground by the length of the rig. Since we cannot turn we have to back up against the traffic. Bea is stopping cars and I back up. Almost hitting a fire hydrant but no we come clear. The Olema Campground is beautifully treed and with 400 sites it is one of the bigger campgrounds. However it's only sparsely populated. We book in for 2 nights but decide to stay a 3rd night. There is plenty room for dogwalks too. A U.S. Postoffice and a grocery store is also available.
Today we go to San Francisco. U.S.Highway #1 runs from Olema down the coast and joins up with the Hwy 101 north of the Golden Gate Bridge. We travel without the trailer but Bea gets the creeps, because this is the narrowest and most dangerous road i have ever seen in my life. DON"T DRIVE IT WITH A TRAILER!!! The lanes are smaller then our truck is wide and the curves way up on the high cliffs have no rails. A moment of missing attention and you'll find yourself down below the cliffs. Trouble is, this is also the most scenic road I have ever seen. A rolling landscape shaped of dunes, with Eucalyptus trees in between. Little farms for vegetables can be seen down the road. So keeping you attention on the road and NOT on the nice blue way-down Pacific Ocean is not easy. The locals seem to use this road as a test drive to show their chauffeur-skills to out-of-state-drivers. The entire part of Hwy 1 is one endless slalom-drive and roller coaster. Most curves follow directly after each other and many have only straight parts in between not longer than our vehicle.
Paradise for bird watching
We are caught by a steady stream of traffic racing towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Before entering the bridge we turn out to the right and go up to the Golden Gate Bridge Recreational Area. From a couple of vista points we can overlook the entire San Francisco Bay. Here, we have been standing once before, back in 1997. The remains of old WW2 military batteries can be seen on top of Hawk Hill and down at the first turn-out directly over the bridge.
A beautiful park with palm trees attracts our attention. Through it we walk over to the piers. Looking over to Alcatraz, the known island where a U.S. penitentiary housed the most ruthless ciminals in history. Today Alcatraz is one of the big Touristattractions and you can ride over for a visit with one of the regular tourist shuttles. We recognize Fishermens Wharf from our 1997-stay. Fishermens Wharf is the other tourist attraction everyone has to visit when coming to San Francisco. We simply love to hang out in this mixture of a fairground, seaport and fishery harbor.