San Francisco - Experience - tack
Just coming to the end of an 8 night break in SF. I have come to the conclusion that the 'septics drive some of the ugliest cars in all of christendom. Ugly, ugly, ugly. However, they have some of the best road manners I have come across. They stop at crossings, stop at right turns to let you cross or even to cross where you are not supposed to.

Public transport is excellent so city does not appear to be rammed with nose to tail jams. Some buses (take a note Boris) have bike racks on the front nose! I loved the cable cars, hanging on for grim death on the outside as they shoot up and down hills. The "Elf n safety" brigade would have a pink fit in the UK.

Cars are not really welcome in the city, hence usurious parking fees. Still can't ween some of them off their big thirsty V8's

Walked some of the hills featured in Bullit. Flipping steep! more so than it looks on film (Russian Hill/Fillbert/Mason/Chestnut streets)
San Francisco - Experience - Pat L
I went to SF 20 years ago and loved it.

We walked up that famous windy street (Lombard Street?). Loved the cable cars, bought a few pairs of (proper) Levis, ate at some great restaurants, went on boat to Alcatraz, etc but didn't drive in the city (motoring link).
San Francisco - Experience - legacylad
We cannot wait to return to SF late Dec for another motoring trip. This time hiring a 4x4 instead of a Mustang to visit friends in the Tahoe area and do some skiing.
I hope you got to travel down Hway 1 south of Carmel then maybe inland to visit some of the National Parks.
The first time I hired in the city I was a bit nervous, but it proved a doddle, and with a good 'map person' navigation both out of the city and returning was easy. Very laid back motoring.
Enjoy the rest of your trip.
San Francisco - Experience - rtj70
But I do agree about the pointless junk. Many gadgets are more hassle than they are
worth, and a good hand tools is often the best thing for the job.

Make sure it has a decent sized engine. When my brother got into skiing in Tahoe hegot himself a 4x4. Based on friends' experience he ended up with a 5.2l V8 engined Jeep Grand Cherokee. Reason was torque. May be different now that US cars have more power/torque in smaller engines. That 5.2l was around 270bhp!
San Francisco - Experience - Bilboman
I had similar experiences to other postings in my two week holiday last month. Very polite people - pedestrians, drivers, waiting staff; the "Have a nice days" are genuine! The four way stop street system is curious and having to stop dead at a junction at the top of a 1 in 4 hill means that manual cars are a rarity (the exceptions being old school V8s with tons of lazy power.) I drove down Lombard Street and the less well known Vermont Street, which is reputedly even steeper.
I'd agree with tips on hiring a big, torquey car, as the 2 litre Focus automatic (LDNRP only) with California-spec engine was a total slouch: I loved the heated leather seats and electric sunroof for evening drives down the coast, but hated the gutless slushbox. But being California, hey! No one's in a rush (even to change gear!)
San Francisco - Experience - tack
We stayed the whole 8 nights in 'frisco as there was so much to see and do. However, we have vowed to go back, hire a muscle car and do the run to Monterey, Carmel, Half Moon Bay, up to Sonoma etc.
San Francisco - Experience - rtj70
Monterey, Carmel, Half Moon Bay, up to Sonoma etc.

Do it before the road from Pacifica to the south towards Half Moon Bay is still there - it washes out every now and again ;-) It was last closed for a long time - a big detour for my brother who lives near there.

Sonoma is very nice - some good wineries to visit there.

Edited by rtj70 on 12/09/2009 at 23:02

San Francisco - Experience - Kevin
>Just coming to the end of an 8 night break in SF.

I'm jealous now.

The wife and I have been to SF a few times and love the place.

Cosmopolitan, laid-back and a live and let live attitude that is missing in most other large cities.

For anyone with an artistic bent I'd recommend at least a coffee at the Vesuvio Cafe on Columbus. It's where Kerouac hung out and the whole Beat Generation started. Still a magnet for the weird and wonderful that only SF seems able to produce.

You don't really need a car if you're staying in the Bay area but it would be criminal to miss Highway 1 if you've never driven it before. Don't miss Hearst Castle and Pebble Beach.

For photography nuts, Yosemite is an easy drive where you can pit your skills against Ansel Adams :-)

San Francisco - Experience - tintin01
Definitely worth the drive down to Monterey - fantastic aquarium, lovely town. The drive along to Big sur has wonderful views. We drove from SF to Monterey and stopped to look at the redwoods and lunch at a golf club - can't remember the name, but it was a wonderful trip.
San Francisco - Experience - NARU
We drove from SF to Las Vegas via Death Valley and Yosemite. Great fun, but you do need a reasonably powerful car for some of the mountain roads going up to Yosemite.
San Francisco - Experience - Happy Blue!
In 1979 (aged 14 and with parents) we drove from Seattle to San Diego in a Didge Aspen - a large three box lump with a 3.6 straight six of limited power and torque. It coped with Yosemite.

I want to go back next summer to SF and LA with the children. Any recommendations for a route over say two weeks?
San Francisco - Experience - bintang
The only priority rule for country crossroads seems to be "first there takes it". This can cause problems for over-courteous British drivers.

Our San Francisco cable car had to make an emergency stop when some nitwit pulled out in front, throwing us all to the front. We had to walk the rest of the way, as the emergency brake locks on the cable and can only be released by a special crew.
San Francisco - Experience - rtj70
The brakes on the cable cars relies on a block of wood. So I'm impressed with an emergency stop! They take longer to stop in the wet for fairly obvious reasons.

As for the rules at crossroads, as you say it works in the order people arrived - you take it in turns.
San Francisco - Experience - Bagpuss
I want to go back next summer to SF and LA with the children. Any
recommendations for a route over say two weeks?

Fly into Los Angeles. Drive to Joshua Tree National Park, then head north to Las Vegas. On to Grand Canyon, then back via Las Vegas through Death Valley to Yosemite. From Yosemite to San Francisco and either fly out from there or spend a day driving back to Los Angeles.
San Francisco - Experience - Happy Blue!
San Francisco - Experience - barney100
Just take the coast road and stop where you fancy en route to LA and Las Vegas. Stop at Lauglin and head for the Grand canyon. Las Vegas is over the top but what an experience...worth a few days there. Highlight for me was the hotel at Pisa beach....think that as the place. Pacific ocean view from the bedroom and swmbo came back from a walk and had seen sea otters playing in the sea weed. I dragged her back to show me! you can get trips to see where the rich and famous live and where Mr Easrwood plays golf.
San Francisco - Experience - legacylad
Our Dec/Jan 2week trip will be my 7th (or 8th) visit to northern CA in the last 4 years. I am starting to know the area like a local, or so my Placerville based friends tell me, so if you wish to contact me I can recommend eateries, routes, accommodation and places to visit. Two weeks is not a long time, and i prefer to spend time discovering places rather than be constantly on the go.
San Francisco - Experience - Happy Blue!
You have mail legacylad.
San Francisco - Experience - jbif
As per your other thread,
where you requested that suggested routes be posted here:

As you are doing a round trip, consider going to LA down the coastal highway 1 route, and then coming back up via the Sequoia/Yosemite route.

To give better advice on where to go, what to see, it would help if you say:
1. How long are you staying?
2. Your particular interests (eg. if aviation/aeronautics, visit the Edwards Airforce Base; if marine life, then visit Monterey Aquarium; if touristy beach stuff, visit Santa Monica & Venice beach; for Golf, Pebble Beach if you can get in; Carmel for a lovely small town feel; or Idyllwild at 5300ft in the San Bernardino National Forest and then drive around San Jacinto Mountains to find the desert resort of Palm Springs; etc.

Edited by jbif on 16/11/2009 at 15:09

San Francisco - Experience - Happy Blue!
Thanks - I had the same idea.

We have about ten days worth of time plus two days when we have to stand still. Arrive late Sunday evening leave late Saturday evening 13 days later. Going with three children who will be 12, 10 and almost 6.

Certain things are bankers - we have to do Disneyland and Yosemite. I am not bothered about Las Vegas and will do Grand Canyon plus other things in that area another trip. Really want to do some redwoods and the boys are interested in tech things so an Air Force base would be great for them. We are not bothered about touristy things like Carmel and Monterey or Beverly Hills.
San Francisco - Experience - jbif
so an Air Force base would be great for them >>
Are there tours of Edwards Air Force Base?
Yes. There are two types of tours offered here -- general public tours and large group tours.
Really want to do some redwoods >>

Edited by jbif on 16/11/2009 at 15:54

San Francisco - Experience - legacylad
I would recommend LA first....via Hway 1 and stopping off at the Monterey Aquarium. Fantastic for all people of all ages, and I know a great Mexican restaurant in Monterey!

Heading back N after LA, drive up the E side of the Sierra Nevada on 395, entering Yosemite through the eastern portal of Lee Vining near Mono Lake. Book accommodation for Yosemite in advance! Head out W on 120, reaching the scenic 49 then a short drive N to see the Redwoods at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Hugely impressive if big trees are your thing!
San Francisco - Experience - BorisTheSpider
"Public transport is excellent so city does not appear to be rammed with nose to tail jams. Some buses (take a note Boris) have bike racks on the front nose!"

Is there more than one Boris? If not do you mean Rattle?

San Francisco - Experience - rtj70
Is there more than one Boris? If not do you mean Rattle?

I took it he was referring to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. So yes there is more than one Boris in the world ;-)
San Francisco - Experience - BorisTheSpider
That would make a world of more sense :-S. Guess in my world everyone secretly talks about me.

A rather paranoid
San Francisco - Experience - barney100
I was there a couple of years ago and had a tour around on one of the 'motorised' trolley cars. Really ccourteous driver to all and sundry. apparently when the fog comes in you can't see a yard in front of you. Best bit was a huge jug of beer for a dollar or so which filled several big glasses. I think if you behave yourself you could have a good life over there but get on the wrong side and the law seems prety severe....good on em.