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Golden Gate Bridge from a FOG and TRAFFIC perspective

Golden Gate Bridge from a FOG and TRAFFIC perspective

May 29th, 2007, 12:12 PM
  #1  
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Golden Gate Bridge from a FOG and TRAFFIC perspective

We are going to San Francisco for 3 days. Will be there Friday, Sat and Sunday next week.

What is the best time to see GG Bridge from a FOG and TRAFFIC perspective?

What is the best view point; we have been told its a small access road which takes you down to Sauslito while coming back towards SF.

What type of temps to expect?

Are there any recommneded dight seeing day trips?


Thanks a bunch for your help
bokill is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:29 PM
  #2  
 
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Whew - any reply you get will be only semi-reliable because the weather is not at all preditable. In my experience, on nice days when the fog comes in, the fog starts pouring in around the bridge about 4 p.m. I've never been able to predict when it will burn off, but if it's going to it probably will by noon. It's very pretty spilling over the hills. Traffic is, of course, heaviest at regular rush hours for big cities, and lighter middday and later in the evening. Can't tell you about a viewpoint, but the road to Sausalito sounds promising. There's another viewpoint just at the Marin edge of the bridge. My favorite views are from the area around the Legion of Honor museum. Have fun!
likeswords is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:46 PM
  #3  
 
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Worst time to visit the bridge is in the morning, when the sun will be in your face when you try to look at San Francisco.

The fog can't be predicted - it just kinda happens this time of year.

Here is by far the best view, if you have a car:
Just past the bridge, take the Alexander Av. exit towards Sausalito. When you get to the stop at the end of the freeway off ramp, turn left & go under Hwy 101. Continue on like you are going back across the bridge to SF, but take the road to the right that goes up-hill, just before actually getting on 101. There will be a sign that says you are entering the Golden Gate National Recreational area. Continue up on this road. You will see what is (in my opinion) the best views of San Francisco – The GG Bridge in the foreground & The City behind it.. This area was formerly a military area that is still laced with bunkers, gun turrets, underground tunnels etc. It was opened up in the ‘70s. The views of The City, the Bridge, and the Golden Gate are breathtaking. You can see all the way down the San Mateo Coast from up here. Go all the way to the top and you hit a much smaller one-way road. On the way up, get out & enjoy the sights. The kids will love the bunkers & gun turrets. At the top where the main road ends, there is the largest gun turret, where you can climb up to for an almost 360 degree view. This view is BEST in the evening when the sun is in a better position to light up the bridge & highlight downtown.

Search "Stu Dudley" in the US forum & you'll find more suggestions

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 04:26 AM
  #4  
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Thanks guys for the detailed feedback this helps.. Is traffic any better on the weekend?
bokill is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 06:32 AM
  #5  
 
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>>http://www.hoteldespins.net/Accueil.htm<<

Yep - much better in the morning & late afternoon

Stu Dudley
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May 30th, 2007, 06:44 AM
  #6  
 
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Hey Stu--just in case you did not see my other post, THANK YOU for the Madrona Manor recommendation!! It was a wonderful place to stay. We also ate on the veranda and had the tasting menu the night we arrived. Just heavenly.
socialworker is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 07:56 AM
  #7  
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Hey Stu:

I found your previous post that talks about driving down to Wine Country and is split over several days .

With respect to doing just a day trip what amended route would you suggest again from a scenery perspective covering Napa and/ or Sonoma:





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If you leave SF early (assume after 6:00) for Monterey on a work day, you will hit rush-hour traffic and it could easily take you 3 1/2 hrs. On your return to SF - you will hit rush hour traffic again. It could take you 4 1/2 hrs to get on the Golden Gate Bridge from Monterey. Going through San Rafael, you'll hit rush hour traffic again & if you go up to Healdsburg (my favorite), you'll hit rush hour traffic in Santa Rosa. That trip could be 2 hrs. (total time 10 hrs). As you can see, you can't do that in 1 day. Rush hour traffic on a weekend won't be as bad, but still it's not a smart idea.

Stick with the Wine Country OR Monterey/Carmel - not both.

I've posted this a few times before, but not too recently. Here is a good scenic route to the Wine Country:

Head north across the Golden Gate Bridge. Just past the bridge, take the Alexander Av. exit towards Sausalito. When you get to the stop at the end of the freeway off ramp, turn left & go under Hwy 101. Continue on like you are going back across the bridge to SF, but take the road to the right that goes up-hill, just before actually getting on 101. There will be a sign that says you are entering the Golden Gate National Recreational area. Continue up on this road. You will see what is (in my opinion) the best views of San Francisco – The GG Bridge in the foreground & The City behind it. This area was formerly a military area that is still laced with bunkers, gun turrets, underground tunnels etc. It was opened up in the ‘70s. The views of The City, the Bridge, and the Golden Gate are breathtaking. You can see all the way down the San Mateo Coast from up here. Go all the way to the top and you hit a much smaller one-way road. On the way up, get out & enjoy the sights. The kids will love the bunkers & gun turrets. At the top where the main road ends, there is the largest gun turret, where you can climb up to for an almost 360 degree view. This view is best in the evening when the sun is in a better position to light up the bridge & highlight downtown. If you plan to pass this way again later in the day, skip this venue now & do it later. If there isn’t any fog, perhaps do it now because you never know when the fog will roll in & make viewing impossible.

Return the way you came up to this area. When you get to the junction just past the tunnel under 101, head straight to Sausalito. Just follow your nose (bearing right whenever possible), until you end up on Bridgeway – the main road along the bay in Sausalito. Drive along Bridgeway, enjoying the views back to the City. Sausalito has gotten a little tacky in the last few decades with all it’s mediocre art shops & cheep souvenir stands, but the setting is lovely & there’s some nice architecture. Continue North on Bridgeway until it joins 101 North again (towards San Rafael).

Take the Blithdale exit off 101 to Mill Valley. M.A.S.H. fans will recognize this place as the hometown of B.J. Hunnicut. Keep following Blithdale as it worms around a little in some not-so-picturesque areas before it reaches the center of Mill Valley (you’ll know when you get there). Turn left & park the car where you can. Walk around the area – there are some interesting shops. There’s kind of a central square in town (a good place for a latte if you’re ready for one). The south-west side of the square is Miller Ave. When you’re finished browsing, take Miller Ave. South. Shortly after the double road section of Miller Ave ends, take a right on Shoreline Highway – this is also the famous Ca Highway #1. Follow this to Muir Beach & Stinson Beach. This is a pretty drive. After a couple of miles past the Miller/Shoreline junction, there is a turnoff to Panoramic Hwy and the Muir Woods redwood grove. If you want to visit Muir Woods, do so but remember that it gets overwhelmed with day trippers from SF in the summer.

Continue on Shoreline (Hwy #1) past Muir Beach & on to Stinson Beach. There are some nice views of the ocean along this route. There’s a lookout over Muir Beach.

Stay on Hwy #1 past Stinson Beach. You will start to see a large land mass to your left (ocean side) This is Point Reyes National Seashore, where you could spend several days exploring the wildlife & natural beauty of this area. Drake’s Bay, on the west side of Pt Reyes, is where this Northern California area was first discovered – long before San Francisco Bay was discovered by Spanish explorers. Hwy #1 will go past a long lagoon (Tomales Bay). Just past the lagoon, Hwy #1 will turn inland.

Continue on Hwy 1 past Valley Ford. When it intersects the Bodega Highway, turn right (inland/east) & go to Bodega. This is where Alfred Hitchcock filmed several scenes from “the Birds”, including the schoolhouse scene.

If you are touring in the summer, there is a very good chance that you will be inundated by fog & not much of the coastline will be visible. If you have had enough fog, continue east on the Bodega Highway to Sebastopol. This is actually a nice drive (at the beginning). At Sebastopol, head north on #116 toward the Russian River. Just before Forestville, stop at Kozlowski Farms (on your left) if you want to pick up a sandwich. They have a large selection of jams, jellies, vinegar & other gourmet delights. Continue on #116 until it hits the Russian River at Guerneville (somewhat of an interesting town). Turn right & proceed east along the Russian River on River Road. I will continue to describe the remaining drive in the Wine Country section.

Back at Bodega, if the fog isn’t so bad & you want to see some more coast, stay on Hwy #1 to Bodega Bay. Continue north on #1 until it reaches Jenner. At Jenner, you can go north on #1 to Fort Ross to tour an early Russian fur trading fort – it is quite interesting. After visiting Fort Ross, return to Jenner & head east along the Russian River to Guerneville.

Wine Country
From Guerneville, head east along River Road. Stay on River Road as it crosses over the Russian River just past Hacienda – which will still be River Road. About 4 miles past crossing over the river, turn left on Wohler Road. You will start to see some vineyards now & there are some cute B&Bs close by. Stay on Wohler Rd as it crosses the river (again) on a very narrow 1 way bridge. Just past the bridge, turn right on to Westside Rd towards Healdsburg. You will see lots of vineyards on the way to Healdsburg.

You are now in the Sonoma County Wine growing area. In contrast to it’s more famous neighbor to the east (Napa), you will find the Sonoma wineries more inviting & less hectic – I actually like them better. In the Napa Valley, there are very few wineries where you can take a picnic lunch & spread out on the lawn. In Sonoma, they seem to go out of their way to invite you to use their facilities. On Westside Road, stop at Rochioli (one of the best Chards in Calif), Hop Kiln to see an interesting former kiln turned into a winery, and perhaps Armida, or Mill Creek. Just past Mill Creek winery, Westside Road will turn right (east) to head into Healdsburg just in front of the Madrona Manor. Turn left into the Madrona Manor Hotel, park the car & explore the lovely gardens & the exterior of this fantastic Victorian manor house. Go inside & poke your nose into some of the common rooms & pick up a brochure for your next visit to this area. It has a lovely dining room with excellent cuisine. It’s a popular wedding spot. Exit Madrona Manor and turn left and head north on West Dry Creek Road (not straight to Healdsburg).

You are now in the Dry Creek appellation of Sonoma County & it’s my favorite area in the wine country. Continue north on West Dry Creek Road (there’s a Dry Creek Rd which you will follow later). Stop at Lambert Bridge winery – this is one of the wineries that “invites” you to picnic on their lawn (they have lots of picnic tables). Continue north on West dry Creek Road road until you see a sign for Preston Vineyards. This is another winery that “invites” you to picnic. It has very pretty grounds – explore the outside bread oven, boules court, vegetable garden, flowers, and cats. The tasting room is quite nice – my wife likes their Rose wine. Return to West Dry Creek Road & continue north until the road ends. This is a pretty drive – would you like to own one of the houses near this dead-end? Turn around & head south. Turn left on Yoakim Road & then turn left (north) where it dead ends at Dry Creek Road. Proceed north on Dry Creek Rd & stop at Ferrari-Carano winery. This is the most "extravagant" winery in this area – it received a lot of criticism from locals (we know a few) when it was built. However, it is quite impressive. It has lovely gardens, a large “Tuscan” type villa, and a pretty tasting room (good Sauvignon Blanc). Exit Ferrari Carano & turn right (south) on Dry Creek Road towards Healdsburg. This is another pretty drive.

Healdsburg is our favorite town in the wine country – including anything in Napa. When you go under the freeway (on Dry Creek Rd) turn right when you hit Healdsburg Blvd & continue south until you see the town square – it’s obvious. Park the car & get out & explore. Tour the square & several blocks north & south of the square on Healdsburg Ave. There is a produce market Saturday morning west of the big hotel. This is a wonderful town to spend the night in. There is a new (overdone, in my opinion) large hotel (expensive) on the west side of the square – I think it’s called Healdsburg Hotel or something like that. There is also a B&B on the south side of the square & there are other B&Bs scattered throughout town. For dining in Healdsburg, we like Ravenous, Bistro Ralph, and Charcuterie which are all very popular with the locals. We also like Manzanita. Madrona Manor is less than 5 mins away, by car.

Day 2

If you’re staying near the square in Healdsburg, go to the Downtown Bakery (on the east side of the square) early in the morning & rub elbows with the (lucky) locals. Have a sticky bun &/or a scone. This bakery is very well known throughout the area. There are benches outside the bakery where the “bench bunch” meets each morning to chew the fat.

On to Napa Wine Country

Here is a beautiful drive that will get you to the Napa Valley. Head out north on Healdsburg Ave and once it gets out of town, it will curve to the right and connect with Alexander Valley Rd & passes Jimtown. This route goes through the beautiful Alexander Valley & Knights Valley. Turn right on Hwy #128 towards Calistoga. This section is lovely. Hanna is a nice winery to visit while driving through this area.

Proceed on to Calistoga.

Most tour books describe the Napa Valley thoroughly. As far as driving through this area is concerned, drive down Hwy 128 from Calistoga to Yountville and then east on Yountville Cross Rd to the Silverado trail & go south to Chimney Rock Winery. Turn around go north back to Calistoga on the Silverado Trail. Oakville Cross Rd, Rutherford Cross rd & the others linking #128 with the Silverado Trail are quite pretty.

There are lots of world famous wineries in this areas. I recommend visiting:

Robert Mondavi for the most complete tour on the grape growing & wine making process. Reserve a couple of days ahead at 707 968-2166 www.robertmondavi.com

Berringer for some lovely grounds & a very pretty Victorian “Rhine House”, but they don’t make wine at this site.

Sterling for the best views, but the line for the gondola ride to the tasting room will sometimes have a long wait.

Domaine Chandon to learn how Champagne (sparking wine) is made and for nice grounds & a lovely terrace to buy & taste some champagne & relax.

Neibaum-Coppola for the best gift shop & movie mementos (Francis Ford Coppola owns the winery) and very pretty buildings & grounds.

Silver Oak to taste the best Cabs (if available for tasting).

Clos Pegas for some unusual art & a lawn where you can picnic.

Silverado Vineyards for another good view of the Valley.

There are scads of great restaurants in the area. I find myself going back to:
Terra
Mustards
Martini House
Tra Vigne to wander around & pick up a picnic lunch (not a real fan of the cuisine). The building & grounds are quite nice. If you are not a “foodie”, this probably be the most fun place for a nice dinner in the Napa Valley.

Reserve at least a week ahead for all the above restaurants – perhaps more than 2 weeks ahead on summer weekends. Serious foodies will like Terra & Martini house the best & they are a little more formal. Families with kids will probably prefer Mustards or Tra Vigne.

Day 3

Perhaps catch a final winery on your way out of the Napa Valley. Mondavi opens at 9:00 and the first tour is a lot more calm & relaxed than later ones.

Go south on #29 towards San Francisco. Where #29 hits #121, go west on #121 (follow the signs to SF). Connect with #37 & then #101 back to SF.

Stu Dudley

bokill is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 08:18 AM
  #8  
 
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A really, really fun trip through China town would be to take the www.wokwiz.com tour. Shirley is a wonderful, wonderful lady and you'll have ball!
TTess is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 08:29 AM
  #9  
 
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Leaving for 5 weeks in Provence early Friday, so don't have much time to post.

Head up 101 & get off at the north end of Santa Rosa on Steele Ln/Guerneville Road & take Guerneville rd west to Hhy 116 (it dead ends there). There's lots of stip malls the first 2/3 of Guerneville Rd, but it becomes scenic after that. Take 116 north, and just after you start to leave Forrestville, take Mirabell Rd north to River Rd & the Russian River. Turn right on River rd, and left on Wohler rd. Bear left on Wohler and you will soon cross the Russian River over a 1 car wide road. This dead-ends into Westside Rd where you turn right. You'll see lots of wineries soon. Follow this to the junction of West Dry Creek rd, & the rd that turns right & goes directly into Healdsburg. The Madrona Manor Hotel is at this junction. It's a wonderful Queen Anne Victorian - go in & look around. From here, follow my previous suggestions.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 10:56 AM
  #10  
 
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Stu - have a great, great trip! Lucky you.
TTess is offline  

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