Far North California 2012

Far North California 2012 Day 1: LA to SF

This weekend, Daniel and I had three days off which could not have come at a better time. We are getting ready to go into a busy period at work with the re-launch of Disney California Adventure and with the recent passing of my Grandma, I wanted to get in the car and head out of town!

We decided to head north since my friend Jonathan was just getting back to SF from his recent trip to Africa for work. We had not seen him since we were in Paris back in November 2007, and we were excited to meet up at his house. I also had some idea that I could drive up to the coastal redwoods to show them to Daniel since he had not been in that area before. I was actually shocked when he told me the farthest north he traveled was San Francisco.

This morning, we hopped into the Prius v to give it another road trip. This was the third trip I had taken in it since I had driven to Arizona twice before to see my ailing Grandma. We were on the road by 9am (which was much later than we planned) and made good time getting out of the Los Angeles metro area. We stopped just past the Grapevine at In-N-Out for some lunch. Apparently this In-N-Out is also on the Boy Scout approved stopping places, as it was swarming with Scouts.

Burgers down, we headed north along I-5. Normally, this route bores me to tears, but after two trips to Phoenix, this looked like a lush wonderland. It was still no Highway 101 trip, but it was much more interesting. I decided to take the South Bay approach to SF since Jonathan lives in the outer Sunset area. This meant taking the 152 cut-off to Gilroy and the ever popular Casa de Fruita. After missing the turn and a couple of detours, we stopped at the Casa for a quick look around and a quick ice cream hit for me.

From there, it was up 101 to San Francisco. The plan was to take the 85 to 280 into the western section of SF, but somehow, it was more like 101-85-101-92-280. A minor setback, but at least it was the scenic route. After some more fun with one way streets, we finally made it to Jonathan’s at 5pm. We headed out to dinner at a local place near the Castro district in Jonathan’s car. This allowed two thrills – attempting to squeeze the Prius v into the one car garage and also driving with Jonathan for the first time. Both turned out to be fun and not really big deals.

Josh and Jonathan meet again in San Francisco

After dinner, we decided to walk around looking for some dessert and ended up reliving some memories of Jonathan and I hanging out in SF back in the 1990s. We finally found a cafe in the Marina district that had some great Chocolate cake. As with most meetings with Jonathan, it went far too fast and before we knew it, it was after 10pm and we had to set off to the North Bay to find a hotel. Jonathan offered his place, but we decided to try and get as far north as possible.

We drove north over the soon-to-be-celebrating-75-years Golden Gate bridge and stopped for some quick vista point shots at night, and then headed up 101. Our goal was to make it to Santa Rosa. We started stopping in Rhonert Park around 1130 or so at a couple of hotels. Most were either sold out or wanted way too much money for that one room they had left. We kept going and tried again at a few places in Santa Rosa with no luck. We had a hit on the Hampton Inn back in Rhonert Park, but instead thought we would find something farther north.

Golden Gate Bridge

Turns out, north of Santa Rosa is prime wine country, and it being Memorial Day weekend, there were no affordable hotels. We were getting frustrated until Daniel found a listing for a Best Western in Cloverdale, about 32 miles north of Santa Rosa. We called and sure enough they had something for the same price as the Hampton, but since it was on the way we took it.

Finally at 1:30 in the morning, we hit the sheets in the hotel for a well deserved nights sleep. We shall see where we end up tomorrow!