San Francisco Vacation – Day 6 – 5.3.12
May 13, 2012 | Travel Photography
Our 6th day in San Francisco WAS supposed to be a nice day for us, but the unpredictable San Francisco weather had other plans for us. My plan was to go to Muir Woods, then drive along the coast up to Muir Beach Overlook, Stinson Beach and around there, and then head over to Sonoma Valley. We got to do most of that but had to scrap the coastal highway part of the day trip unfortunately. Bad weather or not, we still had a great time.
I picked up a rental car at Hertz across the street from our hotel. They nickle and dime for everything, including picking up the car for you? Gimme a break, and then the people helping me into the car expect a tip. Yeah right. But anyway, the thing I was worried about the most on this trip was driving in San Francisco. I drive like a lunatic on a daily basis with my hour and half (sometimes more) commute to and from work, so I’d rather not drive on vacation if I don’t have to. Since we were driving around 7:45am, the drive out of San Francisco wasn’t bad at all. The one thing that was a concern was the rain and fog. I didn’t think it was going to be rainy this early in the morning, but thankfully the rain wasn’t as heavy when we got to Muir Woods.
We drove over the Golden Gate bridge and barely could see anything around us. I guess that was a good thing when we headed for Muir Woods. Usually you can see down and see how far up you are. All we could see was a white blanket fog so that helped with Kristen not freaking out. We arrived to Muir Woods around 8:15am and maybe saw 2 other cars there. The park was open but the place to buy tickets wasn’t. So we could just walk right in without having to pay, but I donated some money anyway. The big redwoods is a sight to see! I absolutely loved it at Muir Woods. The big trees blocked the rain from coming in too much, so we didn’t need an umbrella at all. The fog was coming through the trees and made it a pleasant sight to see. Another pleasant sight was not having to run into our tourist for a good half hour/hour.
Kristen and I were just in awe of the redwoods and the beauty of Muir Woods. I was joking and talking like a robot “keep taking photos…” because I just couldn’t help myself with picking up my camera to take a picture every 5 seconds. I really wish I brought my tripod for Muir Woods because it was DARK inside the forest. I was shooting at least ISO 1600-2000 with a shutter speed around 1/30-1/125. Thankfully I held that camera firm and my camera is decent in low lighting.
Some walkways were a little bit muddy so we didn’t do any of the hilly paths. Some were actually closed because of mudslides though. We just stuck to the main deck-like pathway. The entire time I just kept thinking of Ewok Village from Return of the Jedi. I thought a bunch of ewoks were going to come out attacking a speeder bike. Thankfully by the time all the tourists came, we were heading out. It would have been tough to get shots without people in them if we showed up later. I highly recommend renting a car and just going by yourself…EARLY! That way you have enough time to just relax and walk at your own leisure.
Since we didn’t really have breakfast, we scarfed down the Italian pastries we bought in Little Italy the previous night. Then it was off to Sonoma. It was still very foggy, but the rain was on & off, and when it was raining it was this very light misty rain. It felt like one of those mist tents you see at Warped Tour or something.
Driving in Sonoma was awesome; it reminded me of Ireland a little bit. Beautiful Green hills that stretched for miles and miles! I felt like stopping every 2 seconds to take pictures but lots of cars were around and there were also dumb signs saying you couldn’t stop. I was saying in the car, “oh here’s beautiful scenery, want to take a picture? Well FUCK YOU! You Can’t!” Before we hit the wineries, we stopped into town and grabbed some food at the Girl and the Fig. By far, this was one of the best meals I had in California. I order the pork belly sandwich with an egg on top, with Brioche bread. Holy crap, it was amazing! Not exactly healthy but whatever, I was on vacation.
After lunch, we went to the oldest winery in California, Buena Vista Winery. Nice place and nice staff. Kristen did a basic wine tasting for 10 bucks. After that we drove over to a newer winery called Valley of the Moon. Another nice place with more scenic vineyards around the place. We took some pictures and headed inside for more wine tasting..well Kristen did the tasting. Apparently the wine was good, and the staff was nice as well.
After the wine tasting, it was time to head back to San Francisco. I stopped off to fill up gas at the Muir Woods exit, and then made our way back to SF. I drove on some steep hills before but nothing like the ones in San Francisco. Traffic wasn’t bad but things got a bit hectic to say the least when I was trying to park the rental car near our hotel. Driving on Market is a bit of a pain because it’s like Manhattan, but you have to deal with more buses, trolleys, cable cars and other crap. It made the last 15 minutes of the journey stressful. I was flipping out because I kept having to go all the way around the block to try to find where the park the damn car. What made it worse was some roads were blocked off. Thankfully I parked the car and told Hertz they need to have better directions for coming back. If they told me to pull into the lobby area by Mission, I wouldn’t be typing this.
That evening, we ended up taking a bus to Mission area to try to find some Mexican food. We found a Vegan Organic Mexican placed Gracias Madre. We didn’t know if we wanted to walk around or just eat there, but we ended up just going there. The food is definitely interesting, and good..if you’re a vegan/vegetarian. I prefer meat but with all the meat and heavy foods I had for the week, it was nice to have something on the healthier side. I had Broccoli and “Greens” tacos. I liked the Broccoli tacos a lot but didn’t like the Greens one that much. I recommend the place if you’re a Veg Head.
Since I didn’t take any pictures for Day 7, there won’t be a blog for that. I’ll just sum it up here. Went to back to Market Bar at the Ferry Building for breakfast and it was delicious again. After that, we went to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Some things were cool to see like Dali and surrealism artwork. The type of art I HATE to see is giant gray canvas paintings hanging in museums. I’m sorry, that garbage is so easy to do and probably took 5 minutes to do. I could shit onto a piece of paper and hang it up on the wall and would look ten times better than that stuff. I’m sure some pretentious art douche will explain the meaning behind the painting, but in the end, it’s just a boring gray painting.
Our flight was at 9pm so we just relaxed in the hotel room, grabbed a last meal in Little Italy and made our way to the airport via the BART. I can’t stand when you’re trying to use your train ticket with luggage and the damn doors close on you. Yeah, that happened to us. We got to the airport pretty early, and we found out the flight was delayed at least 2 hours. Not entirely that bad, I don’t mind if it’s only two hours or so. So we found an outlet and watched some TV shows online while waiting for the flight. I was happy to catch up on Game of Thrones and Castle. The flight home was pretty quick after that, I didn’t get much sleep though. Sometimes I’m great on redeyes, other times I can’t fall asleep.
San Francisco is a great place to visit if you like sights, amazing food, museums, nice parks and drinking. It felt like a food tour for us and we didn’t have a bad meal the entire week. I highly recommend driving out to Muir Woods, Sonoma or NAPA. Seeing the night tour at Alcatraz is a must I think too. My only complaints about San Francisco is everybody stinks of weed and it’s a pain in the ass for transportation at times. But other than that, it’s an awesome city!
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Tags: 24-70mm f2.8, buena vista winery, California, ewok village, forest, Gracias Madre, john muir, muir woods, nikon d300, redwoods, San Fran, San Francisco, san francisco travel tips, SF, SFMOMA, sonoma, sonoma valley, the girl and the fig, travel, travel photography, travel tips, vacation, valley of the moon, wine country, wine tasting