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Published: September 27th 2016
Today it was only a relatively short journey of 48 miles to San Francisco, so, as discussed at our meeting last night, we decided to take the scenic route and pick up Highway 1 and meander down the coast road. We were first to leave the site as we wanted to pick up yet more petrol and also some groceries, as we hadn't been shopping since leaving Las Vegas over a week ago. We had checked for the nearest Walmart on the internet so after picking up the fuel we headed there. Although it was a very large shop the food depart ent was quite poor, so we were only able to replenish a few items. Potatoes individually wrapped in plastic were a novelty to us.
We then headed out to Highway 1 and started working our way down the coast. At first we couldn't see the pacific ocean as we were travelling alongside Tomales Bay, which runs between the Point Reyes National Seashore and the Californian mainland. The road was proving a little tortuous again, with many sharp bends, but eventually we turned yet another corner and there was the Pacific Ocean and a beautiful sandy bay. This was
Stimson beach and we would have liked to stop for a paddle, but the parking lot said full, so on went. We soon found a parking spot alongside the road and walked down a little way towards the beach. This was Red Rock beach, so named for obvious reasons as there was a very large lump of red rock ahead, but as we looked across at the beach we could see that perhaps it was not a good beach to visit to achieve our first toe in the Pacific Ocean, as it was a nudist beach!! (Or as a search on the internet later revealed, a clothing optional beach). So we climbed back up to Ellie and had some lunch. Once again it was very hot by now, so we were very thankful for our internal air conditioning. Apparently this area has been experiencing record temperatures for this time of the year, but it is forecast to cool off on Wednesday.
We then continued our journey around yet more hair-raising bends, continually having to pull into the pullouts to let traffic past us, as it was quite busy. We had wanted to stop at Muir Woods to see the redwoods, but having missed the first turn off, the second one proved to be an impossible manoeuvre in an RV, so we gave up on that idea and headed for the famous Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. This is a toll bridge, but you can longer pay at booths as you go over and like Dartford tunnel you now have to prepay or pay up to 48 hours later. We still have to pay. It was very busy and we didn't really have chance to look at the view, but are hoping to return on one of the next two days and maybe cycle over it. Then we had to weave our way through terrible traffic right through San Francisco, as our campsite is situated south of the city. Thank goodness for the satnav again!!
As we arrived earlier than expected it gave us a chance to do some washing. Very mundane but very important on a long trip like this. Again the friendliness of the Americans came to the fore when the washing was still wet after 25cents of tumble drying and we had no more. Three more were pushed into the slot, the temperature changed to high and with a 'you guys just have a good day' our friend fly benefactor was on his way.
On chatting to our fellow travellers this evening, it appears that everyone had quite a fraught journey here and we will all be glad of two full days to explore the city, without having to move our vans.
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