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Map updated to reflect actual route
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Initial Itinerary

So, for those who don't know, I'm taking a week or so in late July to explore Northern California. With gas prices so cheap, especially on the west coast, it seems like a perfect time, doesn't it?

Basically, my mom is getting married on August 4th up in Washington. She offered to fly everyone out for it, so I figured I'd leverage the airfare into a little vacation. I've always wanted to see San Francisco, drive the Pacific Coast Highway, and see the Seqouia forests that it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

And since everyone asks with incredulity, yes I am doing this alone. I have friends (and a sister) in the Bay area that I'll be meeting up with but the majority of the trip will be solo, which I think adds to the adventure. Though I'd certainly welcome hangers-on.

I'll try and edit this post as my plans change. Once the trip starts I'll try to do blog updates along the way, hopefully with pictures.

The Bay Area - July 26 and July 27

I'll be arriving at San Francisco Airport around 12:30 in the afternoon on Saturday the 26th, and picking up a rental car. I'm not sure how this day will play out; I'm hoping to find someplace to stow the car for the day so I can go exploring, but I've been told that this isn't an easy task in the city. I'll be staying with my sister down in Redwood City, which is accessible by public transportation, so I may park down by her and just use one of the area's many confusing myriad of trains or buses.

Things to see in San Francisco
Between Saturday and Sunday, I'd like to see the following, and would LOVE to get as many ideas as possible to fill this list :
  • Alcatraz
  • Golden Gate (duh)
  • that crooked street
  • the piers
  • ?
Saturday night I hope to be meeting some friends in San Fran for dinner / drinks. Sunday night I will most likely have a nice family dinner with my sis, and try to get to sleep early as I will be leaving very early for my next day of excitement....

Pacific Coast Highway - July 28

Yes, I know I should spend WAY more than one day driving the Pacific Coast Highway. To be fair, I'm only driving a small section of it. A full map of my planned route can be found here. I tried to embed this map up above, as you can see, but it didn't quite work out - for some reason you can't embed a Google Map with the purple line showing your route, it'll only show the map itself. Oh well.

I'm going to leave Redwood City as early as I can possibly manage to get the most travel time to explore. But mostly the entire day will just be spent driving and enjoying the views and random stops along the way for pictures and exploration.

From Redwood City I'll head west to Half Moon Bay, cut south towards Santa Cruz, through Monterrey and Carmel, then down through the Big Sur towards Morro Bay.

The only caveat is I have to be down to the Morro Bay area with enough time to set up camp before dark, as I have a campsite booked at Cerro Alto Campgrounds.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park - July 29

From my campground near Morro Bay, I will drive the ~4 hours or so east to Sequoia Park. I again have a campsite booked, at the Lodgepole area of the park (yay for cheap "lodging"!) so the plan is pretty open - explore the park as much as possible before it's time to settle down into the campsite. I don't think there will be any shortage of splendor for me to spend my time exploring.

Yosemite National Park - July 30

Not much different from above - leave campsite early, drive north to Yosemite explore, camp (in Hodgdon Meadow, right outside the actual park). Props to the The National Park Service for making reservations of all these campsites so easy, by the way. We'll see how it actually works out once I get there but assuming it does, it was very painless and a nice way to plan a trip.

Back to the Airport - July 31

My original plan was to make this entire trip a road trip. I was going to do the above activities, and then spend the 31st of July and the 1st of August driving up to the place where the wedding is happening (Long Beach, Washington). However, between gas and the ridiculous premiums they charge for one-way car rentals, it turned out to be MUCH more cost-effective to just get a quick flight to Seattle instead. So that's what I'm doing. My flight leaves in the late afternoon, so that should give me time to pack up the campsite, drive to San Francisco, return the car and get on the plane. I have a hotel room booked in Seattle (I think I'll have had my fill of camping by then), and on the 31st my brother and Katie land in Seattle and we'll all drive down to Long Beach together.

And that's the plan, Stan.


This blog is serving two purposes.

One, a selfish one, as a place for me to organize my thoughts and plans for my trip to Northern California next month.

Two, for anyone interested to follow my trip or even make suggestions on where I should go while I am making my way around. I'll put up my itinerary in a few minutes.