Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

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Rob5TCP
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Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:32 am

I've landed a new client on the West Coast (Sacramento) and plan to be in California for approximately 2 weeks. Half the time I will be working, the other half I will be a tourist. My plans are 2-3 days in San Francisco, 2-3 days in Yosemite and perhaps 1 day in Big Basin National Park. My time frame is from mid November to early December. I will be traveling alone though 1day I will meetup with friends in Santa Cruz.

What is is like in mid November in Yosemite - my driving in snow experience is VERY limited (I live in NYC and avoid driving on snowy days).
How would hiking be in that time -- if heavy snow - I would mostly do everything be car.
What is Big Basin like mid to late November?
Finally -- while restaurnats are nice and I will hit Chinatown, I am more interested in the sites in San Fran. I lived there in the 80's when in grad school (by the intersection of Van Ness and Chestnut) -- many of the sites are probably ones I remember. Are there good walking tours of San Francisco ?

Finally, my schedule will be my own and I want to tour as much as possible. Are there places / sites in / near Sacramento that are worth pursuing.

You guys where great when I went to Banff. I will check trip advisor, but direct experience from you guys is always best.

Thanks.

Rob
Last edited by Rob5TCP on Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hicabob
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by hicabob » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:05 am

Big Basin is far from being a national park. It's very nice though with big redwoods, excellent hiking trails and November should be nice weather but probably dry so little waterfall action.

Carefreeap
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Carefreeap » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:39 am

Yosemite is lovely in the fall, you'll have a great time.

One thing you'll need to watch is the closure of Hwy 120, the Tioga Pass. This is the E-W connector from the main park entrance and I-395 which runs N-S on the eastern side of the Sierras. Once it snows the park closes it for the season, typically Oct 15-May 15. As of today it's still open. You'll want to check this page for updates: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm Glacier Point road is another road that will also close.

You could easily spend your entire trip in Yosemite. It's a big park. With your time schedule I'd recommend spending the time to take the bus tour (I think it's two hours). It's led by a ranger and you'll get a great overview of the park. Then you can go back and explore what you want. Depending on how athletic you are I highly recommend a hike up to Vernal or possibly Nevada Falls. Keep in mind that the Yosemite Valley floor is at 4,000' and you will be climbing to about 6,000'. You will feel the elevation!

We had a banner rain year and unlike the last few years the falls are still running. Poke around the above website and check out the webcams.

You should check out the Ahwanee (sp). I think they are calling it the Grand Lodge. It was built in the style of the Grand Lodges. It's a beautiful building. I was pretty disappointed with the food the last time I was there so I would make plans to eat elsewhere.

Do you know where you are going to stay?

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by ebrasmus21 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:55 am

I agree with Carefree - weather permitting the hike up to Nevada Falls is glorious. Depending on fitness levels it takes a good couple hours up to the top with a good chunk of that distance being granite step after granite step. Be prepared to climb a few flights of stairs. It's really an incredible place and very much worth the effort. Be safe though, driving in the snow is dangerous + black ice (if the roads are even open at that time).

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Raybo
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Raybo » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:06 am

The best hike I've take in Yosemite is the Panoramic Trail. It starts at Glacier Point and walks all the way down to Happy Isles via Nevada falls. Takes all day, pretty much. Take the bus up to Glacier Falls and walk down.

If you are going to go to Alcatraz, let me know via PM and I can give a guided tour once you are on the island.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by ryman554 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:14 am

You're underestimating how long it takes to get from here to there.

November may be rainy, it may be glorious. Generally, weather is fine.

Getting to/from Santa Cruz is a trek. There is no good way to get there. Take it easy and ignore the idiot tailgaters over the 17. You will use up one day getting there and back, if you want to do any visiting. Traffic is that bad. I might suggest heading to Santa Cruz one day, and doing Monterrey the next. You can circle around to Yosemite from there easily enough.

Don't drive your car in SF. Park it at a BART station on the east side and BART in. free to park overnight at BART weekends (fri nite - sun nite), get long-term/airport parking for weeknights for $7/night or something. You can get from the east bay to Santa Cruz going down the 880.

Your rate limiters are the traffic in and out of the bay area and how that affects your schedule.

Others have given you good ideas for Yosemite itself. It takes a while to get there, and weekends have traffic. I'm not sure I'd camp out there overnight in Novermber, and the hotels around are expensive. Depending on how much you like to hike, it's one or two days. If you don't like to hike, it doesn't take long to see all you can see. Don't plan on anything other than the valley being open.

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CaliJim
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by CaliJim » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:31 am

Move along. Nothing to see here. Tourist: stay home.

:twisted:
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Carefreeap
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Carefreeap » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:39 pm

CaliJim wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:31 am
Move along. Nothing to see here. Tourist: stay home.

:twisted:
Lol!

But we want to see folks other than techies when we're out and about! 8-)

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dm200
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:43 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:32 am
I've landed a new client on the West Coast (Sacramento) and plan to be in California for approximately 2 weeks. Half the time I will be working, the other half I will be a tourist. My plans are 2-3 days in San Francisco, 2-3 days in Yosemite and perhaps 1 day in Big Basin National Park. My time frame is from mid November to early December. I will be traveling alone though 1day I will meetup with friends in Santa Cruz.
What is is like in mid November in Yosemite - my driving in snow experience is VERY limited (I live in NYC and avoid driving on snowy days).
How would hiking be in that time -- if heavy snow - I would mostly do everything be car.
What is Big Basin like mid to late November?
Finally -- while restaurnats are nice and I will hit Chinatown, I am more interested in the sites in San Fran. I lived there in the 80's when in grad school (by the intersection of Van Ness and Chestnut) -- many of the sites are probably ones I remember. Are there good walking tours of San Francisco ?
Finally, my schedule will be my own and I want to tour as much as possible. Are there places / sites in / near Sacramento that are worth pursuing.
You guys where great when I went to Banff. I will check trip advisor, but direct experience from you guys is always best.
Thanks.
Rob
Have been to Yosemite (several decades ago) in October and it was wonderful. If still available, stay in a "tent cabin" (cool, but lots of blankets). I doubt snow issues as long as you stay in Yosemite valley.

My wife, then young son and I spend 4-5 days at Yosemite in October (in the 1980's). In the early 90's, my employer corporate headquarters was located in the San Jose area and I spent two weeks at a time there for certain periods - with a rental car and no weekend work. So, I drove to spend a day or two at Yosemite. It was a drive from San Jose to and from Yosemite - but worth every minute and mile.
Last edited by dm200 on Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Carefreeap
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Carefreeap » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Raybo wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:06 am
The best hike I've take in Yosemite is the Panoramic Trail. It starts at Glacier Point and walks all the way down to Happy Isles via Nevada falls. Takes all day, pretty much. Take the bus up to Glacier Falls and walk down.

If you are going to go to Alcatraz, let me know via PM and I can give a guided tour once you are on the island.
I agree this is a wonderful hike. I did it several years ago starting at the Ahwanee and hiking out 4 mile trail...in the dark! It was the end of March and Glacier Point was closed. Lots of snow and ice but I was alone for most of the trail once I passed Nevada Falls. Absolutely stunning.

The OP will need to be mindful about hiking too late in the day. Because of the steep southern walls of the valley it does get dark early. Be sure to carry a flashlight or good headlamp just in case.

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dm200
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:45 pm
Raybo wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:06 am
The best hike I've take in Yosemite is the Panoramic Trail. It starts at Glacier Point and walks all the way down to Happy Isles via Nevada falls. Takes all day, pretty much. Take the bus up to Glacier Falls and walk down.

If you are going to go to Alcatraz, let me know via PM and I can give a guided tour once you are on the island.
I agree this is a wonderful hike. I did it several years ago starting at the Ahwanee and hiking out 4 mile trail...in the dark! It was the end of March and Glacier Point was closed. Lots of snow and ice but I was alone for most of the trail once I passed Nevada Falls. Absolutely stunning.

The OP will need to be mindful about hiking too late in the day. Because of the steep southern walls of the valley it does get dark early. Be sure to carry a flashlight or good headlamp just in case.
Yes - days are shorter in November - so check this when taking hikes.

On one of the days when my wife and young son spent 4-5 days there, we were staying in the "housekeeping cabins" (closed in November, though) and I left early in the morning and hiked all the way to the top - then took a very long way back - over near "Half dome". I just made it back by dark.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by RudyS » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:15 pm

The Ahwanee is now the Majestic Hotel. Big Basin is a nice state park, lots of tall coast redwoods, and it is sort of on the way to Santa Cruz, But that road is very winding and narrow. Not very comfortable if you aren't used to mountain driving. You'll have to check locally about the various trails at Yosemite, that time of year. But I have to say, Yosemite is my (DW's) favorite park. Been there 8 or 9 times over the past 50 years! If you have the chance to go there, do it.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by hightower » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:13 pm

The classic SF/Yosemite trip is one of my all time favorites. I was just there this past July. We didn't spend any time in SF this time since we had limited time and wanted to do a 4 day backpacking trip. If I were you I'd skip the big basin portion and just spend the extra day in Yosemite. There's plenty to see/do there. It will be gorgeous there this time of year, but probably fairly cold, especially in the higher elevations and it could even see some winter storms (which would actually be very pretty). The rangers won't let you drive in certain areas if it's snowing, so you don't have much to worry about in my opinion.
Any of the hikes that start in the Valley would be fine to do, especially the shorter ones. The only areas where there would be snow are the higher elevations like up around Tuolumne Meadows or Bridal Veil Creek. Both awesome areas to check out if you're just driving around though.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Dilbydog » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:39 pm

I used to live near the southern gate of Yosmite. November is an amazing time to go to Yosemite. There maybe rain, unlikely snow, and the seasonal tourists are gone. Its an amazing place, and I would recommend spending as much time in the park as you can. If you decide to go through the southern gate, stop off in Oakhurst. There’s a little gem called Erna’s Elderberry House, which has a Michelin 3 star chef. Well they did though Feb of 2013, which was when I moved out of Oakhurst.

123
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by 123 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:40 pm

Free walking tours of SF. The schedule varies somewhat by month during the year. Highly recommended.
http://www.sfcityguides.org/

Edited to add:
While you can go through Silicon Valley to get to Highway 17 to get over the hills to Santa Cruz there's an alternate route taking Highway 1 down the coast. From SF either way takes about the same time and there's a risk of delays either way due to local traffic along Highway 1 or congestion/accidents along Highway 17. Highway 1 is very picturesque. Either way is about the same level of driving ease/difficulty. Some people think Highway 17 is kind of windy in spots but Highway 1 is often a single lane in each direction. Ideally get an early start and enjoy a leisurely ride down Highway 1 and take Highway 17 back connecting with 101 or 280 as you wish.
Last edited by 123 on Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:50 pm

123 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:40 pm
Free walking tours of SF. The schedule varies somewhat by month during the year. Highly recommended.
http://www.sfcityguides.org/
It has been quite a few years, but on one family trip around many areas of California, we took a very nice and informative bus tour of San Francisco.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by dual » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:30 pm

San Francisco has a severe problem with car break-ins--particularly rental cars but even police cars get broken into. When you go there do some research to find a safe place to park. Do not carry anything valuable (or better yet anything at all) in the car. Leave it in your hotel.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Carefreeap » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:03 pm

RudyS wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:15 pm
Big Basin is a nice state park, lots of tall coast redwoods, and it is sort of on the way to Santa Cruz, But that road is very winding and narrow. Not very comfortable if you aren't used to mountain driving.
You can access Big Basin State Park from the Waddell Creek/Beach area. It's about a 90 minute drive from San Francisco along scenic Hwy 1. Most of the "scary" part of the route has been replaced by a tunnel which opened in 2013. The old deprecated highway is now a county trail and is well worth a visit on its own especially if the whales are either feeding in the area or migrating. I think it's another 30 minutes into Santa Cruz itself from Big Basin.

Berry Creek Falls is a spectacular series of waterfalls about 7 miles into Big Basin State Park (California's First State Park!). We got a lot of rain this past winter and the falls are still going strong. Even if the OP doesn't have time to hike all the way to the falls, there are some beautiful second and third growth redwoods to see.

If the OP winds up having to skip Santa Cruz this trip there are some alternative coastal redwood parks to explore closer to San Francisco and not as crowed as Muir Redwoods including Purissima OSP, Portola State Park and Butano County Park. All of these parks are located off Hwy 1 in San Mateo County.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Watty » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:26 pm

I went camping in Yosemite Valley once at Thanksgiving and it was wonderful but a bit crisp so you need to be prepared for that.

Be sure to check on the local road and park conditions since they can change quickly and as the elevation changes and snow will be possible at higher elevations even if it is not in the general forecast.

All the fires may affect road openings and hotel availability so be sure to check on that.

If you will be hiking more than a short trail from the parking lot take the risk of sudden unexpected bad weather very seriously. If you are not familiar with the ten essentials it is a good starting point;

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice ... tials.html

If you are going to Santa Cruz then it might make more sense to fly in or out of San Jose. In addition to the Sacramento airport it could also make sense to fly in or out of San Francisco or Oakland since the prices and connections can vary dramatically at different airports and that might save you from have to drive as much. It is easy to book tickets where you fly into one airport and then out of a different airport so don't feel that you need to fly in and out of the same airport.

I agree with the comment about not wanting a car in San Francisco if you are doing more than a day trip.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by spoonfork » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:28 pm

I'm in San Francisco and I always take visitors to Tadich Grill. It's one of the oldest continuously running restaurants in the USA and everyone loves it from tourists to locals. Get the cioppino.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by mrsbetsy » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:34 pm

You definitely want to visit Alcatraz and Angel Island. If you like to hike, the walk up to the top of Mt. Livermore on Angel Island is easy, but you can also do a little tram ride and learn all about the history. (Spoiler alert: It was really not the "Ellis Island of the west")

Also if you like to hike, find a place called Lands End (it's near the famous Cliff House and Sutro Baths). Hike all around there and you can even take it further to Baker Beach and walk across the Golden Gate. (5/6 miles) We never ever tire of this hike. Hike back over (or UBER) and enjoy appetizers and a cold beer at the Cliff House. Great service, wonderful views, and a light meal.

You will hopefully hit Dungeness crab season, which is enjoyable with some of our famous sourdough bread anywhere in SF.

Go to the Top of the Mark and have a martini - wonderful views.

Otherwise all the typical things in San Francisco: Lombard street, ride a cable car and the cable car museum, China town isn't a favorite of ours, but you might like it. If you like plays consider the app Today's Tix. You can get same day shows at a fraction of the price and you can be a bit spontaneous if you want something to do in the evening. We saw a terrific performance last year of White Christmas for $13 each!

Instead of Big Basin, I would go across the Golden Gate to Muir Woods. It's simply beautiful.

If you want to go to Sacramento, there's Old Town Sacramento, which has cobblestone walks and a great train museum. There's plenty of great railroad history to learn for young and old. You can make a quick pitstop at the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield on the way, which is a fun way to learn about Ronald Reagan's favorite snack and have a fun souvenir to take home.

Yosemite is an absolute must do, but check road conditions. We just saw that it is supposed to snow there next weekend. Glacier Point is a real treat on a clear night. We've been lucky and caught an astronomy club up there and they were thrilled to share their powerful telescopes with us. Check at the ranger station because they sometimes host an evening there too.

Make sure you have good hiking boots.

If you like wine, consider going up to Sonoma and Napa. They have now recovered from the fires and are hurting for business.

We are happy to have visitors to our golden state and welcome you!

Betsy

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by jayjayc » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:18 pm

dual wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:30 pm
San Francisco has a severe problem with car break-ins--particularly rental cars but even police cars get broken into. When you go there do some research to find a safe place to park. Do not carry anything valuable (or better yet anything at all) in the car. Leave it in your hotel.
This is absolutely true. However, I haven't heard of people breaking into police cars. Wow, I know criminals tend to be stupid, but that is ridiculous!

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by JBTX » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:27 pm

Many years ago visited Yosemite. We drove there and then took about a 1-2 hour hike to a place other a glorious view. If you are willing to walk an hour you will have a much better experience than all those people driving around in cars or a bus.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:13 pm

ryman554 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:14 am
Getting to/from Santa Cruz is a trek. There is no good way to get there. Take it easy and ignore the idiot tailgaters over the 17. You will use up one day getting there and back, if you want to do any visiting. Traffic is that bad. I might suggest heading to Santa Cruz one day, and doing Monterrey the next. You can circle around to Yosemite from there easily enough.
Yeah, for sure. Traffic going through Silicon Valley can be hellish, and then you need to drive over the pass. OR you can mosey along Route 1, a slow, curvey, two-lane road. Make sure it's open, there are occasional slides.

If the weather in Yosemite does not look promising you can do worse than spending time along the coast. Just don't expect to get anywhere in a hurry.

SF is a great walking city. If you are there Saturday consider spending the entire day In Golden Gate park.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and now PORTLAND

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:15 pm

Thank you for all the suggestions - I will be looking over them all the next day or so (plus some on trip advisor)

I am leaning to Big Basin as a "better" Redwood experience than Muir Woods. Redwood National Park is just too far North and I would rather spend that time in Yosemite. Yosemite is super high on my list; depending on the weather. Won't be doing high elevation hiking. But plan a 2-3 hour hike each day.
Mariposa grove is a must - I am a tree "nut".

in San Francisco; Though will do a lunch at Chinatown and a pizza at Una Pizza Napolteno (used to be 3 blocks from me before he moved to S.F.); food is not super high on my list (living in NY; tons of restaurants.
Will do a tour of San Fran plus tons of walking.
Probably spend an afternoon in the tourist place - Ghiradeli, North Beach, Russian Hill (where I used to live Van Ness/Chestnut);
Union Square; take a bunch of cable car rides; Walk the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, lived 3 blocks from Lombard street - so will pass on that;
Golden Gate, maybe the Haight, Chinatown. I remember Cliff house and Seal Rock at the end of Golden Gate;

have 2+ weeks to put together a list of do-able activities.



As for Sacramento -- doesn't look like a lot to see.

Portland - roommate from college is 2 hours away and will meet me in Portland; so now 2-3 days in Portland. This is rapidly becoming more vacation than work. Just beginning to compile a list of things to do in Portland now

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:21 pm

Check if the Mariposa Redwood grove in Yosemite is open.... I would focus on a few great experiences rather than everything.

Good luck!

Making me wonder about a quick getaway myself..,

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:25 pm

.....
Last edited by Rob5TCP on Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:26 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:25 pm
WoodSpinner wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:21 pm
Check if the Mariposa Redwood grove in Yosemite is open.... I would focus on a few great experiences rather than everything.

Good luck!

Making me wonder about a quick getaway myself..,
OH NO -- Mariposa grove is closed until Spring, 2018 (that was one of my highlights). Thanks for the tip - didn't even think it might be closed.
Maybe Sequoia National Park for a day.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:40 pm

You may also consider going to Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP got the ultimate Redwood experience.

It’s fairly close to Yosemite and amazing

Recommended by DW!

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by TTBG » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:49 pm

Henry Cowell is an alternative to Big Basin for seeing Redwoods. If you go in the main entrance, there is an easy one mile loop thru some second growth redwoods as well as some longer hikes. The Fall Creek section is about a mile away and is a beautiful place to take a 2 or 3 hour hike.

In any of the coastal CA parks, be sure to stay on the trail to avoid poison oak.

Yosemite is amazing but the best hikes from the Valley lead up and you might be limited by snow or ice at higher elevations. I'd still recommend spending a night or two there even if you never leave the Valley.

I've only been to Alcatraz once but I thought the tour was very interesting and well done (you wear headphones that narrate as you walk around). Plus you get a ferry ride and can spend some time on the SF wharf before or afterwards, so it can be a great way to spend a day in SF.

This thread might have some ideas too: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=221518

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:19 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:26 pm
Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:25 pm
WoodSpinner wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:21 pm
Check if the Mariposa Redwood grove in Yosemite is open.... I would focus on a few great experiences rather than everything.

Good luck!

Making me wonder about a quick getaway myself..,
OH NO -- Mariposa grove is closed until Spring, 2018 (that was one of my highlights). Thanks for the tip - didn't even think it might be closed.
Maybe Sequoia National Park for a day. - On reflection, Calavaras Tall Trees State Park is 90 minutes from my Sacramento work area.

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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and now PORTLAND

Post by lotusflower » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:23 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:15 pm
I am leaning to Big Basin as a "better" Redwood experience than Muir Woods. Redwood National Park is just too far North and I would rather spend that time in Yosemite. Yosemite is super high on my list; depending on the weather. Won't be doing high elevation hiking. But plan a 2-3 hour hike each day.
Mariposa grove is a must - I am a tree "nut".
Redwood National Park is far away. However Muir Woods is only about 5 miles north of SF as the crow flies (sorry if you were not confused about that). If you are indeed a tree nut I think that MW is a must-do. The drive over the Golden Gate Bride is just icing on the cake.
The main thing is to get there early before parking is too ridiculous. It would be like a Catholic skipping the Sistine Chapel since it's 'too touristy'.

mrsbetsy
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by mrsbetsy » Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:48 pm

Yes Muir Woods is closer than you think.

Big Basin ...lots of driving for ... meh.

Betsy

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catdude
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and now PORTLAND

Post by catdude » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:01 am

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:15 pm
Portland - roommate from college is 2 hours away and will meet me in Portland; so now 2-3 days in Portland. This is rapidly becoming more vacation than work. Just beginning to compile a list of things to do in Portland now

Saturday Market
Mulnomah Falls
Don't just see Multnomah Falls, there are other falls in the Columbia River Gorge worth checking out -- Bridal Veil, Horsetail Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Eagle Creek, etc. But I'm not sure how the recent wildfires have impacted these places.

And if you're into books at all, you need to check out Powell's Bookstore in Portland... 10th & West Burnside. Not to be missed....
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)

nalor511
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by nalor511 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:14 am

I don't know where you're planning to be in SF, but be aware that crime is up, even in previously safe areas, at previously safe times of day. http://hoodline.com/2017/10/fidi-north- ... ested-more

I don't say that to scare you away, but definitely be on your guard, and wary of your surroundings.

letsgobobby
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and now PORTLAND

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:22 am

catdude wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:01 am
Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:15 pm
Portland - roommate from college is 2 hours away and will meet me in Portland; so now 2-3 days in Portland. This is rapidly becoming more vacation than work. Just beginning to compile a list of things to do in Portland now

Saturday Market
Mulnomah Falls
Don't just see Multnomah Falls, there are other falls in the Columbia River Gorge worth checking out -- Bridal Veil, Horsetail Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Eagle Creek, etc. But I'm not sure how the recent wildfires have impacted these places.

And if you're into books at all, you need to check out Powell's Bookstore in Portland... 10th & West Burnside. Not to be missed....
almost all of these trails are closed. washington side is open, beacon rock and hardy and rodney falls. on the oregon side go to silver falls state park.

Njm8845
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and now PORTLAND

Post by Njm8845 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:41 am

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:15 pm
Thank you for all the suggestions - I will be looking over them all the next day or so (plus some on trip advisor)

I am leaning to Big Basin as a "better" Redwood experience than Muir Woods. Redwood National Park is just too far North and I would rather spend that time in Yosemite. Yosemite is super high on my list; depending on the weather. Won't be doing high elevation hiking. But plan a 2-3 hour hike each day.
Mariposa grove is a must - I am a tree "nut".

in San Francisco; Though will do a lunch at Chinatown and a pizza at Una Pizza Napolteno (used to be 3 blocks from me before he moved to S.F.); food is not super high on my list (living in NY; tons of restaurants.
Will do a tour of San Fran plus tons of walking.
Probably spend an afternoon in the tourist place - Ghiradeli, North Beach, Russian Hill (where I used to live Van Ness/Chestnut);
Union Square; take a bunch of cable car rides; Walk the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, lived 3 blocks from Lombard street - so will pass on that;
Golden Gate, maybe the Haight, Chinatown. I remember Cliff house and Seal Rock at the end of Golden Gate;

have 2+ weeks to put together a list of do-able activities.



As for Sacramento -- doesn't look like a lot to see.

Portland - roommate from college is 2 hours away and will meet me in Portland; so now 2-3 days in Portland. This is rapidly becoming more vacation than work. Just beginning to compile a list of things to do in Portland now

Saturday Market
Mulnomah Falls
Yosemite

We were there over thanksging a few years ago, and despite a little snow on the valley floor, most trails were open. You can drive up to glacier point (we hiked it) but double check that it’s open.

It’s too bad Mariposa is closed - that’s a must see.

Nevada falls is the best hike I’ve ever done. Saw several “non hiker” types complete it.

Hetch hetchy is another nice area of Yosemite that I haven’t seen mentioned.

San Francisco

This is one of my favorite cities. If you used to live there then you have more experience with it than me.

Portland

Are you driving from sf to Portland? That’s a long road trip.

I will echo someone else’s recommendation of Powell’s bookstore. It’s neat even if you’re not into books. Other than that, I didn’t really like Portland. Voodoo donuts are as good as advertised.

crater lake

You’ll be going by crater lake np. It gets hammered with snow, but check park road conditions because it’s definitely worth a stop.

highway one

This is completely wrong direction, but if you have a rental car and a few days to spare, I’d suggest driving down to San Simeon on highway 1. Between that and road to Hana, the prettiest drive I’ve ever done.

The Hearst castle is a must see.

GenXer
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by GenXer » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:12 am

I won't advise you on SF since it sounds like you have a plan. For Sacramento, depending on your interests, I'd recommend a few things:

•dinner at Press Bistro or Ella's
•a long walk in downtown, especially along the R Street Corridor
•a visit to the Crocker Art Museum, which gets better every time I visit (there's a Richard Diebenkorn exhibit currently). There are a lot of … sort of awful oil paintings by Europeans in the Western U.S. from 150 years ago, but there is a lot of amazing art as well. The site was originally a Crocker family member's mansion and the craftsmanship of the home is extraordinary.
•the small State Indian Museum on the grounds of Sutter's Fort. This small space is absolutely packed with amazing artifacts from California's original residents--there are boats, weapons, clothing, pottery, jewelry and informative explanations of culture and history. This place is far more satisfying than the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. (except for the food). The state ranger who was there on my last visit was a font of knowledge. Open every day 10-5. $5 entrance.
•a quick walk through Capitol Park and through the State Capitol building. No cost.

CedarWaxWing
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:31 pm

Raybo wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:06 am
The best hike I've take in Yosemite is the Panoramic Trail. It starts at Glacier Point and walks all the way down to Happy Isles via Nevada falls. Takes all day, pretty much. Take the bus up to Glacier Falls and walk down.

If you are going to go to Alcatraz, let me know via PM and I can give a guided tour once you are on the island.
YosemiteHikes.com (by a friend of mine who lives almost in Yosemite) is an excellent hike resource.

https://www.yosemitehikes.com/glacier-p ... -trail.htm

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Watty
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by Watty » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:13 pm

Unless you are extending your trip to be a month I think you are trying to cram too much into one trip and might not be able to enjoy much of what you are doing because you will be so rushed.

Is there any chance that the person from Portland could come down to go to Yosemite or San Francisco with you?

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:15 pm
Mulnomah Falls
The Columbia Gorge just had a BIG fire so the opportunities will be very limited there. The weather in December Oregon will be hit or miss at best for outdoor activities unless you want to do something like go skiing.

TravelGeek
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:36 pm

I’d skip Sacramento (edit: never mind. Just reread your OP; with your client there I guess that isn’t exactly an option). Instead see the great Sequoia trees in Sequoia NP south of Yosemite. The Redwoods in Muir Woods are their smallish cousins :)

I’d also skip Santa Cruz. Or if you go, go via Hwy 1 from SF. Easy scenic drive.

Are you driving to Portland?

letsgobobby
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:43 pm

Santa Cruz has the best Afghan restaurant I’ve ever eaten at, and one of my favorite meals of all time.

http://lailirestaurant.com

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GerryL
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by GerryL » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:44 pm

Hope you're planning to fly up to Portland.
I would love to drive down to SoCal for my annual Thanksgiving visit with my brother, but driving over the pass from OR to CA can be very iffy that time of year. If you drive, you will need to be sure to carry snow chains with you. Lots of mountains in Northern California.

TTBG
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by TTBG » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:55 am

GerryL wrote:
Hope you're planning to fly up to Portland.
I would love to drive down to SoCal for my annual Thanksgiving visit with my brother, but driving over the pass from OR to CA can be very iffy that time of year. If you drive, you will need to be sure to carry snow chains with you. Lots of mountains in Northern California.
+1

I-5 between Redding and Ashland has winding, mountainous road, lots of big rigs, and at least in my experience, consistently bad weather. Not a fun drive!

SrGrumpy
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:16 am

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:32 am
Are there places / sites in / near Sacramento that are worth pursuing.
Folsom is 24 miles east of Sacramento. Best known for its prison, which has a museum and gift store on the premises. It's a nice town in its own right with plenty of history. If you like pies, venture another 30 miles to Ikeda's in Auburn for killer deals on pecan pies, etc. (The family also has a branch about 12 miles west of Sacramento, in Davis.)

Lodi is 36 miles south of Sacramento. Best known for featuring in a CCR song. Great town for wine tastings and restaurants.

Chico is 90 miles north of Sacramento. A must-stop for the free Sierra Nevada Brewing tour and amazing restaurant. This may be en route to your northern stops.

I've lived in California for 25 years, and these towns were revelations to me when I visited them a few months ago. What? There's more to California than L.A. and SanFran?

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dm200
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by dm200 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:36 am

Cannot recall all the details (been many years), but you can see some very nice Coastal Redwoods south of San Francisco. There is a grove of the "Big Trees" (Sequoias) in or near Yosemite. I recommend seeing both.

emanuel_v19
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by emanuel_v19 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:33 pm

Nice!

I can only speak for SF and this is my tiny suggestion.

If you enjoy walking, a small jaunty stroll from Union Square to "Local Edition", a speakeasy bar, will give you a nice intro to a potential long night in the city. After your favorite drink, take a walk to China town and enjoy the scenery, food and culture. Then, I walk towards Vallejo Street(make a left on Vallejo), which will lead you to some viewing platforms of the bay bridge(I don't think many tourist find these places as they are more familiar to locals). Keep walking on Vallejo St. towards Hyde st, make a right and follow the trolley tracks towards Ghiradelli square. Frankly, I enjoy walking back to Union Square by following the trolley path/tracks. If you get exhausted, hop on the trolley! or Uber/Lyft. Make sure to find out the payment methods first.

Tons of more places to visit in the city and its surrounding areas but this is my usual and casual thing to do when I go up to SF.

Enjoy!

victw
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by victw » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:28 pm

The library in San Fran runs free group tours. They are donation based. There are several different tours - different areas/time of day. I would keep a list of these handy in case you have a break in your schedule. Or pick one that strikes your fancy.

What we learned on the free tour we took is that San Francisco - has free open spaces that are rooftops on commercial buildings. I can't remember what they are called. But they are all over. And are great places for having a snack - getting a different perspective.

Yosemite at this time of the year (really any time) will require some planning - but if you have a hankering - make it happen.

You said food isn't the thing. But we love Burma Superstore in San Francisco.

Fun trip.
Vic

Carefreeap
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:45 am

Tioga Pass in Yosemite is closed due to our 2nd snowstorm of the season.

I would not plan on driving between Portland and San Francisco in November either. Beautiful in the late spring and summer but hazardous in the winter.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Going to SF, Yosemite and Sacramento and NOW PORTLAND

Post by Rob5TCP » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:31 pm

I will be leaving soon for 4 days in Portland, 5 in Sacramento and the balance in/around the Bay Area.

Portland -I am meeting with friends - Multnomah falls is off the list; it's closed
will probably go to Canon Beach if it doesn't rain.

Sacramento - when not working I plan to spend most of my time among the Redwoods in Calaveras National Park
if more time is available; I will go to Yosemite and perhaps a long day in Sequoia National Park.

San Francisco - too many things to list in San Francisco
out of S.F. - two days at Big Basin/Henry Colwell Redwoods park.

The suggestions for SF, Portland and Sacramento have been good and I should be using my "down time" to exploring.

Thank you again !!!

Rob

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