After our overnight in Yosemite, we are heading to San Francisco to begin phase 2 of our vacation (essentially the “city” part).
We’re not yet done with Yosemite but rather than head back into the park we know that there are some good things to do and see more locally and along our way. So we begin with a visit to Hetch Hetchy Valley and specifically O’Shaughnessy’s Dam (see video) which sits to the north of the park (actually you exit the park and then go back in again to get there). From what we’ve seen so far in Yosemite, this is really a hidden gem. Almost free of cars and tourists, it’s a little off the beaten track but well worth the effort. There are a number of walks off the main drag which we didn’t have the time for but even in the short window of time we had there were some nice walks and some great views.
On the route towards San Francisco, we stopped off for an hour at Rainbow Pool. Although it’s quite highly rated on trip advisor its actually reasonably
difficult to find as its neither well signposted nor popular (i.e. usually you can tell when you’re approaching a major attraction as there are people milling around, large car parks, visitor centers or all three! There are none of those. Coupled with that you will notice that there is limited cell phone reception anywhere near Yosemite so actually finding it by navigation is complicated. Anyway, it’s essentially a stream with some
gentle waterfalls leading through a number of pools. The pools provide great opportunities for some swimming. I have to say that the area does not feel particularly well maintained but the pools are good fun and they’re great for a mid-morning cool off. A nice surprise.
We’re picking someone up in San Francisco – don’t ask – which means a three-hour drive from Yosemite to the city with the number of highway lanes increasing as we go and the traffic getting heavier and heavier. Actually, the journey to the airport in midafternoon is surprisingly uneventful (given the volume of traffic that seems to be leaving the city) and we arrive the airport about 4:00 pm. The airport is south of the city and we quickly realize why it was so quiet… everyone is leaving the city. So as we head north to our overnight stay in Fairfield (don’t ask – again) we run headlong into six lanes (sometimes eight) of solid traffic. We now feel a very long way away from Austria! However, here is a top tip – during rush hour if you have three or more people in your car you can use the pool lane which moves markedly quicker but it still some 40 miles north of the city before the traffic clears. I don’t know if this is unusual for San Francisco but if it is then frankly it must be a nightmare for anyone who lives here.
Our overnight stay is at the Hampton Inn and Suites Suisun City Waterfront which is the number one hotel in the area (not difficult as it’s the only hotel there 😉 but actually a perfectly decent hotel with everything you need (free breakfast, small gym etc.) and we’re paying nothing for it as it was booked on points. After we’d arrived we had a (surprisingly good) early evening dinner in Cast Iron Grill and Bar which was incredibly busy given that how few people there seem to be living near our hotel. We’re staying here as originally we weren’t picking someone up from the airport and there are a couple of fun things here that we wanted to do. On reflection, it was probably a mistake and it’s a night we could have used elsewhere. Tomorrow …..San Francisco!