This post consists of days 5 and 6 of our California road trip. Taking you from Reno, Nevada to San Francisco, California. These two days were so much fun! If you missed part 1 or 2 you can find the link to them at the end of this post.
California Road Trip ~ Day 5
We slept in and didn’t leave the hotel until around 10:30. We drove around behind the hotel and flew Phillip’s drone around the lake for a little while. The views were amazing!
On To Reno
We left there and headed toward Reno. Because of our late start, we didn’t get there until around 1:30. Being fans of Reno 911 we started looking for the sign that is at the beginning of every show. As we entered the area where the casinos are we found it!
We drove through looking at the sights and decided to go to Circus Circus. We found a parking deck close by and headed toward some fun!
This is a very interesting casino. The downstairs has literally hundreds of slots mostly new with some older games mixed in. We went to get a players card and was told to come back to the players club after we had a certain amount of points. After we played for a little while we realized we had enough points. We went back and were rewarded with food comps.
The food court was upstairs so that’s where we headed. We were surprised to find a whole different atmosphere there. Besides the food court, there are several booths they call midway games. There were families with children everywhere playing these games. There were even acrobats and they were amazing!
After watching the entertainment for a little while we decided to go to El Jefe’s Cantina. It was happy hour so they did not have a full menu, only drinks, and small plates. That was fine with us! We ordered a couple of appetizers and a couple of margaritas. By the time we left, we were full and happy!!
The Silver Legacy Resort
After playing a while longer both of us started losing more than we were winning so we decided to check out the casino across the street. When we went to get a players card we found that The Silver Legacy Resort is owned by the same company as Circus Circus so we did not have to get new player cards.
This casino seemed to be very similar to Circus Circus minus the midway games and entertainment. They also had several slot machines mixed between old and new. We didn’t stay there very long. After playing a while my luck completely ran out! Phillip did ok but neither of us came out a millionaire like we had planned!
Donner Lake / Donner Pass
Our destination on our California road trip was San Francisco so we headed that way. We stopped across the interstate from a beautiful lake to fly the drone. We found out from our GPS that we had stopped at Donner Lake Vista Point in Truckee, CA. Phillip thought he remembered some kind of story about a Donner Pass and after a quick search on the internet we found out that it had a very sad history.
The pass was used by early pioneers to reach California from the East. They had to get their wagons over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. In 1844 the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party followed the Truckee River into the mountains. At the head of what is now called Donner Lake, they found a low notch in the mountains and became the first overland settlers to use the pass. In early November 1846, the Donner Party found the route blocked by snow and was forced to spend the winter on the east side of the mountains. Of the 81 settlers, only 45 survived to reach California; some of them resorting to cannibalism to survive.
After we left Donner Lake we continued driving until we hit a town called Auburn. We made reservations at the Rodeway Inn and pulled in around 9:00. It was late and we were tired so all that mattered was that the room was clean and the bed was comfortable. This hotel met our needs perfectly.
California Road Trip ~ Day 6
After a good nights sleep, we headed out around 9:30 towards San Francisco. We passed through some beautiful countryside and stopped to eat in Novato, CA. This was just a quick stop because we were anxious to get to San Francisco so we went to In & Out burger again. By the way, In & Out is the only chain restaurant we went to during the entire trip.
The Golden Gate Bridge
We got to San Francisco around 1:00 and headed straight to the Golden Gate Bridge. When we decided to go on a California road trip we knew we had to go here. We were both excited to see it. We went to the National Recreation area and followed the road until we were almost directly underneath the bridge. What an amazing sight!! We took several pictures and we stopped a young couple and asked them if they would take a couple of pictures of the two of us. They were happy to oblige and in return, we took some pictures for them. As we were talking we found out they were from Pompano Beach, FL which is where I grew up! It’s a small world.
After taking several pictures we started out when Phillip noticed a police officer pulled into a parking spot. We stopped to talk to him about his beautiful city and to ask him for any tips on where to view the bridge. He told us about a road that would take us to the overlooks where we could view the bridge from above it. We thanked him and left to find where he was talking about.
The Most Amazing Views
The views from above the bridge were incredible! The bridge was mostly covered by fog. We actually watched it rolling off the mountain behind us down into the valley below. It was such an incredible sight.
I think this is a great place to show you a little more of our video narrating the trip. Phillip has a way with words as you will see!
We headed to Pier 39 and spent a couple of hours walking around, eating an early dinner and taking pictures of our surroundings. We went to Chowders for their famous clam chowder served in bread bowls. It was exactly what we needed since the weather was downright cold! I even bought a jacket at one of the souvenir shops because I had forgotten mine at home. We had so much fun people watching and looking in the little shops.
Cable Cars & Chinatown
After we left the pier we were just going to drive around a little but we saw the start of the line for the famous San Francisco cable cars. We decided it would be fun to ride them to see the sights. We got on around 4:45 and about 15 minutes later we realized we were in Chinatown which is another place we wanted to see on this California road trip. Each ticket is one way and we had bought 2 tickets each so we decided to hop off in Chinatown and then catch it going back to get to our car.
Chinatown was just what we expected. It was filled with little shops, restaurants, and bakeries. We lost ourselves in the culture and took several pictures. We weren’t hungry since we had eaten not long ago but we did buy a couple of cookies at one of the bakeries. They were really very tasty. After a while, we headed back to where we thought we needed to be to catch the cable car back.
The Cable Car Odessey
Well I didn’t know it and neither did Phillip but there is more than one cable car line and they go to several different places. We hopped on one and when he asked where we were going we told him Mason and found out we were on the wrong car! So two blocks later we hopped off with directions from the conductor where to catch the right one. We headed that way. It was only a couple of blocks over but if you have never seen the streets in San Francisco let me tell you… they are straight up!! Walking 2 blocks is like climbing a mountain!
Phillip really needed a potty break and that made it much worse. We stopped at a couple of places to see if they would let him use the restroom but no one would. When we got to where we were told to go we didn’t see any tracks so we knew we were in the wrong place. I stopped a man who was walking his dogs and asked him. He told us to go 3 more blocks over and then 2 blocks down.
By this time Phillip was getting really frustrated!! As we got to the corner where we were supposed to turn I saw that it was a park. Parks have bathrooms! I went over to the building only to find a sign that said the bathrooms were out of order and to use the church across the street. I looked across the street and the church had stairs that looked like they went all the way to heaven! They were seriously really high! Phillip said no way and we continued to the corner.
Lost on the Cable Cars
We waited and jumped on the car and made sure to ask if they were going to Mason which they were so we sat back and rested. As we were going Phillip kept saying that he didn’t recognize any of the buildings. I told him we were probably going back a different way then we went. When we got there we realized this was not where we got on!
Phillip called one of the conductors over and very forcefully told the guy that he was going to have to help us. “We are lost, we can’t find our car and I have to PEE!!” I couldn’t help but laugh. Phillip jokingly says that he doesn’t want to go to the same place all the time because he wants to be lost on vacation. We were seriously lost on this California road trip!
The conductor was very nice and after we told him about where we got on and I showed him a video we took of the car being turned around he was able to determine that we had got on at Market, not Mason. He very kindly told the conductor of the cable car that was going that way our predicament and they allowed us to ride back with him at no charge! Of course, we had to endure several jokes on the way!
We finally got back to the right place around 7:30 and found our car. This had been a very exciting eventful day so we decided to try to find a hotel within our budget and get some sleep.
Hotels in San Francisco
When we started searching for a hotel we were literally shocked! Do you know there are hotels in San Francisco that go for $3000.00 a night?! What is the world could a room have that would make it worth that price? Well, of course, that was way over our budget as were most of the hotels in the area.
We found a decent hotel that fit our needs in Oakland called the Bay Breeze Inn. The only problem was the location. It was kind of on the seedy side but I did not feel that it was unsafe. The beds were comfortable and the room was clean.
We got there around 8:30 and by the time we got checked in and settled, we were ready for a good nights sleep.
So this gets us through to the last couple of days of our California road trip. The last two days were spent on the Pacific Coast Highway. I can’t wait to share the last of our trip with you. I will post it as soon as I can.