Highway 1 to San Francisco

The drive out of Santa Monica where Interstate 10 ends and Pacific Coast Highway starts was so scenic and beautiful. The famous Malibu beach was right there. It was unbelievable although there wasn’t much to see around Malibu. It’s real uptown, only for the wealthy peeps. California driving never disappoints and they are at it all through flying through the curves at 80 and 90 mph..Crazy people I tell you.

We followed the Pacific Ocean until Santa Barbara then went inland through the Los Padres National Forest. We stopped briefly at Cachuma Lake. Wish we could have camped there but we were short on time. Our target for the day was San Jose or the Silicon Valley as they call it. Once we left the forest there wasn’t much to see on the backroads other than miles and miles of vineyards.

We hit San Jose just in time to see an old friend from Nairobi in Fremont before attempting to find a hotel. It was the single most difficult place to find a hotel or should I say an affordable hotel. All hotels in the area were full and after a couple of attempts we were forced to check into the Crowne Plaza Silicon Valley. We had a relaxed morning as we were only an hour from San Francisco. The flash drive makers Kingston were right next to the hotel. It really is the tech valley.

In an hour we were crossing the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. It’s pure madness out there. Hundreds and hundreds of tourists and to make it worse they have bicycles for hire. Imagine trying to share the road with happy and excited tourists..total chaos. It’s very scenic and quite a piece of engineering. We drove around for a bit, took pictures and then we headed into the ‘dreaded’ Oakland.

You always hear about Oakland and you think of gangs and it being a dangerous place but we were shocked to discover that there are different areas of Oakland and our Kenyan host was not amused that we were hating on her neighborhood.

We took a train across the bay into San Francisco. It was so cool being under water. Apparently the tube is 41m under water and it’s 9km long. It was quite an experience.

We had been warned about San Francisco. The moment we stepped off the tube we could sniff some weed in the air. Unbelievable and random. I don’t know how they do it but it’s not a big deal out there.

Our host took us on the cable car ride around and city and it’s a tourist’s dream. It’s so hilly and I think the cable cars are electric but they looked so old school. You could get off at any point and catch another at any point. Then there was the ‘most crooked street in America’, it’s so steep and curvy. It’s not very long. Just a couple hundred metres but you feel your thighs burning up walking it. Very good way of sight seeing. We were there for hours. You can see the de-commissioned Alcatraz Prison from some hill in the city. I also got to meet my good Kenyan friend who was visiting from Calgary, Canada. We hang out and just enjoyed the evening ‘cold’ breeze. It was quite chilly around San Fran to be honest. I’ll go back to San Fran some day, there is so much to do in that place.  A day wasn’t enough. Thank you Mercy for the great time we had in San Francisco.

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