Time to hit the road and explore the SF’s environs!

For the independent traveler, here are quite a few choices.  If you’re so inclined and on a budget, you may rent a bike and paddle away (yes it can be done!)- just make sure you have the stamina to climb up the hills.

OR you can do it the leisurely way and just book a day tour. There are quite a few choices and most of them are very easy to book. If you’re staying in a hostel as I was, then you can just grab some brochures at the literature stand  (for sure they’ll have one) and just give them call.

If you’d rather, also go to the Fisherman’s Wharf (one of SF most touristy spots) and just book at the tourist info center.

You’re choices will inevitably be as follows:

1. Napa Valley Winneries

2. Yosemite Park

3. Muir Woods /Suaslito

4. Monterrey/Carmel

I chose number three because  a.) I’m not a wine person.  b.) Yosemite takes the whole day and c.) I have no idea what to see in Monterey/Carmel.

For US$48.00, I booked myself half-day tour to the last patch of Red Woods in the SF area – the Muir Woods National Park.

Said to be the tallest living creature in the planet, the Red woods make for a very interesting day trip outside SF.  Our bus took us the entrance of the park and from there, it was pretty much on your own for the next hour-and-a-half,  enough time to explore the inside.

Once inside, the weather was noticeably cooler and the air more crisp.  A natural stillness pervades the surroundings broken only occasionally by the delightful shrieks of  little children.  Nature really has way casting her spell and making us realize how we’re always connected with her.

It’s really amazing how these trees can be over a millennium old. This particular was  has her life story which states that she was born over 1,100 year ago! Just think, she was a baby when the Tang Dynasty ruled China, when Europe was in the Dark Ages, when the Khmers were building Angkor, ha, when the United States was terra incognita! Oh, the Philippines too.

They can be enormously big too,  it’ll probably take 3 people with their hands outstretch to totally hug its trunk!

Tip: The trail is laid out in such a way that it doesn’t end where it starts -or where your tour bus will probably park- so you if you think you’ve been overwhelmed enough, then turn and walk back to the entrance.

Heading back to the city, one stops at the town of Suasilito, the favored address of SF’s old rich and moneyed class.  We pass through through this stretch of boat houses along the way. It made me wonder, is this how the other-half of San Francisco really lived?  Oh well, live and let live!

Suasilito’s main drag, the name which escapes my memory. It is dotted with little mom-and-pop stores selling a wide variety of brick-a-bracks (things not nessarily I would buy) but it made for a nice stroll. Oh, and there’s a popular burger joint on the strip.

What was supposed to be a highlight af the trip – the requisite souvenir shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, well  this…! Turns out that that day just happened to be the one when SF decided to a fog show. Drat!

Tip: Before you join any of these half-day tour tours (w/c includes the GG Bridge), check out the weather forecast!

The tour ended with the driver playing  the unofficial city theme song  ‘I Left my Heart in SF’ as we passed through the foggy bridge and I admired its faint Deco details.

The view from the post cards look so much better.

Muir Woods/Suasilito Day tour – $48.00 damage, includes pick up and drop off, entrances, tour. Food and drinks not included.