Day 19 – Oakhurst to San Francisco

California

Left our mountain trail Hotel in beautiful sunshine. It would be our last view of the mountains and the miles of fir trees. A quick re-arrangement of our clothes before we left this area and we were on our way (we wouldn’t need thermals or thick clothes now until we returned to the UK).

Heading out of Oakhurst on country roads for around 30miles we knew this would be the last of the ‘quaint’ small towns for a while, and possibly the last on this trip as we headed to San Francisco and the Pacific Coast.

We followed a new level of scenery, after some more arable farms, we came across miles of nut fruit trees. It turned out they were pistachio nut trees. We stopped for gas and everyone was speaking Spanish. So I really thought with the nuts and the language I was back in Spain!

We picked up the CA99, a three lane each side motorway and watched the miles pass by. We were enjoying a new number of tracks added to our travel playlist – more of that on our music blog, and obviously were listening to ‘If you’re going to San Francisco’!

Lunch at Lake Meritt

We stopped just before SF for another one of our picnic lunches. This time at Oakland which looks over to SF at the lovely Lake Meritt, where the locals were out exercising and walking their dogs. People were friendly, smiling and saying hello, which was nice.

We left Oakland to make our way to our hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf, driving over the impressive Oakland to SF Bay Bridge with 5 Lanes of traffic either side. The bridge gave us our first views of the lovely bay.

We arrived at our hotel and I made an excuse so that Chris should stay in the car. I was met by helpful staff for the check in. I explained that the reason for our trip was my husband’s 60th and that our adult children would be arriving shortly as a surprise. The receptionist asked whether my husband drank white or red wine and said they would look after him. We were able to pull the car in right outside the hotel whilst the porters collected our cases and took them to our room. This made a nice change after the many motels we had been staying in.

Having checked into our room, I needed to ‘get Chris away’ from the hotel before the kids arrived.

So we made our way out to see the iconic Golden Gate Bridge – another famous landmark on this trip. We stopped at the viewing point on the south side and then drove over the bridge to stop again at the viewing point on he north side. We were able to take in the stunning views of this pretty bay. And again the weather was kind – there was a heat haze, but it was sunny and dry!

After the Golden Gate, Chris wanted to drive around some of the famous steep streets – which we did. Yes, they are steep!

So after a total of 3,720 miles we finally dropped off Abby! The GMC Yukon 6.2 litre V8 car, I gave the car the nickname due to its number plate of ABY 123, but Chris didn’t appreciate it! I will be sorry to see Abby go. She has been such a big part of this trip since we first became acquainted in Salt Lake City 15 days ago. We have seen so much of this beautiful country together.

Having left Abby behind, we walked around the wharf to find a bar for what would be “the big reveal”. Our adult children were visiting San Francisco for a few days and wanted to surprise their Dad. Their plan was to send him a photo message of themselves in the bar we were in! The plan worked to perfection and he was amazed to find his ‘little cherubs’ half way round the world in the same bar as us. It was a lovely moment and one I think we will all cherish for ever!

Knowing Chris loves his music, we decided to have dinner in the Hard Rock Cafe and bought a shot glass to add to the 22 we have bought from these cafes around the world.

A stroll back to the hotel and a quiet drink in the bar before the ‘kids’ retired to bed – they were on UK time and needed some sleep.

We made it back to our room where the hotel staff had put a large slice of birthday cake and bottle of wine in the room for Chris. Nice touch Hotel Zoe, thank you.

So the secret is out and after months of planning I don’t think he really was expecting that! (From Chris: no I absolutely was not!!! Fantastic surprise and well done all!)

Until tomorrow and some family time in Frisco!

Ax