We stayed in Hayward, CA Sunday night so we would only have a short drive over the bay bridge to get into San Francisco Monday morning. I think this day was the one I was most excited for the whole trip! (Luckily for me, pretty much every other day was equally awesome!) I've always wanted to go to San Fran and I've always wanted to see the Redwoods... and neither was a disappointment!
We started out the morning at Fisherman's wharf and Pier 39... we saw Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from a distance, and a few sea lions up close (We probably would have seen dozens more had we gotten there earlier). Then we walked over to Ghirardelli Square. They no longer have tours of the factory, but they still give out a free piece of chocolate!
Then we decided to walk the 15 blocks to China Town. Unfortunately, we were forgetting the fact that the city is built on a hill. We may have chosen the steepest route there. We walked all over those streets trying to find a less-steep way to get there, but really just ended up walking up, then down, then up, then down... but at least we got close and personal to the architecture and crazy streets of San Francisco!
We needed to be leaving San Fran by 2pm so we could get to the drive-thru tree and avenue of the giants before dark... we didn't quite make it by 2, but we were kinda close. So after just a few hours in San Francisco, we were off... by way of Golden Gate Bridge.
I don't know what I was expecting to happen as we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, but it didn't happen. It was still really cool, and I definitely wanted pictures of it... but it's still just a bridge. The opening credits of Full House made it seem like 30x cooler to my 10 year old mind. But whatever. It's still cool.
Our next stop was at the Chandelier Drive-thru tree just south of the official Redwood National Forest. I must say that driving through a tree is a unique experience. And if you ever get the chance, you might as well take it!
Then we got off of Redwood Highway to take the Avenue of the Giants Highway (a 30 mile road parallel to redwood highway). I really wish we would have had more time here. The redwoods are so incredible! But it got dark way too quickly so we didn't get to go to any of the famous trees (big tree, tall tree, etc), but just driving through them all was such a neat experience. It's crazy that these trees hundreds of feet in the air have such small, yet interlocking roots. Definitely a highlight of the trip for me.
These pictures just don't exemplify the majesty of it all...
We stopped again for the night in Eureka, CA. We originally planned to stop here so we could see all the redwoods in one day (Tuesday). We didn't realize that the Avenue of the Giants, where most of the "famous" trees are, was south of Eureka until we got deeper into the planning. But it all worked out still.