Our USA road trip finally comes to an end today. Although we are sad that it’s over we are looking forward to getting home, as always. We feel like we’ve been here forever (in a good way) and when we think of all the things we’ve done, places we’ve seen and people we’ve met we are feeling satisfied with what we’ve done and grateful for the ability to do it. The new memories we have made are priceless and it was a great way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Rachel’s already planning our 30th!!
Yesterday we spent the day cycling. We hired bikes at Pier 39, just as we did 5 years ago, and headed off along the Embarcadero towards the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a beautifully sunny day but cool enough for cycling by the coast. It’s a great cycle path along the coastline to the bridge, mostly off road, the sea-facing houses are something to behold. We wondered if the people that live here know how lucky they are. The views as we approached the bridge were spectacular and the sheer size of the bridge just makes you want to stand and stare. I was stopping and getting the camera out every few minutes – Rachel was very patient! She’ll thank me for it when we get home!
Last time we cycled the Golden Gate Bridge it was a very overcast day (mist off the sea is very common here) but this time it was a crystal clear day. It’s a great feeling to cross the bridge. There’s such a feeling of space and light and it takes a good few minutes to get to the other side. Once there we visited the visitor centre – how strange that a bridge can have its own visitor centre. From the other side you get a fantastic view of the city and a head-on view back across the bridge. There were hundreds of people just standing and staring at the scene but it didn’t feel too busy even so.
Next, the long free-wheel down into Sausalito.This is one of our favourite places filled with quaint shops, bars, restaurants – all at the edge of the water. Boats of all kinds bob about in the gentle water and a steady stream of cyclists pass by. For all the bikes there’s no shortage of free bike parking along the front. We (Rachel) headed straight for the ice cream parlour we visited last time with the kids. I followed in Rachel’s considerable wake and she forced me to consume a bucket-load of Vanilla and Caramel Fudge ice cream with fudgy bits and hot fudge sauce. I gave in far too easily!
We cycled on to the other end of town and found a nice little inlet populated with house boats – people actually live on the water and have their own little allotment or garden just onshore. Each house boat was different and usually brightly coloured. A little further around the bend was a pristine white beach with big expensive yachts moored up. By now the heat was draining our energy so we cycled back into town, parked up and dipped into a very nice Tequila bar and snacked on natchos and spicy dips. I, personally, could have stayed there all day. It was so laid back and friendly with a very long menu of cocktails and Tequilas I had never heard of. Not sure Rachel could have carried me back to the hotel so, reluctantly, we joined the queue for the ferry back to San Francisco.
You get some amazing views from the bay and the sound of the sea and the wind in your hair makes you want the trip to never end but soon we were back onshore with our bikes and began the short ride back to Pier 39.
While we were in Sausalito we could see smoke on the horizon across in the city and when we arrived back we found out what it was – one of the warehouses around Pier 31 was on fire. The Embarcadero was cordoned off by the fire fighters and Police. We took a detour and eventually got back to the start. However, now with the trams not running along the Enbarcadero we had to find another way back to the hotel. After a walk we hopped on a bus, which finally dropped us off at Union Square, very near the hotel. We crashed out for a couple of hours, exhausted.
In the evening we took advice from the hotel front desk and went to Tad’s Steakhouse – a fast food Diner that cooked high quality 14 oz steaks to order. It was one of the best steaks we have had in our whole time in the USA, and in a no-frills Diner. Only in America!
So that was the final full day of our road trip. Now it’s the next morning and we are packed ready to leave the hotel for the last time. On reflection, we have had such a great time, seen so many great things and met so many really nice people along the way. We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog as much as we have enjoyed writing it. A month is a long time to be away and we’ll be glad to get home to our family and friends and bore them all over again with many more photos and tales of Andy and Rachel’s Road Tip USA.
Here are some photos of our last full day in the USA: