Updated: Dec 6, 2019
1. Drove the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from LA. If I were to do it again I would drive it from SF to LA (the Southbound lane has better views). Saw Mike Love in a convertible jaguar somewhere around Carmel (not completely sure it was him, but it will be for story telling purposes). Made three significant stops along the way:
-Rockford’s trailer location (Season’s 2-7): Paradise Cove, Malibu (28128 Pacific Coast Highway). The trailer is long gone, but the location is still recognizable to hardcore fans (like me). Park up on PCH and make the short walk down (to avoid the exhorbidant parking fees). Don’t forget to check out the pier where Jim and Rocky would go fishing and the restaurant where Jim and Dennis would eat tacos.
-Prior to reaching Paradise Cove, you will pass 22878 Pacific Coast Hwy, the very Southern portion of this parking garage lot was where Rockford’s trailer was located during Season 1 (for true nut jobs only).
2. Bayshore Inn Ventura: acceptable lodgings. The Night Manager was a gracious former member of the Rhodesian Army. We reminisced with him about our recent visit to Victoria Falls and realized (once again) how immigrants make this country stronger.
3. The Elephant Seal Rookery (San Simeon): Passed on The Hearst Castle and stopped here instead - no regrets. Great location to watch the Elephant Seals sunbath, sleep, frolic and swim.
4. SF lodgings: We stayed in the Richmond District, that is about two miles West of downtown (27th Ave & Clement). The place had a small town feel to it with a non Hobby Lobby hobby store that sold comic books and models (I didn’t know stores like this still existed), a store that repairs microwaves!, etc). A 30 minutes bus ride to downtown (on the 38R for $2.50). Friends lent us their Clipper card (highly recommended, the the Clipper Card and getting a loaner from good friends).
5. BART (the Bay Area Rapid Transit - the subway, or Metro for you prissy European types) seems capable enough, though expensive: From San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to downtown was @$9.50. I think the bus maybe a better deal.
6. Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge: Read here that walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is overrated, but cannot disagree more. There are numerous old fortifications to be explored and the National Park Service does a fine job with some interactive displays at the Southern end of the bridge. There are great views everywhere along the way, but especially at Vista Point on the Northern end (check out the statue of The Lone Sailor waiting for his ship). Then continue on walking to Sausalito and then take the ferry back to downtown SF.
7. Legion of Honor (a gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, wife of the sugar magnate and thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder Adolph B. Spreckels - now that’s a name!). A three-quarter-scale version of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur. An interesting museum located in Lincoln Park (34th and Clement). In the entrance courtyard please inspect The Thinker (one of 22 cast during Rodin’s lifetime).
8. City Lights Bookstore (261-271 Columbus Avenue): an historic beat bookstore from which the book “Howl” was sold to an undercover S.F Policeman, which in turn initiated subsequent obscenity trial (“Imagine being arrested for selling poetry!”). Throw ‘em a bone and buy a book (from a bookstore), I recommend “I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen”.
9. Drink with a view. Rated in order:
-Cityscape Lounge (Hilton San Francisco Union Square): 360 degree views of downtown San Francisco. Service was slower than the Marriott, but the views were better.
-The View Lounge (San Fransisco Marrioott Marquis): opens at 4:00 pm, great views of the Bay, though service is corporate at best.
-Rooftop at Via (Hotel Via): 12 story views of S.F. Bay and the adjacent AT&T Park. Marriott-like views with Hilton-like service. Though still not bad if your in the neighborhood. Reserved for hotel guests, though if you ask nicely (like I did), they will probably let you go up for a drink.
-1199 Clay Street: where Bullitt stops to buy his tv dinners. Relatively unchanged except for the freezer section. Directly across the street is Bullitt's apartment (1153 Clay St)
-down the street a block away is Grace Cathedral where Chalmers meets with Captain Bennett. The cathedral looks different from the movie, but you'll recognize it.