San Francisco to Denver Road Trip | Day 2: San Francisco & Oakland, CA

In May 2014 we drove 1,950 miles through 6 different states (California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado). We went to 5 national parks/landmarks, went to 4 museums, took 2 factory tours, rode a train through the Rockies, went on a boat cruise of Lake Tahoe, took a walking tour of San Fran, hiked the tallest peak in Salt Lake City, saw real dinosaur bones in Colorado, survived the highest altitude we’ve ever been at (11K feet), ate countless memorable meals, and had one Guy Fieri sighting. Check out our route:


Day 2 started off awesome when I woke up with a horrible sunburn on my face, confirming my fears from Day 1. I was not a happy camper. The struggle is real.

We got ourselves together and headed out the door in search of breakfast. Over bagels we discussed the most important part of the day – picking up our rental car. We weren’t due to pick it up until 11am which meant putting our day on hold until then. The Yelp reviews for the Avis location were horrible and my idea was to just go there right after breakfast (9am) and get the car. That way, if the wait was crazy, we would have free time to burn. We debated it for a bit and just went for it. We walked to Avis, which was about a mile away, and held our breath. Well, as it turns out, we were in and out with our car in 10 minutes. So relieved! And with the whole day ahead of us too! We headed back to the hotel, packed up, and checked out.

It took a while to get out of downtown and by that point in the day, we were starting to get hungry again. We stopped at Arizmendi Bakery for a slice of their famous pizza du jour (that day it was tomato, garlic, onion). It was so good. We also got cookies for later, no big deal.


Our plan was to do a bit more car-required sightseeing in San Francisco and then head out of town. Our first stop was at the Sutro Baths at Lands End, part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory.



We hoofed it up the trail and down a huge flight of stairs to get to the Sutro Baths.



The Sutro Baths was once a lavish 25,000 person swimming facility and museum built into the west coast cliffs of San Francisco. The facility was home to 6 saltwater swimming areas (emptied and filled by the tides), 517 private dressing rooms, restaurants, and arcades – enclosed by 100,000 square feet of glass. The structure was destroyed by a fire in 1966 but the foundation is still visible today.

What it used to look like:

sutro_baths_rear_001 Sutro Baths (in possession)_small

What it looks like today:







Afterward we drove over to Twin Peaks, the second highest point in the city of San Francisco.


The view overlooking downtown and the bay is breathtaking. Here’s a panorama:



The view of Market Street running right through the city is unmistakable:


Another unmistakable sight from way up here is the Golden Gate Bridge. I will never get tired of seeing it; what a majestic landmark.


With that, our time in San Francisco was over. I was palpably sad. I love this city and I knew John was converted as well. But, we had seven and a half more days of road trip ahead of us and a lifetime to come back for more visits. Over the Bay Bridge to Oakland we went.


We did some shopping and debated on what to do next in Oakland. I wanted to get on the road to Sacramento (our final destination for the night) but John wanted to stay and check out the Oakland Museum of California. I didn’t really want to but he insisted. I’m so glad he did – this was one of the best museums I have ever been to!

The museum is divided into Art, History, and the Exhibit Hall. In the Exhibit Hall was the Vinyl exhibit and the Super Awesome exhibit.


“Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of groundbreaking alternative art and culture magazine Giant Robot, the museum features the major exhibition, SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot featuring works by 15 contemporary artists who have been a part of the magazine’s social and cultural evolution. Co-curated by Giant Robot visionary Eric Nakamura and the mujseum’s Associate Curator of Art & Material Culture Carin Adams, SuperAwesome presents new or recent works by California and international-based artists affiliated with the influential magazine that brought Asian, trans-Pacific popular culture to mainstream audiences in the United States.”






The art in Super Awesome was dynamic, colorful, and just plain fun – as evidenced by Sean Chao’s scuplted dioramas called Pun Intended:


The Ode to California and Bird Flu full wall murals were exceptional in scale, detail, and vision:


John in the Giant Robot Scion XB Art Car: (yup, it’s a car-turned-gaming-station)


The Vinyl exhibit was really cool too – the whole thing was interactive and hands on.


The Gallery of California History section of the museum was enormous and full of every last detail regarding the history of the state. I was so impressed.



My favorite piece in this gallery was the California: To Be Continued… exhibit which consisted of a wall of post its noting the most important events in history for the last 40 years as written by museum patrons. Very cool. I wrote one for 2015 (it was this quote).


And finally we checked out the Gallery of California Art as the museum was getting ready to close. I definitely wished we had more time in here, it was really awesome.


The museum closed right around dinner time and we were starving. We ended our day with some delicious Korean BBQ and banchan in Oakland. It was one of our favorite meals on the trip.


Dinner aftermath. Yikes.


Stay tuned for Day 3 where we explore Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada!

Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

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