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Thread: San Francisco

  1. #1
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    San Francisco

    I know there has been previous discussion regarding this, but when I do a search, nothing comes up. I am looking at a vacation next September, starting and ending in San Francisco. My hope is to rent a wheelchair van once there (Wheelchair Getaways), spending several days in San Francisco, and then driving along the coast on Rt. 1, spending the night in Monterey, driving through Big Sur, then spending the night in either Cambria or San Luis Obispo. Because I would need to return the van to SF (or pay very high fee), we would then drive back to San Francisco along 101. Does this seem feasible? Are there other van rental places? Also, does anyone know where a patient lift could be rented from for the week?

  2. #2
    It is a shame that currently there are little or no archived threads to go back to on the subject of travel in and around San Francisco. I have written an extensive thread, and so has SCI nurse KLD.

    That said, the trip you are talking about sounds very feasible and a great way to see some of central and northern California's finest coast scenery.

    Much that you will want to do in San Francisco, If you are staying in the city, can be managed on wheels, on BART or MUNI. Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, the Exploratorium, Union Square are all on fairly level ground because they are near the water. Further afield, some of the museums, neighborhoods and Golden Gate Park (Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, De Young Museum, and California Academy of Science), you will probably want to have a van for access. Take the 49 mile drive around the city. There is a map and and an audio tour available from AAA or there may be an app for your phone or tablet. Try a trip a bit north of San Francisco (Mill Valley) to Muir Woods National Monument. There is a level 1 mile loop walk through these giant redwoods. Parking can be very expensive in the city. At hotels, I think you can count on $20.00 and up for daily parking (24 hours unlimited in/out privileges).

    Monterey is great, and September along the coast in California is one of the warmest months. Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must do, make reservations and charge tickets in advance and pick up tickets at "Will Call" to avoid lines and delays. AAA offers a discount. The 17 mile drive is beautiful. There are some boardwalks along the beach near Asilomar that are wheelchair accessible. A fun restaurant, right on the bay is the Chart House. Seafood menu with a view of the bay, sea otters, various sea birds, and other marine wildlife.

    Big Sur (basically from Carmel south to Cambria) is terrific! Magnificent views. Nepenthe is fun for lunch.

    Near Cambria, see Heart Castle in San Simeon. Most tours are accessible.

    There is a lot of information on line for these central/north coast attractions and sites.

    Sorry, I don't know where you might rent a lift.

    All the best,
    GJ

  3. #3
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    You may also want to visit Alcatraz. The ferry departs Fisherman's Warf and the tour is very accessible. Also, the town of Santa Cruz is on the way to Monterey. The Holiday Inn Express in Santa Cruz has very nice accessible rooms - one of them is a suite! Good luck and have a great time!!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    Thank you both! Several additional questions. Tentatively our hotel while in SF is in the Union Square area. I was hoping to go a couple of days before renting a van, relying on public transportation, or perhaps taxis. However, I saw the F-line is conveniently close to the hotel, and would loop down to Fisherman's Wharf, etc. Any idea how long of a trip it would be on the F-line from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf?

    Also, how much time should be allotted for the drive from Monterey to Cambria, allowing for frequent stops for pics?

    Is it possible to get good views of Pfeiffer Beach from vehicle/chair, particularly the rock formations often seen in pictures?

    How long of a trip would it be (most direct) from Cambria back to SF?

  5. #5
    I would plan on at least 3-4 hours driving from Monterey to Cambria. It is not possible to get to Pfeiffer state beach waterfall view via wheelchair. It requires hiking a trial that includes a lot of stairs, and even from the road, you have to walk up a steep berm to see the falls. Regardless, there are plenty of other places to pull over and get out to see the spectacular views. Watch for California condors. I saw several my last trip up that way (2012).

    Coming back to San Francisco, I would continue south on Hwy 1 to Morro Bay, then over to 101 at San Luis Obispo (which is worth a visit too if you have time). Then head north through Paso Robles (great wineries!) up toward Salinas. Plan on 4 hours to San Francisco this way.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by landrover
    Thank you both! Several additional questions. Tentatively our hotel while in SF is in the Union Square area. I was hoping to go a couple of days before renting a van, relying on public transportation, or perhaps taxis. However, I saw the F-line is conveniently close to the hotel, and would loop down to Fisherman's Wharf, etc. Any idea how long of a trip it would be on the F-line from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf? Probably 10 minutes plus waiting time.
    The F-line is accessible. That is the good news. The bad news is that it is almost impossible to get on it at certain locations, because these old trolleys are always full, and the handicapped ramped platforms are AFTER people get off and on the trolley. This means that people get off, but then people get on and by the time the trolley gets to the accessible platform, the trolley is full again. We were in the city several times in Aug/Sept for the America's Cup races and were never able to get on a trolley on F-line. My suggestion would be to take BART from Union Square station down to Embarcadero station, cross the street to the Ferry Building. From there you can get to the Exploratorium and Pier 39. Fisherman's Wharf is a bit further afield. I use a power chair and have done this route several times with out of town guests. My walking guests are tired, however and have been able to jump on the F-line and meet me at the Ferry Building or across the street at One Market (a Bradley Ogden restaurant) for dinner.

    You might be able to get on the trolley near Union Square for the trip to Fisherman's Wharf, but don't rely on being able to get on the trolley at Fisherman's Wharf and hop off at Pier 39 and back to Union Square. The BART route is a better bet.

    If you like Dim Sum try to work in a lunch time stop at either Yank Sing locations. Rincon Center (a couple of blocks from the Ferry Building) at 101 Spear Street, 415-781-1111 or Stevenson Street (south of Market closer to Union Square), 49 Stevenson Street, 415-541-4949. Make reservations. They are only open for lunch. Website: http://www.yanksing.com/home.php

    Second the suggestion for the Alcatraz trip.

    All the best,
    GJ

  7. #7
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    How accessible, easy to use is BART? I use a powerchair. How are the accessible taxis?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by landrover
    How accessible, easy to use is BART? I use a powerchair. How are the accessible taxis?
    BART is abundantly accessible and easy to use. There are elevators from the street to the underground stations along Market Street. Powel Street Station is the closest to Union Square, but it is a couple of blocks away. The closest hotel/BART station is the Hyatt Regency at the Embarcadero Center. It is 200-300 feet from the Embarcadero Station (Green Arrow on the map below) to the Hyatt Regency Hotel (Red Marker on the map). Across the street is the Ferry Building (Slanted Door Restaurant and some bar and pub style eateries), a couple of blocks away is Yang Sing at Rincon Center, and across Market is One Market Restaurant.

    There are taxis. I've never tried them, but I have inquired. My impression is that they aren't terribly reliable. But, maybe the doormen at your hotel could pull some strings.

    All the best,
    GJ


  9. #9
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    Hi, we are planning to stay at the Grand Hyatt. Our difficulty has been finding hotels that do not have platform-style beds, as I use a lift.

    Also, I had been to SF probably 23 years ago, prior to my accident. I had gone to the Coit Tower, and was planning on doing so again, as my travel partner has not been to SF, but after some thought, do you think it is worth it to do again (not sure of access), or is it just as well to view from a distance?

    A somewhat bizarre thought, but also planned to show her Lombard Street. Initially I wanted to video myself going down the street in my powerchair, but after seeing some videos, it appears that it may not be safe (too steep), nor legal? Thoughts?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by landrover
    Hi, we are planning to stay at the Grand Hyatt. Our difficulty has been finding hotels that do not have platform-style beds, as I use a lift.

    Also, I had been to SF probably 23 years ago, prior to my accident. I had gone to the Coit Tower, and was planning on doing so again, as my travel partner has not been to SF, but after some thought, do you think it is worth it to do again (not sure of access), or is it just as well to view from a distance? Coit Tower is just one of the touristy things to do on at least one visit to San Francisco. As I recall, the elevator doesn't go all the way to the top, there are some steps to negotiate after you exit the elevator. I think there is a ramp now that will get you into the ground floor entrance to the tower. You could view the murals while your companion goes to the top for the city wide view. But, maybe you can find more info on line.

    A somewhat bizarre thought, but also planned to show her Lombard Street. Initially I wanted to video myself going down the street in my powerchair, but after seeing some videos, it appears that it may not be safe (too steep), nor legal? Thoughts? There is an almost constant stream of traffic on Lombard street. I don't think you would want to take this street on in a chair.
    All the best,
    GJ

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