San Francisco – Everyday Insider (TM) – Trip 26

Here, in the heart of San Francisco, it’s a strange time to talk about San Francisco’s famous bridges, but on this 49 Mile Scenic Drive, you have had opportunities to see both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland-Bay Bridge from various stops along the way.

You are still close enough to where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, if you haven’t already, but from now on, the Scenic Drive heads east, to the San Francisco water-front, again.

The San Francisco Bay Area has many bridges, and all of them make a toll, usually in the direction which brings you towards the city.

The bridges are of varying ages and types of engineering, but all of them are interesting.

You will see many of them from the air, as you arrive.

From northern-most to southern-most and from western-most to eastern-most, they are:

• The Carquinez Straits Bridge – a short bridge where the Sacramento River meets the San Francisco Bay – the American “mothball fleet” is anchored nearby, just beyond the next bridge upstream to the east, the Martinez Bridge.

• The San Rafael Bridge – it’s an antiquated bridge, with a long way to drive before you reach it, but you go by San Quentin Prison, so that makes for an interesting sight. Don’t be enticed into using it for a trip to the Wine Country. There are much better routes.

• The Golden Gate Bridge – it anchors the entry to San Francisco Bay – and the waters beneath it are definitely still influenced by the ocean tides. There is a lovely Vista Point at the North-east side of the bridge. The exit is directly off the major highway, and there’s plenty of parking. From there, you’ll have a fabulous view of the bridge and San Francisco’s skyline.

• The 8+ mile long Oakland-Bay Bridge is presently being reconstructed and that rehab is needed. The amount of traffic this bridge carries is mind-boggling. It comes in two sections, anchored by an island near the middle. The approaches on both sides are complex, best not left to newbie tourists. Take a cab, bus or tour bus to do these freeway exchanges! This is how you need to go to University of California in Berkeley, and all points east.

San Mateo Bridge is a relatively new bridge and for much of the way, it hugs the Bay. It is very intimate and you see shorebirds flying etc., yet in the elevated section, you will see great views! I am particularly fond of this bridge as I traveled the former incarnation for many years; watched this one being built; traveled on it to reach my parents home when I went to university and saw it from my bedroom window, in their hillside home. On the eastern end, you will drive by the salt flats where Leslie salt is drying seawater. It’s interesting when they are harvesting the salt.

Dumbarton Bridge – near Palo Alto. This is a really old bridge, unless they’ve done some updating. I never come this way. It’s boring and old. Get to Stanford University, Google and all the rest from points on the eastern shore via the San Mateo Bridge, then head south on Highway 101 OR Hwy 280 (even nicer).

There you have it!

San Francisco Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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