More about North Bay Inn San Rafael
San Rafael CA
San Rafael, California lies about 20 minutes north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate bridge.
This city, which now has a population of 56,000, had its beginnings in 1817 as a town built around the Mission San Rafael Archangel. It was later incorporated in 1874.
"The beauty of San Rafael"
The San Rafael area is loaded with natural beauty. After living the urban life for 13 years in Los Angeles, the comparatively rural setting in San Rafael is pure heaven for me.
Our state flower is the California poppy. Beginning in March, this beautiful flower is abundant throughout Marin.
"Home Sweet Home"
This picture shows the beautiful valley in North San Rafael that is my home.
Italian Street Painting Festival, San Rafael, CA
"Don't miss this if you're in town"
Each year, during the second weekend of June, San Rafael hosts the annual Italian Street Painting Festival, which attracts about 60,000 people. The medium is chalk and the canvas is asphalt.
"A Good Cause"
The event benefits the Youth in Arts, a nonprofit organization that funds art programs for the youth in Marin.
"Talented local musicians"
Live music is performed constantly throughout the festival. On Saturday morning, I listened to a wonderful big band, playing 40s era swing music. On Sunday (pictured here) I was entertained by the jazz band of a local high school.
"Watch the artists at work"
This event begins on Saturday morning, and continues all day through the daylight hours on Saturday and Sunday. Since I live so close to San Rafael, and admission is free, I will come back to 4th street several times over the weekend to checkout the progress of my favorite paintings. It is fascinating to watch the paintings come alive.
The name of the festival is the ITALIAN Street Painting Festival, but this is not Italy, the artists are not Italian and most of the paintings have no connection to Italy.
But it's still the ITALIAN Street Painting Festival. Sort of like French Toast, I guess
Everyone always seems to have a cause in San Rafael, and it's not uncommon to see the community divided by their opinions from time to time. It's also not uncommon to see the community adopt an opinion about a local business because of a cause the business supports, or some action it has taken.
However, during the Italian Street Painting Festival, all politics seem to be forgotten. Many businesses contribute to the Festival for a space on the street - and they hire talented artists to draw the painting in chalk. Our community comes out to admire the art, and the politics are forgotten for two days.
One thing that I found interesting was the Italian street painting is actually a team effort. Often, one person (the true artist) designs the big picture and outlines are drawn on the asphalt. Other artists do the actual chalk work and "color in between the lines". I got to talking to one of the artists at work and she said "Oh, my husband who designed this is the true artist. I'm not an artist." Yet she was the one putting chalk to pavement, blending the colors. I thought what she was doing required real talent -- she was an artist.
I guess this is sort of like the architect and the builder, the choreographer and the dancer, the composer and the performer. It was very fascinating how all these lovely pictures evolved.
"Speaking of politics..."
This work of art was commissioned by our local rock quarry that has angered many San Rafael residents because of the continuous noise, dust and truck traffic. Never mind that the homeowners "came to the nuisance". But like I said -- politics were forgotten for two days.
This "painting" was one of my favorites. I liked the contemporary look and the vibrant colors.
San Francisco CA
"Eric and Izzy"
This is a picture of my Son and first grandchild. They live in San Rafael, CA
This picture was one of the first we received of our first grandaughter. She was born on March 24th 2003. We hope to visit her and her parents in October.
This is a picture of Eric and Heather in San Francisco before Izzy was born. Heather is about 7 months pregnant.
Hmm... my itinery was unknown even for me, I was flexible just driving from place to place (roundtrip).
my arrival - 10 April 2003 Los Angeles International Airport = LAX) my departure - 18 May 2003 LAX
My possible itinery (largest version hehe) covered California (+ short trip to Mexico), Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Canada (Vancouver + Tofino :-), Washington, Oregon, California.
Ufff... loooong trip. Maybe I will be forced to delete something if we have not enough time.
My minimum was just LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) hehe, I did hope not to get lost there and :-))).
Finally I visited California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and a little of Texas (Big Bend National Park), Colorado (Mesa Verde National Park), Oregon and Washington (Seattle + Olympic Peninsula).
USA IS THE MOST INTERESTED COUNTRY I HAVE EVER VISITED!!!
"My VT-meetings in the USA"
No doubts, I wanted to meet many of my great, wonderfull VT-friends in the USA.
But it wasn't so simple. My dates and my itinery was unknown (except my arrival and departure dates). And most of my VT-friends were surely busy working at least from Monday to Friday. It's understable.
So... I participated in VT meeting in Oceanside 12 April 2003. And it was great meeting - never to forget. Thank you very much for organizing (Barry, "Spartan"), for getting me there (Linda, "lmkluque") and thank you all my fantastic friends who participated in the meeting and welcomed me so warm in the USA :-))).
"My forum questions on the USA"
Driving through all USA states at once?
What could I omit in Arizona?
How much is gas in the USA now?
What car should I rent to sleep inside it?
What phones and how to use in the USA?
Plugs and electricity incompatibility (USA-Europe)
Using European laptop in the USA
Flight to Los Angeles
Highligts of New Mexico
I have even more questions after my great trip hehe!
"List of USA helpers 1"
Thank you very much all the people on VT who help me planning my USA trip. Thank you for your patience, friendship, advices, suggestions and information.
I would never start to plan such big trip without your help. You are fantastic :-))) and remember: you are always welcome to Poland.
Linda (lmkluque) - San Diego, CA, USA
Nat (b1bob) - Virginia, USA
Maciej (snukaski) - Poland
Kent (Kentbein) - Washington D.C., USA
Kathy (Kodi01) - McKinney, Texas
Ann (annk) - California
Robert (AGBAT) - California
Richie (richiecdisc) - USA
Tamir (tamirros) - NYC, USA
Barry (spartan) - Oceanside, CA, USA
Yubert (Yubert) - La Mirada, CA, USA
Liz (LizC) - CA, USA
Dave (dlandt) - Chicago, Illinois
Judy (JudyinPA) - Pennsylvania, USA
Mark (acemj) - North Carolina, USA
Jeff (Seabiscuit) - Denver, Colorado, USA
Fernando (darthmilmo) - San Antonio, Texas, USA
Dave (shdw100) - Missouri, USA
Danny (Venturingnow) - Florida, USA
Sally (shrimp56) - Chicago, Ill, USA
hasan huseyin hanks (hasanhanks) - California
(nzkiwi) - Oregon, USA
Don (Don_Wright) - Michigan, USA
jenn_d (jenn_d) - Long Beach, USA
Simone (sim1) - Ontario, Canada
Chris (balfor) - Georgia, USA
RJ (RJ1967) - Pueblo, Colorado, USA
Jessica (jessicadf) - San Rafael, CA, USA
RWanderlust - out of VT now :-(((, where are you my friend?
Pietro (garibaldi) - Italy
Sue (feline01) - New Jersey, USA
Bob (tropicdiver) - Florida, USA
gio (gioglobal) - USA
Dave (Skylink) - North America
Joan (seagoingJLW) - Virginia, USA
(chaistarr) - Redlands, California
Mary (ladyfisher) - Pennsylvania, USA
Simon (sjvessey) - London, UK
Mary (ladyfisher) Pennsylvania, USA
(delcity) - Texas, USA
Kristiina (kristii) - Estonia
Katherine (Nanumi) - Ontario, Canada
(KimberlyAnn) - Wyoming, USA
Perry (pwise124) - Ohio, USA
Ursula (ursulaarroyo) - Peru
Darlene (DesertDarlene) - San Diego, CA, USA
Rhonda (RhondaRuth) - Massachusetts, USA
(Cassia_love) - Oregon, USA
Phil (zrim) - Minnesota, USA
Frank (basstbn) - Kansas, USA
John (John195123) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
lydean (ohiofellure) - Ohio, USA
"List of USA helpers 2"
Bill (billus) - Pennsylvania, USA
Lisa (elise_crash) - Dallas, Texas
Bryant (caffeine_induced78) - Denver, Colorado, USA
Al Graichen (Agraichen) - Danville, CA, USA
Ioan (Deus_ultima) - Quebec, Canada
Michael (ayers_rock_where) - UK
tpangelinan (tpangelinan) - Delaware, UK
JK Smith (JKSmithPE) - Alabama, USA
Maranda (TravelerM) - Taiwan
Mariya Annastasia (Annastasia) - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
David George (dgeorge10) - Tokyo, Japan
Hans (Waalewiener) - Ontario, Canada
Jennifer (craic) - NSW, Australia
Natalie (BuickMackane) - Massachusetts, USA
Nathan (Nateisenough) - Florida, USA
ALEJANDRO (acohiba) - Dallas, Texas, USA
Glenn (Bwana_Brown) - New Brunshwick, Canada
P Verde (Palo_Verde) - California, USA
Kimberlee (momslilgyrl) - Tacoma, Washington, USA
Jim (Jim_Eliason) - Alabama, USA
Angie (ABL1958) - Connecticut, USA
Michael (CliffClaven) - Luxembourg
Dorothy (soccergrrl) - Virginia, USA
T.D of P. (Todd64) - Ontario, Canada
Lee (brotherleelove) - Cottage Grove, Oregon, USA
`lats` (Redlats) - Manitoba, Canada
Stephanie (steph4867) - Georgia, USA
Rosalie (grandmaR) - Maryland, USA
(topoftheworl) - San Francisco, CA, USA
Bill (wctryltd) - Vermont
June (zuriga) - NY, USA
Heidi (HeidiR) - UK
(undinetwo) - Washington D.C., USA
Elizabeth (va8eha) - Sacramento, CA, USA
Jane (LadyJane1) - Illinois, USA
Suzanne (vaclava) - Seattle, Washington, USA
Lacey (smartlass) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Pierre (Pierre_Rouss) - Quebec, Canada
grey (wilddog) - San Diego, CA, USA
(greybeardish) - California, USA
Patrick (virtualpatrick) - New Jersey, USA
Ken (kenmerk) - Taiwan
darcy (dwhite6952) - Arizona
Giampiero (giampiero6) - Marina del Rey, CA, USA
Ann (Ann75) - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Martha70 (Martha) - Perth, Australia
"Mailing list of my USA helpers :-)))"
"8 favorite spots in Northern California"
Camping without reservations - You can almost always find an open site at these lesser-known jewels
Tent? Check. Sleeping bags? Check. Coleman stove? Check. Marshmallows and chocolate bars for s'mores? Double check.
In campgrounds from Yosemite to Big Sur, "No Vacancy" signs are being hung out this summer in what is turning out to be the biggest camping season in California history. Every one of the 10,000 state park campsites linked to a reservation service is already booked on weekends. Eighty percent of them are reserved for weekdays, and the rest are going fast. Earlier this year, state parks had 7,000 calls in a single day for campsite reservations.
Without a reservation, you're out of luck, right?
Wrong. Every day, from California's northern redwoods to the southern deserts, space is available in hundreds of little-known, low-cost campgrounds set along lakes and streams or in forests. Know this and win freedom: You will never again be stuck for the night without a spot.
Only about 200 of the state's 1,500 campgrounds are included in the reservation system. The 800 other first-rate public campgrounds (and the 500 privately owned parks) in California cannot be booked by someone who thinks of it in February, while you are thinking about skiing.
Here are eight of my favorites in Northern California, where you can almost always find a spot, even on weekends. In campgrounds where no drinking water is available, bring your own or use a filtration pump to purify water from streams or lakes.
In the remote northwest corner of the state, amid the world's tallest trees,
is one of the crown jewels of America's streams, the Smith River. Campers at Big Flat Camp get the same kind of redwood-country experience they would at the nearby, popular Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park - without getting locked out by the state park reservation system.
This relatively unknown campground is set near the South Fork of the Smith River. Campsites are in a pretty, wooded spot, within walking distance of the stream. Hurdy Gurdy Creek borders one end of the camp. This is a great launch point for adventure. The nearby South Kelsey Trail follows the river for miles,
beautiful, quiet and remote. Yet the popular hikes amid giant redwoods are also nearby at Jedediah Smith park.
Details: 28 sites, no reservations, no drinking water, $8 a night.
How to get there: From Crescent City, drive north on Highway 101 for five miles to the junction with Highway 199. Turn east and drive five miles to Hiouchi, and continue one mile to South Fork Road. Turn right and cross two bridges to a Y. Turn left (still South Fork Road) and drive 14 miles to Big Flat Road/County Road 405. Turn left and drive one-quarter mile to the campground entrance road on the left.
Contact: Smith River National Recreation Area, Six Rivers National Forest, P.O. Box 228, Gasquet, CA 95543; (707) 457-3131; www.r5.fs.fed.us/sixrivers.
Thousands of drivers speed up and down Interstate 5 north of Redding every day with nary a clue about what beauty lies so nearby. Just to the west, in a mountain range stretching from Mount Eddy, near Weed, south to Shasta Lake, are dozens of hidden, pristine mountain lakes with campsites.
A great choice here is the Toad Lake Walk-In Campground. It's set on a lake that is great for swimming and OK for trout fishing. Campsites are close to the lake's shore.
The drive to the trailhead can seem like a bad joke, but from the end of the road it's an easy, 15-minute walk to the lake, short enough for return trips for gear. Pack light for this one.
The best day hike rounds the head of the lake to a short but steep cutoff that climbs to the ridge above the lake. Here you intersect the Pacific Crest Trail. Turn left and walk a short distance to reach the entry trail (on the right) for Porcupine Lake, one of the prettiest mountain lakes in Northern California.
Details: Six walk-in sites, no reservations, no drinking water, free.
How to get there: Drive on I-5 to the town of Mount Shasta and take the Central Mount Shasta exit. Turn west (left) at the stop sign and drive a short distance to Old Stage Road. Turn left and drive one-quarter mile to a Y at W.A.
Barr Road. Bear right and drive past Box Canyon Dam and the entrance to Lake Siskiyou; continue up the mountain (the road becomes Forest Road 26) past a concrete bridge to a signed road for Toad Lake. Turn right and drive two- tenths of a mile, then turn left on a dirt Forest Service road and continue 11 miles to the parking area (this is long, twisty and bumpy, with high-clearance vehicles recommended; for the last quarter-mile, four-wheel-drive is advised). Walk a half-mile to the lake and campsites.
Contact: Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Mount Shasta Ranger District, (530) 926-4511; www.r5.fs.fed.us/shastatrinity.
Nearly everyone who visits Lassen Volcanic National Park misses the Juniper Lake Campground because the park's main access highway goes nowhere near this place.
This lake is set in the park's remote southeast corner. It feels like wilderness, yet can be reached by car. The drive in is rough-and-tumble, though, so take it slow; RVs and trailers are not advised. But the drive is worth it: The lake is drop-dead beautiful, offering short hikes to lookouts for sweeping views of the volcanic landscape. A couple of caveats: The water is cold for swimming (though many can handle it), and fishing is poor.
Details: 18 sites, no reservations, no drinking water, $10 a night.
How to get there: From Red Bluff, take Highway 36 east for 44 miles to the junction with Highway 89 (do not turn left, or north, on Highway 89 to Lassen Volcanic National Park entrance). Continue east on Highway 36/89 to Chester and Feather River Drive. Turn left and drive three-fourths of a mile to a Y and the junction for County Road 318. Bear right (marked for Juniper Lake) on County Road 318 and drive 11 miles to the campground.
Contact: Lassen Volcanic National Park, P.O. Box 100, Mineral, CA 96063- 0100; (530) 595-4444; www.nps.gov/lavo.
The state parks along the Mendocino coast will be jammed full all summer long. But if this region is your vision of paradise, there are lesser-used camps. If you have a boat, the pick here is the Lake Sonoma Boat-In Campground.
Lake Sonoma is a vast recreation area in which the blue-green water contrasts with golden foothills. Boat-in sites, especially at the north end of the lake, provide not only great camping but also a wonderful base for swimming, water sports and fishing for bass, bluegill and catfish. Once on the water, many are surprised at the size of the lake, with the Dry Creek arm extending nine miles north and the Warm Springs Creek arm extending four miles to the west. Go-slow zones near the campsites keep the lake quiet. Lake Sonoma is bordered by an 8,000-acre wildlife area loaded with deer and wild turkey.
Details: 109 primitive boat-in sites, no drinking water, $10, reserve at (877) 444-6777 ($8.65 reservation fee) or www.reserveusa.com.
How to get there: From Santa Rosa, drive north on U.S. 101 to Healdsburg and the Dry Creek Road exit. Take that exit, turn left and drive northwest for 11 miles. After crossing a small bridge, the visitor center will be on your right. Boat-in camping permits and check-in required.
Contact: Lake Sonoma Recreation Area; Visitor Center, (707) 433-9483; Sonoma Marina, (707) 433-2200; www.spn.usace.army.mil (click on "recreation").
Mother Lode country
It can be startling, the first time you fly over California's Gold Rush country, to see the dozens of lakes and reservoirs linked to beautiful streams being fed by the melting snow from the High Sierra.
Many of these recreation lakes have camping space. A great choice: Bullards Bar Reservoir, with drive-in, walk-in and boat-in campgrounds. For boaters, this lake is like a silver dollar in a field of pennies, one of the few lakes anywhere where you can create your own campsite anywhere along the lake's shore. In addition, there are three permanent boat-in camps (reservations needed). This is a big, beautiful recreation facility known for excellent fishing (all trolling by boat) for kokanee salmon. By midmorning, most anglers have their limits, and the lake becomes a center for tubing, wake-boarding, skiing and other water sports.
Details: Five campgrounds (three boat-in, one walk-in, one drive-in), facilities vary, $14, reservations at (530) 692-3200. No reservations for boat- in camping, but check-in is required at Emerald Cove (see below).
How to get there: From Marysville, drive northeast on Highway 20 to Marysville Road (signed Bullards Bar Reservoir). Turn north and drive about 10 miles to Old Marysville Road. Turn right and drive 14 miles to Cottage Creek Launch Ramp and the marina (turn left just before the dam).
Contact: Emerald Cove Resort and Marina, (530) 692-3200; Tahoe National Forest, North Yuba/Downieville Ranger District, (530) 288-3231; www.r5.fs.fed. us/tahoe.
Plumas National Forest
For many vacationers, this region of alpine lakes in the northern Sierra Nevada is off the radar scope, since no major highway provides direct access. Yet it is one of the West's best destinations for hiking, fishing and hunting (in the fall).
A great pick is Plumas-Eureka State Park, one of the few state parks in California where the campsites -can't be locked up by reservations. Nearby are beautiful Eureka Lake and 40-foot-high Jamison Falls. The must-do hike here is the 1,100-foot ascent from Eureka Lake to the top of Eureka Peak (7,447 feet). Your reward is a stunning view, not only of the lake below but also of what seems an infinity of mountain peaks up and down the Sierra crest.
Details: 67 sites, no reservations, full facilities, $12 a night.
How to get there: In Truckee, drive north on Highway 89 to Graeagle and continue to County Road A14/Graeagle-Johnsville Road. Turn left (signed) and drive west five miles to the park entrance.
Contact: Plumas-Eureka State Park, (530) 836-2380; www.parks.ca.gov - click on "Pick a park."
Lake Tahoe area
Emerald Bay, D.L. Bliss and the other state park campgrounds at Lake Tahoe have been booked solid for months. But just over the ridge is a landscape with all the qualities of Tahoe, yet with smaller lakes - dozens of them - providing a fantastic array of opportunities. The Crystal Basin, the Bowman Lakes Recreation Area and Stanislaus National Forest all feature miles of terrain with glacial-cut granite filled with azure alpine lakes.
My pick here is Canyon Creek Camp, a great jump-off point to the interior of the Bowman Lakes Recreation Area. It is set along Canyon Creek between Sawmill and Faucherie lakes at an elevation of 6,000 feet. The fishing and canoeing are often excellent on calm mornings at Faucherie. In addition, a great wilderness trailhead can be found at Sawmill Lake (look for it at the north end of the lake), which leads into an alpine wilderness with several small pristine lakes set in granite.
Details: Twenty sites, no reservations, no drinking water, free.
How to get there: From Sacramento, drive east on Interstate 80 to Emigrant Gap and Highway 20. Take that off-ramp and connector road to Highway 20 and drive west four miles to Bowman Road/Forest Road 18. Turn right and drive 16 miles (paved for nine miles, then quite rough) to Bowman Lake and continue four miles to a Y. Bear right at the Y and drive two miles to the campground on the right.
Contact: Tahoe National Forest, Nevada City Ranger District, (530) 265-4531;
It's tent stake to tent stake in Yosemite Valley, yet there are nearly 40 campgrounds in national forest land ringing the perimeter of the park. Some of the best are north of Yosemite, off Highway 108. Up near Clark Fork, Kennedy Meadows and Sonora Pass, you'll find 15 of them in a 15-mile radius.
My pick here: Clark Fork Camp. The campsites are set along the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River, a wooded stream occasionally stocked with trout. There is a great driving tour nearby along Highway 108 to the Donnells Overlook, a view of the Dardanelles and easy access to the headwaters of the main stem Stanislaus.
For hikers, it gets even better. A nearby trailhead starts you on an eight- mile trip to the Pacific Crest Trail near Wolf Creek Pass. In the process, you hike up a canyon along Arnot Creek, a pretty trout stream with lush gardens of vegetation and wildflowers in many shaded pockets.
Details: 88 campsites, no reservations, full facilities, $10 to $12 a night.
How to get there: From Sonora, drive east on Highway 108 past the town of Strawberry. Continue past Donnells Overlook to Clark Fork Road. Turn left and drive five miles to a fork. Turn right at the fork (signed campgrounds) and drive a half-mile to the campground entrance on the right.
Contact: Stanislaus National Forest, Summit Ranger District, (209) 965-3434;
If you go
-- GUIDEBOOKS: "California Camping," by Tom Stienstra; "Northern California Cabins & Cottages," by Stephani & Tom Stienstra; Avalon Travel Publishing; phone, (800) 285-4078; Web, www.tomstienstra.com.
-- MAPS: U.S. Forest Service, Map Sales, P.O. Box 587, 4260 Eight Mile Road,
Camino, CA 95709; (530) 647-5390; www.r5.fs.fed.us - click on maps; Tom Harrison Maps, 2 Falmouth Cove, San Rafael, CA 94901-4465; (800) 265-9090; www. tomharrisonmaps.com.
-- NATIONAL FORESTS: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, 1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592; (707) 562-8737; www.r5.fs.fed.us.
-- NATIONAL PARKS: U.S. National Park Service, Pacific West Region, 1 Jackson Center, 1111 Jackson St., Suite 700, Oakland, CA 94607; (510) 817-1300; www.nps.gov.
-- STATE PARKS: California Department of Parks and Recreation, Communications Office, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296; (916) 653-6995; www.parks.ca.gov.
Sunrise in San Rafael, CA
Mission San Rafael, CA
Sunrise in San Rafael, CA
Before dawn in San Rafael, CA
Hostel/dorm accommodation in San Rafael
I need to be in San Rafael around 8 AM on Saturday morning (July 28) and wish to avoid a 2.5 hour drive. Is it possible to find a place to spend Friday night in San Rafael or nearby (up to 10 miles) for about $30 to $50? Hostel/dorm accommodation is acceptable (I am not a student). If someone could provide some insight, I'd appreciate it.
Re: Hostel/dorm accommodation in San Rafael
Sorry, it's not within 10 miles, but... about 16 miles away is a hostel at Fort Mason in SF. I think it is the northernmost hostel in SF. Drive time to San Rafael is less than 30 minutes.
Re: Hostel/dorm accommodation in San Rafael
Thank you for the information, Harmonious Botch. They were fully booked but the Marin Headlands Hostel at 941 Fort Barry, Sausalito (415) 331 2777 was available. I will be staying there. Thanks again!
Re: Hostel/dorm accommodation in San Rafael
My stay at the Marin Headlands Hostel was very comfortable. I would go back there any day and also recommend it to anyone looking for such accommodation. Just make sure you have good directions. It is not easy to get to the place in the dark with the fog rolling in and no cell coverage!