The drive from SoCal to NorCal can be a long one. But the drive through Central Valley is beautiful and puts the fragrance from all of the agriculture and trucks make recipes in your mind. The recipes I imagine the most are either marinara sauce or salsa. I always seem to be following or next to tomato, onion, and garlic trucks. In our case, it was a dark, lonely drive through the night as we reached Berkeley, CA a little after midnight.
Travel tip: It is much more cost-effective to stay in Berkeley versus San Francisco. The hotel rates are much less. You can drive, pay the toll, and pay for parking, which is still much cheaper than the cost to house your vehicle at the hotel in the city per night. You can also take the BART which will take you under the bay and connect to street cars and buses in the city. Bridge tolls are part of the FasTrak system. The center lanes are for the transponders and can get you into the city much quicker.
The DoubleTree by HiltonHotel Berkeley Marina is off the beaten path and a very quiet hotel. It sits right on the marina. The fog gave the morning a soft light to wake up to. Our room faced the courtyard where beautiful purple flowers bloomed. This hotel is also dog-friendly and many guests walk their dogs in the morning along the marina. After breakfast, we decided just to hang out for the day and recover from the long drive the night before.
To read more and see slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/article/road-trip-to-san-francisco-ca-modernism-and-seafood-day-1