I will be in San Francisco for work in the middle of July, and thereafter will be setting off, alone, for a relaxing four-day trip through Northern California. I've read a number of threads on this, and inspired by this one
, have decided on this itinerary:
Leaving SF early-afternoon on a Friday (that's when I'll pick up my rental car) drive up 101 to 128 to 1, checking out some of the Anderson Valley vineyards and the brewery. Saturday, take 1 and 101 to Eureka, taking in Avenue of the Giants and maybe stopping somewhere for a hike. Sunday, hang out in Eureka/Arcata, check out the towns and the surrounding coast. Monday, cut across to Redding on 299, stopping somewhere along the way. Tuesday. take I-5 and I-80 back to the Bay Area, also with some stops. Stay at a motel near SFO Tuesday night, fly home Wednesday.
I've gotten some solid ideas from other threads, like Anderson Valley and Lost Coast (if I can get there, it sounds awesome!), but I do have some questions that are specific to my situation:
1) I'm on something of a budget, and I'm not too picky with accommodation, so I'm planning to mostly stay in Motel 6s and the like (I realize this isn't possible in Fort Bragg, but I'll deal). However, if there are any cooler places to stay that are comparable in price, I'd be open to that.
2) Nature! I want to spend some time in nature. Can you suggest any cool hikes, nature walks, scenic drives, or just places to stop and gawk for awhile? I've done some hiking, but I'm not ready to climb mountains or anything.
3) Other cool stuff: I'm particularly interested in local food and/or drink, and cool architecture. But I'd also be happy to check out local events, or bits of roadside kitsch, or whatever you got.
4) I like traveling alone and I'm comfortable being by myself for extended periods. However, as it may be nice to engage with people at some point, are there any good places to meet people along this route? Bear in mind, I am sociable, but very much not the walk-up-to-a-stranger-in-a-bar type.
5) Practical advice. Will I hit crazy traffic leaving SF at, say, 1 or 2 in the afternoon on a summer Friday? Will Hwy 1 be shrouded in fog the whole day? Anything else you think I need to know would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance for your input!