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A few US questions

Travel Forums North America A few US questions

1. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5644 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hi, a few questions:

1. Will spend 3 nights in San Francisco. Want to stay around the downtown/union square area, or otherwise Fisherman's Warf. Any recommendations for around 100-150 dollar a double room? Maximum that is

2. And can anyone help me with detailed online maps of the US? For example on Google Maps I do see roads north of highway 50, across the west of Utah through the middle of nowhere, but can't really find out if they are tarred or not!
I don't mind un-tarred roads, but I am not sure if driving on un-tarred roads is covered by my insurance I have.

The specific road I am talking about is called Gandy Road - Pony Express Highway/Road - Upper Gold Hill Road and back into Nevada on the Ibapah Road. Wonder if this helps some of you to get to answer my question better
Love the names of the roads though!

Thanks for any reply folks. Especially keen on the map thing.

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I lived in SF for 25 years, and have helped many people find hotels there. I prefer the smaller boutique hotels to the big commercial ones. SF is an old city, and I feel that the smaller places reflect the true character of the location - Victorian style and all. This is my list - places that I would choose for myself:

Harbor Court Hotel (Kimpton Hotels) on SF Bay downtown - unusual and next door to the YMCA where you can swim/workout

Hotel Vintage Court on Bush St. close to Chinatown
Beresford Arms on Post St. - Lower Nob Hill (friendly and comfortable - lowest in price)
Golden Gate Hotel - Bush St. - Nob Hill (very good reviews - lower priced) - classified as a B&B on Tripadvisor

these hotels could be somewhat higher in price:
Hotel Juliana on Bush St. - Nob Hill
Petite Auberge on Bush St. - Nob Hill (tiny and rather exclusive)
White Swan Inn on Bush St. - Nob Hill (tiny and rather exclusive)

SF is tiny and all of these are downtown. You might also look at the list of B&B's on - a good choice if you want to stay in a neighborhood other than downtown. I don't recommend staying at Fisherman's Wharf - just too isolated from the rest of town, but ok if you have a car. (most of the motels are on Lombard St., and there parking will be free)

Concerning those roads - I believe they are paved, but better wait for an expert on Utah/Nevada! Our bookstores have excellent road atlas departments. You might try Yahoo Maps or Mapquest for that info.

I hope you like Asian food? It's better here than just about any place in the USA - all types from Burmese to Philipinno, Vietnamese and Indian, but Chinese is king. And many types of Chinese from Taiwanese to Hunan. The city also has fairly good Italian (head for North Beach) & Mexican (take BART train to the Mission District) - especially their own SF Tex-Mex Mission Burritos! If you book the Harbor Court, you just walk north past the weekend farmer's market on the pier, past Embarcadero shopping center to Fisherman's Wharf - if you like longer walks, you can continue on to the Golden Gate Bridge and actually walk across the bridge. Do not miss the 360 degree views from the top of Twin Peaks and Buena Vista Park. Do not try to see this city by car - it does not work!

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Apr-2010, at 13:19 by Daawgon ]

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5644 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Daawgon for the great reply.
Now I have to do some research!
O, and yes, I do like Asian food a lot, so surely looking forward to that.
We won't pick up the rental car until the day we leave San Francisco, I hate driving in cities anywhere on this planet;)
Thanks again!
Cheers, Michael.

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Apr-2010, at 13:28 by Utrecht ]

4. Posted by Rhombus (Travel Guru 64 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!


You might try the Utah Department of Transportation.

You might be able to tell if the roads are paved from Google Earth if you have it. will give you any quad map and aerial photography of the US, but you'll prolly have to buy a membership.

When in the US you can buy State Gazetteers showing all roads in the state you are travelling through. Usually cost about 20-30 dollars and are worth their weight in gold for an adventurer. These books are made by Delorme and can usually be found at any bookstore.

Hope this helps.


5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

SF's Chinatown is the home of newly-arrived immigrants and tourist traps - there are a few good places to eat there, but by far the best places are not in Chinatown. I like to go to "New Chinatown" out in the Richmond District beyond Park Presidio Blvd. on Geary Blvd. and especially on Clement Street. The Taiwan Restaurant at 445 Clement St. at 6th Ave. is quite good, but there are many in the stretch between Arguello St. and 25th St. Most of the Chinese waiters in the city are from Hong Kong and can be downright rude and unsmiling. I'm a big fan of Thai food and my favorite is Marnee Thai at 2225 Irving St. in the Sunset District (close to Golden Gate Park, south side).

I hope you like to walk, because this is truly a walker's heaven. To get to New Chinatown in the Richmond, the best way is the #38 bus on Geary St. to Arguello St. To get to the Sunset District, I like to take the MUNI Metro subway "N" car towards Ocean Beach. Marnee Thai is out about 23rd Ave. if my memory is correct (walk to the right towards the large park in the distance).

Also use the "N" car to get to Haight Street and Buena Vista Park - think Haight Asbury hippies, still a few around this neighborhood, but this has become a rather expensive part of town.

MUNI Metro uses the BART subway stations on Market St. downtown (MUNI on the upper level, and BART on the lower). BART goes to/from the airport and also to Oakland, Berkeley and other East Bay cities.

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Apr-2010, at 23:41 by Daawgon ]

6. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3579 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I have never been on these roads, but here is a link that might help. It sounds like most of them are not paved and an off road vehicle is needed. I did take US 50 from Great Basin NP to Reno years ago. There are Pony Express Stations on 50 if you are interested. Mike

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5644 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all the info and links gusy, much appreciated!
Really looking forward to SF and the road trip through the west of the US.
Seems like there is endless variety of parks, cities, smaller places and much more. Probably have to come back over and over again during the next years;)

8. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

When traveling around the deserts of Americas southwest it would be wise to stay on numbered highways as its very easy to get lost on a lot of those unmarked desert back roads. dont forget to bring some emergency food and water and some provision for shade like an umbrella in case the car breaks down...

9. Posted by Rhombus (Travel Guru 64 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Michael. I looked at my own atlas and these roads are unpaved, with varying conditions-meaning that they could get rough. If you want to try them, I'd ask around with some of the locals before venturing too far. They could reveal some awesome sights, however, so if you go, be prepared for anything.


10. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5644 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Cheers guys!
Guess what: bought the Rand Mcnally Road Atlas 2010 today.
It is huge but extremely detailed and love it..but hey, I did study geography so an atlas is the bible to me;)

Main thing with those unpaved roads is that I am not sure with insurance. I will go for a fully inclusive one, but some say it's not allowed to go offroad driving, while others state that it's not allowed to drive on unpaved roads (unless it's like an excess road to a hotel or so) and some others say that this only applies when you don't obey rules, like in reckless driving, drinking and driving etc.
Guess I will just ask at the counter when I pick up the car.