San Jose / Santa Clara

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San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:17 pm

Hi all:

I'm off to the USA for a few weeks in late April, early May. I have a few appointments in the San Jose / Santa Clara region, with a day or two to spare to explore the area.

Does anyone know of any potentially good photographic / sightseeing spots in this vicinity, worth travelling to?

Thanks in advance,

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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:42 pm

I'm expecting to be in the US over a similar period. My expected dates of travel are for an Anzac Day departure to LA, (maybe a night in Mexico) thence to N'Awlins for the second weekend of Jazzfest (May 1 -4, Jimmy Buffet, Neville Bros, Troy Andrews, and a whole lot of others, then to DFW for a few days with some friends to help celebrate a grumpy old man's birthday.

What you really want to do from San Jose is head to the coast - about a 60-90 minute drive - to Santa Cruz. Explore the boardwalk, some great structures and the fun park there. Then head south to Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur.

Might even be worthwhile doing that trip in the reverse direction - take 5 south till you're some way north of San Luis Obispo, and then take one of the minor roads west to the coast. If you do this right, you will be rewarded with a multitude of spectacular views as you get closer to the coast, and start to head back down towards PCH. You want to come back onto PCH just a little south of Big Sur, and then you just take PCH north through Big Sur, Monterey and Carmel. San Luis Obispo is well worth visiting too, if you have the time. There's the Mission, Hearst Castle, and it's just a great place to be.

Of course, at San Jose, you're just an hour south of San Francisco: Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Park, Sausalito, Alcatraz, Chinatown, The Exploratorium, The Castro, Haight Asbury. All worth visiting with a camera in hand. Halfway to SF up El Camino Real you'll find Palo Alto and the university town of Stanford, and there's a good selection of Fry's stores in the region as well.
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:03 pm

Thanks Gary, as usual you've given me more options than I can poke a stick at.

I've also canvassed the idea of heading east towards Yosemite NP, although I don't think I will have time to do the coast road area and YNP.

Thanks again,

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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:30 pm

Of course Gary, there's also the temptation to revisit Bakersfield... :lol:
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby colin_12 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:17 pm

Gary has pretty well covered the options.
Many years ago I enjoyed Santa cruz, Monterey and Carmel. Some interesting coast around Carmel and Monerey. There are also some interesting wildlife opportunities as that peice of coast has fur seals and the ever present squirels. You may also want to visit Clint Eastwoods place. :mrgreen:
What ever you do Ozi I know you will enjoy yourself.

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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:01 pm

ozimax wrote:Thanks Gary, as usual you've given me more options than I can poke a stick at.

I've also canvassed the idea of heading east towards Yosemite NP, although I don't think I will have time to do the coast road area and YNP.


April, in fact, is a great time to visit Yosemite. The snow will be melting, and the waterfalls will be in full flow, which means that you'll get sprayed even if you're a half mile away. If you can get there mid-week and out of spring break, it will also be less crowded.

Of course, if you head east, I can give you a few must-avoid places, like Modesto. But there's a couple of nice towns just out of Yosemite too.

For Yosemite, I'd plan two nights in, say, Fresno or somewhere just out of the park (although there is accommodation within the park too), and plan to spend a day within Yosemite,

If you head to the coast, again plan two nights, one in, say, San Luis Obispo, and the second in Carmel or Santa Cruz. Plan to get to SLO early-ish, and explore the region on the first day. Explore PCH, Monterey Carmel etc on the second, and then just keep going on the third till you get back to San Jose.

Use SF as a filler, and plan to explore its different areas as/when/if you get the odd half day free here and there. What could be a fun trip would be to get the streetcar from Fisherman's Wharf into the Castro, but be prepared to see some very different aspects of life in the Castro, this being the gay heart of the city. ;)
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:04 pm

ozimax wrote:Of course Gary, there's also the temptation to revisit Bakersfield... :lol:


That's either being very brave, or .... :)
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby Onyx on Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:43 pm

Stanford University's campus is very photogenic. So too is Berkeley on the north east side of the SF Bay peninsular. I got a kick out of seeing the radar array - presumably the ones scanning the skies for the SETI project.

Santa Cruz was a bit overrated IMHO, but the drive along Hwy 1, Monterey and Big Sur are definitely worth visiting. So too is Half Moon Bay on the way up to SF if you're headed that way. I went around Halloween and there was a pumpkin festival on which was kinda neat. Even without it, it does "small charming seaside town" much better than Santa Cruz IMHO, the latter being too commercialised.

If you're in the "silicon valley' area, I suspect you're a geek of some variety, and hence may find the Intel museum at Intel HQ somewhat interesting. Admission is free, easy access just off the freeway. Within a stone's throw of Yahoo's HQ there's a big mall I forgot what the name is. Its big carpark is visible from the freeway, but there's an electronics store (probably Fry that Gary mentioned) that sells computer parts at the retail level that's quite unlike anything we have here. IIRC, that's where I bought a pack of Lightscribe DVD discs just to try out (since my laptop had a Lightscribe burner and the media here are 3x the cost of inkjet printable or normal DVD blanks). But they have some fairly competitve prices on geek gear, if you ignore the 8.25% Cali sales tax that is.

I don't think Yosemite is do-able with only a few days spare... I was very tempted to visit there myself, but being a first timer in the area I skipped it as the opportunity cost was too great for me; there's so much else to see and do (I had 3 days). The whole Bay Area from SF down to Santa Clara is surprisingly compact, esp with the freeway makes everything within reach.
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:30 pm

Thanks for the info. No, I'm definitely not a geek, I'm off to the USA (trip #12) to visit a few churches, some small and some huge. There's a great lot of input to digest here, much appreciated!

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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby bwhinnen on Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:13 am

I can't believe no one has said it, head up to SF, some great photographic ops up there as well, the view of the City from Alcatraz (if you get a clear day), if it is foggy head out past the Golden Gate and look back from the park and get a great view of the city shrouded in fog (depending on how high it is :) ).

There is an observatory about an hours drive from San Jose / Santa Clara that will get great views of the surrounding areas, we never made it up there as I was working that week and we decided to spend the only day I had off up in San Francisco. The route the GPS planned out to get there looked amazing, twisty roads heading up into the mountains, would have afforded some glorious scenery I think, and specially in Spring!

You've always got the Winchester House to visit, more for the curiosity type of photograph than anything else.

Where are you staying when you are over there?

And as someone mentioned always remember the sales tax, it is a killer, and most states will have it. Although getting things shipped interstate will usually get rid of it :) If you have the time or ability to do that. One thing we found is that prices listed are always without sales tax (except gas), so something to keep in mind. At least with California when renting a car the LDW (loss damage waiver) is a fixed $9 per day regardless of the vehicle type unlike other states where you can get up to $25 - $30 a day!

You'll have a ball! And the bay area is really nice, even when it is overcast and rainy :)
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:02 am

Er, Brett ....

Point of order, if I may ... :) :)

bwhinnen wrote:I can't believe no one has said it, head up to SF, some great photographic ops up there as well,


Was there perchance a small part of the second post in this thread that you missed? :)

Of course, at San Jose, you're just an hour south of San Francisco: Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Park, Sausalito, Alcatraz, Chinatown, The Exploratorium, The Castro, Haight Asbury. All worth visiting with a camera in hand.
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:02 am

Thankyou again to one and all for the suggestions.

My itinerary is now set, I will be visiting 9 churches in 5 states (East & West coasts) in less than 3 weeks plus a 4 day conference so I will be busy. However, I have managed to arrange a full day in Yosemite NP, plus at the end of my trip I have hired a car to drive from Sacramanto to LAX, giving myself 2 full days to drive down the Californian coast. (The only place I won't get much time in is San Francisco itself, but I have driven through it, briefly, in 2002.)

Now, which lens to take, and what camera gear to buy when I'm over there... :roll:

I think at least a new Canon 580EXII flash and 1.4 extender will be the order of the day (plus 85mm F1.2 plus 50mm F1.4 plus 300mm F2.8 plus...I hope my wife doesn't get to read this... 8) )
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:08 am

I'm also thinking of dropping in on Steve Jobs and asking him why it takes so long to get a warranty repair on my wife's Mac Mini.... :evil:

The phone rang while I was writing this post - my Mac Mini is now ready, only took 3+ weeks for them to run "Disk Warrior" through the system and clean it up... :evil:

It makes you want to sell up and move to Windows Vista...NOT :lol:
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby bwhinnen on Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:59 pm

gstark wrote:Er, Brett ....

Point of order, if I may ... :) :)

bwhinnen wrote:I can't believe no one has said it, head up to SF, some great photographic ops up there as well,


Was there perchance a small part of the second post in this thread that you missed? :)

Of course, at San Jose, you're just an hour south of San Francisco: Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Park, Sausalito, Alcatraz, Chinatown, The Exploratorium, The Castro, Haight Asbury. All worth visiting with a camera in hand.


Well obviously I did then (miss a part of your post that is). Apologies for not reading your entire post, I hold my head in shame and slink back off to my corner...
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:24 pm

bwhinnen wrote:Well obviously I did then (miss a part of your post that is). Apologies for not reading your entire post, I hold my head in shame and slink back off to my corner...


Apology accepted in the spirit within which it has been offered. Hang about while I make room in the corner for you. It gets rather crowded here at times. :)

Cheers.

My travel problem at the moment is trying to find a night's accommodation in Rosarito Beach. My bookings have been made, with my first leg in LA from April 25-29. I'm thinking that a night in Mexico might be a worthwhile diversion - which will play absolute havoc with my car rental bookings - so I'm just looking in this realm for some options.
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby bwhinnen on Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:12 pm

Who are you renting through Gary?

I found that Thrifty (insert appropriate swear word for the LAX office here) will allow you into Mexico for an additional daily fee (25 USD), but please don't drive on unsealed roads!I am sure most of the major companies would do the same... That's if you intend to drive to Mexico from LA.

Now back to my corner before I make another boo boo (first day back at work in Australia after being OS for a month...)
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:52 pm

I rented a brand new turbo convertible in 2006 from Dollar car rental at LAX. It cost me $86 for an entire week, plus insurance/taxes etc. I found it cheaper to actually call them when I arrived in the USA than to book online.

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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:02 pm

ozimax wrote:I rented a brand new turbo convertible in 2006 from Dollar car rental at LAX. It cost me $86 for an entire week, plus insurance/taxes etc. I found it cheaper to actually call them when I arrived in the USA than to book online.


That's sometimes worthwhile, and that's certainly a good deal.

I have cards with the majors, so I just shop around online before the trip and make my bookings as I need to. But when I need a car, I need it from when I land, so waiting till I arrive isn't a goer for me: I just grab my luggage, hop on the shuttle, and they drop me at my car in their lot.

That's an interesting suggestion Brett, although I don't want to drive into Mexico, because the border crossing on the return trip can be quite a long and arduous process. It's way easier to just grab a bus at the border.
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby radar on Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:47 am

Ozi,

just a heads up on your planned trip to Yosemite. The Park service is doing some much needed road work supposedly. So if you are planning to go on a weekend, check first for road conditions, etc. It may save you some headaches.

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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby ozimax on Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:43 am

Thanks Andre, I'm planning on a Thursday, after staying with Aussie friends in Fresno, so shouldn't be too much of a hassle.

The only hassle I have at the moment is whether or not to sell my 30D and buy a 5D while they're cheap as chips. Decisions, decisions... :)
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby Marvin on Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:12 pm

This has been an interesting thread for me to look at. We are planning our route to Canada in December and have to stop somewhere in California. We were planning on stopping in LA and doing the Disneyland thing with the kids, but we are unable (already!) to get a flight out in time for me to start work in Jan. Our next best option was San Francisco but I wasn't really sure about it. Is there lots of stuff for the kids (ages 12 and 9) to do there (we will be there for 4 days)? It sounds as though there is plenty of stuff to photograph for me!! :lol: My other thought was go to San Diego. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated as I have to book in the next week or so. (It REALLY sucks being stuck on a 12 month ticket, leaving bugger all time to do anyting at the beginning and end of the trip which is when we have the flights to do it)
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:27 pm

Marvin wrote:This has been an interesting thread for me to look at. We are planning our route to Canada in December and have to stop somewhere in California. We were planning on stopping in LA and doing the Disneyland thing with the kids, but we are unable (already!) to get a flight out in time for me to start work in Jan. Our next best option was San Francisco but I wasn't really sure about it. Is there lots of stuff for the kids (ages 12 and 9) to do there (we will be there for 4 days)? It sounds as though there is plenty of stuff to photograph for me!! :lol: My other thought was go to San Diego. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated as I have to book in the next week or so. (It REALLY sucks being stuck on a 12 month ticket, leaving bugger all time to do anyting at the beginning and end of the trip which is when we have the flights to do it)


Who are you flying with? UAL can fly you out of LAX into SFO and then to SYD as a matter of course. Or the reverse. And you can break your journey in SFO/LAX too.

There are no flights, to my knowledge, from San Diego direct to anywhere in Oz, so that is unlikely to be an option.

San Francisco for the kids ... there's the Exploratorium - Questacon in Canberra is designed after this - in the Marina district, and it's truly great. Alcatraz will appeal to the kids, Fisherman's Wharf too (and ... yech ... Pier 51), Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, The Presidio ...

San Diego for the kids ... (it's about a two drive from LA, btw) ... Old Town is a must see, Sea World if you're into that sort of thing, the Maritime Museum is very good, Mission Beach as well. Balboa Park is another must see, with its museums, gardens, buildings, the zoo, and it's just a great place to be.

Also be aware that hotel accommodation in the SF region is somewhat more expensive than in southern California. You kight expect to pay up to three times the cost for a room in downtown San Francisco (which is where you want to be) whereas in LA, OC, or SD, downtown is precisely where you do not want to stay. OC is my choice - Irvine, Anaheim, Laguna Hills - or in LA County look towards Santa Monica - not exactly cheap, but a great area to be in - or somewhere near LAX, but perhaps on the way towards Santa Monica.

And Tijuana is a short drive from San Diego.
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby Marvin on Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:17 pm

Thanks Gary. At this stage, we have tentatively booked Adl --> Sydney --> SanFran --> Calgary and then on the way home Calgary --> Frankfurt --> Cairo --> Singapore --> Adelaide. We have an around the world ticket so I think we fly with a few different airlines. My problem is that in order to have time to go to Egypt at the end, I have to leave as late as possible and I start work on the 5th Jan in Calgary. We had originally wanted LA instead of SanFran but the only flights from LA to Calgary that we could get were on the 5th or the 1st Jan (we can't leave Aust until about the 31st Dec). I am very keen on San Diego but am not sure how I can get there if we can't get flights from Oz. Or is there anywhere else around that area that would be better to stop over in? Thanks!! PS Sorry for hijacking your thread Ozi
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby gstark on Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:53 pm

Marvin wrote:Thanks Gary. At this stage, we have tentatively booked Adl --> Sydney --> SanFran --> Calgary


Ok ... that's interesting and different routing from what I expected.

If you were to fly into LA, then from southern Californa, two other airports that have flights to Calgary (YYC) would be John Wayne in Orange County (SNA) and of course San Diego(SAN). John Wayne is about a half hour from Disneyland.

Alaska and Air Canada both fly from SAN, and both of them, plus American, Delta, United and US Air also fly from SNA. I'm not seeing any direct flights, but travelling via SFO, SLC or PHX would not be difficult trips. American seems to want to fly through their hub in DFW, which for a trip to Calgary would be a bit problematic.

And I'm seeing lots of flights from SNA ... and also heaps out of LAX (via SFO or SEA) ... dunno what the issue is with whomever is booking your flights. Are there ticketing restrictions? I was looking at Jan 3.
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby Marvin on Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:00 pm

OK thanks for the info Gary. I will have to go to my travel agent with this info. I'm not sure if they are restricted, I would guess that perhaps I can only fly with certain airlines. Not sure but that's good news. I guess we could maybe fly into LAX and out of San Diego. Thanks for the info! 8)
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Re: San Jose / Santa Clara

Postby bwhinnen on Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:18 pm

Marvin wrote:OK thanks for the info Gary. I will have to go to my travel agent with this info. I'm not sure if they are restricted, I would guess that perhaps I can only fly with certain airlines. Not sure but that's good news. I guess we could maybe fly into LAX and out of San Diego. Thanks for the info! 8)


Lindberg Field is not really an international airport as such, yes you can fly to Canada and Mexico ;) Because of the flight path over the CBD and the size of the runway you cannot get anything much bigger than a 737/300 into it now, ok well a 727 would make it ;) But no 747 or 747/400 would ever make it.

Yes we did a tour of San Diego on the double decker bus :D
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