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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Taking a break from the RV routine in San Francisco

After nearly six months of living in the cozy confines of our tiny home on wheels, we decided to take a well-deserved vacation out of the rig in one of our favorite cities.

Now, we’ve tried every which way to figure out a way to stay in the motorhome and enjoy San Francisco, but that’s a challenge we’ve yet to successfully tackle. RV parks are either sketchy or too far from the action.

So, we decided to check into the lovely Alton Kimpton in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood. Our comfy room had a view of Alcatraz, a cool record player, ginormous flat-screen TVs, a gorgeous bathtub and guess what? We had so much space, we didn’t bump into each other the entire weekend. Such a treat.

Here are a few of the highlights of our RV-free time in the city by the bay:

Riding around: We took advantage of the city’s bike paths to travel near and far. Shortly after we checked in – the awesome valet expertly parking our motorhome in the oversize vehicle spot near the hotel’s loading dock – we pedaled to the Ferry Building to slurp oysters at Hog Island. The next morning, John rode over the Golden Gate Bridge to the drink in the view from the Marin Headlands. Wow. The nearby Presidio was also fun to explore on two wheels, dropping down into the Marina neighborhood. On a sunny Saturday, it seemed like everyone was out enjoying the spring weather. 

Maritime Gold: We’ve been to SF so many times. Heck, Leslie lived there the first couple years of her life, so naturally she swoons when Tony Bennett sings about leaving his heart there. And just when we thought we’d seen it all, there was the incredible San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park just a few blocks from our hotel. Yes, the wind was blowing 50 knots when we showed up, but that didn’t stop us from boarding the Hercules tugboat, marveling at the crusty old girl that was built in 1907. From the starboard side, we had quite the show put on by a dock full of barking seals.

A very special dinner: Leslie was thrilled to get a table at the hotel’s red hot restaurant, Abacá. Executive chef and owner Francis Ang and his amazing team have created a menu of traditional Filipino dishes infused with fresh California flavors. The meal was a series of blissful bites that were completely novel. (Read Leslie’s full report on

Making ourselves at home: Yes, we sure could have hit more sights during our quick trip. There are so many historic neighborhoods and pretty parks to wander and museums to appreciate. Plus, lots of tempting places to practice retail therapy. But here’s the deal: We just wanted to hang out in our room a little while. It was rainy and the Clippers were thumping the Lakers on TNT. So, we got some take-out on our final evening and posted the “do not disturb” sign.

If you’re determined to stay in your RV: It’s possible! We spent a few days in beautiful Half Moon Bay before hitting the city. First, we parked at Pillar Point RV Park. We’d been here a few years ago and could only snag a site in the back at this first-come, first-served spot. But this time around, we got an ocean view and it was sweet. We also picked up a two-night stay at the excellent state park campground. It’s less than an hour’s drive into the city, so you could do San Francisco as a day trip. There’s also the Marin RV Park, which is within walking distance of the Larkspur ferry, which drops passengers in the city.

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.