San Francisco Super Rally
What could be better than eight fun filled days in one of the world’s most beautiful cities – San Francisco? Plus tours on deluxe motor coaches through the surrounding California wine country? Better yet – it’s all planned and offered by Fantasy RV Tours at the 2017 Wine Country Super Rally!
Super Rallies are not for the faint of heart. They’re for RVers who want to truly explore and experience some of our country’s major destinations. Our eight days at this Rally are jam packed with tours, dinners, entertainment and travel experiences we’ll always remember. More importantly, Super Rallies don’t repeat themselves every year. They’re once in a lifetime events where Fantasy pulls out all the stops to offer the finest and top-of-the-line experiences found anywhere.
The City by the Bay beckons, and we begin our Rally with a Fantasy Orientation and Get Acquainted Party followed by an awesome Barbeque Welcome Dinner at our beautiful RV park, just north of the city and close to Napa and Sonoma valleys. We meet our fellow Rally goers – toasting this California celebration, and the next morning the fun continues with a professionally guided tour of San Francisco.
Our first stop is posh Nob Hill – with its palatial mansions originally built by Gold Rush notables and railroad barons. We then head to North Beach – which isn’t really a beach but rather the city’s Italian quarter with European-style sidewalk cafes, restaurants and shops. At the mouth of San Francisco Bay is the Presidio, commemorating the beginnings of San Francisco. It was originally a Spanish military outpost, then a Mexican fort and in 1846 was converted to a U.S. Army base. Today, this American Treasure is an iconic National Park.
Lombard is that famously steep and crooked street with sharp switchback curves that we’ve seen on television and at the movies. It’s surrounded by stately mansions, and we can walk down (not up …thankfully) the street. Next stop is the nationally iconic Greco-Roman styled Palace of Fine Arts, one of the most photographed sites in all San Francisco. And for those of us who still have some energy, we can choose to walk the 1.7 miles across the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, surrounded by amazing views of the bay.
Those are just the morning activities! After lunch at Fog Harbor Fish House, we visit the Walt Disney Family Museum, a wonderful tribute to the innovation and dreams of one of the most prolific film makers of all time. And for those of us still wanting more of this delightful city experience, we can take a ride an authentic San Francisco cable car!
At the Canine Companions for Independence training facilities the following day, we learn about the highly trained assistance dogs they provide to children and adults with a wide variety of disabilities – opening up new opportunities for the disadvantaged. On a guided tour of the Charles M. Schulz Museum we see the largest collection of Schulz artwork in the world and are reminded of the simple joys proclaimed by his family of Peanuts characters.
Then it’s off to taste a bit of the bubbly with a box lunch and a tour of the Korbel Champagne Cellars – established in 1882 and the oldest continually operating champagne house in the country. After lunch our comfortable motor coaches take us through the Russian River Valley, home to miles and miles of grapevines — destined to become fine wines. After a stop at the art community of Sebastopol, we taste some of these varietals with dinner at the beautiful Francis Coppola Winery.
The next morning, we travel to Sausalito – a charming town across the bay from San Francisco. We can see San Francisco’s beautiful skyline, watch friendly seals frolicking in the water, and browse Sausalito’s boutique art galleries and shops. After lunch, we board the ferry to cross the bay to San Francisco, arriving at Fisherman’s Wharf — a truly historic area which has attracted visitors for years.
Gastronomic treats abound here – at Boudin Sourdough Bakery on the Wharf we see bakers preparing dough using historic Gold Rush recipes. Further down is Ghirardelli Square – the name alone should give away what goes on there! We can splurge on chocolate and ice cream and then head to the Buena Vista Café (or “BV” as the locals call it) where in 1952 the first Irish Coffee was created.
We’re doing Italian tonight, with an authentic dinner in Little Italy. The night is still young, so we have reserved seats at the hilarious pop-culture revue, Beach Blanket Babylon. The characters, donned in outrageous gigantic hats, loosely tell the story of Snow White who is searching for her Prince Charming. On her journey, she encounters characters including Donald and Melania Trump, Hillary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Oprah, Princess Leia and the San Francisco Giants to name just a few!
Chinese immigrants have played a huge role in both historic and modern day San Francisco, and the next morning we have a walking tour of Chinatown – the oldest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America. At the Pharmacy of Ancient Herbs we are stunned by the ingredients which make up Chinese medicines.
We visit a Chinese grocery store and the Fortune Cookie Factory, where thousands of fortune cookies are made by hand each day. We enjoy a Dim Sum lunch – with delicacies like deep-fried radish cakes, crackly skinned pork belly and Chinese beignets (which are craggy deep-fried and sugar-rolled doughnuts,) and of course this is all complimented with authentic Chinese tea.
Boarding the ferry boat, we cruise out to the most infamous island prison of all time – Alcatraz – once home to many notable criminals including Al Capone and the Birdman. We take a self-guided audio tour, stepping behind bars to see where prisoners ate, slept and exercised while doing their time on ‘the Rock’.
We skip the city the next day, touring dazzling Napa Valley. Then it’s all aboard the Wine Train, a three hour journey through spectacular scenery of some of the most expensive agricultural real estate in the world. We’ll have a gourmet lunch in a 1952 Pullman domed railcar – dining in elevated splendor while we watch the vineyards roll by. And what would a day in Napa be without some major wine tasting? We visit Madonna Estate – started by Italian immigrant Andy Bartolucci in 1922 and still operated by the Bartolucci family. They combine both traditional and modern winemaking techniques with natural farming methods, preserving the winemaking traditions of past generations.
We’re back in the Golden City the following day – our final full day of this Super Rally. Our guided tour takes us to Golden Gate Park, one of San Francisco’s greatest treasures with 1,017 acres of gardens, playgrounds, lakes, trails, golf courses, dog parks and monuments – a true oasis for city dwellers to reconnect with nature. We visit the Japanese Tea Garden, a lush harmonious landscape designed after traditional Japanese gardens, with paths winding through five acres of Japanese maples, bamboo, wisteria and cherry trees surrounded by a series of koi ponds. Next stop is the iconic Cliff House, perched atop Seal Rock, where we watch sea lions basking in the hopeful sun.
We move on to the California Academy of Sciences – a planetarium, aquarium, rain forest and a natural history museum all under one living roof. The events and exhibits showcase the diversity of mother Earth, but it’s also a working academy where researchers are addressing important scientific questions of our time.
There’s a grand finale in store – our Super Rally Farewell Dinner is aboard a sunset cruise on San Francisco Bay. The next morning we bid farewell at our Continental Breakfast. We may not leave our hearts in San Francisco, but this Super Rally is certain to leave a taste of San Francisco and the surrounding Wine Country in us all.