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Old 06-12-2022, 05:50 PM
DanH's Avatar
DanH DanH is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: 08A
Posts: 10,841
Default Golden Gate

I'm on the west coast with the -8, and tomorrow I would like to visit the Golden Gate bridge. My grandfather was one the New York bridgemen who came west to build it.

So, local advice please...where best to land? I'll need wheels, so access to a rental or courtesy car is important. Suggestions?
Dan Horton
Barrett IO-390
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Old 06-12-2022, 06:47 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is online now
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 8,331

Okay, a few ideas…
First of all, fly over it! (Wx permitting). Class B floor there is 3000’ so an overflight at 2000’ works well. Also a great way to see Alcatraz, North Beach area. For ground level:
Take BART to Embarcadero station. From there, it’s a scenic 6 mile walk to the south end of the GG bridge. Or grab an Uber, or, if adventurous, try to figure out the bus system. For airports, Concord (KCCR) or Oakland (KOAK) are within walking distance of a station; from Livermore (KLVK) it’s a short Uber ride (or again, try navigating the bus system) to the BART station.
Driving: KLVK has Enterprise, call ahead to reserve. KCCR also has rental cars.
Note KOAK is actually two airports: south field, for commercial traffic, and north field, for GA. Separate control towers. I don’t actually know what the walk is between them, maybe 2 miles? Of course south field has lots of rental cars, train shuttle to BART, etc. I’m not sure of the rental car situation at north field but I think there must be some.
All bay bridges are toll bridges, and they’re all automated. Make sure your rental car comes with a bridge transponder (extra cost, of course). Stay off the roads before 9 am, and again between 4 pm - 6 pm. You won’t like the traffic.
Wx: airports near the bay/ocean are subject to low costal stratus, especially in the morning. KCCR and KLVK are usually VFR.
My actual recommendation: I’d try for KCCR, rent a car. If staying overnight, Sheraton on the field. Second choice would be LVK and Enterprise. This assumes you want to drive over the bridge. If you just wanted to see it, I’d take BART from CCR and walk/Uber to the bridge. That’s a bit more adventurous!

Edit added: if driving north across the GG bridge, take the first exit on the Marin side, follow your map west and up. There is an abandoned Nike missile site on the Marin headlands which offers great views (wx permitting) of San Francisco.
Second edit. Heading into San Francisco bring a sweater or jacket. The City can be surprisingly cool, even in the summer.

Last edited by BobTurner : 06-12-2022 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 06-12-2022, 06:59 PM
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gmkonrad gmkonrad is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Howell,MI
Posts: 173

From my own research, I would fly in to San Carlos, KSQL, and car rentals are rumored to be available at San Carlos Aviation and Supply. Call to confirm, 650-592-2322 Sky Kitchen Cafe is in the same building. All next to transient parking, $15/day.
Or you could walk from the airport, KSQL, over to the Caltrain station, take it to the end in downtown San Francisco. Then transfer to a bus that will take you over to the Golden Gate Bridge. Reverse course to get back. I have done almost this exact Caltrain/bus trip during several visits to San Francisco. My wife is working out there, I'll be there again at the end of the month.

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Old 06-12-2022, 07:34 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is online now
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Location: Livermore, CA
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I forgot about KSQL. Not sure about rental cars (call) but it does offer walking distance access to both CalTrain and BART. Only downside is, again, it is subject to the MVFR coastal stratus overcast, especially in the mornings. IFR clearances are hard to come by due to its proximity to SFO. Coming from the east you can avoid the class B airspace by flying low, get transition approval thru Hayward’s class D, fly a few miles south of the San Mateo bridge at or below 1500’, call San Carlos. Look for ‘the cement plant’ or just tell them you’re unfamiliar.
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Old 06-12-2022, 07:58 PM
bmart7 bmart7 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pleasant Hill California
Posts: 7

If you fly into OAK you will be on the north field. Two fbos to choose from signature and kaiser. Expect to pay for fuel since it’s pricey In the Bay Area. The rental car center for all arrivals at Oakland is only a 5 minute walk from the FBOs for GA. Signature usually has crew cars as well. The drive from Oakland is about 45 minutes. I’m based out of OAK so if you have any other questions shoot me a PM.

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Old 06-12-2022, 08:03 PM
scsmith scsmith is offline
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Default Bay coastal stratus is rare, actually

San Carlos and Palo Alto airports are both VFR the vast majority of the time. The amount of morning fog penetration (coastal stratus) varies quite a bit from none to overcast all day, but the days when those airports are not VFR by 10AM are pretty rare.

On the other hand, both tend to have fairly gusty afternoon winds at a slight cross wind angle during the summer. Nothing that an experienced T/W pilot can't handle though.

Both should be able to arrange Enterprise cars.

Concord can also have pretty strong afternoon winds in summer. It is 1.4 miles from KCCR to the Concord BART station. With this airport, you could do the entire visit using public transportation.
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Old 06-12-2022, 08:46 PM
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DanH DanH is offline
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Any thoughts on Gross, KDVO, at Novato? I'm told Enterprise is nearby.
Dan Horton
Barrett IO-390
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Old 06-12-2022, 09:08 PM
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Steve Crewdog Steve Crewdog is offline
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: KBVS
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Originally Posted by DanH View Post
Any thoughts on Gross, KDVO, at Novato? I'm told Enterprise is nearby.
Gnoss is known for it's crosswinds, if you want to avoid the Bay Area you might think about Petaluma, O69. Great entryway to the Wine Country, depending on what your other interests are. Don't know if it's permitted butif you have any pics from your pa-pa working on the Bridge they'd be neat to see.

If you do fly a bit up north, take a circle over the old Nike Missile site that has been fully restored.

I grew up in the Bay Area, remember when BART opened. Is it as bad with homeless they say? Last time I went down ro see my family they told me to rent a car, not risk going on BART to see them in Concord.
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Last edited by Steve Crewdog : 06-12-2022 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 06-12-2022, 10:14 PM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
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Location: Southwest
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Default Hiking? Muir woods

If you like hiking, gotta do the Muir woods just north of GG bridge.
John S

WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

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Old 06-12-2022, 10:32 PM
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Marlonyoung Marlonyoung is offline
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 37
Default Santa Rosa, KSTS

Fly to Santa Rosa - we have rental cars. One hour drive to the bridge.

Let me know when you are here, and I'll buy lunch or if you stay overnight I'll buy you dinner. I live about 2 miles from the airport
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