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How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 7:35 am

I would like to take public transport from downtown San Francisco to Reno as well as Napa Valley (Robert Mondavi's Vineyard). How?????? How much? Schedules?

Thanks
 
TSS
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 8:08 am

Quoting United Airline (Thread starter):
I would like to take public transport from downtown San Francisco to Reno as well as Napa Valley (Robert Mondavi's Vineyard). How?????? How much? Schedules?

San Francisco to Reno is around 180-200 miles (252-280 km if my math is right) each direction, so public transportation is not available. Your two closest options to public transportation for that trip would be:
Greyhound bus (slow but reasonably cheap),
Train (Amtrak's "California Zephyr" is slower than the bus and slightly more expensive, but much more comfortable)

As for Napa Valley, I'd imagine that there are scheduled "vineyard tours" going there from San Francisco. I'm sure our California natives can offer more information on that.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 10:34 am

Hovercraft. Helicopter. Blimp. Spacecraft. Horse.

These are all ways to get to Napa  
 
Airstud
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 3:22 pm

Getting to the Napa Valley on public transportation is going to be quite a trek, and ultimately not much less expensive than renting a car, but it can be done.

From the San Francisco Ferry Building, take the Vallejo Baylink ferry to Vallejo. In Vallejo, you can catch The VINE (Napa Valley's public transit agency) bus #10, which meanders through some non-pretty neighborhoods and junkyards in Vallejo and Fairfield before heading north through the city of Napa, then on to St. Helena and finally Calistoga. The stretch north of downtown Napa is quite beautiful. (But before you get there, you'll have been on public transit for more than 2½ hours, and the ferry fare alone is $15 each way. (May as well rent a car, see.)


The VINE: http://www.nctpa.net/vine.cfm
Baylink Ferry: http://www.baylinkferry.com

Amtrak can take you to Reno. There's no rail service in San Francisco itself but Amtrak operates buses to reach the places their rails don't. An Amtrak bus will take you from the Ferry Building, across the Bay Bridge to Emeryville, where you'll catch the Capitol Corridor train north to Sacramento, and then another bus will take you to Reno. Since both the train and buses are operated by Amtrak, you can do this all by buying just one ticket, so it's quite convenient that way; and the bus ride between Sacramento and the Nevada line is absolutely gorgeous: You'll be riding through beautiful mountains, the Tahoe National Forest, and past Donner Lake!!

No matter how you get around up here, I hope you have a great time in our country!!  
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Yellowstone
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 4:15 pm

Quoting Airstud (Reply 3):
An Amtrak bus will take you from the Ferry Building, across the Bay Bridge to Emeryville, where you'll catch the Capitol Corridor train north to Sacramento, and then another bus will take you to Reno.

Or, if you're schedule's a tad more flexible, the California Zephyr runs from Emeryville all the way up to Reno (and on to Chicago). The part of the ride between Sacramento and Reno is quite spectacular, as it climbs over the Sierra Nevada. The one caveat - it only runs once per day, leaving Emeryville at 9:50 am and arriving Reno at 4:46 pm. Also, Amtrak is fairly notorious for not sticking to its schedule. So you'll need to have a pretty flexible schedule.

On the other hand, the train takes about 3 hours longer than driving, so if you're under some time pressure, I'd just rent a car. The train is about $50 each way, as a price comparison.
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UAL747
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 4:25 pm

You aren't going to a wedding are you? I'm in the same predicament for Memorial Day weekend.

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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 4:27 pm

I'd start by figuring out where you really want to go, Reno or Napa. These are two different directions and if you plan on using public transport you'll need about a month. Joking, but only kinda.
 
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 8:13 pm

Living in Reno, I'll offer some insight...

You really only have three options to get from SFO to RNO.

The first is to ride the bus. Greyhound can take you all the way up I-80 into Reno.

The second is to ride the train. Amtrak gives you two options. You can catch the bus in SF and ride out to Emeryville where you can catch the California Zypher up to Reno. Your other option is to ride BART to Richmond, where Amtrak and BART share the same station. From there, you can take the Capitol Corridor up to Sacramento where you will catch an Amtrak bus up to Reno.

The third option is simply to fly. UA offers a few daily non-stops from SFO-RNO...some even on the A320 as opposed to the regionals. WN offers several daily non-stops between SJC-RNO and OAK-RNO, obviously you would need to commute to those airports though.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 9:39 pm

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 7):
Your other option is to ride BART to Richmond, where Amtrak and BART share the same station. From there, you can take the Capitol Corridor up to Sacramento where you will catch an Amtrak bus up to Reno.

Dude, it's not necessary to schlep to Richmond to catch the Capitol Corridor. You can get it from downtown San Francisco via Amtrak Thruway to Emeryville.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 9:57 pm

Quoting Airstud (Reply 8):
You can get it from downtown San Francisco via Amtrak Thruway to Emeryville.

I'd take BART out of the city any day over an Amtrak bus. Depending on what time he's leaving the city, it could be a nightmare getting across the Bay Bridge.
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Superfly
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 10:31 pm

Quoting Airstud (Reply 3):
The stretch north of downtown Napa is quite beautiful. (But before you get there, you'll have been on public transit for more than 2½ hours, and the ferry fare alone is $15 each way. (May as well rent a car, see.)

...and that's not taking in to consideration the long wait times for the bus and for the ferries. I believe the ferries and that Vine bus only run hourly. If they timing isn't just right, you can easily wait an hour at each location. 2½ hours from downtown San Francisco to Napa Valley on public transit is a very optimistic time frame. Realistically it's closer to 4 hours.

Quoting wingman (Reply 6):
These are two different directions and if you plan on using public transport you'll need about a month. Joking, but only kinda.

That is fairly close to accurate.

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 7):
Your other option is to ride BART to Richmond, where Amtrak and BART share the same station.

Avoid Richmond at all cost. That is the most dangerous city in the Bay Area with a very high homicide rate. Loit's of criminal activity there, including the BART station.

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 7):
WN offers several daily non-stops between SJC-RNO

It takes 2½ hours to get from downtown San Francisco to SJC on CalTrain. The only exception being the Baby-Bullet. That only runs in the evening and I am not sure how late the last Southwest flight runs.

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 7):
Greyhound can take you all the way up I-80 into Reno.

I would not advice Greyhound. That is how all the homeless get to San Francisco. Also many ex-cons and other unsavory people. I rode Greyhound once from Sacramento. There were two excons just released form prison in Montana coming to San Francisco to be panhandlers and possibly carry out more criminal activity.



I live here in San Francisco. When I go to Napa Valley, I drive. That is really the only way to go.
Not to mention, Napa Valley is beautiful and there is a lot of land to cover up there. You can't see that much in a bus. Ideally you should rent a convertible. It's nice & sunny this time of year but not too hot either.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 10:40 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 10):
Avoid Richmond at all cost. That is the most dangerous city in the Bay Area with a very high homicide rate. Loit's of criminal activity there, including the BART station.

  

I do it this way almost every time I come into the city. That or drive down to Pleasant Hill and ride BART in. I've never once had a problem at the Richmond station. Yeah, Richmond is a shithole and I wouldn't dare set foot outside the station, but never once have I had a problem there.

As for Greyhound, I wouldn't touch it either, but hey it's an option if he needs transportation and can't/won't rent a car.

As for SJC, didn't realize it took that long to get down there via CalTrain. That sucks!

[Edited 2010-05-12 15:43:01]
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LAXintl
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 10:42 pm

Fly to Reno.

Rent a car for Napa.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:00 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 10):
It takes 2½ hours to get from downtown San Francisco to SJC on CalTrain.
Quoting JetsGo (Reply 11):
As for SJC, didn't realize it took that long to get down there via CalTrain. That sucks!

Not quite right, Superfly - CalTrain takes about an hour and a half to get from San Francisco to San Jose. Faster if you're on one of the express trains, and the baby bullets take about an hour.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:14 pm

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 13):
Not quite right, Superfly - CalTrain takes about an hour and a half to get from San Francisco to San Jose.

From the time he leaves his hotel, catch the MUNI train to CalTrain, wait, then ride the train, then wait for the connector bus to SJC, it will be a 2½ hours commute to SJC.
Given the horrible reliability of MUNI, just the 1½ mile stretch from Montgomery station to the CalTrain station could easily take 30 minutes. I cam factoring in wait times also.

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 11):
Yeah, Richmond is a shithole and I wouldn't dare set foot outside the station, but never once have I had a problem there.

That's good.
I've always felt a bad vibe there. I do read about frequent crime at that station. Some of it minor crimes such as car break-ins and stuff like that.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:20 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 14):
Given the horrible reliability of MUNI, just the 1½ mile stretch from Montgomery station to the CalTrain station could easily take 30 minutes.

Why not just ride BART from Montgomery down to Milbrae and ditch MUNI altogether?
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Superfly
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:28 pm

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 15):
Why not just ride BART from Montgomery down to Milbrae and ditch MUNI altogether?

That's a good idea too. It doesn't speed his trip up though.
After the 30 minute ride to Millbrae, the CalTrain ride is still well over an hour.

Going ro Reno would be best on Amtrak but ONLY if he takes the California Zephyr.
Since it leaves early in the morning out of Emeryville, there isn't much traffic for the Amtrak connector bus crossing the Bay Bridge.
The Amtrak station in Reno is right in the middle of everything downtown Reno.
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:38 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 16):
The Amtrak station in Reno is right in the middle of everything downtown Reno.

Which unfortunately, is a shithole too.  
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:44 pm

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 17):
Which unfortunately, is a shithole too.

No, Reno is cool!
You can play the slot machines and get free cocktails and see old style lounge singers at the Fitzgerald and the Cal-Neva.  
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Jetsgo
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:55 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
Fitzgerald

Closed last year dude!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
Cal-Neva

Stomp the carpet and watch the smoke come up!
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Superfly
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Wed May 12, 2010 11:58 pm

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 19):
Closed last year dude!

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!         

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 19):
Stomp the carpet and watch the smoke come up!

I like that kind of place.  
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 12:06 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 20):
NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I played some blackjack there on their last night and just before they closed, they offered me one of each of their chips to keep. I too can't believe they're gone. Apparently, the building is supposed to reopen in 2011 as some sort of boutique hotel, but I haven't seen any work whatsoever.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 20):
I like that kind of place.

Why am I not surprised??

Pretty much the only places left in downtown are Circus Circus, Silver Legacy, El Dorado, and Harrah's. Sands Regency is struggling. Siena, just south of downtown on the river, is on the brink of closing down.
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Superfly
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 12:21 am

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 21):
I played some blackjack there on their last night and just before they closed, they offered me one of each of their chips to keep. I too can't believe they're gone. Apparently, the building is supposed to reopen in 2011 as some sort of boutique hotel, but I haven't seen any work whatsoever.

Sad to hear about this.
My last trip to Reno was in summer 2008 to see Rush at the Reno Convention Center.
I didn't do any visits to the casinos. I just saw the buildings standing and assumed they were still open.
The Reno Convention Center was great for concerts. It's totally old-school school with fold out chairs snapped together. The way arena rock concerts used to be. I can't stand the new outdoor, clam-shall amphitheaters named after these telecommunications companies.

My last time at Fitzgeralds was in January of 2004.
I saw a lounge singer that looked just like Ed McMahon.  
He had on the plaid suit and huge bow-tie.
The band was great and played many lounge versions of pop hits of the 60s, 70s & 80s.
They weren't trying to be retro at all. They were just stuck in a time warp.
It was awesome!


Quoting JetsGo (Reply 21):
the building is supposed to reopen in 2011 as some sort of boutique hotel

That makes me want to vomit.
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seb146
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 3:35 am

What about Airport Express from SFO to Santa Rosa then on to Napa County on VINE? Check 511.org for all traffic and transit in the Bay Area. Also, from Santa Rosa, there is the Amtrak Coach to Martinez. Just a thought. I think renting a car would be much more ideal for seeing Napa, though.
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Airstud
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 4:08 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 23):
What about Airport Express from SFO to Santa Rosa then on to Napa County on VINE?

A) Because the OP wants to go from downtown San Francisco
B) There is virtually no VINE service between Santa Rosa and the Napa Valley anymore.
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TSS
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 4:29 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
Quoting JetsGo (Reply 17):
Which unfortunately, is a shithole too.

No, Reno is cool!
You can play the slot machines and get free cocktails and see old style lounge singers at the Fitzgerald's and the Cal-Neva.
Quoting JetsGo (Reply 19):
Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
Fitzgerald's

Closed last year dude!
Quoting Superfly (Reply 20):
NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

'Fraid so, 'Fly... the Fitz is no more. I feel your pain, it was my favorite place to stay and play in Reno, too. Because I was usually the youngest guest there by a good 20 or 30 years and because the food there was nothing fancy but very good across the board, I described staying at the Fitz as "like spending a week with your grandparents if your grandparents were party animals who like to drink and gamble a lot".

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 19):
Quoting Superfly (Reply 18):
Cal-Neva

Stomp the carpet and watch the smoke come up!

Well... yeah, but that's part of Cal-Neva's authentic old-school charm.

Quoting JetsGo (Reply 21):
Quoting Superfly (Reply 20):
I like that kind of place.

Why am I not surprised??

I like Cal-Neva as well. Granted, walking in there is like stepping into a time warp that transports you back to 1962, but that's not a bad thing. It's unpretentious and fun, plus the food in the Top Deck restaurant is both good and cheap, the way casino food should be. Also at the Cal-Neva, occasionally out of the corner of your eye you'll catch a glimpse of the ghosts of Frank, Dean, and Sammy strolling by with a dame under each arm.  
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United Airline
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 8:24 am

How much are these options?

I have been to Napa Valley, Reno etc before. Also San Francisco many times. Haven't been here for a while and I forgot my way
 
Superfly
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 8:37 am

Quoting United Airline (Reply 26):
How much are these options?

Not much less than a rental car and ten times more headache than simply renting a car. You'll spend half your vacation waiting at bus stops and subway platforms otherwise.

Quoting United Airline (Reply 26):
I forgot my way

Buy a map.
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AeroWesty
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Thu May 13, 2010 1:44 pm

For Reno, I'd take one of the casino charters. They're great fun and the busses are much better coaches than Greyhound. You'll even get your fare and more back in the way of casino chips, bonuses, and coupons.

http://tinyurl.com/2vo6bpd

For Napa, there are winery tours you can take that could include a stop in Muir Woods as well, IIRC. I remember years ago that Gray Line used to do them with an option of a limousine instead of a bus. I don't know if they do limos any longer, but here's one place to start:

San Francisco Sightseeing
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Sat May 15, 2010 8:49 am

If I wish to visit Robert Mondavi's vineyard how am I going to get there?
 
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RE: How Do I Get From Downtown SFO To Reno/Napa Valley

Sat May 15, 2010 11:48 pm

Quoting United Airline (Reply 29):
If I wish to visit Robert Mondavi's vineyard how am I going to get there?

Even though Napa Valley is closer, you need a rental car to go there.
There dozens and dozens of vineyards up there and the scenery up in the hills above is amazing.
The tour buses are rather lame and you'll be riding with a bunch of senior citizens.
As far as Reno goes, taking the California Zephyr Amtrak train is a spectacular way to go. It's that much more than Greyhound yet much safer and 10 times more pleasant of an experience.
The California Zephyr is not the same as the Capital Corridor. Even though the price is the same, it's a completely different experience. The Capitol Corridor is just a nice commuter train and only goes to Sacramento. The California Zephyr is a long distance luxury train coach with very comfortable seats that fold out like on an international long-haul business class seat (old style 1st. class). Also the California Zephyr has the Vista lounge which offers great viewing opportunities.
I highly recommend the California Zephyr Amtrak for Reno and rental car for Napa Valley.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 28):

Great to see you back in the threads AeroWesty!  
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