GoCar: Computer Guided Tours

Computer Guided Tours

Every San Franciscan is well acquainted with the engine-roaring, bright orange GoCars put-putting around the city. We laugh at the rider’s clunky silver helmets, cheeky audio guide, and the ridiculous 3 wheel carriage – but we all secretly desire to ride one.

Awhile back, when Laura was visiting, I had looked into the cost. Whew! I’m not going to lie to you – it’s expensive. So when a deal came up on Groupon half a year ago, 2 hours for the price of 1, I couldn’t pass it up. Chris and I had been waiting for the perfect weekend to do it and it finally came! Highs in the 80s and not a cloud in the sky!

Sweet helmet.

Much to Chris’s dismay, I booked an early reservation. (My hope was to beat the brunch-eating tourists on such a beautiful day.) The above picture is the only one I could get of him smiling the entire morning before getting in the GoCar. When we got there it wasn’t too busy and most people were renting bikes. You sign some forms, pick out a helmet. watch an instructional video, and then you’re on your way!

Ready to go!

Our 2 hour tour started in Fisherman’s Wharf. She, the computer GPS voice, gives you cheeky turn by turn directions that are sometimes a little too close for comfort. She also gives you options on where to go depending on what tour you’re doing or how much time you decided to spend out of the car checking out the sights.

Fisherman’s Wharf

From there we went down Marina Blvd where we saw this hilarious, to me, pop-up fitness center. We then came up on Crissy Field where it gave us the option to go check out the beach. We drove into the parking lot only to realize it was totally packed, so we quickly exited and continued toward Fort Point.

Crissy Field

On our way over we became part of a GoCar Party and drove alongside a bike train.

The view.

Fort Point, under the Golden Gate Bridge, is absolutely beautiful. In all my SF traveling I had never been there before, so we parked the car and hopped out to enjoy the scenery.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point.

View of the city from Fort Point.

Posing with GoCar 63.

Like a bike or a motorcycle, the GoCars can’t back up. So if, let’s say, you park correctly in a parking spot – you need to manually push it backwards to drive forwards again. It’s kind of hilarious.

Strong-armed Chris doing the MANual back-up while I sit in the car and take pictures of him.

After Fort Point GoCar 63 directed us over to the Golden Gate Bridge parking area. It’s another spot where, if you choose, you can get out of the car and look around, but Chris and I have been there so many times we decided against it. We continued on the tour down to Baker Beach.

On the way to Baker Beach.

Getting down to Baker Beach from the Golden Gate Bridge is all downhill. The car warns you that she can’t go over 30 mph and starts playing this fantastic ‘downhill music’ (that you’ll hear a little of in the youtube video below). Similar to Fort Point, I had never been to Baker Beach before our GoCar excursion. It was beautiful! A perfect spot to spend a warm day.

Baker Beach

A couple from Belgium took our picture and asked us where we were visiting from. They loled when we told them we were from here. :)

Playing tourist!

We learned, from GoCar 63, that they do cannon demonstrations at Baker Beach the first weekend every month between 11am-3pm. We’re definitely going back the weekend after next to check it out. After another manual back-up, we left the beach and headed towards the sea cliffs. We went through a ‘quiet area’ where GoCar 63 couldn’t talk because tour busses weren’t allowed, but fortunately GoCars are! You just have to go slowly so your engine doesn’t make a lot of noise. She later told us that it was home to rich people and a few celebrities – including Robin Williams!

This was the point where our tour diverged from the 3 hour tour* and it was time for us to head back. To our surprise, heading back was just as informative and fun as going out. Before entering The Presidio we learned that our street, Arguello Boulevard, is named after the 1787-1806 lieutenant and commandant of the Presidio of San Francisco – José Darío Argüello. We also learned that we had been pronouncing it wrong the 2 years we’ve lived here… it’s “ar-gway-o” not “ar-gwell-o”. Yay Spanish!

Inspiration Point

Our last get-out-of-the-car point of interest was Inspiration Point in the Presidio. Another spot I had never been to before. On our way back to the GoCar Headquarters on Hyde, we passed the army homes, LucasArts, and the Palace of Fine Arts.

Palace of Fine Arts

It gave us the opportunity to drive down Lombard Street, but since we were close to our two hour limit we decided to skip that option and head back.

The End

The GoCar computer guided tour was super fun and I highly recommend it! I do, however, think that $100 for 2 hours is too much for what it is – so be on the lookout for a Groupon/coupon/deal. Also important to note:
• You put down a $400 deposit for damage insurance that’s returned to you as soon as you return the car unharmed.
• You have to keep track of time. I was surprised to find that there’s nothing in the car that does it for you. I’d recommend setting up a stopwatch, or just looking at the time, on your phone as soon as you leave the headquarters. It’s really easy to stop at all the sights and totally lose track.
• Look at the map ahead of time because the verbal directions are slightly delayed.
• You can’t go in reverse.
If you’re still not convinced, check out Chris and my flickr pages to see all of our photos!