August 29, 2008

Low Gas and No-Gas Labor Day Trips

By Janis Mara

Once a year, Jim Mathers of Livermore motors up to Tahoe, stopping at his favorite cheap Arco station en route and visiting Pyramid Lake. Total gas consumed: One tank each way, and about a half-tank for sightseeing in between.

Mathers' Tahoe trips demonstrate that even with sky-high gas prices, it's not necessary to break the bank to have a fun trip. For a Labor Day jaunt that's easy on the wallet and the environment, here are some excursions that take one tank of gas, or none at all, recommended by folks around the Bay.

Tahoe, or the area surrounding Lake Tahoe, a pristine lake north of the Bay Area along the border between California and Nevada, has world-class boating and a raft of other activities, not to mention that low-cost Arco station, which, Mathers explains, is in Rocklin. For directions and information on the area, visit

Ron Sipherd of Oakland suggested a less-than-one-gallon trip on public transit.

"Drive to your closest Caltrain station and hop the Capitol Corridor train to Sacramento," Sipherd said. There are stations in Hayward, Fremont, Oakland and Martinez, to name a few. To find one near you, visit

"Watch the scenery, visit the club car for a sandwich and coffee, arrive relaxed," Sipherd said. "See the railroad museum, Old Sacramento, the Crocker Art Museum, the state capitol. Then back to the historic brick Sacramento railroad station for the return trip."

For another less-than-one-tank journey, "There are shuttle buses to Muir Woods National Monument charging only $3 for adults," said Mike Carter of Belmont.

The Marin County park has a giant old-growth stand of coast redwood trees and great hiking.

"Most people drive their cars to the parking lot at the Mill Valley exit off Highway 101 and take the shuttle," Carter said. "I avoid driving whenever I can. Gas prices are high, and why pollute if you don't have to?"

Janis Mara can be reached at 925-952-2671 or [email protected] For the Bay Area's lowest gas prices, visit Slow down. Driving 55 instead of 65 can save 10 percent on mileage-- No jackrabbit starts. Gunning engine at green lights drains gas-- Keep tires properly inflated-- Avoid coming to a complete stop when safe; slow down when approaching red lights-- Keep car maintained. Tuneups and oil changes extend mileage-- Don't drink and drive-- Scan your mirrors, be aware of who is on your right and left-- Allow yourself extra space. Don't tailgate

Tips courtesy of Bob Ramorino, owner of Hayward-based RoadStar Trucking and 2008 president of the California Trucking Association


Originally published by Janis Mara, Staff Writer.

(c) 2008 Oakland Tribune. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.