I'm still a little miffed with the screw up ...
Trip Start Jun 29, 1999
29Trip End Dec 04, 1999
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Thursday, September 30th
I left The CoffeeNet pretty peeved about the whole travelogue ordeal. I took the train back to the Mission area of San Fran where I tried to cheer myself up with a burrito from La Taqueria. These burrito are supposedly the world's best and I was well on my way to agreeing with them until I found some tomatoes in the middle! It was still awfully good though. I then headed out from San Fran via the Golden Gate bridge
Friday, October 1st
Sonoma Valley is directly west of Napa Valley (i.e. I was smack dab in the middle of wine country). I considered touring some wineries but I then I thought it was a pretty pathetic idea to be driving from place to place trying to score free booze by myself. "Do you have any good gulping wines?" It was a short drive over to Jack London State Park. It was here that London had planned to build Wolfhouse, a huge stone and Redwood mansion. Unfortunately the place burned down just before he could move in and he died before it was rebuilt. You can visit the ruins of Wolfhouse as well as the stately House Of Happy Walls which his wife had built after he died. The house now acts as a museum for London
Saturday, October 2nd
I decided to spend a full day in Sacramento in order to avoid the crowds that gather at Lake Tahoe on the weekends. I did a full tour of the California Capitol Building (all the while I was humming Northen California protest songs like "Two States" and "Unfair" by that greatest of bands, Pavement). I then marched over to the Old Governor's Mansion. This mansion, and the hostel I was staying in, are the last of the oldest Victorian mansions that used to line H Street close to downtown. The governors of California lived in this mansion from 1903 to 1968 when Ron and Nancy Reagan decided they were too good for it. The Reagan's built themselves their own pad for the governors to use but when Jerry Brown took over for Reagan in 1975 he refused to live in it and instead got a humble two bedroom apartment right across the street from the Capitol building. The tour of this building was excellent especially since our guide was an actual historian and not just somebody who needed a job. Although the tour is supposed to take 40 minutes ours lasted almost 75 as we got to some very digressive discussions. My next stop was the Crocker Art Museum near Old Sacramento. This is the oldest collection of art west of the Mississippi. Judge Crocker ran the museum out of his own home (a huge mansion much like the governor's). They've since doubled the exhibit space. The collection was very eclectic ranging from American Impressionism to Chinese embroidery to photography to abstract modern art to European classics to Northern California local artistry. I was planning to check out a movie after dinner but the downtown theatre didn't have much to offer. The Downtown Plaza Mall that the theatre is in is pretty cool. It has a very wide open design and a lot of natural light so that it feels less claustrophobic than most malls. Owing to the sunny climate of California there are also entrances to the mall without doors which led some poor idiot to try and drive their car into the mall.
Sunday, October 3rd
The drive from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe along Route 50 is interesting. Sacramento is only a couple hundred feet above sea level but in the next 150 kilometres you rise to over 7000 feet. You also drive through Folsom which means I've pretty much passed by every major prison in California (Folsom, Pelican Bay, and San Quentin). After finding a campsite for the nice price of $11 per night I drove up to Fallen Leaf Lake for a 4 mile hike into the "Desolation Wilderness." No kidding, that's what they call it. It was a very hot hike which made it hard to believe I was at the same height above sea level as the Athabasca Glacier back at Jasper Park. Of course it's also October 3rd and I still have a great tan so I guess latitude is everything. Since Lake Tahoe borders on Nevada there are a few casinos within a short drive. In fact, Harrah's and Harvey's are right on the stateline. I couldn't resist the chance at a casino style buffet so I headed into Harvey's. After eating No Name Brand Mr. Noodles everything offered look sooo good. So I had it all. I came pretty close to barfing as I left the casino but I held it in. I need to get in shape before I hit Vegas in a few weeks!
Monday, October 4th
As punishment for the previous night's over indulgence I rented a mountain bike and toured around for about 5 hours. I pedalled up Hwy #89 to Emerald Bay. This is no easy ride. The road switchbacks up hundreds of feet above the lake and there isn't much room for a bike to fit on the road... one false move and either i'm getting rundown by traffic or hurtling off a cliff. Once I got to the overlook at the top (called Inspiration Point, no joke) everybody there who had passed me made sure to tell me how they admired my effort. That was nice but there wasn't any hot looking chicks, mainly just senior citizens. So now I sit here sore as hell and I can still feel that bike seat up my ass but I'm going to head back to the casino to check out the slots and, possibly, the sluts.
Tomorrow I head over to Reno, Nevada which has been described by my travel guide as a combination of "Showgirls" and "Golden Girls." It should be weird.