We slept like rocks in the bed in our room at the Best Western in Carson City, and it was delightful to wake up and not feel stiff and grouchy from sleeping restlessly and uncomfortably on the round. It was also wonderful to take hot showers in a private bathroom, as opposed to the showers in the shared restroom at the KOA. Although we woke up relatively early, we took our time, watched some coverage of Hurricane Frances on CNN, had some free continental breakfast, and then got back on the road.
We drove through Carson City and headed toward Lake Tahoe. When we caught our first glimpse of it, and we could see the mountains on the other side of it, I was so thrilled – here was California! Lake Tahoe is right on the border between Nevada and California, so we were on the Nevada side of it for 20 or 30 minutes. At one point we stopped to get out and take photos. It was very chilly, though, and we were dressed for San Joaquin Valley weather, not mountain weather. We took the pictures quickly and then got back in the car.
Dave was determined to take a photo of both of us at the California state line, and it worked out well that the border wasn’t along an eight-lane interstate. The border is in the middle of the lake resort town (actually, towns – Stateline, NV and South Lake Tahoe, CA) along the south edge of Lake Tahoe. So we parked the car, set up the tripod on the street corner, and took a photo in front of the “Welcome to California” sign. It just figures that this would be the smallest state border sign of our entire trip.
I had originally hoped to spend some time on the beach at Tahoe, and then we settled on doing a small amount of hiking because of time constraints, but because it was so windy and chilly out, we ended up just taking a few more photos of the lake, buying some postcards, and continuing west.
Hooray! We’re in California!
From South Lake Tahoe it was about an hour and a half down the mountain to the Sacramento area. We had lunch at In-N-Out (Of course! What else could we have for our first meal in California?) in Rancho Cordova, then took Hwy 50 a few more miles to Hwy 99, the major road that is the backbone of Central California.
I have driven the route from Sacramento to Fresno many times, and it was a good feeling to be driving my little Ford Focus down the Central Valley drawing nearer and nearer to my hometown after driving for over 5000 miles. The highway was somewhat congested for the entire 3 hour drive, and the air was even dustier than usual, but it was comforting after three weeks of adventure to be driving on a familiar road, where I knew what the next several hundred miles would look like.
We arrived in Fresno right around 3 pm and found my sister Amy working hard… actually, lounging on the couch. My family arrived one by one from work or school and were all glad to see that we’d made it safely home. My parents took us and my best friend Michelle & her husband Eric out for dinner at their favorite local Mexican restaurant to celebrate.
We made it! Now we’ll chill in Fresno for the weekend and head to San Diego on Sunday to finally arrive at our new apartment. I can’t wait to see it!