Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 10: California!

Today was the last official driving day of the trip. We slept in and left Reno around 11 with about 3.5 hours to go until Alameda. We were more than happy to say goodbye to Nevada and couldn't wait to get to San Francisco.

Getting close!

When we crossed the border in California, we decided to take a detour to Lake Tahoe since I'd never been and Brian has been gushing about how great the skiing is going to be out here. (Brian: "I just don't understand why people live on the east coast.") The Lake was as beautiful as he bragged about and it was definitely worth the trip over there.

Lake Tahoe
(Stole this from Wikipedia because apparently I didn't take any photos)

The other reason for the detour was that we wanted to find one of the trailheads for the Rubicon Trail. It's a difficult trail for off-highway vehicles and Jeep (the company) apparently does some of their testing for trail-rated jeeps on it. According to Brian, for a Jeep to be trail-rated like his, it has to be able to make it through all 22 miles of the trail (though not necessarily without significant damage). Apparently it takes 3 days and a certain amount of skill to make the trip. (A lifted jeep with 33" tires and a roll cage are also recommended. And even so, you can expect sheet metal damage.)

Photos stolen from the internet of jeeps on the Rubicon Trail
(photos from and

We found tiny Georgetown, CA but couldn't find the trailhead. After doing some research, we discovered that this end of the trail has since been paved. We weren't interested in backtracking to the east since we wanted to get to Alameda and San Francisco, so we decided to let it go.

Unfortunately by that time it was about 4pm so we hit rush hour around Sacramento. It was the first real traffic we'd seen the whole trip, though, so we couldn't complain too much. Once we were past Sacramento we could see the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco Bay. Exciting.

Tunnel right before we got to Brian's neighborhood

Pretty soon we were in Oakland and then Alameda. We drove past Brian's house, which he moved into that Friday. It was a really cute place from the outside and the neighborhood was very well kept. Almost everyone had flowers, too. There was also a school right across the street and the gym he might join is within walking distance. The location is also close to the base so hopefully traffic won't be a problem.

Brian's house! So jealous of the kitchen.

After we saw the house, we stopped by Ballena Isle Marina where Brian's parents used to live, just to see it and send them a picture. The drive took us right by the bay and we could see 15 or 20 kite boarders out on the water. By that time, the temperature had dropped from 95 when we got into California to 62 degrees. Brian was more than fine with that.

On the way out of town we spotted Domenico's Italian Deli and had to stop; Brian's mom would stop there for a turkey and avocado sandwich while she was pregnant with Brian

Next we made a quick detour to Coast Guard Island to check out the situation. The commute from Brian's place should be not bad at all and he can even avoid the highway if he wanted to. I'm trying to convince him that he could find a suitable bike route, but he's not convinced. The base itself was small, but

Then we headed into San Francisco. Brian got us a room at the Marine Memorial Hotel on Union Square which was awesome. The room was very snazzy and we were in the corner so there were a lot of windows. We ended up heading around the block (we literally walked in a circle thanks for Brian's impeccable navigation skills) to get sushi for dinner and it ended up being a great choice. We found a little prices with a lot of options and good prices and went to town.


Turns out we didn't last too long before falling asleep when we got back to the room, but it was a night well spent and we were certainly glad to have reached our destination. The next morning we were up relatively early for my flight at noon. We had to sort through all of our stuff since it was pretty well intermingled after 10 days of being on the road. There ended up being only a few things I left behind, and nothing that wasn't easily replaced. 

10 days, 4000+ miles, and a great time. I'd call that a success.


  1. Nice Gail. I'm jealous. Pat and I want to do a cross-country drive.

  2. Do it! Take the southern route so you can come through Austin. :)

  3. Really enjoyed reading the blog of your wonderful trip (reminded us of our x-country journey in 1985 (8 weeks, 22,000 miles, 26 states, 2 countries!) Thanks for including us on the was great to see you both!
    Uncle Mike & Aunt Pam