Day 119-121: Into California

Maybe it was a bit much to write off Northern Nevada because of Southern Nevada, but though I find this region prettier, it still has the same overpriced fuel and is covered with casinos:

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We had another afternoon of video editing after driving 250 miles down the road from Elko to Fernley, putting us about 30 miles from the California border.

We drove through Reno, but didn’t stop due to still feeling a bit ill from Vegas and not having the stomach for a place known for similar things. Even in Northern Nevada, something just didn’t quite work for us. I felt a bit stuffy the whole time we were there and I’m not sure why.

One good thing about both Nevada and California is that ‘summer’ weather came back. Utah might have felt like autumn, but Nevada is a desert and California is just warm most of the year.

As soon as we went to California, things changed in other ways though:

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Even though it was mountainous, the desert abruptly stopped and the trees came back in a big way:

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Another difference was the plethora of law enforcement officials. We saw more cops on this stretch of road than in most of the South West and Mountain West combined.

Here’s the video:

We also saw what may have been side effects of the drought California has been experiencing all year. Once we got into Sacramento, the first major city, the grass and the trees were not doing well. Unlike the desert states, they had the kind of plant life that looked like it did need water – it just wasn’t getting it. Even the palm trees around the capitol looked a bit unwell. That said, the capitol itself was one of the better ones with some very impressive sculpture:

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We were able to speak to two people, one who said biking in Sacramento was ok, but not that great (he was fixing a bike at the time, so it was a sensible question). The other was a young man working at our hotel who said Sacramento was a great place to live because the weather is amazing. He said today’s 79F/26C and sunny was quite typical.

The next day we spoke to two other people on the desk. One just shook his head when I asked what it was like living in Sacramento. The other expanded on this saying due to wealthy foreigners pricing locals out of the Bay Area, prices were going up in Sacramento too. This sounds much like London’s housing issue.

As the hotel’s breakfast was all severely processed carbs, we went out for breakfast. I can very much recommend Mr. Perry’s in Sacramento. It was delicious without feeling especially lethal.

We also saw this on our way out of town:

2015-10-06 12.19.52-1After a long, hard drive through a very hilly area with piles of traffic cops, we finally arrived at our destination. About a mile from the sea, the trees stopped and everything flattened out. We went right to the ocean as Chris hadn’t seen the Pacific in 20¬†years. It was so cold! I know it’s October, but I don’t reckon it would have been much warmer in August. It was still lovely to get from one coast to the other though:

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Even though the water was extremely cold, the sand was a nice texture and also quite warm as it was 80F/27C and sunny. 2015-10-06 16.19.00 2015-10-06 16.27.49 Like many British sea side towns, it had a little amusement park by the sea:2015-10-06 16.31.27 2015-10-06 16.36.17 Also like a British seaside town, it had a horde of seagulls:

2015-10-06 16.24.49-1California in general has some new and odd looking trees:
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We spent the night at a hotel that was only less expensive than the one we had in Key West. That said, it did have a fairly central location and the staff were unusually pleasant.

As a note, no, we are not going to visit Southern California. It is for similar reasons to skipping New York City proper (though we did drive through the Bronx). It is expensive and crowded (two big reasons we left England) and in a huge state. If we could do everywhere and travel another few months, we would, but we chose Northern California over Southern as the North has Silicon Valley and we just didn’t think we could spend this much time in what is frankly a very expensive state.

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