Now that my two-week vacation to the West Coast has concluded much faster than one would prefer, here are some samples of the highlights and lowlights.
Best part of the trip – Time spent seeing and being with family.
Second best part of the trip – Messages from friends during and after the trip.
Best food – All the meals served at my Cousin Barb’s house.
Second best food – The Tuna Manhattan sandwiches at several locations.
Best hotels – Best Western in Salinas and Hampton Inn at the Sacramento Airport.
Best surprise – The John Steinbeck Museum and home in Salinas, California.
Favorite city (Oregon) – Ashland
Favorite city (California) – tie between Santa Cruz and Grass Valley
Favorite big city – This is gonna surprise a lot of people – Sacramento, followed by San Francisco.
Best fast food – In-N-Out Burger in Sacramento and Salinas. These places are terrific!
Best sit down dining – Standing Stone Brewery in Ashland, Oregon.
Best beer – Tangerine Wheat from Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, California.
Best place to take a stroll – Ashland, Oregon.
Best museums – tie John Steinbeck Museum in Salinas and the 1863 Chinese Temple in Oroville. Both are fabulous!
Beach place to have fun – Santa Cruz, California
Most unique museum – National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico.
Terrific “free” museums – Cable Car Museum in San Francisco and Wells Fargo Museum in Sacramento.
Most unique lodging – unit at Yosemite Ridge Lodge. It was quite cute.
Best beach – Santa Cruz, California.
Best National Park – Crater Lake, Oregon
Coolest old building – Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland, Oregon.
Best tour – Alcatraz Island National Park – terrific audio tour given by past prisoners and guards.
Best freebie – Gift box of chocolate and raspberry cookies from Harry and David in Medford, Oregon.
Geekiest thing – Tie between visiting the Apple and Tesla headquarters in Silicon Valley.
Best airport – Sacramento International, Terminal B.
Most fun ride – tie between the super soaker at my cousin’s house and the cable cars in San Francisco.
Coolest view (literally and figuratively)- From the Marin headlands of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.
Most scenic view (city) – Crescent City from US 101 in Redwoods National Park.
Most scenic view (nature) – All views of Crater Lake.
Best time for reflection – Star-gazing at my cousin’s home, including seeing at least a dozen shooting stars/meteors and the Milky Way.
Funniest sign - Highway sign along I-80/US 50 between Davis and Sacramento, which said:
- Sacramento 12 miles
- South Lake Tahoe 116 miles
- Ocean City, Maryland 3,073 miles
Worst part of the trip – Returning to an empty apartment.
Second worst part of the trip – Trying to see things in temperatures of 108-109F degrees.
Only bad hotel experience – Sheraton Hotel Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. You’d think for $250 per night they could make the elevators work correctly and not charge you for internet in you room.
Worst surprise – The lack of water at the waterfalls in Yosemite.
Worst city – Merced, California – ugh!
Worst meal – Lack of anything but snacks on the flights.
Worst directions – Limited number of state highway signs on city streets in California.
Worst delays - Multiple single-lane road closures along California 299.
Worst detour – Closure or the northern part of Lassen Volcanic National Park due to a prescribed fire getting out of control.
Biggest rip-off – 20 cents per gallon extra for using credit cards at some gas stations.
Wildest price variation – Gasoline prices ranged by as much as 30 cents per gallon at the same intersection.
Worst sprawl – Sadly in the Sierra Nevada foothills around Sonora and Angels Camp, California. Never expected big boxes out the wazoo in that area.