2019 - West Coast USA - Day 9


Breakfast this morning was in a small room opposite reception meaning a lovely walk in the sunshine with the temperatures rising already. There was not a lot of choice for breakfast and I ended up having one of the extremely unappetising looking croissants filled with egg and cheese that needed to be heated in the microwave. To be fair it tasted better than it looked. The porridge was off the menu for me as the only flavours available were Brown Sugar & Maple (Sugar and more Sugar) or something with Cinnamon. One day the world will come to realise that much of the evil in the world is caused by people eating Cinnamon.

We were soon on the road and heading to Sacramento for the day. To Karen’s chagrin we drove past 7 Starbucks during the 1 hour journey, but I assured her we would find at least one when we stopped.

On route we were chatting about her 2nd cousin who had moved with his family from Norwich to Sacramento to work in the Aerospace Industry over 40 years ago. Sadly we had no contact details for his family after he had passed away. If it had been me I would have been keen to find and meet them, but for Karen it held little interest. She felt they would have no interest in meeting her. I disagreed and said that they would probably love to meet and learn more about their heritage. Another time perhaps.

We headed to Old Sacramento which has been preserved in its original form. It looks like you would imagine an old Western town should look like at the time of the Gold Rush. There are a few new museums set up on the fringes with more details of the history and one devoted to the railway. The Pony Express started and used to run from here as well. As we were there quite early the place was deserted. We wandered around but it was getting hot, really hot. The thermometer hit 106f. We sort shelter in the Visitors Centre where a helpful chap told us all the best places to see and more importantly for Karen where we could get a coffee. Sadly it wasn’t a Starbucks but a local coffee shop round the corner in one of the old buildings. The people inside were very friendly as we sat and had our drinks.

The plan as advised by the man in the Visitor Centre was to then walk the 1 mile distance to the State Capital via a nice route which had lots of shade. It was a pleasant walk and we made it without flagging in the heat. We went to the South Entrance and made our way in through Security. Once inside we were just allowed to wander quite freely. I know this isn’t Parliament as such but we the fact was we could just walk into the 2 chambers and even up to the offices of the Speaker and Opposition Leader. Although the chambers were not sitting again until tomorrow, there were many political people hanging around. Many of the committee rooms were in use and sessions taking place with the doors wide open. It was all rather strange.

The highlight of our visit though was the Assembly gallery where the portraits of the Governors are hung. Naturally we (and the few other visitors) all wanted to find Arnie. We were not disappointed apart from the fact it didn’t say underneath in small letters - ‘I’ll be back’.

A Starbucks coffee was then called for and there was one opposite the State Capitol. We bought a couple of sandwiches. I had Elvis’s favourite which was grilled cheese and I could understand why as it was rather tasty.

We slowly made our way back to the car to continue the 100+ mile journey onto Lake Tahoe. We had been driving for a hour when I saw a message flash up over the road saying due to fire, Highway 50 was closed. Now I couldn’t remember if we were on the 50 or if the fire was after we were due to turn off. A couple of miles later I could see ahead that the traffic was stationery. Just before we stopped there was an exit so I quickly took that and took the opportunity to fill up with ‘gas’ in a nearby station and asked what the problem was. The helpful cashier confirmed it was a fire in a Casino a few miles along and the road had been closed. I asked if there was an alternative route and she gave me details. We decided to use that local knowledge and headed deep into the countryside. We were in a long line of what presumably locals who were also going around the problem. It took us about 30 minutes until we emerged again onto Highway 50 the other side of the problem. We felt very pleased with ourselves for doing so, as goodness knows how long we might have been held up.

The road then took us higher and higher over 7000ft up and over the Sierra Navada Mountains. It was a nice drive albeit hard work with the slow windy road. Eventually we came down in South Lake Tahoe. To be truthful our first impressions were not great. It looked busy and full of ugly roadworks. We got through them and it then looked more like a typical USA Ski Resort, some really posh nice bits and some not so well maintained.

We found our Hotel for the next 3 nights. Karen was not happy as we pulled in as despite the glorious weather, it was positioned dull in the shade. This was another place that had good reviews but it surely hadn’t got them for looks. I checked in and we seemed to have been allocated the worst possible room behind a screen next to the small pool.

Karen had a grim look on her face as we unlocked the door. Fortunately the room was much on the inside rather than the outside, apart from some of the worst paintings on the wall we have ever seen.

We settled in and then decided to have a walk to explore. As the Hotel does not provide breakfast we wanted to find a supermarket to get some provisos for breakfast. Sadly the one nearest was still being built despite the signs outside suggesting it was open.

I knew there was an Applebees restaurant relatively close by and we thought we would walk to that. It was much further than we expected but we got there eventually along a very busy road. I had a Steak and Karen ordered a Burger. We then walked across the busy road to an open Supermarket and bought some milk for the room along with some wine. It was a long dark walk back and I had to use the torch on my phone to light the path for Karen.

To be truthful we were kind of expecting more than we have seen so far from Tahoe. We were hoping for somewhere to chill with nice walks and a promenade of sorts but not sure this is the place. Hopefully tomorrow when we explore we will find the bits of Tahoe that everyone raves about.


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