Then I got to the hotel and found out that the phone in my room didn't work. The moral, I guess, is that you should seize opportunities as they arise. Or perhaps the moral is that he who hesitates is lost. Or maybe there is no moral to this story. It was just something that happened.
Anyway, I'm in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, now, and since this is likely the last time I be able to access the Internet until Saturday night, I should do a brief recap of the last couple of days. I made it to San Simeon without incident, and after frolicking in the Pacific surf and watching the sun set, I retired early. I stayed overnight at San Simeon State Park, in a very unattractive campsite.
The next morning was overcast and foggy, which made my tour of Hearst Castle somewhat less spectacular than it otherwise might have been. But what of it I could see was very nice. From there, I headed up the Pacific Coast Highway to meet jmatonak in Santa Cruz for lunch at the Beach Street Cafe. Midway through our meal, we were joined, surprisingly, by gorimek. It was more of a surprise for JMatonak than for I, because I had told gorimek where we'd be having lunch, but even I was a little surprised because I had pretty much given up hope that he'd be there.
After lunch, JMatonak and gorimek went back to their own respective things while I walked along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Beaches and boardwalks aren't really my thing, but it was pretty nice. It was very clean and not too crowded, both of which count for a lot in my book.
Once I reached San Francisco, I checked in to the hotel and then when to the famous City Lights bookshop. City Lights is arguably the most famous bookstore in the world, so it was kind of exciting to be there. I bought a couple of books, of course; what's the point of going to a famous bookshop if you don't buy any books? Afterwards I had dinner at a restaurant down the street called The Stinking Rose, which specializes in dishes made with garlic. Yummy!
After checking out this morning, I drove to Sacramento to tour the state capitol building. I've always enjoyed visiting state capitols. The tour was OK; I wasn't particularly impressed with the tour guide; he was hard to hear, and he seemed unprepared for the question he got about the recall process. It was a nice building, though not particularly different from many other state capitols I've visited.
I then drove east to Carson City, the capital of Nevada. The route from Sacramento to Carson City is astonishingly pretty. US 50 runs through Eldorado National Forest, which is so densely packed with trees that it's easy to forget that the purpose of the US Forest Service is to facilitate the harvesting of said trees. I was also treated to some fabulous vistas along the route, which winds its way up and down a couple of mountains, the highest of which reaches an elevation of 7,382 feet, which is all the more remarkable in that I started the day less than 100 feet about sea level.
Carson City is not astonishingly pretty; in fact, it looks astonishingly strange, especially when you see it, as I did, coming down the mountain from Lake Tahoe. It's surrounded by desert on all sides, and it looks positively tiny compared to the vast expanses of nothing surrounding it. I'd never seen anything quite like it. The capitol building was very nice, and also very small. I guess they didn't need a very big building at first, insofar as Nevada was rushed into the Union well before it had enough people living in it to qualify for statehood.
Once I finish this now not-so-brief update, I'm heading back to Lake Tahoe to et up my tent and, well, look at the lake. Then it's off to Yosemite National Park, and after that to Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Once I return to civilization (if Bakersfield can be said to be civilized) on Saturday, I'll upload some more photos.