Woke surrounded by Sierra pines, and wandered about the campsite while Marko slept in the car. Took some photographs of the pioneer memorial, and then paid the park fee. Our first day in California, and we learned the true expense of the state. Paid $25 for a night sleeping on the ground, where it had been $12 and voluntary in Kansas. Had our first $50 tank of gas, and headed south to Lake Tahoe.

Marco Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Passed some bike race, with perhaps a thousand participants, all on expensive bikes and not all seemingly fit enough to ride them. Trespassed by some condos and got a look at the lake; not as impressive as I had thought, as least when compared to the emerald eye of Crater Lake in Oregon. Turned around and got back on the highway.

Passed through Sacramento, and by innumerable fast food joints. Our quest for a decent lunch took us to Berkeley, where we figured there would be cheap student grub, and were right. Stuffed ourselves at an Indian buffet, and then over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. Traffic there was quite exciting, with trolley cars and bike lanes confusing the hell out of me. We finally found Marko’s hostel, and then our stoic farewell. A quick handshake, a promise to keep in touch, and I was alone.

Marco SF

Marko at the journey’s end

It was even more difficult to get out of the city without a navigator, so I focussed on not hitting any pedestrians and hoped the directions would figure themselves out. They did, and I turned south and eventually got on the 101.

Two hours later, past Silicon Valley and Cupertino (resolving to make my hajj there later), and I was through Monterey and on my new doorstep. A shower, dinner, and now I write this account overlooking my first Pacific sunset. Six days, 3921 miles, and over $500 in gas, and I am tired. Eager to start my job, have some fun in the sun, and no longer afraid of any prospective road trip.