We have a tradition. Over Thanksgiving - a time traditionally spent over Turkey, stuffing and gravy- we head out on a road trip, just for the heck of it. It is a wonderful time of year for this kind of thing, and often ends up being surprisingly free of crowds.
This year we decided we wanted another road trip to California. In 2010 we did a road trip to central California - entering the state through Las Vegas. We loved that trip. This year we decided to explore northern California.
Night Zero: Friday 11/16/2012
We left Fort Collins after work and drove to Rawlins, WY to overnight at the Ferris Mansion Bed & Breakfast. Psychologically we like the "night zero" getaways. Even being 3 to 4 hours closer to your destination really helps.
For more information check out their website here.
We stayed in the Blue Room - everything was very comfortable. Our Innkeeper was warm and friendly, and we got introduced to the household pet ferret called Miss Daisy.
Breakfast the next morning was tasty and filling - fruit, juice, coffee, toast, and an egg bake. We left for Day One of the road trip feeling refreshed and ready for the road.
Here is Kevin making toast.
The next day we headed west on I-80. We passed through Salt Lake City, and I had to take photos through the car window of the salt workings visible from the road.
We made good time through Utah and then into Nevada. Kevin had read good reviews of the Best Western in Elko NV, so we spent Night One (11/17) there. We make it a habit of always asking the motel front desk for food recommendations. We had dinner at JR's - a very good family restaurant (attached to a casino - naturally- this is Nevada) that served very good burgers. This restaurant was in walking distance. Their sweet potato fries were superb.
We left Elko the morning of Sunday 11/18 leaving around 9am. We drove west along I-80. Very interesting landscape. Out of Elko - rolling mountains. It was also raining on and off during our drive.
Then it opened up into those flat straight roads that you expect NV to have. As we passed small towns, we passed towns inviting us for casinos and ... $10 lap dances. Charming! We grabbed a picnic lunch at a rest stop. Very dry and arid. At the rest stop there was a sign explaining the "Forty Mile Desert."
Then we pushed on to make it to Reno. We had been worried about the weather forecast and getting over Donner Pass. We decided to try it. I couldn't stand the thought of having to delay our arrival into California by a day. Just before the pass just outside Reno- Sparks - at a gas station we swapped drivers. Kevin drove the pass - on the NV side it was just fine. Then on the CA side over the Donner Pass proper - that is around the town of Truckee. - we went through rain and snow. Kevin did a magnificent job. Just drove slowly. No need for chains.
Rain turning to snow.
And warnings of snow removal equipment!
At a rest stop after we had come down the pass at around 3000 ft we swapped again, and I drove to Davis or near there. Then Kevin called our Best Western in Novato to book for the night. He drove the 1.5 hours with the help of Google Maps navigation to get to Novato.
Very comfortable room. Went to Wild Fox - a restaurant adjoining the Best Western for a burger. I also had a glass of wine, a Wild Fox Chardonnay. Kevin seized the moral high ground and ordered a salad instead of fries, and he avoided the burger bun.
We are very pleased we managed to get to CA on Sunday. We thought that we would have to wait it out in Reno.