Post vacation awards

World’s Largest Wood Yo-Yo – 256 pounds

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.

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