Vacaville to Lake Tahoe
We had not originally planned to visit Lake Tahoe but we recalculated how many days we had left and came to the conclusion that it was worth a shot, at least if we aimed for the southern end.
The area around Sacramento was not particularly interesting but we stopped and did some outlet shopping in Folsom. The countryside approaching Lake Tahoe was much more alpine and there was a steep winding road into the town of South Lake Tahoe itself. Traffic there was awful, apparently due to some celebrity golf championship. It was also difficult to find reasonably priced accommodation but we got lucky with a place called Alder Inn. At first they said they had no rooms free but eventually agreed to give us one room if we would wait for the owner to wash the carpet. In the end he showed us the room and we thought the carpet was OK as it was so we got the room with a discount. It was a nice friendly place, with some peculiarities. First we discovered five bottles of beer in the fridge that the previous occupant had left. Of course we didn't complain about this! Then late in the evening, while trying to find the switch for the air conditioning (it turned out there was none) I opened a grille in the wall and found a seemingly brand new Nokia 3G mobile phone hidden in there. At first we thought it must have been stolen but there were no accessories, e.g. a charger, with it. It was locked to the operator "3", who don't exist in the States, so we handed it in to the owner with a list of the countries where "3" operate and he thought it most likely belonged to some people from New Zealand who had occupied the room for two months! The owner said that people never come back to claim anything they left behind, not surprisingly really.
We had dinner at a burger joint on the obligatory long ugly commercial road into town. It had won "best burger in Tahoe" for many years. It was basically a shack with a few tables and a sit-out garden, but the burgers were good. Afterwards we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the lake.