I looped around the rest of Lake Tahoe to the northwest corner, where I found the adorably quaint, historic mountain town of Truckee, CA. In contrast to South Lake Tahoe’s strip of glittering casinos, Truckee’s Main Street is characterized by its boutique shops and artisanship. Here, even the Taco Bell is housed in rustic stones, bricks, and flowers. I grabbed my backpack and started down what looked more like a movie set than a real town.
I think I’d like to move here when I retire.
I hated to leave Tahoe, but I had my sights on bigger things. Lincoln Highway terminus, the Golden Gate Bridge, was a mere 2.5 hours away. I had to finish this thing today.
I drove awhile and came upon one of California’s many state welcome centers in the town of Auburn. Welcome centers have long since become an important stopping point for me, whether for their hotel coupons, water fountains, or just a photograph of the sign.
This little place was run by a group of older women who were overjoyed to learn that was not a local, but an actual Auburn tourist in the market for information! They had library bookshelves teeming with pamphlets and brochures on every conceivable attraction in California. I told them I was driving the Lincoln Highway and planning to visit a friend in wine country, and they loaded me right up with the required reading materials.
(What do I do with all these?)
I pushed through Sacramento, over bridges and through mountain tunnels, and in the late evening I took US-101 to San Francisco, straight across my finish line: The Golden Gate Bridge.
The sense of accomplishment nearly blew me over; or maybe it was the strong Bay winds up on there on Vista Point. I found an airBnB room in the city and geared up for a great adventure in San Fran, but the universe had different plans for me. I had no idea that the next day of my journey would prove to be its worst.