Tuesday, February 22, 2005

We spent last night in Bakersfield, and took our friends to the Olive Garden in Odyssey. Unfortunately, pulling in to the parking lot I managed to smack a curb, probably due to the finnicky front levelers being out of adjustment. The plastic front trim, which has been mangled and glassed back together many times already, is again mangled. We'll need to find a fiberglass shop to get it fixed, and there's probably some metal bending and bondo work needed as well.

Today we headed up 99 out of Bakersfield, cut over to I-5 and blasted up to 152, which will take us over the hill and into the bay area. We wanted one more night of quiet before the hustle and bustle of San Jose, so we stopped for the night at the San Luis Reservoir recreation area (map). After paying our camping fee, which, incidentally, has doubled since the last time we were in California, we drove the mile or so to the campground to find that Odyssey doesn't really fit in any of the spaces -- an absolute first for us. We're taking up two spots -- probably not an issue, since the campground is only about 20% full.

The near-doubling of almost all fees at California's state parks is one of the Governator's strategies to improve the state's bleak financial picture. While we don't really mind paying $20 for camping in a state park (with water and electric hookups, to boot), this sort of penny-ante tactic really does nothing significant at a state budgetary level, yet has a severe impact on the state's most impoverished residents (the sort of people for whom, for example, fishing in this park is a means of subsistence, not just recreation).

We had a brief moment of excitement today when we passed another Neoplan Spaceliner (the same type of bus as Odyssey) heading south on 99 as we were heading north. I recognized it immediately as the coach that had been built several years ago for country/western singer George Strait. George has since sold it (it was listed for sale for a long time, perhaps two years ago), and I have been told that it is now owned by someone in Mexico. Nevertheless, today it was in California. We sounded a couple blasts on our air horn as we passed, but did not receive any response (as far as we could tell).

Tomorrow, we will be in San Jose.

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