Nope. But fortunately the GPS does.
02.05.2011 - 02.05.2011 18 °C
We did the drive around Lake Tahoe this morning, fab-u-lous! We had intended riding on the gondola (one that goes up a mountain not one that meanders around a lake/pond/Venice/whatever) anyways, that was ruled-out due to it being closed for maintenance. Actually, a few things are closed to due to the 'end of the season', what season? one wonders, is not spring a season too?
We had hoped to exit Tahoe via a Scenic Byway (a road recognised for its superior views/scenery/other notable features) sadly it was closed due to snow so we took another, quicker/more direct route which was just-as-well as that quicker/more direct route was friggen long enough. Not having any local knowledge makes guesstimating how long/tiring/demanding a trip will be impossible. Like today. The first section was great, nipping down the side of a mountain at 65 miles an hour on a road that was like a ski run, then zipping through the countryside without a care-in-the-world until finally reaching Sacramento (population 1.4 million) with the traffic getting continually heavier and the fun levels ebbing away!
Anyways, we stopped in San Jose for the night simply because it appeared on our radar at about the right time to call it quits for the day (it was getting into rush hour time and that is best left to the locals who want to get home-fast).
Having now covered a fair few miles I think we are qualified to make a few comments on life on the road in the USA (or, at, least, the tiddly bit that we have seen).
1) If you ever plan to drive here then do your pelvic floor exercises (or what equivalent applies to you). Toilets for the traveler are few and far between. In NZ you can pretty much expect even the smallest town to have a public loo - not so here. I think that the first person who sets up a chain of user-pays restrooms will be guaranteed to be a millionaire in no time at all. I suspect the profusion of fast-food chains here is due to the number of people who pop in to 'spend a penny' and have to buy a drink or something to justify using the facilities. 0/10.
2) Road markings, who needs them? These are times of austerity, but I think that it is still OK to slap a bit of a paint on the road to show where the lanes are/ where to stop/ where to turn. On too many roads the markings have all but faded away. 0/10
3) Litter. What's that? Hats off to the Americans for the lack of rubbish on the sides of their roads. Maybe it isn't there as chain-gangs have picked it up or maybe it is the constant reminder that if you are caught littering then it's $1,000 fine -regardless, the lack of roadside rubbish is impressive. 10/10.
4) Food. Exceptional. Americans excel in this area. You have to love the free-market and the competition that it creates. My super-dooper super-sized whatever will be bigger/better than your extra-whopper mega-size thing-a-me. The variety of items available is mind-boggling. Travel may broaden the mind but the tummy isn't far behind...maybe we should leave the behind out of it.10/10.