Our California Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 2335 miles, and drove for 43 hours and 51 minutes during our 2 weeks in California while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in California over the past 2 weeks.

Famous Person: Harvey Milk

Famous Food: Napa Valley Wine, Boudin Sourdough Bread

Roadside Attraction: World’s Largest Bow & Arrow

State Capitol/Museum: Sacramento, CA

National Park: Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park

Historic Location: San Andreas Fault, End of Route 66

Can't miss attraction: Route 1, San Diego

Made in the USA tour: Fortune Cookie Factory

Please view our previous blog posts for the past 2 weeks for further explanations of our experiences in California.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 511.00

$ 2.73 gal. in Turlock, CA was the lowest price paid.

$ 3.29 gal. in Alpine, CA was highest price paid.


We drove over 2335 miles in California, and gas in the state was 20% higher than the national average of $2.45!

Groceries: $193.00

Walmart $119.00

Costco $74.00


We did great in this category

Dining out $98.00

Costco pizza $6.00 (average pizza on the go)

Starbucks $3.00 (1 tea for free wifi)

Hot potato $20.00 (2 yummy loaded veggie potatoes)

Boudin Bakeries $10.00 (Tomato soup bread bowl)

Pier dinner $23.00 (2 average veggie burgers)

Panama $25.00 (2 average veggie burgers)

Auntie Annie's $11.00 (2 gross hot pretzels)


We did better than usual, but are still eating out way to much.

Entertainment: $50.00

Hagafen Cellars $22.00 (Wine tasting)

Cable Car $28.00 (Round trip cable car tickets X2)


We did average in this category!

Lodging: $131.00

Hotel $67.00 (1 night - treated ourselves)

Camping $64.00 (2 nights - treated ourselves again)

Casino $0.00 (Slept in parking lot x1 night)

Walmart $0.00 (Slept in parking lot x7 nights)


We splurged a bit in this category.

Miscellaneous: $39.00

Parking $35.00 (Cost of parking throughout California)

Toll $4.00 (Toll to go over the bay bridge)


We did great in this category

California Expenses Grand Total: $ 1022.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is California Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our yearlong cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 10

“California's Gross State product or GSP, is about $2.514 trillion, and is larger than the Gross Domestic product or GDP of all but 5 countries in the entire world!!!”

Lori: 10

“With an average median household income of $ 64,500 California ranks 9th in the nation. Very Nice!!!”

Economy score: 10

Cost of Living:

Nate: 2

“With an income tax as high as 13.3%, and a sales tax as high as 10% after local surcharges, California has the highest taxes of all the states we have visited”

Lori: 3

“The average price of a gas in California was $2.93 per gallon, over 20% higher than the national average of $ 2.43, and the cost of housing is 92.7% more expensive than the rest of the US”

Cost of living score: 2.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 3

“From massive mudslides, to raging forest fires, California is constantly plagued by natural disasters. The state sits on the San Andreas faultline, resulting in over 700 earthquakes per day. When is the next “BIG ONE”?

Lori: 3

“The state’s cleanliness and climate varies widely from town to town. Most disturbing is California’s violent crime rate of 4.26 is higher than the nation average of 3.8”

Quality of life score: 3


Nate: 9

“California proved its progressiveness with solar panels, wind farms, a ban on plastic shopping bags and plenty of vegetarian dining options”

Lori: 7

“When it comes to entertainment, the state has professional sports teams, Hollywood, world renowned museums, Disneyland, music festivals, Napa Valley wineries, and so much more. Whatever your interest may be, you will find something to do in California”

Culture Score: 8


Nate: 4

“Whether it be bumper to bumper traffic in the city, or roads washed away by landslides, California was the most aggravating state we have driven through”.

Lori: 8

“From the towering redwood forests, to the shoreline of Route 1, to the rolling hills of Napa Valley, to the sandy beaches of Southern California, this state possesses the most diverse beauty of any state we have visited so for”

Environment Score: 6

The verdict is in:

The final score for California was 5.9 and it will NOT be our new home state! Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Oregon 8.2

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Washington 6.9

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

Idaho 6.1

West Virginia 6.0

California 5.9

Nebraska 5.7

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9