If I had not been able to take an extra day off from work, I could have pushed very hard and got back to the Bay Area tonight; however, keep in mind that Lisa would then be in the position of needing to head on out and to drive several more hours in order to not be in the Bay Area before traffic clogged back up again. Generally, we plan these trips so that she can get out before the afternoon rush and get up north of Dunnigan on I-5 conveniently. Neither she nor I enjoy the iron-butt-800-mile-a-day drives any more. So this generally means stopping for one night anyway, and thus we might as well enjoy ourselves.
Knowing we were not pressed for time, we could do things like stop on the beach for twenty minutes or so to take photos, and to take a longer lunch break at Pea Soup Andersen's in Buellton than usual. Our beach stop was so Lisa could take pictures of the artificial island just off the coast attached by a narrow causeway. We have seen this before but didn't know what it was. A little research this evening revealed that it is Rincon Island, which was built in support of offshore oil exploration. The scattered palm trees on the island that suggest that it might be some sort of private resort are primarily to cover up the fact that the island is full of oil drilling stuff.
Combined with going farther north than the original plan, we eventually got to the Holiday Inn Express in Paso Robles about 8:30 PM. (About 225 miles in 7 hours 15 minutes, for an average speed of slightly more than 30 MPH.) I note that this appears to have been the same exit as where Kevin & Andy and Dave & Spring made their rest stops three or four hours ahead of us, but we stopped for the night.
Upgrade-fu at the HIX worked again, so we're in a mini-suite. Alas, none of the rooms on this property that adjoins the railroad tracks actually looks out on the tracks. Yes, we're the kind of people who request a room that overlooks the railroad tracks.
After we moved in to the room, Lisa and I walked over to Red Brick Pizza and we got a couple of small pizzas and carried them back to the hotel room, where we had a few of the sodas salvaged from the Tonopah party with us. It's nice to have a few hours to relax tonight. I doubt that I'll have any problem sleeping tonight, that's for sure.