The most populous state in the union also has a large land area, so most of the state is not overcrowded.
California has a mixture of oceans, deserts, mountains and valleys.
In many ways, California is a land of extremes.
The highest (Mt Whitney in Sequoia National Park) and lowest (Badwater in Death Valley National Park) points in the 48 contiguous states are both are in California and only 85 miles apart!
Driving rural California is a unique experience with the high mountain passes and winding mountain roads
You Bet Road near Grass Valley California is an example. The former wagon road is paved, but it is never either straight or level. The 12 miles of this road has one straight stretch of two hundred yards at the beginning of the road. After that the only time your wheels will point straight ahead is when you go from a left hand turn to a right hand turn or vice-versa. The only time your vehicle is level is when you are at the top of a grade and starting down or you have gone down an hill and are beginning up the next one. This is the only way to get to town, and you don't dare get in a hurry.
The beauty of the California mountains, coasts, and deserts is the saving grace.
Other Interesting California Sites
From the Donnor Pass Summit, you can see many generations of Transportation History.
Donnor Lake is a natural lake.
On the far (east) shore, the Donnor Party spent the horrid winter of 1846-7.
The road in the foreground is the original route of US 40 from the 1920's.
The original 1840 wagon road is to the right and closer.
On the far right is the Central Pacific Transcontinental railroad from post civil war years.
The picture below is a closeup of one of a snow shed/tunnel.
To the left of the lake is modern Interstate 80.
Peninsula Family Camping Resort on Rollins Lake and Wildlife we observed there.