The first time we visited California was in 2003. We followed I-80 almost all the way to San Francisco, leaving it to drive through Napa Valley once we got past Sacramento. There was a snow storm in the Northern Sierra Nevadas as we came through Donner Pass. Snow and slick roads weren't what I was expecting in California, I was glad to get down to the valley areas of Napa and Sonoma as well as getting off the craziness of I-80. Those vineyards were a peaceful and welcome sight.
The second trip to California in 2006 saw us reversing the order, coming from Oregon down the coast to Santa Rosa, again to see Mark, this time for his wedding.