Another great halfway stop between S.F. and L.A. is Tachi Palace, an Indian casino resort in Lemoore, about 20 miles off I-5 but worth the detour. It’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by cotton fields. Just look for the big wolf logo on the sign. The spiffy new hotel rooms have all the usual amenities (high-speed Internet, flat-screen TV, king-size beds) for as little as $69 tax-free on weeknights, plus an enormous outdoor swimming pool and, of course, a gambling casino. There are plenty of dining options. For me, the best deal is the snack bar’s healthy chicken breast panini, small chef’s salad, and bottled water for $9.