I passed through California on the way to Oregon when I was in my twenties traveling with my father-in-law and my wife's cousin to do some camping and such. I didn't notice the things I noticed on the trip I took this time, probably because I was young and someone else was driving.
This week I went to Disneyland with my wife and four kids.
I was had trepidations of buying gas in California, due to all the environmental controls they have. I figured gas would be a lot more expensive. I was right. We got gas in Nevada at $3.89. A couple of hours later we saw a gas station in California and it was $4.33.
Shortly after we crossed the California border there was an agriculture check point where they asked if I had animals or produce. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing it was for export and import taxes. It is like going to another country when you go to California. It is also ridiculous at all the taxes. In addition to the taxes on gas there was 17% tax on our hotel room. A 17% tax on anything is insane.
I worked for an oil company a couple of years ago, which purchased an oil refinery in California. It took years to get it in compliance with all of the California regulations.
I also coded software to bring that refinery onto our software system. There were so many complications in dealing with labor.
It has felt somewhat this way, but more so when I went there, that California seems like a different country.