Weekend at Lake Tahoe was great, save for the 5 hours it took to get up there on Friday afternoon even though I left the city at 2 p.m. (the Bay area can go toe-to-toe with any US city when it comes to traffic, especially on I-80 between SF & Sac). The frustration that abounds when it takes 5 hours to go 185 miles was abated by the sheer joy of late-afternoon Chick-Fil-A. Things got better, as I arrived just in time to see my niece & nephew before they went to bed (everyone else went up earlier on Friday).
Note the 10ft tall PVC poles to help you find & shovel/plow
your driveway in the winter. Yeah, it snows that much.
We stayed at a great cabin in Truckee, which is just east of the famed Donner Pass near the northwest corner of the lake (Lake Tahoe map). Saturday morning Dad made breakfast, and then we all piled in a Dodge Durango and went for a drive. We went to Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, to scope it out, stopped off at a playground for some fun time, then cruised down the west side of the lake to Emerald Bay, where we got out, walked around, and took some photos. Beautiful day, perfect weather, amazing views.
Emerald Bay, Southwest corner of the lake
Video of view from Emerald Bay.
There is already snow on the top of Heavenly Mtn. which immediately triggered the skiing synapses in the old brain; it will be upon us soon enough. FYI the top of Heavenly is 10,000 feet while the lake level is about 6,000 feet.
As Uncle Luke would say: "Ski season comin', ski season comin'..."
Back home for kiddie nap time, caught the 2nd half of UT-Bama, ND-UCLA, Michigan-Iowa, and Cal-UW, and learned that UGA had barely escaped against Mighty Mississippi State. Then "dinner" (will I eat dinner at the insanely early time of 5.45 when I have small kids? Probably I suppose. Will my sister laugh her ass off? Most definitely), the 2nd half of the C.J. Spiller show, then off to bed.
Sunday Mom, Dad & I went exploring again while my sister & her family stayed closer to home due to nap scheduling. We went and checked out Northstar at Tahoe, then cruised over to Incline Village, parked at the Hyatt casino and did some exploring on foot: casino, restaurants, beach, dock, etc.
End of dock at Incline Village. Stress must
be checked in the coat room before entering.
Video of view from Incline Village.
Incline Village is the most upscale town up at Lake Tahoe that I have seen; a place to drop the extra cash to take your special someone on a special occasion. Perfect weather again, and the views are such that you could sit all day just looking at the lake & mountains while pondering life.
Self-portrait in 12 feet of water. Kanu. 2006.
We cruised back and stopped at a place called Gar Woods to eat lunch on their back deck, which is literally right on the lake. This restaurant is home of the heretofore unheard of but apparently world famous "Wet Woody", of which we did not partake but sounded totally hardcore - I lost track after the waitress rattled off the first 10 ingredients, but apparently it tastes "just like tropical fruit punch, only better". The views were again stunning and soothing, and the food and beer was excellent - could have sat there all day.
A happy hour, indeed.
Video of view from Gar Woods deck.
Back to the pad, then we all went to a rec center and went swimming and partook of 3 different outdoor jacuzzi's that resembled the porridge of the 3 little bears: warm, warmer, and warmest. Returned home, family dinner, then I left for SF at 8.30 p.m. hoping to make it back in 3.5 hours. For once there was no traffic and I cruised home in 2.45, which made me ecstatic as well as retroactively frustrated that it took 5 to get up there on Friday. It's a much easier drive in the mountains without snow and ice and chains on your tires that limit you to 30 mph as well.
This summer was the 2nd in a row that I kicked myself for not getting up to Tahoe to explore. Thanks to Mom & Dad's visit and the family weekend, I finally got to experience it outside of winter. This was actually a great time to go, because the summer crowds were gone, the winter crowds have yet to arrive and the weather was still excellent: 60s and sunny during the day and 30s at night. I will definitely be back up there next summer more than once, and I've already found about 5 specific things that I want to do or check out. If you haven't been, I highly recommend that you add it to your list. This place, Yosemite, and Big Sur are 3 of the prettiest places you will ever see.