That Time I Drove the Perimeter of Lake Tahoe… (Part 1)

So…now it’s the day after I arrived in the Reno/Tahoe area. There was something I’d been wanting to do for a while, I’ve just never had the time.

“What is it? What is it??” You excitedly ask me while hopping up and down in anticipation.

“Well,” says I, knowing grin playing at the corners of my lips. I lean in closer and say- nay, whisper- in the manner of one conspiring, “Driving the perimeter of Lake Tahoe. You know what? Today was that day!”

You hunker down next to the fireplace and pull the checkered blanket up close, to chin level, and wait expectantly. The mug of hot cocoa sits, forgotten, beside you.


I started out driving south on California-267 (also known as North Shore Boulevard) toward the lake. A somewhat hilly drive if ever there was one, through a cleared meadow before plunging into the thicket of trees surrounding everything else. I ended up in Kings Beach, where my parents, sister, and I stayed in a small, four-roomed cabin for a few days two or three times in my childhood. The exact number eludes me.

At the light, I turned right, toward Tahoe City. There was a café called Syd’s that I’ve been to a couple different times before, though the last time was several years ago. They sell these amazingly delicious sandwiches on bagels. I couldn’t erase the memory of them from my thoughts.

I thought, I have to go there!

Why not get a bagel sandwich as a breakfast stand-in? So, yeah…

It had been a while since I’d been on this section of road. The last time was about four years or so ago, I think, when I came up here after the earthquake that hit my town. It was a doozy, but that’s another story for another day. So, I drove along, looking forward to that bagel sandwich. My mouth seriously watered because of how delicious I remember them being. The moment I spied Syd’s I pulled into the parking area next to- which was on a steep hill (albeit a good workout), but luckily, I wasn’t too far down.

Alas! Once I got to Syd’s, I found it was closed. I checked the store hours on my phone- yep. It was supposed to have been open now. Checked the hours on the store window, too.

Mhm. You guessed it.

But no matter! There was another café just a few yards down the road, so after checking my phone for directions, I went there. It was a coffee shop and I knew I’d be able to get some kind of sandwich or something here for my breakfast.

But guess what?

What? What?? I hear you cry.

It was closed, too.

Was I perplexed? Yes.

Four years ago when I’d come up here, in the slow non-snow season, all these places were open. But now they weren’t. I didn’t know why that was, but I figured there was no use crying over spilled milk. Just to stretch my legs a bit, I walked around by the lake’s side, enjoyed the fresh breeze, and returned to my car.

I was still hungry. I’d only had a coffee for breakfast. Eventually, at the junction between highway 28 and highway 89, I found a grocery store.

Deli sandwich! I thought with enthusiasm. I bought one with most of the works, a bag of chips and, just for the heck of it, a cherry Coca-Cola. While my sandwich was being made, I started talking to a woman who was from the area. She asked me what I would be doing that day around the lake and I mentioned that I’d planned on stopping at Emerald Bay for some hiking. Her enthusiastic response about how beautiful it was made me look forward to it even more.

Once I got back to my car, I put the sandwich in my trunk. I kept the soda and chips with me. I devoured the chips almost right away; but I didn’t want the sandwich just yet. I figured I would find a pretty place to stop and eat, or maybe wait until I got to Emerald Bay.

After finishing off the chips, and with a lick of the residue from my fingers, I opened the soda and took a swig in a pirate-like way before starting my car.

The drive alongside the lake’s edge was beautiful. It took me through the trees, past little cabins and houses. It was idyllic, like something out of a story. I knew I wouldn’t want to be up here in the winter; but if I was, I would want to be cozy and all warmed up by a fire, perhaps, while sipping on a mug of coffee. Toss in a good book to read, too.

The chips had helped tide me over so that, by the time I reached my first stopping point, I wasn’t overly hungry- I considered eating my sandwich then, but I figured I’d wait until I reached Emerald Bay for that. (Hahahaaa haaa…the joke was on me, but more on that later.)

But back to my first stopping point: the beach at Sugar Pine Point State Park. Where was this located, you might ask? Well, you could google it; but I’ll tell you anyway. It’s located in the town of Tahoma. Yep. Sounds like it would be the name of a town in the Central Valley, maybe a part of Sacramento; but it’s not. Or, Tacoma, Washington; but, again, Tacoma it ain’t. It’s a small town located right in Tahoe.

I paid the parking fee and found a space close enough to the lake, but far enough to guarantee a brisk walk. I grabbed my now-empty bag of chips and tossed it, then strolled down a dirt path to the lake’s edge. There wasn’t much of a beach that I could see, just a sliver of land comprising mostly of rocks. But then, I didn’t explore the whole of the park, so I could be wrong about that. I probably am. Maybe. Don’t hurt me.

It was getting warmer out; by now, the crisp chill of the morning had almost completely dissipated.

I met a couple ladies that I had previously met on my way to the bathrooms and we chatted for a bit about what we’d be doing that day (they also thought that Emerald Bay would be a perfect place for me to visit, which just made me look forward to it even more).

There was a small hill I traversed and then, finally, lake’s edge it was! I enjoyed the view. It was relaxing. More people than I thought were here, enjoying the warm day, the sun, and swimming in the refreshing water.

I spent a few minutes here before journeying back up the hill. Although I couldn’t find the path I’d taken again, I went in its general direction and eventually found my way to a large house. It had a name, too. The Hellman-Ehrman Mansion (more info about it is posted in the Destination Information section!). I couldn’t go in it for reasons I don’t remember, so I just walked around it and returned to my car.



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