Driving the Perimeter of Lake Tahoe- Part 2

There was a small hill I traversed and the, finally, lake’s edge it was! I enjoyed the view, and the sound of the water lapping up against the shore. More people than I thought were here, enjoying the warm day, the sun, and 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. I couldn’t go in it for reasons I don’t remember, so I just walked around it and then headed back to my car.

But before that happened, I went inside a nearby visitor center in the park. Looked at what souvenirs one could by and ended up getting a cute pair of bear earrings. And then I went to my car.

~*~

I thought about eating my sandwich then; but I thought, “Nah, let’s wait until I get to Emerald Bay! I can park, eat, and enjoy the view!”

The joke was on me.

I couldn’t find a parking spot within a mile of where I wanted to be, so crowded were the roads. By sheer luck I found a spot maybe a mile and a half from where I originally wanted to stop. And it was too hot to go walking around any significant distance. Right then, I swore to myself I’d come back up here in the off-season (ie, school year) so I could more fully enjoy it. And actually explore it. As it was, I had to battle scores of my fellow humans.

But hey: I was still technically in Emerald Bay, at least.

I didn’t realize it would be so popular, but I was wrong. I could have mistaken it for an amusement park given the crowds. I mean, sheesh. The north end of the lake wasn’t this populated with sight-seers. Hey, at least I got to snap some cool pictures. That’s something, right?

Continue reading “Driving the Perimeter of Lake Tahoe- Part 2”

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.

Continue reading “That Time I Drove the Perimeter of Lake Tahoe… (Part 1)”

1.2 Miles of the Pacific Crest Trail- Part 2

On the return trip, I passed by the hikers from Mexico again. I stopped to chat with them for a few minutes before continuing back to my car. I also passed by the high schooler. If you’re curious about his progress up the rock face: he had climbed up it even farther and was now enjoying the view.

In total, I did a grand 1.2 miles of the PCT. Small time, considering its massively amazing length, but hey! I did it! I felt like I’d accomplished at least a little something. That’s good, right?

Right?

Combined with the warm weather and trail terrain (say that ten times fast), I was fairly hot and sweaty once I arrived back at the Summit Haus. Gross. Good thing I had bought a travel-sized, deliciously scented deodorant. I dabbed some on when I thought no one was looking.

Why not get something cold to eat and/or drink to cool me down? In addition to the deodorant?

Might as well. The AC in my car was on the fritz and I needed something to help the process along. So, cold something to consume it was.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly watching where I was going, so focused was I on the tables and chairs and café in front of me. I didn’t see the roped barrier until I’d run into and nearly tripped over it.

Continue reading “1.2 Miles of the Pacific Crest Trail- Part 2”

1.2 Miles of the Pacific Crest Trail- Part 1

It was probably a minute or less before I noted the sign: Pacific Crest Trail! Right here!

You guys, it screamed out at me.

My heart skipped a beat. I’d first heard about this trail when my dad and I took a day trip around Mount Lassen and Lake Almanor. We’d stopped in Belden to grab a snack from a small shop right alongside the road. Guess where the trailhead for the PCT was? Yeah. Like, right there across the street. I walked up to it. I remember the sign designated the PCT was situated underneath the trees. On top of it, someone had balanced a few rocks, one on top of another in one of those cool rock formations.

My dad told me that there were people who literally hiked it from Mexico to Canada. I marveled over the idea. How could someone be able to do something like that? And why? Wouldn’t that take a while?

Well, yeah, several months, but people do it.

So. Freaking. Cool.

Continue reading “1.2 Miles of the Pacific Crest Trail- Part 1”

Ye Old Railway Tunnel in Norden

Ah, Lake Tahoe! Quite possibly one of my favorite places in California. I used to go up there every so often as a kid. Happy memories. When my family and I stayed there, we’d camp out at a cabin in King’s Beach. It belonged to a relative. Just four rooms with a steep roof and large backyard, it was the perfect getaway for a few days. Close to the beach, too.

This time, I’d be staying with a relative right smack in the desert: a beauty in its own right. But before arriving there, I’d planned to a few things along the way. I mean, if I’m driving three or more hours (traffic dependent) from wine country to Reno, I may as well make a day of it.

Right?

Since it was a Sunday, I went to the early morning service for church and left almost immediately after that. After I stopped to get an iced tea, of course. And then: ROAD TRIP! Ah, the joys of flipping through radio stations you don’t often hear to see which one you like best.

Continue reading “Ye Old Railway Tunnel in Norden”

Lachryma Montis: General Vallejo’s Estate- SSHP, Part 3

According to the park ranger at the Mission San Francisco Solano (which I talked about in Part 2), I was to drive three blocks west, and then make a right on Third Street. Had it been colder outside, I would have walked; but I find the heat draining- like my energy is being sucked from my lifeless corpse- so I couldn’t muster up the will-power to do so. Although it generally depends on the temperature. High 70s, maybe. Mid-80s and above? Nope. I wouldn’t do well living in the desert, although I suppose I’d eventually get used to the heat.

The drive leading up to the estate was long and lined with trees; they acted almost like sentries guarding the gates to a medieval castle. I couldn’t make my car go very fast on it (speed limits, you understand), but that worked to my advantage. The slower speed allowed me to not only get to my destination safely, but also to better enjoy my surroundings. Being so close to the main part of the city, I felt like I was in the countryside, miles away from everyone and everything. Had I been able to find a country station that came in, I would’ve been blasting it out my speakers.

A bike path intersected the road and I slowed down, allowing a skateboarder to cross, before continuing on my way. As hot as it felt outside when I was by the Sonoma Plaza, it honestly didn’t feel as warm here at Vallejo’s home. More than likely due to the level of foliage and trees here. Or maybe it was the breeze that decided to greet me?

Hi, friend! Here’s a little something to soothe ya!

From the parking lot, just beyond a pearly-blue gate I could see a two-storied white house. But before I could get there, I first had to go through the gate into another building just to the right. It was here that I triumphantly brandished my receipt from the mission. I was given a laminated pamphlet with information on the home- and a map of the home’s interior- and sent on my way.

First, though, before going outside, I took a moment to gaze at some of the artifacts on display, amongst which was an old carriage once used by the Vallejo family.

Continue reading “Lachryma Montis: General Vallejo’s Estate- SSHP, Part 3”

Mission San Francisco Solano- SSHP, Part 2

Situated across the street from the barracks (in Part 1 of my trip to Sonoma State Historic Park) was the mission. It was part of the El Camino Real: a road that connected almost two dozen Spanish missions and stretched from San Diego to Sonoma. Cool, no? You can see the bell-shaped markers alongside wherever the road itself once was (or is). I’ve included a picture of one just above.

I stepped along the front porch and opened the solid wood door and found myself in a small entry way. Behind a desk sat a park ranger. I paid the $3 that would allow me into the building; not expensive and the one-time fee would also allow me entry into Vallejo’s estate and, if I so desired, the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park. I didn’t ultimately go there this time; but I shall, perhaps, in the future.

In what had once been the dining room were water-colored pictures of most of the Spanish missions that dotted the El Camino Real. According to the laminated pamphlet I was giving upon entering the building, these were done in the early 1900s. I took my time gazing at them. I loved that someone had taken the time to do all these at one point in history.

Nowadays, all you have to do is point a camera and…click! So fast and easy. Back then? Painting and sketching was easier- and less expensive- than taking a picture with one of those clunky cameras. And then you had to wait for the film to be developed, too. As I admired the pictures, I recognized another one I’d been to in Carmel probably around twenty years ago? I know I had been in grade school then, but I don’t remember much else about that venture. Continue reading “Mission San Francisco Solano- SSHP, Part 2”