13 July, 2008

Lake Tahoe '08

our car: six bikes, five hominids, and two canines
well. it was another exceptional trip. we took our doggies this time. they behaved exceptionally well. i wished i coulda said that about our two youngest. we had to separate them when we were on the road. i don't want to bore y'all with minutiae; but instead i'll highlight the shizzle. lake tahoe's 'bout a thousand miles from us so we (my in-laws also went) split it up into two days with the midway point being salt lake city (heading out, park city on the return). 8 hours/day. fairly chill. our dogs don't like to do their business when we take our breaks so i worry about them having accidents either in our car or in the hotel room or at our rental house. neither of which happened and they eventually had the brown light special at k-fart. they eventually figured out that we're staying at the rental home for a week so they let 'er rip in the backyard (where i picked up after them). on the way out we passed by the bonneville salt flats.
my girls thought it was snow. surreal no?

the posse

day one the evening arrival
there's a boat load of forest fires in california currently (sacramento especially)and it makes the weather a wee bit nutty because ash rains down sometimes or a smoke-induced haze kinda settles-either way it's not good for breathing. i thought the northstar-at-tahoe thursday night cross country series started this thursday but i arrived a week early. well at least northstar's pretty. we unpacked and had a pizza, greek salad dinner and checked out our digs for the rest of the week. nice looking house, well represented on-line when we were perusing digs. coincidentally our dogs took a big dumpy...
day two my folks arrive
scotty and i woke up early and i hitched up the kid chariot onto my yeti and we headed down to a bike shop in homewood called cyclepaths to purchase a trail map for our mountain biking forays. the bike paths parallel the main road but sometimes there are some nutty detours. on one of the detours we missed the shop and instead rode all the way into tahoe city (a six mile diversion). on the way back we caught it and i purchased some gel blocks to boot. melissa and grandma walked the dogs and the girls followed on their bikes while scott and i were doing our amerigo vespucci impersonation. picked up my folks at the reno int'l airport actually in sparks, nv. today's the fourth and my laziness combined with my closet patriotism (i dig my country though and served honorably as active duty airforce-go figure) resulted in me not wanting to check out fireworks over the lake. the rest of the clan went and had an adventure coming back home when it was pitch black, riding in the dark without lights near major roads.
day three we actually hit the lake
homewood had an arts&crafts fair at the homewood ski area's parking lot. i purchased a cool wine stopper that would always remind me of blue lake tahoe. sweet melissa bought some jewelry. needless to say after my five minutes of shopping i was done. unfortunately the girls felt they needed to personally take our country out of recession so they continued to shop. i told 'em i'm going exploring on the mountain with the dogs. after the a&c fair fare we decided to do a two-mile, technical hike. my folks are in their seventies so i figured a two mile roundtrip to cascade lake would do the trick.
the trails just barely skirt the granite face

actual cascade lake

we went to d.l. bliss state park and hung out on lester beach
lester beach
for our lake baptismal rites after the hike. my folks rock. i was the good son sherpa'ing my momma over the technical stuff. it was cool. how often do y'all hold your mom's hand? that's what i thought (or are you not that cool)...
day four powerboats anyone?
that's the barber clan idling in emerald bay
when we go to the marina after we reserved the boat for nine the night before, the dude said our nine-person craft sunk. hmmmmm. not good news. so he would give us the same rate over two boats. hmmmmmm. that's good news.
here's the bird's eye perspective of emerald bay

here's the lake level view
here's the nutty thing, in such a litigious country they let complete greenhorns-including their next of kin-rent a powerful boat and have at it. but being the professional that i am it's nothing but safety first. there was absolutely nobody out on the lake so we're out there doing doughnuts, shooting out some crazy looking rooster tails and letting our three, six, and eight year-old children get a crack at steering from the helm. they loved it! we loved it! if someone were to tell me to jump in the lake i would-so i did. my daddy gave it a go too. he, as well as my brother in-law scott, like to run the boats at near full throttle.
here's the inlet/gauntlet we have to steer through

in the bay's where we switched drivers. now it's my daddy's turn to drive the boat. the boat ahead's being driven by my sweet melissa. when we were next to her, i swear she hit a rogue wave and all her passengers were drenched. statistically impossible but i saw it with my own eyes!
my dad at the helm with maura riding shotgun

that evening after a nice mid-day nap (afterall we are on vacation)
we went to lanza's for dinner in king's beach. the chianti and brandy flowed nicely. there's no need to see or eat (or hike or bike or listen or shop for that matter) everything in one day. our idea of a vacation is to digest everything at a comfortable rate. there's no rush here kids and napping's a must!
day five mom and dad head back to texas and i check out the singletrack scene
after i drop my most excellent parents off at reno i have to satisfy my urge to buy t-shirts at the local university. so i mosey on down to the university of nevada-reno and purchase a nevada cycling shirt (for me) and a soccer shirt (for scott), and a cute girly-girl tie-dye-ish shirt for my sweet melissa. once back i hit the stanford rock loop. here's one person's summary of this trail from trails.mtbr.com
This is the only ride I have done in Tahoe so far, and I am very impressed. This ride was 10 miles and about 2000ft elevation change. This was the best ride I have ever done, the accent
[sic] was technical with loose dirt, rocks, very steep at points. Great views along the way of Tahoe. The decent [sic] was incredible, this section has many different technical aspects; granite steps, switchbacks, obstacles, rock beds, sand beds, stream crossings, high speed single track and low speed technical through very loose rocky areas. I managed to bail twice, I was pushing my luck on this trail. This is a very advanced ride, coming from a guy that rides Demo in SC and Skegs Point regularly. I would highly recommend it to any advanced rider, don't attempt on a hard tail...
the guide book said 2-3 hours, i did it exactly at 3 (stopped the clock when i got back from the road) and i did it on a hardtail (omygod, that suuucked)! the reviewer climbed it and turned around at the top. i finished the 22-mile loop. i also am starting to covet my boys kev and billy for their new dual boinger purchases (a yeti and an ibis respectively).
i managed to tail some locals on their dual boingers but i didn't want to spend the rest of my vacation in a trauma ward in reno. it was indescribably loony! the scenery was only a facade to the hard, hard, super-technical terrain you had to descent. i bailed at least 4x! negotiated a super hard, drop-off off a sick looking boulder. if i had time to think about it i'da bailed. rode back on the road to our house. melissa et al. took the kids to the pool on top of squaw valley. home of the 1960 winter olympics.
highcamp pool
day six commons beach
mother in-law, the kids, and me at commons beach
we rode six miles one-way to tahoe city to swim, eat, play, and shop. we all rode bikes (i walked the doggies earlier to poop 'em out). our goal was to relax in all forms possible and to punctuate the day with a glorious stop at handmade ice cream shop.
day seven hanging leaf lake
it was the dogs turn to swim so we took a hike to hanging leaf lake. melissa's camera ran out of batteries here. my dog addie had the gumption to swim with me out to the boulder out in the lake where we took turns jumping into the 50+ degree fahrenheit water. the rest of the time was spent jumping, sun-bathing to dry and repeating when necessary for several righteous hours. our dogs loved napping in the sun. we left after we had a nice little picnic. we then went to s. lake tahoe because scott's never been there. i said you'll like the first twenty minutes of it then it just gets lame. s. lake tahoe's nothing but cheesy strip malls with the only oasis being heavenly ski area. the gambling kind of pollutes the areas with shmeaziness. when i got home i rode my bike to the ehrman mansion at sugar pine state park. snapped some stirring pictures i think capturing the solitude of this philanthrope's mansion with the backdrop of lake tahoe punctuating its natural beauty and zen-like atmosphere.
the pier at the ehrman mansion
the mansion from the pier
day eight my turn to watch the moose
melissa and her mom rode their bikes to tahoe city (again) and met scott to do some sea kayaking with the girls (i watched the moose and pretty much chilled house-side all day). it was breathtaking and amazingly calming they said all the while floating on crystal clear and eerily blue lake tahoe.
maura captaining the hms melissa
my cross country race was canceled due to hazardous air quality from the numerous fires california was suffering.
cough, cough...that's the sun!
that's the last day too. all in all a pretty glorious vacation. wouldn't change a thing. melissa packed for a year but that's okay. what a way to spend time with the family and to recharge my batteries too. finished a book while i was there and now i'm scrambling to finish f. dostoevsky's the brothers karamazov before schoolio starts in a couple of weeks.


Groover said...

Beautiful part of the world. Sounds like you had a great holiday. Welcome back home, mate.

...it's me!... said...

sandra, i'd be lying if i told you it's good to be back. i'm suffering from post-traumatic vacation blues.

Groover said...

Well, I missed you ... :-) Next time take a laptop ... :-)

...it's me!... said...

laptop? those things are expensive. i have to save up for a ski pass of some sort.