May. 17, 2020

Our Special Place

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu

Back in the olden days, when Robert and I were dating, and Robert was first learning to jump aboard my adventure train on a whim, we decided to go to Alaska. Like, that weekend. We were just sitting at a table eating breakfast and thought, well, it's about time we went to Alaska. (Alaska remains, elusively, the only state still on our bucket list to visit.)

We went to a travel agency. To her credit, she tried. It wasn't so much that we couldn't go to Alaska that weekend, as that it would cost us an arm and a leg. Hanging on the wall was a big poster picturing Lake Tahoe. I stared at it for a while while the travel agent tried in vain to find us an Alaskan trip that would not involve a third mortgage on our house.  

She suggested we book the trip for twenty-one days in the future, but we were both in "do it now" mode, and an Oregon beach trip wasn't really going to satisfy me this time. We thanked her for her time and headed for the door.

"I have an idea.", I said. "I need a computer." (I did not have a smartphone back then. To be truthful, I was the last of the family members to get one. I can't imagine how we lived without them. )

But I digress.

Thirty minutes after getting on the internet at home,  I had low bid on Priceline for flight, rental car, and a hotel room at the Biltmore in Lake Tahoe. I had never used the "Name your price" tool on Priceline before, but I knew that wherever there are casinos, there are cheap prices designed to get you in there. Bingo. The whole thing cost less than going to the beach for the weekend would have, and I told Robert to start packing.

We always kept an overnight bag ready to go. We just had to throw in our toiletries and off we went! 

Then Rob asked me if I was going to wear the new Ruby pendant he had bought me as a surprise little gift earlier that week. "I can't.", I said. " I need a heavier chain for it. This one is way too fine." He looked disappointed. 

Well, we can't have Robert be disappointed,  so a stop by the jewelry store later, the new pendant is around my neck, and we are headed for the airport. 

We flew into Reno, grabbed our rental Pontiac, and hopped on the 580 bound for Lake Tahoe.  By that time we were both starving! But, we decided to wait until we got to Lake Tahoe to eat, because,  we really wanted to get to Tahoe before dark. (Reno is like Tahoe's ugly stepsister.  If you ever find yourself there, do yourself a favor and take the hour and a half drive up to Lake Tahoe. ) 

This feeling of heart-thumping excitement you get when you travel somewhere new is one of my favorite feelings! It is all that much better when you get to discover somewhere new with somebody you love. It's like a giant gift box that you get to open together.  I was almost giddy with anticipation. 

It was Easter weekend, so, late March or early April. We weren't on the windy road very long when we started seeing snowdrifts. It really hadn't occurred to us that there would still be this much snow! All along the sides of the road were these tall poles so that they can measure the feet of the snow! 

 When the Lake itself came into view, it took our breath away! It was, and always will be, one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. We drove around it, pulling over to take in its pure majestic beauty. It is so blue and clear! The contrast of the white snow against the deep blue water was completely enchanting.

Then we headed to a nearby restaurant with a waterfront view called the Beacon and ordered a late lunch. It was delicious, and everything was going perfectly until Robert went to pay the check and discovered his debit card was missing! As he retraces his steps, I gently tease him about me having to pick up the tab for our ¨date¨ He calls the Fred Myer jewelry store back in Vancouver and confirms they have his card. Crisis averted. 

Undaunted, we check in our hotel, and spend two wonderful days sightseeing, relaxing, eating fabulous food, and doing some gambling. 

Hey, it wasn't Alaska. But it was something wonderful.

Here are some fun facts about Lake Tahoe from the Lake Tahoe visitor's guide:

1.Lake Tahoe’s Age: Two million years (give or take a few thousand), among the world’s 20 oldest lakes.

2. Water: One inch of Lake Tahoe equals about 3.33 billion gallons of water.

3. Deepest Point in Lake Tahoe: 1,645 ft. in Crystal Bay, NV. The Empire State Building wouldn’t break the surface.

4. Lake Tahoe Tap Water: Named the best-tasting drinking water in the U.S.

5. Visitors to Lake Tahoe: About 2.7 million people per year come to Lake Tahoe.

6. Lake Tahoe Monster: Some say a prehistoric creature like Scotland’s Nessie lives in the lake. Most recent sighting: 1972.

Robert and I fell in love with Lake Tahoe, and we have returned several times, including that one time we returned there with friends and family to get hitched.  (Of course, I've learned a lot about traveling since then, so now, we stay free. )

Tahoe has something for everyone. Skiing, water sports, casinos, hotels, hiking, great restaurants, photography, and just relaxing by a pool or a roaring fireplace, can all be on your agenda in Lake Tahoe.

As a matter of fact, I was going to tell you all about the CalNeva Hotel, where we stayed on our wedding trip. But there is so much interesting history there, it deserves its own blog page.

So, stay tuned! 

"I am here at Lake Tahoe and there is magic at 6,000 feet."