Okay, itís not dark and I donít smoke. But I am wearing sunglasses. And I am going to Sacramento, which was not originally in the cards. But first I head back to the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area and get the stamp. The visitor center doesnít open until 10, delaying my start south, but Iím there as the Ranger is hauling up the Stars and Stripes.
My run to Sacramento makes The Blues Brothers chase to Chicago look like a Sunday stroll. 186 miles in 2 hours. I canít wait to get off the Interstate, get the camera, and get back on track. Fryís Electronics is a huge store, the size of a Costco or Samís Club. They have the camera waiting, and itís not cheap: $1599 plus tax. Ouch, but the Travel Channel will pay me back (Right Brad?). All right! Mission accomplished! Letís go to Tahoe!
I head across US-50 up to Lake Tahoe but the traffic is heavy and slow. When I finally reach the lake, I know why people drive through 4 hours of traffic from San Francisco to get here. Tahoe is a majestic alpine lake, 6.225 feet above sea level, with water the color of deep blue sapphires. The lake is 1645 feet deep with a surface area of 193 square miles. The water is so clear you can see down 75 feet.
I check into a motel and then drive the 72-mile loop around the lake. The scenery surrounding the water is as stunning as the deep blue color. On the western shore, the road threads along a dramatic ridge between Cascade Lake and Emerald Bay, where Tahoeís only island, Fannette, floats above the picturesque waters. I wander around the loop and reach Cave Rocks, over on the eastern side, just in time for the sunset. Boy, am I glad I got the new video camera.
Between the beautiful undisturbed spots along the shoreline there is quite a bit of development along Tahoe, on both the California and Nevada sides. The bulk is centered around Stateline, Nevada, where the casinos sprout up on the southeastern corner of the lake. Thereís Caesars, Harrahs, The Stardust, among others. The number of hotel rooms here probably rivals Vegas. The Guess Who are in town, playing at the Hard Rock, and The Everly Brothers are rocking it out at Harrahs. I could have sworn the Everly Brothers were dead.
A great big Happy Birthday today to Leigh Threlkel, one of the Classic Sports old timers. I wonít say exactly how old she is, but there is a zero and a three in her age. Iím looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco on Thursday, Leigh.
The worst part of the deal is I wonít be able to wash my riding pants, and they really need it. I think theyíre about to start walking on their own. I canít wash them because I have to wear them as I ride my bike over to the laundry. I refuse to ride in shorts for two reasons. One, itís freezing outside and two, itís unsafe. I could ride naked through the streets of South Lake Tahoe, but that would probably be a mistake. And cold.
My friend and headhunter, Jenny Baldwin, e-mailed me an idea a few weeks ago. Just toss the dirty underroos and t-shirts and make stops at WalMart for some new stuff. Not a bad plan, but it has a few holes. For one, the cost would start to add up. And I probably wouldnít always be able to find an open WalMart when I need to. Even if I did, I still need to wash my jacket and pants from time to time. Those dead bugs start to add up.
Where the hellís my mother when I need her?!?
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