"Do, or do not. There is no try."
- Yoda

TODAYíS ROUTE:
Redding, CA to South Lake Tahoe, CA: SR-299 West to Shasta, back East to Redding, I-5 South past Red Bluff, Corning, Orland, Zamora, Yolo, to I-80 East to Sacramento, East on Madison Avenue to Sunrise Boulevard South to US-50 East through Placerville, Kyburz, to South Lake Tahoe, North on SR-89 through Meeks Bay to Tahoe City, SR-28 East to Incline Village, South to US-50 to Cave Rock State Park through Stateline to South Lake Tahoe. (
MAP)

THE DETAILS:
Okay, letís light this candle. Iím on a mission. Iíve got a camcorder to buy. Thereís a Canon Elura with my name of it. Itís 186 miles to Sacramento. Iíve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, itís dark, and Iím wearing sunglasses. HIT IT!

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 DAILY TAKE:
Miles Today: 358.7
Total Miles: 16,657
Time on Motorcycle: 6 Hours 19 Minutes
Average Speed: 56.7 MPH
States Visited today: 2 (CA, NV)
Total States Visited: 32
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 1
NPS Stamp totals: 119 Stamps, 29 States
Weather: Sunny. Hey, like itís California.
Price per Gallon, Premium Gasoline, Shell Station in Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe: $1.96 (Hey, itís California!)

SEEN ON THE ROAD:
"Inspect Machines Before You Use Them. We are not responsible for stained or damaged clothingÖ" Ė sign at Moonlight Bijou Laundromat, South Lake Tahoe, California.

RANDOM PASSINGS:
This laundry thing is getting to be a drag. I had my choice of motels tonight and I forgot to check if they had a laundry room at this Travelodge. They donít, and I have no clean underwear left. Without getting into too many details, I pushed it a bit past the limit and Iíve got to do a wash. But the nearest Laundromat is over a mile away. Drag-o-rama.

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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