Tahoe

Linda, a Facebook friend, invited me to visit her and her husband at their home in South Lake Tahoe. She told me that they had room behind their house for Flo. Cora and I could stay in their house and that the snow was gone from the roads.

SNOW?!!

I didn’t stop to consider that Lake Tahoe was in the mountains. In fact, it is 6225 feet above sea level. That is especially impressive when considering that I was starting my trip from Sacramento, which is 30 feet above sea level. That is considerable gain for a 100 mile trip.

I decided to leave Flo at the Cal Expo RV Park. I figured that, with the cost of the fuel and the wear and tear on the brakes, I’d just about break even paying to leave her there.

I packed up Cora and all that we’d need for out excursion, secured Flo and headed Bart west on US 50. We arrived at Linda and Mike’s place at the same time as they did. What synchronicity!

Lake Tahoe is absolutely beautiful.

Linda tells me that the water level has come up quite a bit with all the rain that has fallen in the past year.

The first day I was there, we took a little “get acquainted” tour. It was just lovely.

Even though it was summery in Sacramento, winter was lingering in the mountains.

When you have snow like this, you have the equipment to take care of it. That is one mammoth snow blower!

And how about those tires and snow chains? After enjoying the sights, we went over to State Line for coffee. State Line straddles the California/Nevada border.

One side of the city has gambling.  One side doesn’t. Can you guess where the gambling is?

We got our coffees and sat down to watch the ski lift in action. It reminded me of the rides at Crystal Beach Park, where I used to go when I was a kid.

After dining al fresco at a restaurant by the lake, we retired to get rested up for the next day’s adventures.

We stopped to see Emerald Bay. If you look carefully, you can see a small structure on the top of the Fannette Island. It is a tea house that was built by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight so that she could entertain friends who were visiting her and her husband at their 38 room castle, Vikingsholm. An interesting fact I found when trying to locate the names that go with the place is that the Knights were the primary backers of Charles Lindberg in his solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. Another thing I learned was that the tea house is in poor shape due to the weather and vandalism.

At one time, there was a tomb on the island, too. It was built by Captain Dick Barter, who was the caretaker of a summer villa that was owned by Ben Holladay, Jr.  He was quite a character. When he felt the urge for some bourbon whiskey, he would row all the way to Tahoe City to one of the bars he liked to visit.

In January 1870, as he rowed back to the villa from Tahoe City, a fierce storm blew up about two miles off Sugar Pine Point. His boat was capsized and it was hours before he managed to right the boat and get inside. He managed to survive the ordeal, but lost two of his frostbitten toes.

Either as a reminder of his ordeal or as a conversation starter, he salted and preserved his toes and kept them in a box.

He started thinking of his own mortality and decided to prepare his final resting place. He excavated a tomb on the island’s summit and erected a small chapel over it. Unfortunately, he never got to take up residence there.

In October 1873, he rowed over to have some of his bourbon whiskey in Tahoe City. On his return trip, he got as far as Rubicon Point, when his boat was smashed on the rocks and his body was never found.

Anyway, if you would like to see if I left out anything of the story, click on this link.

We stopped by a beautiful sand beach and strolled about.

I was taken by the driftwood structures people had made.

The water was lovely. It changed colors depending on where you were standing and how the light reflected.

Here, the color almost reminds me of the Caribbean.

The boulders were striking, too.

I saw some snow and knew I needed to make a snowball. After all, I was wearing my Buffalo, New York tee shirt. I had to represent!

A lot of volunteer effort goes into keeping things so nice. I noticed one way that they honored their volunteers.

The top washer says, ” Volunteers and their hours.” Underneath that, you see the people who did the work and how much time they donated. Bob Mc Millan 529. John Levet 247. What a nice way to honor people!

Of course, Linda and I had to have out picture take together. If there isn’t a photo, it didn’t happen.

Linda is quite the birder. She took this picture of a merganser that we were watching. I’d love to have one of those cameras that make details stand out so sharply. My photo of the bird looked like a spot on a rock.

After having fun by the lake, we headed over to Carson City, which is the capitol of Nevada. 

I snapped some photos as we drove past, but none of them turned out well. I borrowed this from the internet. I’d like to cite my source, but that great box telling me the right way to do it didn’t pop up. So, if you want to know who should get the credit for this in focus and properly framed photo, click here.

Our next stop was Genoa. The first stop was the Mormon Station, which was the site of Nevada’s first permanent non-native settlement.

Unfortunately, it was closed.

It was built in 1851 as a trading post along the Carson Route of the California Trail. The original trading post burned down in 1910. They rebuilt it as a museum, and they say it houses original pioneer era artifacts.

I’ll have to take their word for it.

In the park in front of the Mormon Station was a statue of John A. “Snowshoe” Thompson. I was particularly interested in his story, as he was born in Norway, as were my mother’s ancestors.

Thompson was born in Telemark, Norway in 1827. The name he was given at birth was Jon Torsteinsson Rue. That must have been changed when he came to America with his mother at the age of 10. His father died when he was two, so he and his mother set off to find a better life. They settled first in LaSalle county, Illinois, but continued to move west.  Eventually, his brother and sister were able to  join them.

I find it amazing that John Thompson got to California by driving a herd of milk cows all the way from Wisconsin. It makes me wonder if they had to stop and milk the cows every day or what? In any event, walking from Wisconsin to California? With a herd of cows?! Somebody remind me of this if I ever again complain about a tough day of driving.

He did some mining and saved his money and in 1860, Thompson homesteaded a 160 acre ranch in Diamond Valley, south of Genoa.

Between 1856 and 1876, he delivered mail between Placerville, California and Genoa, Nevada. If you look at the photo of the statue, you can see that he didn’t use snowshoes like we think of them. He used ten-foot long skis and a single sturdy pole that he held in both hands at once. Despite delivering the mail for twenty years, he was never paid for his service.

If you would like to learn more about John Thompson, click here.

We headed across the park to our next stop, and we came across this rock. The way it is situated, with the walkway seeming to flow around it, makes me wonder if it is a Rock of Possible Significance. However, I don’t know what it might signify.

We came across this marker for the Pony Express.

The Pony Express has captured the American imagination, in spite of the fact that  it was only in operation for 19 months. It was put out of business by the advent of the telegraph. In reading up about the Pony Express, I learned something that never occurred to me: The Pony Express was not part of the United States Postal Service.

We headed across the street and this building with a Masonic symbol caught my eye. The building is now an antique store. Our goal was the building on the other side.

We were heading toward the Genoa Bar, Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor. It has been in operation since 1853.

“Thirst Parlor” I like that notion.

The bar was filled with all sorts of old-timey bric-a-brac and such.

This Buffalo Gal had to photograph the buffalo hanging in the corner.

This Bud’s for me. You can go get your own!

On the way back over the mountains to Lake Tahoe, Mike pulled over so I could take a photo of the rain shadow. You can see how much drier it is on this side of the mountains. As the air rises over the mountains, the temperature drops and eventually the moisture falls as rain or snow. By the time the air gets to the other side of the mountain range, there is little moisture left. If you want to learn more, click here.

After a good night’s sleep it was time to load up Cora and head back to Sacramento to pick up Flo. I had a lovely time visiting Lake Tahoe.

Thanks, Linda and Mike!