Monday, August 23, 2010
I am just back from a last-minute trip to Lake Tahoe. My sister-in-law has a house there, which we visit a few times a year for our breathe-the-amazing-pine-scented-Tahoe-air fix. Last week, my SIL called and was going to be there alone unexpectedly, so she invited me to join her. R was getting ready to start school, and Miss C, just having returned from a week in San Diego, was not willing to abandon her cat and friends for another week away. So, I zipped up my suitcase without unpacking it from San Diego, threw it into the back of the car, and away I went.
I wasn't joking about the incomparable Tahoe air. There is a scent there that causes my blood pressure to drop and my whole body to flood with a sense of relaxed well-being. My favorite time of day in Tahoe is early in the morning. I make coffee, and I sit outside on the back deck in the silence... well, it's not silent for the twittering birds and jabbering blue jays and squirrels skittering across tree branches. But it's peaceful and sitting out to sip coffee and read my book is the ultimate vacation heaven. Here's one of my early morning companions:
My SIL Diane and I had a very nice time for all of 24 hours, and then she got a call from home requiring her departure...so there I was all alone. Usually, we're up there with a full family contingent, so it was distinctly strange to be up there all by myself -- no people, no dogs to keep me company. Thank goodness I had overpacked my "fun supplies" to a ridiculous extent, so I had my laptop, my Kindle loaded with great reading, a basket full of home-schooling materials with which I planned to organize lesson plans, several magazines, watercolor painting supplies, and my Nintendo DS for game-play. I made good use of all of those supplies.
Oh, but before I forget, I had some fun time with Diane's new puppy Cassidy, a rambunctious golden retriever.
One day, I did something I've been wanting to do for ages: I hopped in the car and set off to drive around the entire lake. Someone told me that if you drive straight along without stopping, it's a 2 1/2 hour trip. Me, I stopped whenever I felt like it. One of the most interesting stops was at a gorgeous old mansion right on the edge of the lake. It's Ehrman Mansion, in a state park, where the grounds and beach and even the house are open to the public for a glimpse of what it would have been like to be up there in the early 1900's. It was a lovely setting. I took this shot from the wide, old porch of the house -- it was one of those places I'd love to just sit for a day or three.
Of course I found a quilt shop along the way, Quilting Tahoe, and had a fun time perusing the wares there. I stumbled onto an arts and crafts festival, and wandered around there for an hour or so. When I crossed into Nevada (those of you non-Westerners may not know that Lake Tahoe straddles the line between California and Nevada so part of the shoreline is in California and part is in Nevada) I couldn't resist stopping at a casino (Montbleu! So elegant sounding!) where I lost a few dollars but had fun anyway. I even wound through the area of Tahoe my family vacationed in when I was a little kid, and going through there always brings back memories of feeling sunburned and reading Dennis the Menace comic books and licking drippy ice cream cones.
At the end of the week, my BFF Beth arrived to play with me. As we were getting ready to head out for a hike, we realized it was raining! Quite unexpected, and especially odd as the sky was predominantly blue! (It is oddly disconcerting to be standing out in the rain and looking up at blue sky. Someone there said it's something to do with the mountain effect and coolness somewhere and warmth somewhere else...but whatever the reason, it's weird.) So, we stayed inside and tried to remind ourselves how to play cribbage. Hardly exciting, but we had a grand old time.
So that was my last-hurrah vacation, and I have come home to the realities of legal work to get done, school to get started, and all the stuff that goes along with real day to day life. It feels great to be home... but I do miss those quiet piney mornings...