October 22, 2013

California Road Trip: Part 1 South Lake Tahoe

I went on a road trip all over California this month.  It was, no doubt, one of the highlights of my year.  I saw some of the most beautiful sights I have ever, ever seen.  I think, somehow, California is in my blood.  We get each other.  Our personalities connect.  I could move there in a second.  

I have dreamed of visiting the coast of CA for years.  Big Sur captured me from the very moment I saw a photo of it.  And I must say, that the rest of the state turned in a beautiful flip book of the magical places.  

I went on this fantastic adventure with my little brother.  We both flew into San Francisco, rented a car and spent the week driving over 1,200 miles up, down and all over the place together.  It's the first time I've seen him since last October.  Any time we get to spend together is always a treasure now that we live 1,000's of miles apart.    

Our first spot on the "list of fun" was Lake Tahoe.  After spending a few hours with a friend of his in San Francisco, we headed out of the city late and ended up in the mountains the next day.  (after staying at a super sketchy motel that first night.  Sket-chy.)

Unfortunately, our trip took place during the time that the government of the United States decided to shutdown.  That meant that every single National Park, Forest, camp ground, bathroom and hiking trail was CLOSED.  Disappointing.  Very much so.

But we did our best to find state parks and places where we could sneak onto pathways and hiking trails, us and 100's of other tourists.  Many of them from other countries.  How embarrassing, right?  "Sorry you flew thousands of miles to come see our beautiful country and now you can't actually see these things because we can't get our act together and act like adults."  Sheesh.

Anyway, we loved South Lake Tahoe.  It was charming and stunning all at the same time.  We ended up at Emerald Bay and did a short hike there.  I got to see my first redwood.  A baby one. 

Vickingsholm was at the very bottom of the hike to the lake.  It was like we had stumbled upon a hidden castle.  So beautiful.  It was locked up for the winter season, but still fun to wander around.  

We stayed at the most beautiful hotel in South Lake Tahoe.  I had actually found it on Pinterest when I was hunting around for cool spots for our trip.  It was called Basecamp Hotel.  The details and decorations were exactly perfect.  Cosy and thoughtful.  Several outside gas fireplaces (you can buy s'mores to roast).  Blues and greens and wood and metal.  I couldn't have picked anything more perfect.  And I could have stayed here for a week, happily.  My brother was mocking my love and excitement over all the details.  I was gushing. 

As we were leaving the hotel for dinner, it was just about sunset.  We decided to drive down a road behind Basecamp and happened to find the most beautiful sunset and the most perfect place in South Lake Tahoe to see it.  Right over the lake.  The colors were unbelievable.  It just about beat some the of the best I've seen at camp (which I think has the best sunsets on the planet).  

A couple things I didn't get a photo of…

*This stretch of road that was like a ridgepole of building.  Cliffs on both sides (no guard rails!) with views of the mountains and the lake.  I can still close my eyes and see it.  
*The trees and cliffs and homes that looked like they were dropped from the sky.  How did those people get TO their houses?
*Mountains rolling with patches of gold.  The Aspen trees were in full golden yellow fall colors.  
*The yummy pizza we had in South Lake Tahoe.
*The cold, fresh mountain air.
*Gate after gate after gate locked and barricaded off.
*Searching for a restroom that wasn't locked while my brother grew more and more frustrated that I wouldn't just go on the side of the road.  I'm a girl, okay.  I want a toilet.  Even a pit toilet is fine.

To be continued....


leslie.kidd said...

WOW! I just want to be there, right now! My brother and his family live there (only for a short time though) and they have seen most of these things as well. California is so beautiful! Truly breathtaking! Glad you had a wonderful time with your brother. Can't wait to see more pictures!

chickie said...

Great photos - it sounds like you had a fabulous time!