We’re aiming North, to Lake Tahoe today. It wasn’t on our plan originally, but people had said how beautiful it is, so we thought we’d make the 200 mile detour. The drive brought us down from 4,000 feet altitude, to 1,000 feet – where the air was hot and dry, and the meadows were yellow. We drove through towns with real American names, like Jacksonvile, Sonora and Angels Camp. We passed lots of historical markers, marking spots where Mark Twain lived, wrote, or stopped for coffee. We even passed Mark Twain’s cabin near Angels Camp (we took the 1 mile detour, and found a chimney, a wall and a sign saying that the Angels Camp Lions Club are currently rebuilding it “in the image of the original”, and that it would be finished by Fall 2002. (Yup, you guessed, not worth the detour!)
The picture sums up the drive – typically American, with red roof barns, lots of school buses, and lots of old charm in the form of cafe’s, antique shops and water-pumping windmills.
We then turned East, and started climbing towards Lake Tahoe on Highway 88. Having driven down from 9,000 feet three days ago, to 1,000 feet, we found ourselves going all the way back up again to 9,300 feet for the drive to Tahoe – the lake is at 7,000 feet, but to get there we drove along the ridge line of a mountain. The air was cool – a relief after the dry heat on the drive to the hills, and clear, so we could see for miles. We finally drove down to the town of South Tahoe at 6pm, and then spent an hour finding a reasonably priced motel (at the weekends, prices shoot upwards – especially in Tahoe). Lake Tahoe spans California and Nevada, so people head here for the weekends for the nature, the winter skiing, and (most importantly for many) the casinos.