As we were getting closer to the state capital of Sacramento, the view of the area was a contrast from the rest of the journey through the San Joaquin Valley. From Bakersfield to now, it had been mainly agriculture. Now we begin to see large modern building used as warehouses, manufacturing and offices. Although we drove straight through Sacramento we could see that there were many signs and business that reminded me that California is the most populated state in the nation and a major economic player on the world market.
Passing through Sacramento reminded me of my travels to Washington, D.C. were one can see many buildings that are organizations dealing with government. Here, in Sacramento, one also sees organizations representing industry, legislation, financing and educational organizations.
We did not stop in the capital. We changed freeways and went on to travel eastward toward Reno, Nevada. This is a very busy freeway during the winter months. This is the freeway for persons in the San Francisco/Sacramento region to go up to the Sierras for winter sport activities. It's also a major trucking and rail route to Chicago.
As we left Sacramento behind we started to quickly climb in elevation. It was a continuous climb up the Sierra Mountain range. We started to see more trees and it kept getting greener as we drove further along. We passed, but did not get off, to the town of Auburn. One can drive south from this town and visit the nearby town of Coloma, where Johan Sutter discovered gold and started the California Gold Rush in 1848. It's a period of time where the population of the state surged upward and it is also a horrible period of time when Native Americans were killed in order to remove them from their land to gain access to rivers and mining sites.
We continued to drive eastward and we reached the mountain range summit and the historically famous Donner Pass. This is where a group of pioneers in a wagon train got caught in a heavy snowstorm in 1847 and turned to cannibalism in their attempts to survive.
A few mile further ahead, we got off the Interstate freeway and drove south toward North Tahoe. We passed the town of Truckee. A major train route goes through the town. There is a lot of history in this small town given that many Chinese emigrants came to the US to lay tracks and dig tunnels in the mid 1800s. Many also lost their lives while tunnels were being opened with dynamite.
We passed quickly through Truckee and as we started on southward I saw an open area where a LS6 sailplane/glider was being towed up. These are fabulous lightweight planes. They take the turns very well. It's been a while since I saw that wonderful scene. It brought back great memories about when I started working on getting my private flying license when I was 24. I started by taking primarily flying lessons on sail planes in Elsinore, California. Backed then I logged 12 flying hours. The responsibility to raise a family back then took precedent so I set it aside. I am glad that our son Adrian got his private pilot license. If I ever go back to get my license I would get it flying a multi-engine (jet) planes. I could only imagine what a wonderful scene that the pilot above us was going to get sailing through this picturesque alpine area.
Further down the road we saw a small road sign highlighting that the Tahoe Carlton-Ritz was over the hill. I wanted to stop in but we had to continue to go to Tahoe and drive over to our rooms on the Nevada side of the lake.
When we finally reach the lake we saw how beautiful it is. Lake Tahoe was formed 2 million years ago by glaciers. It seemed like the water level in the lake was at the normal level. We drove eastward on the main road that one can take to drive all around the lake.
We arrived on a Sunday and there was a major bicycle race going on. The main highway is narrow with many curves and one had to go slowly and we had to share the road with many bicyclists. It's quite a feat to be a bicyclist up here given that we are at a 6,000 foot altitude. The air is thin up here. We drove along the lake for practically an hour and we were constantly passing bicyclist. My hats off to all of them.
We reached our hotel on the east side of Tahoe. We rested and soon decided to walked over to the area where there is a tram that goes up to the well known winter ski area named Heavenly.
Trini and I first visited here before we had kids. Once when we did have children, Trini and I tried to learn how to ski. We didn't succeed. We were too afraid of breaking a leg. Our kids learned very quickly and they still go on ski trips.
We checked into one of the main casinos in eastern Tahoe and had a dinner brunch at the top floor. The view from up there is spectacular. The buffet price was a moderate price and we enjoyed the clear scenic view. We noted that the majority of employees in the buffet and throughout the casino area were mainly persons from Mexico. The identification badges on their shirts highlighted their name and country of origin.
After dinner we decided to go for a short walk for a few blocks before we settled into our room to rest. Many of the shops were closed early being that it was Sunday evening. It was pleasant to walk on the Main Street, where you could see families walking together and enjoying an ice cream from the local dessert shop. The location that was busy with activity was a local pizza parlor. It was in the middle of the ski lodge area where in the open there was live country music. They had a nice big fireplace with plenty of wood burning and anyone could sit down and enjoy it. We sat down to enjoy the ambiance. A great deal of the conversation with those sitting around us was about how they were looking forward to an early winter, getting a lot of snow and getting back into their winter sports. It was very clear that they take their skiing and snowboarding seriously around here.
We enjoyed a few beers from the local brewery and returned to our rooms to rest. It was nice that we had a partial angle view of the lake and we enjoyed seeing it at night.
Before we went to sleep, we agreed to explore and drive around the entire lake the next day.
This day was a great day and it looks like tomorrow will be a another day of sightseeing and enjoying our time with Jesus and Rosemary, also our traveling friends.