We woke up to a beautiful partly sunny morning. There were, in the area, many large dark clouds looming over the lake and it was raining hard where we were and also over the lake. It's been a while since I smelled the damp ground and watched the trees rustling in the shifting wind and rain. The air outside felt crisp and cool on the skin. A light jacket or sweater was needed in the morning. Because of the altitude here, the temperature drops considerably once the sun goes down. The clouds were moving out quickly, thus it seemed that it would be a clear and comfortable day.
The plan for the day was to drive around the entire edge of the lake. The drive is slow and it can take up to 3-hours. I figured it would take us practically all day since we planned to stop to take pictures, enjoy the scenic spots and see some of the historical sites in the vicinity. Some persons come here specifically to hike around the entire lake basin. That's a 165-mile hike. I'll pass on this walking hike experience.
We started our drive by visiting the main entrance of the Heavenly ski area. At first the large facility looked closed, but we could see some work being done to get ready for the skiers. They were setting up ski racks and cleaning out lockers. You could sense that they wanted to see snow. I understand that there have been years where there was some skiing at this time of year. Clearly this was not going to be one of those years.
Next we drove southward and drove clockwise. One had to drive slow because there are many road repair areas. I forget that in places where it snows a lot, like this area, road repair has to be done quickly before the snow season returns.
The south end of the lake is the beginning of the scenic drive. There are many turnouts to stop and take scenic pictures from the lookouts. One of the top stops is Emerald Bay. This little bay is an iconic image for this area. I constantly see the picture of this location used in television commercials.
As one continues one comes across the multiple state parks that offer camping opportunities for RVs and tent users. One can camp in the park up to 14-consecutive days. We use to travel a great deal in our motor home when we had small kids. We did in fact come to Tahoe many years ago with our kids in our motor home but we had reserved a 7-day time share when stayed here. We took many wonderful walks along the lake. The lake is cold year-round so we enjoyed the scenery.
As we drove further, we encounter more road work area on the two lane highway so we enjoyed just looking around. We realized we had entered the residential areas of Tahoe. You begin to admire the wide variety of gorgeous homes that are along the lake. Someone once told me that the homes around Tahoe seemed similar to the residences at Lake Como in Italy. Now that we have visited Lake Como, I can confidently state that they don't resemble each other. The lake in Italy is long and historic in comparison to Tahoe. The housing in Italy, along the lake, is much older and perhaps have larger living structures. Few homes here would be considered mansions, but given my real estate research, prices of homes in Tahoe are much higher. Homes here, that are lakeside, can range from 10 to 40 million dollars. Many of the homes are actually empty the majority of the year. These houses are investments and 2nd homes for the wealthy. They fly in on private jets and spend time skiing. This is similar to my visit to Vail, Colorado where the town is practically empty in the summer but bustling with activity in the winter.
One of the sites we planned to visit on this trip was Squaw Valley Ski Resort. This resort area hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. The resort is only a few minute drive from the main lake drive. There is a nice size village at the base of the mountain and it's quite picturesque and quaint to walk around and enjoy. We made it a point to enjoy a cup of coffee outside and we imagined what it was like to be here during the Olympics. A couple of years ago our friends and us visited Calgary, Canada and we also visited the Olympic village there. They hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. In Calgary, the Olympic venue is near the city so it's used all year round. Here the Squaw Valley facility doesn't have much activity until the snowfall begins in mid-November.
Trini and I have always enjoyed watching the Olympics. Thus, we visit the venues whenever we are nearby. One of the most interesting venues we visited was when we were in Athens, Greece two years ago. We visited the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. It's where the Olympics originated. It was built in 566 BC. I had the pleasure of interviewing two winter Olympic Medalist Derek Parra and Jennifer Rodriguez. I learned from talking to them about what an incredible amount of dedication it takes to become an Olympian. As I visit here I realize I want to visit Park City, Utah. That's where the Winter Olympic Training center is located. Another of the U.S. facilities for summer Olympics is near the Mexican border (Chula Vista, CA).
We toured the Resort at Squaw Creek which is nearly and rested for a while. It's a great and peaceful place to stay and enjoy the mountains all around. Again, it's very low pace, and affordable, during the non-skiing months.
We got back on the main road around the lake and went back to our hotel.
We went back to the pizza parlor nearby and just enjoy the rest of the evening. The air got cool as the sun dropped and we had a wonderful time talking about what we had visited so far.
We got ready to rest and sleep and we planned to get up early and drive directly from here to San Francisco. It would be a 4-hour drive.