Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Impromptu Trip to South Lake Tahoe!

A few weeks ago Mike and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Mike: So my boss is taking a week off in a couple weeks, so I would be able to take some leave during that time.
Veronica: We should go somewhere. We have those two free Southwest tickets...
Mike: Let's look at where they fly. How about Tahoe?
Veronica: That sounds good! Let's do it!

We then spent the better part of a Sunday morning booking flights and hotels and then Mike spent the following week researching activities and on Tuesday, August 2nd we left for 3 days in Tahoe! 

We spent the first night in Reno since we got in at about 11pm. We stayed at one of the big casinos there and when we booked the hotel we got 2 free breakfast buffets and $10 in slot play! We woke up SUPER early (the buffet didn't open until 7:30 and we were ready to go at 6:30) so we went to play our $10. We finished up $1.46, which isn't bad really. 
(We had to put in $5 to play the $10 which is why the voucher is for $6.46...)

The breakfast buffet included a diverse representation of cuisines to include Mexican and Chinese food. We ate as much as we could and then it was time to head back to the airport to pick up our rental car and head to Lake Tahoe!! The drive up was really beautiful. 
Scenic Route!
On the way we stopped on the northern side of the lake for a couple rounds of mini golf at a quirky course.
Take 1st shot seated?!

Kick the golf ball?!

Mike won a free round, which suckered us into playing a 2nd!
After some lunch, we took the "long way" around the lake to our hotel in South Lake Tahoe. The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was very refreshing to get out of the Texas heat.
That evening we went down to the shore and took some really great pictures of the sunset. One of the benefits of South Lake Tahoe being on the southeastern shore is the beautiful sunsets!
We went to bed early because the next day was going to prove to be very challenging.

Something you don't get a lot of in KS/OK/TX is legitimate mountain biking. You know, on a mountain? Mike did a lot of research and booked us each a bike to take along the Flume Trail. Reviews online said it was a challenging trail, but not death defying. The folks at the bike rental place set us up with our bikes and away we went!

The beginning part of the trail was mostly uphill, very uphill. No big deal. I knew it was only the first 4 miles of a 14 mile ride. There were some points where I had to walk the bike up:
But for the most part we were still smiling:
...and showing off.
We encountered some breathtaking sights:
And we even had to ride our bikes THROUGH the water!
That's me!
And then things started getting hairy. After going through a very technical part of the trail, which I chose to walk through, we were all of a sudden on the SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN. We're talking a path that was maybe 18" wide with a 1500 ft drop to your left. Oh. My. Gosh.
Mike was very patient (for the most part) because there were a lot of points where I was just walking my bike. It was just too scary. When we did take a break, however, the view was awesome!
When we were finished with death-defying part, we got to the downhill. This is the easy part right? This is what I worked so hard for in the beginning! No. No, no, no. It's white knuckle the whole way down. I felt like I would be thrown over the handlebars at any minute. I kept waiting to smell smoke from my brakes burning out as a result of my death grip on them. So scary. Meanwhile, Mike is getting the whole thing on VIDEO. As in, riding with ONE HAND! He is braver than I.

In the end we made it to the bottom in one piece. There was a family of four that came in behind us (we passed them at the beginning). They didn't seem prepared for that "big" of an adventure, either. A shuttle picked us all up and took us back to the beginning.

We made it back to the hotel in time for a Sierra Nevada beer-tasting event:
Afterwards, we had a nice dinner at the steakhouse in Harrah's and then returned to the hotel to make s'mores! It was really fun making s'mores despite the fact that we were the only ones over the age of 8. Of course, we enjoyed the marshmellowy-chocolatey-graham crackery goodness, but the real highlight was watching all the kids melt down. It was 8pm, so getting close to bed time. Most kids got upset when their marshmallow caught fire (they hadn't yet learned the "way of the s'more"), but one kid just stared at his flaming mallow until his mom blew it out - THEN he broke down. We each got 4 crackers, a hershey's bar and 4 marshmallows. That is A LOT. I couldn't eat all mine so I gave my last set of ingredients to a girl who'd lost one of her marshmallows to a fiery fate. Her father and I lamented at how the kids just didn't get it. Later he said he explained it to her and sure enough, she burnt the one I gave her and enjoyed it!

The next day it was time to go home. We had breakfast at a place recommended to us by a friend and then made our way back to Reno. The drive back was much less impressive. Kind of depressing, really
On the way to the lake we saw an In-n-Out Burger. We decided that we should probably stop on the way to the airport, just to say we went...
We had a great time escaping the crazy heat and seeing what Lake Tahoe has to offer. I think I'd enjoy it in the winter time, too, however Mike isn't into skiing, really. Perhaps if he gets deployed in the winter time I can go with some girlfriends!


EllenQ said...

I gasped audibly at the picture off the edge of the bike trail!

Veronica said...

So did I.

bralston2 said...

I'd be down with a girlfriend trip to Tahoe!! :o)