Spring Break, 2021
I don’t recall having a real Spring Break trip last year… If I’m remembering correctly, I did a short Spring Break trip down to Joshua Tree back in 2019, but 2020 didn’t quite lend itself to much traveling…
With that in mind, and looking at how much vacation time I’d accumulated over the last year or so, I realized that I really did need to take some time off to escape from work, from Wilsonville, and from getting stuck in my own head. Thankfully, most travel restrictions on the West Coast have been lifted, and my back’s been feeling a lot better… and I was able to finally make the long trek down to Sacramento to visit my friend Mike and finally meet his girlfriend Michelle!
It was a long drive, and a full week of stepping out of my usual little patch of world. I didn’t really go into it expecting anything specific, but I came out having even more appreciation for my friends, and feeling gloriously rested and recharged. I’m not quite back to my old self yet… but this trip was an amazing change to stretch back into myself, and just… explore.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 04 & 05-May-2021
A big part of our plans for the week was going out to Lake Tahoe – a gorgeous outdoors mecca, that I’d visited previously to rather spectacular disaster when I broke my leg. Interestingly, Michelle’d also broken her knee there too… though she’s jumped back into skiing far more adroitly than I did… you know, since I haven’t skied again since that accident.
This was a chance for me to revisit Tahoe itself, and hopefully make a few new memories of the area. Positive ones, full of happiness and adventure!
(Ed Note: There are a few other adventures that Ben went on in Tahoe that aren’t covered in this post – specifically some hikes and cycling trips. Please see, “A spring adventure – The Rides” and “A spring adventure – The Hikes” for those photo galleries)
Tuesday morning saw us get onto the road fairly quickly – Not rushed, of course, but… we were moving at a pretty reasonable time. Soon enough the morning saw us breakfasted, our cars gassed up, and the top down on the Mustang as we cruised down the highway toward the mountains.
The drive was gorgeous – instead of taking the main highway toward Squaw Valley, like Mike and I had done the last time I’d visited, we took a Southern route toward the far South end of Lake Tahoe, where Michelle’s family has a vacation house. This road was gorgeous, and absolutely perfect to drive with the top down and some good music playing… sweeping curves, tall mountains, and just enough sun to make me thankful for the sunscreen that I’d applied before we left Sacramento.
Once we arrived, we lazily got ourselves energized and started ambling around town. Lunch, then a bike ride (Ed Note: See the post titled “The Rides” for more info there) saw us back in action and feeling great. With Michelle having to step inside for a meeting, Mike and I took the chance to launch some kayaks and do a bit of river exploration.
It’s been ages since I’ve been in a rigid kayak.
I… may have forgotten just how nice it is, compared to my little inflatable dinghy. A kayak that doesn’t try to spin like a drunken top every time I paddle? A kayak with a rudder, letting me make fine course adjustments?
Yeah… I enjoyed the heck out of this trip around the lake.
After we finished out our waterborn adventures and beached the Kayaks, we spent a bit of time relaxing around the house before starting out for a bit of sightseeing. There’s a neat little bay near where we were called Emerald Bay that I’d been really excited to see – a painting of it was hanging in the livingroom back in Sacramento, so I was really excited to see the inspiration for the view.
Let me tell you – while the painting was absolutely excellent, it wasn’t quite as sweeping as the real thing.
Lake Tahoe really is beautiful… I’d only ever seen it with its winter coat on, but Mike had been telling me about how amazing it is for years. Finally being able to come back and see what he meant in person was absolutely excellent.
The rest of the evening was relaxation. We picked up a pizza, hung out at the house, did a bit of a whiskey tasting, and finally got the downtime to just be. To sit and talk, catch up, and appreciate the fact that we didn’t have anywhere to go.
Wednesday dawned beautifully bright; my room was looking out over the lake, and I definitely spent a bit of time just appreciating the sun sparking off the water after I woke up (and after I put in my contacts, of course). Tahoe really is pretty, and this was yet another excellent morning on a beautifully relaxed vacation.
In counterpoint to the lazy wake-up, we actually got ourselves mobile fairly quick once we were awake – Cleaning up and closing out the house, we got ourselves moving toward Squaw in fairly short order. Unrushed, to an extent, since we did take a quick break to drive out and pick up some breakfast before we finished out the last of the chores.
Once clean and closed, we make our way North, toward Squaw valley itself…
(Ed note: From here, the adventures can be found in two places: The posts titled “The rides” and “The hikes” each have one adventure from Squaw Valley)