A Trip To Reno-Lake Tahoe

The week after Labor Day, Hubby and I flew to Reno for a meetup with our friends from Ricochet.  Getting there and back wasn’t half the fun, but it was interesting.  Since we waited until the figurative “last minute” to book our flights from Seattle, we had to change planes both ways.  For three legs of our journey, we flew aboard a rather unusual aircraft (to us), a Bombardier Q400.

Q400

When was the last time you had to board your aircraft from the ground?  And hand your carry-on bag to the crew to store in the belly of the plane, returned to you when at your destination?

It was surprisingly comfortable, with 2 by 2 seating, and a fairly low noise level while in flight.  It’s a little weird, however, looking out your window and seeing the landing-gear retracting into the engine housings!  The funny-shaped propellers were fun to watch, as they speeded up from taxi to takeoff to full flight speed.   For the first two legs of our journey, the sky was so clear that we could see the ground all the way from Seattle to Reno.  Instant geography lesson!

All our flights were uneventful, and we landed in Reno ahead of schedule on Wednesday evening.  Thursday, we drove our rented car all the way around Lake Tahoe.  But first, we had to get to the lake.  That is done by driving directly over a mountain, Mt. Rose, on Nevada Highway 431. Picture-taking fool that I am, we stopped at many roadside turnouts to take pictures.

View of mountains, Mt. Rose Summit, Nevada
View of mountains, Mt. Rose Summit, Nevada
Mt. Rose Summit
Mt. Rose Summit

Also, my “Grammar Police” persona took over at the Summit when I read their sign.  Can you find the two misspellings?

Can you spot the two misspellings on this sign?
Can you spot the two misspellings on this sign?

On the downslope:

Mt. Rose meadow
Mt. Rose meadow
View of Lake Tahoe, from Nevada Highway 431, Mt. Rose Highway
View of Lake Tahoe, from Nevada Highway 431, Mt. Rose Highway

So we got to the bottom, and there is a T intersection.  Which way to go?  We chose left.  The first pretty place we found was a state park, and a trail down to Hidden Beach.  Some of the plants we saw were very beautiful-even the ones that looked “dead” didn’t turn out to be.  I’m not much of a botanist, so if readers can tell me what they are, I’d be delighted.

Bush at Lake Tahoe
Bush at Lake Tahoe
Alive and dead at the same time. Bush seems to have dead trunk, but green leaves.
Alive and dead at the same time. Bush seems to have dead trunk, but green leaves.
Clear water and rocks-Lake Tahoe-Hidden Beach
Clear water and rocks-Lake Tahoe-Hidden Beach
Lake Tahoe, East shore, clear water
Lake Tahoe, East shore, clear water

So, on we drove.  I could kick myself for not having taken pictures of the Nevada/California border, on the south shore of the lake.  Nevada, of course, has legal gambling everywhere.  And I do mean EVERYWHERE.  Every retail establishment, restaurant, and bar has gambling machines in view.  On the south shore of the lake, the Nevada side is lined with big casinos on both sides of the highway, with all their flashing lights.  The moment you cross the California state line, zero casinos.

The highway on the California side tends to be higher above the lake level.  We stopped at a big rest area/overlook high above Emerald Bay, and I got a lot of nice shots.

Emerald Bay, south end of Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay, south end of Lake Tahoe
Twisted tree-Tahoe overlook
Twisted tree-Tahoe overlook

I’m betting lightning caused the damage to the tree above.  Just twisted right off.

Pine cone found at Tahoe overlook. This weighed about 12 ounces!
Pine cone found at Tahoe overlook. This weighed about 12 ounces!

That pine cone is about the size of your hand, and weighed a lot more than it looked.

Overlook on south shore of Lake Tahoe has giant boulder next to the restrooms.
Overlook on south shore of Lake Tahoe has giant boulder next to the restrooms.

Restroom building for scale!

The California side of Lake Tahoe is much more built-up with residences that the Nevada side, so more of the property is private.  We did spot a lot of private docks, forlornly out over what used to water, and now is beach.  The lake level is way down due to the drought.

Friday, we met up with a couple of our Ricochet friends, and took a nice drive up to Virginia City, in the hills to the east of Reno.   I regret not having our friend take a picture of me with the Dodge pickup truck.  The step was about at the level of my hip, and, to my embarrassment, I had to be helped to get in.

I saw my first wild mustang:

Grazing mustang-east of Reno
Grazing mustang-east of Reno

Virginia City is mostly a tourist trap now, but many of the old buildings have been nicely restored.  1880’s buildings, 21st-century transportation!

Virginia City Brewery & Taphouse
Virginia City Brewery & Taphouse

We stopped here for a beer.  That Dirty Mucker Stout is excellent!

Beers at the Brewery
Beers at the Brewery
Virginia City, Nevada
Virginia City, Nevada

We took a tour of an abandoned mine, whose entrance just happened to be in the back of a local bar.  Really.  This is a hydraulic drill, used at the mine to knock the gold-bearing ore free.  The tour guide, who looked and talked like he had just stepped out of a dime novel of the time, told us that many miners were injured by this kind of equipment.

Hydraulic drill at abandoned mine-Virginia City
Hydraulic drill at abandoned mine-Virginia City

Saturday was the day of the official Ricochet functions.  In the morning, we headed back over Mt. Rose for the first of the day’s activities, which was golf at the Old Brockway Golf Course, in Kings Beach, California.  Now I do not play golf, and hubby hadn’t played in years, but our local host insisted.  So we had two carts, and for me a nice trip around the course, watching the guys hit those little balls with the metal sticks.  I did get some nice golf-course pictures.

First fairway, Old Brockway Golf Course, Kings Beach, CA
First fairway, Old Brockway Golf Course, Kings Beach, CA
Hole #8, Old Brockway
Hole #3, Old Brockway

This hole was especially difficult, and it was on two separate levels.  This sign was spotted off to the side of the course.

This sign speaks for itself.
This sign speaks for itself.

End of the Trail.

The last thing we saw at Old Brockway
The last thing we saw at Old Brockway

Saturday night was the official Ricochet Meetup Dinner, at the Hyatt Lone Eagle Restaurant in Incline Village.  We had hoped to get a table outside to have pre-dinner drinks and relax at the beautiful lake, but our plans were upset by two different problems.  First, there was a big wedding party there, and they took up nearly the entire bar and most of the restaurant, including all the outside tables. Remember that pretty shot of the lake with its clear water and view all the way across?  Well, this is what the lake looked like on Saturday night:

South shore of Lake Tahoe, smoky from California wildfires
South shore of Lake Tahoe, smoky from California wildfires

Can you say “socked-in”?  The smoke from the wildfires in California cast a pall over a goodly portion of the Nevada side of the lake.  So much for beautiful lake views.  We were lucky to see the lake on Thursday.  Everyone had a great time at the dinner, and the food and drinks were excellent.  Definitely a place not to miss if you are in the area.

On Sunday, it was time to head back home.  We had some time, so we went downtown in Reno, to check out the new Riverwalk neighborhood.  Due to the smoke in the air, and construction, we didn’t see much.  Here’s what we did see:

Truckee River, Reno
Truckee River, Reno

Back on the plane again, first to San Jose, then Seattle.  I finally got a window seat, and my trusty iPod camera.  No smoke above the clouds.

Above the Clouds at 30,000 feet
Above the Clouds at 30,000 feet
Sunset above the clouds
Sunset above the clouds

Altogether a very nice trip, and we made some nice memories.

My Best Move in the Past Year

The best thing I did in the last year and a bit was to join Ricochet.com.
By doing that, I opened up a whole new universe of erudition and wisdom (and humor, which is often lacking in today’s world). I have met, both on-line and in person, people who think like I do, admire what I admire, and fret about the things that make me anxious. Living in a deep blue state, it’s often difficult to find others who are conservative in their outlook. But my Ricochet membership opened up whole new avenues of friendship. Who would have thought there were so many wonderful, conservative people right in our area?

Shortly after my husband and I joined, we went to a meetup of members at a coffee shop in South Lake Union. We spent a very pleasant two hours in conversation with a dozen of the nicest people! They came from as far away as Portland to get acquainted with their fellow Ricochet members. After that, it just sort of snowballed. In January, I participated in my first “AMU”, or Audio Meetup (basically, a big conference-call). People literally called in from all over the world! The hosts are three members, one from Pennsylvania, one from Wisconsin, and one from Japan. Yep, Japan!! So I could place a voice, if not a face, with some of the names I’d seen on the site. And I discovered that there is more total “sense of humor” on Ricochet than anywhere else online or off. Even when we’re discussing how our country is going down the tubes, we can laugh. The member from Japan is especially funny, and I look forward to talking with him on almost a weekly basis now.

In May of 2013, Hillsdale College had scheduled a National Leadership Seminar in Seattle, so I decided to try to get together a Ricochet meet up around that seminar. My husband and I decided to stay at the convention hotel downtown for the seminar, so I reserved a room at the restaurant in the hotel for our get-together. Then I posted a notice on Ricochet, asking for potential attendees to get in touch with me if they were interested. Well, that meeting was a rousing success! We had about 20 people, including one of the contributors to the site, who is a long-haul truck driver, and an awesome writer. One of the Hillsdale professors came, as well as a Ricochet member who is one of the first class at the Hillsdale Graduate School of Statesmanship. You can see video of that here

In July, a member who lives in Whatcom County suggested a picnic, so I helped organize a nice outing at Meadowdale Beach Park in Edmonds on Puget Sound. That outing, too, was loads of fun, and members brought their families for a beautiful, sunny afternoon.

The best part of the year, though, was in October, when we drove to Las Vegas and back for a Ricochet National Meeting. Members, contributors, and even an Editor came from all across the country to meet and have fun with their fellow members. I actually found members in Idaho and Utah to get together with on the way down, too. On the trip home, we went to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks.

So, now it’s 2014, and we look forward to more audio and physical meetings with our new Ricochet friends. In February, we are going to Phoenix for another Hillsdale National Leadership Seminar, and we already have found one Editor and three fellow members to get together with. Truly, if you join Ricochet, you will never lack for friends to meet, wherever you travel. For any of you who are interested, just drop by Ricochet, and take a look. If you decide to join, you will not be disappointed!

This Land is Your Land

Along with the header picture, here are more photos I took on a trip to the Southwest. These dramatic pictures were all taken in or near National Parks.
Don’t ever forget that these are YOUR lands, maintained with your taxpayer money. They do not belong to The Government, they belong to You.
You can find more pictures on the “My Pictures” page of my blog.
Enjoy!

"Natural Bridge", Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
“Natural Bridge”, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Vermillion Cliffs, Northern Arizona
Vermillion Cliffs, Northern Arizona

View from Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
View from Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Cliff, Zion National Park, Utah.  Shows the many layers of rock composed of sand from a warmer time millions of years ago
Cliff, Zion National Park, Utah. Shows the many layers of rock composed of sand from a warmer time millions of years ago
Cliff, with signs of an arch forming.  Zion National Park, Utah.
Cliff, with signs of an arch forming. Zion National Park, Utah.