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Friday, May 13, 2011

Lake Tahoe Trip — Day One

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” — Saint Augustine

Today we began our four day trip to Lake Tahoe to celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary, a trip we had been planning for dome time.

After packing our SUV with all the necessary items; clothes, cooler, snack bag, laptop PC and camera gear we headed out from our home at 6:30 a.m. on a beautiful spring morning.

We headed north on I-215 past San Bernardino to the junction of I-15 and then north to Victorville and US 395 — the Three Flags Highway. Of course by now we were ready for breakfast so I quarried the GPS and she told me there was a i-Hop just a few miles away, so that’s where we headed for.

I-hop is my favorite breakfast place, the prices are reasonable and the food is good. On this particular morning I had the senior rise and shine breakfast. The food was good, but the service was really slow and we lost almost an hour of travel time to our destination at the Lakeside Inn and Casino in Stateline, Nevada.

Once on the road again I had the usual frustration of driving US 395 — no passing. As always I would be following a motor home, a tractor trailer or some jester hauling a truck load of junk. I kept looking for those “Passing Lane 5 Miles Ahead” signs.

I had not driven US 395 for almost 20 years and I was pleasantly surprised to find the large stretches of dual-lane expressway that had been constructed over the ensuing years. These sections of expressway are most welcomed, especially in the mountainous areas north of Bishop.

Around noon we arrived at Lone Pine, the gateway to Mount Whitney - theMount Whitney from US 395 in Lone Pine highest point in the lower 48 states. Of course I had to find a good place to get some photos of this 14,000 foot giant.

Just north of Lone Pine we stopped for a several hour visit to the once World War II Japanese Relocation Center at Manzanar. It was at Manzanar 12,000 Japanese-Americans, many U.S. citizens, were relocated from their homes in California by an executive order (9066) without due process of law. It was one of biggest stains on our national character since slavery and was finally made right by President Ronald Reagan. I will have much more to write on this subject in a future newsletter.

Gaurd tower at Manzanar Internment CampI had not been to Manzanar for 18 or 19 years and was astonished to see the changes and restorations done since the National Park Service bought the land from Inyo County in 1996. They have done a great job creating displays in the Interpretative Center, restoring the barracks and placing informational signs along the roadways. There is also a mapped out auto tour around the camp site.

We stayed at Manzanar for about hours and tried to see as much as we could. After taking the auto tour we made our way back to US 395 and headed north to Lake Tahoe.

The weather was still near perfect as we looked for our passing lanes on 395. As we neared Lake Tahoe we had to take a few local California and Nevada state highways that were not as easy to drive as 395 had been. WE had to take CA-88 and then CA-207 into Stateline. CA-207 is not an easy road to drive. While the scenery is nice the road sucks, especially when you have to follow some old geezer who will not push his Lincoln past 40 mph. It gets very frustrating waiting for the passing and turnout lanes.

We finally reached our hotel. The Lakeside Inn and Casino, in Stateline, NV around 6:30 pm and I was really glad to get out of the car.

The Lakeside Hotel and Casino is a “rustic” hotel with access to the rooms from the outside. The rooms are clean and spacious and the bed is comfortable. It has a small casino by Las Vegas standards, but the casino doesn’t have to be big to lose your money. After a long day of sitting in the car it was good to get into a comfortable bed and watch the large VISIO flat screen TV on the wall.

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