We left Yosemite at about 11am to make the 5 hour journey to Lake Tahoe. I hadn’t managed to find anything in our guidebook about Lake Tahoe, and lots of Americans we’d chatted to hadn’t seemed to have heard of it. We found out later that it’s considered to be a hidden gem of California/Nevada. I assumed that Lake Tahoe would be back at sea level again. Wrong. To get there, we had to drive up the Tiago pass and then back down again past Lake Mono, which was on lower ground. We drove past the Sierra Mountains, which are very different in appearance to Yosemite, and then started climbing again. There were lots of signs for snow chains and the road was quite angular and bendy in some places. So then I assumed that Lake Tahoe was at the top of the mountains and therefore would be quite small. Wrong again.
Lake Tahoe is huge. It has the State Line straight down the middle and you can’t see from one side to the other. South Lake Tahoe is the town we stayed in- I think! We got a bit confused because the address of the hotel literally said ‘State Line, Lake Tahoe’. And it was on the State Line- our hotel had a casino in it (gambling is permitted in Nevada) and the ones over the road didn’t (gambling isn’t allowed in California). So we changed states just by crossing the road.
By now I was struggling. I was shattered, the trip was catching up with me. And I don’t think rapidly changing altitude so much did me any good either. I never used to have a problem with altitude, and I didn’t feel lightheaded or sick when we were actually high up, but something was definitely not right and my adrenal insufficiency hit me big style. The first thing I did when we got to Lake Tahoe was work out where the nearest medical centre/ER was just in case! So, sadly, I spent a lot of our time in Lake Tahoe asleep.
When we arrived, our ‘honeymoon’ flag sent to the hotel by our travel agent must have earned us an upgrade because we had a large lake-view suite rather than just a bog-standard hotel room. This meant we had 2 bathrooms and a large sitting area. After I’d woken up, we walked over the road (and State Line) and down the road towards the beach/shore of the lake and had dinner at Beach House Grill. This was a great find- it was right on the shore, the food was incredible and we watched the sunset while listening to live music. The menu was a bit limited but suited us, so not somewhere to go if you’re a fussy eater or have dietary requirements, and there aren’t any restrooms- you have to use the public beach ones, which were fine. We had a short walk on the beach before heading back.
Photo: Beach House Grill, South Lake Tahoe
Photo: Lake Tahoe
The next day, we got up and went for a wander around the town. In the Winter, it’s a ski-resort, so the place had an alpine and ski feel to it, but it was Summer. In the centre, you can catch a gondola further up the mountain, do outdoor activities like zip-lining or you could go down to the Lakeshore and do water activities. I was not up for doing any of that and was quite happy looking in the shops, eating ice-cream (there’s an amazing shop in the centre) and having drinks. Quite a few places had live music. I quite liked staying here even though we didn’t do much because it was pretty, the weather was great, the people were friendly and the food and drink was really reasonably priced.
Photo: Gondola from the village centre
Photo: village centre
The following day we left for San Francisco pretty early so that we would be able to make stops along the way. Our travel agent recommended putting in Lake Tahoe when we booked, and it was a great place to relax in before carrying on with our trip.