Another Interesting Trip to Tahoe for the Holidays

As some of you know, we spend Christmas every year at our timeshare in Tahoe. It seems every year we have some kind of “adventure” during our Christmas holiday, and this year was no exception.

The Trip Up

Things started off with a bang this year. Instead of the big Yukon that Mike had reserved, we scored a Suburban. It was huge but really comfortable for four adults and all of our ski gear. Speaking of ski gear, my skis didn’t travel with us this year because I was gently/not so gently told that skiing with my bum knee would be a really bad idea. The argument that finally swung me was not about hurting my knee further, I was getting a new one anyway, but what else I could hurt when my knee gave out? So no skiing for me this year. Back to more pleasant topics.

Far different from last year, the drive up to Tahoe was the fastest, smoothest of any in recent memory. We actually had to find something to do until it was time to check-in. Once we got to our timeshare, there was no line for check-in and there was more personnel at the front desk. Also, we were finally able to stay in the actual building which we own. It had been under renovation for the last two years.

All clear coming into south Lake Tahoe

The Big Reveal

The new units at Ridge Point are admittedly nice but it sure took a long time to get the work done. The kitchen and bathrooms were redone and all of the furniture was replaced. Everyone was pleased with the results. I managed to cook a nice dinner for Christmas, much of which I had prepared in Mountain View before we left. I would have done even more cooking before we got to Tahoe if I had known we were getting an SUV with so much room. Mike didn’t even have to play Tetris to load the car as in previous years.

Tahoe Activities

Sadly, my activities were somewhat different from everyone else’s because I wasn’t skiing. My routine revolved around working out, cooking, and learning about writing a memoir. There was a treadmill in our building so that worked well for my cardio days and then I took the shuttle to the main building with the big gym for my weight training days. Sometimes I had company for my workouts but most of the time I was alone.

Everyone else was out skiing. Since it snowed the entire time we were there, freshies were abundant, so I heard. That said, some of the time the top of the mountain was closed, usually for wind, but everyone seemed to enjoy their time in the snow.

Getting Back

Our return trip is where the adventure really begins. As we were packing up to leave on New Year’s Eve morning, we looked outside to find a Cadillac Escalade sideways on the steep driveway out of the underground garage. There was at least a foot of fresh snow and it was snowing heavily, with no sign of stopping. So, no one was getting out of the garage until the Escalade was moved and the driveway was plowed. It was pretty entertaining watching people try to move the snow with their feet or other implements. Someone found a shovel and promptly broke it. Someone else tried using a small snowblower found in the garage but that didn’t get too far either.

Eventually (read: an hour later), enough snow was moved to free the Escalade. Then a plow was able to clear the driveway enough for us to get out. The snow was really coming down and US 50 was closed but I80 was open. So, we decided to go the back way and take route 395 to Reno to get to Interstate 80. The drive was very slow and the visibility was quite bad. I think it took 4 hours to get from our timeshare to Reno, a trip that is usually an hour. I advocated for this route because the chances of I80 closing in the severe weather were pretty high and I knew there were plenty of places to stay in Reno. Sure enough, by the time we got to Reno, I80 was closed.

New Year’s Eve in Reno

My son and his girlfriend were caravanning with us because the road conditions were so bad. Originally, they had planned to have a New Year’s Eve party but it was clear that none of us were getting back to the Bay Area until New Year’s Day. So, the next step was to find someplace to stay around Reno. I was concerned because last year when the road closed going up to Tahoe we had issues finding a hotel in Sacramento but I was easily able to book us into the Nugget Casino and Hotel. I figured it was New Year’s Eve and there would be more going on in a big casino rather than a small hotel by the airport and the weather wasn’t improving.

Staying at the Nugget

Things at the Nugget were a bit surprising. It turned out that they were having a ticketed NYE event with dinner and dancing but that didn’t interest us. That wasn’t surprising. But, we didn’t expect there would be only one restaurant open inside the whole, huge casino or the hour wait for a table. We made good use of our time at the bar, which was fun. After dinner, Mike and one of our sons went back to the room, and our other son, his girlfriend, and I played around in the casino. The kids wanted to play cards or roulette but the buy-ins were pretty high. Instead, we all played the slots until our play money ran out. We had a wonderful time and it didn’t seem like the kids minded so much getting stuck in Reno.

After dinner drinks?

The next morning brought bright sunny weather with lots of snow on the ground and we were sure that highway 80 was open. So we said goodbye to the kids, stopped at Starbucks for fortification, and headed slowly back to the Bay Area.

Where have you gotten stranded and what did you do with your time?

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  1. Looking at all your images with plentiful of snow makes us envious, on this side of the pond … so far, this is the driest winter in the Alps since 1963/64 …

  2. Diana – If it is any consolation, I’m missing this amazing ski season due to knee issues too. And Tahoe is currently getting about a two foot dump right now.

    I was on the road NYE day too, but in warmer elevations of 101 between LA and San Jose. I had never seen so many cars spun off the road on 101 before.

    And Mike, WTF with the Budweiser? I know you know better beer 🙂

  3. Remember getting stuck at the Apres cabin? People were jumping off the roof, there was so much snow! It was probably 1992/93 time period. We walked in snow easily waist high on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Great memories!

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