Sunday, August 18, 2013

Birthday Trip to Lake Tahoe

Val and I were getting a little antsy to go somewhere since our only trip since the cruise was a short, two day trip to Monterey, and our next planned trip isn't until the end of September so we needed to get away.  Val's birthday was coming up so we decided to celebrate by taking a short, five-day trip to Lake Tahoe, one of our favorite places for a quick trip.

As we usually do, we drove to Sacramento so we would have a short drive to Lake Tahoe the next day and make the most of our time there.  We always stay at Harrah's on the south end of the Lake since it's a nice hotel, has a casino and our room and most of our food is comped.  With little traffic and perfect weather our drive from Sacramento was quick and we arrived at Harrah's around noon.  To our surprise our room was ready so we were able to unpack, cleanup and have the whole afternoon ahead of us.  We were off to a good start.

Usually our warm weather trips are all about the outdoors.  There are many scenic drives, trails and 4-wheel drive roads to take as well as activities on the Lake, but this trip turned out to be a little different.  First of all, Val hurt her knee on our cruise and it has not been been responding to treatment so hiking or even just walking around a little is very painful and difficult for her.  Secondly, we usually make our warm weather trips to Tahoe in early June or after Labor Day so we had forgotten just how crowded it gets in the summer. There were people everywhere.  Because of both of those things, we ended up mostly just hanging around the hotel or taking some short drives.

One thing we did do was take a drive to Reno and visit Coldwater Creek as Val had gotten a gift card for her birthday and was anxious to make use of it.  Coldwater Creek is Val's favorite clothing store and the closest one to us is over 100 mile away, so the only chance Val get's to shop there is when we travel.  It was a beautiful day and the drive to Reno was very scenic.  After shopping we decided to take a different, more scenic drive back to Lake Tahoe so we took the Mount Rose Highway (Nevada State Route 431) which would bring us back to Incline Village on the north end of the lake.  The drive was very scenic with great views of the lake as we crested over the top of the mountains.  Here are a few pictures I took from the car.

In Incline Village we got off the main highway looking for some place to eat and drove down close to the shoreline.  Incline Village is home to some of the most expensive and beautiful estates on the Lake and we were impressed.  We have never driven around in Incline Village and there were some truly spectacular homes with beautiful grounds on the lake shore.  There were also a whole lot of people enjoying the beautiful weather and public beaches on the Lake so we gave up our quest for lunch and turned south along the east side of the Lake.  We were again reminded of just how crowded it was as every turn out and parking area was full of cars. Anywhere along the lake that allowed parking seemed to be full.  I took some pictures from the car window, because we decided not to stop and try to find a parking spot.  This is not to say that it was crowded like the beach in Malibu on a summer day, but there is just limited space along the lake shore and it was full of as many people as it would hold.

We ended up just enjoying a leisurely drive down the lake and returned to the hotel around mid afternoon. Val's knee was really causing her problems and just getting around the hotel was quite a bit of walking.  I really felt bad for her, but she was determined and did the best she could.

Spending more time in the casino turned out to be fortuitous, especially for me.
On the second day of the our stay I sat down at a dollar slot machine and put in a twenty dollar bill and just as my money was running out I took one last spin of the reels and first a "double" symbol came up, then a seven with a star in the middle, and then to my extreme surprise and delight, a "triple" symbol came up.  I had just won 2 x 3 x 450 = $2700! I was in shock.  I yelled for Val and she was just as surprised and I was.  Soon an attendant showed up to hand me 27 one hundred dollar bills.  The rest of the day I just kept shaking my head in amazement every time I thought about it.  To me, that's what makes playing slot machines fun; the odds are poor and over the long run you are bound to lose, but those few times when you hit something big are really fun.  Just another way to spend you entertainment dollar I guess. Here's a picture of the big win.

As you can see, I was down to my last two credits before good fortune struck.

We were lucky again the next day.  We had received some free slot play in the mail before we left so we decided to use it and started playing a dollar machine and good luck struck again.  As we got down near the end of our money we put into the machine, the first reel came up a five times symbol, the next reel came up a white seven, and unbelievably the last reel came up another five times symbol.  Almost always when you get something good on the first two reels, something bad comes up and you end up with nothing, but for the second time on the trip, a wonderful multiplier came up.  As I said, unbelievable!  This win wasn't nearly as big, but 5 x 5 x 30 = $750, which I'll take any day especially since we didn't even have to use our own money.

I've dwelt long enough on our good fortune at gambling, but our gambling wins were the most exciting things that happened on this low key trip.  Even though we were really limited by Val's knee and the crowds of people we had a great time during our stay.  We got a lot of rest, ate some good food and won some money; you can't beat that!  The weather was perfect and Lake Tahoe was beautiful as usual.  We did decide that in the future we would take our warm weather trip to Tahoe before school is out or after it starts again as it was just too crowded for our taste.  That didn't spoil our fun and it was another great trip.  

We probably won't be hitting the road again until the end of September when we go to Driggs, Idaho for our annual "Gathering of Geezers" with our friends.  After we leave Idaho, Val and I will be going on to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Flaming Gorge so that should be a great trip and we are really looking forward to it.  We'll be posting about our trip so stay tuned.