Friday, October 10, 2008

Papa Joe's Visit to California! October 1-6, 2008
So my Dad flew into Reno to visit his daughter in California for 6 days and it was a whirlwind of adventure! We went straight to Yosemite (after we got my rattling muffler fixed first...I swear I was going to get it fixed soon!) We camped at a great sight in Crane Flat within the park and took on Yosemite the easy and mellow way. We spied climbers on El Capitan, ate a relaxing lunch on
the river and then drove up to Glacier Point to get an amazing view of Half Dome. The sun was starting to set and we booked in on a short hike to Taft Point to get a view of El Capitan (right most cliff in the photo). I raced to the railing to see into the Valley when my dad yelled out, "Kim, you're on a ledge!" The meager fence was not enough to keep us on the edge. After the sunset we hiked back to the car in darkness banging sticks on rocks to keep the bears away. Always an adventure with dad...

After 2 nights in Yosemite, we drove to Hetch Hetchy, a controversial damn that lies within the National Park created to supply 2.4 million San Fanciscans with water.
If we hadn't just left Yosemite Valley, it would be a wonder in itself, but it seems to be a mini version compared to the enormity of Half Dome and El Capitan. Still a beautiful place and still a controversy to environmentalists and conservationists.

We then drove through the gold mining bonanza area and toured the little towns of Columbia and Murphys. Columbia's old town streets are still intact with horse stables and historic buildings and remains the modern main st. and downtown area. And Murphy's was just as aesthetic. We then headed over the darkening mountain passes via Hwy 4 when the lane narrowed to a car and a half width and the rain started in. It was an intense drive and we missed seeing the West Shore of Lake Tahoe in daylight, but it was nice to finally get home and get a good night's sleep. We needed it for the race we had entered into the next day...

We both entered into the 5K Exterra Trail Run race with my friend Kyle. We had to run over logs and cross streams in the midst of rainy weather, but it felt great afterwards! Dad won 1st place in his age bracket and I got 4th. We ate a big breakfast afterwards, checked into the Resort at Squaw Creek (where I work) and swam in the heated pool to relax our muscles.

It was a different perspective being a guest in the hotel I work at, but we got all the perks from
knowing everyone! We had an upgraded view of the valley (seen as the fog lifts from the golf course), received free room service. got half off at the spa (which we decided was still too expensive) and free golf! And I got to use the facilities and walk around in the fancy bath robes the Resort provides! It was a relaxing stay! We then went to my favorite Italian place called Lanza's and indulged in some wine tasting and delicious food!

Sunday, Dad's last day, was set aside for a visit to the Donner Memorial Museum located in Truckee, about 10 minutes away. Dad has read a lot about the tragic fate of the Donner Party, and seeing where they actually camped and the pass they just couldn't get over gave a whole new perspective of the struggle for survival. Shown is the tent site of the actual Donner Family, which was located about 5-7 miles from the rest of the party's cabin sites near Donner Lake. It's a pretty humbling experience to read about such an ordeal and then see the reality of where they lived.

Anyway, we ate at the local hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint and then managed to get in 6 holes of golf at the Resort. Dad was hitting well with the forgiving rental clubs and the extra distance that comes with the thin air in the high altitude. We had room service breakfast in the morning and then drove to Reno for the departing flight.

What a wonderful trip. It was so great and important to have my dad meet the people I am around everyday and experience the beauty and excitement of Tahoe and its surrounding areas. This trip is a recap of all the fun, but also an advertisement for YOU to come and visit! Take care!!

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