I hadn’t been to Lake Tahoe in about a decade, even though it’s only around three to four hours from my house. The thing is, I didn’t have any good memories of the place. Let’s just say I could have lived the entire rest of my life without ever going back. But, this is where I was picking my daughter up from my mother.
After returning home from my 2000 Mile Road Trip via Interstate 80, I adjusted the google route to avoid towns, cities, and traffic. I wanted to drive through the back roads.
The length of the drive was nothing, considering the 2000 miles I’d driven earlier in the month.
As I drove, I thought about the other times when I had been a passenger with family or friends on trips to Lake Tahoe. It’s a very different experience when you are alone. The conversations I didn’t have to have, I didn’t have to worry about my music choices or consider how having all the windows down affected anyone else. My pictures and video can’t really come close to how it actually feels out there amongst the trees, mountains, and fresh air, but here is the YouTube video.
I did have a teeny bit of drama on the drive (perhaps so I’d have a little something to add to this post).
Let me start by saying that along CA-88, I did not see a posted speed limit anywhere, only recommended speeds. So for about an hour, give or take, I was stuck behind a black Ford E-series van, which was going about 40 mph. I say stuck because, for whatever reason, California decided to ONLY create passing lanes on uphill stretches of road.
even if I floored it,
even if the other driver slowed down for me,
the only way Toby’s pinner CVT engine was going to pass that van (before the short passing lane ended) was if the other driver came to a complete stop.
Eventually, the folks in the van decided to pull over at a scenic overlook, and I flew past them at 45mph. Then with the open road in front of me, I picked up the pace to 50 mph. I turned off the A/C, opened the sunroof, rolled down the windows, and blasted my music. Contrary to the video, it felt like Toby and I were floating through the mountains, and we were at 80 mph. I stuck my hand out the window to feel the breeze, just enjoying the moment, living my best life, and that’s when my eyes caught the highway patrol (no lights or sirens) in my driver-side mirror.
He was riding my bumper, and while trying to maintain my cool, I nonchalantly slowed down and quickly did the math.
If the speed limit was, in fact, somewhere around 40mph, I was doing at least double that; and there goes my bank account.
I had been in my zone for so long that I had no clue as to how long he’d been behind me, but from the time I noticed him, at least two songs had played while I passed gravel after gravel turnouts praying for a paved one so I could let him pass.
And what felt like a forever later, I pulled into the first paved turnout I came across to let him ticket me or pass. He took off at 85+ mph. I breathed a sigh of relief and pulled back onto the road, and an hour or so later, I pulled into Stateline, Nevada.
I had not eaten that day, so I was HANGRY by the time I reached the hotel. You know how it feels to be hangry, right?
Keep that in mind as I share this next story or lesson. I said I’d never mention this incident again, but I didn’t say I wouldn’t write about it.
First, speaking as an information professional, someone needs to update the parking garage signage at a certain Stateline hotel. At one point, on the 3rd level of it, I ended up driving the wrong way into a dead-end section. Fortunately, there were several handicapped parking spaces to my right, so I pulled sideways into them and planned to make my U-turn once another car had reversed and left from the opposite side. I was entirely out of the way of any traffic, and I didn’t need to inch my way back and forth; I didn’t need to even do a three-point-turn, just a quick little U-turn.
Before my car had even come to a stop in the handicap spots, someone had laid into their horn and started shouting, “You’re going the wrong way!”
Given the scene, it was pretty evident to anyone watching that I already knew that.
Still, the old man shouted the obvious over and over again on the way to his pick-up. Then he sped past me and called me stupid. I retorted by yelling out his name…it wasn’t the one his mother gave him.
Later, when I told this story to my daughter, she said, “Now, mom, did you attract that?”
I said, “Yes, yes I did. I was hangry when I arrived and frustrated with the garage layout, and worried about finding a parking spot near the elevator. I attracted a man who was in the same funky energy. Lesson learned…again.”
There isn’t much more to the journey than that. We had a lovely dinner at Applebee’s, said goodbye to my mother and her friend, then my daughter explored the hotel and went to bed. The next day, we got our Starbucks from the hotel lobby and headed home again through the backroads.