Invaders from the North? Time to Pack My Bags!

Natalie and her aunt Mary arrived for their Tahoe visit, checking into the Americas Best Value Inn—Casino Center Lake Tahoe. If you listen closely, the Inn's rustic edifice groans, "Will someone please fix me up?" We agreed this property is a qualified candidate for Gordon Ramsey’s Hotel Hell reality TV series. Bloody hell! But hotel time was not what this visit was about!

Come on everybody! Let’s take a swim in Americas Best Value Inn’s pool!

We started the festivities by seeing The Comedy of Errors followed by my show, Forever Plaid, during which I got to swat a bee away from my face while playing. Bees are such fun to have as on stage companions; they’re so friendly and curious. The other performers and I wish someone would just let a big jarful of bees loose backstage before every performance.

Other tourist activities we participated in included the 68-mile drive around the lake, indoor AND outdoor dining, and shopping for socks at the sock store—Sock City. I did not know there’s a store devoted to socks! But there IS! It’s a sock super store stocking thousands of pairs of colorful socks!

There's a special bus for Tahoe tarts! Who knew?

We also made a trip to Squaw Valley to take in the alpine scenery at the resort’s High Camp via the aerial tram. During our loop hike, Natalie and I decided to go rogue and push on toward Emigrant Peak. One step led to the next and I’m pretty sure Natalie will be the only person to stand on Emigrant’s summit with a knitting bag and a Jackie-O red purse this year. Now that’s what I call alpine hiking in STYLE!

Natalie sporting style with her Gucci knitting bag and a Jackie-O purse!
Natalie summits Emigrant Peak!

With their brief visit over, and my Tahoe time quickly winding down, I got out my bucket list of Tahoe todos. First up? A return trip to Squaw’s Shirley Canyon Trail for a rapid ascent and the blues festival. Nice!

Next up? Emerald Bay. This crazy-busy area is characterized by scenic views, way too little parking (I parked along the road a mile from the bay's trailhead), a steep one-mile hike to the bay, and Vikingsholm—the truly amazing summer home of Lora Knight. Built in 1929, the home has been remarkably well kept and the guided tour was time well spent. From there, I was off to Lower Eagle Falls, then Upper Eagle Falls, and then (and unplanned) to Eagle Lake. The falls were so-so this time of year but the lake was a scenic surprise.

Vikingholm's quaint entrance.
Vikingholm's thatched roof or Donald Trump's hair? You decide.
Maggies Peak reflects from the far end of Eagle Lake. 

For my final Tahoe day hike, I chose the recommended Mount Tallac trail. The 10-mile roundtrip journey gains 3,500 ft. and is rated difficult. Difficult-schmifficult … whatever. It was clearly no match pour moi! The hike features miles of rocky trail, switchbacks through giant talus fields (talk about a place you don’t want to be when the BIG earthquake shakes things up), more rocky trail, and hundreds of bees at the summit (undoubtedly the same bees that are theatergoers at night). Well, back at my car 6.5 hours later, it was poor moi. Mt. Tallac had handed me a thorough shellacking. I must have been quite a sight walking into the 7-11 to buy the giant Pepsi I had been dreaming of during the last hour of the adventure. So it goes. Still, after a night’s sleep, I wasn’t sore… at least not at Mt. Tallac.

Pond reflection early along the Mt. Tallac shellacking.
South Lake Tahoe from the summit of Mt. Tallac. My Ewok condo village is at the top of the notch (center skyline). Heavenly Ski Resort is on the right skyline.

Tonight marks our last performance here at Tahoe and we’re having a blast, which is good because we’re packing our bags and moving the show north for a 21-performance run at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival; every night except Mondays from September 2 through 25.

Buy your tickets and mark your calendars! And if you forget, don’t worry, there’s going to be one more installment of the Tahoe Edition from TourAlongWithTodd.

Until then… Ciao!