The good, the bad, and the ugly. South Lake Tahoe: July 17-21, 2018


Smoky sunrise on Lake Tahoe


The Good

The love fest with my cousin’s three kids began the day Amelia met them over 20 years ago.  They aren’t kids anymore, but the love fest continues.  They have all graduated from college.  The oldest, Chris, has a son and he just got married on July 19th.  We had the honor of being there to witness the special day.

Way back in the day, when we were living in sin, every time we saw the kids they would always ask us when we were going to get married.  One visit Amelia told them, “I don’t know, but when we do, I promise you’ll be there!”  I told her, “Geez you can’t tell those kids that.”  Well, when we decided to get married we eloped in South Lake Tahoe.  We let my cousin in on it a few hours before the big event.  He helped us dupe everyone.  They all thought we were just going to dinner, instead we turned into the chapel and the rest is history.

Almost 17 years later we were present for Chris’ wedding.  One down, two to go!

It was fun seeing so many familiar faces and friends at all the wedding festivities.  But the best thing was seeing how happy and proud my cousin, Kahl, and his wife, Eileen, were.

It’s been too long since we’ve ridden Tahoe.  I’m happy to tell you the riding is still excellent.  We did four rides, one a new trail, but the best ride was the last.  We did Cold Creek with our friend, Matt, and his daughter, Marin, and had a blast!  After all the smooth flowy single track of Bend, it was so much fun to have some technical singletrack.  There’s nothing like a challenging rocky trail to keep you focused and grinning.



Beginning of the love fest circa spring 1998. Thomas, Alex, and Chris with Amelia.


Wow, look at Mr & Mrs fancy pants.  Way more dressed up than we were for our own wedding.


Chris and his lovely bride, Erin


When these kids were young we’d take a group shot every summer, back when we used cameras and developed film, hoping the picture turned out good.  We were so happy to get a group shot again!


Group shot from our wedding trip in 2001 taken with a remote-controlled camera!  We thought that was something else back then.  That’s my mom next to me.


Our wedding day


The Tahoe Rim Trail, what a great system and they are still adding new trails!


Heading out to The Bench.  You can see the sky beginning to get smoky.


Amelia rolling a drop and stairs coming back from the Bench.


Amelia with Marin and Matt.  You’ve never seen a father daughter combo ride like these two do!


The Bad

Lake Tahoe is like a popular national park.  The lake is drop dead gorgeous and the surrounding scenery beautiful.  But just like a popular national park it is crowded and the infrastructure at times is overwhelmed.  The crowds are bearable when the pay off is amazing views of the deep blue lake.  But throw in smoke from the Ferguson Fire, outside the western boundary of Yosemite, and the views are erased and all you have are crowds.  We knew it wasn’t a matter of if, but when we’d run into smoke.  It’s summer and we were touring the western United States.  Fires and smoke are now a given.

Verizon and I’m sure also AT&T, need to beef up their capacity for the influx of crowds.  It was ridiculous.  Phone calls were being dropped, texts and emails not sending, and forget about getting on the internet.  It made it really tough to conduct business.



Our first ride was one of our favorites, an out and back to The Bench, to see the view of Lake Tahoe.  As we were riding the smoke was blowing in, usually the view is so awesome you just want to sit on the bench for a half hour and take it all in.  It was a dud view, and as we rode back the smoke got a lot worse, it made this pic look great in comparison.


Same evening, you could only see a quarter of the way across the lake and none of the mountains that surround it.


Our best view was on the third day from the Daggett loop.


Smoke on the water, same morning as the sunrise photo.


It took us 20 minutes to go less than four miles on Highway 50 through South Lake.


This pic of the Lime Bikes looks nice, because they just set them up.  By the end of the night bikes will be scattered everywhere, tossed in bushes, left in the middle of a path, the baskets will be full of trash and empty beer and booze bottles.  Our campground was full of them and those dang electric scooters.


Hello!  Nice upside down banner.


The Ugly

“Aunt Amy where are you guys staying?” asked Alex.

“Campground by the Lake,” said Amelia.  “We are in the F loop.”

“Oh no, that place is a shit show, especially the F loop.  I worked their once a couple of summers ago”

She wasn’t kidding.  What a shit show.  Every worker at the campground was acting like they’d rather be any place but there.  Distraught, with grim faces that couldn’t even fake a smile or respond to a simple greeting.  But hey, that was their issue not ours.  The F loop didn’t seem that bad to us, but we arrived on Tuesday and the only ones in our loop were Phishheads excited about the two concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Super mellow, nice folks, easy to talk to.

On Thursday morning they cleared out and the shit show began.  There must not be a policy on the number of tents and people per site, because some sites had eight tents and a dozen or more people.  Families strung together 3-4 sites and set up mini cities under huge catering tents.  The camp host was worthless and did not enforce any rules.  I guess that’s not true, she did come by at 10 pm and told our neighbor the generator needed to be turned off at 9 pm.  She was nowhere to be found though as the loud partying went on until 12:30 am.  And these were not kids, they were at least in their late 30s.

Someone helped themselves to our sun shower one day when we were out.  I’m sure they enjoyed the nice warm water.  I saw two dogs gang up on one dog for a brief fight.  In the morning while walking Sara, we watched a 20 something year old spread his legs wide enough to urinate down his short pants leg, and the bathroom was only 50 feet away.

We will never stay at the Campground by the Lake again.



Site F-11, on Tuesday.  Phishheads are cool.


Ho ho ho Merry Christmas


We woke up Saturday morning to find we had a new neighbor.  At least he was quiet when pulling in and at least he left enough space to squeeze by in between the two trailers.  But he loved running his generator!


The only good thing about the campground, two basset hounds, Snickers and her daughter Lilly!


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