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Friday, August 27, 2010 : From Twin Falls, Idaho, to Kings Beach, California

 

Today is the longest stretch on our trip back to California. Although the landscapes are superb, there are not many tourist attractions on the way, and we will not make too many stops. That's a change !

 

After some shopping for this day's picnic, we leave Twin Falls, a flat US-style city with straight-angled streets, where the only landmark, apart from the large shopping mall, seems to be the bridge over the Snake River.

 

We cross the state line between Idaho and Nevada, marked by a giant truck inspection area. Then we get on Interstate 80 at Wells. We'll stay on I-80 almost all day long.

 

Yesterday's alert made me cautious. So, at Elko, we get the car a refill, just in case. It's unbelievable how many gas stations there are in this country. Just here, at an Interstate exit in a small town, there are at least half a dozen !

 

Then we are back on the highway, across a half-deserted plain. The vegetation is thin. Even the Mediterranean bush seems luxuriant, in comparison.

 

We stop for the picnic on a rest area with barbecues, which are pretty common, here. Highway rest areas often have them. But what strikes me most is the size of trucks, way beyond our European standard, but so usual here. I can't resist, and I snap a few pictures of trucks, and of a Harley too, which happened to be parked there.

 

On this randomly selected highway rest area, there are more pickup trucks than cars. This, too, is part of Deep America. The market for flatbed trucks in the States is one and a half times as big as the whole automobile market in France !

 

Interstate 80, a truck

An American truck, standard size

 

All day long, we'll be riding on I-80, one of the few true trans-continental highways in North America.

 

Toward the end of the afternoon, we switch from I-80 to US-395 near Reno, the divorce capital of Nevada. Not very handy : there's almost 500 miles between the wedding capital, Las Vegas, and the divorce capital, Reno.

 

During a refill after leaving the highway, we can imagine a quite active Swiss colony : we cross Montreux, then climb up the Mount Rose, a summit on the range of mountains that still separates us from Lake Tahoe, our destination today. The pass is 8,950 feet high, and both sides are peppered with winter sports resorts. Of course, in August, it's warm, and snow has melt long ago. Just below the pass, we get our first glimpse of Lake Tahoe. The sun has already set down a little, and we give up taking pictures. Too bad, the view over the lake is really stunning.

 

Then we reach our hotel. And it's a major disappointment. Not only did they lose our reservation (although we fully paid our room several months ago !), but the hotel is in a disastrous condition, in dire need of a few coats of paint, or, better, a total reconstruction.  An equally unsatisfying welcome does not help. No wonder there is still a lot of vacancy ! The "lady" at the desk makes no difficulty renting us a room. Later, back in Europe, I'll write a rather bitter review on TripAdvisor.

 

If there had to be a missed opportunity, it's definitely this one.

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Lake Tahoe, evening

Evening on the shore of Lake Tahoe

 

Once we're settled, we go for a walk on the shore. We take a few pictures, including this one. Sun is already more or less set, only some glimmers still light the mountain.

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House on the shore of Lake Tahoe

House on the shore of Lake Tahoe

 

Just across the California-Nevada state line, Crystal Beach is a nice resort on the lake. We take this picture of a beautiful mansion with its own access  to the beach and private pontoon. What a contrast with our derelict hotel, hardly a few hundred feet away !

 

Then we have dinner and go to bed, with the promise of leaving this place as soon as possible.

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