One of the defining parts of our family has always been road trips- the more spontaneous the better. This has been the case since the beginning. The first of these road trips came when we were dating and Brad invited me to go Yellowstone with him. But as we filled up the car to begin the drive, all of the sudden the plan changed. Instead of driving north east 4 hours to get to Yellowstone, we instead decided to drive north west 8 hours to Lake Tahoe. We doubled the drive time but it was well worth it.
Lake Tahoe sits on the border of Nevada and California and it is considered one of the best destinations in the country. When we arrived, we drove around the entire lake following the 72 mile road. Between the incredible blue of the lake and the lush green of the forested mountains, everywhere we looked we were met with a beautiful view.
We found a hotel on the California side of the lake and walked down along the beach. Someone had put a wooden arch on the beach ready for a wedding the next day. With the beautiful beach and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background, it was a perfect place for any special moment.
There are two things that Lake Tahoe is known for- the beaches and the ski resorts. We drove up towards the peaks and saw that not all of the season’s snow had melted. The snow made the views all the more beautiful. Brad was recovering from a bad skiing accident but he still looked longingly towards the mountains and making plans for when he could come back and ski at all the resorts.
We spent a couple days enjoying Tahoe and taking some easy walks everywhere since Brad was not quite up for any hiking. We had one day left before we would be heading for home and we had planned to keep enjoying Tahoe for the day. But then the plan changed and instead we thought we would keep driving west so we could visit Lassen Volcanic National Park which was a few hours away. Lassen Volcanic is a lesser known of California’s national parks and it is kind of a hidden gem.
We pulled into the park and immediately the smell of Sulphur hit our noses. We had to laugh since our original plan of Yellowstone also would have come with that same smell from all the geysers. So we just exchanged one Sulphur spot for another.
The visitor center was closed and there was still snow in parts around the park. Because we couldn’t actually hike, we settled for a slow walk up the road that goes through the park. We loved the views of the mountains and trees everywhere.
We spent a few hours exploring what we could. Then we were back in the car and heading for home. We had about 10 of driving ahead of us. We were about half way home when I started saying that we weren’t all that far from Great Basin National Park and maybe we should change the plan to go there. But no, we had to get back so we would save that adventure for a different road trip.
We’ve been on many road trips since then, but that first one together when we ended up in California instead of Wyoming will always be one of our favorites.