Western US Moto Adventure 7/13/2012: NV, CA – Why we don’t like Lake Tahoe

Sunrise on the mountain brought the temperature back into the 50s, and its amazing how some hot tea and oatmeal makes a windy and damp morning seem not so bad.

Today was our highest mileage day yet, although not by choice. Our goal was to cross the entirety of Nevada on Rt. 50, known as the loneliest road in America, and then camp near Lake Tahoe, CA.

Saw this in Baker, NV:

Time to plan fuel stops again. It was a quick 60 miles to Ely for the first fill up of the day.

Filled up again 70 miles later in Eureka.

Then again 80 miles later in Austin, where we stopped for lunch at an overpriced but delicious cafe.

For most of the day, the weather could not have been more perfect. I was expecting the long desert crossing to be brutally hot. Instead, it was actually a little cold. And overcast. And while high speed, it wasn’t all flat, there were small mountain passes. And it was awesome. (Well, I’m not looking forward to doing it again, but our experience was the best we could have hoped for). We didn’t shed the layers until we descended to 3000 ft, and the sun came out. Only then did we ride back into the blast furnace.

(No, the remote on the helmet cam isn’t fixed. I just decided to try and push the button on the camera itself. Its a little awkward, I really need to fix the problem. Plus, I must have bumped the lens, because all the pictures are rotated. Sorry about that.)

Riding up the hill out of the desert to Lake Tahoe was like paradise. The view of the lake from the road was stunning. The temperature was cool, the road was wonderful (if crowded), and we were about to reach California. And then we descended into the crowd. We had gone roughly 400 miles in about 8 hrs, including multiple stops and a lunch break. It took us 2 hours to go the next 30 miles.

Here’s a clue: don’t ride into Lake Tahoe late on a Friday afternoon on a nice summer day and expect to find anywhere to stay, tent site or not. I didn’t stop for pictures. I’m pretty sure half of California is at Lake Tahoe this weekend. We rode up the west side of the lake looking for a campsite, only to see “campground full” and “no vacancy signs” everywhere.

Lake Tahoe looks like an absolutely amazing place, but apparently everyone else thinks so too. While pretty, we’ve decided its an overpriced, overcrowded, tourist nightmare. If we ever go back, it will be during the middle of the week. Maybe during the off season, if there is one.

We were really tired, and pretty hungry at this point. We had ridden long past our stopping point, but had to keep riding because we couldn’t find anywhere to stay. After riding west on 89 to try and find something away from the lake, and still finding that everything was full, we finally pulled over in a parking lot and got out the phone to start calling around. (Yay smartphone, I don’t care what the data charge is, the internet saved the day). Just riding past campsite wasn’t going to work. Kevin called four places before finding a commercial campground with a tent space left. For $29, it has running water, flush toilets, electricity, hot showers, and free wi-fi. And its quiet. Perfect.

7/13/2012 – 484 miles. Neither of really care to go to Nevada again.

This entry was posted in 2012 Cross Country, 2012 Ducati Monster 696, Moto Ride Reports, Motorcycles +. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Western US Moto Adventure 7/13/2012: NV, CA – Why we don’t like Lake Tahoe

  1. Joe Jones says:

    More updates please! This is the 19TH for crying out loud! JK … hope you’re having fun!

    • amytracker says:

      Recording our adventure has definitely taken a back seat to living it recently:) We’re in Eugene, OR this morning, staying with a friend. Hopefully about to go for a hike. I swore I wouldn’t get so behind again!:)

  2. Nigel Love says:

    Hey guys. Looks like an awesome trip.
    I’ve been out to Tahoe the past couple of years for mountain biking. It’s an incredible place.
    You have to go after Labor Day though to avoid the crowds and crazy prices.
    I’ll be out there again this September.
    Have fun.
    Nigel.

    • amytracker says:

      whoa! Hi Nigel! I know you like Tahoe. We thought of you actually, since you are one of the few people we know who have actually been. Maybe we’ll try again, but we’ve been to so many other awesome places, and we hated it SO MUCH the three hours we were there, I’m not sure we’ll ever bother. (Surprise of the trip so far, Idaho is fantastic)

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