Connecting: If Only Briefly...

Connections, even if six feet apart, outside, and for only a few hours, is why we're back in Tahoe before the weather turns wintery.

Our nephew was in Reno on a job and called to let us know he had some free time. We welcomed him eagerly.
Steve barbecued lunch. We filled one another in on our lives and then the boys played a competitive round of horseshoes. It felt almost normal and way fun.
Our friends, who also have another home elsewhere, invited us to bundle up and gather in their Tahoe backyard. We brought our own hot tea and delighted in each other's company in the 42° Sierra sunshine. Hey we will take what we can get! Here's to the light after dark.

𝆕 I miss my mom, I miss my dad
I miss the road, I miss my band
Givin' hugs and shakin' hands
It's a mystery, I suppose
Just how long this thing goes
But there'll be crowds and there'll be shows
And there will be a light after dark
Someday when we aren't six feet apart 𝅘𝅥𝅮

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So Long Saturday: My Ford Focus

I've posted for Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday. Today, I've started a new blog theme, So Long Saturday.

Nine years ago, Steve bought me this super fun Ford Focus. With great gas mileage, it was the perfect car to travel back and forth from Tahoe to SoCal. With over 100,000 miles on its odometer, it ran well though important parts began to fail. The most noticeable was its power steering.
Last June, we bought me a Subaru, a much more practical car for the Sierras. My Focus has spent the last year in our friend's yard in Minden (long story). It was time for it to go. So Steve found someone to buy my sweet, little Ford and we had to say "So long". Oh the places it took us and the memories we made!

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Leaf Peeping at Fallen Leaf Lake

Fall is when Tahoe puts on its most spectacular show. I'll let the photos do the explaining.

“Fall has always been my favorite season.
The time when everything bursts with its last beauty,
as if nature had been saving up all year
for the grand finale.”
– Lauren Destefano

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And It All Started with a Thrift Store Find

This Tahoe history lesson includes everything from Disneyland to the Polynesian Pop Movement. 

It all really begins at Harveys Wagon Wheel Casino. This Stateline legend started as a family run business in 1944 with one room, a six-stool lunch counter, and a few slot machines and blackjack tables. Through hard-work and a booming business model, in 1963 they built the first high rise in Tahoe. The new resort featured 197 rooms, a host of new table games, and a Polynesian restaurant called Top Of The Wheel.
The Tiki-themed restaurant was decorated by Eli Hedley. That's the same artist who designed Tiki shops at Disneyland and a host of other Tiki-themed spots across the country.

So this is my uber cool treasure. This Top of the World drink mug is adorned with the lounge's logo "Sneaky Tiki".
This 7 ½" decorative drink vessel sent me on a search to learn all I could about it. What fun.
This find is pristine. Made by the Otagiri Mercantile Company, a Japanese-based manufacturer of ceramics, its identifying sticker is still intact with the initials "OMC" and "Japan" very visible. So dang cool.
A little more about the Polynesian Pop Movement... Believe it or not, many believe its beginnings came from the 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty.
And the man who really made the movement spread was legendary tiki carver Eli Hedley. The Original Beachcomber began his career in a cove in San Pedro. In 1946, his unique profession netted him a yearly salary of $100,000. WOW. That just shows the value of the ocean's treats after WWII.
So how did Disney get involved? In the early 1950s, the state of California wanted to turn Eli's cove into a state park. Walt sent his people to gather decor for this new place called Adventureland located in this new park called Disneyland.
Walt was so impressed with Eli's authentic wares, he offered him a spot in Adventureland.
Tiki's Tropical Traders was Eli's souvenir stand which he ran for the first several years of Disneyland's operations (1955-). The shop was owned by him, and rent free, in exchange for carving early Adventureland tikis and offering a general scenic and authentic feel to the place.
The fine tradition of offering rubber snakes and shrunken heads to young adventurers continues to this day in approximately the same location as that 1950's Adventureland original. Who didn't have a shrunken head?!
As America rode the wave of Polynesian pop as far as it could in the mid-century, the tsunami of the tiki came crashing down in the 1970s through the early ’90s. How cool is it that one thrift store find, no doubt purchased for less than $1, could offer such history and such an interconnection of things I love? Super fun find indeed.

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A Real Haircut During COVID?!

My friend, Cyndi, has been cutting my hair for the last nine summers. I was way overdue for some maintenance and some girl time.

It could not have been a more idyllic morning to be outside.
“Life is an endless struggle
full of frustrations and challenges,
but eventually you find a hairstylist
that understands you.”
Another perfect haircut by my amazing stylist.
And if all that wasn't enough, Steve and I walked to Cyndi's. This is the meadow that separates us. Pretty darn perfect, indeed.

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The Road to Lake Tahoe...

Our plan was to camp on the east shore of Mono Lake, something that has been on our list for years. Ironically, what drove us away from Tahoe in August, drove us back today: SMOKE.

For hours, this was our view and even with the windows closed and the A/C on, the air quality in the truck demanded masking up.

And while the west shore of Mono Lake was clear and picturesque, our camp spot was off in the distance, under an ominous cloud of smoke.
Though we decided to speed on through, we did pause long enough to pay our respects at this gravesite, which reads:

On To The Golden Hills
Grave of the Unknown Prospector

On this site is the grave of the unknown prospector.
A reminder of the great sacrifices made by our ancestors,
who explored and settled the western frontier,
and especially to the memory of each and all of the pioneers of Mono County, whose resting place is known only to God.
May they rest in peace.

Continuing with our goal of traversing the road less traveled, we turned left on Monitor Pass. Named after the silver mining town of Monitor, silver was discovered in the district as early as 1857, but it wasn’t until rich strikes were made in the early 1860s that the community was established. By 1864, 150 buildings had been completed in the town, which was noted as the “centre of one of the richest mining districts on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.” I had no idea!
For us, it was the opportunity to see at least a little of the eye candy we've been hearing about from our Tahoe friends. We were not disappointed. WOW.

"All my life through, the new sights of Nature
made me rejoice like a child."
 -Marie Curie

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Silver City Ghost Town Museum...

Wanting to explore the road less traveled, and with Leslie's encouragement, we headed north on State Route 178.

Our only tourist stop was at Silver City Ghost Town Museum in the tiny hamlet of Bodfish.
Represented in this composite town are over twenty historic buildings from the mining camps of Keyesville, Whiskey Flat, old Isabella, Claraville, Hot Springs, Miracle, Southfork and other local frontier settlements. All the buildings and artifacts were moved here decades ago to prevent destruction. The entire property is in a state of arrested decay which made it all that more interesting.
I'll let the photos tell the story.

And this is where we called it a night- Lake Isabella.
In 1953, the U. S. Corps of Engineers built earthen dams across two forks of the Kern River to create the Isabella reservoir, Kern County's largest body of water year round with a surface area of 11,200 acres. 
Not a bad place to spend the night! Tomorrow, Mono Lake and more stories to share.

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