Yesterday was our toughest travel day ever. Ironically, we thought it would be the easiest as we planned from our peaceful site in Truckee that morning (pic #3.) 50 scenic miles to South Lake Tahoe, we had done much tougher, right?
But 15 minutes into the drive, a missed turn resulted in us bottoming out in a parking lot and having to dismantle and straighten a bent stabilizer. A friendly couple stopped to help and we got back on the road quickly but started to feel the drive would be harder than we thought. When we saw a sign advising against big rigs, we started to question our route. It took directions from a friendly neighbor, five miles and another 20 minutes to complete another turnaround. There was no good clear answer, but we decided the east route, although longer, looked safer than the west with its hair pin turns.
But shortly into our drive east, it started raining. Then pouring. Then we hit a standstill construction zone. At that point, stress was already pretty high when we noticed this funnel cloud. (pic #1) (Later we learned it was the first ever tornado warning for the Lake Tahoe basin!) A few minutes later as the opposing traffic started coming through, we had another 'oh sh%t' moment -everyone had ice on their windshields!
There was no way to turn back so we kept going. Ten minutes later we faced what felt like ten miles of sleet head on (pic #2.) After the sleet, sheets of pouring rain flooded the roads and caused us to pull our rig off the side of the highway and wait for a clearing. After scouring weather radar, we decided to push ahead when the rain let up a bit. 4.5 hours after we started the trip, we were just amazed when we got to South Lake Tahoe and saw completely dry roads and a fading glimmer of the sun! And immensely relieved and ready for a drink.
We learned that no drive is ever easy and how nature can change the severity of the drive in an instant. We're so grateful for the kindness of the folks we ran into, the lessons we've heard from our fellow travelers, and everyone watching out for us. And for Eric's truly amazing driving. 😍 Whew! Looking forward to now enjoying the beauty of the area.- N