We had a wonderful stay at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento and found the city to be quite eclectic and full of character. It’s a little bit of a bipolar town if you ask me. On one hand, you have the state capitol and all of the perfectly manicured grounds that surround it, while on the other hand there appeared to be a lot of homeless people inhabiting the parks, sidewalks, and bus shelters mere blocks away from the capitol’s display of wealth and prosperity.
But in general, the people were friendly, Old Town Sacramento (walking distance from our hotel) was a cute place to wander around, and the Sacramento River provided lots of scenic beauty to the downtown area. I was able to get in one run along the river before the marathon and although it was foggy, the setting was peaceful and pretty.
After I finished the marathon on Sunday, I felt surprisingly good and was ready to celebrate the day with my husband. Typically following a marathon, all I want to do is kick my feet up and hope that my stomach calms down (my tummy always gives me issues after my longer races). However, because my body was reacting positively (again, perhaps a result of my efforts to control my pre-race stress and anxiety???) and I was full of energy, Justin and I decided to make the two-hour drive to South Lake Tahoe for a little spontaneous adventure. We stopped at In-N-Out burger on the way, because it’s one of my favorites, I was hungry, and we don’t have any in Oregon!
The drive to Tahoe was absolutely beautiful, as you transition from dry and open terrain to thick white pine trees, huge boulders, and the American River flowing along the roadside. As we passed over Echo Summit and descended into the Lake Tahoe basin, it was hard not to notice the rustic, woodsy charm of all of the buildings and feel instantly relaxed. Justin drove me around his old stomping ground (he lived there for three years in the late 90s) and then we decided to check in to one of the big casinos. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but I do know that I wasn’t expecting to see an 18-story casino at Lake Tahoe, let alone a handful of them. We booked a room at Harvey’s (which is owned by and across the steet from Harrah’s), and were given a spacious room with a lake view on the 15th floor. It was fun just going with the flow and not having a plan.
After checking in and getting settled in the room, we headed down to one of the sports bars to watch the Seahawks beat the Eagles (along with every other football game that was on). Go Hawks!! We were both paying close attention to our fantasy football teams (Justin’s team is named Beast Mode in honor of Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, and my team name is Victorious Secret), because we were both set to make the playoffs (which we did).
Yelling and screaming at the television for a few hours, in addition to running a marathon, can make a person pretty hungry. So after the game ended we went back to the room, got cleaned up, and walked to the Village at Heavenly—a cute little area near the Heavenly Gondola where there were several hotels, restaurants, and shops, along with an ice skating rink and fire pit areas where you could relax and warm up. We ate an AMAZING dinner at Kalani’s, a Hawaiian inspired restaurant with Asian influences, where Justin and I shared a Rainbow Roll and some calamari. For our entrees, it was hard not to go with the sea bass, mahimahi, snapper, or the scallops. Instead, we both went the red meat route. Justin ordered the ribeye with wasabi garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and blue cheese butter, and I went with the Big Island Filet Mignon served with wasabi potato hash cake, broccolini, and fried curly yams. It was one of the best filets I have ever had, and was so tender I probably could have eaten it with a spoon instead of a fork and knife. No I do not have a picture because I was too busy savoring every little bite. What better way to treat yourself after a marathon than with a filet?
After dinner, Justin and I walked around the Village a little more before heading back to the hotel and putting a few dollars into the Wheel of Fortune slot machine (my favorite). Justin and I aren’t huge gamblers, but we thought “when in Tahoe.” He lost his $20 before he even knew what happened, but I ended up winning $50 on the machine before hitting the “print receipt” button and quitting while I was ahead. It was a fun time and I got really excited every time I got to spin the wheel, which was a lot!
After sleeping like a baby that night, the next day we were up before the sun, wide awake, and ready to head out and drive around the lake. Justin showed me his old house and office, along with some great viewpoints, and the trailhead of where he would go mountain biking. The mountain biking in Tahoe is supposed to be some of the best.
We continued on around the lake toward the North Shore, stopping along the way to take a few scenic pictures and play around. I wasn’t very sore, so getting around was actually pretty easy.
The road and scenery around the lake made for a picturesque drive. We even got to venture through a tunnel called Cave Rock at one point, which was pretty cool. I honestly couldn’t imagine driving here during the winter months when there is 10 feet of snow on the ground!
One thing I loved most about Tahoe were all of the HUGE rocks and boulders. Justin explained to me that they are granite, a type of igneous rock that is completely different than the basalt (lava) that we have everywhere in Central Oregon. Whatever. I just loved hopping around from boulder to boulder and capturing the snowy mountains and lake behind me.
Justin decided he would do a little 360-degree video from one of the places we stopped, so I figured it would be the perfect video bombing opportunity (as I try not to fall). Always having fun in our world! ☺
Although it was still early, we had a seven-hour drive ahead of us so we decided to call it quits on the sightseeing and start making our way home via Carson City (my second state capital in as many days), Reno (the biggest little city in the world), Alturas (not much worth mentioning), Lakeview (Oregon’s highest city at 4,802’), and on to Bend. I graded papers most of the drive home, though Justin made sure I didn’t miss any wildlife, birds, towns, or other interesting sights along the way.
All in all it was a fun little detour following the marathon, and a much more interesting and scenic drive back to Bend as opposed to I-5. One of these days, we’ll return to Lake Tahoe for more than just one night, and with our mountain bikes and hiking boots!