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| South Lake Tahoe Correspondence – March 2017
There are many roads to South Lake Tahoe, but during a stretch in February major highways into America’s year round playground were closed, and travelers had to take the scenic route to reach their destination. The record snowfall the area received in January was followed by a drenching of rain that was too much for some of the hillsides on a few thoroughfares. Tahoe was in some ways isolated while highway crews worked around the clock to get the roads open. It may have taken a little bit longer to get up here, but people were still rewarded with the same incredible destination.
Most might think there are no benefits to taking the long way, but when the skies clear up and the storms go away some of the smaller state highways can offer some great drives — such as Hwy 88 in California from Placerville to Lake Tahoe. Highway 50 over Echo Summit was closed to people heading up the hill from Sacramento due to multiple mudslides near Pollock Pines and in the Kyburz area. In order to reach the area drivers were diverted to Hwy 49 to Jackson, where they picked up 88 or picked up the Iron Mountain Road via Diamond Springs. Either way offers a scenic tour through the Sierra foothills and gold country that people tend to forget while zooming up the hill to get to Tahoe, and going this way doesn’t really take that much longer than Hwy 50.
Echo Summit on Highway 50
If you are a savvy planner and like deep snow to ski in, then you can hit up Kirkwood Ski Resort on the way up to the Lake off of Hwy 88. Kirkwood offers the deepest snow in the region, and usually on the West Coast. Its advanced terrain is ideal for powder lovers, and if one leaves Sacramento early enough one can spend the day skiing and still have plenty of daylight left to make the rest of the journey to the hotel or cottage up at the Lake.
Highway 50 is having a rough winter on the Nevada side, too, where a bunch of vehicle-size boulders popped loose and crashed onto the road at Logan Creek, between Cave Rock and Glenbrook. The rocks were so big it required blasting them in half to remove them. Then when things seemed over, engineers found another giant that was loose higher up that not only threatened the road but also a house below on the lake shore. The closure of this road was disruptive to travelers and commuters going and coming from Reno and Carson City. People had two options: either go 395 south through Gardnerville and over State Route 207 (Kingsbury Grade), or go the ultimate Lake Tahoe scenic route around the whole lake by taking Hwy 28 at the top of Spooner Summit to Hwy 89 through Tahoe City and around Emerald Bay.
It may not sound like an ideal thing to go for a leisurely drive in the winter months, but when the sun is out and no storms are expected the roads are clear. And like many winter days when the skies are clear, the lake is so stunningly flat it looks like you can walk across it. Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed places in the world, and for good reason: it’s beautiful, and with a snowy backdrop it’s breathtaking. Road crews have done a great job of clearing the turnouts and SnoParks around Emerald Bay, where people can park and enjoy the scenery. Or, if you brought along snowshoes or cross country skiis, get out and go for a wintry stroll into the mountains above the lake of the sky.
The view south from Cave Rock
The future of Stateline at the South Shore lies with the US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project. The project has been in the making since 1980 and has made great strides with the construction of the Heavenly Village, the Gondola, and the Village and Raley’s shopping center. With all the new attractions to such a small area of town, which many consider to be downtown, the area has become congested, and a proposed rerouting of Hwy 50 has become almost a necessity. 50 would be rerouted around the casino corridor on the mountainside behind Mont Bleu, Harrah’s and the Heavenly Village and back to the existing highway at Pioneer Trail, approximately one mile long. Meanwhile, within the corridor and village area it would become more pedestrian friendly, with the road being narrowed and sidewalks widened. A central location for people visiting and locals has long been needed in this town to gather and enjoy themselves, and the Stateline area is an ideal place for development that can only benefit this bi-state community.
The ends justify the means, and with all the damage and disruption the snow and rain has brought to the interstate highway system, it will all be gravy in the summer. There has been so much water flowing into the lake, I think you can watch it rise right before your eyes. Estimates have been in the trillions of gallons over the last two months. Piers on the South Shore and by Cave Rock that were sitting on dry sand in the fall are now in three or four feet of water. It’s always better when the lake is at capacity — it just makes you feel good.
— Brendan Packer
The post South Lake Tahoe Correspondence – March 2017 appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network - Telling Nevada's story 365, 24/7.
The present community of Stateline
sprawls across the area occupied in Tahoe's quiet past by a pair of settlements called Lakeside and Edgewood. Lakeside was centered on Carney's (formerly Lapham's) Stateline House, an inn built in the early 1860s to serve the flood of Comstock traffic and bisected by the California-Nevada boundary survey of 1873. The inn burned in 1876 and was not rebuilt until 1892, by
which time a small settlement had grown up on the site. By 1901 Lakeside had flourished to the extent of having a post office and a boat landing with regular steamer service. A new survey in 1899 placed the heart of the community a half mile deeper into California, and as the years passed in tranquility, Lakeside became an attractive little enclave of summer cottages. With the scrambling dash toward
exploitation which began in the early 1950s, Lakeside property values soared enormously because of the proximity of the Nevada casino developments. It became a clutter of motels, gift stores, cafes, and other enterprises auxiliary to the gambling trade next door in Nevada. Some of that clutter was swept away recently when a number of aging motels were taken by right of eminent domain,
paid for, demolished, swept away and replaced by the modern new hotel you see next door to Harrah's and the base station for the mountainside gondolas.
Edgewood originated in yet another of the strategically located stations on the Johnson Pass Road, the renowned Friday's Station established by Friday Burke and Big Jim Small in 1860. As soon as a log barn and a shed could be thrown together to accommodate, respectively, horses and men, Friday's served as Nevada's westernmost relay station for the Pony Express. Friday's was home station for Pony Bob Haslem, the messenger whose famous ride — 380 miles on horseback through hostile Indian territory — ranks as the outstanding feat of that spectacular organization. Burke and Small also controlled the toll road
franchise past their expanded station, and collected as much as $1,500 a day in the peak months of the Comstock traffic before the railroad. The Pioneer Stage Line used the station as a horse change and dinner station as well.
When the railroad destroyed the lake's roadside prosperity, the partners split their holdings. Small kept the old station and Burke the lakefront land to the east as far as Round Hill. By the 1880s Small was publicizing his "Buttermilk Bonanza Ranch" by reporting tongue-in-cheek sightings of a mermaid "with a fine chest development, beautiful white mustache one and one-half inches long, and a most amenable nature" frolicking just offshore.
Remarkably enough considering the rush to build everywhere along the lakefront, the old Friday's Station still stands opposite the golf course, a small white building in the trees. Its original hand-hewn interior walls and floors are intact. It goes unnoticed by the iron tide of traffic that floods past it each day, bound for the blaze of lights just down the road.
Stateline today is politically part of Nevada, but economically a part of California. Most of the millions who visit the Tahoe basin have driven up from northern and central California, and most of the thousands who serve them drinks, deal them cards and carry their luggage on the Nevada side of the Lake go home to California after work.
The casinos attract their crowds not only with their Tahoe surroundings, but with fine food in great variety, entertainment, service and luxury. Harrah's, and the Montbleu (formerly Caesar's) rank with the finest hotels in the world. Add the pioneering and ever-popular Harvey's and the Hard Rock (originally built as Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe, most recently the Tahoe Horizon) rising hugely up across the boulevard, and an astonishing stage is set — every imaginable enjoyment within easy reach and served in a setting of incomparable natural majesty.
The 18-hole Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, a beautiful par 74 championship course, is open May through November. Older visitors might remember it as the setting for the opening scene of the television program "Bonanza", of the intrepid Cartwrights riding across the broad green fairways. A little farther on, Nevada 207, the Kingsbury Grade, intersects on the east, leading over the summit to the breathtaking descent into the Carson Valley.
— from The Complete Nevada Traveler, by David W. Toll
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