Carson City and Lake Tahoe

Tahoe001Tahoe008We headed north along Hwy 395 towards Carson City and Lake Tahoe to join our friends Nina and Paul, and Todd and Russ one last time before our routes diverged. Along the way we passed more fabulous California scenery and cute towns.Tahoe003Tahoe005

Tahoe011We camped at a Nevada State Park recommended by Nina, Washoe Lake State Park, which turned out to be a wonderful place – read my review here. This was Island Girl’s first time in Nevada and the northernmost point we would visit on Hwy 395 for the time being.

Tahoe025This stop was also important to handle some “business” items – mail, laundry, for Hector to fix some maintenance items with our pantry drawers and doors (he did), having a new water pump installed (hired that out), some car maintenance, shopping and a couple of other items.Tahoe024

Tahoe026The state park was lovely and had walking trails to the lake bed that used to be Washoe Lake, unfortunately the drought situation has dried it up. But it is still a beautiful setting.



Tahoe019It was also our last chance to socialize with these friends for awhile, as we were headed east towards Yellowstone National Park, and they were headed north to Oregon. We will likely meet up down south sometime in the winter.  We have had so much fun with them over the last few months!

And socialize we did. Carson City had some excellent restaurants, we dined at a Vietnamese and a Thai one. We also visited Reno shortly on another restaurant outing, this time Mexican, also excellent. And of course, had a couple of fun gatherings.


A few days after we arrived, our friends went on their way north.  Safe travels friends!

Tahoe047Tahoe052Next up was a visit to Lake Tahoe. We went on a ski trip to Heavenly Valley several winters ago, but had never visited in the summer. And the winter we skied there was cloudy and snowy all week and I never saw the lake from the top of the ski hill.Tahoe044

Tahoe038Of course, Lake Tahoe had big shoes to fill after Mono Lake. And frankly, it is not a fair comparison, Mono Lake is a fairly remote lake, Lake Tahoe is a much, much larger lake with a combination of a few remote areas and several highly developed ones along its shores.Tahoe030Tahoe037

Tahoe031But Lake Tahoe does have its own “celebrity” status – it is the largest alpine lake in North America, the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake and the sixth largest by volume after the five great lakes. Only part of its shoreline is in Nevada, with the majority of it in California. And Lake Tahoe has a number of beautiful coves, beaches and “secret” spots.Tahoe057Tahoe033Tahoe036

Tahoe032So we decided to visit Lake Tahoe once again. And we also returned to Reno for some great shopping at a couple of discount outlets, most notably the Patagonia Outlet – highly recommended. We found a couple of nicely discounted coats there.Tahoe048



Tahoe059On our return to Lake Tahoe, we drove around another side of it and hiked down to one of its beaches for some evening photography. We wound up hiking back up in the dark. Ay, ay, ay. We hiked up a different trail that Hector thought would be easier but led us to a different parking area than where our car was (which we knew). And Hector walked down the road over to the next parking area in the dark with a headlamp on the back of his head and a flashlight in his hand. People driving by the parking lot must have wondered who this crazy lady was in the parking lot in the dark by herself, only to find a crazy man wandering down the road. Anyway, all was well in the end.Tahoe066


Tahoe062Tahoe067And Carson City came through for us in one other way. Hector’s tripod broke during our trip to Mono Lake. He had made a temporary fix to it but needed a specific part for a permanent fix.

That is when we discovered Gordon’s Photo Service in Carson City – a great photography store, with another location in Reno. The gentleman in the Carson City store called Reno, they had the part, and someone from that store who was working in Carson City the next day brought it down. Great service and decent prices too. Who knew?

All in all a great ending to our journey north on Hwy 395.

~ BrendaTahoe065



10 thoughts on “Carson City and Lake Tahoe

  1. Great colors in those pics!!! Wonderful description of areas we have never explored. Love the look of Lake Tahoe and you make it sound so inviting.

  2. Love your photos, especially those sunset shots. The water level in Washoe Lake was very low when we were there but I see it has gotten much worse. There were jackrabbits running everywhere through the desert. Thanks for the tour back through Lake Tahoe. Safe travels!

  3. Hello from Alaska

    Don’t know which route you guys are planning on taking to get here, but once you get to Whitehorse, you have to decide to continue on the Alaskan Highway or go north to Dawson City and go over the Top of the World into Alaska. I had decided to go the latter, despite some trepidation on road conditions, but had to turn around and return to the Alaskan Highway when I saw the sign stating that the border station was still closed for the season.

    After driving that last section of the Alasken Highway from Whitehorse to the border, I now wish I had continued up to Dawson City and just waited there until the border station reopened, which I am sure would have been soon. No matter what condition the roads are in on the northern route, they CANNOT be as bad as the last 100 miles of the Alaskan Highway. If you have a choice, avoid this stretch of road if you can.

    Safe travels.


    • Yikes Bob, that sounds scary! Thanks for the heads up.

      I’ve heard that the Top of the World route is even worse, especially in spring. So our plan was to go the Alaska HWY and return via Top of World after the worst of the winter damage had a chance to get worked on. I’ll do a little rechecking on most current conditions on one versus the other before committing. How slow did you need to go?

      • Speed limit on that stretch is 90 kph and I probably kept it at 60 or 70 until I hit a damage area where I would have to drop to 30 or so to keep from going airborne. And these damaged areas, mostly marked with red traffic cones, were occurring several times per mile … for well over a hundred miles of driving. It was probably the longest 2 days of driving I have ever experienced. This section is so bad that no matter what you hear about the condition of the north route, I would still take it, because no matter how bad it really is, it cannot possibly be worse than that last stretch of the Alaska Highway. If you still go that way, be very careful, some of the dips could really do serious damage to your rig and/or toad. Good luck !

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