Two Up to Tahoe
Last weekend my sweetie and I logged about 800 miles on the motorcycle on a trip up to Lake Tahoe.
We set off late in the morning and once we got out of the Silicon Valley area we took the scenic route with a stop in Lockeford for a big breakfast.
Lockeford Sausage was packed with meat – and people. While we were tempted to grab some sausages for dinner that night our bags were packed pretty tight and we knew it was going to be a long, hot ride.
Maybe next time.
Besides, after our HUGE breakfast at Richplate we didn’t even want to think about more food. I couldn’t pass up the chicken fried steak with gravy – and a biscuit. #delish
After breakfast, we wound through the foothills on Highways 88, 89, and 50. We had a short pit stop at Caples Lake to stretch our legs and while we were there felt a few fat drops of water – but the rain never really materialised.
100 Degrees in Sparks
We had a good, long sleep at the condo in Incline Village and decided to ride over to the Reno-Sparks area on the second day. I have a friend who I haven’t seen since she moved to the Reno area about 5 years ago, and I was hoping to connect with her and meet her husband.
So we headed over the Mt. Rose summit and down into the desert. It was at least 100 degrees when we arrived, hot and parched, at Sierra BMW.
Clearly, they are used to the hot weather because as soon as we walked in and stripped our jackets off the folks at Sierra suggested we hydrate – and after about 5 glasses each of ice cold water we felt a little better and were able to check out their merchandise.
Scott picked up a Sierra BMW t-shirt that reads “What day is it and how did I end up in Nevada?” #goodquestions
Happily, we were able to connect with my friend Heidi and meet her husband, Ray. They suggested we meet at a Mexican restaurant at Victorian Square in downtown Sparks. It was a perfect spot – nice and cool, good food, and great pomegranate margaritas.
Plus, it turns out we sat right next to the table where Heidi and Ray got engaged. #barromance
It was great to catch up a bit and hopefully, they will head over to Santa Cruz and visit us soon.
Quaint Truckee Ain’t Quiet
Day three we decided to head over to the small town of Truckee. I’d been there once before years ago and it has stayed essentially the same, although it has grown a bit. Since it was a Sunday, it was packed with tourists.
I didn’t realize what an international draw the Lake Tahoe area was until I heard all the different languages being spoken on the crowded streets of Truckee.
Truckee has a fun vibe, with lots of very cute shops. It also has an Amtrak train station that stops right in the center of town. We think it would be fun to take the train from the Bay Area. It’s a short walk to a couple of hotels and it could be a pretty cool weekend adventure. #travelideas
We walked the main strip and discovered that someone had stolen Scotty’s book idea. #yousnoozeyoulose
We checked out a really cool vintage fueling station that has been converted into a real estate office. #flyingA
By then we were hot and thirsty so we stopped into Bar of America for a lite snack and refreshments. #hibiscusmojitoforme
And then…Slot Machines and Azzara’s
After Truckee we headed back to Incline Village. We stopped at a casino since I had only been in one a couple of times in my life – and only gambled one time about 25 years ago.
I thought perhaps I was missing out on something fun. #Nope
We went into the dark, smokey casino and I tried my hands at a few slot machines. You don’t even have to pull the arm on the machines these days, you just sit there and push buttons. #yawn
I was disappointed to discover that you don’t even get tokens anymore – I miss the sound of the coins hitting the tray when you win something. #nomoreplasticbuckets
One thing I didn’t realize was that the drinks are “free” while you are playing. Everytime the cocktail waitress came by I said, “Oh, no thank you.” It wasn’t until she asked four times did I relent and ask for a Coke. I got a watered down Pepsi. #Icouldabeenhammered
Oh well. That was enough casino for me for the next 25 years.
I was stoked to get on the back of the bike and let the fresh air wash over me and get rid of the smell of stale smoke from the casino. #BMWbenes
I did some Yelp research and we settled on an Italian restaurant in a strip mall. In an unassuming storefront between Raley’s and the hardware store we walked into Azzara’s.
You know you are in for a treat when the hostess has an Italian accent and the front of the house staff all looks like they are related. Azzara’s didn’t let us down. #mangiamangia
I love eggplant, and so does Scotty (#soulmate), but neither of the kids does, so I rarely prepare it. But when I am out I love to order eggplant parmesan.
I upgraded to a Caesar salad and am glad I did. The dressing was cheesy deliciousness and the croutons were butterly crunchy (#madeupwords) and flavorful.
Scotty got the minestrone soup which was also tasty, but could have been hotter. The garlic bread was a nice accompaniment.
My eggplant parmesan did not disappoint! I was presented with three round sliced of firm, flavorful eggplant. Perfectly cooked, the eggplant was breaded with perfectly seasoned bread crumbs and smothered in cheese and a pleasant tomato sauce.
The only bummer was the spaghetti – it didn’t seem homemade which definitely stood out like a sore thumb given the great flavor and quality of the rest of the meal. Scotty’s dish came with spaghetti too and he said the same thing. It wasn’t too much of an issue, frankly, because I focused on my eggplant and only had room for a couple of bites of the pasta anyway.
Even though we were satisfyingly stuffed, we opted for a post-dinner espresso so we could stay awake for the ride home.
I got a little crazy and ordered dessert – cannoli. I have only tried cannoli once or twice and didn’t care for it, but the meal at Azzaro’s was so good I thought it would be a good time to give the quintessential Italian dessert another try.
I am so happy we did!
The creamy ricotta was sweetened perfectly and whipped to smooth perfection. The chocolate chips in the ricotta added some delightful crunch and the shell itself was freshly fried and dusted with the perfect amount of powdered sugar.
One was the perfect amount to share between the two of us and not push us over the edge into “I’m Stuffed” – ville.
Sore Butts and Creaky Knees
The next morning we took off after coffee at the condo and took the standard route home: Highway 80 to 5. We had two pitstops in the Stockton/Lodi area which pushed us into commute traffic time and we didn’t want to get stuck on Highway 17 in stop and go traffic, so we went south and took 129 over to Watsonville.
Holy Winds Batman! There were a few gusty moments when I thought the wheels were going to get blown out from under us! Thankfully Scotty is a great rider and kept us upright and safe.
I gotta admit, the last 100 miles or so my body was not happy being on the bike – my Achilles tendonitis was burning up my left ankle, my knees were sore, my hips hurt and my lower back was really angry with me. It felt really good to get off the bike in the driveway and get out of the jeans I had on for three days!
This was our second overnight on the bike and we are pleased with how well it went. It was super windy, super hot, and even rained at times, but we made it! We packed well and had room to spare in our side cases. Plus, the bike – fully loaded with two up – got over 50 MPG.
All in all the trip was a great success! I am already looking into an autumn excursion – I’d love to discover some colorful fall foliage!