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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Virginia City and Lake Tahoe

We left Santa Rosa on Sunday and arrived here at Tahoe Valley Campground in South Lake Tahoe, Ca. Sunday afternoon after a long drive of about 6 hours that including crossing the scenic Sierra Mountains. We had to deal with traffic issues because of road construction and detours near Santa Rosa, but once we reached Interstate 80, we had clear sailing. We did see a low temperature of 34 degrees and a few snow covered peaks at Donner Summit on I-80. This RV park is a large Encore/Thousand Trails park that is very wooded and scenic. There are about 25 rigs here in the park that has a capacity of around 400 sites. I'm certain the park is very busy in the summer season. We are enjoying the lower Passport America rate while here. The park is located very close to the California Nevada state line. Diesel prices here are surprisingly lower than expected with the lowest prices I've seen being $3.79 in S. Lake Tahoe to a high of $4.49 in Tahoe City.

Monday morning we headed out to explore the area north, including Carson City, Silver City, and Virginia City in Nevada. This part of Nevada is well known for mining, especially silver and gold, but have pretty much played out, although there is still a small amount of mining still continuing today, including of all things, kitty litter! Virginia City is the better known town of the three due to silver being found there in 1859 and sprung up overnight as a boomtown and had a population of 25,000 in the mid 1860's due to mining. There was so much wealth gained there that it contributed heavily to the construction of San Francisco due to entrepreneurs investing their newly gained wealth in real estate and business. Today, it's mostly a tourist attraction due to it's colorful history as a wild west town. Silver City is very near Virginia City and is pretty much a ghost town today with old mining equipment and buildings in a state of decay. Carson City is named for the mountain man, Kit Carson and is the capital of Nevada. Carson City developed  as a result of  mining in the area and has prospered in today's economy with a population of about 50,000.

We explored the west side of beautiful Lake Tahoe yesterday including a visit to the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley.  We had hoped to ride the tram to the top of the mountains, but we were disappointed to learn it only runs in the winter season. We did enjoy a nice picnic lunch overlooking beautiful Lake Tahoe. One interesting fact about Lake Tahoe is that the lake is at an elevation of over 6,000 ft above sea level and has some of the clearest water found anywhere. According to a sign at one of the observation areas we visited, the bottom of the lake can be seen to a depth of 60 to 70 ft.

Tomorrow, (Thursday) we're back on the road with our destination being Las Vegas. It's about 450 miles south of here, so will be a two day trip to get there. There are not many RV parks on our route, so we're hopeful we can find accommodations somewhere down the road.

Our Camp Site, #371 here at Tahoe Valley

Snow capped peaks seen from Lake Tahoe

It's pretty bad when you're happy to buy diesel for $3.79/gallon.

Beautiful National Park on banks of Lake Tahoe.

Our gang again. Notice we have on jackets? Yep it was, and still is chilly.

Wild horses in the area.
Abandoned silver mines in Silver City.

We spotted some of the wild horses. Very pretty.

Steep road into Virginia City.

School building in Virginia City.

Historical marker depicting history of the silver boom in Virginia City.

Wooden sidewalks alongside both sides of the main street with mostly saloons, shops and restaurants.

Bar inside Delta Saloon.

And of course, slot machines!

Not sure if this has anything to do with the "famous" Mustang Ranch or not.

Tours were offered on this rig.

Main Street

Mark Twain Saloon.


Need a cowboy hat?

Old silver mine.

The town of Virginia City was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1875 and was rebuilt.

Mark Twain began his career here in the newspaper business.

Beautiful St. Mary's Catholic Church that was rebuilt in 1876 after the original one burned in the fire.

Masonic Lodge in Silver City.

Check out the 15% grade sign in the background. Don't see many roads with a grade that steep. Of course we went to the left!
On Lake Tahoe.

M.S. Dixie II Paddle wheel Boat.

Inspiration Point observation area.

Picnic on banks of Lake Tahoe.

Sign at entrance to Squaw Valley.

Hotel at Squaw Valley.

Aspen trees are starting to turn.

Part of Olympic Village.

Status sign of ski runs.

Colorful sign on I-80 entering Nevada.

We didn't spend much time in Reno.

1 comment:

  1. As always - your pix are beautiful!! Scenery is gorgeous. Following ya'll in my atlas. We didn't get to that area. I'm assuming ya'll didn't go to Yosemite. We never got there; it was always out of the way.