Decisions, Decisions

Linda Burton posting from Carson City, Nevada – It must be terrible to live in Carson City. Every weekend, week after week, you have to decide – do I stay home, and enjoy my beautiful valley? Or, do I go east for 15 miles into the steep brown hills towards Virginia City and explore the ghost towns of mining days gone by? Or, heaven forbid, do I drive 20 miles west over Spooner Summit and mess around on the forested shores of the second deepest lake in all the country? Lake Tahoe, you know. I declare, I don’t know how they stand it. I’ve gone in both directions, now I’m taking a poll, so tell me, what would you do?

Virginia City, Historic Mining Town. Bill promised 10 minutes of true stories, and 10 minutes of BS, “and it’s up to you,” he said, “to figure out which is which.” That was the introduction to the Virginia City Tram Tour, and it matches the approach of Mark Twain, who worked at Virginia City’s Enterprise newspaper in the early 1860’s. “To find a petrified man, or break a stranger’s leg, or cave an imaginary mine, or discover some dead Indians in a Gold Hill tunnel, or massacre a family at Dutch Nick’s, were feats and calamities that we never hesitated about devising when the public needed matters of thrilling interest for breakfast.” From Mark Twain’s Letters from Washington, Number IX, Territorial Enterprise, March 7, 1868.

One thing Bill pointed out was the “Unblindfolded Statue of Justice” that graces the courthouse, a truth; I saw her myself. I’m not so sure about the funeral parade for the town’s most famous “lady” but you can visit her grave, all alone on a hill behind a picket fence, and there is a plaque in town noting her reputation. The Comstock Lode is the real history of Virginia City, remnants of the mines, and the millions, and millionaires, are everywhere, get a pass for train rides, mine tours, and wild west shootouts. In February 2009, the town received the Distinctive Destinations Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Sitting at 6,200 feet, it deserves an award for “Distinctive Scenery” too.

Lake Tahoe, the Jewel of the High Sierra. No BS– Lake Tahoe is the #1 most popular destination in the US. Factually, it’s the highest lake of its size – 6,229 feet above sea level; and the second deepest, maximum 1,645. It is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, and it literally sparkles. The color scheme is blue/green/white, with an accent of sandy-beach sand around the edges, here and there. Blue skies reflected in blue waters; soaring green firs that grow right up to the edge; seasonally-appropriate snow tops. South Lake Tahoe offers the hoopla of Harrah’s and other sleek highrises for gambling, or big-name entertainment. Places like Zephyr’s Cove show off with log cabins and lodges, cruises on the lake, lazing on the beach, name your pleasure.

Beth and five of her friends were waiting for margaritas-in-a-cup as I finished my lunch at Zephyr Cove Restaurant. “We’re spending the afternoon right out there on the beach,” she told me. I chatted with Marge and Cody in the gift shop. They didn’t check into the lodge in time for the 1 PM lake cruise, “but we’re going tomorrow,” they assured me. There was a last vestige of melting snow in the parking lot, but the warm sand was perfect for an afternoon’s stay. I took my shoes off and waded in. Of course.

Then there’s coming back to Carson City. From the east, or from the west, I simply can’t decide which I like best.


Returning from Virginia City





Returning from Lake Tahoe