Our friend Jenn decided this year she wanted to get all four families together up in Tahoe to celebrate her birthday. We all loved the idea and were looking forward to a long weekend together. :)
I did a little research and found a fantastic 4 bedroom HUGE cabin (still) available for the weekend, so after consulting with everyone, we decided to book it. The cabin was actually up in Truckee (North Lake Tahoe), which is a bit further than we're used to traveling (since we usually spend time with the Hicksons at their cabin in South Lake Tahoe). Still, I have very fond childhood memories of Truckee myself, and there was a kid's snow park that I had really been wanting to take Logan to, which was located up in the same area, so we were game!
Normally, from the Bay Area, you'd take Hwy 80 straight up north to Truckee and the surrounding towns. However, the Thursday night before we left, a huge storm had decided to come in, so as we were leaving our house and checking (continuously) the reports, we found 80 to be closed. We continued on, since there was no turning back anyway (the cabin was booked and paid for!) and we could always take another route if 80 was still closed when we got closer.
Sure enough, once we got to the intersection of Hwy 80 and 50 (where we need to make the call on which route to take to Tahoe), reports were still saying Hwy 80 was closed. This was a bummer since going through South Lake Tahoe would add time to the drive. But, overall, it still wouldn't be a terribly long drive - instead of 3.5 hours, it'd be more like ~5 hours...
We were caravaning with the Jodoins, so we all stopped for lunch near the intersection. Unfortunately, Grover had puked at some point before that stop, so poor Jon spent at least 30 minutes just cleaning up the back of our truck before we actually went inside for lunch.
The drive all the way up to Placerville was pleasant and easy going. But, once we reached Placerville, we were already noticing a bit of traffic. Once we started the climb up the summit, that's when the real crowds hit. There were two different chain check points and super slow going. Luckily, we didn't need to deal with chains, but we still had to navigate around those that DID need chains. The weather was actually quite clear and pretty - so we weren't exactly sure why there was such concern about the chain control - but once we started getting closer to the Summit, and the weather became much more stormy, with white-out conditions, we understood why. To add to the blustery conditions, one of our windshield wipers broke, during one of the quick stops we made so that Jon could knock the ice off the wipers and windshield that had been building up in the middle of the storm. It was quite comical as we trudged along, through snowy streets (we took some neighborhood back streets to a nearby auto parts store we knew about in South Lake Tahoe), with only one wiper working! :)
The Chouns had caught up to us somewhere along the climb through the mountains, so the three families stopped in South Lake Tahoe for dinner - MUCH later than we had hoped for - since there had been so much traffic on Hwy 50. But, the kids (and adults) needed to stretch their legs, get a bite to eat and rest a bit outside of the cars....
When we all climbed back in our cars, Jon and I took everyone up the shorter route to North Shore (around Emerald Bay), totally forgetting that the road is closed during the Winter. D'oh!! When we got to the road closure (it was so funny, since literally a few miles before the roadblock I was muttering to Jon that I had THOUGHT they closed the roads during winter conditions...) we all three turned around to head back down. Sadly, another car (who we let in front of our caravan so we could all talk) took a 10mph hairpin turn downhill at 15-20mph (in the snow and ice!) and immediately slid into the banks near a cliff (had the snow banks not been there, those two kids would have gone straight down the side of the mountain).
To make matters worse, these guys crashed in a spot that blocked the snow plow tractor coming UP the mountain - which meant we couldn't get around the snow plow to go back down the mountain - essentially trapping us all above them on the mountain. UGH!
These guys were pretty stupid. I immediately noticed the guy (driver) slipping and sliding all over the place in his fancy Italian leather loafers (in snow guys!), trying to dig his car out of the bank. A very bad sign. On top of that, once he realized he couldn't physically dig out the car, he (and his just as stupid girlfriend) stuck a block (or something) on their gas pedal, then proceeded to walk BEHIND their car while the wheels were spinning like crazy!
At that point, I told Jon to back up several feet up the mountain - I just didn't trust these kids and was afraid their car would suddenly come shooting backwards and into us.
They weren't getting anywhere at all, so we finally offered to try and pull them out. Sadly, we got stuck on a patch of ice ourselves when we did this, unable to get enough traction to pull them out. While our truck was sliding all over the place on the ice, the girl was standing literally about 1 foot from us. Again, further proof of their idiocy.
The snow plow guy offers to try pulling them out next since he's downhill and may have better luck - he takes our tow strap, loops it onto his plow and while he's yanking the car out, the guy (with the so non-snow appropriate footwear) is standing NEXT. TO. THE. TOW. STRAP.
Our tow strap is pretty tough but if it had snapped, that guy could have been seriously injured (if not killed). Dumbass.
Thankfully, the snow plow worked - once the kids were out of the bank, we all sat and waited for them to take off, as they literally slammed on the gas again, tearing down the road and mountain. Apparently late to their party. We made sure to keep a good healthy distance behind them after that. ;-)
Sadly, that little mistake, which should have only cost us 15-20 minutes was a good hour detour to our trip. :( But, we got back on the road, and 12 hours later (literally!), we finally made it to our beautiful cabin. What an adventure! (Thankfully, the kids and dogs were fantastic - I don't think we would have been in as good of a mood had they been screaming the entire time!)
Once we got to our cabin, the rest of the weekend was awesome. While it was extremely late when we arrived, we let the kids run around a bit in the "big house" (as Logan called it). They had been cramped for so long and just needed to burn some excess energy off. It was tough putting the kids to bed, Logan literally got up probably 10 times with various excuses before he FINALLY fell asleep and stayed in bed for good. At one point he insisted he had to poop - and then made the biggest effort possible to push out the TEENIEST TINIEST little stain of a poop. Once he did, he hopped off the toilet, looked down in the bowl, pointing and exclaimed "See Mom! I told you I had to poop!!"
The Hicksons had stayed at their cabin in South Lake the week prior, so they drove up on Saturday morning (in gorgeous sunny weather!) and met us at the cabin. Jenn, Julie and Jamie were already at the slopes - so once the Hicksons arrived, Nathan and I decided to head out and join them (Jon and my boarding gear had been stored at the Hicksons' cabin this whole time so they brought our equipment with them when they came up on Saturday morning). By the time Nathan and I got their, Julie and Jamie had headed home - so it was just Nathan, Jenn and I taking advantage of a day out on the slopes. And it was PHENOMENOL! It had been about 3-4 years since I had last boarding but getting back out there was like riding a bike - you just don't forget. :)
Meanwhile, back at the cabin, Logan had discovered the snow in the morning and didn't want to do anything but hang out in the snow (without a jacket!!) and play. He had found some outside toys (from the boys who normally lived at the house) to play with too. He was in HEAVEN. It was all I could do to tear him inside, take off his wet and frozen shirt, put a new one on and THIS TIME insist he wear a jacket before going back outside.
Sunday was more of the same, with the adults swapping and those that didn't go out to the slopes on Saturday (Jon, Jarrod and Jeff), getting a chance to board while the rest of us hung out at the house with the kids. On Saturday, several of the kids were more grouchy than usual, probably because of the long drive the night before and the restless night. But on Sunday, they were all back to their normal selves. We took them sledding out on the driveway in the front yard, stomped through the snow, broke off icicles for them to eat (or poke with), and then dumped them in the hot tub for awhile before naptime. :)
|Jenn - the birthday girl!|
Originally, I had thought that whichever of us were home with the kids, could take them out to the kid's snow park while the other was on the slopes. That didn't quite work out as planned. Callum was just too young to be in the snow - he didn't like it and couldn't crawl or play in it very well, so he just wanted to be held up high away from the cold stuff. :) And, it was quite hard keeping a handle on Logan while carrying Callum the entire time... thankfully, there was plenty of snow and things to do around the cabin that it wasn't that big of a deal.
Still, I didn't want to leave without checking out Soda Springs (a mom of Logan's school friend had told me about it, that it was made for small kids and that it would be perfect for us) - so on Monday, after we had cleaned up the house, packed up and headed out, we hit up the snow park with the Chouns and Jodoins (the Hicksons had headed back to their cabin in South Lake).
The kids LOVED it. Logan immediately saw a couple of snow mobiles nearby and immediately asked to ride THOSE MOM. I want to get on one of THOSE!
We spent about an hour in the Planet Kids section, where there were little tube carousels for the kids to ride (I think Logan woudl have been fine riding one of those all day long) and a mini-tubing area for them to race down. Logan could have stayed all day, but Callum was getting exhausted, as it was past his morning nap time, and was having trouble trying to fall asleep on Jon or I, but kept getting woken up by the cold blasts of wind that would shoot by. So, we took off soon after that, buckled the kids in and hit the road. Since Callum was fast asleep in no time flat, we took advantage and just kept on driving. We stopped shortly for gas and a drive through for lunch, but otherwise kept on going. We got home in about 3.5 hours - that was more like it!
When we arrived home, Logan called our house the "small house" for awhile and kept asking when we'd be able to go back to the mountains, in the snow, and stay in the "big house". :) I was pleased as punch with how much he enjoyed the snow and wanted to play - especially since last year he wasn't as into it which really disappointed me.
Next year? Snowboarding lessons. ;-)
(For more pics from our trip, please visit the full album.)