The world is going crazy – first we have all this record low snowfalls and record high temps, and then we have Amtrak running early – and I’m not just talking a couple of minutes. Due into Sacramento at 6.30 am and had set first alarm for 5.30, but was puzzled to wake to a distinct lack of train motion and even more puzzled to look out the window and see the Sacramento station signage – and the last I knew last night we were half an hour BEHIND schedule. Thankfully turning up early doesn’t translate to leaving early, so had plenty of time to get myself organised and off the train. Bags seemed to be taking a long time to appear, and as baggage office was closed asked at the ticket office who confirmed they would be delivered outside. Waiting, waiting, then finally the baggage man reappears and of course the bags had been there all along locked up in his office. Doh!
Had used this time to convince myself that there was no easy way to get to the airport to pick up the car by public transport – nothing here like Portland’s excellent system – so splurged on a taxi, amusing the driver with the stuffing of the ski bag into the front seat. Half an hour later I was siting in a Nissan Versa – a bit of a comedown from the SUV but should be fine for this week. Hadn’t slept all that well last night – not the fault of the train – and could feel the lack of sleep as I kept trying to nod off driving up I80 into the foothills of the Sierra, so lots of coffee stops and walking around stops. Royal Gorge – closed for much of the winter – had reopened a limited set of trails last weekend and had vague thoughts of a couple of hours XC there, but not overly enthused, and even less so when I saw the cover (or lack thereof) at the main trailhead.
So just turned into a sightseeing day, and a very nice one it was. Did the spectacular drive down Donner Pass road to the lake then around the south end of Lake Tahoe past Emerald Bay. In my first few trips here this inlet was always frozen and this stretch of road always either closed or close to it, but completely benign today. Finally drove through the endless stretch of motels in South Tahoe to get to home base for 2 nights. A bit of a drive back to the likely skiing for tomorrow, but also significantly cheaper than staying at the north end of the lake.