Surprisingly made it to Sacramento on time – a first for me with Amtrak. The steward in the cafe car had been saying that with the deepening recession here something like 30% of all freight trains are currently sitting idle in yards across the country, and as they’re the main source for Amtrak delays, I guess it makes it easier to make up time.
Anyway there’s a storm warning about to take effect for Tahoe and it’s going to be touch and go whether I even get there today, so lashed out on a taxi to the airport to pick up the hire car, which I upgraded to a 4WD given the forecast conditions. Snow started falling when passing through about 1400m, and they were fitting chains on the Interstae to all 2wd cars. Visibility got steadily worse and driving got slower, ending with a 20 minute wait while the remnants of an accident were cleared.
Finally made it to Lake Tahoe a bit before noon, with wet snow now even falling at lake level. Decided to do an afternnon ski at Homewood, a ski area I’d hoped to visit last trip. Snow was falling quite wet but was still fun, and the definition of busy here seems to be where you have to share a chairlift ride with someone. With each run the snow got slightly drier and the skiing improved – Looks worth while returning here tomorrow.
Finished up a bit before 4 and after clearing about 15cm of fresh snow off the car and a slow drive back along the lake shore checked in to the Franciscan where I appear to be just about the only one staying here. Last time here I had to leave a day early to escape an approaching ugle storm. This time I seem to have timed it just right. The storm is forecast to get colder and snowier overnight, and within a couple of hours the car once again had a thick blanket of snow. yum.