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Friday Slide Show: Tahoe Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

11 August 2017

August always brings back memories of childhood vacations spent at Lake Tahoe in the Sierras. It was a brutal three-hour car ride from the coast through the heat of the valley before rising 6,000 feet to that gorgeous lake. But it was always worth it.

The Grays, who owned Agate Bay Lodge, would welcome us to our knotty pine cottage across the road from the lake. Stan, who had employed Dad as a teenager at his gas station, would once a week pop open the Coke machine to give us a soda on the house. He did all the upkeep on the grounds while Isabel, his wife, did all the housework.

When we had settled in, we'd make a trip to the General Store for sunglasses and comic books. One night was devoted to pee-wee golf. Another to the movies. We'd get to go horseback riding once. Ice skating at the Olympic rink, too. And, inevitably, trout fishing in the Truckee River. We'd swim in Lodge's pool as soon as it opened for the day (after Stan cleaned it) and in the snow-cold lake all afternoon where we'd also hunt crawfish and chase the pyrite glitter of fool's gold. And rent kayaks so we could paddle out to the anchored speed boats.

That was the agenda. Things you couldn't do at home in the summer fog.

If we didn't know already, we learned to swim there. And if we did know, we practiced in the Lodge's pool.

And when we got tired of all that, we'd take a relaxing ride around the lake, maybe to Virginia City to see where Mark Twain sat (it was a toilet) or to the Ponderosa where the Cartwrights lived out their TV series.

Movie Stills. From long ago.

For breakfast, we crammed around the tiny table in the kitchen for cereal and orange juice. For dinner, we ate out or barbecued.

And on Wednesdays, Dad would walk across the driveway to the tree that had the Lodge's only phone attached to it and call the office to make sure the magazine was going out without a problem.

Just thinking about those long-ago summers at the lake, we had to dig into the family archives and play Dad's old movies. We even grabbed a few screen shots from the DVD conversions (using Elgato Turbo.264 HD) to give you a sense of the fun.

We're stuck in the fog at home this year, as we have been our entire adult life, it seems, at least when we weren't winging it to Rochester to visit Joyce's family. But even that was ages ago.

A few years ago when we were last up there, we learned August is when the Perseid meteor shower happens. This year it starts tonight and continues through Sunday, in fact.

That year, we sat out on a rented porch with our youngest brother looking up for the longest time to see a meteor. They're fast and bright but not frequent. Just steady, let's say.

No sense looking up in the fog tonight. And even were we at Tahoe this year, the waning moon would steal the show. But if you're inclined to look up, this might help.

These shots were taken with two different cameras in 2007, the last time we were at the lake, guests of some generous friends. A Nikon D200 with an 18-200mm Nikkor and a Kodak EasyShare One. We shot both JPEG and a few Raws with the D200, but just JPEGs with the Kodak.

A few of the slide show images are panoramas built in Lightroom from multiple shots. We used a dash of Dehaze on them to sharpen the distant mountains.

They bring the lake back to us these days when we can't get there ourselves. It always was a place where you could look up into the sky at night and wish upon a star.

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