Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lake Tahoe In Summer

This is a long overdue post. I took a trip to Lake Tahoe in August of last year and I have not yet blogged about it! It was such a memorable trip but soon after I started a new job and things got crazy.

Nutan, Jui and I planned this trip. We found a gorgeous cabin on airbnb and we were all set to go. Since our schedules were different, we all drove there individually. We started on Friday morning to avoid the traffic and reached there comfortably by afternoon. The rest of them got there pretty late in the evening. On the way we spotted at a few scenic spots as well as spent some time in Pope Beach.

Pope beach at sunset
Pope beach
The cabin was simply superb. Three bedrooms spread across two floors and a huge living room stacked with games and a keyboard. It was very well furnished. We spent the entire night talking, laughing and having a great time.


The next morning we headed to the Zephyr cove beach, rented some beach chairs and sun umbrellas and spent the day there lazying and playing in the water. Vishnu and I even did parasailing which was scary initially but then super fun. The view from up top of the pristine water and mountains was gorgeous. Didn't take the camera so no pictures. In the evening, we went to Heavenly village to get some snacks and then returned to the cabin.

Zephyr Cove
Playing in Lake Tahoe
Beach chairs and Umbrellas rented at Zephyr cove
Snack stop at Heavenly Village

The next day morning, both of us rented out bicycles and biked on the bike trail along the beach. The dedicated bike trail meant no pedestrians or cars. It was an awesome experience. It wasn't very difficult although there were a few slopes for which I walked the bike. It was the first time I was biking such a long distance and I did quite well. Shortly after, we headed back home.

Biking Trail

Pope Beach

San Juan Bautista Mission

On the way back from our whale watching trip, we visited The Old Mission at San Juan Bautista. After watching the famous Hitchcock flick 'Vertigo', visiting the historic Spanish mission was on our list.

Outside the Church

San Juan Bautista

As soon as I reached there, I started looking for the bell tower featured in the movie, To my utter disappointment, the tower no longer exists. In fact, it did not exist even during the making of the film. Those scenes were shot on a set in a studio. The mission has a $3 entry fee.

We saw the museum, the church and the gardens. As mentioned in my previous post, I was too drowsy from the tablet I had taken to pay any attention to the historical artifacts. I walked past them casting a quick glance.

Handwritten music books

I loved the gardens with all the colorful flowers and giant cacti. The stables and the Hall opposite to the museum have a separate entry fee so we skipped it.

Colorful flowers

We took a few pictures and headed to a nearby cafe to fight off our drowsiness with caffeine. The cafe, not surprisingly, was called 'Vertigo.' I chose to have the affogato and to my delight it was the best coffee I have ever had in my life! Everyone else also loved their coffee. For us, that coffee was the highlight of trip!

What: Old Mission at San Juan Bautista
Where: 406 2nd st San Juan Bautista CA
When: 9:30am-4:30pm
Fee: $3

Whale watching

Last weekend, I took my in-laws on a whale watching trip in Monterey. I knew they would find it interesting and fun. I personally wasn't too excited about it as I knew there is no guarantee of seeing the whales. Since I found a decent groupon deal, I decided to give it a shot.

I booked the trip through Seagoddess whale watching. A quick google search told me that morning tours have the best probability of seeing whales so I picked the 10am slot. It being the Gilroy garlic festival weekend, we started earlier at 7.45am to avoid traffic. To our surprise we didn't face any traffic and reached at 9am. There is plenty of parking although it costs $8!

We checked in and received our tickets. They offered us donuts and coffee. As I had heard that the waters can be choppy, we decided to take some sea sickness tablets. It was an overcast day with a heavy layer of smog about us (there was a very big forest fire in the Big Sur area that week). We wore several layers as we were told that it gets really windy and cold on the boat.

The cruise started on time and we kept our eyes peeled for whales only to be told by the marine biologist on board that we are quite a distance away until we actually locate them. On the way we saw otters, sealions, cormorants, seagulls and various migratory birds. The playful sealions could be easily mistaken for dolphins.

After about an hour, we reached the whale territory. Within minutes we spotted a humpback whale followed by a blue whale. We could see the splash caused by the whales coming out and then the huge grey/black body before it dived back in. It was an amazing site and hard to believe how large in size they were. There were a few babies too. It was so quick that it was hard to click any pictures. Anytime there was an announcement of a whale sighting in a particular direction, everyone ran to that side and crowded. That made it a little hard to actually see them unless I stood on my tip toes or elbowed my way to the front.

We then made our way back and reached back by noon. No sickness but a terrible drowsiness took over us which kind of ruined the rest of the day. We grabbed some lunch at a nearby restaurant and made our way to San Juan Bautista.

What: Whale watching
Where: Seagoddess whale watching 7881 Sandholt Rd, Moss Landing CA 95039
When: Multiple trips during the day
Cost: $45, cheaper if you get a Groupon