Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ride the Truckee

Saturday was a great day!  Prior to the arrival of our kids I had made reservations at Tahoe River Raft Company to do our traditional trip from Tahoe City down to the River Ranch Hotel and Restaurant.  There are not any significant rapids in this 5.3 mile section of the river until the very end, and even then they might only be Class 1....barely.  Each year the level of the river at this time of year fluctuates based on the prior year's snowfall.  If the snowfall was not great, as this past season, then the river begins to get pretty low by the end of July, and sometimes by August you can no long raft on is still flowing, but not deep enough for rafts.  So, it is a good thing we are doing it pretty early in the season this summer.

Our appointment was for 9 first blush I was thinking it might have been too early, but the more I considered it, the more I was sure I did the right thing for several reasons.  First, and most significantly, this is the 4th of July weekend, and the number of people here is crazy......traffic can get quite ugly, so an early start to our drive up to north shore, some 30+ miles away, began at 7:45 am.....just be be sure we did not catch any traffic going.  Coming back, though, would be another whole thing entirely.

The drive up was smooth, and without incident, and we arrived at Tahoe River Raft Company just past 8:30 am, and were quickly checked in, assigned two rafts for our 7 person group, and were on the river beginning our 5.3 mile float down to the River Ranch.

Beginning our "float"

Even before 9 am it was getting warm, but we were in the perfect place for the coming heat.  The temperature of the Truckee River was not very was probably somewhere in the mid 50's, and provided a sometimes shocking contrast to the ambient air temperature.....:D  Nevertheless, we found ourselves wading in the water from time to time, and a couple of our party (Nick and Kate's son, Elijah) actually were brave enough for full body immersion, while the rest of us were content to wade around up to our thighs.

Nick was one of the brave ones in our group

Takin' a break

Our view for 3 hours

It's nice when your vision of your day ends up a reasonable facsimile to the reality, and this day it did.  We spent the bulk of our time just floating down the river, enjoying the balmy zephyrs wafting down the river with occasional bursts of activity as we had to grab our paddles to move away from overhanging trees, or rocks in the river, but for the most part we just chatted, and relaxed.

Fortunately with our group of "small bladders" there are conveniently placed portable restrooms scattered along the length of our route which serve not only the rafters, but also the bicyclists utilizing the bike path which runs from Tahoe City all the way into Squaw Valley (site of the 1960 Winter Olympics).

Elijah working on his rather impressive rock collection....:D

We arrived at the River Ranch just before Noon time, turned in our paddles, life preservers and rafts, then caught the shuttle bus back to our car in Tahoe City.  As the bus wended its way back to Tahoe City we were somewhat shocked at how busy the river had become in the last 3 hours.....there were at least a hundred, or more rafts of the rental and private variety, floating down the river in one massive raft traffic jam.......the complete opposite of our experience.....once again, I was so happy we had taken the early time slot.

Our happy "gang"....L to R: Sharon, Rod, Nick, Kate, 
Elijah and yours truly...TLE is taking the picture

The traffic back in Tahoe City was nightmarish, so we decided to leave our cars in their parking spots, and walk to the Bridgetender Restaurant, one of our favorite hangouts, for lunch.  We had to wait for about 40 minutes for a table.....not too surprising.  We got a table right next to the river, and settled in for some good food, and more relaxation.

We began our drive home just before 2, and what a "knock down, drag out" drive it was.   However, as tortuous as the drive was for us going south, those still trying to drive north had it 3 times worse.....the northbound lanes had bumper to bumper traffic virtually all the way back to SLT.  They, for sure, could have ridden a bike faster, and in many places walking would have been faster.  It took us just over an hour to get back, and I was so thankful, once again, that we had started our day early.

I spent the rest of the afternoon napping, and relaxing.......Sunday the vacuum will turn on, and our little corner of SLT will return to a somewhat normal state.

We are packed!

Thanks for stopping by!

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