Going on a Road Trip with California Fires and Covid-19

Several weeks ago, Mr. Twitchy and I decided that we really needed to get out of Los Angeles for a few days. A change of scenery would do us both good. We scheduled a trip to Lake Tahoe for August, but had to postpone it because of the fires in Northern California. So we left yesterday, September 7, without checking with the hotel about the fires and air quality. We just needed to get out of the 100 degree heat and LA.

A long line at the bakery

We loaded up the car and started on our 7 1/2 hour road trip north. Fortunately there was little northbound traffic, although there were many more cars driving south back to LA after a holiday weekend. We drove straight to Bishop, which is a small city at the foot of the Sierra Mountains and the gateway to the Mammoth Ski Area where we used to take our kids every year. We stopped to get lunch at a well known Dutch bakery. It seemed like everyone else on the road had the same idea. But the long line to get in to the bakery moved quickly, we found pre-made sandwiches and were back on the road within 1/2 hour.

The hazy view from the road

Then we started to smell the smoke. And our eyes were burning. We could not see the fires, but the air was hazy everywhere from the smoke. We began to think that maybe we should have stayed home.

We finally reached our hotel in Incline Village (at the north end of Lake Tahoe) and then discovered the real effect of Covid-19 on travel. We were greeted at the entrance of a well known hotel by a bellman and were informed that there was no valet parking. Not a big deal for us. When we checked in we were told that there was no maid service unless we called for it. Reservations were necessary for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the main restaurant. You can eat indoors in Nevada, but the seating is reduced inside and outside. The pool is open, jacuzzis not. The spa is not open, but the casino is. We were in Nevada after all. And the gym was open. Yay!!! And they even have a lot of Peloton bikes in the gym. A small victory for us. Perhaps the thing that made the least sense is that the restaurant in the hotel that is usually open for breakfast and lunch is closed, but you could bring food in from the small grocery/deli in the hotel or from restaurants outside the hotel and eat there.

Mr. Twitchy at the beach at our hotel

Back to the fires. We wanted to rent bikes today, but the bike shop recommended waiting a day or two for better air quality. The temperature dropped dramatically from yesterday and it was quite windy, but air quality is still not great. At least the pool was open and there were people swimming, even though it was 55 outside. There was no one at the beach as you can see in the photo.

Tomorrow will be warmer and we are hoping that the rest of the week will be better. We got a lot of rest today while catching up on reading, watching the US Open Tennis tournament and making S’mores at a hotel firepit. We are looking forward to renting bikes tomorrow and getting on the bike trails along the lake.

Mr. Twitchy toasting marshmallows for S’mores

The bottom line is that traveling under the rules dictated by the Covid-19 Pandemic is not the same. Do not expect a luxury experience anywhere. The hotels are very limited in providing the services that you would normally expect. Many of the restaurants have limited seating and don’t expect much entertainment beyond watching movies in your room. Hopefully things will start to improve soon so that we can enjoy traveling once again.

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