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Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Book 6


Morning came quickly. It was sure hard to get out of that comfortable bed, but we had to keep moving. Back in the car and almost ready to cross the border into California, I spotted Lake Tahoe on the map. I didn’t realize how close we would be to it. We had not planned on visiting Tahoe at all, but we were so far ahead of schedule. I’m not sure why. Humm…do you think it had something to do with the speedometer not working???

We agreed to drive all the way around the lake, just so we could say we’ve seen it. It was breathtaking to me. Each mile more captivatingly beautiful, being 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, there was a lot of nature to see. Between 2 to 3 million years ago the Lake Tahoe basin was formed by geological faulting. (Fractures in the Earth’s crust caused blocks of land to move up and down.) Welcome to earthquake country boys! With the help of glaciers from the Ice Age, the modern freshwater Lake Tahoe was shaped as we know it today. It is the second deepest lake in the United States, over 1,600 feet. I wanted to swim in it, but it had to be 50 degrees, too cold for my tootsies! The clarity was amazingly unequaled. They say you can see 100 feet down and the water is 99% pure.

As we drove over 6,200 feet above sea level, every bend more breathtaking, we would pull off the road to take pictures and enjoy the dramatic scenery. The powerful aromatic scent of pine was heavenly overwhelming. Jeffery Pine, Lodgepole Pine, White Fir, and Red Fir dominated the landscape. One particular stop was Emerald Bay. The bay water was a deep dark green with an island bulging from its center. I was mesmerized by Fannette Island’s granite beauty.

Emerald Bay - Lake Tahoe

Fannette Island - Emerald Bay - Lake Tahoe

While taking pictures of the awe-inspiring scenery we were approached by a team of adorable little chipmunks scurrying amongst the surrounding rocks and pine cones. Craig grabbed a bag of Cheetos from the car and it was feeding time. Without hesitation, Chip, Dale, Alvin and his entire family consumed the puffs of yellow right out of our hands. One by one until the bag was depleted, they fattened themselves up for winter. We were so captivated by the site, we both used up several rolls of film just on the chipmunks. Of course, when you return home and review the 200 photos of rodents munching and only 20 photos of the most beautiful lake you’ve ever seen, you ask yourself, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?”

Crystal Bay - Lake Tahoe

As we jumped back into the car, completely devoid of snacks, we continued our drive until we approached Crystal Bay. It was then that I began to realize we just had to spend the night here. We were so close to San Jose, yet we might never pass this way again. I don’t think it was hard to convince Craig. We had already passed through South Lake Tahoe, where some of the larger gambling resorts were, as we discussed our plans to spend the night on the lake. We found ourselves pulling into the famed Cal-Neva Lodge on Tahoe’s North Shore.

There was history here and I wanted to feel the vibe. The lodge opened in 1928 and was once owned by Frank Sinatra in the 60’s. The entire Rat Pack, Frank, Dean, and Sammy all performed here. During this time a buddy and known mobster, Sam Giancana was Frank’s special guest. When the gaming commission found out, they forced Frank to attend a hearing to fight for his gambling license. He eventually lost his license and entirely gave up his beloved Cal-Neva he fondly called, "The Lady of the Lake."

There was also the well publicized story of Marilyn Monroe associated with the lodge. She had a short lived affair with Sinatra. It was also said that John F. Kennedy, our 35th president, had a horizontal liaison with the breathtakingly beautiful star there. Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Marilyn was found dead of a drug overdose in her Brentwood, California bungalow one week after meeting JFK at the lodge, so the story goes. Some say she was murdered to keep her quiet about the Kennedy affair.

That night we settled into a cabin on the lake, said to have been the very one where Marilyn once "slept." Awestruck by the spectacular sunset that fell beyond the snow capped mountains I witnessed from our cabin, I reflected upon how great this adventure was unfolding, despite leaving a trail of car parts across America. It was time to settle into another welcomed comfortable bed. Move over Marilyn. The day had brought great joy and serenity, but now it was time to rest and prepare for the final leg of our Great Automobile Adventure. Goodnight John Boy. Goodnight Frankie, Dino, and Sammy. Goodnight Norma Jean.

Goodnight Boys! (wink)

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Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi