Spent four hours in the car driving north west to Lake Tahoe, one of the biggest lakes in the US and home to the best skiing in California. Now, four hours in the car isn’t fun in general, but my whole family and I were crammed in there with all our supplies and Christmas presents for the rest of our family (17 Harrisons in total going to Tahoe), so it was, needless to say, quite horrible.
It was neat watching the temperature drop, degree by degree as we went further north and gained more altitude. Snow started appearing, and before I knew it, it was -1 degrees. Somehow, we managed to arrive there at the same time as the rest of the family, even though we left from two different places at two different times. We headed over to the uber haus we had rented (which would hold 12 people) and started unpacking and getting stuff ready for the fun.
After that was all out of the way, we went exploring; the skiers went to buy their passes and rent their gear, and I went to the pub and sucked down a pint of Sierra Nevada, a tasty brew that is popular around there but like most American beer, sadly lacking in comparison.
The next day, we dropped off all the skiers/snowboarders and left them to have their fun, whilst a few of us drove down to Lake Tahoe itself. Its damn big. Aside from that, it was like many other natural bodies of water. The surrounding scenery was pretty impressive though; snow-covered peaks all over the joint.
We also nicked over the border to Nevada for a while. Interestingly, there mustn’t be gambling allowed in California – as soon as you cross the border, there’s casinos everywhere.
Probably one of the best things about Cal though is the fact that they have no smoking inside laws – anywhere. Its awesome; I didn’t SMELL a cigarette until we were in Nevada and we went inside a Casino. What a great idea. Wish Queensland at least was awesome enough to have a law like that to prevent me from having to suck down smoke from other assholes that are too inconsiderate to drag their stinky cancer stick inhaling asses outside. Anyway.
We then went down to Truckee, which is the closest “large” town to where we were staying. I spent a grand total of 10 minutes walking up and down the main drag looking at the shops.
The day after was Christmas; that was pretty fun with 5 small kiddies doing the young-child-at-Christmas thing. We also dug out a cool toboggan thingy behind the house which we all had turns screaming down – good fun. After all the excitement, I lay down, read the Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, then went to bed.
The day after my aunt and I decided to try The Tube – the tube was basically a small ride for people which involved getting in a tube and caning down a hill and going round this one bend thing. I did it a few times, and quickly decided I needed to spice it up a little. You see, there were these phat rubber mats carefully placed before the bend to slow you down. I had isolated these mats as the main reason that you didn’t get a hell of a lot of speed or height on the bend, and resolved to try and find a course down the hill which would involve missing said mats.
Eventually, we came back late at night. There were these two girls working up the top, and I casually asked if I could try taking a running jump. They sort of ummed and aahhed about it, but then one of them gave in, and I did so. I took about a 5 metre running start, and leapt head first onto my tube down the hill.
I bounced off the left side of the track, avoiding the groove that had been carefully eroded into the ice by the bodies and tubes of others long gone. I realised quickly that I was going to miss the mats! I hit the bend at the end, going basically straight to the top – a bit more velocity, and I would have gone straight over. At the peak of the trip, I realised that not being in the groove, whatever would happen next would be unexpected.
So, I started going down the wall – instead of gracefully sliding around the bend to a gentle stop, I went almost straight back down aiming towards the fence. I tried to exert some futile control but ended up falling off the tube, landing on my skull, rolling for about 5 metres and taking out the whole fence on the other side of the thing.
The groundstaff there then proceeded to lay down more rubber mats and post a person actually on the ramp to force them into the standard groove path in the event of any more hotdoggers.