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You may remember that I surprised my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day with a trip to Lake Tahoe this spring. Last week we explored Northern California and parts of Nevada. Here are a baker’s dozen of my favorite photos. (My boyfriend took over 900!) Poetry to come.

book cover color

Book covers sorted by color.

We started the week off in San Francisco where we met up with my boyfriend’s friends. One has a really cool job of maintaining the city’s famous cable cars, and the other has a really cool job at women’s clothing e-tailer ModCloth. We got to stop by ModCloth’s offices and I’m looking forward to doing a future post on the psychology of book cover colors, and a separate post on working collaboratively with a team of writers. They have a library for their employees. (And a company librarian!) The books are arranged not alphabetically by title or author, but by color. Yes, this is one of the books you may find there. 🙂

yosemiteWe spent a few days in Yosemite. Saw coyote. Did a night hike. (Writers, it appears the Yosemite Artist-in-Residence program is on hold. Check out the link and contact the Yosemite Renaissance group to learn about opportunities for writers.)

yosemite valleyHere’s a view not many get to see or capture. This is Yosemite Valley in the middle of the night from the top of Glacier Point. See all the campfires glowing? The lights on the mountains are backpackers spending the night on trails.

mirror lakeOne of the most simple hikes in the park will take you to Mirror Lake. In between an annoying child throwing stones in the lake, he was able to capture this shot.

mariposa groveIf you look very closely below, you can see me and my big hat at the base of one of the largest sequoia. Except now, my hat doesn’t look so big.

glacier pointThis is my favorite picture of the trip, and probably my favorite ever. Using a long exposure he was able to get a photo of us in a kiss at the top of Glacier Point.

Tioga PassJust a few days before we arrived in California, the roads that are closed seasonally in Yosemite due to snow and ice were opened. We would not have been able to drive to Glacier Point otherwise. This also meant that Tioga Pass, regarded as one of the most scenic drives in America, was open. On a whim, we changed our plans and decided to take Tioga Pass over to Nevada and then drive north to Lake Tahoe. (Yes, the rental car company upgraded us to a Mustang convertible!)

lake tahoeOur hotel room offered this view of Lake Tahoe. Based on the off-the-charts natural beauty, the affordability, and the simple access from either Reno or San Francisco’s airports, I highly recommend this place as a writer’s retreat area!

mark twain lake tahoeAlso, here’s a famous writer’s endorsement of Lake Tahoe: A little quote from Mark Twain.

emerald bayThis is Emerald Bay, featuring the only island in the entire lake. A handful of times each year people enjoy high tea at the top of the stone tower that was built on the island. Lake Tahoe is a particularly unique body of water, which became more interesting to me after we arrived. I knew that the visibility was impressive – normally between 65-75 feet – and that the depths have been reported as 1,600′ or more in certain areas, but I did not know that Lake Tahoe is a relatively “new” lake as far as accessibility. Visitors were only able to reach different areas of the lake by boat from a few spots on the Western shore up until the 1940s. People were so reliant on boats that once the road that now runs the circumference of the lake was complete in the late ’40s, one boat company’s business got so bad that he deliberately sunk his own vessel. So there is at least one shipwreck in the lake.

triumph rocketWe rented a Triumph Rocket III, at 2,300cc it is the largest widely-produced motorcycle in the world.

groth vineyardOn our last night, we took a drive through Napa. I had to stop at Groth Vineyards for a photo op since it’s my family’s namesake.

napa valleyOne thing we learned on our Friday night drive through Napa: All the vineyards are closed! We thought we could have a glass of wine, listen to live music, and look out on the rolling hills along the valley. Nope. According to law, the vineyards close by 4:30PM.

in-n-out burgersSo we had an alternative piece of California culture to close off our trip: In-N-Out burgers. Complete with milkshakes.

Do you have any summer trips planned?