How To Prepare For Your Trip To Lake Tahoe

How to prepare and what to pack………..

If you are driving: Pre-check your vehicle. Check all fluid levels and make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended PSI level. We always take our own window scraper as some gas stations do not supply them.

This happened to us when we had a flat tire near Olancha, Ca.:  Make sure your spare tire is inflated to the recommended pressure. Have your roadside AAA (or other) roadside assistance number programmed into your cell phone–and remember to fully charge your cell the night before you leave. Keep a couple of old bath towels in the trunk which will come in come in handy if you have to change a tire. That reminds me to include plastic gloves in your trunk so you don’t get your hands filthy if you have to change a tire or check your oil.

In winter don’t forget your snow chains. Be sure to check your car’s heater and defrost a couple days before you leave. Keep a jacket within reach if you need to go outside to check something on your vehicle. Carry a couple extra blankets in case of a breakdown when your heater may not work. And make sure you have some kind of foot cover in case you have to exit your vehicle during heavy snow.

Winter : parking lot

Be sure to take bottled water with you along with some snacks. If you break down in the desert on a blistering 104-degree day you will thank yourself.  No need to stop at a convenience store where they will overcharge you for junk food. Purchasing window shades is also a good idea for shielding yourself from that piercing sun.  A good supply of snacks and compact games will keep the kids quiet during that long drive.

Lake Tahoe is a mountain environment. During summer pack a light jacket and some warm clothes such as sweatshirts and long sleeve T-shirts. Summer temperatures often reach into the 80’s so include light clothing such as shorts and t-shirts. You may want to pack long pants when going out at night. Summer low temperatures can dip into the 40’s.  Don’t forget to bring sun block during any season as high altitude UV rays can burn twice as fast. Our favorite sunblock is the top-rated Equate available at Walmart.  For summer hiking proper shoe wear is a must along with walking sticks for balance. For bike riding don’t forget to bring your own helmets or rent them along with your bikes.

Getting acclimated……Lake elevation is approximately 5700 feet and exceeds 10,000 feet at the top of Heavenly. You may “feel” the altitude for a day or so after your arrival, especially if you consume alcoholic beverages your first day. Symptoms may include feeling “queasy” along with a loss of energy. It is recommended that you abstain from consuming alcohol and heavy meals until you have been at lake level for at least 24 hours.

Round Hill hike.

Round Hill hike.

 

Getting acclimated……Lake elevation is approximately 5700 feet and exceeds 10,000 feet at the top of Heavenly. You may “feel” the altitude for a day or so after your arrival, especially if you consume alcoholic beverages your first day. Symptoms may include feeling “queasy” along with a loss of energy. It is recommended that you abstain from consuming alcohol and heavy meals until you have been at lake level for at least 24 hours.

What to pack………

Lake Tahoe is a mountain environment. During summer pack a light jacket and some warm clothes such as sweatshirts and long sleeve T-shirts. Summer temperatures often reach into the 80’s so include light clothing such as shorts and t-shirts. You may want to pack long pants when going out at night. Summer low temperatures can dip into the 40’s. Don’t forget to bring sun block during any season as high altitude UV rays can burn twice as fast. Our favorite sunblock is top-rated Equate available at Walmart. For summer hiking proper shoe wear is a must along with walking sticks for balance. For bike riding don’t forget to bring your own helmets or rent them along with your bikes.

For winter: Be sure to pack warm underclothes as daytimes temps average in the 30’’s and 40’s. It is always advisable to bring warm clothes so you can “dress down” rather than “up”. Pack warm sweat shirts and light jackets so you can adjust to varying daily temperatures.

Winter pkg. lot

Two Incredible Hikes Minutes From The Ripke Condo!

Spring And Summer Means Great Hiking In South Lake Tahoe.

Even better these hikes are minutes from our condo in Bavarian Village. Both hikes are located near Ski Run Blvd. and Pioneer Trail.  First of all, make sure you have proper footwear, plenty of water, use and apply sunblock, and remember to dress according to changing weather conditions. A good sun hat and sunglasses are also a must.  Make sure your sun hat has and attached chin strap so you don’t lose during windy days.  Pack a lunch if you leave in the morning for a hike lasting more than three hours. Pack a beach towel to sit on during your break. Always take breaks during your hike to avoid overtiring which can lead to a slip or fall.

Proper footwear means hiking boots–not tennis shoes or sandals.  Many trails are steep and can be treacherous!  Rocks and downgrades are often slippery.  Wearing the proper shoes is essential. I suggest high-top hiking boots which will prevent spraining an ankle.  If you hike with kids please keep them close, especially on steep slopes. Make sure you take your cell phone with you with the battery charged in case of an emergency.

Also essential is plenty of water.  We use plastic water bottles which can be wrapped in your sitting towels to keep the water cool. They are cheaper and lighter than purchasing heavier canteens. For longer hikes we use empty liter soft drink bottles. Taking too much water is much more advisable than running out of water at the end of your hike.  Filling up your water bottles during your hike from streams is NOT recommended due to parasites often found in mountain streams.

Walking sticks: they take much of the pressure off your knees, especially on downgrades. They are also great for “pushing off” as you hike up steep grades. We also found they are great for keeping your balance on rocks or slopes.  If you have used ski poles they make great balance sticks.  I made our own walking sticks from dried (straight) pine branches found on some of our hikes. I sanded and stained them and formed finger troughs for  easy grips. Once you get used to a walking stick you will never go hiking again without one.

Dress for the weather: Spring can mean cooler temps.  The same is true for summer days in higher elevations. It could be 74 degrees at the lake elevation and below 50 at the mountain top. Dress in layers. On warmer summer days shorts are a must while spring may require long pants and jackets.  Dress in layers so you can adjust to the weather.

Our Two Favorite Hikes

Just minutes from our condo and east of the Nevada state line is Van Sickle State Park. The park is located just behind the Stateline theaters and is adjacent to the Raley’s shopping center.  The trailhead is located about 1/4 mile past the entrance on the right side of the paved road. Adjacent to the trailhead are water, restrooms, and a picnic area. This trail becomes steep halfway up the east side of the Heavenly Ski area and leads to several easier trails about a quarter way up. The more level mid-height trails are great for easier hikes.  Spectacular views of the casinos and the west side of Lake Tahoe await you as you hike further up from here. As you reach the halfway point view the fire damage left by a careless smoker who flicked a cigarette out of the Heavenly Tram causing a massive fire in 2003. Reforesting this area continues through today.SLT view 9:12

 

As you walk further up you will find views like the one above. In the spring, nearing the top and heading east towards Kingsbury Grade you will pass a flowing stream. Use caution as you cross the stream over the rocks and then take a break using the cold water from the stream to refresh and rest.  Do not drink the water. The steep uphill grade levels off after the stream as you head east to Kingsbury pass. Enjoy spectacular views of all of South Lake Tahoe from here.

Known Only To Locals: The Powerline Trail

Lets keep the secret! Not many tourists know about this hike.  Enter the trailhead by driving to the top of Ski Run Blvd. Turn right on Saddle Road. Park legally a block or two from the trailhead.  Hike west as this trail goes for at least eight miles following SLt power poles. Make it a day-long hike or turn back whenever you like as the rail winds into hidden valleys and steep ravines.  The hike is mostly flat but there are some steep hills.  About two miles in you will pass great lake views and homes built to the east of Pioneer Trail. Depending on the time of year you will pass two flowing creeks.  When you reach Cold Creek you are about four miles in. Enjoy the call of the Blue Jays and the warm Sierra sun. Also, keep watch for mountain bikers as they sometimes come around curves at high speeds.  Also more prevalent are coyotes, both in the populated areas of South Lake Tahoe and in the foothills where you are now walking. If you see any wild life be sure to slowly walk away as they likely do not want to see you.

 

Tahoe “On A Dime”

OK, here is the info that is really going to save you some money, whether you stay in our condo or somewhere else.

Vacations are expensive!  Not only is there lodging and meals, there is also the huge cost of recreational activities, like ski lift tickets and boat rentals.  Did you know just the cost of the Heavenly Tram (in summer) is an incredible $29 for adults?  Lets not even mention the cost of ski lift tickets in winter until later in this blog.

Lets start out with savings on food. Having your own condo means huge savings on meals. If you stay in a motel room, or at the casinos, you are caught in the trap of eating in restaurants at least twice per day.  At our condo you can stay in and cook two or more meals per day and enjoy morning coffee on our balcony on summer mornings. You can also prepare snacks for day trips. If you stay one week or more the savings on meals can easily equal the price of one night’s lodging!

How to save on food  

Buy your food before you arrive “on the hill” (that is what locals call Tahoe). We are not the biggest fans of Walmart……..BUT when driving to Tahoe from any direction make your first food stop there!  You can save an estimated 25-30% on your food by stocking up before you get to the Lake!  If you come into Tahoe from the west stop at the Walmart in Placerville.  If driving from Los Angeles, or thru Reno from the northeast, there are Walmarts in Carson City and Gardnerville. There is a brand-new Walmart in Gardenerville located just north of Golf Course Road off of Hwy. 395. Stop here before you head east to Nevada SR 207 (Kingsbury Grade) up to the Lake.

Shop at the Costco located on Hwy. 395 just south of the Hwy 50 junction in Carson City for mass quantities of food you probably won’t consume.

When at the Lake, for resupplies, visit Safeway, just three blocks west of our condo and use your Safeway card.  Buy your meals in bulk, if your stay is longer than three nights, this Safeway has a great deli, as well as sundry supplies. We stock up on brand names like the cheaper, generic soft drinks. Buying market brands will save you a ton of money.

Savings on Gas

The same rule applies. Fill up before you go up the hill.  The Walmart in Gardnerville has it’s own gas station. The gas there is even cheaper that the 7-11 on the corner of Golf Course Road and 395. Heading to the Lake on 395 south from (Reno), from the northeast, look for gas before you head up Hwy. 50 in Carson City.  There is an Arco with cheap gas just north of the Hwy. 50/395 junction.

Amazingly enough, the cheapest gas at the Lake is right on the Safeway property! Yes, the Safeway in South Lake Tahoe has their own gas station! Use your Safeway card to get gas and you will find prices up to 15 cents per gallon cheaper! There are a few other independent gas stations in SLT that offer cheaper gas prices but I found the Safeway, about six blocks west of Ski Run Blvd. is the lowest.

Savings on Activities

Look for activity guides wherever you shop in Lake Tahoe. You can easily find guides like, “1001 Things To Do In lake Tahoe”. They are full of discount coupons to save you significant amounts of money. Never pay full price for restaurants, cruises, bike, or boat rentals!  That even goes for summer tram tickets to the top of Heavenly!

We love “free” activities like hiking and biking!  State or national parks charge fees but many hikes in or near SLT are, of course, free!  Try the “Powerline Trail”. Turn right at the top of Ski Run Blvd. on Saddle Road. The trailhead is a couple blocks west.  Another great hike is in Van Sickle Park, just east of the stateline casinos. Entrance is free and the hiking trails are about 1/4 mile on the right. great place for picnics too! Be sure to park legally at all venues as a parking ticket will ruin your day.

Ready for a more challenging hike? The trail is moderate to strenuous but the views and rewards at the top of the trail are stunning. It is called “Round Hill” and there is a trail leading to the top.  Round Hill can be seen from the casino area when looking to the east. It is located just to the north of  Nevada State Beach. The South Lake Tahoe bike path, heading north, stops at the beach, and right next to the beach is Round Hill.  Park near the County fires station and go around the condo complex to find the trail.  Bring plenty of water as the hike gets steep near the top.  And then the views………….

Round Hill hike.

Round Hill hike.

Bikes_1

Biking! All these activities are free and a great way to “wear out the kids” so they won’t bug you the rest of the day. The bikes aren’t free to rent but using the bike paths are.  We recommend “Tahoe Ski And Cycle” just three blocks west of our condo on Hwy. 50. Tell the owner, Gary Bell, “Greg and Penny” sent you and maybe he will give you a discount :).  Further savings on gas can be had if you ride you bikes to some of the venues like restaurants.  We do that and “ride off” some of the calories we eat during our meals. Tahoe is also great for bike riding out to brekafast.

Summer Picnics

There are fantastic picnic areas all around South Lake Tahoe. Picnic with a view of the lake at Regan Beach 1/2 mile west of the Ripke Condo on Hwy. 50. There are also picnic tables in Van Sickle State park just steps from the hiking trailhead as mentioned above. Another great place is Bijou Park on the corner of Johnson Blvd. and Al Tahoe Blvd. Bring your frisbee.

And the best place to picnic? Right in front of our condo! Feel free to use our shared barbecue and picnic table. Enjoy your hamburgers and hot dogs while looking through the pines!

Bal. Vw. 2

Saving on Casino Meals.

OK I admit “the house always comes out ahead”, but go ahead and use your “Total Rewards” card when at the table or machines. Accumulate points as you lose to use for meal credits.  I should have enough credits for at least 300 free meals by now. Just kidding. In a later blog I will review our favorite places to eat. There are dozens of great places to eat on the south shore and even a few places we love on the north shore like “Jason’s”!

Ski Heavenly For Less.

They used to offer discounted lift tickets to lodging properties……..but that was long ago. However, you can ski multiple days at Heavenly for less. You can find the link for their discounted lift ticket program on the Heavenly web site. It is called Peaks and the link can be found at

http://www.skiheavenly.com

Check the internet for other ski discount programs at other resorts. Cheaper left tickets can also be found at Sierra-At-Tahoe and Homewood Ski Area.  Homewood will surprise you. Fewer lifts but some of them have similar lake views as Heavenly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experience Lake Tahoe In Your “Own Home”!

Ready for an unforgettable vacation experience? Why stay in a stuffy hotel room when you can enjoy all the perks of staying in your “own home”?

Welcome to the the Ripke Condo located inside Bavarian Village in the heart of South Lake Tahoe featuring three bedrooms and two full baths, fully equipped kitchen, push-button gas fireplace, free WIFI, two HD TV’s and media center.  We just added a queen sleeper-sofa so our condo now sleeps eight guests.

1st winter snow usually falls in November

1st winter snow usually falls in November

New fireplace and 42" HDTV.

New fireplace and 42″ HDTV

Pin. kitchen

DSCN1535

Pin. mid-bath Pin. master bedrrom Enjoy all the amenities of Bavarian Village during your stay by lounging by the spacious heated pool (Memorial Day thru late September) or relax in the year-round hot tub. DSCN2087 DSCN2089 We just added a new range and refrigerator so you can save $ by cooking many of your meals in!  Have your morning coffee on our front balcony table or enjoy seeing the sun go down between the pine trees from our Adirondack chairs. Heavenly Logo Looking for daytime adventure or night time fun?  The Ripke Condo is just minutes from Heavenly skiing in winter and steps from boating, biking, swimming, and hiking in the summer.  Ski shuttles stop at the complex entrance.  If Heavenly skiing is too much for you we are within 45 minutes from fourteen other world class resorts like Kirkwood, Sierra-At-Tahoe, Squaw Valley, Northstar, Alpine Meadows, and Mount Rose. If all the daytime activities are not enough for you, world-class entertainment and gaming is one mile from our condo at Stateline, Nevada.  Enjoy dining at the top of Harrah’s and then try your luck at the tables or machines. Four major casinos offer you unlimited gaming choices from Harrah’s, Harvey’s, Mount Bleu, and the locals favorite, the Lakeside Inn.  We love the “Improv” comedy show at “Harvey’s”. Casinos 9:08_1

Our rates vary from $79 p/n to $250 p/n during the peak Christmas season and New Year’s holiday.  please add tax, cleaning and management fees. We are managed by Pinnacle lake Tahoe GetAways offering easy payment and check-in.  Call them toll-free at 1 877 407 0245. For more info visit our ads on HomeAway;

http://www.vrbo.com/14651

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p103799

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