Thursday, December 10, 2009

Trip to Lake Tahoe – or not

The nice thing about blogging is that you can do it when the event happens or later, but you can back-date the post to reflect the correct time period. That’s what I’m doing here today – not because I didn’t want to write about the events, but because I just simply have not had the time. So, here I sit on the bus, calmly reflecting on our trip to Lake Tahoe, and I can now say with certainty that IT SUCKED! IT WAS AS MISERABLE AS IT’S ABOUT TO SOUND! FERNLEY, NV, (while probably a nice place to visit sometimes) WAS NOT FUN! There. I said it. The passage of time did nothing to make this trip any better than it was.

Being the ever economical (cheap skate) person that I am, I took advantage of a time-share sales pitch with a perfectly nice company (Diam*nd Resorts). Their customer service was awesome, and I would recommend them to anyone. I will use them again if I find myself traveling to a place that they service, although we’re not going to buy any time-shares any time soon. Anyhooooo…. The original trip was changed, and then it was changed again, and then we couldn’t go to our original destination, and then it was changed (all us, by the way). Finally, they said “Look, you’ve paid for this, but you’re going to lose it. Do you want to go to Vegas or Tahoe?” Well, we aren’t really Vegas people, and Bub’s folks got married in Tahoe, and it just sounds so pretty, and we finally made our reservations for the first week in December. As the time approached, I questioned a coworker who hails from that area, and she assured me that it was beautiful and we would love it and blah, blah, blah. As our travel date approached, I checked and re-checked the weather several times since we would be driving.

Travel day: we packed the boys into the car, dropped the dog off at dad’s, and headed out. I didn’t tell Bub that the weather forecast had changed, but even so, it wasn’t supposed to be horrible – just snowy, which we deal with all of the time. Here’s a tip: this is an exceptionally boring drive. I did my best to keep everyone entertained, but holy cats….. It was cold as we stopped for snacks in Wendover. It was colder as we stopped for gas in Elko, and then it hit.

Weather: SUCKED! At first it was cold and windy. Fine. Then, it was cold and windy and that snow-that-has-particles-so-small-that-it-looks-like-fog-when-big-rigs-and-wind-whip-it-around started. This foggy-snow got so bad that we were down to just one lane with the exception of the incredible idiots who would whip past us every so often. I assume that some of them were off the road later, but how would we know? You couldn’t see the tracks going off the road due to the foggy-snow, and we couldn’t have seen 10-feet past our doors anyway. I hope none of them froze to death. The foggy-snow eventually turned into a heavy paste-like offering which just got more and more slippery with every passing mile. This also occurred at almost the same place where we were supposed to turn off to get to Tahoe instead of Reno. We made the exit, but the roads were treacherous and nobody else seemed to be going this way. We opted for the long route.

Did I mention how much Bub hates to drive in the snow with the boys? Well, she does. Have I also made note of the fact that when she stress-drives, she really STRESS-drives and gets a little frazzled/defensive/ornery/bitchy/freaky? Well, she does. Finally, since I mostly like to present myself in a very positive manner, have I failed to mention that if there is a bitch contest, I simply MUST be the winner? Well, it’s true. So, this drive was particularly enjoyable….

Finally, in order to get to our destination, we had to get off the freeway. The “round about” was really no help at all, and we just couldn’t figure out which road (of six) to take. Much crankiness ensued. We decided to stop at a service station, buy a map, and ask for directions. As I was talking to the attendant, Bub was talking to people in the parking lot. She stuck her head in the door of the c-store and simply said “We are not going anywhere.” Turns out, several cars had crashed on the road that we needed to take. It just wasn’t worth the risk. So, we decided to spend the night in…. nope – we didn’t even know where we were.

Fernley, NV: Yup. Fernley. I’m sure in other situations it’s probably tolerable, but not so much on this night. Whatever. Screw it. We just need a hotel. Lo and behold (the angels started to sing), there are some hotels right by the c-store because we happen to be in trucker paradise. We headed to the first one on our side of the road with vacancy (a lot of people were already hunkering down) which also happened to say “Pool.” Niiiiiice. We can entertain our little terrors. We checked in, promptly had the boys start jumping on the bed, and I ran over to the nearby casino to grab some dinner and to the Wal*Mart for some beer/wine. I, of course, forgot to buy a corkscrew…..

We were greeted the next morning by at least two feet of snow that had fallen on our car overnight. The cars on either side of us had both been damaged in accidents, presumably from the night before. What a mess! I toodled on over to the office for our complimentary breakfast. For a Sup*r 8, it wasn’t bad at all. The selection was good: muffins, bagels, cereal, coffee (no hot chocolate), fresh fruit, milk, juice, coffee cakes… I loaded up and headed back to the room.

After breakfast, we decided to swim and then assess the travel situation, certain that we would be able to proceed on to Tahoe by lunch. So, with our swimming suits on under our sweaters, pants, hats, coats, and boots, we trudged back to the office to take a little dip. And, little it was. Bub and Peanut got in first, and his lips immediately turned blue. Both being haters of cold water, Meatball and I slowly followed. We swam for about five minutes all the while thinking that if we just moved around enough that it would get better. Yeah, not so much. But, ahhhhhhh…… the hot tub! We can just play in a much smaller pool, right? Nope! It was SCALDING hot. Bub wouldn’t even go in to the point where it would touch Peanut’s toes. SONOFA…… We went back to the room to jump on the bed more, but not before the boys took a nice warm bath. They totally splashed up the joint.

At some point, food was in order. We asked the lobby clerk what was close, and settled on the Quizn*s. The four block drive was dicey, scary, and generally not fun. The roads had been plowed, but SINCE IT WAS STILL SNOWING LIKE A MUTHA it didn’t seem to matter in the least. Almost everything that we passed was closed – restaurants, fast food, stores, city offices, schools – so we were lucky that we were able to get sandwiches. They took a check – not because they wanted to or because they’re just helpful like that – but because there was NO POWER and they couldn’t scan my card. Frankly, I think that they were happy to have somebody to serve since any refrigerated products needed to be eaten pretty quickly.

We returned to our room to watch the local weather person tell us to hunker down and wait it out. Ahhh, fun. After a nap, we all hiked over to the Wal-M*rt to waste some time. After a tip from a friend, I thought that we would be crafty and create Christmas trees out of ice cream cones and M*Ms. Not paying a bit of attention, it wasn’t until we got back to our room that I realized that I got the wrong kind of cones. Instead of the funnel shaped ones, I got the flat-bottomed cones. So, we attempted to make Christmas hedges. What-friggin-ever. It kept us occupied for a little while. Then, we just watched TV. I did trek to the swimming pool again, but it was still fah-reezing. More tub time! All of our fellow travelers stayed put, too. Tonight: over-priced and crappy Chinese food that I walked through drifts of snow to retrieve.

The next morning: still snowing. STILL SNOWING. Now, we’ll never get to Tahoe. Screw it. Weatherman: stay put. Roads: crap. Attitudes: tanking. Patience: gone. Me to the lobby clerk: Where do you go for fun around here? Lobby clerk to me: Well, there’s the W*lMart….. AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then, she wised up and recommended a great bowling alley with a huge indoor play area (since the McDon*ld’s didn’t have one). It was probably going to be busy since the schools were closed, but we were willing to face hundreds of kids. Which we would have IF IT HAD BEEN OPEN.

We stopped by the neighboring beauty salon to find out about the bowling alley’s hours, but none of them knew a thing. Funny. The entire town is at a standstill, but women can manage to still get their nails done….. Fine. Let’s go to…. We’ll….. Maybe we should….. FUCK! We are trapped in small hotel room with two toddlers!!!! What are we going to do? Liquor store, you say? Why, yes, thankyouverymuchdon’tmindifIdo. Salons and liquor stores – the only places open….. After we picked up a six-pack and another bottle of wine, we thought that we would give the bowling alley another shot. And, then the angels started to sing because the proprietor was plowing the lot!!!! We waited. You bet your ass we did. We were the first people in the place that day. The boys bowled their first (and so far, only) games. They had a blast.

Then, we ordered some greasy fries and went to the play place. It really was huge. And cool. They started having fun jumping in the balls and going down the slides, and then…..

The manager turned on the air system. So cool is this play place that it has a whole compressed air system that shoots those plastic balls around – ball fountains, ball guns, ball blowers – it’s bitchin’. Unless you’re two. Then, the noise is scary, and you just cry – a LOT. OK – let’s go back and hunker in our teeny jail cell of a hotel room and enjoy more crappy take out. It was so unexciting that I don’t even remember what it was. Lots of bickering, and TV watching. Really, that’s about all there is to do in Fernley.

We woke up the next morning and couldn’t pack stuff into the car fast enough. The weather had cleared in time for us to return to home and work. Oh, yes. The weather is always good when the weekend is over. We never made it to Tahoe. Instead, we drove the nine million hours home. After only about three million of those hours, our windshield wipers stopped wiping. They just stayed in one spot. No biggie if the weather had been perfect. However, the weekend worth of snow ensured that the roads were just wet enough that every semi-truck splashed gunk all over our windshield. We stopped about 5932 times to clean the glass with snow. It was a real treat. (By the way, the wipers worked just fine the next morning…..)

The vacation company that we booked through was nice enough to extend our package AGAIN since it was weather related. We had our choice of going to Vegas or Tahoe. Bub has declared that we are NEVER going to Tahoe again. Frankly, I think that this is unfair since we never actually made it, but whatever. Vegas it is. Fernley, NV, and its surrounding salons/liquor stores/terrifying bowling alleys/icey pools, is in the books.

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