Sunday, October 19, 2008

South Lake Tahoe/Stateline CA - Part 2

As autumn approaches, recalling the leisure times of the summer just past (or one of its elder cousins), can cheer the soul of those who like to live in the realm of Vacationland whenever possible.

Now, as the trees on my street begin to boast a golden hue, let’s slip back into summer mode and return to the highway for a second excursion over the Sierra’s and into the scenic Lake Tahoe basin for some much needed R&R…

First stop: The Ponderosa Motel

These happy visitors are enjoying some sunny afternoon time by the unfenced pool. What a great place to catch some rays and contemplate anything-but-work!

40 years on, the Ponderosa is now the Alpine Inn & Spa. The pool has gained a fence along the way and that ugly box thing by poolside is the 'Spa' referred to in the new name. Not much was shaking during my early morning visit.

No problem finding the exact spot of the earlier 'then' shot on this one... Once I climbed the stairs to a certain small second floor balcony area, I knew I'd struck paydirt.

A man named Hoyt was good enough to let us know that he and Betty were doing "...well as can be expected." during their cold, October 1969 visit. Betty had to take some kind of pills (Ludian?) to get right, but things were good " far." I sure hope things turned out well for the both of them...

The small detail shot is worth a quick comparison:

The Monte Carlo once brought a bit of the Riviera to California:

But many of today's Xtreme crowd couldn't find that place on a map, so a new concept in motel lodging was needed. Now, after spending the day shredding on their snowboards or punishing the trails on mountain bikes, they can return to 'The Block', a place that caters to those who enjoy such 'sick' pursuits.

How would you like to see Augie & Margo at Harrah's in the mid 1960's? It looks like they were opening up for Harry Belafonte, who probably sang 'Banana Boat Song' to tipsy but well dressed patrons:

A little farther up Highway 50 on the California side, but you get the idea:

Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino (to the left) was at the epicenter of an odd, bombing-extortion plot in the Summer of 1980. A six-ton, chock-full-o'-dynamite bomb was detonated inside the main tower in late August of that year; here is a clip of the explosion.

I can recall watching the live coverage on local Channel 3. Having seen the Harvey's Casino many times during our yearly visits, watching 'live' as the bomb was set off by the demolition team was curious viewing to be sure.

Getting back to the motels; do we find ourselves in Southern Cal?

Here we are at Malibu...Motel that is...I like those finned beauties parked to the right:

The Malibu stayed on task for many years, until the owners shook off the Malibu moniker and adopted a more wink-wink attitude. I now present to you the newly remodeled "Secrets Inn":

Recreation in the Lake Tahoe area can be as simple as renting a paddle boat and taking to the cold, clear waters of the lake itself. Here's a shot of the shoreline looking back:

And here's two of my favorite people bringing the boat back into port:

Going out to breakfast is a great way to start a vacation day, and the best place to do this when in Tahoe is at Heidi's...

This fine old breakfast/coffee shop is situated right next door to the former South Tahoe Travelodge:

The motel is still going strong as a Howard Johnsons, while Heidi's is still welcoming those with an appetite---

Heidi's was a bit more plain back in the day, but the owners added to its Swiss charms over the ensuing decades until this classic, inviting look was achieved:

Sure, Heidi's is right next door and the food is great, but doubts about staying at the HoJo remian until you check out the status of the pool:

It'll do...But if you're up for an adventure, how about stepping back in time at the Green Lantern?

Oh yes...The Lantern is still lit and continues to ply its trade in the heart of the old motel row:

...And the Monaco Inn was (and is) at the corner of Stateline and Pine Blvd.

I'm happy to see that the giant pine tree is still doing well, right in the middle of the complex:

To get to Tahoe you have to hit the road, and from past travels many of you will know that the Mother Road in these parts is Highway 99.

Just south of Lodi on this fine old thoroughfare, the Victor Fine Foods meat packing plant sits dormant. Closed since December 1991, its towering sign still draws the attention of passing motorists such as I:

Check out the classical foot soldier, champion of the Victor Brand:

Some terrific photos of this sign can be found here and here:

I'll be back with Tahoe Part 3 next time, which should include stops at Magic Carpet Mini Golf and the abandoned Tahoe Amusement Park.

Happy Travels---