Truckee, CA is only about 30-45 minutes away from Reno, depending on how far over the speed limit you go, but it's a world apart.

Where Reno looks and feels like the desert, Truckee is so quaint it almost hurts. I ended up taking a picture of the Taco Bell for a friend just to demonstrate how "on brand" every single building in Truckee is. Here. Look at it. Look at it with your eyes.

The least Taco Bell any Taco Bell has ever been.

Don't get me wrong. It's stunningly beautiful up there. It feels like a more idyllic version of the forests of my ancestral home in Oregon. The trees are tall, the weather while I was there was cool and mild, and the people are as preternaturally relaxed as only Resort Town People could ever hope to be. It's clearly a vacation spot, which is a terrible place to be when you have to work all week.

But the weekend? Now that's a different story entirely.

I only have one free weekend day in the area and I knew I needed to spend it at Lake Tahoe. There are plenty of other things I would have liked to have seen, but time dictated that I only hit the highlights. And what a highlight.

Tahoe is stunningly beautiful. The water is cool, crisp, and clear. I wish that I had more time to spend in the area so that I could have gone to see it from the South but even just having stopped in Tahoe City I can see why people would keep coming back again and again to experience it. This is one of nature's Good Places that we've managed not to ruin somehow.

The whole area is very much Bear Country. They warned me about the bears when I checked into my RV park, and the trash cans and dumpsters were all bear-proof pretty much wherever I went, but the only bears I actually saw in person were the artistically-rendered kind.

It's the kind of place I'd love to find a reason to go back to. My current plans don't seem to make that very likely, as my goal of visiting all 50 states over the next five years means I've already spent more than too much time on the West Coast, and I'm likely to spend more here before I finally start to make my Eastward journey, but if I ever find my way back to that neck of the woods again I'll be sure to stop by.