Breeze and Marley are joined once again by another guest paddler for leg 9 of her 72 mile journey around Lake Tahoe. This time she paddles with her friend Travis from Commons Beach to Kings Beach on the North Shore:
LEG 9: Commons Beach to Kings Beach
It really is neat how this Lake Tahoe circumnavigation journey has had a way of connecting me with friends, new and old. Leg 9 revived my friendship with a buddy from college in New Mexico, Travis. Travis and I hadn’t spent any time together since 2007 when he graduated, but we had no shortage of things to talk and laugh about while paddling from Commons Beach to Kings Beach on the North Shore of the lake.
With Tahoe Nalu in its final day at Kings Beach, we met at the Lakeshore tent and drove together to Commons Beach in Tahoe City. With excellent parking karma, we snagged a prime front row parking spot in the free public beach parking. Travis took a few trips from my car to the water with our boards and paddles while I tried to figure out how to get Marley into the water without getting in trouble for having her on the beach. I opted for the road less traveled by (Robert Frost wouldn’t mislead me) and lead Marley through a grown-in woodsy area beyond the parking lot and away from the hustle and bustle. As we quickly snuck through the bushes, we stumbled upon three guys and a dog that were also hiding out. Startled, I blurted out a poor attempt at camaraderie to my fellow fugitives as I scurried by them and onto the beach (cue same reaction as groomsmen at Leg 4’s Edgewood wedding debacle). I picked up the pace as we sprinted across the beach and into the water, meeting Travis and the boards on a rocky shoal.
We quickly got on our way, with a nice tailwind pushing us along for much of the trip. With lots of boats and docks to maneuver around, there was never a dull moment. The first notable area we passed was Dollar Point, known for its impressive location and high end real estate. Marley was so inspired by one particularly impressive property that she decided to abandon ship to take an equally impressive dump in front of it amongst the granite boulders. Now, I’ve already proven that I am a dog poop picker-upper in even the most inconvenient circumstances, so I will trust that no one will judge me too badly when I say that this time it just wasn’t going to happen.
After retrieving my Retriever, we continued around Dollar Point, past even more houses and private docks, and to Carnelian Bay where we stopped and got out of the water below Garwoods. Being that my Lakeshore board is a Wet Woody Sport, I thought it only appropriate to have Garwood’s signature frozen drink, the “Wet Woody”. The plan was for Travis to go up to the bar, order our drinks, and bring them back to enjoy them on the beach. Does anything ever go the way I’ve planned it out in my head? Evidently not. Travis returned, after a curiously long absence, holding a half pint of vodka and a Naked brand smoothie. Wait, no. You got that wrong Travis. He probably noticed the confusion crinkling up on my forehead and offered an explanation: There was a ‘No alcohol beyond this point’ sign, so he went across the street to 7-11.
While we all know how I would have handled that minor setback (see Leg 7), I was amused and impressed by Travis’ resourcefulness. As he poured our make-shift Wet Woodies into 7-11 paper coffee cups, I thought about how life is so much like those concoctions. We have an idea of how things are going to go– we plan on that idea, obsess over it even, and get thrown off when things don’t go the way we pictured. But how cool is it when you sit back and realize that the unplanned things that happen, the makeshift 7-11 Wet Woody type things, end up making life even more interesting and extraordinary. The alcohol-inspired musings of Breeze Turner. I digress…
After finishing our drinks (which probably contained way more alcohol than I should have consumed before attempting to do anything that requires coordination), we hopped back into the water and began the last few miles of our paddle. My drunken pirate legs kicked in within a few minutes, and I managed to flip myself backwards off the board and into the chilly water in front of several onlookers on a floating platform. Travis, who had already fallen off his board for no apparent reason, made the smart decision not to poke fun, and waited patiently for me to get myself together.
The most memorable part of our trip came right at the end, as we paddled past some sort of condominium complex right before Kings Beach. On the porch of one of the units was a small group of people enjoying sunset cocktails and a view of the lake. As we passed them, they started to cheer. Now, this wasn’t the ‘Aw there’s a dog on a paddleboard’ type of cheering I am used to. This was the ‘routing on’ kind of cheering that you give people when they look like they are in need of some sort of motivation. Then it hit me: Tahoe Nalu, the huge paddleboard racing event, had just ended and these people must have thought we were the last two paddlers to cross the finish line. Whether their hooting and hollering was out of pity or not, we accepted their encouragement and waved as we crossed the finish line of our 10 mile paddle.
After retrieving my car in Tahoe City and saying goodbye to Travis, Marley and I started to drive back to Reno. With a spectacular sunset brewing and no reason to rush home, I opted to pull over at the far side of Kings Beach. I got out of my car and stood on the sidewalk overlooking the water as the sun dipped below the mountains. I can’t think of many moments in my life that rivaled that one. Overwhelmed by a feeling completeness that I’ve never experienced before, I stood and basked in the glory of an unforgettable Summer sunset in one of the most incredible places on the planet.
About Breeze Turner
Breeze is a transplant from Anguilla, a little British island in the Northeastern Caribbean. She spent most of her childhood on the water, snorkeling, surfing, waterskiing, and exploring, until moving to the US for school. In 2010, Breeze moved to Reno, where she works as a Realtor.
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