Tag is exactly Tahoe
2021-07-16Since we aren’t getting on a plane any time soon, we road tripped it up to Tahoe. Taking advantage of having our car, we decided to drive out to places we would normally never visit, such as Sutter’s Mill and Donner Pass. As my husband called it, it was the Huell Howser California Gold tour. Something that was immediately noticeable was the rarity of people wearing masks around Tahoe and through the desert. Though mask mandates were lifted in CA June 15 for the vaccinated, I’d say about 50% of people still wear them (including my family) where we live. However, out in the more rural deserts and mountain areas, there was not a mask to be seen. I thought it was extremely interesting at Sutter’s Mill, which is a state park a couple of hours from Sacramento. The Park Rangers all wore masks indoors, and signs indicated unvaccinated must wear masks indoors. However, the tour of Sutter’s is all outdoors, with the exception of going into some of the historic buildings. I was a little nervous because I worried about my unvaccinated children going on a tour with possibly unvaccinated strangers who wouldn’t have to wear masks. However, when the tour began, I noticed all the families (all strangers to us) on the tour were wearing masks. Our docent asked each family where they were from and we were all from Los Angeles or Orange County. We all remained masked the whole tour. Our docent even commented “you know you can take off your masks outside?” He said it really nicely, but everyone remained masked. This regional difference was extremely interesting to me. I suppose Southern Californians may have a different way of thinking because our case counts were so incredibly high during the winter that they built field hospitals and ambulances were unable to pick up patients. Maybe that has made us more cautious. It was a literal war zone with the enemy being an invisible virus. Or maybe it’s just that every family on our tour took the same kind of vacation we did for the same reason - wanting a vacation but wanting to be outdoors, avoiding planes, and being able to safely distance. Donner State Park also had COVID protocol still in effect, with their interactive displays turned off.
2021-07-10As a historian, US History teacher, and mother of two Asian-American children, I make a point to expose my children to all aspects of America’s history: good, bad, and ugly. Thanks to COVID, we had the opportunity to show the kids one of the country’s ugliest moments - Japanese internment. The desolate desert in the middle of our home state is an area I had never driven through before COVID, despite having lived in CA my entire life and being (supposedly) 8th or 9th generation Californian on my dad’s side. However, there is no way I’m putting my family on an airplane during a pandemic, which limits vacation options. So into the car for an eight hour drive to Tahoe. A drive that goes right past Manzanar, the Japanese American World War II concentration camp. Unlike last year, when we made the same drive for the first time in my life, the exhibits, buildings, and visitor center were open with masks and social distancing. As we stood in the barrack in the 106 degree temperature, I told my kids to never forget how uncomfortable they felt and to consider the fact that they were feeling awful from the heat as tourists. I told them to imagine living in this heat as a prisoner though you committed no crime except having ancestors from Japan. They may be young, but they are old enough to understand human rights. Visiting Manzanar was overwhelming. I am not a very emotional person, but I was taken aback by the fact that this history is so recent. My best friend’s dad was born in Tule Lake, where Japanese-Americans who refused to take the forced loyalty oath were sent. That is only one generation before mine. Seeing and experiencing second hand through family and friends the hatred directed toward Asian-Americans during this pandemic made the experience in Manzanar extra raw. Though I refuse to thank COVID for anything because I think that’s a bit tone deaf for all who have lost and suffered during this pandemic, I am grateful that the circumstances that led us to drive to Tahoe instead of fly led us also to a place of reflection on prejudice and race, especially in the climate of today.
2020-09-11On Friday,09-11-20, I left my home to head to my boyfriend’s house. The air quality was dangerous and I was excited to leave the unhealthy air. I had my bags packed and then his family and I went into the car. We drove 4+ hours past Tahoe to Reno Nevada. The air quality was better and the views were beautiful. The drive consisted of bright green trees, blue sky, fluffy clouds, and gorgeous rocks. The landscape was something that I hadn’t seen in a while. We eventually arrived into the hotel and had an agenda for the next two days. We went to Harbor Shore Beach in Tahoe and we were able to swim in the water. The water was cold but our bodies got used to it. It was so clear, we were able to see the floor, the fishes, and everything else in the water. The whole trip was so amazing it is something definitely worth writing about. I am so blessed to be able to escape the ashes and poor air quality. I was able to have a relaxing weekend while making memorable memories. While I was there I also watched two baseball games on a huge tv and was able to socialize with different parents and families. It was a great experience to be able to catch up with parents I hadn’t truly been able to talk to. The whole trip was super fun and I’m glad I made the memories I did this weekend. Corona has definitely held back many traveling opportunities for me and it was remarkable to be able to do something fun while social distancing. I have learned and this experience definitely emphasized that no matter what is in the way, you can always overcome it and find something fun to do. You must live with what you are given, and make the best of every situation.