In visiting my mom this weekend (in Sacramento) - we had previously decided that if the weather co-operated, that upon my visit - we'd take her dogs for a drive to Lake Tahoe. We did attempt to take her dogs, but one of her dogs was really not enjoying the drive, so we dropped them both back home.
I've never been a big fan of Sacramento - from what little i've seen, it's a flat, very non-descript area. The last time I was here, I drove to Folsom to attend a Hare Krishna service and i couldn't help but notice how pretty it was out there.
Anyhow, there are different parts of Lake Tahoe that you can visit from Sacramento. You can take I80 to State Hwy 89 South to visit the north part of Lake Tahoe or, what i did as it seemed a bit shorter - was take US 50 to South Lake Tahoe.
The drive itself was reallyl very pretty. As soon as we got to US 50 (in the Folsolm area) i was again, impressed. The further we drove, the prettier it became. I was quite surprised that the further east you drive on US 50 - the more it changes. For the first 1/3 of the drive - it was ~incredibly~ reminiscent of Nashville, with green rolling hills - really made me "homesick" for Nashville. Then the second third was more reminiscint of Seattle, with big tall burly type trees and more mountaineous type areas - this made me happy that I now live in Seattle and have much to look forward to in that city. The 3rd part of the drive was phenomenal. It was totally twisty windy with views that were some of the most impressive i've ever seen. Part of the drive bordered along a river (i forget the name, exactly) and in that river, there was many pretty rocks to add to the scenery and just beyond, you could see the mountains, some snow capped.
Just before hitting South Lake Tahoe was a ~very~ impressive downhill drive. At some point, the highest elevation during the drive was an amazing 7,283 feet - lake Tahoe is at approx 6,500 - so we had to drop that much in a very short period of time. It was similar to going down Cabbage Hill (on I84 Westbound in the NE corner of Oregon), views were amazing, windy as you're going down the mountain, having to be very cary and slow.
Once getting to South Lake Tahoe, that too was as amazing as i've heard. I actually saw Lake Tahoe one time, when flying from Nashville into Sacramento - and we flew over Lake Tahoe. I've also seen pictures but - really - pictures could not do it justice.
The area was incredibly accessible. I'm guessing that part of it was due to being only mid-April and also, perhaps it's not the most explored part of Lake Tahoe - i don't know, but i was able to drive right up to the beach area, with plenty of parking, and walk, in solitude and take many beautiful pictures (yet to be posted to flickr).
The lake itself, amazing, the water appears both greenish and bright blue, there's a little sandy beach with rocks jolting here and there and lots of white doves (?) sitting in the lake and flying about, and last but certainly not least - the absolute grandeur of the (many sno capped) mountains in the background.
I was there just long enough to snap some pictures but this area has definitely peaked my curiosity and i hope to return again at some point.