finding the here and now

I made it. Starting at 7:45 a.m. (we got a late start) and 45° F (7° C) on Sunday, my dad and I took off from our cabin and didn’t look back. We rode clockwise around the lake, starting from the south shore. It was my first organized ride—Bike the West: America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride—and kind of fun. There were a lot of cyclists on the road and people cheering along the way.

The first big climb was around Emerald Bay, a popular tourist spot on the lake. At the bottom of the hill, right by the shore, is an old home called Vikingsholm. It’s quite pretty and made entirely from materials native to the Tahoe area.


Later, at about thirty-one miles, we hit Tahoe City and Commons Beach on the west side of the lake. The view from Commons Beach is lovely.


Commons Beach, Tahoe City


Boats anchored off Commons Beach

While we were riding, I tried to take pictures. Taking pictures while riding is trickier than it sounds. It requires:

pulling your camera out of your back pocket without dropping it, getting the camera’s wrist band around your wrist (also without dropping the camera) to ensure that you don’t drop the camera, holding the camera with one hand while holding your handle bars with the other, snapping random shots of nearby scenery (hoping to get a good one) while keeping your eyes on the road in front of you . . .

And then, when you are finished with your tomfoolery:

getting the wristband off of your wrist and reinserting the camera into your rear pocket (again, without dropping it). All of this while pedaling furiously to keep up with your dad who is unaware of your ridiculous antics in front of you.

When it’s all said and done, this is what happens:

(Was it worth the effort? You tell me.)


Boats and sun from a bike


Take Two: Boats and sun from a bike


Trees and sky from a bike


My dad




At about mile fifty we hit a town called Incline Village, after which there’s a long climb along the northeastern shore up to Highway 50, where we finally got a break. These pics were taken a few miles past Incline Village.


View from North Tahoe, just past Incline Village


My dad and me


More tired than I look

I’ve often said riding my bike and running are my “escape.” They are my chance to think about . . . everything. That’s certainly true on a ride like this—for the first few hours, anyway. After a while, though, one of is forced to find the “here and now.” There is only so much thinking about Asia that one can do while pedaling, and pedaling, and pedaling . . . and grinding, and grinding, and grinding . . . and gritting your teeth, and gritting your teeth, and gritting your teeth . . . Besides that, this ride isn’t called “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” for nothing. Tahoe truly is a beautiful place.


I survived!

And . . . I did it!

(Now onto other, more interesting things . . .)

Images: Mine :)

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50 thoughts

  1. Interesting to read that one finds the “here and now” when all the other possible things to think about have run out. Tremendous endurance. Well done!

    • It’s true. After a while, your mind starts to go blank. You can’t think about much of anything anymore… I’m sure that there are other ways of finding the “here and now.” This was just my silly way of tying back to my last post. ;) Thank you.

  2. I was hoping you also got pictures of all the wildlife, like some birds, various varmints, etc., while you were pedaling & pedaling & grinding & grinding &…..I mean, where’s the cinematic effort Jessica!? ;) LOL

    Seriously, that is an incredible feat & all great pics! Wow, I cheer on the sidelines here in between my sips of double Irish Crème café! Woot woot!

    • You crack me up. My apologies! I will try to do better next time. The checklist: bears, eagles, foxes, deer, chipmunks, Canadian geese… But, thank you! And that double Irish Crème café would have been a great start to my ride! Next time.

    • Thanks, Mark. To me, Tahoe just feels like home. But I don’t deny that it’s a nice place to feel that way about… I’m jealous that you’re in the U.K.!

    • Thank you. Tahoe is gorgeous. I love riding with my dad. My brother and his girlfriend and some friends of theirs were there, too, but they didn’t ride with us. It was a good weekend. :)

  3. The Emerald Bay photo is fantastic. Taking photos while riding is fantastically crazy – glad you survived! And, well done on completing the ride and finding “the here and now”.

    • Haha, thank you so much, Pat. I’m glad you think taking photos while riding is crazy. That makes me feel even better about it! ;) And, yes. Isn’t Emerald Bay great?

      Thanks again!

  4. Nice shots, love the sun rays on shot #4 (and also the angle of the shots of #4 and #5), the talents of shooting while riding :-) Title of this post is fantastic…

    • Thank you… I checked out your site—your work is amazing!! You make me want to move back to Asia right now. (It could happen.) I’m glad you liked the title of the post, too. I debated it… Glad it appears I chose right!

      • There is a lot to shoot & see out here, not a better time than now :-) “Finding the Here and Now” is great, and should be on everyone’s mind when they wake up. Off to China tomorrow and then the DPRK…three weeks without internet will be good (although I think there is always a way to get on line these days). Enjoy your week.

      • Oooh, that’s really neat. I’ve never been to Mainland yet, though I’m sorely tempted to take a teaching job in Wuxi next year. All of my friends who’ve been in China have managed to get online… Enjoy your trip! Will be looking forward to your photos when you get back. :)

      • The mainland is amazing, although a very different creature in terms of living (environment & pollution takes getting use to). Wuxi, so funny you should mention this city. Have been there many times, have a very good friend who has a factory there…let me know any plans.

        As for getting online in China, you are correct, it is very convenient 95% of the time, but “they” block some sites like WordPress, NY Times and FB (although I am not a big FB fan, so no great loss there). But e-mail and browsing is not a problem… Enjoy your day.

      • Good to know re: the Internet in China. My friends in Wuxi don’t seem to have any trouble accessing facebook and the like. I’ll have to ask them how they do it.

        Yes, I’ve heard that the mainland is a lot different from friends who’ve been there. As you know, Hong Kong residents aren’t too fond of Mainlanders… After living in rural Taiwan, though, I feel I can handle just about anything!

        Also, I’ll definitely let you know if I head that way. Am currently torn between a writing job here and a teaching position there. We’ll see.

    • Well, thank you for caring enough to follow along! It’s fun being able to share some of my life—and what spurs the thoughts I share on my blog—with my readers… And, haha. I don’t know about talent. You saw how crooked those photos were! :P But thank you!

  5. oh i love Lake Tahoe. i camped in Emerald Bay. the air is so pure and the view spectacular. did u stop at kings beach? thanks for reminding me of good times.

    amazing that you biked around the lake because that is no small lake!

    • You’re very right. It’s not a small lake at all! We didn’t stop at Kings Beach this time, though I’ve been there before… The mountain air is what I miss most when I leave home. I truly am spoiled here… Glad I could remind you of good times!

  6. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to ride and take the photos! It surely is a beautiful place. I barely remember my visit there as a child.

    The picture of your dad paints the picture well. Seems focused on a solid placing!

    • Lol. Yes, he was completely unaware! I’ve taken photos while riding a few times before, so I’ve had a little bit of practice. Never dropped a camera, either! I must say I am quite proud, lol. If you ever get the chance to visit again, do it! It truly is a gorgeous place.

      • The next time I drop into Norcal, I need to convince my friends to venture away from the coast! Not an easy feat to do though. Some have one track minds!

      • I’ll bet—it’s gotta be hard to get away with your love for surfing! But there are awesome things to do in the mountains, too. That’s why I love California. Here, we have it all! :)

    • Thank you, Sam! You’re so sweet. And, yes, my dad and I look quite a bit alike. It’s the jaw. ;)

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  7. Nice pics Jess, I would love to do this scenic ride someday – sans camera. I’ve just started riding seriously with the H2 cycling club in London. Nearly a month in and I’m up to 30 km, yay! I’m hooked on the adrenaline rush, trying to keep pace with the pack and the whole fitness lifestyle. So awesome – perfect practice to be in the here & now enjoying nature, being one with the bike and riding with dad! Glad you shared your perfect day with us. :D ☼

    • That’s awesome! I wasn’t sure how big cycling was in the U.K. I haven’t been riding in groups much, but I know that that’s a really great way to test your and improve your skill level! And 30 km is a great start! Tahoe *is* a gorgeous ride. I hope that you get to do it someday!… And that I get to ride in the U.K., too! ;)

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