I hitch a ride from the trail with a man, a woman, and their dog Carson. By the time I arrive in South Lake Tahoe, it’s all giant rain drops and rumbling thunder. I ask to be dropped off at the Motel 6 which is supposed to have a hiker special. I gather my now soaking gear from the back of the pickup, thank my ride, and wave goodbye.

The Motel 6 is totally booked. I check the interwebs for other options. Everything is booked (even the hostel which I’m afraid to stay in anyway, fearing the vomiting death bug I contracted twice). Evidently, there is some celebrity golf tournament thing this weekend.

The rain eases slightly. I walk soggily down the street looking for motels with vacancy signs. The Matterhorn’s neon signs glows in the rain. They want $165 for what two days later will cost $55. We settle on $119.

I shower and put on my sleeping clothes (slightly cleaner than my hiking clothes) and go across the street for Thai food. Tom Kha Gai soup, I love you.

Namaste texts the next morning. He and his dad are in town. We meet at the Keys Cafe, a perfect little joint with great coffee, smoothies, pastries, super laid back vibe, nice music, and free computers/internet. Namaste neglects to tell me that his Dad is a Tim Robbins lookalike. We give him the trail name Shawshank. He’s in Tahoe doing trail magic. Shawshank saves my day by driving me back to Echo Lake Chalet where I sent my bounce box and a resupply (and buys us all ice cream cones)!

Namaste and his dad (aka Shawshank) at Keys Cafe

Namaste and his dad (aka Shawshank) at Keys Cafe

Back in my motel room (today the price went up to $135, gah!), I blog, sort, box, and sleep. Showering and eating a pizza naked while watching a movie in bed sounds like just about the greatest thing ever. I order one online and just after I place the order, the electricity goes out. Not just at the motel but in all of South Lake Tahoe. The storm caused some problem. The pizza place calls back and says they won’t be able to help me. I then realize that the water has stopped running and I don’t have any water left in my pack. It’s dark and boring in the motel room. A town without electricity is utterly worthless!

I walk down the street and find the only place open – a gas station convenience store. It looks like locusts have wiped it out. I get a lonely bag of Doritos, bean dip and salsa plus some packets of mayo, mustard, and chopped onions which will come in handy on the trail. I return to my room, put on my headlamp, eat chips, and look at FB posts.