Lake Tahoe, Ca (TVL)

7/27/2016

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Route: We flew direct from F70 (French Valley) to O22 (Columbia, Ca) then north east over the mountains to TVL (Lake Tahoe) at 10,500 feet after picking up Flight Following from March GCA. As we got closer to TVL, we followed highway 50 and made a radio call at a know land mark to the local aviation community as “Echo Peak”.

Lets begin this trip with a 0550 sunrise over Canyon Lake, Ca.

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Right to left: Morgan CFI II, A&P, Former Commercial airline PSA pilot, and current student of Texas tech aeronautical engineering program, Eric, and my wife Monique (the human autopilot).

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Screen shot from flightradar24 of our route up to Tahoe.

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Enroute TVL:

This flight provided smooth air which allowed our passenger to get some rest.

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This is around Placerville, CA…… I think.

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I love seeing this when flying over mountains. This is somewhere by O22 Columbia.

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 Today affords us the ability to see what a stable atmosphere it is today due to the smoke from fires more than 100 miles away.

Time in Flight: 2hrs 20min. with ATC diversion over LA.

Airport Environment:

  • Class E non-towered
  • Fuel- Yes 5.50/gallon
  • Food- No. Town is about 3miles away.
  • Runway is 8541ft by 100ft.
  • Elevation is 6254ft.
  • Runways are Left traffic for 18 and Right traffic for 36.
  • Runway 36 has a 2000ft displaced threshold.

As we followed highway 50 east, we spotted the runway and we were about 1500 feet above the field and on a 4 mile final for runway 36 but just above the rugged terrain. At this altitude I felt it unsafe for a final approach into runway 36 due to extreme rising terrain in all directions.

We flew east of “Falling Leaf Lake” as we continued a decent for a mid field crossing for Right traffic into runway 36. The topography around right pattern for 36 is rugged, runway 36 has a displaced threshold which helps greatly.

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TIP: TVL is nestled in a very mountainous region and knowledge of mountain flying is essential.

TIP: I YouTube videos of the approach into TVL and learned what the locals do. I also researched common pilot landmarks where pilots make radio calls to give position reports. I found Google Earth helpful when doing this. I also found that I was well prepared for the airport environment by preparing the way I did.

FBO: Upon landing, we were contacted by the FBO asking us our length of stay followed by a guided escort to a tie down location. I also had rented a car from Enterprise online which they brought out to the tie down spot before we could even get out of the plane. Great service

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TIP: Online prices DO NOT include the airport fee. Our rental car was about 20 dollars more due to this fee. Oh well.

Mountain west FBO had many great accommodations such as a lounge, free refreshments, and free WiFi.

 

Near by accommodations

We rented a car from Enterprise that costs $62 dollars online but as I mentioned before, the airport adds a 20 dollar or so fee. Tim at Enterprise was great to deal with. I would absolutely do business with Tim again.

TIP: If we have to rent a car, I use Enterprise every time. I have found them to be great with customer service so far.

Our first stop to review was a local favorite called MacDuffs Public House. The ambiance and the weather was great so we sat outside. The service was rewarding as well.

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In side the bar area was very cool.

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We ordered a couple local beers (a must) chicken wings, onion rings, and a BBQ pizza. All dishes were among the best I have tasted due to the food being created from scratch in house. The total bill for 3 beers and the food was a respectable 50 dollars or so.

TIP: The locals at the airport raved about their home made Shepard Pie. We did not get this because we were planning on coming back for dinner but never did. GET THE SHEPARDS PIE! I wish I did….

Thoughts: Great food, friendly service, cold beer and good price. A must for TVL pilots.

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Boat house on the pier was a great stop of refreshments (beer) the happy hour lowered the price to I believe 4 or 5 dollars per beer. The view was amazing and great for a pit stop.

We did not eat food here, however, the menu is filled with many choices of fish dishes. It makes you feel as if you are on the ocean.

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After a few hours we became hungry again and decided to try out the Brewery at Lake Tahoe…..How can you lose?

We got different variations of hamburgers and I’m very disappointed to report they were dry and over cooked. The meal was less than what I would be able to cook at our campsite, absolutely lackluster.¬† They had pizzas that looked great but judging them on their inability to make a hamburger, I didnt have much hope for the pizzas.

Of course we had to try their beer, being the Tahoe brewery. I had their seasonal Dry hopped session IPA that tasted like disappointment. I have had my share of sessions and this was one I could do with out. My wife ordered the Belgian White but was not the best I have tasted. Your results may very. Obviously we did not try everything on the menu but we were disappointed with the experience. Sorry.

TIP: Find another place to enjoy Tahoe at. By the way, the brewery is located right on the BUSY main road making outside dinning just irritating.

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Places stayed

Since we had only enough time for one night we decided to enjoy the AMAZING weather and camp. Campground by the lake provided nearly the only availability for a camp site in south Lake Tahoe.

The campground was clean and 200yards from the lake which was great. The camp was busy and full of large motor homes. The camp site separation was minimal, meaning that camp sites were so close you are practically  having dinner with all your neighbors come supper time. It was definitely a family camp so this made quiet time and sleeping no bother for noise.

TIP: Make reservations early!!

Thoughts: I would not go back only because I/we preferred dispersed camping and solitude. But for convenience and location this site did its job.

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The car is ours, but the other campers were not. Very close quarters with no visual separation.

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In the morning after packing up our camp and saying good bye to all three neighbors (sarcasm) we headed for breakfast. Bert’s is sure to provide your body with amazing nutrition to begin your day.

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I highly recommend Bert’s Crepes Benedic, shown on the bottom right.

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Trip conclusion:

Bluntly put, I would not go back to South Lake Tahoe but allow me to explain why. Tahoe is a VERY beautiful place! Our visit was only to South Lake Tahoe which we found to be VERY busy and over crowded. We minded that, we enjoy being far away from as many people as possible. I dont enjoy crowds and the site of traffic makes me sweat. I guess that’s why we fly.

Im sure there is much more to see around Tahoe and places to camp and hike. Again, we only saw a small part of Tahoe so keep that in mind. We only were reviewing our experience.

Departure:

Most of the pictures were taken while over this area.

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We departed over the lake and climbed above the mountains to the west to do some scenic flight.

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-May your prop always spin

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