It was a rare rainy day in Los Angeles the morning that we left for Tahoe. A weather system that had come from Hawaii and stretched all the way north to San Francisco was bringing heavy precipitation to most of California. We had already postponed our departure since RT80 was closed at Donner Pass, where it winds through the northern Sierras at about 7,000-ft, the night before. Thankfully, we had our new Lexus LX570 so we weren’t too worried about road conditions as long as they were open. We loaded our snowboard gear into the back of the car with plenty of room to spare. At the push of a button, the third row seats folded up and out of the way to give us more than enough room for our suitcases and snowboard bags. We stocked the cooler —conveniently built into the center console—with seltzers and ice coffee and hit the road. After about seven hours, the rain abruptly turned to heavy snow as we headed up to into the mountains towards Donner Pass.
As we drove through the middle of the storm—which would end up bringing four feet of snow over the course of only two-and-a-half days, we felt fortunate to be in such a well-equipped car. We may have never driven in such severe conditions, but our Lexus LX570—with full-time 4-wheel drive had us cozy and safe for the entire journey. We made it to Meeks Bay on the east coast of Lake Tahoe about twelve hours after leaving L.A., and spent the rest of the week snowboarding at Homewood, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley.
On our way back to L.A., since the road south through Emerald Bay was open, we decided to head down the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains and enjoy one of our favorite parts of the country along Highway 395. We explored the wild landscape around Mono Lake to the east of Yosemite National Park before heading to some of our favorite hot springs for a quick dip. Further south, as the ice and snow turned to desert sand, we took a detour into another geographically fascinating place, Alabama Hills. Approximately three-hours north of L.A., Alabama Hills is a rugged, rocky recreation area at the foothills on the Sierra Nevadas. Known as a filming location for many classic westerns, we drove around the Mars-like terrain while the sun was setting in the Owens Valley before heading back to L.A.
We are used to spending a lot of time in the car as we travel often by land and love driving. However, we both admit that the Lexus LX570 made our long trip with its ease of adapting to all types of conditions an absolute pleasure. Thank you to the Lexus USA team for working with us to make this trip possible!