We’ve been on the road for nearly 3 weeks now and our lens and pens commitments have been sitting on the back burner. Today is my first chance to sit down and think over everything we’ve done since I last put pen to paper or finger to computer.

Our road trip started two Fridays ago when we head East for a redneck weekend in Shingle Springs. In California there’s a loop hole on Native American land that means anything goes, so naturally this means that casinos start appearing. Cousin Chris decided it was his responsibility to show us how gambling is done across the pond at the Red Hawk. Apparently the process involves getting so overwhelmed by the flashing lights and unlimited soda you start throwing money helplessly at slot machines, hoping that the magical pharaoh will match up with the crazy eyed gypsy and return at least one of your twenty dollars. Or something like that.

The cabin tucked away in the mountains is something completely different and after a day out on the family speed boat (doesn’t your family have one in the garage?) the peaceful retreat became a beer, BB gun and blues blur. We even saw a real life wild Republican, who once smoked weed with Neil Young, true story. Sunday was a hangover day.

Not so bright and early our next stop was Lake Tahoe. The drive up was quite something and I didn’t quite believe the guys at the cabin about the dramatic surroundings until (look away dad) I was edging the truck across Echo Summit with a 7000ft drop on each side and not a barrier in sight. Lake Tahoe is stunning but the south shore is slightly tainted by the bright lights of more casinos, however this time it’s because we’ve crossed into Nevada. Keeping our bills as far away from the roulette tables as possible we went straight for the water.

Everywhere has been off season since our arrival which has been a blessing and a curse. In Tahoe it means that all the kayaks have been sold but there’s a huge canoe we can have a go on for as long as we like. Now, Mark and I are already a little tetchy from being cooped up in the car so stick us on a canoe where we have to coordinate and things have the potential to get messy. Luckily I’m at the back and can do all the face pulling I want, while Mark is the one that nearly falls into the water head first. It’s hard to argue with someone once you’ve seen the look of horror and realisation on their face that they, and their iPhone, might be swimming with the fishes. Only because you’re laughing so hard there’s no time to shout.


Back on land it’s another scenic drive around the lake to Vikingsholme. There’s a downhill hike to the castle, that we’re warned is hard work, but we’ve quickly learned American trail descriptions get lost in translation. It’s just a mile down to the beach and instead of forking out for the castle tour (it’s very different to the ones back home) we relive a corny movie scene and dive straight into the crystal clear water fully clothed.

The next family cabin in the wilderness is in Arnold. Hand built by Popo it’s truly incredible. From the outdoor shower to the huge fireplace, it’s the perfect romantic getaway. At first the idea of no phones, no internet and no one else around sounded bliss but by the third morning and 10th episode of Spongebob Squarepants we were beginning to understand the meaning of cabin fever first hand.

Next up, Auberry….

Current Location: Shingle Springs, Lake Tahoe, Arnold
You’ve Been Framed moments: 1
Money donated to Red Hawk: $30