Sunshine lightens Tahoe blue |

Sunshine lightens Tahoe blue

Greg Risling

Mother Nature spared residents and holiday visitors from being limited to board games and the tube on Memorial Day weekend by blessing the Tahoe Basin with warm temperatures and blue skies yesterday.

The thermometer peaked in the 70’s after rain and thunderstorms opened the weekend with an unpleasant splash. The streets were teeming with tourists, parking lots were packed and shoreline beaches were lined with sun worshipers.

When it came to traffic, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. A few fender benders were reported and a long line of cars to the casinos stretched from Pioneer Trail to Kingsbury Grade – both ways – during Sunday afternoon. Construction crews shut down one lane of U.S. Highway 50 on the Nevada side for a short period of time, causing a westbound logjam near Stateline.

Whether local residents were willing to admit it or not, visitors to the region pumped some much-needed dollars to Tahoe after a dismal winter. Highway 50 was closed twice earlier this year because of landslides and business owners were excited to see the rejuvenation.

At an arts and crafts fair in front of the Horizon Casino Resort, Christy Carnell, owner of Outback Country had a prime spot for her tent filled with Australian headgear. People were sizing up the western-style hats and Carnell said even in the mountains, people have a taste for Down Under.

“The first couple of days it was a bit cool and chilly but it looks like a lot of people came into town Saturday night,” she said. “I’m just glad there was one sunny day this weekend.”

Camped out on a local beach, Mission Viejo resident Jeff Ayers was basking in the sun. Equipped with his shades, sunblock and the latest novel from John Grisham, he and his family come to Tahoe several times during the year. He is currently conjuring up the next vacation.

“We’ll be back by July,” he said. “There is so much to do up here, how can anyone not like this place?”

Meanwhile, Cindy Orcutt and her cheerleader squad wanted and pleaded for more cars. The Vikings pep crew was screaming with signs on Al Tahoe Boulevard, attempting to stop motorists who might a car wash. The girls are trying to raise money for equipment and clothing. Only an hour into their effort, they scrubbed and polished six cars.

“If the traffic is any indication, there is a good amount of people up here this weekend,” said Orcutt. “It’s a beautiful day and everyone is taking advantage of the nice weather.”

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