Last month, on October 16 was my ‘5 year” Truckee-versary. I took a leap of faith, and followed my heart. I arrived jobless, ready to learn, and to adventure. I figured out the job thing shortly after. I got a taste of BIG winter. Aspirated quite a bit of snow, and stuffed my car at least three times in my first few months, and became a professional sledder. After the last snow storm… on June 12 (no joke), we got down to business and I realized why people really love this place, Summer, it’s the best and every year you never want to see it fade! We climbed, climbed, hiked, climbed some more, and I was hooked.
” I came for the Winters, but I stayed for the Summers. ” – everyone
So let’s get something straight here though, I am not a ‘local’ at least not yet. According to my cute + silly, and very ‘local’ husband, I still have at least 15 years to go. His bench mark is 20 years in town, and then you get your honor badge. Although, he jokingly said once you aren’t truly a local unless you are born and raised in the area. Tough crowd haha, but I am cool with it. I actually like it this way. I have my own view of the area, although sometimes biased, because of my ‘local’ influence, but that’s what makes it fun!
That brings me to this… I have read a lot of blogs of “what to do in Truckee,” and “things every Truckee local understands,” so I wrote my own version. Just my observations, and the things that I love about it here.
- The “outdoors” is literally out your door.
Can you name a place in Truckee that you can’t see a mountain, a bunch of trees, or patch of open land outside a house/building in town? I’m sure there is somewhere, but I have yet to find it. The best part, if you don’t get to look up at Donner Summit from your window all-day like hubs does, well, you are still only 15-30 minutes (depending on where you are) to awesome! You can get to classic climbing spots, swim in a lake, fish, hit a dirt trail, hit the slopes or on a good day… do it all in the same day, and never hit any traffic!
- To SUBI or not to SUBI.
Guilty. Like a large amount of the Truckee population, we own a Subaru. In fact, we own two! I have always owned a Subaru, and I like to think “once you go subi, you never go back.” I don’t know about you, but I plan to drive my Subaru into the ground. It’s not the only way though. Some residents are ride or die, and others, well let’s face it, most of them have trucks… (there are other cars though). I will say, if you played Slug Subi (don’t try this at home), well, everyone arms would be black, and blue all over.
- Roundabouts are a way of life.
The town of Truckee has the same amount (7) of stop lights and roundabouts! In general, they are helpful. They keep traffic moving, but I do have one complaint, why is there not more education on driving through them? In Europe everyone blinkers when they are exiting a roundabout… pretty helpful don’t you think? In Truckee (during peak seasons), it feels like 50% of the time, drivers entering don’t understand they must yield. Ok, sorry, one more complaint. Truckee does need to take some notes from Bend, OR on roundabout art! Does anybody really like those large muticolored ‘daisy’ flowers by the recreation center?
- Do yourself a favor, and get an All-day Addiction.
Go to JAX don’t even look at the menu, and just order this. It’s two eggs (get poached), over mixed greens toasted in pesto, ham, hash browns, roasted tomatoes, topped with balsamic reduction… ask to add goat cheese! This is something I will go out of my way for, and have even perfected making my own at home! They really do serve it all-day, I have ordered it for dinner at 9 pm.
- You get used to the trains sounds.
The train goes right through town if you haven’t noticed. Remember way back, when the 267 bypass didn’t exist and everybody going to towards Northstar and the lake drove directly through town? Oh and then a train would come, and you would wait for-ev-er. Not to say that we still don’t when a train comes though, but it’s not that bad! Also, after working downtown for a brief stint, I came to realize you learn to tune-out the horn blasting, as a train speeds through town, clacking down the tracks. It all adds character to town, and I love hearing the train in the distance from our house.
- The 4th of July is kind of like Christmas.
You might think I am joking, but feel like I am always counting down the days until this holiday, just like Christmas. I am always excited the night before, usually wake up early, get all decked out, stoked for the festivities. It’s also like Christmas, because this small town has a bazillion traditions! Pancake breakfast, firecracker run, parade, the troop of old guys with rocking the ski + boots routine, water fights, ‘locals’ only at West End beach (I don’t really care for this part, sorry) and fireworks. I am always bummed when it’s over, but always excited, because each year brings new ‘presents’ good times and memories.
- The shoulder season is sacred.
Ok, yes, it sounds ridiculous, but it happens twice a year and if you blink you will miss it. If you live in Truckee you know when it is, and you cherish the time. You can walk through Safeway without a cart-traffic-jam, and the lines aren’t backed into every isle. You can pull up to your favorite bar and find an open seat. You can find an open dock at the lake. And the best part, you aren’t constantly dodging cyclists riding on Old Forty or being pissed off that you are following a semi-truck down the lake as they attempt to avoid chain control.
- New Years means Frenchies.
Although there are new places in town, The Cottonwood is still iconic, has the best view looking over downtown, and is home of the French Margarita aka Frenchie. I hope this place never changes, also the food is scrumptious! I recommend the butternut squash enchiladas, and they have been serving the whole leaf caeser salad the same way for 26 years. My favorite party is that we have had a Frenchie on New Years since 2009. Everyone has there spot, and this seems to be ours!
- There are no ‘friends’ on POW days.
I thought this was a joke, until I stuffed my car in the driveway for the first time. I tired shoveling, rocking, and the “stick your rubber floor mats under your front tire trick” but NOPE. I was stuck. I watch my husband, then boyfriend, roll down our driveway, blower pow rolling over the front of the car, as he was off to ski! On a normal day, we would have been in the same car, but he was going to ski, and I was going to work and to ski later in the afternoon. I waited for an hour, and our landlord eventually plowed the driveway and pulled my car out.
- You will always have that “one friend” that thinks Truckee is close to South Lake Tahoe.
Maybe this isn’t true for you, but I know there is always going to be somebody in my life that think Truckee and South Lake are right next to each other. If you are zoomed out really far on google maps, sure, it looks close enough, but no. No matter what way you go, it’s a hour. Not only is it an hour, but it’s one-way-each-way and I wish I had a stat for how many people drive around the lake during peak season! Oh, and “friend” during the Winter, sometimes the road closes. Long story short, Truckee isn’t Tahoe, we have Donner Lake, and some of us only see Lake Tahoe a handful of times during the year. Strange concept I know.
I could have fun all day with details that make Truckee unique, and a total mountain town (the opposite of where I grew up), but the kicker is that we are extremely fortunate to call this place home. My husband and I own our home (mortgages aren’t cheep), both have great jobs, and get to spend a lot of time outside having fun year round.
Congrats! My five year Tahoe-versary was last week. Even though I moved to Truckee in May, I’m counting it all together. I like to differentiate between “local” – live here year round, full time or close to it, non seasonal employment, and “lifetime local” – born and raised. I can call myself “local”, but I’ll never be a “lifetime local”.