Day Three – Into the High Sierra, the Retreat Begins

Posting on Saturday morning – from the Aikido retreat at Granlibakken – about Friday, June 2

Angels Camp – Highway 49 – Grinding rock State historic Park – town of Volcano – up Highway 88, over Carson Pass north to Lake Tahoe over Luther Pass – retreat at Granlibakkin begins

Yesterday I drove from Angels Camp to Tahoe City via Carson pass — the two-lane highway 88 that crosses the Sierras at 8000 feet. It was an absolutely beautiful drive. I abandoned most of my aspirations about things to see along the way, and that worked out perfectly. It took a lot of pressure off, and I still had a very good time.

Volcano, California

The only goal I hung onto was stopping to buy something at the general store in Volcano. There is no volcano there, but the original settlers in the area thought it looked like one. It was only a few minutes off my route, and seemed like a good place to get out and stretch.

The general store there is the oldest continually operating business in the state, and the town has a lot of history associated with it. I My rule about road trips is they only count if you spend the night somewhere more than 50 miles from home, and if ice cream is involved. So the historic store seemed like the perfect place to have a milkshake.

I did make one other stop. On the way to Volcano I passed a new state park that I had heard about — Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park. I only went for a quick walk to see the outdoor areas. It’s a beautiful place. Here’s a quick look.

From there the only thing to do was get up into the mountains and get to the retreat. I had originally planned to skip over most of the stuff in the foothills in favor of seeing more of the high Sierra, but I was out of time and couldn’t fit in many side quests. It was just as well! Most of the little roads I had planned to explore were closed – covered with snow.

I did stop at a bunch of turn outs to gawk at the scenery and take a few photos.

Oh! And at the top of Carson Pass – 8000 feet above sea level — I met two bicyclists and the woman supporting them. They had started out at the Golden gate a few days ago, and are riding to Iowa! I had seen signs all along the way about sharing the road and wondered what kind of people would be riding bikes up this highway. Well, here they are! I wish I’d gotten a better picture. I didn’t think of it until I was in my car, and they were talking to someone else by then.

My Aiki Road Trip 2023

This post is part of a series: My Aiki Road Trip 2023. For about two weeks I’m sharing my adventures and photos on my way to the Aikido at Granlibakken retreat at Lake Tahoe, insights and fun during a week of great Aikido training with dear friends, and the trip back. I’m driving through the Mojave Desert, San Joaquin Valley, California’s Gold Country, and High Sierra, exploring the historic water situation — rivers, reservoirs, dams, flooding, and Tulare Lake, plus gold rush history, and amazing nature and scenery.

At the bottom of each post I include resources for further exploration about each day’s adventures – books, videos, maps, links, images, etc.. For the trip in general, here are more California History Resources for Road Trips.

I mostly posted these from my phone, with limited Internet access. There may be typos and glitches. I’ll come back to fix them later. You can email me at [email protected].

Getting Settled at Granlibakken

I managed to arrive three minutes ahead of my scheduled time! I will be staying at this lovely resort in Tahoe city for six nights. Today was about getting checked in and unpacked. My room is lovely, with a little balcony and a view.


It was great to see so many friends. I’ve only had time to say hello to a few. We had dinner this evening and then training.

Between too many nights of inadequate sleep and the high altitude here I discovered pretty quickly how wiped out I was. Also, I had been rushing around for weeks — first to get ready for the trip, and then the past few days actually driving and visiting places.

I realized a few minutes in that I really needed the evening to rest and wind down. To just stop. So I watched the rest of the session and headed straight for my room at the end of training. I am skipping the morning classes today so that I will have a better week ahead. Planning to take on the rest of Saturday with more energy and focus, and after all my recent running around it feels good to be unpacked and settled in.

What’s Next?

We have a whole lot of training ahead! Five hours most days, but all of Monday afternoon off to enjoy the area.
For now, I managed to sleep in a little. Having oatmeal and coffee in my room, then it’s time to get dressed and head out for my first session of the day.

Further Exploration for Today’s Adventures

A few more links, if you want to dig further:

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

Aikido at Granlibakken – Everything there is to know about the retreat. This is an annual event. I highly recommend it.

Also be sure to check out my post, California History Resources for Road Trips, where I share several excellent books/audiobooks, tours, videos, and websites.

About the Author — Linda Eskin

Linda Eskin began practicing Aikido in 2009, at age 46. From the beginning she was inspired to explore how Aikido is taught and learned. In addition to mentoring adults, and now teaching a weekly Focus on Fundamentals class for students of all ranks, she assisted in the children’s programs for over eight years.

Linda loves Aikido both from the technical perspective, and as a practice of awareness and embodiment. She is completing her forthcoming book, Aikido to Zanshin – 26 Essays on the Martial Art of Peace.

Linda’s passion is encouraging people to begin, and supporting new learners of all ages.

Linda trains with Dave Goldberg Sensei at Aikido of San Diego, in California, and holds the third black belt rank, sandan.

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