|Tonight we went on a Sunset Dinner Cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie on Lake Tahoe. This is a large paddle boat with several levels. We found out when we picked up the tickets we got online that we were on first call. This meant we would be seated for dinner as soon as we boarded the boat. As we boarded at 5:30, we were stopped for the obligatory cheesy picture. We were then told we could pick up a glass of champagne and be shown to our table.
There was one other couple already at our table. We quickly shared introductions as we sipped our champagne. Steve and Mindy are from the Portland, Oregon area and have two grown children. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this much younger couple. We were eventually joined by an even younger couple, Ryan and Shelly from Las Vegas. They seemed to prefer to keep to themselves perhaps thinking the four of us were old friends. They did join in the conversation from time to time though.
The waiters came around to get dinner orders. Funny, with five different entrees to choose from, we all ended up ordering the steak. Salads arrived shortly along with a basket of rolls. The main course was a relatively large ribeye steak with au gratin potatoes and broccoli. It was surprisingly good for a mass produced meal. Then came dessert...vanilla bean cheesecake with a strawberry, a blackberry, and a few blueberries on the side. Of course then we were stuffed.
We vacated the dining room and went up to the second and third decks where we could view the scenery. While we were listening to the captain's tour, the second call group went below to the dining room for dinner. By this time the sun was low and we were touring Emerald Bay which meant the sun was blocked out by the mountains making it rather chilly on deck. (I had intended to bring jackets, but when you leave when the temp is in the 80s you can forget such things.) The captain (or more probably his recording) told us the story behind the large house nestled in the trees on the bay. It was built in the 1920s by a very rich widow who wanted a Scandinavian style castle. The house is still in use by the state of California as a place for weddings, parties, etc. There is also an island in the bay where the widow built a Tearoom to entertain guests. Unfortunately, this has not withstood the elements as well since only a few outer walls remain.
As we came out of the bay, we were treated to a sunset across the lake as the captain's tour. Unfortunately by this time, the sun was so low the pictures did not turn out as we would have liked.
As it got colder outside we retreated to the lounge area where we found that a two piece band had set up on stage. The small pub tables were arranged around a small dance floor although I only saw one couple dance. Of course the two preschoolers who bounced and ran around the rest of the time were a lot of entertainment. I wish I could say the band was good. They played a variety of music from country(All My Exes...), to disco(Stayin' Alive), to Chicago (Color My World). You could get whiplash from this variety. They supplemented their lead and bass guitar with recorded music. I'm not saying they were bad, just not thrilling.
We went back on deck and stood in a somewhat protected area with Steve and Mindy. We had become good friends by now. When we docked, we hugged and said goodbye. It felt sort of like camp where you meet new friends and know at the end you'll never see them again. Sigh.