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Serving Truckee & Tahoe November/December 2019 South Fork American River, Kyburz CA - Photo by Aaron Jones

Successful Un k n o w n s The Stephens, Townsend Murphy Party

History can be unfair, the bad usually overshadowing the good. While tragedy and misfortune abounded in wagon trains trying to cross the Sierra Nevada to California, trips considered “uneventful” went without much notice. This was the case with wagon trains over the summit, later called Donner, in the 1840s. In 1847, stories and rumors grew so rampant around the Donner Party victims, that just a scant three years earlier was forgotten a more important wagon train; one that had achieved what European-descent Americans to that date would have thought was impossible—carving that first practical wagon route over the Sierra Nevada Mountain range to California, in November 1844. It was much more than a regional accomplishment. The Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party paved the way for the rest of the

A Publication of publisher: harryJONES editor: allisonJONES layout design: aaronJONES contributing writers: GENWRIGHT kaneSchaller


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pioneer world. They successfully opened a way to some of the most beautiful country imaginable; ripe for settling and building a new life for many. A wagon train named Bidwell-Bartleson made the overland journey in 1841, however they took a more southern route, going over either Sonora Pass to the south and east (Hwy 108) or Ebbetts Pass in the same vicinity (Hwy 4), from the Walker River. Theirs was a journey not well documented, as it was not written down until 50 years after the party had crossed to California. The Stephens party route became the main overland thoroughfare to California with only two deviations. Both had to do with going around the rugged Truckee River Canyon by turning north at what is now Verdi, Nevada and going up over Dog Valley and into the area of today’s Town of Truckee. The Stephens-Townsend-Murphy party left from Council Bluffs, Iowa with 50 in their party, in the spring of 1844. They began with 11 wagons on the route of the Oregon Trail, opened in 1843, but veered for California at Fort Hall, Idaho. At the Humboldt Sink, where the Humboldt River disappeared, they were left wondering how to proceed. An old Paiute Indian calling himself or saying

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what sounded like “Truckee”, happened upon the party and they decided to investigate the route he advised them to take. When the scouting party returned, they did in fact find the river old Truckee had told them about and they took him on as a guide. There was still much trepidation about this route; however, there was no time to waste in more discussion. Clearly, the Truckee River Canyon was one of the hardest parts of the Stephens Party’s journey as the mountains and rocks came faster and closer together the farther west they traveled. They arrived in the area of Truckee on November 14, 1844 and parties were sent out to search for a better route to Sutter’s Fort than the large, imposing walls of granite that lay before them on the summit of now Donner Pass. Six in one party went toward Lake Tahoe and viewed it from a point now known as Tahoe City. Besides Kit Carson, nine months earlier, no non-native man had ever viewed the lake and they were astounded. As no easier route was found for the main party, they opted for the Summit before them and abandoned any wagons where the oxen were too tired to make the journey over the “granite walls”. continued on page 4

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S u c c e s s f u l Un k n o w n s The Party crossed the summit on November 25, 1844. They left three men behind in a cabin they built at Donner Lake to guard the six wagons they couldn’t take. (This cabin would later be used by the Donner Party.) Joseph Walker, Allen Montgomery and Moses Schallenberger soon departed the cabin because the snow was so heavy, it was clear that game for food would be hard to find and trap.

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would go on horseback to Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento Valley due to lack of provisions. They built a cabin for the women and children and made their way to Sutter’s Fort by early December. They were met at the fort by Joseph Walker and Allen Montgomery, who followed after them from Donner Lake, and the party of six that scouted a route down from Lake Tahoe.

purchased 160 acres he called “Blackberry Farm” on a creek and reservoir that were later named for him, but spelled “Stevens”. He farmed the property, growing grapes, blackberries and fruit trees. He purchased another 155 acres in 1859, but sold all his property in 1864, as more and more people settled the area. He relocated in the present-day Kern County and started a small ranch, which later became Bakersfield. Stephens died and was buried there at the age of 83. Dr. John Townsend took part in the last Mexican Revolution and then traveled to what is now San Francisco in 1847. He built his home and physician’s office on the south side of California Street between Montgomery and Sansome, where the Merchant’s Exchange Building now stands. He is the first known licensed physician to practice in the California territory. We cannot know how much he would have accomplished had he and his wife not died suddenly in 1850, helping during a cholera epidemic in San Jose. Townsend Street in San Francisco is named for him and his contributions.

Stephens, Townsend Murphy Party Memorial Plaque on Donner Summit Poor Moses Schallenberger could not keep up and had to turn back to the cabin at the lake due to illness. There he spent the whole winter by himself, keeping a detailed journal of his days and the type of food he had to eat to stay alive. His story is epic in itself and the south ridge of Donner Lake is named for him—Schallenberger Ridge. Also, a ten-foot imposing rock on the west end of Donner Lake has been named Schallenberger Rock as Moses did such a detailed job describing the Party’s ascent over this roadblock. (They fashioned a crude block and tackle using their cattle to lift the wagons and supplies up the rock.) The main party took three days to get to Big Bend on the South Yuba River with less than half of their original wagons, still a superhuman feat. Here it was decided that the men


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It wasn’t until February 1845 that the men could come back to get the women and children, which was a successful relief trip. In June, the snow had melted and a party was formed to bring the wagons left at Truckee Lake. When the returning party arrived, they found that all their possessions except the guns and ammunition had been taken by the Indians who summered there. Of the fifty members of the party, remarkably all of them survived and two more were added: On the trail at Independence Rock in Wyoming, Ellen Independence Miller was born and while the women and children waited for rescue at Big Bend, Elizabeth Yuba Murphy was born. One of the principles, Captain Elisha Stephens migrated to the San Jose area,

Martin Murphy, Sr. and his family, which made up the largest portion of the entire party, acquired 9,000 acres and settled in the valley below El Toro Mountain, which is now Morgan Hill. Martin’s children each have their own legacy in the area, but his son John, nineteen years old when they reached Sutter’s Fort in 1845, later married Virginia Reed, a survivor of the Donner Party. In 1994, a long overdue celebration took place at the foot of a 7,250 ft. peak, overlooking Donner Lake. Some of the Stephens, Townsend, Murphy Party descendants were on hand as the mountain was renamed Stephens Peak, on the sesquicentennial anniversary of their summit crossing. This year, November 25 marks the 175th anniversary of the party’s crossing: a testament to perseverance, invention, faith, family strength, the best in human nature and what a small group of people can do when they work together toward one goal.



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by Gen Wright

Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. But we know that is not always possible, nor is it convenient. If you must drive in snow­— and we must — make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle the current road conditions. It is helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you are familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle. Driving your car while the roads are slippery can be a stressful ordeal. While some vehicles are well-suited for the snow, some are not and require preparation and know-how to keep the car under control. Take into consideration some of these tips to ensure a safe winter. GET YOUR CAR SERVICED REGULARLY Preventive maintenance is key to protecting your car this winter. Make sure your battery, cooling system, and windshield wipers are in good shape. You will spend less money servicing your car than you will spend on towing and fixing it if your car gives out while

you are on a dark, snowy road. In addition, you may want to buy snow tires. They have special treads that dig through the snow and allow the vehicle to maintain better traction. They are also made of a more tender type of rubber, to prevent freezing in cold temperatures. Prepare your vehicle before the winter season begins by following these simple steps: * Check your brakes and tires * Check that your battery and ignition system is in good condition * Check radiator coolant and sturdiness of hoses and belts * Check your anti-freeze and thermostat * Check your windshield wipers and de-icing washer fluid * Check your headlights, tail and brake lights, blinkers and emergency flashers * Check fuel and air filters, as well as your oil * Properly lubricate door locks that may be prone to freezing

you should be able to bring your vehicle to a stop with distance to spare, rather than having to slam on your brakes and slide into other vehicles. If your car starts to slip in place while you are trying to accelerate from a standstill, ease up on your gas. It is important to remember that wheels have better traction when they are not slipping. Many cars lock the transmission in second gear to facilitate easier starting from a slippery surface. No matter how much preparation and experience you may have, the way your car will move on snow or ice is always an element of unpredictability. Anticipate turns and stops so you can approach them gently. Practice caution and care when it comes to driving your car this winter season. To plan ahead log on to and check conditions before you leave.

AS YOU DRIVE While driving, be sure to look ahead and keep a safe distance from the vehicles in front of you. As you drive, scan the vehicles around you and look out for brake lights. If you have properly kept your distance,

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The State of the Truckee / Tahoe Housing Market by Kane Schaller

The Truckee/Tahoe real estate market appears to be a little less predictable, but is still strong. As of November 4, we have exactly the same amount of inventory as we had November 4, 2018, for Truckee through North and West Lake Tahoe. Additionally, there are more homes under contract November 4, compared to last year (about 14% more) and almost 7% less homes sold for the first 10 months of the year versus last year.

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Q1 Sales




Q2 Sales




Q3 Sales




Jan- Oct Sales




Nov 4 inventory




Nov 4 Under Contract




Interestingly, these stats change fairly dramatically depending on what subset of the market (geographic or bound by price range) you are looking at. There is, however, a lot to be wary of in the market, with a fair amount of geopolitical and economic uncertainty. While it is easy to “not buy”, it is decidedly harder to get out once a real estate buy has occurred. Therefore, while there remains a fair amount of uncertainty, we expect the market to be somewhat tepid until there is a clearer course. The best advice I give my clients, if selling, I would recommend doing that quickly. If waiting to sell until we are within 6 months of next year’s election, the number of variables at play are just too many to predict. If looking to buy, I would recommend to plan for at least a 4-5 year hold. If you have questions about your home or market specifically, I suggest you take a more granular view of what is happening for homes in your neighborhood. As we say, all markets are hyper-local.

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education, avalanche/safety programs and to raise awareness of winter management issues.

Dec6 – Festive Fridays

could take a ride on The Christmas Express! Directed by Stewart Ayers, Assistant Director Carrie Haines. Performance address is 10046 Church St. in Truckee. Go online for tickets and times. N

Nov16 – Cadillac Ball

The Rotary Club of Truckee proudly presents the 41st annual Cadillac Ball to be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. Truckee’s most glamorous event features a gourmet dinner, silent auction, and extraordinary live entertainment. Dance the night away while raising money to support Truckee-Tahoe youth, seniors, and nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, the Cadillac Ball has raised over $1.5 million. One hundred percent of the event’s proceeds are returned to our community through a monthly grant-making process, helping fill the financial holes for hundreds of local nonprofits, charities, and grassroots organizations. These funds have supported Our Truckee River Legacy, Sierra Senior Services – Meals on Wheels, youth and education, arts and culture, animal welfare, and more.

From 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., celebrate the season and get your holiday gift shopping done the first three Fridays in December. Businesses in historic Downtown Truckee stay open until 7:00 p.m. and many provide refreshments. Enjoy the beautiful holiday atmosphere downtown and enjoy activities, holiday music and specials. On Friday, Dec. 6, there will be a Scavenger Hunt (kids love it, but it’s for everyone). You’ll receive a list of participating businesses where you will search for a hidden object in the store. Once you find the object, your passport is stamped, and you move on to the next one. Turn in your stamped Scavenger Sheet for a drawing - 3 winners will receive a prize!

Dec14 - Santa’s Fly-In at Truckee Tahoe Airport

Bring your kids to the airport at 10 a.m. to watch Santa fly in on a special airplane! While they visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, take a great holiday photo! Enjoy hot chocolate, yummy holiday treats, and special gifts for the kids at this annual event. Don’t miss Santa’s fly-in: he arrives right on time at 10 and will stay until 1:00 p.m.

Dec19-21 - The Christmas Express

Nov16 - Backcountry Film Festival

This festival is produced each year by Winter Wildlands Alliance as a celebration of the human-powered experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snow sports community. The 15th annual Film Festival will tour more than 110 cities from November 2019 through May 2020, reaching 22,000+ backcountry adventurers, and raising over $200,000. Funds raised stay in the local community to support human-powered recreation and conservation efforts, winter


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Hilda dreams of faraway places and only finds tedium in running the Holly Railway Station. That is, until Leo Tannenbaum drops in out of nowhere the day before Christmas Eve. Suddenly, an old radio that hasn’t worked in years springs to life, the local group of carolers (which usually yowls like a gang of wet cats) begins to sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the whole town gets the Christmas spirit. Coincidence - Or is Leo doing all this? This nostalgic theatrical greeting card is full of eccentric small-town characters, wisecracking their way to finding the true wonder of Christmas. And on the way, they make us all wish we

Nov30 - Holiday Hop

Kick off the holiday season in style at the Tahoe City Holiday Hop! Stroll and shop through our local stores to begin your holiday shopping while enjoying wine, snacks, good cheer, and festive surroundings at our one-of-a-kind, locally owned, Tahoe City businesses. Be sure to pick up your Shop Local card for a chance to win some great prizes. Lots of special activities will be happening town-wide throughout the day.


- 8 - Tahoe Film Fest

Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP) presents the 5th annual Tahoe Film Fest! Those who live in and around Lake Tahoe respect their environment and there are countless organizations that exist to protect Lake Tahoe. Because of this, the premiere section of programming is environmental films. This is a way of not only educating young people but celebrating the efforts of everyone who helps to maintain the beauty of such a pristine lake and its surroundings. Tahoe Film Fest also highlights a section of American Independent Continued on Page 12



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Continued from page 10 Films, New Films from Latin America and a Filmmaker Tribute. Special guests will be present at the screenings and all ticket sales benefit SWEP’s education programs for Truckee-Tahoe youth. The festival will take place at the Incline Village Cinema.

cruise into Emerald Bay. Not only are there fabulous photo opportunities, but the cruise also offers a fascinating history talk and special video presentation. Welcome Veterans!



Nov8 - TAMBA Fall Party

Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) Fall Party and Movie. Celebrate another great year of mountain biking and trail building with TAMBA and a showing of Return to Earth! They’ll be at Heavenly’s Cal Base Lodge with a pasta dinner, drinks, raffle prizes, swag and membership drive. Enjoy food and drinks at 5:30 and films around 7:00 p.m. at the Heavenly California Main Lodge - 3860 Saddle Road in South Lake Tahoe. (Top of Ski Run Blvd.) Free for everyone!

Nov8 -10 - Free Sightseeing Cruise for Veterans

Lake Tahoe Cruises will honor all veterans and active military with a special ‘Vets Ride Free’ offer Friday through Sunday on the MS Dixie II. Guests are invited to bring the family and enjoy a special scenic cruise on the lake. The offer is valid for the 12:00 p.m. Emerald Bay Sightseeing Cruise only. Military must show proof of service at the ticket booth to receive their boarding pass. Considered one of South Lake Tahoe’s most entertaining and affordable water activities, the Daytime Scenic Cruise on Lake Tahoe is a 2.5-hour


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- 24 - Winter Wanderland

Dec28 - Disco Snow Tubing at Squaw Valley Squaw is bringing SnoVentures to life with colorful LED lights, lasers and live DJs from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Disco tubing is the family-friendly party where you spin down the tubing lanes to music and lights! Tubing times are 5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 p.m. every Saturday night through March 7, 2020 and every night between December 26 and December 31, 2019. Tubing tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, sessions are 55 minutes long, tickets are available for purchase at SnoVentures Activity Zone and hours available will be weather permitting.

ho-ing” and greeting folks! Bring the family, and even get some shopping done early.


-17 - Weekend of Giving

Visit 25+ El Dorado County wineries, where they will be giving $1 per bottle of wine sold, to The Center for Violence-Free Relationships. A wonderful opportunity to not only get your holiday wine shopping in but to support our community and share in the spirit of giving! The Center for Violence-Free Relationships is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families, and communities free from sexual assault and domestic violence through education, advocacy, and services in western El Dorado County. Go online for your map of the wineries, https://, select your stops and enjoy this special weekend! 

Tahoe Heritage Foundation is welcoming the community to experience a new vision for the South Lake Tahoe’s “Old Tahoe” summer estates. The Tallac Museum and Gift Shop will celebrate the coming of winter with a special weekend held in conjunction with the Valhalla Holiday Faire. They will remain open during this magical time with special holiday lighting and decorated touches throughout the historic estates and along the walk/bike path. Wander and explore the historic site and lakeshore listening to sounds of the season. Enjoy the magic of this time of the year as everyone waits for the snow to fly! Featured at the venue is special programming for the whole family, but especially the young at heart!

Nov29 - Heavenly Village Christmas Tree Lighting

Heavenly Holidays presents the Community Christmas Tree Lighting in the Heavenly Village. Gather ‘round as Santa lights our monstrous 70-foot, highly lighted, cut fir tree! The kick-off ceremony will include caroling, live music and fun for all! Tree lightings are daily at 5:00 p.m. after November 29.

Nov17 - Pray 4 Snow Prohibition Party

From 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., join in the Pray 4 Snow Prohibition Party featuring an old-fashioned craft cocktail contest with local bartenders. It doesn’t get much better than that! Hosted by Lake Tahoe AleWorX, Stateline location. Tickets are $30, but $25 for LOCALS, enjoy Electro Swing DJ, Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned Contest and Costume Contest with a $100 winner! Contact for tickets!

Nov22 - Annual Valhalla Holiday Faire

Join us for Valhalla’s annual Holiday Faire featuring a wonderful variety of local and regional arts and crafts vendors, refreshments from the bar, photos with Santa, an amazing raffle and holiday cheer to kick off the season in true Tahoe style! Picture it: The Grand Hall is decked out with a huge Christmas tree, lights and holiday decorations; seasonal treats waiting to be eaten, thirty local vendors and artisans displaying and selling their wares and to top it off, the South Lake Tahoe Children’s Choral Society performing Christmas carols. Don’t forget Santa “ho-ho-

Dec31 - Heavenly Holidays New Year’s Eve Celebration heavenly-holidays.aspx?page=viewall

Heavenly Holidays reach their zenith on New Year’s Eve when fire, lights, and music fill the air. From 3:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. enjoy live music on the Main Stage, and at 9:00 p.m., (in time for the midnight Ball Drop in New York City’s Time Square), Heavenly’s Gondola Ball Drop will cross above the crowd, and a fabulous fireworks show will light up the night.

Continued on Page 14







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animal groups and Santa himself. Enjoy a hot chocolate and take a photo with Santa.

Dec14 - Reno Santa Pub Crawl



At 11:11 a.m., a traditional opening ceremony takes place at the Virginia Street Bridge and includes a Fly By. The parade starts at 11:20 a.m. and marches through the heart of downtown Reno, starting from the Virginia Street Bridge and heading north to 5th Street. Spectators are encouraged to show their support along the parade route and announcers will review the parade from several locations: the Virginia Street Bridge, 2nd and Virginia streets, the Reno Arch, and 4th Street. Ending between 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., the commemoration takes place rain or shine.

Dec6 - Minden Tree Lighting Event

Nov28 - Wobble Before You Gobble 10k/5k

Event kicks off @ 5:00 p.m. with music from the DHS Jazz Band & Fire Pits with S’mores. Kids who bring a canned food item or a donation for the Carson Valley Food Closet receive a goodie bag and a chance to help Santa light the Gazebo! Santa arrives at 6:00 p.m. to light the Gazebo! A free dance performance and much more!

This is a fun family start to your Thanksgiving morning. Join us for a beautiful 10K & 5K run/walk/wobble before heading home to your Thanksgiving feast! The race kicks off at 9:00 a.m., at City Plaza in downtown Reno Proceeds benefit the Children’s Cabinet.

Dec6 - 7 - Sparks Annual Hometowne Christmas Celebration

Come to downtown Sparks and enjoy the spirit of the holidays in a traditional way. 1) Friday night at 6:30, the traditional tree lighting ceremony takes place in the heart of Victorian Square. Free live music, singalong and cocoa for the kids. 2) Saturday from 1 – 3 p.m., enthusiastic spectators line the parade route on Victorian Square for their chance to see Santa and celebrate the holiday season. The Christmas parade starts at 1 p.m. and features hundreds of parade entries, including floats, marching bands,


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Dec7 - Annual Parade of Lights

Bring your family and friends, grab your blankets and chairs to watch the Floats, Marching Bands, Color Guard and of course THAT special Guest from the North Pole, make their way along Highway 395 from Eddy Street to Minden Park. Starting at 5:00 p.m., our theme is “Favorite Holiday Movie”.

Dec14 - Carson Christmas Craft Fair

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Nov11 - Veterans Day Parade

It’s the largest Santa Pub Crawl in the country as thousands of merry-makers descend upon downtown to enjoy good spirits & yule-tide cheer! The event has drawn nationwide attention – more than 15,000 holiday-clad revelers are expected each year! There will be more bars as well as other pre-Crawl activities on Friday night, with fun and even Santa skiing on Saturday! The event gives all proceeds to local schools because educated kids make better elves. So, help support the Claus, buy a cup, book a hotel room and attend this weekend of charitable, holiday FUN!!

local & unique crafters, businesses, & local representatives. Raffles, food, goodies, free swag bags, & more! From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Fuji Park, 601 Old Clear Creek Rd. in Carson City.

Nov29 - Festival of Lights in Placerville

The Placerville community gathers each year, filling Main Street with family, friends and visitors to share the magical moment when they kick off the Holiday Season with the lighting of the Christmas Tree. Davey Wiser will be giving stagecoach rides from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  Shops are open late; restaurants are ready to serve all who enter and there will be entertainment on the street. This year there will be live performances by the El Dorado High School Jazz Band and Choir on the steps of the courthouse, Jammin Dancers on the street. The tree lights up at 6:00 p.m. and there will be opportunities to take pictures with Santa at T.W Bonkers.  Come early, parking can be a challenge, but it is so worth it!

Dec8 - Hangtown Christmas Parade

This annual Placerville tradition has recently been sponsored by and is a production of the Taylor Family of the Hangman’s Tree Ice Cream Saloon on Main Street. Sue and Tim Taylor share this labor of love with a grateful community and all visitors who want to join in, as all of Placerville gathers to celebrate the wonderful organizations and businesses that make El Dorado County a great place to live and work. 

Dec8 - 22 - Victorian Christmas in Nevada City

The enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty holiday foods fill the air, along with cries of street vendors hawking their wares and lamp-lit streets filled to overflowing with authentic Christmas treasures: handcrafted candy, jewelry, pottery, perfume, dolls, and over 100 different items in all. It’s the one and only Victorian Christmas – full of new shows, sights, sounds and attractions. It’s on Sundays and Wednesdays in December, see the online event for times.


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November/December 2019



Profile for Community Ink Inc.

Northwoods Tahoe November - December 2019  

Northwoods Tahoe serves Truckee and Tahoe. In this Issue: Successful Unknowns, Practice Safe Driving, November - December Calendar, and more...

Northwoods Tahoe November - December 2019  

Northwoods Tahoe serves Truckee and Tahoe. In this Issue: Successful Unknowns, Practice Safe Driving, November - December Calendar, and more...