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For years, a silent war has raged in the Western United States as Californians and Nevadans jockey against one another for state supremacy.

Because of its size, California offers more urban centers, agricultural production and places of learning. Not to be outdone by such trivial nonsense as food, clothing and education, Nevada boasts no last call and legal gambling and prostitution.

With so much palpable tension, and with so little in the way of separation between the two states, this battle is one with seemingly no end in sight.

That is, unless the answer lies afloat the beautiful, tranquil waters of Lake Tahoe that both states share. For what squashes a rivalry faster and more definitively than paddle-wheel boats?

You heard correct, those majestic boats used by Zephyr Cove Resorts for tours of Lake Tahoe are the epitome of the Nevada vs. California rivalry.

In one corner, the M.S. Dixie II wields its massive size and the spirit of the Silver State. In the other, the historic Tahoe Queen is the perfect embodiment of California’s class.

Neither paddle wheeler is exactly a rapier knifing from shore to shore as its crews raid, pillage and plunder, but trying to decide a true champion between the two is about as difficult as determining whether Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly or the Lonely Island did boat music better.

The stats

Perhaps the best way to find a winner between the two ships is to look at the statistics.

Advanced analytics and metrics are all the rage in sports these days, and boat racing is no different. When it comes to the M.S. Dixie II and the Tahoe Queen, you’ve got to consider which ship’s got the better paddle-to-wheel ratio, the nautical impact above replacement craft and number of Tahoe Tessie attacks per tour.

Most statistics are made up anyway, right?

OK, so maybe fictional analytics don’t do the M.S. Dixie II and the Tahoe Queen justice.

Both boats are cultural icons that treat lake-goers to beautiful panoramic views of Tahoe.

The M.S. Dixie II is the larger and newer of the two ships. The original M.S. Dixie was brought in sections to Lake Tahoe in the late 1940s from the Mississippi River. The Dixie II holds 500 and can serve 300. It’s also the faster of the two ships with a top speed of 8 knots.

Still, the Tahoe Queen isn’t to be overlooked. If you’re looking for an original experience (looking at you, hipsters), the Tahoe Queen is the only authentic, old-school paddle wheeler on Lake Tahoe. Better yet, the Tahoe Queen is undergoing major renovations to restore it to its former glory. It accommodates 312 passengers and can feed 150, and offers a slightly more intimate setting for the same sprawling views as the M.S. Dixie II.

Who reigns supreme?

So, which vessel gets the edge? Technically, the two ships split wins in the annual Sternwheeler Race but the real answer is simple: Who cares?

Things that paddle aren’t supposed to go fast. If you’re looking for hot, nasty speed to race across the lake with the wind whipping through your hair, go rent a speedboat. Nobody wants to rush through a scenic tour of Lake Tahoe’s beauty, especially when it includes booze, food and even your best gal/beau.

All rivalry aside, you can’t go wrong with either the M.S. Dixie II or Tahoe Queen. They may make berth in different states but both offer passengers a great experience on an amazing lake.

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