Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Red stakes in the morning Ranger take warning.....

I know when I tell you the high yesterday was 87 and I describe that as 'HOT' that some will roll their eyes......go ahead.....I can take it.  The older I get the less tolerant I am of temperatures over 80 degrees, and seemingly less able to adapt to them.  Right now I am just kind of enduring the current heatwave giving us temps in the high 80's, waiting for the temps to drop back into the 70's again in about a week.

I've been working on a project for a few days getting our red site stakes ready for the 4th of July, which is the only weekend during the year that we sell sites out in the overflow area.  Right now we are 100% booked, and there are still people willing to pay close to $50/night for a tent only site where no cooking is allowed, and certainly no campfires allowed, due to fire risk.  The walk to the nearest bathroom is long, and yet they will pay close to $200 for four nights for just a place to sleep just to be here at Lake Tahoe on this particular weekend.  Over the past few years our supply of the red stakes has dwindled down to 23......we need about 50, so it fell to me to paint new ones and get the count back up to 50......will we rent 50 overflow sites this year?  I have no idea, but it's better to have too many than too few, right?

After finishing the painting, and attaching a clip to hold the site tag when it is issued I went out to overflow and began to pound them into the past years we have waited until we sell an overflow site, then escorted the camper out to the overflow area and let them choose where they wanted to set their tent up, then pound the stake into the ground.  It was a nice concept, but it was a nightmare for the Ranger, me, to find them each day as they were randomly placed, and followed no numerical order.  Well, if you know me at all, or have been reading my ramblings for any period of time you understand that 'ORDER' is one thing that I pursue.  So this year we (me) are choosing the tent sites in advance and placing the stakes in numerical order so doing site checks will be easier, and way more efficiently accomplished.

By the time I clocked out my butt was dragging from the fact, when I stopped by our site to drop off my tools before clocking out I went inside the coach to turn on the A/C for the first time since we arrived at TVC....I really wanted to come home to conditioned air.  After dropping off the cart I rode my bike back to the office to clock out and head for the barn.  TLE arrived home a few minutes after me, and we spent the early evening inside enjoying the refrigerated air.  By 6 pm if was back into the 70's, so we turned off the A/C and opened the windows for the evening.

Wednesday the madness that is the 4th of July in the Tahoe Basin begins....stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cabana boy....

Well, there is really no point in beating around the proverbial bush.....our whole Monday revolved around spending time with friends at the Hyatt Beach in Incline Village.  We have known Dan and Carol Gates going back to our college days.  Each year they come to Lake Tahoe to spend a week at the Hyatt Hotel and Resort, and occasionally rent a cabana on the beach.  Joining us for the day were Rhonda, Ron, and Dave with various adult children and grandchildren in tow......

 'They' call it Hyatt Beach now, but it was called Incline Beach back in the 50's

 The gang in the Cabana.....left to right: TLE, moi, Ron, Rhonda, Carol, Dave and Dan

Our host, Dan, with Rhonda's daughter, Dawn

......this is the first time since 1959 I have been to Incline Beach (now called Hyatt Beach) where I spent two weeks every summer from 1953 through 1959 when the property was developed into a large 4 star resort including golf course.  I have missed that view looking south.

I have known Dan and Ron since my college days, and got reacquainted with Dan and his wife, Carol, at a college reunion a few years ago.....this is the first time I have seen Ron since college.  We have stayed in touch with Dan and Carol, and this year when they came for their annual visit to Lake Tahoe they invited TLE and I to join them on the beach for the afternoon.  They rented a cabana replete with many satellite umbrellas, and a large couch which you see us pictured sitting on in the picture above (two up).

I had a few chores first thing Monday (wash the VW, dump the tanks, clean the pollen off the tables and chairs outside, etc.  We began our drive up to Incline Village about 10:45 am, and arrived just after 11:30.

Dan and Ron walked up from the cabana to meet us in the parking lot, and within a couple of minutes we were seated in the shadow of the cabana talking, laughing and enjoying the Incline Beach ambiance.....the conversation streamed continuously for four hours, and the time just flew by, but alas it was time to run a few more errands on our day off so we bid our hosts adieu.  We had a wonderful time and are so grateful for the invitation.

The temp Monday was pushing 90, and it stayed warm well into the evening.  We didn't close the screen door until close to 10 pm just before we went to bed......and so begins the 4th of July week......Tuesday will be the last sane day for a week......we won't come up for breath until next Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ride Captain, Ride......

After all the stress of the past week I was looking forward to taking a longish bike ride......I haven't ridden up to the Emerald Bay Vista Point in a month, or more so I decided to head there first then make up the rest after the turn around.  I didn't push too hard knowing I was going to ride at least 20 miles, but still got to the top in just over 49 minutes.......

June 26, 2016......not bad but look at the picture below

.......while I broke 50 minutes without trying too hard I still know that back in late June of 2014 I made the ride from site 426 to the Emerald Bay Vista Point in 39 minutes and 25 seconds (see below)......I've got a ways to go to break 40 minutes again.  

June 23, best time to the top from site 426

On my way back I took a right on Lake Tahoe Blvd. to pick up the bike path I have written about previously, rode out to Sawmill turning left, and back to US-50 where I turned left and headed for the barn.  In all I covered just under 24 miles, and by the time I arrived back home an hour and forty minutes later I was feeling quite relaxed.  I took a long, hot shower and then retired to my anti gravity chair with some ice tea and then took a nap.

TLE did a few loads of clothes in the Splendide, and went shopping.  Around 2:30 my good friend Harry dropped by to hang out for an hour, or so, and then it was 4 pm.  TLE made Taco Salad for dinner, and we dinned outside at our picnic table enjoying 50's music on XM Radio.  Eventually the mosquitoes chased us indoors, and another day was in the books.  Sunday was the perfect day off......

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Turning point....

I haven't written, or even alluded to some issues we have been facing this year at TVC.  We have a new manager, our 3rd in three years.  We thought we had a keeper in our second manager, Duane, but alas it was not to be.  The corporation which owns TVC fired him during the winter and replaced him with a much young Robert.  Robert could be one of my children age wise.....not behavior wise.  He has a lot of good business attributes, and has done a lot of good things for TVC.  I like him personally, but to some degree due to his age he tends to gravitate towards the younger locals who work here, and seems to have different expectations of them than those of us who would be classified as mature adults......those of us who show up every day for our shift on time and then work our 8 hours with only a 30 minute lunch break.......we, by choice, don't take any breaks other than those of the restroom variety.  The younger gang routinely call in sick, or take without prior notice, unexpected days off leaving us dependable mature adults in a bind, and routinely take long breaks that extend to 30, or 40 minutes on occasion.   It has been a building source of irritation and out right anger (on my part) at times.  

A few days ago after what I considered, at the time, was a "straw that breaks my camel's back" I actually contacted Cape Blanco Ranger Greg Ryder to see if he had any open volunteer positions at the lighthouse beginning July 1st.  I was prepared to leave this Tuesday, June 28th, if his reply was positive, foregoing a summer of good income which we were counting on to fund our winter's travels on the east coast.  I also had feelers out to another campground in central Washington which was looking for a couple to augment their summer staff through Labor Day.  So, as you can surmise, I was dead serious about leaving.....something I just don't do, and we just haven't done in all the workamping jobs we have had over the past 4.5 years.

Robert got wind of our extreme dissatisfaction Friday morning (TLE and I) as well as our intent to leave, and asked to meet with us.  As we sat down I could tell he was quite anxious as, mostly unknown to us, he considers us indispensable......of course, in our opinion, we are, but based on Robert's behavior it seemed he could 'take us, or leave us' so to speak.  We told him we were sick of the double standard being applied, and he actually acknowledged the legitimacy of our accusation as well as our anger.  He apologized and promised to change his ways.....we accepted his apology, but advised him that apologies are cheap if not followed up immediately with action.  We agreed, reluctantly, to stay and give him a chance to change course.

Yesterday, Saturday, I received an e-mail from Grey Ryder at Cape Blanco advising he did indeed have two positions open at the lighthouse for the month of July.  I got a call from him shortly thereafter following up on his earlier e-mail, which I had just gotten and not had time to answer.  We love working for Greg, who in spite of his youth, is a great manager, and can be depended upon to do the right thing every single time.  So now, even though we were somewhat mollified about our current situation, and willing to give Robert a few days to change course, I was now conflicted once again and seriously considering still leaving Tuesday to we could be in Cape Blanco by July 1st.  I promised to get back to Greg no later than Monday morning to let him know if we are coming, or not.

Then, within an hour some information came to me about the reason why we could only locate 4 of 8 two way radios Saturday morning that set me off once again........and once again I was a heart beat, or two away from calling TLE on my two way radio and asking her to clock out so we could pack up and leave by Tuesday, if not sooner.......the only problem with that is I had just ordered, that very morning, a replacement awning arm for one of our elderly customers (Elizabeth is 93 years old and still RVing God bless her soul!) whose awing was damaged by the wind 10 days ago....I believe I wrote about that incident.  It is not scheduled to arrive here until July 7th.  Additionally, after talking with our other mature adult couples we just could not abandon them with the 4th of July weekend looming.

Ultimately, after a couple of hours of soul searching with TLE last evening after work we decided to give it one more month.  If nothing changes significantly in the next 30 days expect another blog post like this one, but with a different conclusion.  Are we at a 'turning point' here at TVC?  Only time will tell.

So, all that being said (I feel so much better now), what happened Saturday?  Not was a relatively quiet day even though we are over 75% full.  One thing of major note, however, is the ditch between electrical pedestals 427 and 429 is now dug, and all that remains is to run the cable through the conduit pictured below, permanently connect the new cable to each pedestal, then bury it.......

......thank you Adam and Corey for digging that ditch in the heat of the are men among men!

There were no real problems in the park, just routine stuff.....I punched the clock at 4 pm, and TLE followed a half hour later after which had our heart to heart discussion.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Paint it yellow......

Friday was the precursor for the 4th of July weekend just one week away.......beginning the day we had 200 sites occupied, and with the close to 100 arrivals we will edge towards 300 of the 406 sites occupied.  All of the craziness that typifies the 4th is already beginning to raise its head throughout the morning.  The more crowded it gets the more people begin to park in places that defy the imagination.....places they would never think of parking on a city street, but for some odd reason seems just fine within the confines of TVC.  Many of them create dangerous situations which must be reacted to quickly.

On top of all that we are now right in the middle of the yellow pollen season here at TVC when the pollen falls like a gentle rain 24/7 blanketing everything outdoors, and even manages to worm its way inside......... becomes yellow......our gray VW Beetle becomes yellow.  When it is like this even I who has no known allergies begin to sneeze.  Just looking at it makes me feel like I'm going to go into anaphylactic shock........

I punched the clock around 7:20 am and headed quickly down to the maintenance/storage yard to retrieve the Ranger Cart and begin my rounds.  For the first time this season I began my rounds without a jacket, or gloves.......the air felt balmy, and the sun delightful.

When things get a little bit crazy I feel right in my element......I spend the better part of my time  directing traffic, helping folks into their sites, answering questions about the park and the local area, making unhappy people happy again.......and that is the main thing about my job, and the jobs of everyone here.  It is inevitable that some will become unhappy about something, and it is our job to put a smile back on their faces.  

The day passed quickly, which I like, and I was once again punching that clock just after 4 pm and heading for the barn.  Even though it wasn't our last day of work this week we decided to go out for just seemed right.  We drove over to Lake Tahoe Pizza for their salad bar and a pitcher of Icky IPA......a nice way to unwind.  From there we headed for Raley's to pick up a few grocery items (the reason for driving the car) we were running short on......Snap-E-Tom, vodka, bread, half and half, milk, cheese, etc.

We were home by 6 and closing our windows for the first time in a week as the evening temperatures began to fall further than usual, but the forecast for the next week is continued daytime temps in the 80's.

As crazy as the weekend has begun it will pale by comparison to next weekend.....I told the newbies that if they want to imagine what the 4th will look like just multiply this Friday by a factor of three, or four.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 24, 2016

That's odd.......

Thursday was one of those very odd days......I had barely finished my morning rounds when I was called to dispense some propane for a customer, however, when I arrived our propane supplier (Bi-State) was there filling our tank....nothing odd about that, but what happened next was.  Within a few minutes the Bi-State guy advised us he had to lock our propane tank supplying propane to our laundry because our contractor had made modifications to the plumbing going into the laundry in anticipation of the installation of our new washers and dryers.  Nothing wrong with doing that, but since this equipment belongs to Bi-State we should have notified them in advance so they could inspect and approve what was being done.  If anything goes wrong as a result of what we did they will be held liable as it is their equipment.  Needless to say there were some unhappy customers who were in the middle of washing and drying their clothes.  As it turned out it was good Bi-State shut things down as their inspector, who arrived within an hour, found 2 leaks in the new gas pipe plumbing.  The contractor had just pronounced all was well after pressure testing the new plumbing.  When Bi-State did their pressure test they found the 2 leaks.  Eventually the tank was unlocked and propane began to flow to the laundry once again.

Next up I was asked to man the store/office for an hour while the office personnel had a much needed meeting.....the only problem was it went on for 2.5 hours.  As the clock edged towards 12:30 pm things began to get congested in the store/office as well as at the entrance.  I began requesting help on the two way radio.  Why is it that simple office meetings morph into time eating juggernauts? At any rate staff members began to filter back into the store within minutes of my call, and I was able to get back to my regular job.

I never really seemed to be able to get back on task the rest of the day.  One thing after another arose to block my attempts to return to my routine.  4 pm came around quickly, and I clocked out and headed for the barn once again.  TLE followed around 4:20.

We sat outside for a while watching the breaking news of the 'BREXIT' vote in Britain, and were ultimately surprised that the UK voted to leave the European Union......that vote is historic, and its consequences are yet to be realized.  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next few months.  Personally I think any break away from bigger, more centralized government is a good thing and I believe we are seeing the same sentiment playing out in American will be an interesting election season here as well.

Well, as I began this post I end it......Thursday was an odd day.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Amped up......

Wednesday was the end of our current pay period and beginning the day having worked a little overtime a couple of days I was within 6.5 hours of 80 hours for the two week period so I knew I would be off by 2:15 pm.  The temps continue to be in the low 80's with the high each day arriving about 3 pm, and then it begins to cool off quickly.  I clocked in to start my day at 7:15 am, then headed down to the maintenance/storage yard to pick up my golf cart.

Just as the previous day, there were a lot of calls for propane service.......

.....I made my rounds, worked at fixing a few more fence posts along the various walkways we have, and ended the morning just before my lunch break escorting a State of California propane inspector around the park as he inspected all of our propane tanks.....there are 10 in all.  Ultimately we had covered 4 of our tanks when my lunch break approached, so I called Miguel (Head Ranger) on the radio and asked him to finish escorting the inspector to the last 6.  By the time I clocked out for lunch it was 12:30, so when I returned 30 minutes later I only had one hour and 15 minutes til the end of my shift.

I clocked out on time and rode my Intense 5.5 home to find that Adam (maintenance supervisor) and Gordy (fellow workamper and electrical expert) in the process of installing a new 200 amp duplex breaker (two 200 amp breakers) in place of the 100 amp duplex breaker that controlled not only our site, but 5 others.  Apparently, when our sites were converted to 50 amp a number of years ago they never updated the breaker, and that is why we have occasionally had the breaker pop under a seemingly light load.  At any rate, they completed the installation in short order the power was restored.  Hopefully now with the new cable we installed and the updated breaker we should have no further problems in our section......YAY!!

Since TLE was on until 4:30 I decided to take a bike ride and was on my way by 3 pm on what turned out to be a 17 mile took me just over an hour and I was home and in the shower just before TLE arrived home from work.  We ended up having dinner with John and Deb on the spur of the moment and spent an hour, or so giggling and laughing with good friends.  

We watched the 'Person of Interest' series finale which we had recorded from the night before.  We both liked how they wrapped up the show, but we will miss the series.  After two months of NBA playoffs it's kind of weird not to be watching another game.

Thanks for stopping by!