Sunday, May 24, 2015

TVC - Day 15 - Candid camera

The campground.....specifically section 'E'...... is beginning to fill up!

We find ourselves in the midst of four straight days of work (Friday through Monday)....although it is the Memorial Day weekend, we are not yet fully staffed, and will not be for another two weeks as the rest of the workers arrive for the summer, so everyone is 'on deck' on this long weekend.

We reported for work about 5 minutes early and began getting ready for the day's activities.....for the first time there were customers waiting at the office door for the store to open.....that is a first since we arrived May 9th, and a preview of what the rest of the summer will look like.  Saturday is also 'Pancake Breakfast' day here at TVC, and normally there are a lot of partakers, but the rain came early and, understandably, it put a damper on the the attendance.

As real Saturday wore on intrepid tent campers began to arrive.....some setting up in a light drizzle.....that is what I call optimistic!  There was a time in my now distant youth when weather would not have deterred me from setting up my tent either.  One additional thing was added to my 'Ranger' duties.....taking random pictures of campers at their sites and then transferring them to a 'thumb drive' which is subsequently inserted in the store flat screen TV to be run as a slide show.  The customers are encouraged to come into the store to see themselves on TV, and they actually do!

As has been the case most recent days, the rains came and went all day long, and sometimes it was bitterly cold.....I start every day with this internal debate raging in my head about what I should wear.....each day I start out thinking I can don a pair of shorts once again, and maybe do away with the snow boots and watch cap, but then I look at the forecast and decide today is not the far, each day, I have made the right choice.

I can't help but think that but for our dental issues this winter/spring we would be in Indianapolis today watching the beginning of the INDY 500 in person in just an hour or so, then packing up and making our run for our present location.  To our friends who are there, we miss you and hope to see you next year!

TLE went home about 2 pm as there were too many people in the office, and not enough computer terminals, but I stayed on until my normal quitting time of 4:30.  We spent the evening reading and were in bed by 10 pm girding our selves up for another 8 am workday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

TVC - Day 14 - Let the summer begin!

Friday was the beginning of the Memorial Day 2015 weekend.....last year on this same day the crowds were rolling into TVC*, but of course it was dryer and warmer this time last year.  With the uncertain weather forecast for the current weekend we have not yet seen any 'tenters' arriving, although a number of our tent sites had reservations none have yet checked in........last year the tent sites near us were full by Saturday morning, but this year I can see all the way to the restrooms.....not a soul in sight.  Friday was also a banner day for the office staff....we all got our usernames and passwords......up until Friday we were all having to use Eric's and Duane's to access the reservation system.  Nevertheless, this year has been a vast improvement over last year when it took us over 6 weeks to begin working, and another couple of weeks to get our usernames and passwords.

My duties as Ranger also slightly expanded.....instead of just checking to be sure those scheduled to depart did so, and checking to be sure all the sites we show as occupied were so, I was tasked with checking all the vacant sites which had reservations beginning Friday to be sure they were ready for occupancy.  Our new policy here at TVC* is to rake the pine needles to the borders of each site giving them definition, which helps the customers see the entrance to their site.  In the past the policy was the opposite as the owners wanted the park to have a 'natural' feel so pine needles were not raked up anywhere, including the streets, and pine cones were left where they fell.  The problem that arose from that policy was many customers felt we just didn't care about the park, and many were confused as to where their sites began and ended, or even where the entrance to their site was.  With a change in policy we have been able to change the perception, and reduce the confusion about the boundaries of each site.....we are now getting compliments on the appearance of the campground.

Our arrival list showed just under 70 RV's coming into the park on Friday, and at one point the arriving RV's were backed up all the way to the entrance at Melba Drive.....that only happened one time for a few minutes, but was a reminder of how crazy things will get when that becomes the norm over the 4th of July weekend.

Around 11 am we had our first staff meeting of the summer, which included a pizza lunch paid for by the campground, then we were back out into the ever changing weather which went back and forth from sun showers to rain sprinkles and back to sun showers over and over throughout the afternoon.

Once I had finished my second round of site checks I went back to my job of inspecting each site to be sure everything is in order....I finished section 'E' and got half way through section 'A' before the rain came again and chased me back inside for the last 30 minutes of our shift.  We were home a little after 4:30 watching as the RV's continued to pull into the park, and specifically section 'E'.

Hoping for more sun and less rain this weekend......thanks for stopping by!

*TVC = Tahoe Valley Campground

Friday, May 22, 2015

TVC - Day 13 - Maxed out!

Thursday began the way most recent days have begun......sun showers early.....rain showers later......and later became all afternoon and all is still raining as I type this morning (Friday).....and there is no place on earth I would rather be right now that South Lake Tahoe.....rain, or no rain.....and, God knows, we do need the rain.

Whilst TLE walked over to the laundry to process some of our soiled garments I worked on installing some bike parts on a friend's bike (new cassette and shifters).  By the time TLE returned I was done with the bike.  We haven't been to the movie theater in quite a while so we decided to head over to Heavenly Village Cinemas for the 2:05 pm showing of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'.......I will happily verify that there is quite a lot of 'fury' in the movie.  I told TLE as we walked out that it was the old, familiar 'Mad Max' on steroids......I wish we had gone to see the new 'Avenger' movie instead.  IMDB gives this movie 4.5 stars.....I love action movies, but this one just did not get it done for me.

On the other hand I love Heavenly Village Cinemas......they claim to be the best run independent theater in the U.S......I don't know if that is true, but they do run a tight ship.....we use the parking structure attached to the 'Village', and you can get your ticket validated by the theater.  The $8.50 shown on the ticket was the 'senior' rate.....full price adult price was $11.50.....getting expensive!

We stopped at Raley's on the way home to get a few necessities, and were home by 4:45....the rain still falling gently from the leaden skies.

Friday is the beginning of the the Memorial Day weekend.....last year it was dry, and we had quite a busy weekend, but with the current weather trends and forecasts I'm not sure how busy we will be this weekend.  We, more than likely, will be on duty at least 3 out of the four days, if not all four days....we shall see what we shall see.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

TVC - Day 12 - Surviving

This is how the day started........sun showers........

......this is what it turned into by mid morning.....rain showers on and off the rest of the day....

.....however, the intermittent rain did not stop the pavers from doing their work.....

......2 inches of new black top curing on the outer loop in section 'E'.......

So, what actually happened that was noteworthy, or even 'blog' worthy on Wednesday?  Not much......just nomadic life.....TLE decided to help out in the office Wednesday (our day off) as they were short handed, and I opted keep my day off......normally TLE would have pulled all the throw rugs out of the coach and shaken the residual dirt out of them, and then vacuumed the floors, but since she was otherwise occupied that task fell to's actually harder than it sounds.  Just like in a sticks and bricks home, cleaning must be done in an RV on a pretty regular basis, especially when the outdoors is so near at hand, and seems to encroach even more easily than in a sticks and bricks home.

I spent some time raking up the pine needles out of our site, vacuuming out the trailer once again, and then cleaning up the Cannondale tandem so we can ride it if it ever stops raining long enough to get in a good ride.  I also took time to make a small repair on one of my snow boots.....

 The new shoelace 'hook' installed

You can just see the two rivets I used to attach the new shoelace 'hook'. of the shoelace 'hooks' on the upper part of the boot had broken off some time between the sugar beet harvest and a week ago when I wore them for the first time in a long time.  I have a pair of 'tin snips' and a small sheet of aluminum so I cut out a small piece, drilled two holes, filed off the sharp edges, riveted it in place, and finally, using a pair of needle nose pliers, bent it over to form a new shoelace 'hook' great!

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading another James Lee Burke book starring 'Dave Robicheaux'.....the intrepid New Iberia Sheriff in 'Pegasus Descending'....I think this is the 15th  book in his Dave Robicheaux series....I'm going to miss this character when I read the last book in a few weeks....I think there are 20 books in the series.

My sister, Jill, called around 4 pm and we talked for close to an hour.......we've been talking every week for the past 5, or 6 weeks just to stay in feels really good to have my sister back in my life.....TLE arrived home just after 5 so we bid our telephone adieus......

We spent the evening watching the 3 hours finale of Season 30 of Survivor.......we were overjoyed that Mike won.......his head was on the chopping block for the last 6 episodes, but he managed to stay in the game using his 'immunity idol', and then by winning 5 individual immunity challenges....amazing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TVC - Day 11 - Paving

I've written before about the effect of deferred maintenance here at TVC, but as I have also mentioned, the owners are making great strides in catching up.......on Monday a local paving contractor arrived to begin repairing and repaving the outer loops in sections 'E' and 'A'....both of these interior roads were in dire need of repair, and it good to see it being done.  Of course, along with the work being done comes the attendant construction noise, and dust.....there is never a good time to do this stuff because someone will always be inconvenienced, but the trick is to do it when it affects the least number of people and that is now.

When we arrived at TVC 11 days ago TLE and I both offered to work 5 days per week until the rest of the staff arrived, and Tuesday was our 5th day of work since the end of the last pay period.....the work days are beginning to pass by more quickly as we settle into a routine, and our duties become more defined.  After making my morning rounds I proceeded to take a handful of the work orders I had generated for the prior few days and work on knocking them out.  Since I was putting on my 'maintenance hat' I needed to round up a few tools and related materials to make the repairs.  Most of the guys in maintenance use their own tools, so I drove the cart over to our trailer to pickup a few of my tools, then back to the maintenance yard where I rummaged through the various sheds looking for the necessary screws, washers, clips, sewer caps, etc. that I would need to make the repairs I had ordered....'how ironic he thought to himself'.

By 12:30 I had processed no less than 25 of the work orders generated by me......TLE and I took our one hour lunch break, and after I had finished the second round of site checks I finished up another dozen work orders then set about inspecting the outer loop of section 'E' and generating more work the way, here is a picture of the cool form TLE generated in Excel for me to use....

Once again we never got the forecast rain showers (forecast showed 100% chance of rain), although it sprinkled for about 5 minutes around 4 pm just as I was wrapping up the section 'E' out loop inspection.

I will be off Wednesday and Thursday so some bike riding and exploring is in order........TLE is working Wednesday as they are short handed in the office.  Come Friday we will all be on deck for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TVC - Day 10 - Guessers are at it again

The forecast was for 100% rain Monday....this is what we got 

First of all, I had good intentions yesterday morning when I saved the blog post about Sunday to 'draft' fully intending to get back to it and publish it by mid morning Monday, but my senior brain completely forgot until about 4:30 am Tuesday I didn't get up to post it then.....I waited until I got up at 6....I can't remember the last time I forgot to do that....I've certainly forgotten a lot of other things.

It takes me about 10 days after arriving in SLT to remember that any weather forecast for South Lake Tahoe has less than a 50/50 chance of coming to seems to me based on my own empirical observations that SLT must have its own unique weather vortex, making it often immune to the feeble attempts by the weather guessers to make a forecast stick.  To be sure, I am not, not me.  My attire for the past 4 work days has been snow boots, long pants, Under Armor, thermal socks, watch cap, snow board gloves just to stay slightly comfortable as I make my rounds.......even then I've often had to retreat to the office to warm up half way through site checks each day.  So, getting a partly cloudy day with sun showers sure beats the forecast of 100% chance of rain.  Even with the sun showers I'm still bundled up, but at least my outlook is a little more positive.

As we are want to do on work days, TLE and I were at the office reporting for duty a few minutes before 8 am......mostly 'bright eyed and bushy tailed'.  I was off doing my site check rounds about 8:30, and was finished by 9:30.  After site checks (I did find a couple of campers who had arrived after hours and made sure they registered) I continued on with my assignment inspecting each site to be sure everything is in order.  I finished with section 'G', and continued into section 'F' finally finishing that section around 4:30.  I periodically returned to the office to write up the resulting work orders for maintenance.  Mostly the repair orders are for very minor things.....a missing screw in an electrical pedestal box access door, a missing sewer cap, or a leaky faucet, but sometimes I find something major.....

.....this is what I found Monday morning.....some one had apparently backed over the sewer vent pipe, the water faucet, and electrical pedestal.

We'll be working 5 days this week leading up to the Memorial Day weekend helping get the park ready for the the first significant 'invasion' of the summer, then we'll settle down into 4 day work weeks for the remainder of the summer, excluding the 4th of July weekend when 'all hands are on deck'.

Thanks for stopping by!

TVC - Day 9 - Hail, sleet, that order

I'm beginning to feel like I am living in a 'rain forest'......periodically we get sun, but nothing ever has time to dry out.  The low pressure ridge that has stalled over northern part of the Sierra Nevadas brings some precipitation almost every day.  The natives say we have had more snow and rain the past 10 days than all winter long.....well I guess I'll second that notion!

Sunday was a work day for us and we were on our way over to the office by 7:55 part of my 'Ranger' duties I have been asked to inspect all 428 sites to be sure each one is in good operating condition.....while I was out making my first 'site check' round of the day TLE was preparing an excel spread sheet form for me to use to inspect 1) the electrical pedestal, 2) the breakers inside, 3) sewer there one there?, 4) cable TV hookup, 5) fireplace....if there is one, 6) picnic table, and 7) water faucets at each site and report what needs to be done, if anything, to bring them 'up to snuff'.

Upon my return from my field operations she had the form ready, and after a few adjustments to the form she printed off a few for me to begin my individual inspections of each site.  The sections here are labeled 'A', 'E', 'F' and 'G' (G being the newest and A being the oldest), but the numerical beginning of the sites (#101) is in section 'G' fact the numerical order of the sites takes us backwards through the alphabet (G,F,E and then A).....don't ask me why, because I don't know.  There is still a lot of undeveloped land here at TVC, and I am sure the original owners had plans to fill in the missing letters of the alphabet (B, C and D), but sewer permits became harder to come by over the past 20 years here in South Lake Tahoe, and the park ultimately stalled out at 4 sections.

Naturally, I began my inspection program with site #101 and managed to get to site #178 when suddenly the hail was as if someone had turned a very big bucket upside down and just dumped ice crystals on our collective heads.  Fortunately I had the office electric golf cart with me (a roof, but no windshield) and made a dash back to the the time I got there the hail had turned to sleet, then shortly thereafter to steady rain, which continued the rest of the afternoon.

Most of the remaining work to be done prior to the Memorial Day weekend is outside, and requires dry conditions to be done (painting picnic tables, painting street markings, raking sites, etc.), so we all, other than the office personnel, clocked out for the day shortly after lunch time.....if not for the precipitation I probably could have finished section 'G' within another hour, or so.  Before I clocked out I began to write the work orders for each site needing attention.....the things that need fixing are relatively minor, but there are a lot of them.....missing screws from the electrical box doors, leaky faucets needing new washers, missing sewer caps, fireplaces that need cleaning, missing site tag clips, etc.  I would say 70% of the sites need no attention, but that leaves the 30% that do.

TLE stayed on for about an hour after I left to help in the office, but ultimately they were over staffed for a Sunday so she came home about 1......we both spent the afternoon reading and enjoying the steady rainfall.

Ah yes.....another day in our own personal 'rain forest'.......thanks for stopping by!