Monday, July 27, 2015

TVC - Day 78 - Unicorns and Rainbows

After Saturday we deserved a day full of rainbows and unicorns, and it came close.....seriously....we had happy, content customers coming in the office and actually leaving the office in the same mood!  There were just over 110 departures, and about 63 arrivals.  The weather continues to be quite pleasant with temps hitting 74 degrees, and there is no rain forecast for the next 10 days.

I now  I've gotten a little perfunctory in my writing lately, and that can be a problem when one is doing pretty much the same thing every day for 78 days.  This has been more of a working summer for us than last summer when we didn't start working until July 3rd......we had from May 17th until that date to just laze around day after day....we were doing something different every day, and even when we started working it was all so new that there was plenty to write about.  This year, however, we came in knowing what we were doing and hit the deck running.  It has been good for our bank account, and the result will be a little more freedom to roam, and we will be able to finance some more 'needs' that have been put off.  All that being said, mentally I am ready to be doing something else, and in just a few more weeks we will be rolling our wheels once again.

Sunday has become our big TV night lately with 'Last Ship', 'Falling Skies' and 'Naked and Afraid' all on the same night......yes, I do watch 'Naked and Afraid'.....I would never do it, but I do watch, nevertheless.  I am totally fascinated by the current 'XL' series where there are four 3 person teams in some God forsaken corner of Columbia trying to survive 40 days instead of the usual 21 days with no clothes, no water, and no food.....they are completely living off the land for 40 days.

I was off work by 1530 hours and TLE was off work 30 minutes later.......thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

TVC - Day 77 - "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"

Saturday started out so innocently.....TLE arrived at the office at 0730 hours as she usually does when she opens, and I arrived 15 minutes later......that was the normal part of the day.  Once again we are at near capacity, and had over 120 arrivals combined with an equal number of departures.  When we are this full it is pretty certain that every site with a departure will have an arrival coming to replace them so it was very important that all our departures were out by 1100 hours, or shortly thereafter, and that was the GOOD part of the day.....all but two of my departing customers were out of their sites by 1130 hours.

As is the case when any customer service type business  involving a few thousand contacts a week it is inevitable that a customer will come up to the counter who is not just unhappy, but quite angry about something......so angry they lose their composure and are willing to make fools of themselves in the hope of getting what they want.  In the case of one male customer yesterday, he had made two separate online one day reservations 2 days apart assuming the website, or some anonymous person would divine his intent to stay two consecutive days in the same site.....well, that didn't happen....the computer assigned him to two different sites for one day each.  He never called the reservation center, or our office to explain what he had done, and what he wanted, and therefore, arrived with back to back reservations in two different sites.  Somehow it was our fault, and he made sure everyone in the office/store knew it.  There was no way we could combine his two one day reservations into one site at this late date and we were sold out.....literally.  When you start moving people it creates a domino effect and instead of having one unhappy person you end up with half a dozen or more unhappy customers.  After a few minutes of dishing out verbal abuse he was advised by our manager to exit the office and the park under threat of police escort if necessary......that was the BAD.

More BAD......around 1400 hours three customers towing 5th wheels arrived in the park.  They had, apparently, made their reservations one year ago and wanted to be together as they were friends.....quite understandable.  At some point during the intervening 12 months one of the three were moved to a different site by an employee who is no longer here.  Why that was done is a mystery, but it happened.  Once again, we had few options available to help solve the problem, and none of them were satisfactory solutions to the customers, who by this time had all gathered in the store insisting that we inconvenience numerous other customers yet to arrive in order to get them all back together.  Our manager explained patiently to them that we were not going to compound the mistake by moving more people......at 1600 hours they were still there in the office, and their 5th wheels were still parked in the entrance which was causing unnecessary congestion.  While not as loud, or insulting as the male customer I discussed earlier, their surly mood could not go unnoticed by other customers.  Ultimately they were asked to either move their 5th wheels to their assigned sites, or leave the park.....they chose to move to their sites....

Shortly after the 5th wheel band of brothers left for their sites a customer from site 217 came running up to the office advising there was a water leak at his site that was flooding his site.....we got in the golf cart and raced over to his site to find it just exactly as he described.....at the ear of his site water was bubbling up out of the ground.....not gushing, but a steady flow.  I immediately called maintenance on my two way radio and Johnny responded and began to dig....we all hoped it would be simple but it was not.  Within minutes reinforcements were called in as the hole got bigger and deeper.  It was obvious to me that we were going to have to shut down not just the water in section G, but the whole park, so I went to retrieve the 'key' used to shut the main valve while the maintenance guys continued to trace the source of the leak.  Ultimately we did shut the water down in order to stop the flow of water so we could see what we were working on.......I went around the park with Victor (from the office) announcing that the water was going to be turned off 'temporarily'....by the time we returned to the 'dig' the hole was 4 feet deep and just as wide.....Rick was head down in the hole clearing mud away from the break which by now had been identified as a 3/4" reducer.  Within a few minutes we had installed a temporary 3/4" plug to solve the immediate problem and give us time another day when the park is not as full to make the full repair.....so we have one site without water instead of the whole park.....that was the UGLY.

I headed home about 1845 hours and TLE followed about 30 minutes later......that was a long, long 10+ hour day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

TVC - Day 76 - Real Friday

Now Friday really felt like 5th Saturday.....I slept in to 0815 hours!  Friday was also reputed to be a very exciting day in the Tour de France, so I pulled up the recording which began sometime around 0500 hours and began playing it.....I noted it was close to 5 hours long, so I settled in to watching, and typing my blog.  By the time my blog entry was completed it was close to 10 am, and it was warming up outside so we moved outside to cook breakfast and watch the last few hours on the outdoor TV.

I have also started the 18th Dave Robicheaux novel, The Glass Rainbow (James Lee Burkes).....including this one there are only 3 left.  In between #17 and 18 I re-read a novel by Louis L'Amor called Sitka, which I had not read since my college days.  It just became available on Kindle within the past month.  Needless to say, it was like reading it for the first time as over 45 years have transpired since my first reading.

The campground is beginning to fill up in anticipation of the 14th annual Tahoe Family Encampment sponsored by the Palmdale Church of Christ.  This annual event brings several thousand folks into the campground and it will resemble, to a degree, the 4th of July crowds we 'enjoyed' a few weeks ago.  As I write the campground looks to be approaching SRO.

Around 1330 hours we finished watching the 19th Stage of the Tour de France and decided to take a 5 mile bike ride to visit a few local thrift shops, and to pick up a couple of household items at the local DIY (Do It Yourself) Center.  I didn't find anything I couldn't live without, however TLE found four, or five paperbacks, and a pair of parrot earrings....total cost....$4.52.

We were back home by 3:30, and once again ensconced in our outdoor lounge chairs reading and enjoying the last few hours of 5th Saturday......back to work on Real Saturday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 24, 2015

TVC - Day 75 - The sum total....

For the first time in a long time I slept in past 0700 hours.....it was just nice to know I didn't have to get up if I didn't want to.......and I didn't.  I did finally roll out of bed about 0730.  I had a few small things I wanted to accomplish Thursday including cleaning our windows.....it has been a few weeks since I applied Windex and micro fiber towels to the windows and it was beginning to look dreary from the inside.  While I worked on the driver's side windows I worked on dumping and flushing the black tank at the same time.....I know...brave, huh?  Well I managed to do both without forgetting to keep watch on the black tank as I filled it a couple of times with water to flush out the effluent.

I spent time tidying up our site, applying ant spray to a few new anthills, and piddling around in the trailer before taking a seat in one of the lounge chairs to just enjoy the balmy 75 degree SLT air....


......all the while I had the Tour de France on in the background....a nice day off to be sure.

The rest of the day was spent reading, taking naps, and not wondering....."Is that customer encroaching on his neighbor", or "Are there too many people in that site", or "Who belongs to that vehicle" parked in that empty site?".....the only thing I wondered about all day was what was for dinner.  TLE provided the answer when she returned from the store......filet mignons, corn and baked potatoes!

Around 1800 hours I lit the BBQ in preparation for the grilling of the two quite thick filets, and by 1900 hours we were sitting down to a delicious dinner.

That is the sum total of our day off.....no more, no less....thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TVC - Day 74 - Friday

Our five day work schedule (only three this week due to our wedding hiatus) is Saturday through Wednesday, making Wednesday feel like our 'Friday'.  My 'Who's In the Park' list showed 283 sites occupied.....43 arrivals were scheduled, and a like number of departures....a typical July Wednesday.

I finished my first circumnavigation of the campground by 10 am with no issues apparent.  From there I decided to continue repairing a few sections of fencing along Melba Drive in 'G' Section.  Over time people taking short cuts had crushed down the fencing in a few places.  I once again used my 'come along' to stretch the fencing back into shape and then re-attached it back in place with heavy gauge wire.....heavy enough I hope to prevent it from easily being cut, or broken.  By the time I finished I had fixed 5 sections in all....there are still a few more sections in need of attention in 'G', but that will be for another day.

By that time it was approaching 1200 hours and the arrivals for the day were beginning to flood into the park, so I positioned myself and my cart near the Thousand Trails office to intercept arrivals and send them directly to their sites to keep the office from backing up......during all this a new storm rolled in as forecast, and it began to rain to the accompaniment of thunder.....not hard, but very steady.  Within an hour the rain abated, and I went to lunch.  

Most of our departures were gone by 11 am, but a few persisted....by 1 pm there was only one departure left, and he decided to extend his stay one more day.

I was on my way home by 4 and TLE followed 30 minutes later.....as is our custom we walked over to 'Custom Cue' for our weekly dose of their fish tacos, and a pitcher of 'Downtown Brown' ale....a great way to decompress from our work week.  On our way back to TVC I stopped briefly in the parking lot of Raley's to snap this picture......


....it's what I love about living the summer in the Tahoe Basin......mountains in every direction you might look.

I spent part of the evening watching Stage 17 of the Tour de France, which was four hours long!  Thankfully I was watching the recording of it and was able to fast forward through the commercials.  Regretfully, TeJay Van Garderen, an American, who was in 3rd place, had to abandon the Tour due to a severe chest cold about 50 miles into the day.....
bummer!

We were in bed just after 2200 hours and looking forward to sleeping in Thursday!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TVC - Day 73 - Slip sliding away

One day continues to blend into another, and now I see that we are at 'Day 73' in our TVC sojourn......wow......the summer and time are slip sliding away rapidly......in 10 days it will be August!  The rain cycle has returned.....at least for a few days.....every time I think I can put away my rain parka for good this summer the rain returns.  There was a 70% chance of rain by 1300 hours, but it did not materialize until close to 1500 hours.

Right now we have a pretty consistent base of 260+ sites occupied here at TVC, and that swells to close to 400 sites on the weekends, so there is plenty to keep us all busy, and Tuesday was no exception.

After completing my morning rounds I made a few repairs on the fence that runs almost the entire length of Melba Drive.......people like to take shortcuts......it seems to be part of our DNA makeup.....and gradually, over time, those shortcuts become major breaches in the fence line.  In the afternoon I helped a few folks get their trailers into their sites over in Section F, and then the rain came......it only lasted a few hours and then it began to dry out once again.

As I type the sun is out, and the sky is partly cloudy, but once again there is an 80% chance of rain by 1200 hours.....better hang on to my rain parka a few more days......

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

TVC - Day 72 - Lagging

The campground was still very full Monday morning when TLE and I clocked in for the day.....in fact it felt more like a Saturday than a Monday.  I was still feeling a little groggy first thing in the morning from our fast 4 day trip to SoCal and back, and really didn't start feeling like my old self until late in the day.  I wouldn't exactly call it 'jet lag', but it sure felt a lot like it.

We celebrated Duane's (our manager) 1 year anniversary Monday.......

(I think the date in the camera used for this picture is off....this was actually 7/20/2015)

......yup, I'm never very far from cake.......the day was a normal Monday.....nothing out of the ordinary and most of those departing did so on time with a few exceptions.

Our VW performed flawlessly on our 1,000 mile odyssey, which is all one could hope would be the case......I was a little disappointed in our gas mileage, but then again we were hauling my bike which, sitting sideways on the bike rack, catches a lot of air and no doubt is the primary reason for the poor mileage.  On a positive note, however, with the new fuel pump we were able to shift into 5th gear on the long climbs and cruise at 70 mph.....last year that was not the case....we had to keep down shifting to 4th on the same long climbs.  At the time I thought it was the failing turbo, but the only thing that is different this year is the new fuel pump.

I was off work about 3:45 and home sitting outside watching Stage 16 of the Tour de France, and taking a much needed nap.  TLE followed a little after 5 pm.....a nice way to end the day!

Thanks for stopping by!