Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Normalizing....

I always enjoy watching the metamorphosis of TVC on Monday's following 'long weekends'......within a few hours it transforms from a thriving, teeming RV community to a virtual ghost town.  I hate to say this, since it is, after all, my job to see the park fill up and run smoothly, but, let's face it......I love having the place all to myself.....I love having the unobstructed views once again....I love the total quiet at night once again.  Another thing I love is it is not I who has to fight the mind numbing traffic out of the Tahoe Basin......traffic so bad that you can actually ride a bicycle all the way to Meyers (5 miles distant) faster than you can drive a car.  Many of our customers request late checkouts on these days to avoid the worst of the traffic, but the only way you really can do that is to stay an extra day.

Of course, along with the departure of our beloved customers comes the effluent left behind by them......I would estimate that 90% of our customers leave their campsites as clean, or cleaner as when then arrived, but that remaining 10% more than make up for the 90%.  It is beyond me how anyone could imagine that leaving trash and food scattered all over the ground is acceptable.....I can only imagine what their homes must look like.

After helping TLE open the office/store I rode my Intense 5.5 down to the maintenance yard to pick up the Ranger cart only to find whoever used it last on Sunday had not plugged it in.  This has happened before, and I have managed to get through the next day without having to plug it in again.  However, since this was a holiday weekend I drove it a lot more than on normal days, and by 2 pm I could tell the batteries were running low, so I drove it back to the yard and started charging the batteries.  While I waited about an hour for the cart to charge I assembled a couple of picnic tables, and finally was able to head out for my final round of the day just before 3.....I almost made it, too, but just as I was finishing with Section E the batteries gave out.......after sitting for a couple of minutes I managed to get it moving again and limp back to the maintenance yard.

Things will quiet down for the next three weeks, and then begin to build to a crescendo once again as the 4th of July weekend approaches.  We will have time to finish the many projects still on the table.....install the new water heaters, fix electrical issues, install the new swing set seats, finish tiling the showers in Section A, and assemble the rest of the picnic tables.

I 'punched the clock' about 4 pm, and TLE about 15 minutes later.....we sat outside enjoying the continuing balmy early evening air until about 6 before having dinner.  I watched the second half of game 7 between the Warriors and Thunder played in Oakland......the Warriors once again proved they are one of the best teams ever by not only winning game 7, but by coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit.....a feat only accomplished by 10 teams in the entire history of the NBA......more than 200 teams have failed to come back.  Now the Warriors will face the Cavaliers in the finals beginning this Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorable.....

Sunday was the first time I made three complete rounds of the park......each round took just over an hour......in between I helped three folks back their rigs into their sites, pumped propane several times, delivered portable fire places, burned cardboard, built a few more picnic tables, began the installation of the new swing set seats, repaired some trim in the store which had come loose, measured sites, found an illegal fire (built on the ground with no container) and had it cleaned out.....the perp had already left the park......and the list goes on and on.....


I guess the best time to go to a longer shift is on a weekend like the Memorial Day weekend.....when I am busy time just flies.........the weather these past few days has been just delightful.....I shed my light jacket and gloves by 9 am.  By 11 am I was kind of hoping for a little cloud cover as it was getting warm......probably mid 70's......lol.  When you get used to chilly temperatures 75 seems hot......and it is only going to get warmer.....looks like a few 80 degrees next weekend are in the offing......time for flip flops!


As our first major holiday weekend draws to a close I have to say we, the TVC team, did a good job.  We had very few issues, and they all came from one group.....we had an large group of families attending a local youth baseball tournament and they were inclined to walk through campsites to take shortcuts, and they got a little noisy after 10 pm, but we nipped the shortcut problem in the bud quickly, and the night ranger got them quieted down quickly, so all is good.....they were much better last night.  Other than that we had very minor problems, which were all addressed quickly.

TLE and I were home a little after 4 pm sitting outside in the balmy early evening air enjoying an adult beverage.  Around 5:30 I fired up the Sea-B-Que to grill some fish.....we had a lovely dinner....a perfect ending to a long day......one more day on the long weekend to go and things will get back to what passes for normal at TVC in the early summer.  Monday morning most of our long weekend customers will begin to vacate TVC heading back to their workaday lives. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Summer begins.....

It has been a long time coming, but finally Saturday I was back in shorts and a t-shirt, albeit accompanied by a hat and light jacket.....the point is NO winter wear! And none too soon.....our park is about 85% full with long weekenders who came to enjoy the great South Lake Tahoe outdoors!  The pool is repaired, open and being heated by a brand new boiler, the restrooms in Section E are open with functioning showers (pictures to follow), and the restrooms in Section A are open, but no showers yet.  We took delivery on new water heaters for all the bathrooms, including the group bathrooms......I think those old water heaters were over 20 years old......all the dead, dangerous trees have been cut down and removed.....in essence we are getting stuff done here at TVC!

The last time I did my site check rounds on Wednesday we had about 40 RV's in the campground......on our days off (Thursday and Friday) close to 200 more RV's entered with all the attendant mothers, fathers, children, grand children, etc.  Instead of the usual 15 minutes to do one round it took me over 80 minutes on Saturday.

On each of the major summer holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day) we hold horseshoe tournaments, and this Memorial Day was no exception.  I was tasked with making sure the pits were all raked, all available pairs of horseshoes were rounded up, and the large trophy delivered for presentation at the end..... 


 .

.....we ended up with 10 teams competing beginning at 1 pm......by 2:30 we had a winning team.....Team #9.....

The winners with the 'Acker Trophy'

Saturday was also our first day of our new 40 hour work schedule......yep, from now on we will be working 40 hours per week until we leave in mid September, and stockpiling cash towards our eastern U.S. tour beginning this December.

I made my final round of the park, pumped some propane, checked a cable TV connection for a customer (no problem with our cable....the problem was in their RV wiring), dropped off my cart in the yard and clocked out at 4:45 pm......didn't seem like I worked almost 9 hours!

Meanwhile, back in the office/store, TLE was kept busy all day answering phone calls, solving problems.......our ice cream parlor opened for the summer, our ICE HOUSE is dispensing bags of ice, and we appear to be hitting on all 8 cylinders.  


Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Here they come!

Right after breakfast I headed out to the trailer to tune up our Cannondale Tandem for it's first time out this summer......it's actually been over a year since we took a tandem ride, but Friday we did.....we rode all the way out past Meyers to the end of the bike path (about 5 miles each way) and back to the 'Y' (intersection of US-50 and SR-89).  The weather was perfect.....cloudless skies with temps in the 60's.

As we rode west on US-50 towards Meyers we saw one RV after another headed east to Lake Tahoe.....yep, this is the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, and it will get quite busy for the first time since we arrived April 30th.  It will provide a good test for our new staff who have been busily preparing for this weekend.  I can already notice my Verizon WiFi slowing down with the influx of vacationers into South Lake Tahoe.

After we made the turn around and began our trek back to SLT we decided we would stop off at a new cafe in SLT called MoonHouse Brewhouse, located near the 'Y'.....TLE had noticed they were finally open.....we saw construction going on last summer, but they did not open before we left just before Labor Day.  What a pleasant surprise.......


.....they haven't been open long enough to garner many reviews, but so far after 6 reviews, including mine, they are at 5 stars according to Yelp.  Each cup of coffee is brewed right in front of you using a drip machine.....I got a cup and TLE ordered some espresso as well as some sort of berry scone.....we sat on the front porch enjoying the view and talking with other customers.  The locals seem to appreciate this new coffee place and are showing up to support them as they get off the ground......


.....we were back to the coach a little after noon to find the campground filling up quickly....we all agreed it is great to see the campers coming back after a long month of hard work and preparation.


I have been wanting to put up some sort of sun shade over the door to the trailer as it gets quite hot on cloudless days with the sun hitting the door for several hours....TLE reminded me we had an old sun screen we rarely use, so I added some male snaps over the door and using the two remaining tent poles I ordered 10 days ago put it up....TLE was a great help!

 Sun shade installed, and looking good!

We had cocktail hour at our neighbor's, Gordy and Carol, 5th wheel, and then headed back to the coach to turn on the Sea-B-Que to grill some hot dogs and corn....TLE baked some potatoes, and opened a bottle of Pinot Noir and we at by the fire....yep, the weather is beginning to feel more like spring.....finally!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Local flavor......

Thursday started slowly, but finished with a bang!  Since the batteries for the blue Yamaha golf cart did not arrive until after 5 pm Wednesday, and I was the one who removed the old batteries I was, therefore, the only one who knew where all the wires re-attached......I clocked in at 9:22 am for an hour to install the new batteries and deliver the cart to Bob Sumner who is our resident Thousand Trails salesman......


......everything went back together and within the hour I had delivered the cart.....while I was doing that TLE did some shopping........now it was time for us to enjoy our off day.......

I put our patio furniture back out now that it appears we are in for some warmer, dryer weather for the next two weeks......I spent some time checking over our two road bikes so we could take a ride.  About 2 pm we headed north on SR-89 toward Emerald Bay.....as we rode along the paved bike path we just took our time enjoying the pine scented air, and the trees.  When we came to the entrance to Pope Beach, which is still closed until this weekend, we decided to ride out to the beach.......

 Pope Beach...we are all bundled up

Spectacular view looking north

 Still snow on the local mountains......

.....but kids are playing in the lake

....we continued back to the bike path and northward past Camp Richardson to the Tallac Historic Site which encompasses the Pope Estate, Baldwin Estate and Valhalla......beginning May 28th you can tour the estates and the onsite museum which give a glimpse into the life of the rich in South Lake Tahoe in the early 1900's.....


 One of 2 large boat houses....you can still see the steel tracks running into the water......the boats were hauled out on a large boat dolly on those tracks.

 Looking north towards Emerald Bay



 A couple of the old 'estate' houses.......

.....we haven't visited the Tallac Historic Site since about 2004, so it was nice to just ride through the area with no crowds.....

We got back to the coach about 4 pm, and decided to head over to the Lakeview Commons area to visit a new micro brewery we had discovered while out 'junking' a couple of weeks ago called Sidellis Lake Tahoe Brewery and Restaurant.......




......we immediately ordered a flight of their 8 brews and a platter of their chips and house made beer cheese which ended up being the perfect pairing to sample their 8 brews......


I settled on their version of the famous Imperial Stout, which is served 7 ounces at a time due to the high ABV, and TLE settled on the Farmouse Claunie Ale........for our entree I ordered their French Beef Dip and TLE the Triple Play.  We loved their basic 'pub fare' style menu which definitely lives up to the quality of their brews!  Last summer I wrote about Coldwater Brewing Company which is more of a high end restaurant with an onsite brewery which we thoroughly enjoyed, but was a little pricey.  Sidellis is more our 'hole in the wall' style, and we definitely plan to return this summer.  Yelp gives them a solid 5 stars on 29 reviews, and we would definitely be right there.  There are no servers so you must order your brews and food at the bar.....they do deliver your food to your table.  For some this might be a draw back, but for us it is perfect, and the resulting lower prices are appreciated!

On our way back home we stopped at the same location near Lakeview Commons we did last November to take our 'after' picture of the lake......you will recall how shockingly low the lake was then, and how far out you had to walk to get to the water.........

Before....early November, 2015

After....late May, 2016

......I believe I have written recently about how the lake has returned to it former glory over the past winter, and here is the proof.........the water is almost up to the stone retaining wall once again!

We arrived back at our coach just about 6 pm and the beginning of the NBA playoff game between the Thunder and the Warriors.....it was a closely fought game, but in the end the Warrior prevailed by 9 points......back to OKC for game 6!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wed-nes-day

The time is growing short before the first big weekend of the season, Memorial Day, unfolds here at TVC....we have much to do, and everyone working Wednesday hit the deck running.  Our priorities are to get the bathroom portions of Section A & E open......the showers are not yet finished, but at least our customers will be able to use the toilets and sinks.  The contractor thinks he may have the tile work done in the Section E restroom, but we are not counting on it.  Additionally, here is a short list of what must/needs to be done by Friday....in no particular order:

1 - Replace water heaters in the Group restroom, Section A, and Section E
2 - Replace the missing swings on the swing set (new seats ordered....will be here by Friday)
3 - Install the tennis court net
4 - Finish raking all the sites
5 - Remove all the dead trees that have been cut down by our tree guy....we're going to use many of them to aid in the definition of some of our more complicated sites
6 - Get the new air compressor installed
7 - Install new 8 volt batteries in one of the Yamaha golf carts
8 - Get the swimming pool open (contractors are fixing a couple of leaks)

There are probably a few things I am forgetting, but you get the idea.....there are several things we have no control over such as the contractors getting their jobs done on time.

I spent my 6.5 hour shift dragging small trees from various places in the park where they had been cut to the sites that need more definition, removing six 8 volt batteries from one of our Yamaha golf carts (I wrote about this one previously) so we could install the new ones when they arrive from Reno, NV Thursday, helping put up the tennis court net, hauling more broken concrete from the pool area, and ordering the aforementioned swing set seats from Amazon.


I was off work by 2:30, and TLE stayed on until after 4 helping Robert get payroll submitted.  I thought we were done with the rain, but about 8 it began to rain again, and continued on and off until after midnight.  On a positive note the sun is out and drying things out as I write this morning (Thursday).

Thank for stopping by!

Definition

(I am attempting to recreate this post about Monday, May 23rd as it somehow mysteriously disappeared from my site.....this is not a new post, but an attempted recreation)

It occurred to me that some may not know what I am talking about when I write about raking pine needles in such a way as to define that site, and create visual borders for our customers.  Most sites here at TVC have obvious boundaries, but many do not, and it is those sites where we have to spend time on a regular basis explaining to customers where their sites begin and end.  Below are pictures of sites before they are raked........and after they are raked......

Before....

 After.....

.....after finishing my first site check round I headed back to Section G to continue raking sites, and did so until about 10 am when I set out to do my second round of the park.....normally I would have done this closer to 11 am, but about 13 of us staff members were scheduled to drive over to Lotus, CA to another Thousand Trails park (Ponderosa) to attend a seminar put on by our employer (Equity Life Styles, Inc.) on customer service.  When TLE and I retired 4 years ago we both thought we had retired from company seminars......sigh.

We left around 11 am from TVC for the 70 mile drive, which due to the mountainous terrain between here and Lotus (a few miles northwest of Placerville) took about 90 minutes.  We arrived safely at Ponderosa about 12:30.....just in time for the pre-seminar buffet lunch provided by our employer.  The seminar began around 1 pm and lasted until just after 4:30......

 The gang
Our presenter, Mary, in the background

.....for the most part we learned that we are, in fact, already doing most, if not all of the things our Presenter, Mary, was doing her best to convey to us.  Don't get me wrong, Mary did a wonderful job, but to me this just seemed redundant.

We left for our drive home about 4:50, and were back at TVC a little after 6 pm......it began to rain quite hard on the way back, but we ended up facing much less traffic on the return trip.  By the time we arrived back at TVC it had stopped raining, and the sun was showing herself once again.

Thanks for stopping by!