Thursday, July 28, 2016

My fans......

7:44 am - Thursday - I got up around 2:30 am to go to the bathroom and it was still 80 degrees inside the coach.  I turned on the 'attic' fan for about one minute to draw some cool air into the coach and the temperature fell within minutes to 75.....much better.  I woke up at 7:30 am and here I am sitting in front of my laptop trying to put words on the page about Wednesday.....

We stayed close to home all day Wednesday.....nothing much to report except we (the royal 'we'.....I watched) did cook breakfast outdoors, and ate it outdoors.  We knew the high temperature for the day was forecast to be at least got to 89, but it sure felt much hotter as there was virtually no breeze all day.

I spent about an hour removing, cleaning and re-installing our 'attic' fan.  It had begun to develop this 'rattling' sound after being on for about 5 minutes so I wasn't sure if the bearings in the fan motor were going bad, or the bracket that holds the motor in place needed to be tightened.  At any rate I cleaned the fan blades, put a little '3 in 1' oil on the shaft, then re-installed it making sure all the bolts and nuts which hold the fan in place were tight.  I turned it on and it ran flawlessly for an hour before we turned it off to turn on the AC for the second day in a row.

Around 5 pm we turned off the AC, opened up the windows and went outside to enjoy the cooling evening air.  Around 6:30 I fired up the Sea-B-Que in preparation so I could grill two filet mignons and some corn for dinner.  Once again we ate outside and sat talking until after 9 pm as darkness once again enveloped the TVC landscape.  The mosquitoes have essentially disappeared at night now that we are deep into the summer season so our decision to go inside for the night was not dictated, for once, by their presence.

So, in review, Wednesday was a very lazy, do mostly nothing day for us.....the kind of day you need one in a while whether you live in a 'sticks and bricks' home, or a home on wheels.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


9:24 am - Wednesday - I alluded to how I felt yesterday morning after putting in 7 strenuous hours defrosting the ICE HOUSE Monday evening.  I took several naps during the day and other than walking over to check out the new Goodwill (in the building that previously housed Pier 1 Imports) we did very little all day except relax.  The inventory at this new Goodwill is the best I have ever seen.  Great sporting goods section, and great camping section as well as great clothing and shoe selections.  We both found some clothing items we could not live without, and TLE found a couple of hardback books.

We are in the midst of another heat wave that will extend until the first week in August when temps will again drop into the high 70's/low 80's.  Tuesday it got to 87 degrees and we actually had to turn on the AC for the fourth time this summer around 4 pm.

We got a surprise text from our daughter, Meredith, that she was in the Sacramento area on business and wanted to drive up to SLT to have dinner with us......she arrived around 5:30 pm and we headed over to Sidellis Lake Tahoe Brewing.  Their outdoor 'Beer Garden' is now open, so we sat outside sipping good local brews and enjoying a good meal for over an hour.

We walked over to El Dorado Beach to sit on a bench enjoying the cool evening breezes and the view looking northward......

.....regretfully Mere had to head back to her hotel about 8:30 (it's a two plus hour drive each way), so we said our 'until next times' and bid her adieu until late September.  We got a text from her about 10:30 that she had arrived back at the hotel safely.

We watched a recorded episode of 'Last Ship' and were in bed by 11:30......I slept in until just before 9 am this morning!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A frosty evening....

8:51 am - Tuesday - My good friend Tom Carrozzo has a wonderful, descriptive saying to describe how one might feel after a long goes "I feel as if I have been drug through a knothole backwards"......and that is precisely how I feel this morning after Monday's adventures.

After taking Sunday off from riding I was back on my Cannondale Bad Boy heading for the Emerald Bay Visa Point.  I made a quick stop at Higher Ground Automotive to talk with our mechanic, John, about scheduling an appointment to have the Beetle serviced....we settled on this Friday.  After a few minutes I was back on my way to Emerald Bay........our elevation here in TVC is just over 6,300 feet.....the elevation at the Vista Point is over 6,850 feet.  Most of the elevation gain is in the last 1.5 miles of the 8.85 mile one way distance to the top.  I set out around 10:30 am determined not to push too hard......just enjoy the need to add suffering to the experience!  It took me just over 49 minutes of riding time to the top.....I might have been able to get there under 49 minutes but there was a construction zone right at the top and I had to thread my way through about 30 stationary vehicles to reach the vista point parking lot......

 I never tire of this view!

.....of course, after the hard climb to the top the reward of the fast descent awaits.  I usually get up to 35-36 mph on the descent and listening to music on my Samsung phone just makes it even better!

I was back at the mother ship a little after noon and spent the rest of the afternoon resting and taking a nice, long, hot shower before heading for work at 3 pm.  TLE spent the time preparing French Onion Soup for our dinner entree, and it was fabulous!  Normally Monday's are extremely laid back, and because of that we chose Monday night to defrost the ICE HOUSE.....I spent the better part of 7 hours scraping ice from the coils which run along the entire length of the ceiling.......normally the temperature runs around 10 F the coils iced up the temperature eventually crept up to 33 F degrees so we really had no choice but to defrost......


About 80% done

.......I finally had all the ice off the coils, had all the ice (looked like snow) shoveled off the floor and all the water mopped up around 11 pm.  I turned the compressor back on, closed and locked the door and headed back inside to help TLE finish sweeping and mopping.  We did our inspection of the restrooms and were home decompressing by 1:15 am.....that was a long, long shift!

I rode my bike over this morning about 8 am to check on the temperature and it is back down to 18 F degrees and falling, so the defrosting was a success!  So, now we are off work Tuesday and Wednesday and back on Thursday at 3:30 pm.  After 4 days of our night shift we are still loving it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Light it up!

8:29 am - Monday - Last of 7 straight days of work.....good night's sleep, however, the Ranger Phone rang for the first time at 2:36 am.  The customer, who had just arrived.....why people think arriving at a strange place at 2:36 am is a good idea I have no idea.....could not get into site 236 because a car was blocking the site.  I suggested they park their RV in the registration line and wait until 8 am when a ranger would be on duty to contact the people who's car was blocking their site.  They agreed and apologized for calling so late/early.

I gave myself the day off from riding my bicycle and watched the end of Le Tour de France won by Chris Froome for the 3rd time.  There never seemed to be any doubt that he would win once he donned the yellow jersey after Stage 8.  I always enjoy watching the peloton race up and down the 'Avenue des Champs-Elysees' is quite a spectacle!  After that ended I watched most of the final round of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship which is played right here in South Lake Tahoe at Edgewood Golf Course every July.  We always know when the tournament is about to begin as dozens and dozens of corporate type jets can be heard landing and taking off at the SLT airport, which is less than a mile from TVC.

So, Sunday night....what did that look like?  On Sunday's, as I wrote a few days ago, our shift is from 3 pm until 11:30 pm (half hour lunch).  The first hour was a little hectic, but things settled down just after 4 pm and I met my friend Harry over at our site to work on finishing the installation of the red/blue flashing light bar on top of the Ranger Cart.  The light bar had previously been on an old Chevy S-10 pickup, but had been sitting in one of the maintenance sheds for the past 8 years, or more, unused.  At Harry's suggestion I retrieved the rest of the wiring harness from the S-10, which includes the on/off switch, so we could wire it up.  It took just under 30 minutes to finish and the end result is we now have a working emergency flashing light bar! (Pictures to follow tomorrow).

Sunday evening was probably the easiest night shift for me yet.....not so much for TLE, but I'll let her expand on that at a later date if she so wishes.  I made many rounds of the park, helped folks into their sites, answered questions, unclogged 3 toilets, checked restrooms to be sure there were adequate supplies of paper towels and TP, balanced out the PH levels in the pool, added water to the pool, picked up trash, kept watch on the entrance, directed traffic, slowed people down and just generally had a nice, smooth, enjoyable evening.

While TLE closed out Sunday's office/store accounts I swept, dry mopped and wet mopped the store, bathrooms, and lounge and then TLE and I made one last round of the four restrooms checking once again on paper towels and TP before punching the clock.

We sat talking and unwinding for about an hour before heading to bed just after 1 am.....another good day, errr night, on the night shift!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Midnight run....

10:49 am - body is finally adjusting to the schedule change!  I slept in until after 9 am this morning and lazed around until now watching the end of Le Tour de's kind of nice just being lazy once and a while.

So, what did Saturday have for us?  I began Saturday with a 22 mile bicycle ride around South Lake Tahoe which included a stop at the Tahoe Flea Market where I found a pair of Channel Lock dykes I couldn't live without.  From there I rode to the end of the bike Emerald Bay Road bike path and back arriving back at the mother ship just after 11 am.

I spent the rest of the time before we went on duty napping, showering and reading.  We clocked in about 3:20 pm and thus began our second night shift.  Every day is a little different whether you have the day, or night shift.  As was the case the night before I inherited a couple of unresolved issues from the day shift, but was able to give them resolution within 30 minutes.  Unlike Friday night I had no clogged toilets to deal with, no propane to pump, and really no unhappy customers.  I spent time directing traffic until things quieted down, took care of the pool by checking chlorine and PH levels and making the appropriate adjustments, ran my 10 pm 'Quiet Hour' rounds having to quiet just a few folks.  So far in the three nights we have had custody of the 'Ranger iPhone' we have received no noise complaint calls...... I make my rounds after dark I pass by many interesting light displays to which I am always comparing ours.

I arrived back at the office/store around 10:45 and began to sweep the floors of the store and lounge, empty the trash cans, and then wet mop where necessary (lounge, bathrooms, and the front entry), help TLE straighten up the desk area, lock up and then make our final bathroom check rounds (I do the first one with one of TLE's office helpers, Heather, around 9 pm).....we check to be sure the paper towels and TP are in good supply, and all paper is in the trash cans where it belongs.  We finished the fourth and final bathroom just after midnight, clocked out and headed for the barn.

I was in bed by 1 am, and TLE followed shortly thereafter......yep, we are thoroughly enjoying our new schedule!  Much less stressful and laid back!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

'Midnight Rambler'

7:22 am, Saturday - Of guessed it......even though I didn't go to bed until after 1 am I woke up at 6:30 this morning......ah well, there are always naps, right?  It will take me a few days, if not a week, for my body to adjust its clock to my new schedule.  TLE, on the other hand, is still sleeping like a baby as I write.

One of the things I have missed since we arrived is riding my bicycle on a regular basis.  Last year I was off most days by 2 pm, and still had the energy to take a good ride most days.  I was out on my bike just before 10 am intending to ride up to the Emerald Bay Vista Point, and I got within 1.5 miles of the summit when I began to notice traffic had stopped.  I assumed it was a construction delay, but after about a mile I got to the front of the line to find that a semi tractor trailer had 'high centered' on one of the numerous switchbacks.  The CHP officer I talked with advised traffic had been stopped about an hour, but it appeared they had dislodged the truck and it would be on its way shortly.  Well 'shortly' evolved into 15 minutes so I opted to turn around and begin my ride back down the hill......

 You can see the top of the 'stuck' tractor in this picture

Waiting, waiting, waiting..... I approached Camp Richardson I decided to take the Fallen Leaf Lake spur of the bike path and add a few miles and some good climbing to my ride.  By the time I arrived back home it was around 11:30 am and I had covered close to 19 miles.  

I drove the car over to DIY to pick up some new fluorescent light tubes to the ones in the trailer that have begun to fail.  I was back by 12:30 and spent about 30 minutes puttering around in the trailer before heading inside to take a nap, then a shower before our shift began at 3:30 pm.

We arrived for our shift around 3:20 pm.  Already I could feel a different vibe in the air.  Things seemed more laid back.....relaxed, if you will.  We were just past the heat of the day and I could already feel the temperature dropping as I got in my golf cart to keep my eye on the entrance.   We still had some 60 arrivals expected so I was sure things would get busy soon, which they did.  

It took me an hour or two to adjust to my new roll.  Instead of doing site checks, which were done in the morning I followed up on some minor issues left over from the day shift.....a tent camper had pitched his tents on the wrong site of his site post (352) and was mostly in the site of his neighbors.  There was one gentleman in site 251 which could not put his 5th wheel out of the site as his neighbor's car across the street was in the way (the car was legally parked).  The tenter eventually returned from site seeing about 6:30 pm and moved his tents.  The guy in 251 was finally able to leave his site around 4:30 pm so the guy in site 150 could move into that site.  The rest of the evening revolved around me learning how to test the chlorine and PH levels in our swimming pool, filling propane bottles until dusk, unclogging three clogged toilets in various restrooms, wet mopping out the store and ice cream shop after 10 pm, making sure all the restrooms had plenty of paper towels and TP, taking out the trash, and driving around the campground to be sure everyone was observing the quiet hour which began at 10 pm.  There were only 4, or 5 sites where there was excess noise and they quickly quieted down after I stopped and reminded them about quiet time.  Most people kind of lose track of the time and are apologetic,and that was the case Friday evening.

TLE and I made one final round around midnight through all 4 restrooms to be sure the paper products were topped off before punching the clock around 12:19 am.  We spent about an hour relaxing and unwinding from our first night shift.  I did not arrive home feeling spent, or tired like I have on the day shift......we both thoroughly enjoyed our first night on the job and are looking forward to continuing on with our new schedule.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ingress and egress......

7:44 am - Friday - So nice to get up at 7:30 am instead of 5:30 am......Friday is the first day of our new schedule which has settled out this way.....Thursday, Friday, Saturday we start our shift at 3:30 pm and are off by 12:30 am, and Sunday, Monday we begin at 3 pm and are off by midnight.....this will be our schedule the rest of the summer 'God willing and the river don't rise' as they say.  Of course, this also means you will be seeing my daily posts later in the morning each day.

So, what happened Thursday?  Overnight TLE had this brainstorm about how to handle the increased traffic which results each year from the influx of the two tent meeting church groups.  Typically our entrance is bumper to bumper each morning as the attendees who are not staying in TVC drive in for the meetings.  Then the reverse happens as they slowly egress from the park.  TLE suggested we open up the fence along Melba Drive near where the tent meeting folk park, and let them ingress directly from Melba and egress directly on to Melba......this will remove the twice daily traffic jams.  I presented the idea first to James and Keith (TFE folks) who loved the idea, so then I talked with Adam (our maintenance manager upon whom much of the work will fall) and then to Robert our manager.....they all loved the idea and gave the green light to proceed.  Adam quickly had the fence cut, and rolled back to create the entrance/exit.  On Friday Alex will use our loader to create the 100 foot access road.  I got our remaining stop sign, and one 'RIGHT TURN ONLY' sign to place at the exit point and had them installed by late afternoon.

The rest of the day I made my rounds checking on the departures and found we had several folks who had not left their sites by 11 am (checkout time).  One guy claimed he had paid for his site through Saturday and was refusing to leave.  Another was waiting for him to leave so they could move into his spot.  Another man couldn't leave his site due to a malfunction with one of his leveling jacks on his 38' Class A motorhome.  So my morning and early afternoon were filled with trying to break the log jam of non-departures.  The guy who was refusing to leave could only produce paperwork showing what we already knew to be true.....he had only paid through Wednesday night.  He ultimately relented and departed in a huff about 1 pm allowing the other guy waiting to move into his site to move allowing the guy waiting in our registration line to move into his site.  Yup, it seems like a game of dominoes sometimes, or as TLE says "Jenga blocks".  The guy with the broken leveling jack called an RV repair guy who was able to jack up the motorhome and then remove the defective jack.....he was finally able to depart about 2 pm.....the person coming into his site had not yet arrived so no one was inconvenienced.  The takeaway from this was that except for the one unreasonable gentleman everyone else was understanding and patient.  My faith in humanity has been somewhat restored.

Sometime late afternoon I realized I had lost my personal set of keys that I keep on a blue carabiner with my set of TVC keys.  I hate losing things.....don't we all?  I began retracing, as much as I could, everywhere I had been that day, and even checked the 'Lost and Found', but by the time I clocked out and headed for home about 4 pm I had resigned myself to the loss of the keys.  TLE arrived home shortly after I did and as she was putting her bike back in the trailer I heard her say "Clarke, are these the keys you are looking for?".....she came to the door of the Newell with my keys in her hand.....apparently they had fallen off the carabiner when I closed the trailer after picking up my tool bag about 9 am, and I had not noticed them missing until much later in the day.

We needed to do some shopping so TLE and I headed first over to 'Classic Cue' for some fish tacos and a pitcher of 'Payback Porter' before heading to Raley's to pick up what turned out to be a large basket of 'necessities'.  I should have known when TLE suggested we drive the car instead of walking that we were getting more than a few necessities.....:-)  We were home by 6 pm relaxing and looking forward to sleeping in Friday morning!  YAY for us!

Thanks for stopping by!