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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TVC - Day 51 - Strangling toads

Monday was a mixed bag.....very warm.....very quiet....but it ended with a bang!  We had over 100 departures on Sunday, and another 60+ on Monday, so by early afternoon the campground had taken on this eerily quiet feeling.....it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop in the registration office for a few minutes.  It got into the low 80's by mid afternoon as thunderstorms moved into the Tahoe Basin. 

There is nothing new, or different to report about Monday except that we spent it in a place we love, where the weather is idyllic, and the people we work with are the best friends for which one could ever ask.

I was off work by 3, but TLE did not come home until just after 4:30 at which time it was declared 'Happy Hour' in section 'E'......  


Clockwise: Moi, TLE, Marilyn, Harry, Merlin, Mel, Johnny and Deb.....for the record Merlin (in my golf cart) is our night security guy, and was not imbibing.....he just stopped by to say 'Hi'.

.......we talked and laughed until almost 7 when it began to sprinkle, and we were barely back inside our individual abodes when the sky fell.....we had about 30 minutes of torrential rain, lightning and thunder before it slowed to a sprinkle.....a real, genuine toad strangler as they say in east Texas.  It was so loud we could hardly hear the TV at one point.  Nevertheless, the dust is once again settled, and the insidious pollen has been washed away for at least a day, or two.

In the next two days the hordes of workaday folk will descend upon SLT and TVC and we will be going from dawn to dusk serving our customers and making every effort to make the 4th of July a memorable experience.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 29, 2015

TVC - Day 50 - Slow down!

Have I told you I love Sunday's in a campground?  Life returns to normal within hours.....the view out my window is restored and the pace of work begins to slow down once again.  After completing my morning rounds I decided to spend time at the intersection to sections G and F trying to get drivers to slow down to the posted 5 mph.....the signs are ubiquitous, and yet far too many ignore them.  

Even though it is getaway Sunday there are still a lot of children in the park, not to mention all those adults riding bikes, walking, etc.  If you think about it 5 mph is just a little faster than the average walking pace of an adult, and that seems pretty slow when you are in a car.  I have a little ping pong size paddle which is painted red with the word 'SLOW' written in white on one side, and '5 MPH' on the other.  As cars approached me which were obviously exceeding 10 mph I flashed the 'SLOW' side first, then flipped it over to '5 MPH'.  It took about an hour, but people began to drive more slowly.  No doubt this exercise will need to be repeated numerous times over the next week, but I hope it will begin to have an effect.

Around 11:15 I began my second round of site checks to see if those who were on the 'Departures' list had departed, or were close to departing.  Unlike Saturday where 99.9% had departed by that time, Sunday was the opposite.  Even though the people in the office make a point of verbally reminding those checking in that departure time is 11 am, and actually give them a flyer stating same, many swore up and down they thought it was Noon.....go figure.  Thankfully Sunday is not a big arrival day, so most sites had no one coming into them, but it will become a very big deal on July 2nd as folks begin to pour into TVC for the 4th of July weekend by the hundreds....sites will have to be vacated on a timely basis or we will enter gridlock!

I was off work by 3 pm and headed home for the day.....about 6 pm it began to sprinkle just as we were settling in to have dinner outside with Richard and Rhonda....TLE had purchased some Bison ground round and had me grill four large patties.....Richard and Rhonda provided the Margaritas along with taco chips and salsa for the appetizers.  We had to move under the awning twice as the sprinkles turned to rain, and finished up under the awning by 8 pm.

It was a good day and evening spent with good friends at work, and good friends after work....thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

TVC - Day 49 -Guarded

Saturday was a mostly normal work day here at TVC if you discount the 90 degree temps and high humidity......I'm sorry I can't discount them.....as I write the humidity is at 71%.....quite high for SLT.  It was so sultry that many were running their AC's before noon.  After finishing my morning rounds I clocked out and headed for Barton Urgent Care to have the dressing for my injured finger changed, for for the doctor to check out the healing progress.....all is well, and there is no sign of infection!  I was promoted to a full on finger guard and just a small bandaid and advised I could take a shower without the bandaid, as well as wash my hands......my life just became a little simpler.....I can actually type again.....yay!  I was gone about 80 minutes, but was back on duty by a little after 11.


We now have close to 300 sites occupied, but the campground feels much fuller than that to me.  I know I fuss about heat and humidity and my desire to avoid them at all costs, but there is really no way one can do that completely.  Most of the folks I spoke with on Saturday had escaped from temperatures well into the triple digits and high humidity, and were quite grateful to be sitting in the shade at Lake Tahoe enjoying temperatures at least 20 degrees cooler than where they came from.

We've begun to include an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper showing the checkout time of 11 am in bold capitalized letters, and guess what?  I only had to leave a note for one of over 60 departures.....everyone else left pretty much on time.

I was off work by 4:15 and TLE followed about 30 minutes later.....we watched two more quarter final Women's World Cup matches....the first between Australia and Japan which Japan won 1-0 on a very late goal.  The second match was between the host country Canada and England.....Canada dominated early, but then over a 3 minute stretch England scored two goals that Canada never recovered fully from.....England took the match 2-1 to advance to the semi final round for their first time.

One more thing to note is that for the first time this summer I was forced to turn on our AC....we ran it until after 8 pm when it finally dipped below 80 degrees.  We were in bed by 10:30 with cool breezes wafting through every open window in the coach.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

TVC - Day 48 - Can't

Friday was a day to relax and stare at my heavily bandaged middle finger and begin to learn how many things I will not be able to do for a while with my left hand, and specifically, my left middle finger.  I can't, or shouldn't, ride a bike as I can't apply the left brake, or grip the handlebars with two hands......I can't tie my shoes.....I can't sweep......I can't do much work on the office computers.....it takes me 5 times longer type this blog.....I have a very difficult time washing my hands and taking a shower.......anything that involves the simultaneous use of both hands is now much more difficult, if not impossible in some cases.......those are just the things that come immediately to mind.....I'm sure when I go to work Saturday I will become aware of a lot more things I cannot do, or will have difficulty doing.

I can, however, still dump the black tank.....I can use my cell phone.....I can use the remote control.....I can text.....I can operate the anti-gravity lounge chair.....I can drink a beer....I can be thankful it wasn't worse than it was, right? On the other hand my left knee is feeling fine once again.

Friday was not a work day, but after Friday we may be working 10 straight days as this next weekend (begins Thursday) is the 4th of July weekend when "all hands are on deck".  Friday was also the first day of the quarter finals in the Women's World Cup.....France and Germany were up first and played a thrilling game that was tied 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes and was still tied 1-1 after two 15 minute overtimes....Germany won in 'Kicks from the Mark' 5-4 to advance to the semi final round.  The USA thoroughly dominated China from beginning to end, but only managed to put the ball in the back of the net once in 90 minutes.  The USA will play Germany next Tuesday....Germany is #1 in the world, and the USA is #2....should be a good match.

The weather in SLT continues to be warm and clear.....mid to high 80's for as far as the weather eye can see.....we have not, however, had to run our AC once, and it is very nice sleeping with all the windows open at night.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, June 26, 2015

TVC - Day 47 - And the Jello jiggled

I want to start off today's blog entry by quoting from the last paragraph of yesterday's blog....

"....if all goes as planned, and Mr. Jello does not rear his head, we should begin our journey at 6 am, and be back by 3 pm at the latest......"

....please let those words kind of hover over today's blog.......

Richard arrived on his bike at my coach at precisely 5:45 am......we had planned to depart at 6 am, but he was there, so why not?  The early morning chill was still in the air as we pedaled northward on our 'clockwise' circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe and we were each  bundled up against the 45 degree temperature.  We both took a break half way up the switchbacks to Emerald Bay to shed a few layers and continued onward......


We covered the first 11.17 miles in 68 minutes................


We encountered our first construction zone just before Meeks Bay and chatted with the 'flagman' for about 10 minutes  before we were allowed to proceed on........



......21.64 miles down and 50 to go..............................

We passed through Tahoe City about 8:30 having covered just under 30 miles....I was feeling great and very optimistic about completing the ride......about 9 am we stopped in Carnelian Bay having covered 33.87 miles in three hours and five minutes of riding time, and very close to the half way point.  I decided to shed my 'bike tights' as it was getting quite warm by this time (the projected high was to be 90 degrees and it was already 80).  


I leaned my bike against the curb and began stuffing my bike tights in my Camelback.......as I was doing that I noticed my bike begin to fall over and instinctively reached out with my left hand to grab it......as I grabbed it the rear wheel suddenly spun catching my hand and jamming my left middle finger into the rear disc brake rotor (see below) almost completely slicing off the tip of said finger.

  The offending rotor

As I looked at my damaged digit I heard myself say, almost matter of factly....'Richard, look what I did..."....I immediately knew my day was over and a trip to the urgent care was in order, more sooner than later.

Richard told me to put pressure on the cut to curtail the bleeding while he went into the SUP shop (SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle) at Watermans Landing to see if they had a first aid kit.....better yet they had a certified first aid person.......Richard came back to watch the bikes while I went inside.....I forget the young man's name, but he did a first rate job of 'irrigating' the wound, and sanitizing the surrounding area before applying the dressing.  By the time he was finished the bleeding had mostly stopped.  I called Elaine about 9:30 and related what had happened, and I that needed her to come and pick me up and take me to the nearest urgent care (Barton's Urgent Care) which was some 25 miles away at Stateline.  She arrived just after 10:30 and had me back to Barton's by 11:30.......while I waited for her I ordered a breakfast burrito and a cup of coffee and silently dealt with the great disappointment of how my adventure had ended.

---WARNING.....WARNING.....GROSS PICTURE COMING UP......

The damage

7 stitches later


I only waited 30 minutes before I heard my name called.....within minutes the doctor was injecting my finger with lidocaine prior to installing 7 stitches to reattach the end of my finger.   The doctor had a great 'bedside manner' and kept me laughing for the entire time.  He said this was the first bike related injury which did not involve crashing, or falling off a bike.

So, once again Mr. Jello rules the day.....Richard completed the ride whilst I awaited TLE's arrival with a total elapsed time of just over 6 hours.  Up until my accident our average speed had been 12 mph.....I know the Garmin says 10.9, but I had left it running almost 40 minutes after the accident before I shut it down.  I was back home by 1:30 with an item still unchecked on my 'bucket list'......it will be done.....you know it will!

I'll have the stitches removed in one week, but for now typing on a keyboard is going to be interesting when one of my fingers is 3 times bigger than usual.  Fortunately there is little, or not pain, so no pain killers have been necessary.

Around 6:30 pm we walked over to Lake Tahoe Pizza with Richard and Rhonda for dinner.....it was a great way to end a somewhat disappointing day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

TVC - Day 46 - 'The long and winding road....'

Needless to say, but I did not spend any time Wednesday measuring RV sites at TVC.....at least not using the 'stepping it off' method I was using.......I did spend most of the day limping around due to my self inflicted knee strain injury which I wrote about in my blog about Tuesday.  There are other options for measuring each site which I am investigating, and will write more about when I return to my job on Saturday.

Beginning with Saturday we will start a 10 day stretch of pretty much working every day as we build up to the 4th of July weekend and its aftermath.  We are normally off work Thursday and Friday, but those will be very big arrival days for customers and everybody will be working those days, and each day until the crowds dissipate.

For a change I had no one parking in someone else's site, and no one encroaching on another's site with tents, or other assorted camping gear......everybody 'colored inside the lines' for a change.  In fact, things were so easy that I spent a few hours in the afternoon helping Harry rebuild the perimeter dirt path/road that had fallen into disrepair over the last 20 years.  Over all I would estimate the road is close to two miles in length....it begins in the back of the overflow area and follows the southern property boundary along the airport property, around to the north end where the Barton Hospital is.  I followed Harry through the group sites, and down to the bottom land in the golf cart while he drove the Case front loader clearing the brush.  Once we had the basic route laid out I busied myself with clearing the debris off the road in a few places, which necessitated the use of a machete.  Of course when you spend time in the bottom land along the Upper Truckee River you run in hoards of mosquitoes, and in spite of spraying copious amounts of repellent on my person the persistent mosquitoes managed to penetrate my defenses on occasions too numerous to count.  Fortunately, most of the road was intact and just needed to be scraped smooth once again, but there was about 1/16th of a mile where we had to plow through a thicket of undergrowth which had obliterated the road which, in turn, required a lot of machete work and then hauling away the tangled mess.  By the time we arrived back at the maintenance yard we were both filthy

I finished my afternoon site check rounds about 3:45....a longish day for me.....and headed home to take a long, hot shower and await TLE's arrival an hour later.  We sat outside enjoying the cool zephyrs for a couple of hours before heading over to Richard and Rhonda's for dinner.....we ate, talked and laughed for 3 hours before we walked back to our coach.....Thursday Richard and I will circumnavigate all 71 miles of the shoreline of Lake Tahoe on our bicycles....if all goes as planned, and Mr. Jello does not rear his head we should begin our journey at 6 am, and be back by 3 pm at the latest......stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TVC - Day 45 - Oooops

Tuesday was a little quieter in the park, but we still have over 160 sites  occupied on a day to day basis.....the new arrivals roughly equaled the number of folks departing.  Nonetheless, as the park fills up my ranger duties increase.  When there were only 40, or 50 sites occupied it wasn't a big deal if people in one site parked their vehicles in an adjacent site.....we let it slide.....but now that the park is filling up that can no longer be tolerated.  Needless to say each time I must disembark the golf cart to ask someone to remove their vehicle from a site for which they are not paying I, on occasion, get a small amount of grief in return.  Most people understand and quickly co-operate by moving their vehicle, but there are always 2, or 3 who don't understand why they can't park in an unused site.  I try to reason with them by suggesting that since there are so many vacant sites why shouldn't they also bring in more RV's and park them in those sites at no charge?  What we do is rent space here at TVC.....we allow one RV, or two tents per site, one vehicle per site, and a maximum of 6 people per site.  In some rare cases if the site is big enough and they can get a second vehicle in the site without encroaching upon another site we allow it.  However, some folks.....just a few to be sure....think their site fee entitles them to use as much space as they wish.....they see extra space next to their site, or across the street from their site and think it is theirs for the taking.  One gentleman chose to devote space in his sit normally used to park a vehicle next to the RV to set up a large outdoor kennel for his four large dogs......that's fine, but that is his choice.  Every day for the past three days I have come by their site to find they are parking not one, but two vehicles in the site next to them.  When I asked him to move his vehicles out the site for which he has paid no money he said "I don't have any place to park my vehicles" like it was our fault. When I pointed out that he and his wife had chosen to devote a large portion of their site to a dog kennel, instead for for its intended purpose he became unhappy.  Unfortunately he had chosen to move from a rather spacious site two days before because he was convinced there was something wrong with the power pedestal in that site.  We tested everything and tried to explain that it was his 5th wheel that had the problem.  Nevertheless, he insisted on moving to the present less spacious site where his electrical problems continued.  In the old site he had room for everything.  As it turned out he had a faulty electrical cord that was causing the problem, but now he can't move back because his old site has been rented out......and so it goes.  I go into this expansive detail just to give you a small glimpse as some of the issues I deal with each day.

The temperatures are rising here in SLT...the highs will be soaring as the week progresses eventually topping out at 90 degrees, but so far we have not had to turn on the AC in the coach....fortunately our site provides a lot of shade in the afternoon.....if we were in direct sunlight in the afternoon it would be a different matter.

A new assignment I have been working on for the past week is to measure the length and width of each RV site here in the campground, as well as check off the amenities offered at each site such as.......is there a grill....what electrical outlets are available (20, 30, 50?)......is there a fireplace, etc.  The most important part, though, is the measurement of the sites.  In our computer system the length of each site is specified, but we have come to believe that not all of the length measurements are not accurate, and we have no width measurements whatsoever.  I know from my years as a soccer referee that my stride is slightly less than one yard.  How do I know?  Well as a soccer referee I was responsible for stepping off ten yards for free kicks, which happened between 5, and 10 times per match.  My normal stride is slightly less than a yard, so I had to take ten slightly exaggerated steps to equal the required ten yard distance between the kicker and the defenders.  All that being said, at the end of my Tuesday shift after having measured some 60 sites using this method I discovered something quite unpleasant.......by taking those exaggerated steps over an over again I had accidentally hyperextended my left knee over and over again.  The cumulative effect is by 5 pm when we began our walk over to Classic Cue for dinner with Richard and Rhonda I was walking with a pronounced limp, and by the time we made the return walk I was in a lot of pain.  Of course, at the time I was mystified as to why my knee was hurting......I surmised  that this was residual pain from our hike to the top of Mt. Tallac last Friday, but that didn't make any sense.  Finally, about 5 am this morning it dawned on me what I had, unwittingly, done, and now I am bearing the consequences of taking literally a thousand exaggerated steps over the course of the day.

So, as I sit here this morning writing about Tuesday's events I have this steady throbbing pain in my left knee reminding me that I am getting older and need to spend more time thinking out the consequences of things I do like taking 1,000 exaggerated steps.

By the way, we had a lovely dinner at Classic Cue with Richard and Rhonda......Richard loves their fish tacos, too.  After we returned home we watched a recording of the World Cup match between Japan and Netherlands....Japan won 2-1 to advance to the round of 8.  The USA will play China on Saturday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TVC - Day 44 - Next Time

We have spent a lot of time with Tom and Darlene over the past couple of years both at their home in Arizona, and on the road in our Newells, but Monday that time together came to an end until next year.  We have shared a lot of laughs and broken a lot of bread since late January.  TLE and I reported for duty before 8 am and I hopped in my golf cart to drive over to Tom's site to say our 'until next times'......



I was almost too late as they were already out of their site............

Until next time Tom and Darlene....you will be missed

.......then it was time to commence with the day's regularly scheduled programming.....67 departures were scheduled and about 37 arrivals........added to that are the 140 sites that are currently occupied.  With all the comings and goings, and current residents I stay pretty busy for my entire shift.  In the middle of all that Harry took me out to see what he is doing on the perimeter dirt road that has fallen into disrepair over the years......he is clearing and smoothing the road so it can be used again by customers to hike, ride their bikes, walk their dogs, etc.  I'll try and get some pictures the next time we go out, but is coming along nicely.

I was off at 2:30 and home, in front of the TV watching another World Cup match between England and Norway, which was won by England 2-1.....this is the first time England has won a match in the round of 16 (16 teams remaining after group play).   The referee team in that match was up to the task and did a competent job.....by competent I mean they only interfered when necessary, and just let the players play.....you were hardly aware of their presence....that is the way it should be.  The night cap between the USA and Columbia was a different matter.  This match drew a referee team that was very poor at foul recognition......many fouls called were what I call 'simulated fouls', or in the more popular vernacular, 'dives'.  In one case a Columbian player 'dove' (faked a foul), which was whistled by the referee....that was bad enough....but then the referee gave the USA player a yellow card.  And that brings up another glaring deficiency in this year's crop of FIFA referees......most of them have no idea what constitutes misconduct.....when misconduct occurs a yellow, or red card is issued.  It usually means a player has engaged in reckless behavior endangering the safety of another player.  In this match two yellow cards were given to USA players who already had received yellow cards in other matches, meaning they will each miss the next match.  Ultimately the USA prevailed 2-0 over Columbia, and the less than competent 3 person referee team, to advance to the round of 8 (8 teams remaining).

We closed out the evening watching the 2 hour season premier of 'Last Ship' and were in bed just after 10 pm..... .if you enjoy 'post apocalyptic' themed shows this one is very interesting.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, June 22, 2015

TVC - Day 43 - Father's Day

Our departure list for Sunday had 121 names on it....the most by far this summer, and, of course, the 'Who's in the Park' list was 5 pages long making for a long day.....it seemed I had barely finished my first round when it was time to begin the second round.  There were a number of people in the park whose children were participating in a youth soccer tournament, so we had a lot of 'late checkout' requests which we were able to grant as Sunday is not a major arrival day.  I helped Harry replace a 30 amp breaker switch in section G, backed a 5th wheel into site 218 for an elderly gentleman, and answered a lot of questions about South Lake Tahoe, and TVC.  The day passed by quickly as most of our working days here at TVC do....the weather was perfect.....sunny, clear and balmy....it seems to be hot everywhere else in California right now......we are in just the right place!

Sunday, of course, was Father's Day and I received well wishes from my three daughters early in the day.....my oldest daughter, Meredith, posted a picture of us at a father/daughter dance which must be from sometime in the late 80's......


"Me and my Dad. We share a bday and are too much alike for our own good. Happy Father's Day" 

....and, ironically, my youngest daughter, Sharon, posted a picture of she and I dancing the father/daughter dance at her wedding this past January 17th.....

"Happy daddy's day

"Happy Fathers Day, dad!!!! I love you so much" 

And, of course, from my middle daughter, Kate, who was the first of the day to send me her message.  I received a call from my youngest son, Tim, and we talked for a few minutes.....our phone conversations always end the same....."I love you Dad!"....."I love you too, Tim".  And then this picture came from my grand daughter, Cynthia, of her dad, my oldest son, holding her son, D.C. on an outing to the beach......

Chris (the oldest) and D.C.....our first great grand child

It was a good day to be a Dad, and I am blessed to have this ever expanding family of daughters and sons-in-laws.  Best wishes to all the dads out there.....I pray your Father's Day was just as special as mine.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

TVC - Day 42 - Vintage!

Real Saturday was real busy.....the campground saw its highest capacity day this season with close to 300 sites occupied...there were several RV groups in the park including one dedicated to vintage travel trailers of all kinds an makes.......






.....all of them fully restored and functional in every way.  It took me a full two hours to complete my morning round of site checks.  Saturday morning pancake breakfast (every Saturday and Sunday during the summer months at Tahoe Valley Campground) took in almost $500.....one of our best days ever.  The Friday night movie (The Great Outdoors) was standing room only, and the Saturday night movie (RV) was SRO as well.

I was off work by 2:45 and sitting in front of the outdoor TV watching the U.S. Open, then after TLE arrived home we watched the Camaroon vs. China World Cup match, which China won 1-0 on a goal scored off a corner kick that should never have been awarded......the ball clearly went off the leg of the Chinese player, and the assistant referee had the perfect angle to see that, but did not over rule the center referee.....sometimes the most innocuous mistakes can change the course of a match......to me that has really been the unreported story of this World Cup....poor officiating.

We enjoyed another potluck dinner hosted by the Entrekins at their coach, and then retired home for the evening........The McClouds will be departing Monday for home, so we will be down to just two Newell Gurus families here at TVC.  Richard and I have decided that this coming Thursday we will embark on a bicycle ride around Lake Tahoe......71 miles in one day....another item to check off the old bucket list!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

TVC - Day 41 - Tallac, Tallac, Tallac

There are, and there is no doubt, many great views to be had in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin, but the most amazing one requires some physical effort.......no....not some....a lot of physical effort.  Ever since our friend Debby (Bill and Debby's Wild Ride) described a hike she and Bill did a few years ago to the top of Mt. Tallac I have wanted to take the hike.....fortunately for us Richard and Rhonda (visiting Newell Gurus friends) are in town and wanted to add that hike to their ever burgeoning resume, so we decided upon fifth Saturday to summit Mt. Tallac.  At TVC we sit at just over 6,200'.....the summit elevation of Mt. Tallac is 9,735'....give, or take a few inches.

We agreed to head for the trailhead at 7 am sharp, and true to their word, Richard and Rhonda were in front of the Newell at precisely 7 am.....we parked at the Mt. Tallac trailhead at 7:10 am, and began hiking at 7:20.


Making some wardrobe adjustments

The first part of the 5.5 mile trail to the summit is a gradual climb.....so gradual you begin to realize that most of the elevation gain will be bunched together in a very short distance.  Nevertheless, we hike along talking and enjoying the scenery......eventually we made it up to the ridge that overlooks Fallenleaf Lake..... 


There are a number of unnamed lakes along the way.....okay, they may have names, but there are unknown to us.....

TLE and Rhonda

......just past this small pond the real climbing began............oy vey.......... 

Just before the trail went vertical!

As we began the serious climbing for the day we were just 2 miles along the trail, and probably at about 7,000' elevation.....




 TLE grinding along the 11-12% grade

We summited just before 11 am having covered the 5.5 miles, and 3,600+ feet in elevation gain in 3.5 hours........


Essentially the summit is a couple of acres of broken rock, but the reward is the view is spectacular!  You can see Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Cascade Lake (next to Emerald Bay), and Fallenleaf Lake.....all at the same time.


Tired, but feeling a strong sense of accomplishment......we spent about 30 minutes at the summit talking, and eating some snacks before beginning our descent......

 
 Richard and Rhonda at the top!




We arrived back at the trailhead after 7.5 hours of hiking......11.28 miles, and 3,621 feet of elevation gain........very tired, but with smiles on our collective faces.  The trail to the summit of Mt. Tallac is rated as 'strenuous' and we would all agree to that designation.

A great day was had by all......thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 19, 2015

TVC - Day 40 - Being 'Open'

I was up by 7 am on my day off thinking there would be World Cup matches to view later in the day......I turned on the TV to get an idea of when they would be on and discovered there are no matches until Saturday, but what was on was the U.S. Open golf tournament......and it was already being broadcast.....

Phil Mickelson (-1) had a much better day than Tiger (+10)

......TLE was already on her way to do a couple of loads of laundry and then go shopping so I got out the outdoor TV, poured a cup of coffee and retrieved the leftover Lake Tahoe Pizza pizza and sat down to watch......I had all four TV's on from 9 am until well after 7 pm when the last threesome of the day finished the 18th hole.  Phil Mickelson finished his round at one under par, while Tiger Woods carded his worst ever U.S. Open round at 10 over par......his swing is so screwed up he has no idea where the ball is going when he hits it.....much like myself.

In between 9 am and 7 pm I dumped and flushed the black tank, hooked up the long compressor hose to use air to 'spray' off the massive amounts of pollen falling from the trees.......here is a picture of my friend's car to illustrate how bad it is right now.....


......this is what every surface looks like in TVC right now......of course, using the air compressor is only a very short term solution as within 15 minutes it is back.....I'm not sure how people with allergies are not having massive anaphylactic shock right now......

The rest of my day pretty much consisted of sitting in my anti gravity recliner reading, napping, and watching the U.S. Open.....the temperature got up to almost 80.....maybe 79, but by 4 pm I had to put a jacket on to stay warm.

Around 7 Tom, Darlene, Richard and Rhonda arrived for dinner.....I grilled hamburgers provided by Darlene, and Richard brought baked beans.....while we ate Tom and Richard regaled us with one funny story after another which resulted in a lot of laughter......

Friday we are set to climb Mt. Tallac (9,735') with Richard and Rhonda....we will gain almost 3,500' in elevation 6 miles........pray for us.....:-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

TVC - Day 39 - Content....as in.....I'm very happy

The look of contentment (courtesy Lynda Perkins)

As we near the end of our 40th month of our vagabonding I have to take time to reflect......flect is from the Latin meaning to bend, flex, turn back......so I am 'turning back', or reflecting, once again to see what was and what is....

What was.......back in our 'workaday' lives I saw Elaine for an hour, or so, in the mornings, sometimes less, before she headed off to her sales and marketing job, and then I would see her again in the evening when I got home around 6 pm for a few hours before we went to bed and started the whole 'hamster wheel' thing all over again the next morning.  Between my main vocation as a Property and Casualty Insurance Broker and my avocation as a professional soccer referee I pretty much worked 7 days a week the last 7, or 8 years before retirement.  In my quiet moments I yearned for the time when I could get off that 'hamster wheel' and spend much more time with my Lovely Elaine.  All through those years of raising 5 children and working Elaine and I never lost contact with one another, although at times the connection became somewhat tenuous.....when we could squeeze the time out of our busy schedules we would sit outside by the outdoor fireplace in the early evening talking about what our lives would look like after the 'workaday' part of our lives was finished.  We both agreed that we wanted to travel for a few years around the USA in a motorhome, but how would it be to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with each other after 40+ years of not doing that?  Would we be able to coexist in a space 1/10th the size of our sticks and bricks home month after month, year after year?....actually, Elaine was more concerned about the hour after hour, day after day......in order to build a bridge from our sticks and bricks lives to the desired nomadic life I suggested we lease out our home for the 12 months before we hit the road, move into our Newell and live at a local county park called Rancho Jurupa Regional Park (Riverside, CA) until she retired.....it was about 13 miles from our sticks and bricks.  She readily agreed, and within 30 days we had done just that.  By the end of just a few months TLE had agreed she could, indeed, live with me in 200 square feet, so at the end of the 12 months we extended the lease on our home for another 12 months and hit the road with big smiles on our faces.

What is.......I won't go into a long drawn out explanation of how we got to 'what is'.......everyone's journey to 'what is' is different..........I will just simply say after almost 52 months on living in the Newell together, and almost 40 months of changing our view whenever we fancy we are content......we are happy.....neither of us wishes we were doing something else.....neither of us has any desire to return to a 'sticks and bricks' life.....there is no thought of doing anything different than we are doing now.  As I reflect back on what was I can hardly recognize that person that looks just like me running on that 'hamster wheel' 7 days a week....it seems like it must have been someone else's life.

So, what was day 39 like at TVC?  Frankly, a lot like the last 10 days......checking sites twice, deep cleaning the tent sites in section 'E' and just plain enjoying the delightful SLT weather.....mid 80's, clear skies and no chance of precipitation.

Wednesday is our 'Friday', so after work we walked over to Lake Tahoe Pizza for dinner with our remaining Newell Guru friends.....Tom and Darlene, and Richard and Rhonda....TLE and I ordered the Jackpot Pizza with anchovies once again, and drank a couple of Icky IPA's.  It was a good day to be us.........

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

TVC - Day 38 - If a tree falls in the forest......

After our very localized power failure yesterday morning we had to both hustle to make it to work on time, which we did......for the first time I did my morning rounds sans jacket.....it was a tad cool when I started out at 8:10 am, but the morning sun filtering through the pines warmed me quickly.....

No jacket at 8:15 am!

Tuesday TVC had a date with a local arborist to remove some of 'her' dead trees......there was one in site 356 that we named the 'widow maker' as it had been dead for quite some time and had gone so far as to fall against another large tree in the site.....it was just a matter of time before it came crashing to the ground on its own.  In all they removed about 20 deceased pines over the course of the day, some as large as 4 feet in diameter.  I have to admit there was a certain sadness in me when I saw that 4' x 100' lodge pole pine crash to the ground......its time of reaching for the sky above, and casting shade to the ground below was finished.....the good news is its usefulness on earth is not finished just yet......it will now be re-purposed into construction lumber to provide shelter in the future.

I continued my quest to 'deep clean' as many campsites as I can before my summer here is history spending a couple of hours in the section 'E' tent sites picking up the small debris left by past tent dwellers who, in general, have done a decent job over the years of cleaning up after themselves.  Nevertheless, the accumulation of small stuff over time adds up....a bottle cap here, a zip tie there, a few cigarette butts thrown in for good measure begin to add up after a few years.

TLE and I both clocked out at precisely 2:30 pm heading directly home to unwind after another TVC day......we watched three soccer matches in all with the finale being between the USA and Nigeria.....the USA took the match 1-0 on a goal just before half time by Abby Wambach off a corner kick from Tracy Morgan.  The USA defense was steller, and Hope Solo was rarely tested......on the other hand Australia shocked #5 Sweden by tying them 1-1....Sweden is now in the unenviable position of wondering if they will make it to the round of 16.

TLE made enchilada caserole from our Monday evening street taco leftovers and it was delicious......the Moose Drool I used to chase it did not hurt......thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TVC - Day 37 - Powerless

About 6:15 am this morning the power went out in TVC....not sure if the entire park is without electricity at this point,  but section 'E' is for sure.  I'm typing this brief update from my phone,  so will have to do the official blog later today.

3:22 pm - By the time power was restored (read below) the window of time I use for composing each day's blog entry had shrunk to the point where there was not enough time to complete it, but just enough time to post the brief notice of our problem......eventually, after checking our internal breakers, then the breakers on the box and checking with others in our section I determined the outage was limited to just sites 426 (us) to 431.  There is a elctrical junction box about 75 yards from our coach, but a key is needed to unlock it.  By this time it was almost 7 am so I knocked on Harry's door and asked him if he had the key......he did.  From there it was a short walk to the junction box to open the door  and determine that, yes, the breaker for our sites had tripped.  We reset the breaker and the power returned immediately! But, by the time we had restored power it was after 7, and my blog writing window had shrunk giving me just enough time to post my brief notice. 

So,  what did happen Monday?   Nothing much different from Sunday.....I did my site
checks and TLE ran the front desk.  In between my morning rounds and afternoon rounds I spent a couple of hours doing more 'deep cleaning' on the outer loop in section 'F'.  It's amazing how many cigarette butts and bottle caps one finds when one had the time. 

The rest of the day passed by quickly, and TLE and I headed for the 'barn' about 2:30 and spent the afternoon watching several Women's World Cup Matches and then got for ready for hosting our remaining Newell Guru friends for a street tacos dinner.   


And then there were 6.....5 in the picture taken by Tom....:-)

We had a delightful meal, and then spent a couple of hours sitting by the fire chatting before the mosquitoes chased us indoors for the evening about 9. 

Thanks for stopping by!  

Monday, June 15, 2015

TVC - Day 36 - Living well

Clear......high Sunday 79 degrees......low 41 degrees.......currently 43 degrees.......sun filtering through the lodge pole pines.......Sunday was just another South Lake Tahoe mid June day......


Our Newell mini rally officially came to a close on Saturday, and our first departure was Chester and Jan Sunday morning......Tom and Darlene will probably be here until this Friday, while Richard and Rhonda will be hanging around until July 2nd.....Ed and Lynda will be departing Monday morning......

TLE and I busied ourselves with another workday......I had 2 pages of departures to shoo out of the park, and there were an equal number of new arrivals expected.  Over the course of the morning we had several requests for late checkouts, which happens mostly on Sundays.  One couple was unable to leave their site, because one of their slideouts would not retract....the motorhome was brand new as well as brand new to them......they were on the phone with Good Sam ERS trying to get help when I suggested to them that I contact a guy here in the park that does that sort of work....within minutes of his arrival the problem (I have no idea what it was) was solved and they were on their way.

We both clocked out at 2:30 after putting in 6 hours and headed for home....we sat outside reading until almost 6 pm then headed over to have another potluck dinner with our Newell Guru friends......Richard grilled hamburgers and we enjoyed another fine evening of  good food and fellowship.  After our meal the girls went inside Richard and Rhonda's coach to play cards, and Tom and I went into his coach to watch 'Get Smart' with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway......we laughed outloud for a couple of hours.

Starting with me....clockwise: Moi, Richard, Rhonda, TLE, Ed, Lynda, Darlene and Tom

We were home by 10:15 and in bed by 10:30.....another day lived well....thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

TVC* - Day 35 - Five

When I sat down this morning to write about Saturday I realized Saturday was the 35th day since we arrived in SLT*......it does not seem like it has been 5 weeks, but the numbers are undeniable.  As you know from your own life experiences a lot can change in 5 weeks.....we have gone from snow, sleet, hail and a lot of rain to sunny, clear days for as far out as one can reasonably forecast.  I've gone from wearing my 'snow wear' to a t-shirt, sandals, and shorts for work in that short span of time........change is good.....in this case.


For the first time my 'Who's In the Park' list was four pages long.......the park was probably about 60% full........as we edge ever closer to the 4th of July weekend it will get crazier and crazier until it is literally standing room only.  And, naturally, as the park population increases my job becomes more involved.  Saturday I had four customers who were encroaching on other peoples sites.....inadvertently......nevertheless, I had to stop and explain what they had done and get them to move either their tents, RV's, or vehicles inside their site boundaries, and, hopefully, leave them as happy as when I arrived.....I think I succeeded most of the time.

The hard work the maintenance crew and office staff have been doing is really paying off in compliments from our customers, and probably the biggest payoff came yesterday for our manager, Duane......one of the corporate muckity mucks was walking around the campground with Duane and they ran into customer after customer who showered Duane with compliments in front of his boss.....I guess it can't get better than that.

I finished my 'ranger' shift around 2:30 and headed for home to watch a couple of recorded World Cup matches, and TLE followed about 90 minutes later.....they were a little short staffed in the office Saturday so she stayed on until things cooled down a little.  The big soccer news of the day was France losing to Columbia 2-0......France came in ranked #4 in the world, and Columbia #38......a major upset for Columbia.  Another upset, but less in magnitude, was England's defeat of Mexico 2-1.

That was our Saturday in TVC**........thanks for stopping by!

*SLT = South Lake Tahoe
**TVC = Tahoe Valley Campground

Saturday, June 13, 2015

TVC - Day 34 - Seventy-one

Virtually every year Elaine and I have come to Lake Tahoe we have driven around the lake at least once and what better day to do it this year than on 5th Saturday.  This is Tom and Darlene's first time camping at Lake Tahoe and they have never been around the lake so they volunteered to take us in their car.

We left TVC around 11:15 for our drive up to Squaw Valley, the home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and arrived in Tahoe City just after 12......no trip around the lake would be complete without a stop for lunch at the famous Bridgetender Restaurant on the shores of the Truckee River.




We managed to snag a table outside.......one became available just as we arrived.....serendipity!  The only item I have ever ordered here is the Bleu Cheese and Bacon Burger and that is what I ordered once again.....I added a side of their delicious waffle fries and an ice tea......no one will ever accuse of not knowing what I want.

We continued on to Squaw Valley along the Truckee River......this is the first year I have come to Lake Tahoe that the Truckee River has not been flowing.....my first trip here was in 1953.......further evidence of the severe drought in California.  With no flowing water there are no rafting companies putting rafts in the water for the 4 mile float down to the River Ranch......very eerie.

We arrived at the base of the tram in Squaw Valley about 2 pm.....our plan was to ride the tram up to 'High Camp' and enjoy the view, but got sticker shock when we found the price person had increased significantly since we last took the trip about 8 years ago......$39 per person!  I remember when a lift ticket to ski all day cost $10......now for just a round trip on the tram it is almost $40.  I think it only cost $21 the last time we were here.

 This attraction was free....

Since riding the tram was out of the question we continued on around the lake eventually stopping to do a little wading at Lakeview Downs in South Lake Tahoe.......the water is so shallow due to the shrinking lake that you can literally walk out 200 yards and only get up to your knees.......

 The ladies (deep background) went way, way out.....

 TLE and Darlene about 200 yards out and only up to their knees

 More dramatic evidence of how much the lake is down

We were back home by 4:15 having covered the entire 71 mile circumference of Lake Tahoe.....once again we convened over at site 171 for another communal potluck dinner.....it was a great two days off work......now back to the daily 'grind' on Real Saturday.

Thanks for stopping by!