Our Amazon Affiliate Link

Friday, July 31, 2015

TVC - Day 82 - 4th Saturday

We slept in until almost 0800 hours having left all the windows open all night....we knew it would be a warm day Thursday, and when we did get up we did not even close one window against the cold morning air.....I think that is a first this summer.   We needed to make a run to Carson City for a few supplies at Trader Joe's and for a haircut for moi.  It's only been 3 weeks, and usually I go 4, or 5 weeks between haircuts, but the one three weeks ago was only a trim for my niece's wedding, so my hair was getting long again.

We were off for Carson City by 1015 hours and parking our car at Supercuts by 11o0.....there was nobody in front me so I was able to go right to the chair for my haircut, and we were back in the car on our way to In 'N Out Burger by 1120.  Getting to In 'N Out before 1200 means no waiting in line, and you get your order pretty quickly....once the lunch rush begins that place is jammed.


By the time we left it was over 90 degrees, and by the time we had finished our brief shopping excursion at TJ's and were heading back up HWY 50 to Spooner Summit it was even warmer.  As we cruised through Stateline back into California it was at least 84....not much cooler than Carson City.

We were back home by 1300 hours, and I spent the rest of the afternoon outside in my recliner reading a book, and listening to Classic Vinyl (XM, channel 26).......I mean the REST of the afternoon.  My sister Jill called about 1410 hours for our weekly phone call and we talked for about 40 minutes about "cabbages and kings"......this has been one of the unexpected blessings of retirement.  Over the decades we rarely, if ever, spoke to each other....we really did not like each other, but a few years ago we started talking and have been building a good relationship.  There are a lot of things neither of us will ever agree upon, but the one thing we do agree upon is that we are family, and that we do care about each other.  For me that is very good.

TLE and I sat outside reading until almost 2000 hours.....that is another first.....it was still balmy as we moved the 'show' inside for the night......a very, very nice 4th Saturday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

TVC - Day 81 - Warmish

Wednesday is the hottest day we have had at TVC in about a month coming in at 87 degrees.....I will take that any day over the Central Valley, or the Inland Empire (San Bernardino/Riverside Counties) this time of year......a little heat mixed in with very low humidity makes for a very pleasant day.  We never turned our A/C on....we just opened all the windows and it stayed comfortable inside all day until about 7 pm when I turned on our 'attic fan' to vent some of the warm air out and draw some cool early evening air inside.  That's how we handle a warmer than normal day here at TVC at 6,300' elevation.  The interesting thing is people come here from very hot areas like the Central Valley (Bakersfield, Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento, etc) complaining about how hot it is there and then set up their RV, go inside, close the windows and turn on their A/C when it gets to 80 degrees.......it would seem to me that when you come to an amazing outdoor place like Lake Tahoe that you would be outside sitting in the shade enjoying the outdoors as opposed to huddling inside your RV listening to your A/C fan whirrrr away....but that's just me.

I said all that to say this....right now in section 'G' we have about 5 sites that keep losing power.....it's obvious that the underground cable that supplies power to their sites is going bad, and we will have to dig up that section this winter when the park is empty to replace it.  As long as no one in those 5 sites is running their A/C, or at least very few of them, there is not problem, but when all of them are running their A/C's they have a problem.  They leave their site during the day, but leave the A/C running.....really?  It takes less than 5 minutes to cool down an RV that has been closed up all day....and again, why is the RV closed up all day? Open the windows!  Okay.....that's my weekly rant.....now back to regularly scheduled programming........

When we were down in SoCal for my niece's wedding we stayed one night at my daughter's home in Riverside......I discovered after we left the next morning that I had left my Teva sandals in our bedroom.  I called my daughter immediately and asked her to bring the Teva's to the wedding the next day......well, she forgot.....frankly, I probably would have forgotten, too......after all I forgot to put them in my suitcase.  At any rate, she graciously put them in a USPS flat rate box and mailed them to me on Monday.....they arrived at the TVC office Wednesday afternoon, and now I am complete once again......lol!


My intent, which is usually the case on a Wednesday, was to be off work by 1430 hours, but circumstances intervened and I ended up getting off work at 1710 hours.....instead of heading home we just walked out the long entrance to the park, crossed HWY 50 and had dinner at Lake Tahoe Pizza.....as always we ordered the 'Jackpot' pizza with anchovies which we chased with a pitcher of 'Icky' IPA....what a great way to unwind from a busy 5 days of work.....both TLE and I logged over 40 hours this week, which is about 8 more than we planned.

We find ourselves with just 4 weeks remaining in our sojourn in South Lake Tahoe, but we are beginning to get the 'itch' to be moving again.....in just exactly one month we will celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary......cool!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

TVC - Day 80

I'm sitting here looking at the title "TVC - Day 80" and thinking about what a wonderful, interesting summer it has been.  I know there have been some bad days thrown into the mix during that 80 days, but every single day I wake up in a forest at 6,300' elevation and am thankful we are here.  My injured left middle finger is healing slowly but surely, and I go several hours in the evening with no bandaid on it.....I always put on one in the morning to protect it as it is still very tender, as one would imagine, but now at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It will be nice when I get to the point when I am not constantly protecting it from further injury.  My vigilance so far has been quite successful....I think I've banged it once, or twice accidentally over the past 4 weeks with no consequences other than it hurt like the dickens for a few minutes.

On the other hand, last Thursday I was cleaning off the front windshield and was stretching to reach a spot high up when I think I must have strained my left shoulder.....I felt kind of a twinge of pain as I reached, but thought nothing of it until later in the day when I could hardly lift my left arm above my waist with a shooting pain.  Over the past week it has improved a lot, but I think I've got another week, or two before I can use it normally again....putting on, and taking off t-shirts has become very interesting.

Our 'Who Is In The Park' list showed 310 sites occupied with 33 departures and an equal number of arrivals Tuesday.  You would think with only 33 departures for me to worry about it would be easy, but for some reason there were three folks who took forever to depart their site.

For a couple of hours I spent time repairing 4 sections of fencing along Melba Drive, but this time down next to the Group area.  It was obvious that these breeches had been used for some time by people to access the campground to walk their dogs, use our restrooms, camp illegally, etc.....well, now they are gone....we'll see how long that lasts.  The other sections I have repaired remain undisturbed so far.

TLE and I both clocked out just after 4 pm and were home relaxing in the cool afternoon breezes by 4:20....one more day and we are off for two days.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TVC - Day 79 - STOP!

Over the past weeks I have begun to notice that most people.....by most I mean maybe 80+%..... do not come to  a stop at any of the 4 stop signs in Tahoe Valley Campground.....not even a "rolling stop".....by "rolling stop" I mean slowing down as you approach the stop sign, but never coming to a stop as you roll through the stop sign.  At this time of year the park is approaching 75-80% full on a daily basis and close to 100% on the weekends, which means a lot of foot and bicycle traffic mixed in with the regular vehicle traffic.  I decided to stand by one of the stop signs to see if maybe my presence might draw attention to the sign itself and result in a higher compliance rate.  

With me just standing there those who actually stopped rose to about 30%....next I actually put my arm on the stop sign as I stood there and it rose another 5%....maybe.  I finally kept my left arm on the stop sign, and began pointing to it with my right hand as vehicles approached.....compliance increased to almost 100%.  Of course, I can't stand at all four stop signs all day long doing that, but maybe if I spend some time each day doing that things will get better for a while.  Interestingly we have a large church group here this week (Tahoe Family Encampment) and I fully expected more of the same from them as they exited the group area after each service as there are 100+ vehicles that come and go before and after each service, however, I noticed quite the opposite.....with me just sitting across the street  in m golf cart watching, close to 100% of them came to a complete, or nearly complete stop at the stop sign controlling traffic egress from the sections E, F and the group area.  It may be their leadership impressed upon them all to watch their speed and to stop at the stop signs, I have no idea.....I just thought it was interesting.

We had close to 100 departures and about 60 arrivals on Monday, but over 300 sites continuously occupied.  With one lone exception all of our departures were out of the campground by 1200 hours, and by 1530 hours all but 8 of our scheduled arrivals had arrived.....a very  smooth day......once again we had no unhappy customers.  The weather will warm up to the low to mid 80's over the next 10 days, and there are a couple of days where there is a 10-20% chance of rain....more than likely we will see no precipitation.

Once again I was off by 1530 hours and TLE followed at 1600 hours.....I finished the 18th Dave Robicheaux book (James Lee Burke), Glass Rainbow....frankly it was hard to put it down.....only two more to go.

Thanks for stopping by!

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!

Monday, July 20, 2015

TVC - Day 71 - Get back!!

Our plan was to meet my brother Philip and his wife Jeannie for breakfast Sunday morning at 7 am before we began our drive back to South Lake Tahoe and TVC.  Originally we had planned to be gone at 6 am in order to get back early in the afternoon, but we just had to see my brother and his wife one more time.  We met at Rod's Grill at 7 am, and all of us were still a bit groggy after the prior day's festivities, but after a cup of coffee and a few laughs we were feeling much better.  Rod's is kind of a throwback  as far as diners go......their 1960's decor is unchanged and still looks fresh, and the food is typical diner fare.

True to our intent we were in the car and on our way northward by 8 am after saying our 'until next times' to Phil and Jeannie......we will see them again in October when we fly down from Washington for our middle daugther's (Kate) wedding.  We stopped briefly at the 7-11 located on Haven just off I-210 to fuel up taking on just over 10 gallons at $4.39 per gallon......ouch!  By 9:30 we were at Kramer Junction where TLE took over the helm for the next 100+ miles.


By 10:15 we were nearing Lone Pine where I took over once again.....we did stop in Bishop briefly about 11:30 to top off our tank for $4.00/gallon at the Paiute Casino gas station, then it was up Sherwin Grade and all the way to the Rest Area located between Mammoth Lakes and the June Lake Loop where I traded places with TLE once again.....


......before we continued on we took a few minutes to have some snacks and snap this selfie.....happy to be back at altitude and low humidity!


I was craving a 'Walker Burger' so we took a late lunch in the lovely town of Walker at the famous Walker Burger where we quickly placed our orders, and then were told it would be at least 25 minutes......there was a big crowd there!  It actually took closer to 45 minutes, but it was worth the wait.  The entire time we were there the weather was threatening, but we avoided the rain....at least until we were on our way for the last 55 miles to SLT.  



We left Walker at 4 pm and were back home by 5:30 and unpacked and relaxing by 6......it was a great, uneventful 4 day trip.  We had a wonderful time with family and friends, but we are sooo tired this morning!  Time to recuperate from all the fun of the past 4 days.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

TVC - Day 70 - Wedding Day

0530 -  I was up at 5:30 am enjoying the early morning solitude, and writing my blog.  



0720 - We headed downstairs to the hot buffet provided by Embassy Suites.....they have two chefs that will prepare eggs dishes to order, as well as plenty of bacon, sausages, french toast, fresh fruit, coffee, etc.




0820 - Retired back to our room......



1000 - Began to rain to the accomanyment of thunder.....can't get away from the rain,  even in Southern California. 

1230 - Getting ready for the wedding....Tim and Laila will be here in a few minutes and then we will head over to the church at 1 pm.

1435 - Tying the knot....


1926 - Reception time! 


 The kids

Danielle and Miguel

We had a wonderful time at the reception.....both of my brothers and one of my sisters, Hilary, were there, and we took this cool group picture of all the 'Hockwalds'....


Thanks for stopping by!

TVC - Day 69 - Chillin'

I brought my Canondale Bad Boy bike with me to SoCa specifically so I get a ride in to the top of Mt. Rubidoux, and Friday morning was the time for that ride....I finished writing my daily blog about Thursday just after 7 am and was on the road for my 10 mile loop by 7:15.  It's about 1.5 miles to the beginning of the climb up Mt. Rubidoux and at the 2.5 mile mark I was wondering why I was huffing and puffing so much....after all I've been riding at 6,300' altitude all summer.....shouldn't I be in better shape than that?  Well, I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I was pushing over 10 mph up the hill....then I looked down to see what gear I was in and saw I was pushing a 'taller' gear as well......when I was here in January I was only able to push up the hill at about 8 mph.....okay that's the reason.....I'm actually in better shape than I thought.......


......the view, as always was spectacular, however, you could see some haze creeping in along the valley....a byproduct of living in an urban area with too many vehicles per square mile.....




I was back at my daughter's home by 8 am, and we were on our way into Claremont for TLE's hair appointment by 9 am......we took my grandson, Elijah, with us and while TLE was getting her hair done we walked around Claremont Village.  After the hair appointment we continued on into Arcadia having lunch at Chili's.......

Grandpa and Elijah at Chili's

.....Elijah's dad picked him up about 12:30 and then TLE and I went shopping for our niece's wedding gift at Macey's over at the Santa Anita Mall.  We had checked in with Embassy Suites, but the earliest we could officially check into our room was 2:30, so we ran a few more errands before heading back to Embassy Suites and having a drink in the restaurant located in the 'atrium'.......


As promised, we were able to check into our 6th floor room at 2:30, and none too soon as the local heat and humidity were taking their toll on us.   The humidity was not really all that bad, but compared to Lake Tahoe where it is routinely in the 'teens' it feels quite humid here, and then add to that the 95 degrees temps and we feel totally out of our element.

Around 5:30 we met up with my two brothers, Dwyer  and Philip, and their wives, Lori and Jeannie, and Dwyer's daughter, Ingrid at the original Panda Inn in Pasadena on Foothill Blvd. for dinner.  I think the last time we were all together in one place was a Ingrid's wedding two summers ago.....now we are gathering for the wedding of Philip's daughter, Danielle.

We had a great time at dinner, and then retired to Philip's Temple City home for after dinner drinks and more conversation.......

Left to right: TLE, Jeannie, Lori, Ingrid

Left to right: Dwyer, moi and Philip

We were home a little after 10 pm a wee bit tired, but with big smiles on our faces after a very fun day.....tomorrow the wedding!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 17, 2015

TVC - Day 68 - A change of venue....

I was up at 5 am, TLE about 45 minutes later....Thursday was the day we would drive 450 miles south for the wedding of my brother's daughter, Danielle.  We left TVC in our rear view mirror about 6:50 am and were over Kingsbury Grade and cruising across the Carson Valley by 7:30.  The drive south was completely uneventful.....just like we like it.....but, here are the details......

Almost exactly 100 miles after departing TVC we were standing at the top of Conway Summit looking across the expanse at Mono Lake and the cool little town of Lee Vining, CA where we took our standard picture we have been taking for decades.....regretfully there was a lot of haze in the air so the views are not as crisp as they have been in the past.  



We stopped briefly at the rest area just before Mammoth Lakes to change drivers and use the restroom, and by 10:10 am we had descended Sherwin Grade and were cruising into the outskirts of Bishop, CA where we overnighted just a little over two months ago.  60 miles later we stopped in Lone Pine for lunch at the same Carl's Jr. we have been stopping at for decades.

After fueling up I took over the helm and guided us further southward through Olancha, Coso Station, Ridgecrest, and Johanesburg changing drivers once again in Kramer Junction.....TLE handled the driving the last 100 miles to Upland, CA where we made a quick 15 minute stop at Joel's Automotive to get the VW smogged.....it passed, of course!

We were at my daughter's home in Riverside by 4 pm and exchanging hugs with her 13 year old son, Elijah.  Within the hour Ali, Nick's sister (Nick is Kate's fiance) was home, followed shortly thereafter by Nick, and then Kate.  We had arranged to have dinner with all our kids and their significant others at Tio's Tacos in Riverside at 7 pm.....so great to have all five kids in one place on such short notice.

Sharon and Rod talking with Rochelle (my daughter-in-law)

 Tim....happy as always


 Chris.....our oldest

.
Nick and Meredith....

The "USIE"

We ate some great Mexican food on the outdoor patio of one of the funkiest places I have ever eaten, and that is why we always come here once, or twice when we are in town.

I did say funky, didn't I?

Well, day 1 of our whirlwind 4 day hiatus from TVC is in the books.....Friday we will move over to Arcadia for two nights and meet up with my two brothers and their spouses for dinner, and then on Saturday the wedding festivities begin!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

TVC - Day 67 - Higher Ground

Ahhhhh.....Wednesday....the end of the work week, and also the day we had an appointment to take our VW Beetle into Higher Ground Autoworx over on Eloise to have the Mobil 1 oil changed, and a general inspection made of the vehicle before our 1100 mile round trip run down to SoCal for the wedding of my youngest brother's (Phil) daughter Danielle to Miguel.

Miguel and Danielle...nuptials this Saturday!

I clocked out from work about 9 am to drive the car over and drop it off, and then walked back to TVC.....in all I was gone 30 minutes before clocking back in......I was able to make one complete round of the park before leaving for my 9 am appointment.

 There is really not much else to report about Wednesday except that the temperature got back to 80 degrees for the first time in a couple of weeks.  There were no issues of any note in the park so I was off work by 3 pm, and TLE followed an hour later.  I called John at Higher Ground about 4 to find out when we could pick up our car and was advised to arrive about 5:30, so we began our walk over about 5 arriving just at 5:25 to find the car outside waiting for pickup.  In addition to changing the oil I had John do a thorough inspection of the drivetrain......I'm glad I did because it turned out that both steering arms are beginning to fail, so we'll get those replaced after we return in early August when we had planned to take the car in for the replacement of the existing K3 turbo with a newer K4 turbo.  We'll see a small increase in horsepower with the new turbo, but the K3 is beginning to fail, and we have seen a drop in performance, so we should see a noticeable increase in performance after the installation of the new turbo.  I hadn't really kept close track of our mileage since last August when John last worked on the car, but he reported that we had logged some 10,000 miles on the car since he last saw it....wow....I had no idea we had driven it so much!

From Higher Ground we headed directly to Classic Cue for Taco Wednesday.....a great way to end the work week and kick off our 4 day 'vacation'......


We were home by 7 and finished packing for our trip by 8 when we settled down to watch 'Masterchef', and then I finished watching Stage 11 of the Tour de France before heading off to dreamland about 10:30.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

TVC - Day 66 - Clockwork

0716 - I'm going to try something new for today anyway....I'm going to post periodically throughout the day so you can get a flavor of what a typical TVC day is like.  As soon as I finish this entry I'm off to get dressed and into the office by 7:45 am.  Times will be posted in military fashion.....0716 is 7:16 am, and so forth.

0743 - Clocked in for another interesting day at TVC.....the manager is offsite today, and it's just TLE, moi and Sandy in the office.....but, with a little help from our friends we will keep it all together.

0820 - Drove Phil down to the maintenance yard to pick up his golf cart so he can clean the sites of the soon to be departed, then returned to the office to get ready for my first circumnavigation of the campground of the day.

1115 - I had just returned to the office to see if TLE was going to take her lunch break when I noticed a male customer was sitting down in front of the counter with two women hovering over him.   I suggested to Merlin we might be having a medical emergency.  I asked of they needed an ambulence and they immediately replied in the affirmative.  By that time Merlin had already dialed 911 and within 3 minutes we could hear the sirens.  As it turned out the young man was having a reaction to some antibiotics he was taking. 

1215 - I got a call on the radio that a tent camper in site 421 was running a generator, which is not allowed in our campground so I responded within a few minutes advising the disappointed camper he could not use it.  "How are we supposed watch TV?" he asked....I retorted "Pay for a site with electrical".   He came back "Show me where it days that in the rules! "....I asked him if he still had the handy map of the campground he was given at the office.....he actually had it in his pocket......I opened it up and showed him the "rule"....



....it's kind of funny that even when provided with irrefutable evidence some folks will still dispute it.

1430 - I was just finishing my last round of site checks and thought I would be clocking out close to my desired time, but as I returned to the office to finish my paperwork I found the office completely packed with customers.....by the time the log jam was dispersed it was closing in on 4 pm....sigh.

1544 - Clocked out and headed for the barn.....

1630 - Time to relax, and relax we did.....we headed next door to Deb and John's for happy hour with a number of other staff folks.  Within an hour all was back to normal.....the issues of the day receded into the background as we sat talking and laughing with good friends.

One more day, and we are off to SoCal.....thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

TVC - Day 65 - Cruise Control....

I began Monday riding my bike for the third time in 4 days.....good to be back in the saddle, but at 6 am?  Well, I know in my heart that if I do not get on the bike first thing I will not do it later in the day....events just seem to conspire to keep me off the bike.   I rode 10 miles pushing 'tall' gears......took me just under 40 minutes.  All the stitches are now out of my left middle finger and it feels better by the day, but I've a long way to go.  I'm no longer wearing the aluminum finger guard, but I do put on gloves whenever I have to use my hands to lift, or handle tools.

We have now been 5 days without rain....sweet....and the temps are beginning to get back to SLT standards for this time of year......low to mid 70's.  I clocked in about 15 minutes to 8....my usual time.  By the time I swept off the front sidewalk I was out of my jacket and looking forward to a sunny, balmy SLT day.

Over the course of the day I helped one guy back his trailer out of site 163, and helped another back into site 275.....the only time I get involved is when it is obvious they are not going to succeed in a reasonable period of time meaning they will be blocking the road and backing up traffic.  These guys are usually relative 'newbies' to backing a trailer, or motorhome, and they sure picked a great park for their maiden experience.....I tell them it only gets easier.  There were three, or four calls where there was a possible electrical problem, but in each case it was just inexperience on the part of the customer.  One gentleman parked his new Airstream in a 30 amp site, but was unaware of how many appliances he could run off 30 amps.  He came into the office complaining his breaker had tripped and he could not reset it.  I drove over to his site in the golf cart to find that he had not turned of the two air conditioners, and microwave before resetting the breaker causing it to continue tripping over and over again.  I gave him a brief tutorial on what the approximate draws were for his various appliances, and advised him not to run more than one A/C at a time in the future.  Another was convinced there was something wrong with the electrical pedestal, but it turned out he had never turned on the power......:-/

The new arrivals came in bunches, but we kept them moving to their sites, and before I knew it 5 pm had arrived....wait, what?  I was planning on being off at 2:30....see what I mean? If I don't get a ride in first thing in the morning I will not get it in at all.....two more days and we'll be motoring southward to SoCal for the wedding of my brother's daughter, Danielle, and seeing our kids.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 13, 2015

TVC - Day 64 - Interesting

I'm a little behind in writing about Sunday....will get to it a little later today......

Well, here it is 8 pm and I have yet to write about Sunday......let's see.....Sunday was kind of an interesting day to say the least....

I was only about 20 minutes into my day when I got a call on my Motorola two way radio to come to the office......when I arrived I was advised a dog from site 129 had attacked another dog being walked by its owners.  The main issue with dogs at TVC is that they must be on a leash at all times when outside, so my first question was whether or not the attacking dog had been on a leash, or running loose.....no one knew as the owners of the injured dog had left immediately for the ER Vet in Carson City.  For a situation like this I usually call on Merlin, our night security guy, to accompany me.  He is a very good interviewer, and usually gets to the bottom of things pretty quickly.

We headed over to site 129 to see if the owners of the attacking dog were there, and they were.  It was obvious from the moment we arrived in the golf cart that they were shaken up by what had happened.  At the time the attack occurred their chocolate lab was attached to a cable via a harness.  As it turned out, when the lab lunged the ring attaching the cable to the harness snapped......totally unexpected.  They had already taken full responsibility for the injuries to the other dog, and had called the ER Vet to give them their name, and credit card information to pay the expenses.   They were already preparing to take the dog home (8 hour round trip drive to Modesto) and return for the balance of their vacation.  They reported that the owners of the injured dog were quite upset and had threatened to shoot their dog upon their return......whoa.....hold all the horses.....what?  I'm less than an hour into my day and someone is talking about shooting firearms?  After speaking with the owners of the injured dog I'm pretty confident that there would not be much short of public execution of the offending dog that would satisfy them.

Next up for interesting Sunday was a nice guy and his wife driving a 46' tag axle class A coach for the first time and they were totally buffaloed trying to negotiate the narrow tree lined roads of section E.  He wondered if I would be willing to lead him to his site (369) and help him avoid the trees.  It took me about 20 minutes of coaxing him along the outer loop road to get to site 369.....when we got there I knew immediately he was not going to get his monster rig backed into that site, so I took him further around the loop (again took about 15 minutes to cover a few hundred yards due to his temerity) and put him in 385.  His wife was so grateful I thought she was going to kiss me.....there were no small animals, large trees, or children harmed during this operation.

In between all the 'fun' I completed my rounds, helped keep the main entrance from being gridlocked, helpe a few folk get their rigs into their sites, delivered portable fire places, and had all my departures out the door by 12:30.

My intent at the beginning of Sunday was to be off work by 2:30, but 2:30 came and went and I was not able to 'clock out'  until after 4 pm.....it just seemed that there was always one more thing that had to be done.  I had no sooner arrived home than Harry came over to ask me to help him troubleshoot an electrical issue in a fellow worker's coach (Ray and Carol).  After about 30 minutes it became obvious that his combination charger/converter/inverter was no longer charging the batteries.  Unfortunately, you cannot just replace the charger part, you must replace the whole unit, which with labor is close to $1,000.  I went through this in January when my charger failed, but thankfully my inverter is a separate unit (the really expensive part) and it only cost me my labor and about $250 to replace the charger/converter.  We put a portable charger on his batteries, and restored power to the coach.....Carol was so happy she produced a bottle of red wine and an impromptu happy hour commenced immediately.

TLE prepared Chicken Alfredo for dinner and we watched 'Last Ship' and 'Falling Skies' before heading off to slumberland about 10......

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

TVC - Day 63 - Going postal

Just like the U.S. Mail, the RV's just keep coming......hour after hour, day after day....we are in full on summer vacation mode here at TVC.....

Just like the mail they keep on coming!

.....a site is vacated and within an hour another RV arrives to takes its place.....they arrive by the hundreds each day ready to squeeze every millisecond out of every day going, doing, seeing, experiencing all that is Lake Tahoe.  They may be here for a few days, or weeks, but at the end they all have that glazed look in their eyes that comes from squeezing way to much activity, and too little sleep into too small a window of time.  But, that is all they have known their entire workaday life.....that is how their parents did it, and their grand parents did it.  They don't yet know there is a better way, although they suspect deep in their hearts there is.

Real Saturday broke clear, but the cold brought in by the recent front lingered well into the day necessitating that I wear my jacket most of the day......that's okay by me as long as there is no more rain.....at least for the near future.

All of those on my departure last had departed by Noon so it was a matter of keeping watch over the entrance to the park to be sure the RV line did not get too long.....periodically I would get called away to deal with a vehicle being parked in the wrong site and blocking the ingress of an arriving customer, or a circuit breaker tripping, or a customer complaining about the volume of a nearby radio.  For the most part, though, I spent the balance of my day sitting in my cart near the entrance sending folks to their sites, and answering questions about Lake Tahoe. 

I was off work by 3:30, and TLE followed shorty thereafter at 4 pm.....we sat outside for the first time in days enjoying the somewhat balmy late afternoon air and listening to XM Radio (Sixties on 6) and watching Stage 8 of the Le Tour de France (muted, of course).....life continues to be good.

We spent the evening reading.....I finished the 18th book in the Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke....two to go.  This is the first series of books I have ever read that covers a person's life (fictional) over a 5 decade span.  For me reading these novels has been quite enjoyable.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

TVC - Day 62 - Listing

I haven't written out my own 'honey do' list for a long time, but there were a few things I had been meaning to take care of for a few weeks, and a couple of routine things that I had to write down, or I would forget again to do them.  #1 - For a while now the face plate on our soft soap/hair shampoo dispenser kept falling off every time I pressed one of the buttons....that was number one to fix.  I would promise myself as I was getting out of the shower that I would glue it as soon as things dried out, and then would forget again until my next shower.


#2 - Air up the coach.....whenever it gets cold we lose some air, and instead of starting the big Detroit Diesel I just hook up my 'pancake' compressor to the quick connect air chuck in the engine compartment and air the system up again.....we've been here two months and this is the 4th time I've had to do that, but the first time in 3 weeks as it has been warmer until a week ago.

#3 - Dump the black tank as I won't have time for another week.  Then there was #4 - Caulk the shower.......that is another thing I kept forgetting to do each time I got out of the shower I would let things dry out, and then would forget to follow through.  That is now done along with the repair of the dispenser.....finally!

Last, but not least, #5......Tighten the base of the toilet....I had been noticing that there was a slight 'rock' to the toilet and knew what needed to be done, but would forget as soon as I would leave the bathroom.....a few twists of the two nuts that secure the toilet in place and all is well again.

With the list out of the way I headed over to a local Smog Check place to get the VW smogged so I can, in turn, get the 2016 tag for the license plate, but that endeavor was unsuccessful as I need to take it to a "Gold Star" location, and the nearest one is in Placerville.  Since I am going back to SoCal in a few days I called my mechanic down there (Joel's Automotive) and made arrangements to get it done on Thursday afternoon.  From there I headed over to Napa Auto to see if they sell the large 8D battery I need to replace the one starter battery that went bad in Bishop, CA back in early May on our way up to SLT.  They do have them in stock for $199 plus tax and they agreed to deliver the new battery to my coach and pick up the dead one....I'll take care of that early next week before we leave for SoCal.

I managed to get back on my bike for the first time since it nearly bit off the tip of my finger on my ride around the lake.  I decided to just ride up to the end of the bike path and back making for a nice 11 mile round trip ride.  It's still a little awkward to grip the handle bars, but things are getting better.  Another sign things are getting better is I can now type pretty normally once again.

Around 4:15 pm we headed over to Coldwater Brewery to meet up with our college friend, Terri....she lives near Reno and offered to drive up to SLT for an early dinner, so we decided on Coldwater for dinner.  TLE and I shared the Salmon dinner, and I added a Caesar salad as a side....the salmon and salad were exceptional, and, of course, the brews were great too.    We agreed to meetup with Terri again at Squaw valley in 3 weeks to go riding along the Truckee river.

Oh, and by the by......it did not rain Friday!!!

Well, it's back to work Saturday, but it was a nice, relaxing, rejuvenating two days.....thanks for stopping by!