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Monday, October 31, 2016

Unique....

7:09 am - Monday - 42 F degrees, 56% humidity, wind 3 mph out of south.....partly cloudy according to the weather report, but I can see the mountains in the distance that surround the Tahoe Basin, and they are covered with snow from yesterday's storm.  The wind finally abated about 4:30 am after blowing ferociously all night.


 It's a beautiful after the storm morning!

Sunday I was up just before 6:30 am.....why?  Well the first NFL game of the day between the Bengals and Redskins from London began at that time.  And so my day began with a bang.  The London game went on until after 10 am as it went into overtime, and they played the entire overtime without scoring a single solitary point.....the second such tie in 7 days.

When I checked my phone 6:30 there was a text message from TLE advising she had made her flight out of DFW and should be arriving in Reno between 10 and 10:30 am......YAY!  All morning long the weather was spectacular........big puffy white clouds scudding along the skyline, and lots of sun.

Around 11:20 TLE had not yet arrived, I thought, so I sent her a text asking her ETA......she replied immediately "Look outside!"......she had just pulled along side the Newell.  There were long hugs as you would expect, then she brought in her luggage (she really travels light) and we were off to do some small shopping before we head southward Monday.  Of course, we couldn't leave out a stop at In-N-Out for a burger (no lettuce wrap this time) before returning home for the afternoon.


In-N-Out motto

By the time we returned the weather was beginning to look quite ominous......


.....so we quickly unloaded our groceries and headed inside ......eventually the rain seen in the distance arrived at Silver City RV Resort and it rained on and off the rest of the afternoon, and into the evening.....the rain was accompanied by the aforementioned winds.

My Broncos won their sixth game against two losses in the afternoon set, and the nightcap between the Eagles and Cowboys was, for a change, a very good game going into overtime.  The Cubes finally got off the deck and won a home game verses the Inuits 3-2, so the series goes back to Cleverland for game six on Tuesday......can the Cubes win two more games and the World Series?  The answer to that question will known in short order.

We'll be rolling our wheels south in a couple of hours so it's time to wrap up today's blog post with one more interesting tidbit......for a couple of years now my blog has been averaging 4-500 unique views per day.....not many by some standards.  Nonetheless the past week the views have more than doubled, and yesterday set the all time record......

2,345 unique views Saturday!  

......I got as many views in one day as I normally do in five days......thank you all for your viewership.....I am humbled.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bachelor Man - Day 4 - Narrow Margin

6:42 am - Sunday - 53 F degrees (wait, what?), 57% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the south......I think the high in SLT yesterday was 53, and here it is already 53 at 6:42 in the morning.  That's the good news.......it is heavily overcast and will rain for a few hours today in Carson City. TLE texted me about an hour ago that she will be landing in Reno just after 10 am.

Saturday dawned clear, but still quite cold....a leftover from two days of rain.  My 'written in Jello' goal was to be ready to roll the wheels between 11 am and 12 pm......I had a lot still to do.......put the awning mat in the trailer, dump the black tank, clean the windshield & mirrors, remove the mirror and wiper covers, check the air pressure in my tires (especially the trailer), turn off the water heater, secure the Norcold reefer, lock all the storage bins, put the water and sewer hoses away, AND make sure everything inside the Newell was secure (TLE usually does that), which took me longer than I thought it would.  All that being said, I was ready to roll by 10: 45 am.......I took some time to get dressed in presentable clothes, go to the bathroom and then unplugged my electrical umbilical cord, stowed it and then cranked the big Detroit Diesel 6V92....she started first try!

As I snaked my way out of TVC I had this wistful feeling come over me.....I felt like I was leaving a good friend.  As I passed the office Stacey (housekeeping) stepped out to wave and wish me happy travels, then as I passed the Thousand Trails office I saw Adam (maintenance manager) stopping in his golf cart to say goodbye.  I will miss these co-workers who have morphed into good friends over the summer, but I will not miss what is to come.....WINTER.  It's already been colder than I prefer, and I was looking forward to more human friendly climes.  

As I passed under the Tahoe Valley Campground entrance sign I looked at my watch to find it was exactly 11 am.....thank you Mr. Jello!  Whenever I have been sitting for soooo long I, of course, begin to think about things that can go wrong, mainly because things have gone wrong before after long stretches of inactivity, but this day all systems were go......the coach aired up fine, my speedo worked fine, my cruise control worked fine, the tail lights on the coach and trailer worked fine......everything felt fine, and it was good to be staring out that big windshield seeing new scenery for the first time in 6 months.

Before I knew it I was at Stateline stopped at the stop light looking at two of the four casinos.....Harvey's and Harrah's.....that are scrunched up against the border, and then I was off cruising by Zephyr Cove, Cave Rock, and finally Spooner Summit where I stopped briefly to step outside to check to be sure everything was as good as it felt.  Then it was time for the 9 mile plunge down 6% grades to Carson City..........

 Harvey's and Harrah's

......I 'jaked' down HWY 50 in 2nd gear thankful, once again, that I did not have the VW in the trailer.......it sure makes climbing and descending less complex!  As I turned on to US 395 southbound it was just after noon time, and I was just 3 miles from Silver City RV Resort.

One thing I forgot to mention is when I turned off the water heater it seemed like it was already off......I don't remember 'hearing' the pilot light.  Well, I knew we had been cutting it close with our propane usage, because when we moved from site 426 to 167 I noted the tank was just under 1/8th full.  As it turns out I had run out of propane this very morning!  These thoughts were going through my mind as I pulled into Silver City so I just hung a left and parked in front of the propane station.  When I turned off the engine I walked back to the refrigerator and noted that the 'CHECK' light was on.....this means the fridge was getting no gas!  My suspicions were further confirmed when the attendant finished filling my 60 gallon propane tank.....it took 58.6 gallons of propane!  That is the most I have ever put in at one time!  That was one narrow margin........if I had stayed at TVC one more day, which I had originally planned to do I would have had to unhook from the trailer and drive over to the propane station......

The tale of the ticket.....58.6 gallons of propane!

We were assigned to site 36 which barely fits our 62' in length.....we have stayed in this site several times, so I already knew we would fit.......


......after setting up and buying some snacks in the RV park store I spent the rest of the afternoon watching one college football game after another, then part of the Inuit vs. Cubes MLB game......the Cubes were just not up to it once again as the Inuit pitching stifled the Cubes hitting.....the Inuits won handily 7-2, and now lead the best of seven series three games to one......not a good situation for the Cubes.

TLE is now winging her way home, and 'Bachelor Man' will soon go into hiding once again.......I think I much prefer 'Married Man' more......hurry home TLE!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bachelor Man - Day 3 - "Welcome to Oregon....:

7:03 am - Saturday - 41 F degrees, 83% humidity, wind 1 mph from NNE.....sunny!  Just a few short hours until I move our home up and over Spooner Summit and down to Carson City to await TLE's return from Texas on Sunday.  In some respects it does not seem to have been half a year since we arrived, and in others it seems we have been here much longer.....after all we have been here for 10 of the last 16 months.

Friday morning the rain continued unabated from the day before.....I'm not sure what the recent rain totals have been, but a can I have sitting on the picnic table out side has about 6 inches of water in it, so you can draw your own conclusions.  Ironically, when I reported to the office to punch the clock (9:40 am) for my next to last time Sally greeted me by saying "Welcome to Oregon Clarke!"  To think that not a drop of rain fell for over three months this summer, and now we are getting rain storms that go on for two, or three days at at time.

I originally had not planned to work Friday, but there was not much for me to do in preparation for departure that did not involve getting soaking wet outside, so I decided to work a few more hours and tie up a few loose ends.....one of them being another project TLE left for me.....assemble the 5 portable outdoor fireplaces Robert had purchased to rent out to customers.  That took me about an hour.....then I moved 3 six pack bags of ice from the Ice House into the store freezer to sell to customers, transported the 3 EZ-UP dining canopies we rent to customers during the summer down to the shed in the maintenance yard for the winter, moved our beach chairs (TLE's and mine) to the shed to store until we return next May, drove out one last time to the end of the fence line on Melba to be sure there were no new holes before I leave (it will be interesting to see what condition the fence is when I return in six months.....hopefully the inclement weather will somewhat hold the local fence militants in abeyance.

By the time I returned it was 12:40......I had worked 3 more hours, and it was time to punch the clock for the last time time recording of 2016.  I said my 'until next times' to Sally, gave her a hug, and drove the Ranger cart down to the maintenance yard to park in the cart shed one last time.  I put a lot of miles on her this summer/fall.  Just as I was entering the maintenance yard I heard a female voice call out "Clarke! Clarke!"......as I turned to see who was hailing me I saw Morgan running towards me......she had finished working at TVC a few weeks ago, but had come by the park to see who was about......we exchanged hugs and our 'until next times', and then I was done........it was time to walk the 200 yards home.......ahhh home....I love the sound of that!  No more schedules, no more work, no more disconsolate customers, no more perfect weather (sigh....I'm going to miss that!), but also no more Classic Cue, Sidellis, Sonney's BBQ, Alpina Cafe, Moonhouse Brews, Lake Tahoe Pizza, Get Away Cafe, Bert's, Ernie's, Verde Mexican Rotisserie, South Lake Tahoe Flea Market, Emerald Bay bike rides until next May.

About 2:30 the rain stopped briefly so I got dressed and walked over to Subway to buy one of their Hot Pastrami footlong sandwiches (lunch, dinner).....I ate half there and just as I began my walk back home it began to rain once again.....not hard but steady.  As I walked southwest along Melba our home came into view.......in just a few hours Site 167 will be vacant, and our Newell will be pointed towards new adventures and many new views over the next six months until she returns, like the geese, for another summer sojourn.



By 5 pm the 3rd game of the World Series was on....it was a nail biter for the entire game, but the Cleverland Inuits prevailed 1-0 on a night when the wind was blowing out at Wrigley....usually you get a bucket load of homeruns when that happens, but as they say.....good pitching stops good hitting, and that is what we got Friday night.  

Tomorrows blog will be generated from a different location for the first time in six months!  
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bachelor Man - Day 1

7:43 am - Thursday - 49 F degrees, 40% humidity, wind 15 mph out of the south......overcast, very windy....I can see the trees moving in reaction to the wind.  First morning without TLE....I didn't sleep well last night....don't know why.

Wednesday is the end of the current pay period, so hours I work after Wednesday will be paid November 16th.  TLE headed for the Reno airport around 8:40 am, and by 9 am I had reported for one of my last days of work.  I know now that I will not get everything done I wanted to get done, but I made a serious dent in my list.....I know that I will not get all the site tag clips moved in Section 'F', or the rest of the tent site posts painted in Section 'A'.  What I did get done in the last 7 weeks:

--Fixed the Melba Drive fence replacing over 200' of fencing and closing many, many holes
--Drug a lot of logs to better define tent sites in Section 'E'
--Painted every tent site post in Section 'E', and a few in Section 'A'
--Repositioned the site number tags on all the posts in Section 'E' so they can bee seen more easily by customers
--Refreshed and/or painted new directional arrows for all tent sites
--Refreshed the red and yellow lines leading into Sections 'A' and 'E'
--Attached the sides to the cart shelter
--Replaced all the hose bib washers on all the tent site hose bibs in Section 'A' and 'E'
--Replaced a number of broken hose bibs
--Built the 'Dog Park' fencing, and installed the gate
--Hauled three large wooden benches into the 'Dog Park' for customers to sit upon while letting their dogs roam leash free
--Picked up all the trash along Melba Drive on the street side of the fence

So, what did I do Wednesday?  First off I moved the three large wooden benches from the maintenance yard, one at a time, to the 'Dog Park'.  My plan to make the 'strike post' removable so I could have enough room to drive the golf cart through worked perfectly....I did have to remove a couple of small bushes which were partially blocking the entrance in order to drive the cart through the small opening in a straight line.

Next up I got my paint supplies and headed to Section 'E' to finish painting the last 8 tent site directional arrows.....by the time I finished it was after 12 pm, so I headed to the Newell, parked the Ranger cart, and got my Cannondale Bad Boy out to ride over to the local Subway to buy a Hot Pastrami footlong.....1/2 for lunch, and 1/2 for dinner......


I decided to eat the lunch 'half' right there, but was back to the Ranger cart within 40 minutes.  Next up I picked up a few steel posts to use in fixing a split rail fence we have by the bathrooms in Section 'F', plus one of the pedestrian walkway fences in the same section was leaning over and needed a little TLC.  By the time I finished those tasks it was 2 pm, and I had an idea I might clock out by 3 pm giving me 6 hours, but then I decided I should drive out to the end of the Melba Drive fence where it meets the airport fence to see how things were, and I'm glad a did.  This is where I have most of the issues with the local militant neighbors breaking through the fence, and once again I found three spots breached by the militants.......

 The small breach fixed

The large breach fixed....I added all the steel you can see

......I first assessed what I would need to fix/reinforce the sections, and then returned to the maintenance yard to pick up some more steel posts......15 in all, including our last 10' post.  I used the 10' post to weave into the fence horizontally then used 5 others to support it so people could not climb over it.  While I was busy repairing the large breach a lady walking a dog approached and asked "Why are you being such a Nazi about the fence?"......what an odd thing to say......I would guess she is a 30 something, and apparently doesn't know the Nazi's were against private property rights......so who is the real Nazi, hmmmmm?  I decided to ignore her apparent ignorance and just replied that we had to close the large hole as people were driving vehicles in, camping illegally and building illegal fires.  She disputed the 'driving vehicles in, so I pointed out to her the numerous car and truck tire tracks where were still visible in spite of the recent rains.....that pretty much silenced her.  The second breach was smaller, but I used 4 posts in all to reinforce it.  Then the final breach was where someone had undone where I had connected the new fencing to the old fencing.....I reconnected the new to the old, then used another few steel posts to further reinforce that section.  I know when we come back in 6 months we will find new holes, but I can only do what I can do.  We have to change 10+ years of people coming and going on our property as they wish.

By the time I finished fixing the three holes it was after 4, and by the time I put everything away it was 4:30 and that is when I punched the clock......TLE sent me an in flight picture of the leg room she had on her flight to Dallas....she loves the 'bulkhead' seating......


TLE did make it to Texas safely and sent these pictures taken at the home of her sister Phyllis as proof.......

 Left to right: Read (TLE's brother), Shannon (Read's wife), Phyllis (TLE's sister) and, of course. The Lovely Elaine

TLE with her brother Creig....

Okay, time to wrap this up and get ready to work what is, perhaps, my last day at TVC this season.....oh, by the way, The Chicago Cubes bested the Cleverland Inuits 5-1 to tie the World Series at one game apiece.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Scavanged.....

6:20 am - Wednesday - 39 F degrees, 75% humidity, wind - calm.......last sunny day on tap for our stay here.....TLE flies to Dallas this morning and will return on Sunday......4 days without The Lovely Elaine aka: TLE.

Tuesday was TLE's last work day at TVC in 2016, and I have 4 more work days after Tuesday.  I reported for duty around 9:30 am.......there were a number of things running through my mind that I want to get done before Saturday, which is now the day I am departing TVC.  Originally I was going to drive the Newell down to Carson City Sunday, but there is now a 90% chance of rain/snow in South Lake Tahoe Sunday, while Saturday will be partly cloudy, so that has become my departure day.  I finished switching the site numbers on a number of tent site posts so they can be seen before you get to them as opposed to seeing them as you pass.  I then dumped some ashes for one of our customers, repaired a rock rake, and began to work on moving the site tag clips on the pedestals in Section 'F' from below the outlets to the 'door' of the pedestal so they can be seen more easily.  All the other sections have the site clip on the 'door' of the pedestal, and are much easier to see when doing site checks.

As I was moving from pedestal to pedestal it occurred to me that I should be working on putting the 'sides' on the cart shed.  Prior to this summer our carts have just been out in the elements for the most part, but Alex, one of our maintenance guys, came up with a design to build a shed using materials we already have on hand.  Ultimately the project stalled out with just the roof done, and Tuesday seemed like the day to attach the sides......

The shed just beginning to take shape in May....in the foreground is Alex, the brain child behind the project.

.....it took me about 3 hours to do the entire job.....first I attached the corrugated fibreglass  sides on the north side, then I used three pieces of plywood on the south side (where the prevailing winds come from) topped off by the remaining fibreglass panels......




.....I think it came out pretty well, but that's just me.....everything you see was either on hand (green poles), or scavanged early in the summer (the story can be read here) from a demolition project over at Stateline.  Once that was done I returned to repositioning the site tag clips, then replaced a broken hose bib, and by that time it was 3:30 and time to 'clock out' for the day.  

We watched the first game of the World Series between the Chicago Cubes and Cleverland Inuits, which was a one sides affair....the Inuits won 6-0 on an amazing pitching performance by Corey Kluber who struck out 8 of the first 9 batters he faced.  We headed off to slumberland before 11 pm.....stay tuned for 'Bachelor Man' day one!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gyspies?

6:36 am - Tuesday - 41 F degrees, 51% humidity, wind 8 mph out of south......too dark to tell if it cloudy as the forecast predicts.  Rain on and off for hours last night....I love waking up to rain on the roof.

Monday began cloudy and blustery, and remained so all day long.....it was the kind of autumn day I love......just cold enough to require a long sleeved shirt, but warm enough to have the trailer door open as I worked on a friend's Marin titanium frame, hard tail mountain bike.  It was the perfect project for a Monday where I didn't have much planned.....TLE went into the office, but I was still off work until Tuesday.

Eventually, when I was about half way through tuning up the Marin bike, I got a radio call from TLE  (I am 'on call' Mondays) that there was a possible electrical problem at site 182, and another customer (site 163) needed a rock rake and shovel to fill in some low spots in their site.  So, I got dressed, drove over to the office to clock in, then took care of delivering the yard tools to 163, and by the time I got to 182 they had solved their electrical problem, which, apparently, was not our issue.  Since I was getting paid for a minimum of 2 hours I went ahead to took care of a few things left over from Saturday......a vertical sewer vent pipe had been blown over in Section 'E' by the high winds during our 3 day storm a week ago, so I fixed that and then finished picking up trash along the fence line in the storage/maintenance yard.  Once that was done I headed back to the trailer to finish tuning up the Marin bike.

TLE called again on the two way radio to let me know the unpleasant lady in site 129 (the one who arrived with her family of 10 at 3:15 am the other morning and yelled and cursed at me when I asked them to turn off their engine after 30 minutes of maneuvering which woke everyone up) had come into the office to complain about me.....this is a classic example of 'projection'......she accused me of being rude, yelling at her, and using profanity......which is precisely, to the letter, what she did.  I was polite, addressing her as Ma'am and her husband as Sir, and said 'please and thank you'.....I don't use profanity, and everyone here can confirm that, and I don't yell at people.  At any rate her complaining fell on deaf ears.

TLE was off work by 4:30, and then drove over to Raley's to stock up on a few things for me while she is gone (by the way, she is leaving Wednesday, nor Tuesday.....yay for me!), and then we headed out for what we thought would be 'Taco Monday' at Classic Cue, but they were packed......there were no tables or bar stools available, so then we thought we would drive over to Sidellis Lake Tahoe Brewery for some brews and dinner.  We arrived there 10 minutes later to find them closed for a month to do some maintenance and upgrading......drat!  Then TLE said, "Why don't we go to Coldwater Brewing for dinner....we haven't been there all summer"......brilliant.  

On the way back to Coldwater Brewing I stopped briefly at El Dorado Beach to take this shot of Lake Tahoe......



.....only a few sunsets left in our sojourn in SLT......it seems weird that in just a few days we will be headed for new sunsets.

As it turned out Miss Serendipity must have had her hand in our dinner choice as we were pleasantly surprised in the upgrades to their menu.  Don't get me wrong, they had a good menu before, but the minor changes they have made put them over the top.  We both ordered pints of their Stillwater Stout, and an appetizer.....bacon wrapped, cream cheese filled dates.....YUM!  TLE had the CW Burger, and I the Fish and Chips, which we split.....everything was perfectly seasoned, and delicious!

While we were sitting there at one of their window tables I saw the aforementioned nasty lady and her family drive by towing their trailer......they pulled into the restaurant across the street ('Scusa') for dinner, apparently.  Why I mention this is the following.......they paid for their first two nights at TVC (Friday and Saturday) but had not yet paid for Sunday, and Monday.....they claimed they were talking to Dan (Thousand Trails guy) about a membership, and usually we stop charging until that is resolved.  Interestingly, we do not believe they signed up, and now we see them leaving under the cover of darkness not having paid for their last two nights.  Then it hit me........I suddenly exclaimed......"I bet they are gypsies" (aka: Travelers)......this what they do.  How do I know?  Well, when we were camp hosts at Jurupa Regional Park for a year in Riverside, CA we had a lot of gypsies comes through.  They all had the surname 'Miller', always had brand new trucks, and travel trailers as well and 8-10 people.  They were always trying to get over on us, and it was usually the women who led the charge......complaining about everything in an effort to get their stay 'comped', or sneeking in after hours and leaving before the office opened in the morning.  I don't know this for sure, but we shall see, right?

We were home by 6:30, and I finished watching the Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans (in Denver).....Denver won handily 27-9 snapping a two game losing streak, so order is restored in my football world.

The World Series between the Cleverland Inuits and Chicago Cubes begins Tuesday......this is one of my favorite times of year!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 24, 2016

No escrow required.....

8:11 am - Monday - 45 F degrees, 72% humidity, wind 5 mph out of south.....it rained on and off most of the night.....a surprise to us.  Sun is breaking through the cloud cover......nice to sleep in past 8 am. 

I began Sunday watching the NY Giants and L.A. Rams playing football in London.....the Giants outlasted the Rams winning 17-10.  Then it was time for the rest of NFL Sunday Ticket......and while those games were getting started I headed out to the trailer to begin putting more stuff away in preparation for our departure next Sunday......yes, we are actually leaving SLT and TVC next Sunday....well, I am leaving next Sunday morning.....TLE will be flying back to Reno from Dallas Sunday morning, and the plan is that she will meet me in Carson City Sunday afternoon, and then Monday morning we will begin our three day drive home to SoCal.

 I can see the back of the trailer again!

Three bikes stowed

In about 2 hours I managed to stow the Cannondale Tandem, my Intense 5.5 mountain bike, and TLE's Cannondale F600, my Black & Decker Workmate workbench, the bench grinder the Park bicycle stand, the step ladder, and various bike tools.  The only bikes left out still are my Cannondale Bad Boy and the Motiv we bought for Amy, which we will now transport home to deliver to her.......they will both be stowed by next Saturday.  Still left to put away are my three tool bags, the table on which they sit, and a few other things, but by and large the trailer is ready for VW insertion on Monday.

There were a few football surprises Sunday.....the San Diego Chargers came from 17 points down versus the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta to win by 3 in overtime....I did not see that coming......the Oakland Raiders won on the road again over the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-16, The NY Jets beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-16, the hapless Detroit Lions defeated the Washington Redskins on a last minute field goal in Washington D.C.   The nightcap between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals was a defensive game from beginning to end which saw the game tied 3-3 at the end of regulation.....each team scored a field goal in overtime to make it 6-6 and that is how it ended......both teams missed 'chipshot' field goal attempts in the waning moments of overtime.

TLE worked about 5.5 hours Sunday, so I had the place all to myself, although I was 'on call' I had no calls so other than the time I spent organizing the trailer, I was able to relax in my recliner watching the NFL and taking short naps.

My thoughts have begun to turn frequently to changing our view, and I am looking so forward to being back in SoCal for a month to see, hug and love our children, and grand children......to take some long bike rides on the SART (Santa Ana River Trail) and the PET (Pacific Electric Trail).....to just wake up every day for the next 6 months knowing I don't have to go to work.   I've got 4, or 5 days of work left......am I ready for a change after 6 months?  You bet!  Will I miss TVC and SLT.....you bet!  The next 6 months of travel holds many unknowns, and it has been a while since we have been on the east coast, but we are excited to see what our travels have in store for us.....we are excited to see what opportunities 'Miss Serendipity' will toss into our path along the way.  The great thing is we can, as I often remark, change our view without going though escrow!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Potpourri......

7:31 am - Sunday - NFL Sunday Ticket Day - 32 F degrees, 76% humidity, wind - calm forecast for Sunday is a high of 63 F degrees, with partly cloudy conditions.  I am already watching my first NFL game of the day.....the NY Giants are playing the L.A. Rams in London.....the game began at 6:30 am PDST......score is tied at 10 apiece......life is good.

Saturday began with a feel to the air I have not noticed for weeks......even though it was in the 40's the air had this 'balmy' feel to it portending, at the very least, a short sleeve day, and that is how it played out....by 9:30 am I was in short sleeves, and it just got warmer......well, 'warmer' is another of those relative terms, but you know what I mean.  After spending most of the past two weeks in a winter jacket, UnderArmor, gloves, long pants and thermal socks it was nice to actually work up a little sweat.

I spent the first two hours of my shift picking up trash along Melba Drive between 'C' Street and 'B' Street, then fixing an interior split rail fence, as well as the exterior wood fence that goes from the entrance north about 100 yards.  I then made a run south to the point where our fence intersects the airport fencing to see if there were any new holes in the fence, and there were none.  So, there are two possibilities to explain the lack of fence breeches in the last 3 weeks.....1) The militant fence cutting neighbors have given up and are accepting the new reality, or 2) They are just waiting for me to leave for the winter......of course, I hope it's the first, but being a realist it may just be the second.....only 6 months of winter, and my absence will reveal the verdict.

Finally, I got back to Section 'E' to finish painting the tent site directional arrows, and site posts.  In all I painted a dozen site posts, and was able to cross them off my list.....there are still another dozen in Section 'A' that need to be painted.  Then it was time to refresh and/or create new directional arrows.....I got within 7 of finishing the remaining 16 directional arrows when I ran out of paint.....of course there are three more gallons of red street paint, and I could have gotten another gallon to finish them, but I had another task which required TLE's help......Friday is the last day we both work together.....after Friday I'm not back on until Tuesday, and Tuesday is the day she is flying south to Dallas, TX for a family reunion....she will be gone until the 30th, and we are leaving for SoCal the next day.

As part of our survey of all the RV sites we needed to finish identifying all the sites, which, in an emergency, could become pull through sites if the sites behind them are vacant.  Some sites, as I have oft written, are difficult to back into......if for some reason one of our customers is having difficulty getting into a given site and the site behind theirs is vacant they can enter from the rear making it a temporary pull through site.

In addition to that there are numerous (the number was previously unknown) pedestals in Section 'G' which have been 'abandoned' for various reasons over the years.  The lids have all been screwed shut, and site numbers have been removed.  How long these pedestals have gone unused is anyone's guess, but it must date back to the ownership of the Martin family.  At any rate we (TLE and I) located 6 of them.  I removed the screws to each and found that five of them still had functioning 30 and 50 amp outlets inside.....a sixth has the needed wiring, but needs to have the 30 and 50 amp outlets reinstalled.  Additionally, 2 of them have sewer connections, while the other 4 would be water/electric sites only.  Why does this matter?  Well, on extremely busy weekends (July 4th weekend until Labor Day) we sometimes need a few extra sites for a day, or two.  We hate to turn people away, so having a few 'off the grid' sites, like these, held in reserve will come in handy.  They are mostly smallish sites which would accommodate 25-30 foot RV's.

Once that was done it was closing in on 4:30 and it was time for me to punch the clock and call it a day.....TLE stayed on until about 5:15 helping Ben close the office, and then met me on foot at the Trolley House to walk over to Lake Tahoe Pizza for a dinner hosted by Dan Barnette, our onsite Thousand Trails salesman, as a 'Thank You' for our help in making his summer successful.  Dan ended up #1 on the country for 'Zone Pass' sales......

My timing for our 'USIE' was a little off....we had 10 people present...in the picture, left to right: Stacey, Veronica, Adam, Sally and moi.  Not pictured are Robert, Dan, Mike & TLE as well as Robert's two daughters.


.....we had a lovely time, and consumed several pitchers of Ballas Point Amber.  We had a nice turnout considering mostly everyone is gone for the season now.  Regrettably, my Trolley Dodgers lost their game versus the Cubes 5-0 and the Cubes are going on to the World Series to play the Cleverland Inuits.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Gate keeper.......

8:01 am - Saturday - 29 F degrees, 71% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the south.....forecast high is 63 F degrees with partly cloudy skies.  We were awakened early this morning by rude, inconsiderate customers who chose to arrive here at 3:15 am.  The noise they were making trying to get into a site woke up everyone within 200 yards of them.  After 30 minutes they were still making noise, so I got dressed and walked a 100 yards down the aisle to ask them to shut off their engine and lights and just plug in until the sun rises.  The woman begins to yell hysterically at me saying over and over....."We are newbies....this is only our second time out!" .....after listening to her yell this mantra over and over at least three, or four times I replied...."Being a newbie has nothing to do with what you are doing.......you chose to arrive here at 3:15 am in the morning and wake up all your neighbors.......you are just rude and inconsiderate.....don't make me call the Sherriff".....then walked back to the Newell......as I walked the gentleman turned off his lights and engine, but I could still hear the woman talking loudly......she must be a peach back home.....wherever home is.

I had every intention of getting back over to Section E to finish painting tent site directional arrows and site posts, but I decided to install the gate at the entrance of the 'Dog Park'......of course like a lot of projects I have done over the years this one took much longer than I expected.  For one thing I didn't know the gate I had chosen to use, which was also the last unused gate, had two broken 'L' joints.....at opposing corners, so I had to figure out how to fix those (see picture below showing one of the broken 'L' joints) before I could install it.......

 One broken joint repaired.....

 ......and the other

......you will note I used different methods to fix each broken 'L' joint and that was dictated by the parts we had on hand.....I would have preferred to repair both corners using the brackets in the second picture, but we only had 3 of them.  At any rate the search for parts, and then the repair took close to two hours, then it was time to install the gate.....


......first I had to pound a 10' long steel pole into the ground until only 4' were above ground....this would be the pole to which I would clamp a 2" diameter, 4' long piece of galvanized pipe.......then I had to take about 10 feet of barbed wire to anchor the assembly........


....when I went to cut the 2" galvanized pipe I found that the round cutting blade on the pipe cutter had a flat spot, so I had to rob a replacement blade from a smaller pipe cutter.....that took a while, but I got that 4' piece pipe cut, then had to cut another 3' piece of 2" galvanized pipe to sink in the ground into which I would slip a 4' piece of 1.5" galvanized pipe for the gate latch to rest against when the gate is closed.  The gate opening is about 48" wide......our golf carts are 44" wide so by removing the latch post I can drive the cart through the opening if needed....

The finished product

.....in all it took me about 6 hours to repair the broken gate, to fabricate the hardware on which to hang it, and then to install it, but it came out better than I expected based on the fact that I had to scrounge and/or fabricate parts for everything.  Once again I was able to spend the day working on a project of which no one wanted any part, and the time just melted away.

I clocked out just before 5 pm, and TLE was home about 40 minutes later.......just as I was getting out of my 30 minute HOT shower......she made me two quesadillas for dinner and we watched 'Gold Rush'......apparently I fell asleep in my recliner sometime before 9 pm and TLE woke me up a little after 10 so I could go to bed.....bless her heart!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 21, 2016

'Going to the dogs'

8:04 am - Friday - 29 F degrees, 79% humidity, wind 4 mph out of SSW.....sunny with clear blue skies....forecast high today is 66 F degrees.  Slept in this morning.....nice to wake up after sunrise (7:15 am now) for a change.

I began Thursday with plans to finish painting directional arrows and site posts in Section 'E', but I get ahead of myself.  TLE headed off for work around 9 am, and I followed half an hour later.....no point in going in too early as it is just too cold to do much outside.  After 'clocking in' I headed to the maintenance yard to pick up the 'ash can' to pick up some ashes/coals which were on the ground in site 102, and then drove around the park once again to see if I had missed any other piles, but I think now I've gotten them all.  By this time it was after 10 am and warming quickly so I headed back to the maintenance yard to dump the ashes/coals then pick up my panting equipment.

Adam, our maintenance manager, was there and began to talk to me about my plans for the 'Dog Park' in Section G......our manager, Robert, has wanted a dog park built since the middle of the summer, but it never got done, so I had offered to do it several weeks ago.  I've acquired serious fence building skills this summer, especially after replacing some 300 feet of fencing along Melba, so I thought I could do a good job in a short period of time.

Section G was chosen for the 'Dog Park' as the amount of fencing required to close in the northwest corner of Section G is under 200'.  Basically all we had to do was close the triangle with one 200' length of fencing.....the rest of the boundary is already there, and I had worked on fixing the holes in it several weeks ago.

So, there you have it......in just a few minutes my whole focus for the day was changed and while Robert went over to Scotty's TruValue Hardware to pick up another 50' of fencing I proceeded to pick out 20 steel posts and head out to the northwest corner of G to pound them into the ground in preparation for attaching the welded steel fencing (some here call it pig fence).  Just as I was finishing the placement of the 20th post I heard Robert on the 2-way radio announcing he was back with the fencing so I headed for the maintenance yard to get it, and then returned to my task.

 Looking west to east along the fence line

 I used barbed wire to anchor the fence at the west end

 The east end of the fence is anchored to the storage yard 
fence, which you can see in the distance.

In all it took me 7 hours to build the fence, plus fix another hole in the fence created by people too lazy to walk around to the entrance.  We have to be sure the holes in the north end of the fence stay closed, or else dogs will be able to get out......after all the whole point of a 'Dog Park' to allow dogs to be off the leash.

This is the first day I have worked 7 hours in a long time, but it seemed to just fly by Thursday.  I love working on projects like this by myself as I can just lose myself in the work.  I think it came out really well.....all I need is about another 5 feet of fencing to close the last gap before the gate.  I'll probably work on installing the gate Friday, and we should have the last 5 feet of fencing next week sometime.

I got home just as the MLB NLCS game between the Trolley Dodgers and Cubes was beginning......the Dodgers kept it close until the 7th inning when the roof, once again, fell in on them.....they ended up losing 8-1....another blow out.  In the games the Cubes have won they have averaged almost 9 runs per game, but in the two they have lost they have scored ZERO runs.  Kershaw will pitch in Chicago Saturday, and Rich Hill will pitch on Sunday.....I hope it goes to game 7.....we'll see.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Great Pumpkin

7:20 am - Thursday - 31 F degrees, 83% humidity, wind 3 mph out of SSW....the sun is rising in the east to clear blue skies......forecast high today is 66 F degrees.....just in case you were looking for a visual reference as to how cold it has been lately I snapped this picture about 11 am Wednesday of an icicle which formed underneath a dripping hose bib......

  Icicle created by dripping hose bib

......I reported for work at precisely 10:01 am Wednesday......I wanted to finish painting the red directional arrows for the tent sites in Section E, but as you can see from the above picture it was still pretty cold at 10, and at 11 am, so I busied myself picking up trash in Section G, and then decided to go through all the fire grills in Sections A, F & G to clean out the ones which had not yet been cleaned.  I filled up a galvanized wash tub 5 times with old ashes and coals.....

Ready for next season

.....by Noon it was now warm enough (well, in this instance 'warm' is a relative term.....it was 56 degrees) to begin painting directional arrows, and refreshing the paint on tent site posts......

  Site 339 is now free of confusion.....the site is to the left of this post!

Site post 413 looking new, and with a new 'clip' for the site tag

......in all I created 17 new directional arrows from site 337 to 354.......this road had been repaved last summer and the directional arrows had never been repainted.  As a result we were being called continually out to these sites to clarify for our customers on which side of a given site post their site was.  I managed to repaint about 8 site posts before time ran out.  In all I worked 6 hours Wednesday....a longish day compared to my recent work days.  I am hoping to finish the rest of the arrows and posts on Thursday, or Friday at the latest.....we shall see.

While I was busy painting Adam was using one of our portable air compressors to blow the water out of all our sprinkler lines.  Now we just have to 'winterize' section F, and we are ready for winter.  I punched the clock a minute or two before 4 pm and was home a few minutes afterwards.  TLE ended up working about 2 hours Wednesday, which is normally one of he days off, but she was on call.

We began the evening watching the Trolley Dodgers and Cubes.....for our happy hour TLE brought out a 22 ouncer of the Elysian 'The Great Pumpkin' Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Elysian Brewing - Seattle, WA) which she found at Raley's a couple of days ago.  You may recall we sampled this ale while we were up at Tahoe City, but I forgot the name of it.....well TLE remembered.   If it is possible this pumpkin ale is even tastier than the Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout I raved about (she found this one at BevMo).....

Elysian Pumpkin Ale

......regrettably, my Trolley Dodgers were not up to the task Wednesday losing 10-2.....ouch!  Now the series is tied up two games apiece with game five being played at Chavez Ravine Thursday evening.

Once it was obvious game 4 was going to be a rout we decided to watch recorded episodes of 'NCIS', 'NCIS New Orleans', 'Bull', and 'Survivor' and were in bed by 10:45......thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dodging trolleys.....

6:51 am - Wednesday - 26 F degrees, 87% humidity, wind 3 mph out of SW....still looks like midnight outside.....forecast for today is 57 and sunny.....the temps are gradually warming back up for perhaps the last time as we slowly slip slide our way into winter.....we've got 3 consecutive days coming up with temps in the 60's so, in the short term, we've got that going for us, but the long term forecast looks ominous.  Our departure day is October 31st, and for now the forecast shows rain that day....I hope that changes!

After a couple of days off it felt good to be getting dressed for work.....of course my 'dress' included long pants, Under Armor, winter socks, gloves, watch cap and winter jacket.  TLE and I 'clocked in' about 9:47 am.  While TLE busied herself with office stuff I headed out to finish what I had started  Saturday.....the removal of all the large rocks from all the RV sites.  Why is this important, or even necessary?  Well, our park rules require that all sewer hoses must be connected securely to the sewer connection in each site.....by this I mean they must have an elbow connection that screws into the sewer connection.  Using rocks on top of your hose to hold it in place is specifically prohibited in our rules, so removing the rocks removes the temptation, and means the customer must either have, or must obtain the proper connection for their sewer hose.  Over two days I filled the dumper on my Ranger cart 5 times with rocks of all sizes resulting in quite a large pile in the maintenance yard.

Once that was done I drove around the campground looking for our missing portable fire places.....at the beginning of the summer we had around 10, or 11 of these, but we only had one in the maintenance yard as of Tuesday.  Ultimately I retrieved 5 more bringing our total to 6, but we are missing at least 4, or 5 so the search continues.

By the time I finished, for the time being, my fire place search it was about 1:30 pm so I picked TLE up from the office so we could finish our survey of all the RV sites in the park.  We headed for Section 'E', the only unsurveyed section, and beginning with site 355, started working our way around the section to 440, the final RV site in Section 'E'.  We had barely begun our survey when I heard TLE exclaim that there was a large bear walking along the tree line behind site 370.......



.....yup, that is definitely a BIG bear.....perhaps the biggest one we've seen this season, and in broad daylight no less.   Just as I caught sight of the bear TLE noticed a woman walking a dog headed directly to where the bear was......I jogged over to head her off, and she was quite grateful I had saved her from a bear confrontation.

We finished surveying the sites in Section 'E' just before 3 pm, and it was time to 'clock out' for the day....as we approached the store/office I saw that Adam and Miguel had removed the final roof panels from our entertainment tent......we have now come full circle!


We both clocked out at 3:06 am and headed for the 'barn'......although, TLE did have to return to the office for about 30 minutes at 4:30 pm to help Sally go through the 'closing' process, but was back a little after 5 pm at which time we jumped in the VW to fill up our gas tank for the first time since late August, and then over to Lake Tahoe Pizza for dinner while we watched the Trolley Dodgers vs. the Cubes.  The Trolley Dodgers 'threw' another left handed pitcher at the 'Cubes' and shut them out for the second consecutive game, this time 6-0.....they are now up 2 games to 1 in their best of 7 series.  In an earlier game the Blue Jays topped the Cleverland Inuits 5-2 to send that series to a game 5.

The Dodger game was still in progress when we headed home from Lake Tahoe Pizza, and did not end until after 8:30.  I'm not used to the Dodgers doing well in the post season......it has been 28 years since they last appeared in a world series.......1988 is a long time ago....certainly not as long as the 108 years since the Cubes appeared, but a long time, nonetheless.  That was the series in which Kirk Gibson hit his famous 'walk off' homerun against Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland A's.....it still seems like yesterday.  At any rate I enjoyed watching the post game interviews and commentary until well after 9 pm. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

TURRIBLE!

7:15 am - Tuesday - 30 F degrees, 66% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the south......clear skies......I assume they will be blue once the sun rises high enough in the sky to give an indication.  Sunrise is now at 7:12 am, and setting at 6:16 pm......so now we are down to 11 hours of daylight.....what a change from July!

Frost on the Beetle first thing Monday

So, Monday, after more than three days of rain I figured all the dirt, grime, and dust of the summer must have been washed from the surfaces of the Newell, and I was correct.....she hasn't looked this clean since the day we left Fontana for TVC back in late April.  Once the sun was up I spent time wiping down the sides of the Newell from front to back as high as the windows.....the roof line looks clean and shinny once again. I finished up by wiping down the trailer and VW......ahhh, everything clean at the same time, and with the least amount of effort expended.  

It was still in the high 30's at 9 am and in spite of wearing a pair of latex gloves my hands were somewhat numb so I headed inside to warm up once again.....

The postdiluvian sun

TLE went in to work for a few hours Monday, and will work one more day this week giving her about 25 hours for the week......if I work Tuesday and Wednesday I should get to 23 hours for the week.

While TLE was at work I puttered around in the 47 degree afternoon sweeping all the pine needles and other storm debris from our awning mat, and then raking all the pine needles out of our site.  I thought I could do it in my flip flops, but let's face it....47 F degrees is 47 F degrees.....by the time I finished I had no feeling in my feet anymore.....I guess it's time to admit it is no longer short pants and t-shirt weather.....at least not until we get below 4,000' elevation.

TLE was home a little after 5:30, and proceeded to make an amazing dinner......baked, bread crumb encrusted mahi mahi, mashed potatoes and some veggies.......


.......we chased it with a bottle of Phantom red wine......a gift from one of our customers this summer........


......we watched the MLB ALCS game between the Cleverland Inuits and the Toronto Blue Jays, which was won 4-2.  So Cleverland is 1 game away from the World Series.  Meanwhile the MLB NLCS between the Trolley Dodgers and the Chicago Cubes is tied 1-1 and will reconvene in Chavez Ravine tonight.  The MNF game was 'turrible' as Charles Barkely would say, so beyond that descriptive it deserves no further mention other than 'TURRIBLE'!!

We watched a recorded episode of 'Elementary', and were in bed by 11 pm with our electric blankets in the 'ON' position in anticipation of another very cold night.

Thanks for stopping by!