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Monday, May 29, 2017

Our Lake Tahoe

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5:58 am - Monday - 41º F, humidity 77%, wind 4 mph out of the south.......clear skies....forecast high is 73º F!

Sunday was a day off from work......we began our day at our weekend 'Pancake Breakfast' with Tim and Laila about 9 am, then hit the road to give them the Reader's Digest version of 'Our Lake Tahoe'.  We hoped that getting an early start on the middle day of the three day weekend would enable us to get a jump on the crowds around the lake, but at our first scheduled stop, Emerald Bay, there was absolutely no parking available.....it was already a 'jungle', so we continued on to our next stop, Meeks Bay, where we have camped numerous times in the past few decades.......

 First 'usie' of the day.....Meeks Bay


 I have spent literally hundreds of hours enjoying this view over the past 4 decades

From Meeks Bay we continued on to a beach near Homewood, CA where we snapped a few pictures of Lake Tahoe 'up close and personal'......

 Lake Tahoe up close - near Homewood, CA

.....then there was a stop at River Ranch to see how much the Truckee River has receded in the last week, and it has dropped a foot, or two........

 River Ranch revisited....the water has begun to recede

.......up next on our Reader's Digest tour was Squaw Valley, CA.....the home of the 1960 Winter Olympics where a ride up the Gondola to 'High Camp' was the order of the day.....

 Lake Tahoe from afar - High Camp, Squaw Valley, CA

.......there we got a view of Lake Tahoe from afar, and another 'usie'......TLE and I haven't been to High Camp for about 8-9 years, but it felt like just yesterday.......




.....normally at this time of year there is no snow left, and the ski season has long since expired, but this year they will ski until July 4th at Squaw Valley.......the juxtaposition of the summer crowd beginning to encroach upon the winter crowd was interesting.......

 Juxtaposition of summer and winter activities


.......soon, it was time to begin the descent back to the valley floor and on to our next destination of the day.......



......which was Tahoe City, and lunch at the Bridgetender, as well as another requisite Fanny Bridge picture.......


......we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Bridgetender where it was pretty much SRO, but we managed to get the last table inside.....we had hoped to eat outside, but the wait was one hour......not happening.....:-)

Around 3 pm we began our drive back to SLT, but we still had one item on 'Our Lake Tahoe' checklist, Emerald Bay, to check off.....I was determined to find a parking spot this time, and I succeeded.........



.......we spent a few minutes taking in the breathtaking view of this iconic vista, and I managed to get a pretty good panoramic shot from a new angle for me.

Traffic on our return trip to SLT was surprisingly light until about 3 miles before Camp Richardson when it suddenly came to a grinding halt......for the next one hour and ten minutes we only managed to gain about 2.5 miles, and we still had that distance to get home.......about the time I was ready to park the car and walk home we came abreast of the Fallen Leaf Lake turnoff.......I made an immediate executive decision to turn right and take this longer alternative route.  We figured if we continued on the snail's pace were going it would take another hour to go the final 2.5 miles home, but if we turned and took the longer roundabout route we could be home in less than 15 minutes, and it played out exactly that way......how often does a 'short cut' actually work?

We finally arrived home about 5:15 tired, and ready for naps, which is exactly what transpired.....around 7 pm we ventured back outside to have our final fire of Tim and Laila's visit....we sat around the fire talking until 10 pm when we called it a day.  So, in about 8 hours we managed to show Tim and Laila 'Our Lake Tahoe'.....I think they liked it!

Tim and Laila will be leaving early Monday morning to make the 500 mile drive back to Ontario, CA and their workaday lives.  We'll see them again September 9th for their bridal shower, and then on October 7th for their wedding.  It was wonderful having them here for three brief days and we begin the new week with big smiles of satisfaction on our collective faces.....thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bumpy roads.......

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6:22 am - Sunday - 36º F, 75% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the south....sunny, cloudless skies......another beautiful South Lake Tahoe day in store for us......forecast high is 71º F.......yeah, back into the 70's!

Day two (Saturday) of the Memorial Day weekend began with a few bumps in the road....it was the first 'Pancake Breakfast' of the summer season, we had a whole new team running it, and new equipment, which had not yet been tested (it arrived via UPS late afternoon on Friday).  Of course when you give 'Murphy's Law' so much to work with he will mess with you, right?  Nonetheless, Michael, Mary, A.J. and Amanda recovered and successfully completed service (it runs from 8:30 am to 10:30 am on Saturday's and Sunday's).  The great thing is the customer's had no idea they were having 'issues'.

The next bump in the road became apparent when I clocked in for the day at 7:20 am.....our dumpsters were already overflowing and it is only Saturday morning.....apparently someone (not moi) forgot to call the local refuse company to do a pickup on Friday, which is our custom on holiday weekends.  So that meant they had not been emptied since Monday.....not a good formula for success.  At any rate I retrieved the loader from the maintenance yard and had Neal (Ranger) join me at the dumpsters near the Section G bathrooms to begin transferring some of the trash from them to other dumpsters that were not quite as full.  Adam from Maintenance soon joined us with the TVC Ford PU to help.  Within 45 minutes we had temporarily mitigated the situation, but I have no doubt by Sunday morning we will be back were we started with fewer options available.

Whilst we toiled in the confines of TVC my son, Tim, and his fiance, Laila, spent the day touring South Lake Tahoe........

Left to right: TLE, Tim, Laila, moi

........I had a typical day of Rangering.....helping people into their sites, sweeping the concrete in the pool area clean, setting up the 'Pickle Ball' nets, moving picnic tables, running errands for the Pancake Breakfast folks, pumping propane, picking up ashes, etc. All the while there were children's crafts going on in the Big Tent, and a bicycle parade around 2:30, all of which were well attended.  Before I knew it 4 pm had arrived and it was time for me to end my shift, and leave the 'rangering' to my two quite capable evening Rangers, Art and Mike.  TLE joined me back at the Newell shortly thereafter.  

We had planned to go out to dinner with Tim and Laila, but they were having such a good time touring that they did not get back until 7 pm.....by that time TLE had made scrambled eggs for dinner, and then we walked over to the 'Big Tent' for the night's live music with Fabrizio (remember, we went to listen to him the other night).....Time and Laila joined us about 7:30 and we danced, and sang along until 9 pm when the show ended.  We had about 75 people at the peak of the show, which is better by a factor of three than any crowd we had last year......



 


.......it was a grand way to end another day in TVC.  The four of us retired to the Newell to talk for a while and by 10 pm we had gone entered 'dreamland' once again.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

At last......

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5:49 am - Saturday - 38º F, humidity 82%, wind 1 mph out of the northwest....sunny with a forecast high of 69º F.

Friday was our grand opening for the summer season, and Friday was also the day Tim and Laila would arrive for a 3 day stay.  As is my custom I began my day at 7:30 am......John, Greg and Neal arrived shortly thereafter, and after punching the time clock we all headed for the maintenance yard to begin our day.  I had a list of things to accomplish before 4 pm totally separate from the normal Ranger duties, so I assigned John to finish painting our white curbs, Neal to do site checks and Greg to check the sites of our 155 arrivals to be sure they were ready for occupancy.  I headed out to take care of the #1 item on my list.......deliver picnic tables to all the sites in Section A that needed them.  At the end of last season we had decided we were not going to stack all the picnic tables together in each section for the first time, but one of the maintenance guys did not get the message.  As a result all the portable picnic tables in Section A were stacked leaning against the restroom.  Distributing the tables one at a time using a golf cart took me until close to 10 am.

While this was in progress the guy from Alpine Refrigeration arrived to replaced the Ice House compressor which had bitten the dust in the 'off season' after 25 years of service........within an hour of installing it the Ice House temp was down to 32 degrees and ready for an ice shipment.  Unfortunately we did not know it would be fixed so quickly and missed our ordering window with the ice company, so we will not have ice to sell until after the Memorial Day weekend.......😒

Meanwhile, after a lot of treatment, the pool is ready for prime time......we had a lot of stains in the plaster from the winter, and it has taken a couple of weeks of treatment with chemicals to make them disappear, and disappear they have!

We were expecting Tim and Laila to arrive around 1 pm, but I got a call on my 2-way radio at 12:30 from TLE advising they had arrived so I dropped what I was doing and headed over to the office/store.  I took them over to our site, and showed them what we had done inside the trailer for them, and they loved it.  I left them to unpack, and set up their air mattress bed, and headed back to finish a few more things before I left for the day to spend time with my son and his fiance.  

TLE and I were back at our site by 3:15 where we spent time with Tim and Laila talking, and making plans for the weekend before we began our walk out to the front of TVC for the grand opening ceremony.....


.....we arrived just in time for the ribbon cutting ceremony and found about 50 people there including many of our seasonal staff members.....

Michael and Mary stretching the ribbon across the road

 The cutting of the ribbon......and we are off!

So, 'at last', the hard work of getting ready for the summer season has been completed, and it is now time to begin the real work of serving our customers for the next 3 months.  Once the ceremony was finished we continued our walk over to Lake Tahoe Pizza for a leisurely dinner with Tim and Laila.......


......we had a lovely time talking and catching up with their lives......Laila began a new job that is less than 10 miles from their home......she had been driving 90 minutes to work down in Orange County for a year, or so.  Tim has also had a new job offer for much more money, so their professional lives are taking shape with just four months until their wedding.  

On our way home we took them the long way back to our site to show them a great view of the Upper Truckee Meadows.....


......you can see the water in the background that is currently flooding a big portion of the meadows, and helping nurture a population of mosquitoes that will begin to plague us shortly.

We spent the evening sitting around the fire talking, and just enjoying each other before calling it a day around 9:30......you should see the smile on my face this morning......it is so wonderful to have them here for a few days!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, May 26, 2017

'Whisper, whisper......'

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5:41 am - Friday - 34º F, humidity 78%, wind 3 mph out of the southeast......no clouds and a forecast high of 64º F.......our son Tim, and his fiance, Laila, will be arriving for a 3 day stay this afternoon, and we are soooo excited!

No matter where you work, even in a fun workamping job such as we have, you will find human nature flourishing.  We've had a problem with gossip, and Thursday Miguel attempted to 'nip it in the bud' by having an employee meeting to get it under control......but, as usual, I get slightly ahead of myself.

Thursday was another idyllic weather day in South Lake Tahoe......mostly blue skies with a steady stream of puffy white clouds scudding across those same skies.  The temp dipped back into the high 60's, and there was a slight breeze, but, as I said, it was idyllic.  Our agenda remained the same as we rush to finalize all of our preparations for the opening of our summer season on Friday, May 26th.  TLE and I arrived at TVC April 23rd, and it is difficult to believe how much has been accomplished in just 4+ weeks.  

My 'Ranger Crew' continued spreading wood chips along both sides of our entrance to cover the bare dirt, and give it a fresher look, continued refreshing all of the painted traffic markings along the entrance and in front of the office/store, and continued getting the pool area up to snuff.

Meanwhile, our new activity directors, Michael and Mary, produced their first 'Activity Calendar' for the Memorial Day weekend, and is it ever packed.......


......everywhere I go I can see all the rough edges in the park disappearing.  To say that we are one month ahead of prior years would be an understatement......we are way ahead of our usual understaffed pace of prior years.

We had 44 arrivals Thursday, and it seemed as if they all arrived in a 90 minute span......our entrance registration line went from having one RV, to 12 within 10 minutes.....suddenly I was back in the saddle directing traffic, and sending folks to their sites first to clear the line, and ease the pressure on the office staff.  Friday we will have 155 arrivals, and the halcyon days of early May will be a distant memory.....at least for one weekend.

Now, back to the 'gossip' problem......as is oft the case it is just one, or two folks who repeat half truths, and a few that listen and repeat it, instead of cutting it off by saying "I don't want to hear this!".  Around 2 pm Miguel sent out a call over our 2-way radios that there would be an impromptu employee meeting.  As anyone knows, gossip is poison no matter where it occurs, and I am glad Miguel has stepped in to quell it quickly before real damage is done.

I was off by 4:30 and on my way over to Higher Ground Autoworx to pick up the VW......John replaced a defective PCV valve, and replaced a bolt on our turbo that kept 'backing' out.....he believes these two issues have caused the balance of the fault codes he found in the VW computer......in all it cost $190.......not bad.

We had a lovely evening watching the recorded finale of the 34th season of Survivor.....Sarah won, and rightly so.....it was a crazy season with so many 'blind sides' and unexpected turns, but another great season, nonetheless.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Feeling interested.....

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5:46 am - Thursday - 40º F, humidity 63%, wind - CALM - clear skies.....forecast high for today is 66º F.

Wednesday was a wonderful weather day!  For the first day since we arrived at TVC I did not wear gloves, or a watchcap to work.....that my friends is noteworthy and remarkable.....hence I am noting and remarking!

Near the end of the day on Tuesday I had begun to create a new 'G' sign designating the direction to that camp.  Sometime during this past winter our original sign disappeared into the ether.  Those who know me well know, factually, I have no artistic ability, let along a sense of proportion.  On top of that the proper 'art' tools are not available in the maintenance sheds.....I found a small paint brush which I utilized to paint the 'G', and the arrow.....the blue border I free handed,  while the arrow was created using blue masking tape to create the arrow shape, and then I added paint into the shape.....the 'G' I drew on an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper, then cut out and then traced around the edges to get the basic 'G' shape......I think.....in the overall scheme of things it came out surprisingly well.....what do you think?

Turn left to Section G

All the while Johnny was repainting the parking space lines in front of the office/store, and Eric and Rosie were continuing their efforts to spruce of the 'Dog Park'.  They installed one of the two new Doggie Waste Stations near the Dog Park entrance......


......painted a weather beaten picnic table back to new like condition......


......added a couple of chairs with a tree stump for a table......


......they removed a lot of brush, raked all the paths, lined the paths with trees we felled last summer, and fixed the gate.  While I was taking a tour of the improvements a few customers passed through thanking us for the work we have done.  

While my inspection was in progress I received a call from Miguel (our manager) that there was an old rusty post (see below) that he wanted spray painted yellow so it would look better, and also be more visible to pedestrians.  I had already located a can of yellow spray paint and there was just enough to cover the post completely....


.....I don't always remember to take pictures as I am going about my job, so I'll recap the rest of the day verbally.  Art was on duty by 11 am and went directly out to the entry way to continue spreading wood chips.  Later in the afternoon Eric and Rosie joined us in that endeavor.  I went and got the Case loader, while Art picked up the Ford flatbed/dump so we could load some more chips and move them to strategic locations for more spreading.  By 3:30 I had to begin winding down as my 8 hour day was coming to an end.  My 'Ranger Crew' got a lot done Wednesday, and without them I could not have gotten it all done.  

Our official grand opening is scheduled for Friday afternoon when we will have a 'Ribbon Cutting' ceremony to officially open TVC for the summer season.  It has been just over one month since TLE and I arrived for another season at TVC, and so much has been accomplished.  The campground looks the best is ever has at this point in time, and our seasonal workers and doing a wonderful job.....I could not be more proud!

Meanwhile the Maintenance Crew was busy repairing potholes left over from a very harsh winter, and repairing our dump station.  Pete, our golf cart maintenance guy, put my Ranger Cart in an enclosed trailer and drove it down to Sierra Golf Cart in Reno, NV to be repaired.  I'm hoping we'll have it back next week.  Pete has managed to resurrect two other golf carts and put them back in service.

Michael and Mary (Activity Directors) invited us to travel over the Stardust Lodge near Stateline to preview a musical performer (Fabrizio) they are thinking about hiring to appear at TVC a few times this summer......

'Fabrizio'!

......normally, weather permitting, they have a large tent set up outside, but this night Fabrizio was performing in the Activities Center at the lodge.  In all we had 9 employees, including Miguel, from TVC, so it was a packed house.  All 9 of us thoroughly enjoyed Fabrizio's 2 hour performance, and it looks like we will have him under contract soon.

We were home about 9:15  and unwinding from a very profitable day.....one more work day before our Grand Opening, and we are just about ready.  I am, as you might have noticed, feeling more interesting this morning.....thank you for your patience, and thank you for stopping by!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Numbers

5:49 am - Wednesday - 44º F, humidity 73%, wind 3 mph out of south southwest......no clouds with a forecast high of 72º F.

Please forgive me for not having much to say lately.....each day seems remarkably like another, and I struggle some days to be interesting.  It is one of the pitfalls of blogging every single day.....especially when we are stationary in one place for long periods of time.  At any rate I say that to say this.....today's missive will be brief......


  1. The tent setup is complete
  2. All the restrooms are now open
  3. All the dumpsters have been dispersed throughout the campground
  4. The 'outside storage area' is complete with site numbers
  5. I made a big buying run to DIY (Do It Yourself Center) 
  6. I held my first big 'Ranger Crew' meeting to discuss the application of our rules
  7. The Dog Park under the direction of Eric and Rosie is taking shape rapidly.....already getting compliments from our customers!
  8. We had our highest temp day Tuesday in sometime.......77º F
  9. TLE and I sat outside watching the Celtics vs. Cavaliers NBA playoff game until almost 8 pm....the Cavaliers won to go up 3 games to 1.
  10. Went to bed about 10:30 pm thinking about all that must be accomplished over the next few days......it feels a little overwhelming.
So, there you have our Tuesday by the numbers........just two more days until the Memorial Day weekend begins......our first big test......we have 130 arrivals due on Friday......YIKES!  I promise to be more interesting tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Counterclockwise Tahoe.....

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5:42 am - Tuesday - 42º F, humidity 85%, wind - CALM - clear blue skies from horizon to horizon...back to work today, hence the early time.

Monday we decided to combine two things into one day......get our big shopping in Carson City done, and then continue on around the Lake in a counterclockwise fashion.  We departed TVC about 9:15 am, and were in Carson City by 10 am shopping at Walmart, and TJ's (we also made a donation to the local Goodwill Donation Center next to TJ's).  We finished our shopping by 12:15 pm and headed back up US-50 over Spooner Summit turning right at SR-28 which took us up the Nevada side (east side) of Lake Tahoe.

As is typical during the summer around the Tahoe Basin there are a lot of 'cone zones', and SR-28 is no exception.....there was a lot of winter storm damage which is still being repaired, plus the usual road repair that is always being done during the summer months......we got caught up in one 'cone zone' long enough that I turned off the VW whilst we awaited our turn to drive through it.......


.....even with the road construction we still arrived in Tahoe City by 1:30 and promptly snagged the last parking spot at 'The Bridgetender Tavern and Grill' where we found an alfresco table for lunch......



.....we make an annual pilgrimage to The Bridgetender when visiting Lake Tahoe....they have the best Bleu Cheese and Bacon Burger I have ever had, so you know what I ordered, right?

Bleu Cheese & Bacon Burger

From our table we could see the historic 'Fanny Bridge', which at the time of my picture had no fannies visible......


......of course we had to get one picture with a 'fanny' present, and TLE readily volunteered.....


......all of the gates are open at the Lake Tahoe Dam, which is also the headwaters of the Truckee River, and the sole drainage for Lake Tahoe.......




......the water is just below Fanny Bridge, and is higher than I have seen it for a couple of decades......


.....and so the 121 mile journey of the Truckee River to Pyramid Lake begins......
  

.....when things are 'normal', and the past 5 years have been anything but normal on this stretch of the Truckee River due to an extended drought, you can rent a raft and float down the Truckee River from Tahoe City to River Ranch where the trip ends.  Now that we have had a heavy snowpack this past winter the river is much higher than normal and the water is so high you cannot get a raft under many of the local bridges which span the Truckee......
 

.......many sections of the Truckee River Bike Path are under water, and unrideable.........


.....for most people, that is........

(Photo courtesy David Lester)

......after lunch, and a short drive along the Truckee River to River Ranch we continued our counterclockwise drive around Lake Tahoe stopping briefly near Homewood to snap this picture.....last year this beach was about 100 feet wide, and it was impossible to moor boats this close to the beach due to exposed rocks......


......and then again at the iconic Emerald Bay for the view.......


.....and another annual 'usie'..........


.....we were home by 4 pm, and putting away our groceries.  It was a day lived well, and a perfect way to end our two days off from work.

Thanks for stopping by!

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