Sunday, May 31, 2015

TVC - Day 22 - Fair is faire.....

We've had so many successive fair, sunny days it is hard to remember when it was rainy and cold, and that was how Real Saturday began and ended......fair, sunny and warm.  In between TLE and I logged another work day.....we've kind of modified our work schedule where we are both working 5 days, but only 6 hours per day on 4 of those days, and one 8 hour day to get in our required 32 hours and, thereby, get our site for free.  We take a 30 minute lunch so that gets us off duty 4 days at 2:30 instead of 4:30 giving us about 5 hours of daylight to do other things.

We opened the campground office at 8 am, and while TLE counted money, and turned on the reservation computers I went out to do my first round of site checks.  Back on May 12th when I did my first rounds there was just one page showing who was in the park, now at May 30th there are two full pages, so the park is beginning to fill up slowly but surely......of course there is nothing like good weather to bring out the campers.

After my first round of site checks I hooked up with Harry to work on some of our electric golf carts, and their chargers.  When we arrived a few weeks ago we were down to a couple of working chargers out in the maintenance yard, and only a couple of working maintenance carts, and one office cart.  Several of the carts need new batteries and it appears that 'corporate' has approved the purchase of some new batteries.  In the mean time while we await the delivery of the batteries we worked on fixing the chargers which mainly meant we replaced the contacts in the male end of the plug coming from the various chargers.  Since many of our carts are a couple of decades  old the parts are becoming more difficult to come by to fix them.  Harry has lived in SLT for about 20 years and knows a lot of people, including Lou over at the local golf course whose job it is to maintain their golf carts....Lou still has some new/old stock parts for our carts, so Harry and I drove over to see if he had some of the parts we needed to recondition some of our chargers, and he did.....he was happy to donate what he had to our cause as he had no use for them anymore.

By noon Harry and I were able to fix 3 chargers, and get an additional maintenance golf cart back in service by cleaning up the battery connections and recharging the dead batteries using one of the reconditioned chargers.....once the batteries come in we'll be able to get a couple more carts back in service.  We now have enough chargers operational to get all the carts recharged every night.

After lunch I took care of the afternoon site checks and was off duty by 2:45......TLE was already home by the time I arrived as she had left work on time at 2:30.....I decided it would be a 'crime' not to take a bike ride on such a lovely day, so I quickly donned my riding clothes and headed off for Emerald Bay.  I don't know how long the ride took me as somehow during the ride I inadvertently turned off my Garmin cyclo computer about a mile from the top of the climb.  Nevertheless, I had a great time riding.

On my way by Camp Richardson I discovered the annual SLT version of the 'Valhalla Renaissance Faire' was in progress, and was responsible for the heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic I had to wind my way through going and coming.

By the time I returned to our camp site it was closing in on 4:30 and it was time to turn on the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks hockey game.....this was game 7 and would determine which team meets the Tampa Bay Lightning in the finals next week.....regretfully the Blackhawks were a better team than the Ducks this day winning 5-2 in regulation time.

We both spent the evening reading and were in bed by 10......thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

TVC - Day 21 - Project day

We all love Friday's, right?  When I was working I loved Friday's because that meant the weekend was that I am retired I love Friday because it's really 5th Saturday......operating on my theory that once you retire every day feels like Saturday.  Being Friday it also meant our friends, Tom and Darlene, would be departing for the Sacramento area so more 'until next times' would be in order at some point.

Of course, any day that is called 'Saturday' means there may be projects to be started and/or completed.  My first project was to troubleshoot why the right burner on our outdoor Coleman stove was not burning properly....I disassembled it to find a spider had been living in there since last summer....once his nest was cleaned out the burner worked properly once again!  Another project that has been lurking in the back of my mind for months was the replacement of the screen in the window over the dinette table.  When we first bought our Newell the screen was missing from this window so after a few trips I decided to remove the window and replace the screen, which I did.  When I re-installed the window my seal job on the window frame was less than adequate and during the first big rain storm we encountered there was some leaking.  When things dried out I used some marine grade silicone caulk to seal it as best I could, but I knew I would need to remove the window at some point to install new butyl tape......

Butyl Tape

You can see the butyl oozing out at the edge of the frame....this means I have done the job properly this time.

 The new screen installed

.....well the day of reckoning was 5th Saturday.....the old screen material had pulled away from the aluminum strip you can see in the picture, as you can see it is once again properly seated, and taut once again. 

Of course this project would not be complete without at least two trips to the DIY (Do It Yourself) store.  Over all it took me about 4 hours beginning to end, including the two trips to DIY.  I started just before Tom and Darlene fact Tom accompanied me to the DIY store on the first trip.  We bid our adieu's to them knowing full well they will return for 10 more days of fun in just over a week.

By the time I finished re-installing the window and was satisfied that it had been properly done it was closing in on 3 pm and I was ready for a nap, which, of course, I took.  All during the process TLE was there when I needed an extra hand, and to encourage me onward, but when I did not need her assistance she was busy deploying our sun shade, and putting the finishing touches on our little TVC environment.....

 Now all the 'stuff' is deployed!

We ended 5th Saturday BBQing carne asada for tacos, and watching the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. N.Y. Rangers NHL game 7 outside.....Tampa Bay won 2-0 advancing to the Standley Cup we await the game 7 between the Ducks and Blackhawks on Real Saturday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 29, 2015

TVC - Day 20 - The Hookup

Thursday did feel like 4th work....just a round trip drive down to Carson City to shop, get a haircut and hookup with Newell friends Tom and Darlene at In 'N Out Burger for lunch.......then escort them up HWY 50 and into the Tahoe Basin where they were to spend the night at TVC before continuing their trip into Sacramento Friday.

TLE and I left TVC around 9:20 and were at the Supercuts just off HWY 395 a little after 10:40 we were on our way to Costco to pickup some items......

.......where I discovered, much to my delight, they now have quite an impressive craft beer selection, and actually carry one of my all time favorites by the case....Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout.....previously I had only been able to find this amazing brew at specialty shops....and to boot they were only charging $3.99 per 22 ounce bottle......

After Costco we headed directly to Trader Joe's and just about the time we were passing through the checkout line I got a text from Tom that they were 10 minutes away from our the time we loaded our groceries in the car we saw their 46 foot Newell entering the Walmart parking lot.....can't get timing much better than that.

Once they were parked we walked over to the In 'N Out for lunch.....

Now all we need are the burgers!

We had a great time, as we always do, talking, laughing, giggling whilst sitting outside in the warm Carson Valley air......I decided to ride with Tom in his 2002 Newell while the girls decided to run into Walmart for a few items......we arrived at TVC just a few minutes before they did.....once Tom had his coach connected we decided to make a run up to Inspiration Point at Emerald Bay for a few pictures........

  My buddy Tom and I

 You can just see the stone 'Tea House' on the island

 If you look carefully you can see Vikingsholm peeking out from the Sugar Pines right in the middle of the picture

We got back home around 6 and immediately set about getting chairs out of the trailer, and lighting our first campfire of the season......I grilled boneless chicken breasts seasoned by Darlene while TLE and Darlene prepared baked potatoes, green beans and corn for our evening meal......a perfect ending to a 'Hookup' kind day.....

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

TVC - Day 19 - '6 easy pieces'

Due to a scheduling anomaly we ended up working six straight days, and Wednesday was the final day in that stretch.  It would be easy to complain, but that would be disingenuous of me......working at TVC hardly seems like work to me when I am in a place (Tahoe) that I have loved since I was 4 years old.  I spent 95% of my day outside wearing shorts and a t-shirt enjoying the glorious warm weather which has been bestowed upon us......and to boot I get paid!

Harry and I spent the balance of the day repairing the remaining leaky hose bibs.....I've been referring to them as faucets, but Harry reminded me on several occasions Wednesday that the correct terminology is 'HOSE BIB'.....sorry for any confusion I may have caused over the past week, or so.  We had three hose bibs in section 'F' that required a special key to turn off the water so after locating said 'key' we proceeded to either replace the suspect hose bib, or replace its washer as needed.  Then it was on to section 'A' where, as I have written about previously, the water for the entire section must be turned off in order to repair the two really badly leaking hose bibs of them I recall from last summer.  Not sure why they haven't been fixed, especially with a drought in progress, but now they are officially fixed.  Before, and in between all of this fun I did my normal site check runs verifying for another day who is in the park, and who was supposed to be departing.

After lunch we tackled the really big will recall I wrote about site 180 where someone had backed over the electrical pedestal, the 'hose bibs' and the sewer vent pipe.  Well, while attempting to straighten the electrical pedestal (which was successful) and the water pipe (not quite so successful) the water pipe cracked right where it goes into the cement, so site 180 has been without a water supply for a week, or so.  On this day our task was to remove the broken pipe and restore water service, and then re-install the sewer vent pipe.  I thought we were going to have to get a cement cutter, but Harry had a much better plan.  The concrete pad the water and electrical sit on is about 2' x 3' and about 4" thick.  Harry's idea was to dig down about 2 feet to the side of the concrete pad, use a 'sawsall' to cut the broken pipe off just below the concrete pad, and then one more time about 6" down.  Once that was done he inserted the 'sawsall' blade into the piece of pipe remaining in the concrete cutting it vertically, then using a large chisel to punch it down and worked!  Then we installed a 3/4" brass compression fitting on the pipe stub that remained and connect it to the new vertical pipe we pounded down through the now empty hole in the concrete.  Within 15 minutes we had restored water....then it was time to dig out what remained of the sewer vent pipe and re-install the 'Y' joint and the 8 foot vertical vent pipe.  Within 30 minutes we had everything back together.



Alas, one cannot live on 'fun' alone......the 'work' day came to an end....TLE and I reviewed our 'time cards' via ADP's online employee self-service portal, approved them, and headed home to enjoy two days off before the 'grind' begins they only knew!

The weather was so balmy we decided to cook, and eat outside for the first time since we arrived May 9th.  I set up the outdoor TV out so we could watch the Anaheim Ducks vs. the Chicago Blackhawks NHL game (the sound muted, of course) and turned on the 'B. B. King Bluesville channel (70) on our Sirrius/XM was a perfect day and evening....

I asked TLE to take a picture of me enjoying short pants, t-shirt and flip flop weather at 6 pm........I think this says it all....6 easy 'work' days in the book, and now for some more non-work fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TVC - Day 18 - Plumbers helper....

The "Y" (Intersection of HWY 50 and 89)...see the snow?

Even though the precipitation has finally left the Tahoe Basin you don't have to look too far to see that winter is still peeking over the nearest mountain ridge.......Tuesday (you notice I'm not referring to Tuesday as '2nd Saturday'....hardly seems like a Saturday when you are arriving for work at 8 am) was another glorious sunny, warm day....the second in a row without any precipitation to interfere with the sun showers.

For the second day in succession I eschewed the snow boots, gloves, watch cap, Under Armor and long pants.....we seem to be finally into the 'Tahoe wear' season......shorts, t-shirts and sandals (no flip flops when working, however, I don't think Harry has gotten the memo).  Many folks wait until the day after the long weekend ends to depart for home so Tuesday saw the  second wave of folks leaving the campground to return to their sticks and bricks lives albeit under slightly less stressful driving conditions.

By 9:30 I was done with my first round of site checks and decided to tackle some of the more demanding repair orders I have created over the past 10 days of site inspections......the leaking faucets....and there 'are' many (you can now substitute 'were' in place of 'are).  I have some plumbing experience in my background (at one point in my late teens I was a plumber's assistant) so replacing a bad washer, or removing and replacing a broken/bad faucet is not above my pay grade, but knowing how to turn off the water at each site requires a little local knowledge so I asked Harry to help me.....

Harry is on the right in this picture section 'A' you must turn off the water for the entire section to do any plumbing sections 'E', 'F' and 'G' all you need is a pipe wrench to turn off the water at each site, except for a few dozen exceptions where you need a special 'key' to turn off the water at a given site.  In all there were between 35 and 40 leaky faucets to repair and, fortunately, most of them just needed fresh washers, but there were about 10 faucets that were just plain broken and needed to be removed and replaced with new ones.  Between Harry and I we plowed through all but a half dozen of the leaky faucets in about 3 hours.  We'll turn the water off in section 'A' Wednesday morning to take care of the two offenders there, and then tackle the remaining ones in 'F' and 'G' when we find the special 'key'.

So, after a couple of weeks of inspections followed by a few days of making repairs we are on the verge of having a campground where everything......well almost as it should.  With the combined efforts of everyone the park is losing its rough edges and is beginning to show 'pride of  ownership' again.

By 2:30 TLE decided to call it an early day as she was one of 3 people in the office and there was just not enough work.  By 3:30 I had run out of work so I headed home for the day, too. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TVC - Day 17 - Ghostly

I have written often about the vacuum effect in campgrounds.......


Monday.... can almost hear a 'whooshing' sound as the campers vacate campgrounds all over SLT, and American for that matter, heading back to their workaday lives and the once teeming campground neighborhoods become devoid of human life in just a few hours.  As I made my rounds Monday morning watching camper after camper putting away all their 'stuff' I felt a twang of the same anxiety they must have been feeling......that anxiety that would hit me on a Sunday morning back in my workaday life when I knew I had to start putting my stuff away so we could head back to our sticks and bricks always seemed to take the edge off the fun and the temporal feeling of freedom we had that weekend.  But, no more....we have cast away those workaday/sticks and bricks shackles that continually pulled us back into that old life and are free to wander, or to sit in one place as we choose.

The sunshine we have been waiting for since May 9th finally arrived on May 25th....overnight temps in the 40's, and day time temps in the 60's and 70's as far as the eye can see....short pants and t-shirt weather once's time to put away the long pants, Under Armor, snow boots, watch caps and snow board gloves.

As often happens on long holiday weekends in many RV parks, not just TVC, the trash dumpsters get quite full.....the departing workaday folk generate a lot of regular trash, and often will discard broken camping equipment ranging from fold up chairs that don't fold up anymore, worn out awning mats, broken popups, non-functioning camp stoves, and sometimes a destroyed patio awning abandoned in one of the sites that I came across on Monday afternoon.  When the dumpsters begin to overflow here at TVC we bring out the heavy equipment.....a skip loader......and use the bucket to 'tamp' down the garbage in each dumpster until our bi-weekly trash haulers arrive, and that is what Harry and I busied ourselves with Monday morning.

By 2 pm the campground was back to normal....cell phone coverage improved dramatically, and our unobstructed views were restored, if only for a few days.

TLE and I clocked out at 4:30 deciding we were suffering a little bit from 'cabin fever' due to the barrage of cold weather and rain we have endured the past 2+ weeks, and walked over to 'Classic Cue' for a pitcher of beer and their wonderful fish tacos......Bill and Debby Kasson (Bill and Debby's Wild Ride) introduced us to 'Classic Cue' last summer, and we have returned many times since.....the atmosphere is kind of 'divey sports bar' and we like it.....

.......we had a pitcher of beer and 6 fish tacos for $20!

We were back home by 6 pm and turned on the Ducks vs. Blackhawks hockey game (the series was tied 2-2 at the time) and watched the Ducks win 5-4 in overtime on a 'sudden death' goal 45 seconds into the overtime period.

I went next door for a while and sat by our neighbor's fire (John and Deb Dye) talking with them and Harry for about an hour.....nice to be able to sit outside wearing flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 25, 2015

TVC - Day 16 - Pits and Pines

Sunday was the antithesis of virtually every other day  since we arrived May 9th........sunny, dry, warmish.....temps in the 60's, and, finally, short pants weather once again!  Gone were the snow boots, pants, snow boarding gloves, watch cap, and rain jacket.  As I drove the golf cart around the campground I found people outside enjoying the sun, enjoying the Pancake Breakfast, reading books, swimming in the pool, and participating in the annual 'Pits and Pines' Memorial Day horseshoe tournament.

Fellow staffers Kaye and Harry enjoying the Pancake Breakfast

The sweet bouquet of bacon on the grill

 The participants
Let the tourney begin!

The winners (the guys holding the trophy)  

In the recently re-purposed lounge the INDY 500 was on the TV and people were playing pool.......outside people walked their dogs, folks enjoyed the outdoors talking with family and friends, 'crazy folk' hurling horseshoes to and was the kind of day you expect this time of year in SLT*.....especially at TVC**.

With the return of the typical hustle and bustle of a busy campground the hours of our shift passed by did the sunny weather.......just as we finished the horseshoe tournament, and took the picture of the winners it began to rain once again.  According to our esteemed local weather guessers we have one more day (Monday) of potential rain, and then a string of sunny days stretching into the month of June will follow.

Thanks for stopping by!

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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

TVC - Day 15 - Candid camera

The campground.....specifically section 'E'...... is beginning to fill up!

We find ourselves in the midst of four straight days of work (Friday through Monday)....although it is the Memorial Day weekend, we are not yet fully staffed, and will not be for another two weeks as the rest of the workers arrive for the summer, so everyone is 'on deck' on this long weekend.

We reported for work about 5 minutes early and began getting ready for the day's activities.....for the first time there were customers waiting at the office door for the store to open.....that is a first since we arrived May 9th, and a preview of what the rest of the summer will look like.  Saturday is also 'Pancake Breakfast' day here at TVC, and normally there are a lot of partakers, but the rain came early and, understandably, it put a damper on the the attendance.

As real Saturday wore on intrepid tent campers began to arrive.....some setting up in a light drizzle.....that is what I call optimistic!  There was a time in my now distant youth when weather would not have deterred me from setting up my tent either.  One additional thing was added to my 'Ranger' duties.....taking random pictures of campers at their sites and then transferring them to a 'thumb drive' which is subsequently inserted in the store flat screen TV to be run as a slide show.  The customers are encouraged to come into the store to see themselves on TV, and they actually do!

As has been the case most recent days, the rains came and went all day long, and sometimes it was bitterly cold.....I start every day with this internal debate raging in my head about what I should wear.....each day I start out thinking I can don a pair of shorts once again, and maybe do away with the snow boots and watch cap, but then I look at the forecast and decide today is not the far, each day, I have made the right choice.

I can't help but think that but for our dental issues this winter/spring we would be in Indianapolis today watching the beginning of the INDY 500 in person in just an hour or so, then packing up and making our run for our present location.  To our friends who are there, we miss you and hope to see you next year!

TLE went home about 2 pm as there were too many people in the office, and not enough computer terminals, but I stayed on until my normal quitting time of 4:30.  We spent the evening reading and were in bed by 10 pm girding our selves up for another 8 am workday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

TVC - Day 14 - Let the summer begin!

Friday was the beginning of the Memorial Day 2015 weekend.....last year on this same day the crowds were rolling into TVC*, but of course it was dryer and warmer this time last year.  With the uncertain weather forecast for the current weekend we have not yet seen any 'tenters' arriving, although a number of our tent sites had reservations none have yet checked in........last year the tent sites near us were full by Saturday morning, but this year I can see all the way to the restrooms.....not a soul in sight.  Friday was also a banner day for the office staff....we all got our usernames and passwords......up until Friday we were all having to use Eric's and Duane's to access the reservation system.  Nevertheless, this year has been a vast improvement over last year when it took us over 6 weeks to begin working, and another couple of weeks to get our usernames and passwords.

My duties as Ranger also slightly expanded.....instead of just checking to be sure those scheduled to depart did so, and checking to be sure all the sites we show as occupied were so, I was tasked with checking all the vacant sites which had reservations beginning Friday to be sure they were ready for occupancy.  Our new policy here at TVC* is to rake the pine needles to the borders of each site giving them definition, which helps the customers see the entrance to their site.  In the past the policy was the opposite as the owners wanted the park to have a 'natural' feel so pine needles were not raked up anywhere, including the streets, and pine cones were left where they fell.  The problem that arose from that policy was many customers felt we just didn't care about the park, and many were confused as to where their sites began and ended, or even where the entrance to their site was.  With a change in policy we have been able to change the perception, and reduce the confusion about the boundaries of each site.....we are now getting compliments on the appearance of the campground.

Our arrival list showed just under 70 RV's coming into the park on Friday, and at one point the arriving RV's were backed up all the way to the entrance at Melba Drive.....that only happened one time for a few minutes, but was a reminder of how crazy things will get when that becomes the norm over the 4th of July weekend.

Around 11 am we had our first staff meeting of the summer, which included a pizza lunch paid for by the campground, then we were back out into the ever changing weather which went back and forth from sun showers to rain sprinkles and back to sun showers over and over throughout the afternoon.

Once I had finished my second round of site checks I went back to my job of inspecting each site to be sure everything is in order....I finished section 'E' and got half way through section 'A' before the rain came again and chased me back inside for the last 30 minutes of our shift.  We were home a little after 4:30 watching as the RV's continued to pull into the park, and specifically section 'E'.

Hoping for more sun and less rain this weekend......thanks for stopping by!

*TVC = Tahoe Valley Campground

Friday, May 22, 2015

TVC - Day 13 - Maxed out!

Thursday began the way most recent days have begun......sun showers early.....rain showers later......and later became all afternoon and all is still raining as I type this morning (Friday).....and there is no place on earth I would rather be right now that South Lake Tahoe.....rain, or no rain.....and, God knows, we do need the rain.

Whilst TLE walked over to the laundry to process some of our soiled garments I worked on installing some bike parts on a friend's bike (new cassette and shifters).  By the time TLE returned I was done with the bike.  We haven't been to the movie theater in quite a while so we decided to head over to Heavenly Village Cinemas for the 2:05 pm showing of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'.......I will happily verify that there is quite a lot of 'fury' in the movie.  I told TLE as we walked out that it was the old, familiar 'Mad Max' on steroids......I wish we had gone to see the new 'Avenger' movie instead.  IMDB gives this movie 4.5 stars.....I love action movies, but this one just did not get it done for me.

On the other hand I love Heavenly Village Cinemas......they claim to be the best run independent theater in the U.S......I don't know if that is true, but they do run a tight ship.....we use the parking structure attached to the 'Village', and you can get your ticket validated by the theater.  The $8.50 shown on the ticket was the 'senior' rate.....full price adult price was $11.50.....getting expensive!

We stopped at Raley's on the way home to get a few necessities, and were home by 4:45....the rain still falling gently from the leaden skies.

Friday is the beginning of the the Memorial Day weekend.....last year it was dry, and we had quite a busy weekend, but with the current weather trends and forecasts I'm not sure how busy we will be this weekend.  We, more than likely, will be on duty at least 3 out of the four days, if not all four days....we shall see what we shall see.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

TVC - Day 12 - Surviving

This is how the day started........sun showers........

......this is what it turned into by mid morning.....rain showers on and off the rest of the day....

.....however, the intermittent rain did not stop the pavers from doing their work.....

......2 inches of new black top curing on the outer loop in section 'E'.......

So, what actually happened that was noteworthy, or even 'blog' worthy on Wednesday?  Not much......just nomadic life.....TLE decided to help out in the office Wednesday (our day off) as they were short handed, and I opted keep my day off......normally TLE would have pulled all the throw rugs out of the coach and shaken the residual dirt out of them, and then vacuumed the floors, but since she was otherwise occupied that task fell to's actually harder than it sounds.  Just like in a sticks and bricks home, cleaning must be done in an RV on a pretty regular basis, especially when the outdoors is so near at hand, and seems to encroach even more easily than in a sticks and bricks home.

I spent some time raking up the pine needles out of our site, vacuuming out the trailer once again, and then cleaning up the Cannondale tandem so we can ride it if it ever stops raining long enough to get in a good ride.  I also took time to make a small repair on one of my snow boots.....

 The new shoelace 'hook' installed

You can just see the two rivets I used to attach the new shoelace 'hook'. of the shoelace 'hooks' on the upper part of the boot had broken off some time between the sugar beet harvest and a week ago when I wore them for the first time in a long time.  I have a pair of 'tin snips' and a small sheet of aluminum so I cut out a small piece, drilled two holes, filed off the sharp edges, riveted it in place, and finally, using a pair of needle nose pliers, bent it over to form a new shoelace 'hook' great!

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading another James Lee Burke book starring 'Dave Robicheaux'.....the intrepid New Iberia Sheriff in 'Pegasus Descending'....I think this is the 15th  book in his Dave Robicheaux series....I'm going to miss this character when I read the last book in a few weeks....I think there are 20 books in the series.

My sister, Jill, called around 4 pm and we talked for close to an hour.......we've been talking every week for the past 5, or 6 weeks just to stay in feels really good to have my sister back in my life.....TLE arrived home just after 5 so we bid our telephone adieus......

We spent the evening watching the 3 hours finale of Season 30 of Survivor.......we were overjoyed that Mike won.......his head was on the chopping block for the last 6 episodes, but he managed to stay in the game using his 'immunity idol', and then by winning 5 individual immunity challenges....amazing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TVC - Day 11 - Paving

I've written before about the effect of deferred maintenance here at TVC, but as I have also mentioned, the owners are making great strides in catching up.......on Monday a local paving contractor arrived to begin repairing and repaving the outer loops in sections 'E' and 'A'....both of these interior roads were in dire need of repair, and it good to see it being done.  Of course, along with the work being done comes the attendant construction noise, and dust.....there is never a good time to do this stuff because someone will always be inconvenienced, but the trick is to do it when it affects the least number of people and that is now.

When we arrived at TVC 11 days ago TLE and I both offered to work 5 days per week until the rest of the staff arrived, and Tuesday was our 5th day of work since the end of the last pay period.....the work days are beginning to pass by more quickly as we settle into a routine, and our duties become more defined.  After making my morning rounds I proceeded to take a handful of the work orders I had generated for the prior few days and work on knocking them out.  Since I was putting on my 'maintenance hat' I needed to round up a few tools and related materials to make the repairs.  Most of the guys in maintenance use their own tools, so I drove the cart over to our trailer to pickup a few of my tools, then back to the maintenance yard where I rummaged through the various sheds looking for the necessary screws, washers, clips, sewer caps, etc. that I would need to make the repairs I had ordered....'how ironic he thought to himself'.

By 12:30 I had processed no less than 25 of the work orders generated by me......TLE and I took our one hour lunch break, and after I had finished the second round of site checks I finished up another dozen work orders then set about inspecting the outer loop of section 'E' and generating more work the way, here is a picture of the cool form TLE generated in Excel for me to use....

Once again we never got the forecast rain showers (forecast showed 100% chance of rain), although it sprinkled for about 5 minutes around 4 pm just as I was wrapping up the section 'E' out loop inspection.

I will be off Wednesday and Thursday so some bike riding and exploring is in order........TLE is working Wednesday as they are short handed in the office.  Come Friday we will all be on deck for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TVC - Day 10 - Guessers are at it again

The forecast was for 100% rain Monday....this is what we got 

First of all, I had good intentions yesterday morning when I saved the blog post about Sunday to 'draft' fully intending to get back to it and publish it by mid morning Monday, but my senior brain completely forgot until about 4:30 am Tuesday I didn't get up to post it then.....I waited until I got up at 6....I can't remember the last time I forgot to do that....I've certainly forgotten a lot of other things.

It takes me about 10 days after arriving in SLT to remember that any weather forecast for South Lake Tahoe has less than a 50/50 chance of coming to seems to me based on my own empirical observations that SLT must have its own unique weather vortex, making it often immune to the feeble attempts by the weather guessers to make a forecast stick.  To be sure, I am not, not me.  My attire for the past 4 work days has been snow boots, long pants, Under Armor, thermal socks, watch cap, snow board gloves just to stay slightly comfortable as I make my rounds.......even then I've often had to retreat to the office to warm up half way through site checks each day.  So, getting a partly cloudy day with sun showers sure beats the forecast of 100% chance of rain.  Even with the sun showers I'm still bundled up, but at least my outlook is a little more positive.

As we are want to do on work days, TLE and I were at the office reporting for duty a few minutes before 8 am......mostly 'bright eyed and bushy tailed'.  I was off doing my site check rounds about 8:30, and was finished by 9:30.  After site checks (I did find a couple of campers who had arrived after hours and made sure they registered) I continued on with my assignment inspecting each site to be sure everything is in order.  I finished with section 'G', and continued into section 'F' finally finishing that section around 4:30.  I periodically returned to the office to write up the resulting work orders for maintenance.  Mostly the repair orders are for very minor things.....a missing screw in an electrical pedestal box access door, a missing sewer cap, or a leaky faucet, but sometimes I find something major.....

.....this is what I found Monday morning.....some one had apparently backed over the sewer vent pipe, the water faucet, and electrical pedestal.

We'll be working 5 days this week leading up to the Memorial Day weekend helping get the park ready for the the first significant 'invasion' of the summer, then we'll settle down into 4 day work weeks for the remainder of the summer, excluding the 4th of July weekend when 'all hands are on deck'.

Thanks for stopping by!

TVC - Day 9 - Hail, sleet, that order

I'm beginning to feel like I am living in a 'rain forest'......periodically we get sun, but nothing ever has time to dry out.  The low pressure ridge that has stalled over northern part of the Sierra Nevadas brings some precipitation almost every day.  The natives say we have had more snow and rain the past 10 days than all winter long.....well I guess I'll second that notion!

Sunday was a work day for us and we were on our way over to the office by 7:55 part of my 'Ranger' duties I have been asked to inspect all 428 sites to be sure each one is in good operating condition.....while I was out making my first 'site check' round of the day TLE was preparing an excel spread sheet form for me to use to inspect 1) the electrical pedestal, 2) the breakers inside, 3) sewer there one there?, 4) cable TV hookup, 5) fireplace....if there is one, 6) picnic table, and 7) water faucets at each site and report what needs to be done, if anything, to bring them 'up to snuff'.

Upon my return from my field operations she had the form ready, and after a few adjustments to the form she printed off a few for me to begin my individual inspections of each site.  The sections here are labeled 'A', 'E', 'F' and 'G' (G being the newest and A being the oldest), but the numerical beginning of the sites (#101) is in section 'G' fact the numerical order of the sites takes us backwards through the alphabet (G,F,E and then A).....don't ask me why, because I don't know.  There is still a lot of undeveloped land here at TVC, and I am sure the original owners had plans to fill in the missing letters of the alphabet (B, C and D), but sewer permits became harder to come by over the past 20 years here in South Lake Tahoe, and the park ultimately stalled out at 4 sections.

Naturally, I began my inspection program with site #101 and managed to get to site #178 when suddenly the hail was as if someone had turned a very big bucket upside down and just dumped ice crystals on our collective heads.  Fortunately I had the office electric golf cart with me (a roof, but no windshield) and made a dash back to the the time I got there the hail had turned to sleet, then shortly thereafter to steady rain, which continued the rest of the afternoon.

Most of the remaining work to be done prior to the Memorial Day weekend is outside, and requires dry conditions to be done (painting picnic tables, painting street markings, raking sites, etc.), so we all, other than the office personnel, clocked out for the day shortly after lunch time.....if not for the precipitation I probably could have finished section 'G' within another hour, or so.  Before I clocked out I began to write the work orders for each site needing attention.....the things that need fixing are relatively minor, but there are a lot of them.....missing screws from the electrical box doors, leaky faucets needing new washers, missing sewer caps, fireplaces that need cleaning, missing site tag clips, etc.  I would say 70% of the sites need no attention, but that leaves the 30% that do.

TLE stayed on for about an hour after I left to help in the office, but ultimately they were over staffed for a Sunday so she came home about 1......we both spent the afternoon reading and enjoying the steady rainfall.

Ah yes.....another day in our own personal 'rain forest'.......thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

TVC - Day 8 - Real Saturday

Our weekly schedule is not yet set so we're going day to day right now.....we took off Saturday as there were more than enough folks on duty to do what needed to be done on one of our rare dry days.  We will more than likely work Sunday and Monday, then have Tuesday and Wednesday off this week, and then, hopefully, by Thursday Duane will have our schedule looks more than likely that we will be working 5 days a week up through Memorial Day weekend, then settle down into a 4 day per week routine after that.  Once we settle into a four day week our preference would be to work Sunday and Monday with Tuesday and Wednesday off, then Thursday and Friday with Saturday off.....we'll see how that comes down,

I started out the day writing my blog and watching the Premier Soccer league in Britain.  I used to spend most every daylight hour of every weekend on the soccer pitch as a referee back in my workaday life, and that is one of the things I do miss about that life.  My time on the pitch was circumscribed by 45, 5 and 10 minute time segments......45 minutes for each half, a 5 minute half time, and 10 minutes between matches.  I could still be officiating soccer matches every weekend if I wished, even at age 65, but I decided long before I retired that I would hang up my referee uniform while someone else besides myself still thought I was a good referee.  As referees age and the physical conditioning and speed begin to wain they are assigned more and more often to officiate younger and younger players, and the younger referee who can still run like a deer takes their place on the 'under 19' matches.  Watching Premier Soccer reconnects me for a short time each Saturday and Sunday to to a time full of good memories and friends.

One of our new employees here at TVC, Tara, rides her mountain bike to work a few blocks each day. I'm pretty sure it is a GT full suspension bike....I say I'm pretty sure as all the badges, and decals had been removed before she acquired the bike.  It needed to be tuned up so I offered to do so.  She delivered the bike to my trailer about 9 am, and by 10 am I was deep into the weeds on her bike.  The main issue she presented to me was the rear wheel was 'out of true', and it surely was......mainly because there was a spoke missing, which was making it impossible to 'true' properly.  I made a run over to South Shore Bikes with the rear wheel buy a replacement spoke....the bike mechanic measured the length of the remaining spokes and quickly found a replacement for $2.  Once I got the new spoke installed it was easy to 'true' the rear wheel, then I moved on to the shifting issues.  As it turns out the rear 9 speed 'cassette' is worn out, as well as the chain causing the chain to 'skip', plus the right shifter is only a 7 speed shifter, so she cannot access all nine sprockets on the rear cassette.  The left shifter which controls the front derailleur is shot also, so there are a  lot of issues for her to address.  Nevertheless, I found used shifters, and a lightly used 9 speed cassette on eBay for $30 and ordered them for her......I have a lightly used 9 speed chain in reserve that I will donate to her.  I had gone as far as I could go with the bike by 2 and rolled it back over to the office for her to ride home after work.  The replacement components will be here by the end of the week, and I'll finish the bike for her at that time.  Often people put off repairing their bikes because they think it will be expensive, but most of the time it is not, especially when you have someone such as myself that loves to work on bikes for free!

It was a nice day off spent doing something I love, in a place I love.......I'm sure I have said this before, but I'll say it again.......Lake Tahoe has its own unique 'smell'.......the smell of ponderosa pines, and the crisp, clear alpine air are like no other....whenever I smell that bouquet I know I am home.

Thanks for stopping by!