Off to see the Wizard . . .

Jan and I both slept in this morning. She’s normally up around 7, but this morning it was more like 9:30, due to our 12 hour, 150 mile daytrip yesterday. Fun, but tiring.

Of course it also didn’t help that she was wound up enough from the trip that she didn’t actually go to bed until around midnight.

A little after 1pm I got back on the phone, trying to find a replacement passenger side lower outside mirror for our coach. I first called American Coach and was told that they no longer stock replacement parts for RAMCo Mirrors since they don’t use them anymore.

So my next call was to RAMCo themselves, and was happy to find that they did still have a replacement mirror in stock. So for $24 plus shipping they sent one out.

Now I just have to find out if I can get my money back on the wrong one that I got from Velvac a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try and call them tomorrow.

Around 2:30 Jan and I headed out for a movie and then dinner. We were going to see Oz the Great and Powerful, the latest retelling of L. Frank Baum’s stories of the land of Oz. Like most of the theaters in Las Vegas, the one was also in a casino, too.

Produced by Disney, directed by Sam Rami, with music by Danny Elfman, the storyline is somewhat of a prequel to Baum’s original “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and its 13 sequels. But this story is told without Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, or the Cowardly Lion. And not even “Toto, too”.

Although Jan thought it dragged, I enjoyed it and found it very well done. Like the 1939 movie, this one also starts out in black & white and then colorizes in Oz. The movie was very successful for Disney, earning almost $500 million worldwide. This almost certainly means sequels.

Getting out of the movie about 6pm, we drove a couple of blocks away to have dinner at Applebee’s. After a good meal, and one of those small Shooter desserts for each of us, we got home a little before 8pm.

As far as tomorrow, we’ll see. If it looks like a madhouse out there with the beginning of the Memorial Day Weekend, we may just stay at home.

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Thought of the Day:

An economy is not a zero-sum game, but politics usually is.

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. . . just to watch him die.

We headed out on our 150 mile daytrip about  8:30 this morning, but our first stop was only a few miles up the road for breakfast at Denny’s.

Back on the road by 9:30 we drove up the west side of Lake Tahoe on SR89 for about 30 miles until we came to Tahoe City. Along the way we passed a lot of spectacular scenery overlooking Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Day Trip 1

Tahoe Day Trip 2

Tahoe Day Trip 3

Tahoe Day Trip 4

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At one turnout near the head of Emerald Bay, we looked down on Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian castle built by Lora Knight in 1929.

Vikingsholm 1

One of the first summer homes built on Lake Tahoe, it welcomed celebrities such as Will Rogers over the years.

Vikingsholm

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Besides the castle, Mrs. Knight also had built a rustic 16 x 16 ft teahouse on Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe.

Vikingsholm Teahouse 1

Located at the highest point on the island, all of the stone had to be ferried by boat over to the island.

Vikingsholm Teahouse 2

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It seems like every turn just brought more great scenery into view.

Tahoe Day Trip 5

A little way before we reached Tahoe City we encountered these two really neat old cars.

Tahoe Day Trip Car 1

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Don’t know what they are. Maybe Nick knows.

Tahoe Day Trip Car 2

Reaching Tahoe City, we turned away from the lake and headed north to I-80 and Truckee. Reaching Truckee, we turned west for a few miles and ended up at Donner Pass State Park.

The museum covered not only the Donner party, but also the many emigrants who passed through here on their way to California.

Unfortunately, because of the way the many displays were lighted, I wasn’t able to get any good photos. But they did have this model Conestoga wagon loaded up with typical supplies.

Donner Museum 1

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And this was something I’d never seen or heard of before. It’s a snowshoe made for horses.

Donner Museum 2

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Leaving the museum, we headed down the nature trail that lead toward the area where some of the Donner party wintered over from November 1846 to February 1847.

Donner Museum 4

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None of the cabins survived, but this rock was the wall and fireplace of one of them.

Donner Museum 3

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This monument, near the museum, commemorates the hardships suffered here, and also marks the spot of another cabin. The height of the monument base, at 22 feet, marks the depth of the snow in the area that winter.

Donner Museum 5

Leaving the area and heading east toward Reno, we thought about the irony of the fact that the Interstate I-80 now runs along the route that the Donner party was trying to take.

Getting into Reno, we turned south toward Virginia City, climbing about 2000 feet up into the mountains, with another set of great views along the way.

Virginia City 1

Virginia City 2

Coming into Virginia City, we found a quaint, old fashioned town clinging to the mountain side. Most of the town buildings date from from after the big fire of 1875, when most of the town burned to the ground. Only one partial block was left standing.

Virginia City 7

Over 2000 buildings were lost, leaving 10,000 people homeless. But the entire town was rebuilt in less than a year.

Our first stop was “The Way It Was” museum. Housing thousands of artifacts from Virginia City’s heyday, it details many facets of the townspeople’s lives.

Virginia City 4

Home of the fabled Comstock Lode, the many mines around the area yielded up over $400 million dollars of gold and silver. That’s billions in today’s dollars.

One of my favorite exhibits was this scale model showing only 250 miles of the interconnected 800 miles of mineshafts underneath the town.

Virginia City 5

Sorry for the so-so photos, but the sunlight coming through a skylight washed it out.

Virginia City 6

Next we took a tram ride around town, with our tour guides pointing out the many mansions in the area, and also the many brothels. Unfortunately a number of places we wanted to see were still closed for the winter, and won’t reopen until this weekend.

One thing I did see was a new personal record for a mountain grade. My previous best had been 12% going through Canada, but that was in the RV.

But 15%, even in the truck was pretty good.

Virginia City 3

Leaving Virginia City, and getting back to Reno about 4pm, we stopped off at Famous Dave’s BBQ for dinner. And as usual, really, really good. But Jan and I were both somewhat disappointed that this franchisee doesn’t the Firecracker Green Beans as a side dish. Bummer. They’re really good.

After dinner, Wal-Mart, and Sam’s Club, I stopped off at a Home Depot to pick a new drinking water faucet for our kitchen counter.

Home Depot Drinking Faucet

Hopefully this one will last as long as the first one did.

Getting home about 8:30, we were both pooped after a long but very fun day. But tomorrow will be a do-nothing day, let me tell you.

When we got home, we found Landon’s school class photo that Brandi had sent over. That’s him on the upper left. Love those plaid shorts he’s got on.

Landon's School Picture 2013

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Thought for the Day:

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

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Another Day, Another Repair Job . . .

The wind really picked up today as the cold front moved in. Doesn’t look like we’ll get any rain out of it, but the high for the next two days will be in the low 50’s with the low in the mid 20’s.

Yes, mid 20’s!

But it will still be sunny so it will be nice. In fact for the rest of the time we’ll be here, it supposed to be sunny and in the 60’s.

Around 2pm I headed out for a couple of errands. I wanted to get the truck washed, and I wanted to check out any local hardware stores for a new countertop drinking faucet.

Drinking Faucet

This one had started leaking around the base and I want to get it fixed. It has always dripped just a bit when our shore water pressure was high enough, but that wasn’t a problem because the cat’s water bowl sits under it. But now water is pooling on the countertop so I need to get it fixed.

There’s no Lowe’s or Home Depot around here but I thought I’d check out the several hardware stores I’ve seen in the area. With enough searching, I could probably find new washers for the inside, but it’s just simpler to install a replacement.

I wasn’t able to find anything locally, but I’ll check when we’re in Reno tomorrow. Otherwise it looks like I’ll be able to get one from Amazon in a couple of days.

Getting the truck washed just further convinced me that I don’t like the ‘touchless’ car washes, the ones that use water pressure only. They just don’t get all the dirt and grime of the truck like the ones that use the rotating felt brushes.

Here’s what happens when you buy a bag of chips in Apache Junction at 1500 ft and then bring it up to a elevation of 6500 ft. It swells up like a balloon, and then ‘poofs’ when you open it.

Swollen Chip Bag

I’ve noticed a number of our packages doing this.

For dinner tonight we finished off the last of the spicy chicken vegetable soup. Still good.

Tomorrow we’re going to do our Donner Pass, Reno, Virginia City, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Famous Dave’s BBQ daytrip.

Sounds like fun. Happy, happy, happy.

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Thought for the Day:

An armed society is a polite society. A disarmed society is a slaughterhouse

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Jan was lucky . . .

Apparently Jan was really lucky she only got nipped by the donkey while we were at Oatman, AZ about 10 days ago.

Oatman Burro Bite

Here’s a guy in Hungary who was attacked and killed by two donkeys who apparently didn’t like him riding his mobility scooter through their pasture.

Note to self: Don’t make donkeys mad.

After a quiet morning, around 1pm I drove down to the office to check for any mail, and also to ask if we could get a picnic table brought to our site. All the sites around us have one. I want mine.

While I was there someone else was checking in and I saw they were given a hanging tag for their power pedestal. I guess we didn’t get one since we arrived after hours, but everyone else has one. I want mine.

When I asked if they expected the park to be busy this weekend, the young young lady said, “Oh, Yeah”. So it looks like our semi-isolation may not last too much longer.

A little before 4pm Jan and I headed out for supper, planning on trying one of the casino buffets in town. But after driving all the way back down to Stateline, NV, we found none of the buffets at any of the 4 casinos here was open. Right now they’re only open on weekends, at least until this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend.

So we ended up at Big Daddy Burgers, voted the Best Burgers in South Lake Tahoe.

Big Daddy's Burgers 1

And if it’s not the Best Burger here, it’s certainly in the top 2 or 3. One reason they are so good is the fact that they have a very limited menu. Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, and a Hot Dog. These, plus two sizes of fries, and the drinks, wraps up the menu.

Concentrate on what you do and do it well.

Jan had a Cheeseburger, and I had the Bacon Cheeseburger, both really good. We shared a large fry, which was more like a GIANT fry, with more than enough for both of us.

Big Daddy's Burgers 2

Coming back home we stopped off at the Sno-Flake Drive-In for a soft-serve cone. Sno-Flake looks like one of those old-timey drive-in from your childhood.

Sno-Flake Drive-In

And as it turns out, the Sno-Flake Drive-In is also well-known for their burgers, and especially their fries, both with garlic and pesto seasonings.

We’ll have to give them a try before we leave.

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Thought for the Day:

History repeats itself because human nature is static.

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Electric Sheep . . .

(We’ll see if anyone gets this one.)

Well, we did pretty much nothing today. And it was really, really nice.

It made it all the way up to 62 degrees with plenty of sun, so we had the windows and the door open all day. Really nice. And the smell of pine trees just makes it better.

We’ve gotten a few more neighbors in the last couple of days, but nobody on either side of us. Hopefully that will hold. But with the Memorial Day weekend coming up, it might be touch and go.

When Jan did her zip line ride in Las Vegas last week, we purchased a photo of her, but I forgot about posting it until now. So here it is.

Jan's Zip Line Photo

They have a zip line ride here in South Lake Tahoe, but Jan says she’s checked off Zip Lining from her Bucket List, so it’s Been There, Done That now.

About 11:30 we called our son Chris to wish him a Happy Birthday. Now being 45, that makes him officially old. Of course I don’t know what that makes us.

Jan says she’s still 39, but I’m not quite sure how that works.

Brandi sent over a picture of the kitchen area of their new house with the backsplash installed.

Brandi New House Backsplash

Apparently things have really sped up on the construction front, and they may be moving in in just a couple of weeks. We know they’re really excited.

Nick called his Level II Tech Support about 5pm wanting some help with metering the output of a solar panel he was checking out. Hopefully he didn’t electrocute himself. He is playing with electricity after all.

Wednesday we plan on making a big loop around Lake Tahoe, first heading up the west side of the lake to the Donner Pass area, then over to Reno for a Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club visit. After that. we’ll probably swing down through Virginia City, before heading home.

Tomorrow’s still kind of up in the air, though. We’ll see how it goes.

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Thought for the Day:

“No but I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” – Roy Batty

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A Bear for All Seasons . . .

After coffee drinking, Kindle reading, and Internet playing, Jan and I headed out for some sightseeing, dinner, and shopping.

We drove around for about an hour, crossing back into Nevada, past all the casinos that suddenly appear at the state line.

Driving further out along the road we came in on, we got a good view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Tahoe Views 1

Tahoe Views 2

Tahoe Views 3

Coming back through town we drove out on the other side for a while just to see what’s around.

Along the way, we came across The Bear’s Den.

Tahoe Bear's Den 1

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This place has pretty much any type of carved bears you could want.

Tahoe Bear's Den 4

Big ones,

Tahoe Bear's Den 5

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little ones,

Tahoe Bear's Den 2

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and more.

Tahoe Bear's Den 3

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By this time our tummies were rumbling, so we decided to try Passaretti’s Italian Restaurant, located right outside the park entrance. We’d noticed the last couple of days that the place was always busy every time we drove by. And we’ve found that a busy place is usually a good place to eat.

It was interesting to find this great hot rod sitting in the parking lot. I’d seen a sign about a car show while we were driving around, but this was the only car I’d seen that might be part of it. Turns out, it wasn’t.

Tahoe HotRod 1

I did notice that the right front tire was going flat, though.

Tahoe HotRod 2

As it turned out our meal was delicious. Jan found her favorite meat-filled ravioli on the menu, and I had my usual spaghetti marinara with meatballs.

We both started out with salads with their really great homemade dressings. We also had an order of their garlic bread with melted mozzarella on top, again really good.

And after our entrees, we had to top it off by sharing a piece of their homemade carrot cake.since we’d seen it recommended online. It was delicious, but so big, that along with our meal, we could only eat half of it. So we’ll have the rest of it with coffee tomorrow. And we’ll definitely be coming back here again before we leave.

One other thing, when we got to Passaretti’s we found that there was a wedding dinner going on in the back of the restaurant. And as it turned out, the hot rod out front was what the bride and groom drove from the church to the restaurant. Unfortunately, the honeymoon had to be delayed for a while when they came back out and found the flat tire. The delay however, probably wasn’t a big disappointment, since the bride was already noticeably pregnant.

Leaving the restaurant, we stopped off at Raley’s for some groceries. On the way, I wanted to check out this service station that had been converted into an auto parts store and antique car lot.

Or so I thought.

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 1

Old Studebakers, old Oldsmobile’s,

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 2

And for some reason, a bunch of old Volvos.

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 3

You’ve really got to like old cars to like old Volvos, don’t you.

Tahoe Runnel's Auto 4

A little research told me the real story about this place.

It’s not an antique car lot. The cars are not for sale. They are parked there to be an deliberate eyesore.

The owner of the lot, apparently very rich, has, since 2007, been refusing to sell his auto parts place to the city. They want to build something else there, but he wants no part of it.

The city supposedly keeps trying to find any kind of violation to get him out. So in retaliation, he bought all these old, ugly cars and parked them on his lot, right along the main street through South Lake Tahoe.

Sounds like my kind of guy.

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Thought for the Day:

The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.

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Good Coffee, Good Soup . . .

We really enjoyed the cool (actually more like cold) weather last night, With the temp in the mid 30’s, it was nice to have the windows cracked open a bit and the mattress pad heater cranked up. Really good sleeping weather,

And tonight it’s supposed to be 31 degrees. Nice.

With the cold weather our morning coffee was especially good. Cinnamon Hazelnut. Hmm, Good!

Since the park office was closed when we got here yesterday, I went down there about 1pm to register and pay the $3 a night that staying at an Encore park costs us. Not bad for staying in South Lake Tahoe.

While I was out and about, I stopped off at an mini-mart to pick up some lottery tickets for tonight’s Mega-Millions and tomorrow night’s Powerball drawings. Right now the Powerball is over 600 million, and could be substantially higher by the time of the drawing.

I wander how long it’s going to be until we get a $1 Billion prize.

As I mentioned yesterday, we’re parked in a nice wooded area, with a lot of Ponderosa pines surrounding us. The nearest rig is a couple of hundred feet away, so that’s nice.

Tahoe Village 1

Of course all these trees wouldn’t be so nice if I couldn’t get a satellite signal, but it all worked out.

Tahoe Village 2

Before I left on my errands, I got a batch of soup going in the Crock-Pot. A couple of boxes of chicken stock, 3 or 4 frozen, previously poached, chicken breasts, a can of Rotel Hot Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros, a can of kidney beans, a couple of fresh, sliced-up jalapenos, and you’ve got the perfect meal for this kind of weather.

We’ve been checking out things to do in this area, and I brought back a few brochures from the park office. They do have another zip line for Jan to try, and someone recommended the paddleboat cruises on the lake. But most of the attractions here seem to revolve around snow skiing, water skiing, jet skis, golf, and gambling.

We also noticed that the Donner Pass area is only about 45 miles from here, so we’ll probably make a sightseeing trip over that way while we’re here.

Tomorrow?  Who knows?

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Thought for the Day:

“Donner, party of five. Donner, party of five. Ahh, Donner, party of four . . .”

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