Back in Bend, OR . . . but

no post today.

Struggled all afternoon and evening trying to get a satellite signal.

No trouble two years ago, but now it’s hit or miss.

I have a compass and 3 Droid apps, and they’re all telling me the satellite is in a different direction.

More tomorrow.

This is Likely the Place . . .

Really, it is.

We’re staying at the Likely Place Golf & RV Resort in Likely, CA. And a very nice place it is. Here’s the view out our front window.

Likely Place RV 1

We pulled out of the Tahoe Village park about 10:15 this morning, heading for Likely, CA tonight and the Bend OR Thousand Trails tomorrow.

As we passed the park office I saw a UPS truck so I stopped in to see if one of my packages had magically arrived this morning, but no such luck. Getting under way, we headed back over the mountain to meet up with US395 at Carson City. Although it’s only 27 miles over there, it takes about an hour to just get over there because of first having to drive the 10 miles of South Lake Tahoe, CA and Stateline, NV traffic. Then it’s the curvy climb up to 7100 feet to get over the mountain and back down to Carson City’s 4000 feet, and the Pac-Brake got a real workout coming back down.

Things went just fine until about 100 miles above Reno when we ran into about 20 miles of one lane road repair. They were using a machine to cut those rumble strip areas into the road on the center and edge stripes. So after we waited about 20 miles, we got to follow the pilot car for the 20 miles at about 30 miles an hour.

Woopee!

Makes you really appreciate having your refrigerator and your bathroom with you where ever you go.

Otherwise the trip was pretty smooth, getting into the Likely Place Golf & RV Resort about 3:30, only about an hour late. And even better, our stay here at this Good Sam park was free.

When we were in Las Vegas, I bought something at Camping World and they offered me a deal to renew my Good Sam membership at a nice discount plus a coupon for a free night’s camping at a Good Sam park.

Likely Place RV 2

Likely Place RV 3

Although the park looks like it’s out in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually only about two miles off US395 on a very nice road. And if you don’t have a Good Sam coupon, it’s also a Passport America park at only $16 a night for full hookups. And of course, a very nice golf course, too.

Tomorrow we’ve got about 240 miles to get to Bend OR. And it should be a nice easy trip. Unless we hit more repair work.

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Thought for the Day:

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than her belief she is beautiful." – Sophia Loren

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Going . . . Going . . .

Almost Gone.

After checking the tracking info for both my UPS and USPS packages, and finding one still sitting in Kent, WA and the other one in Hodgkins, IL, I went down to the park office about 11am to tell them the problem and they said they had no problem forwarding them on to the Bend OR Thousand Trails.

Getting back to the rig, I took a look at my rig’s wipers. They don’t seem to be tracking properly across the entire windshield and skip on part of it. Some experimentation showed that the bolts holding the wiper blades to the arms were a little too big and causing the blades not to bind and not pivot correctly as the arms moved.

Since I didn’t have smaller bolts in the right size, I drove down to the local TruValue hardware store to pick up some of the right size. On the way I double-checked with the office to be sure nothing had come in for me, and then left my forwarding address and a $20 bill to cover postage. Hopefully it will all work out.

Getting back I re-installed the blades with the new bolts. I’ll check tomorrow to see how they work now. While I was outside I also topped off my rig tires with my air compressor. Being in a colder climate means the pressure has dropped a little. Finishing up, I changed out a weak battery in one of my TireTraker TPMS sensors.

Finally about 4pm Jan and I headed out to have dinner at Red Hut Café, a Lake Tahoe tradition since 1959.

Red Hut 1

Being right down the street from the Heavenly ski lift area, they continue with the theme.

Red Hut 2

Jan had a Tuna Melt with fries, and said it was the best Tuna Melt she’d ever had.  What was different about it was the tuna. She said it was a large lump tuna, much different from the normal canned tuna. I had pancakes, eggs, and 3 strips of their delicious Jalapeno Bacon, something I had never tried before. Boy it was good.

After dinner we drove across the street to the marina and dock for the Tahoe Queen paddlewheeler, and a last look at Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe Queen

While we were there, my friend Nick Russell called to check in and said that they had made to Tijeras, NM, right outside of Albuquerque, where they’ll be for the next two weeks.

Coming back to the rig, we stopped off at Raley’s for some breakfast sandwiches for the next two travel days, and also one last visit to the Peet’s Coffee located in the store.

Getting back to the park I went ahead and pulled the truck behind the rig and got it hooked up for traveling tomorrow. One less thing to do in the morning.

We plan on heading out about 10am and travel 215 miles up US359 to spend the night at the Likely Golf and RV Resort in Likely CA, and then on to the Bend OR Thousand Trails park on Friday.

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Thought for the Day:

"It is good that the young are beautiful; it is the only advantage they have." – The Duchess of Windsor

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Snap, Crackle, and Pop . . .

Apparently neither the US Postal Service nor UPS like me anymore.

This past Saturday our daughter Brandi sent us our mail by a USPS Priority Mail package. According to their tracking website, the package should have been delivered today. However it’s presently sitting up in Kent, WA for some reason

Brandi put it in the mail on Saturday, it left Houston on Sunday, and went straight to . . . Federal Way, WA.

HUH?

I’m in California. The capital, Sacramento, is only 80 miles away. Why send it to Federal Way, WA which is over 600 miles from here. But to compound the problem, the next day, today, instead of being delivered here in South Lake Tahoe, CA, my package moved a whole 5 miles to Kent, WA.

Where it now sits. I even went back and double-checked the address that it’s being sent to, and it’s correct.

Bummer!

As far as UPS, last Thursday I ordered a replacement lower mirror for our rig’s outside passenger-side mirror from RamCo in Elkhart, IN. It shipped out Friday, the 24th, from Elkhart and moved to Hodgkins, IL.

Where 4 days later it still sits. After initially saying, it would be delivered today, the tracking now says that it will be delivered here on Friday, the 31st.

The problem with these new delivery dates is we’re not going to be here on Friday, the 31st. We’re leaving here on Thursday, the 30th, and will be at the Bend, OR Thousand Trails on Friday. I’m going to try to call UPS tomorrow to see if I can get that package rerouted to Bend. I’ll have to see if that’s going to work.

My fall-back plan is to leave some money with the park office and hope they will forward everything.

As far as today, Jan and I headed out about 9:30 for our trip back to Virginia City, but our first stop was at the IHOP a few miles down the road. A really good breakfast and a really excellent waitress, Stacey.

Leaving from there about 10:30, I gave Nick his morning wake-up call as we headed out on a new route to Virginia City. Rather than take the normal US 50 over the mountain to Carson City, we took SR 207 out of Stateline, NV over the mountain near the ski resorts and down through Minden to hook up with US 395 which took us up to Carson City.

Tahoe SR207 1

Tahoe SR207 2

Heading off of US50 and up SR341 we traveled up that 15% grade that we’d seen on our visit to Virginia City last week. Coming into town, we saw the main reason for our return visit passing by, the train ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.

Virginia City Train 1

I had been hoping to ride behind their steam engine, but they were only running their 1950 GE 80 ton yard switcher this week.

Virginia City Train 2

Virginia City Train 3

They were only running two cars today. The open-air gondola, built in 1925, was originally a cattle car, but was cut down and seats added for passengers. The rear car, originally a box car built in 1916, was remodeled to look like a caboose.

The 35 minute round-trip ride took us down to Gold Hill, where gold and silver were first discovered in the area.

Virginia City Train 4

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A lot of the mine equipment is still standing in the area.

Virginia City Train 5

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This is one of the old railroad tunnels from the 1870’s. It got so unstable that it had to be shored up between trains. When a train needed to go through the tunnel, it stopped at the entrance and some of the crew would get off and remove the shoring timbers. Then the train would go through the tunnel as quick as it could, and the crew would then replace the timbers until the next train.

What could possibly go wrong here?

Virginia City Train 7

They finally built a new tunnel around 1880.

Getting into Gold Hill, we came across several historic buildings. This is the 1869 train station.

Virginia City Train 6

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And this is the 1866 Bank of California building, the oldest one in town.

Virginia City Train 8

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And of course a lot of pretty vistas along the way.

Virginia City Train 9

Virginia City Train 10

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The other thing I wanted to see on our revisit here were two train museums that were not open when we were here last time. But as it turned out, I struck out on both counts.

One of them was never open. It’s actually the storage/work yard of the Virginia & Truckee, and they don’t allow visitors. The other one, the Virginia City Historical Museum, is still only open on weekends. Bummer again!

But I did get a shot of this beautifully restored Central Pacific 1873 American 4-4-0 locomotive through the window. This was used to haul gold and silver ore from Virginia City up to Lakes Crossing where the Virginia & Truckee connected with the Transcontinental Railroad. Lakes Crossing is now known as Reno.

Virginia City 4-4-0 American

At the peak 40 trains a day hauled ore out of here. Four partners of one big mine were making $300,000 a month . . .  EACH!

Everywhere you look around here are old cars,

Virginia City Train 11

Virginia City Train 12

Virginia City Train 13

old equipment, and other mine junk. The American Pickers would have field day here.

Finally leaving town and heading back toward Carson City, we got a look at what’s called the ‘100 Mile View’. It’s called that because the farthest line of mountains is 100 miles away.

Virginia City 100 mile view

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Getting back into Carson City, and after driving around through the old part of town, we made a Wal-Mart stop and a Bed, Bath & Beyond stop before having dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, one of our favorites, before heading home.

One of the things we find funny here is when, as I’ve mentioned before, we buy a bag of chips in Carson City at 4500 feet and then take them up to 7300 feet and over the mountain to South Lake Tahoe. There’s just this constant snap, crackle, pop from the backseat as the bag puffs up like a marshmallow.

Tomorrow, our last day here, is an official goof-off / get ready to travel day before we leave on Thursday.

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Thought for the Day:

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." – Epictetus

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To all our Veterans . . .

Memorial Day Graphic

Well, we had a little bit of rain today, just sprinkling on and off most of the day. It’s been staying in the 50’s and 60’s all the time we’ve been here, but by Friday it’s going to start getting into the 70’s. So it’s time to move north again.

Thursday morning we’ll leave here at South Lake Tahoe and head about 215 miles north to Likely, CA for one night and then another 235 miles up to the Bend/Sunriver Thousand Trails park on Friday. We stayed here a couple of years ago and are really looking forward to getting back for a couple of weeks.

I had originally planned to do some stuff outside today but the rain discouraged me from that, so I did inside stuff. One thing I did was finish up adding a 3rd 12v socket on the dashboard. Two is just never enough, and using one of those splitters just leaves too many cables laying around.

After a quiet afternoon, we decided to have dinner at the Lake Tahoe Pizza Company right outside the park entrance, and right across the street from Passaretti’s Italian Restaurant where we ate last night. The reviews were very good, and so was the food.

They make pretty much everything from scratch; their pizza dough, their pizza sauce, their salad dressings, everything. Really good. But unfortunately we probably won’t have a chance to go back this trip.

Jan and I watched Rock My RV with Bret Michaels last night and thought it was pretty decent. It’s two 30 minute episodes together, each one a different project. The first one was a family’s 1998 Southwind Storm gasser, and the next was a T-shirt company’s tour bus.

The first episode was my favorite because I could relate to it more, although with all the stuff they did to it, I think it would have been cheaper to just buy the family a new RV. They pretty much stripped it down completely on the inside, and built it out from scratch. They even added living room and bedroom slides and an complete Power Gear leveler system. And then to top it off, a new paint job.

My question was after they added all this stuff, how much carry capacity did they still have?

The thing about the 2nd remodel that I found interesting was the fact that, rather than repaint the tour bus, they did a complete vinyl wrap. Since I’ve had the thought in my head about getting our coach repainted some day, I was interested in the cost of the two methods, because I had wondered about using a wrap instead of repainting.

On the first episode they mentioned that a complete paint job runs between $15,000 and $30,000, which matches up with what I’ve heard. But I’d never heard any prices for a complete RV wrap job.

Well, on the 2nd episode they quoted a complete RV vinyl warp at between $5,000 and $7,000. A much nicer amount. Sounds like it might be worth looking at further.

We like the show and have set our DVR to record all the episodes. I hope they continue to do some private RV’s, because if it becomes “All Tour Buses, All The Time”, it’ll just be a new version of “Extreme RV’s”, and we’ll stop watching.

Tomorrow we’re going to take another trip up to Virginia City to ride the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, and see some of the other attractions that didn’t open until the Memorial Day weekend. But, so we see some different scenery, we’ll take a new route and take the Carson City route into Virginia City.

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Thought for the Day:

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful” – Mae West

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This One’s For Nick . . .

They just opened the new Texas SkyScreamer at the Six Flags over Texas in Arlington. And at 400 feet, this one of seven in the US is the tallest. The next runner-up tops out at 242 feet at Six Flags over Georgia in Atlanta.

Dallas SkyScreamer 1

Dallas SkyScreamer 2

At the top you’re whirling in a 124 foot circle at about 35 mph. The shorter towers rotate you at 43 mph, I guess due to less stress on the towers.

My kind of ride.

This might be worth a trip to Dallas when we’re back in Houston, just to give it a try. Now Jan might be a whole ‘nother story.

What about you, Nick?   Wanna join me?

Aunt Sherry posted this photo of Master Landon enjoying himself at Chuck E. Cheese. Our daughter Brandi said they’re supposed to have the house closing on Thursday, and then the moving company comes Friday to start the move to their new house.

Landon at Chuck E Cheese

Jan and I were both a little under the weather this morning so we decided to postpone our movie. We had planned to try the buffet at the Horizon Casino after the movie, but with no movie, we decided to just do the buffet. But about 5 minutes before we were ready to leave, I decided to check Yelp for reviews on the place. And I’m glad I did.

There are 4 casinos here in the area. Two of them have $13-15 buffets and two have $30 buffets. And according to Yelp, the two cheaper ones are really, really bad. I mean, how many reviews do you see that say they gave the buffet one star because you’re not allowed to give no stars, Or that everyone in another group got food poisoning. Another group took a couple of bites and then asked for their money back.

So those places were out, and neither one of us wanted to pay $60 for dinner, so the other two were out. After a quick discussion, we decided to go back to Passaretti’s Italian Restaurant, the place we first ate at a couple of days after we got here. And even better it’s right outside the park.

Jan had her Meat Ravioli and I had the Spaghetti Marinara with Meatballs, exactly what we had the first time. Just as good as the first time. And just like last time, there were a number of large parties there, but our food still came promptly.

After dinner we drove down the road to Raley’s for some groceries, and an after-dinner coffee at the Peet’s located inside the store. This was our second time there, and it has been our new favorite coffee place. At least to us, the coffee is better than what we’ve had at Starbuck’s. Just saying.

As far as the movie thing, we’ll see about tomorrow.

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Thought for the Day:

"The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever." — Herb Caen

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Duck, Duck, No Goose . . .

The park really got busy today. Although we don’t have any neighbors on either side, we’re pretty much surrounded now. What’s interesting are all the tent campers here in the park. There are groups with 10-15 tents all clustered together in a circle. Since it’s still going down to the low 30’s every night, I hope they’ve got good sleeping bags.

About 1:30 Jan and I headed down to Heavenly Village for an afternoon of fun and frolic.

Well, fun and a boat ride. Well, fun and a boat/car ride.

Heavenly Village is an area that’s still in California, but bumps right up against Nevada and the 4 casinos here. It’s claim to fame is the fact that this is where you catch the gondola ride up to the ski areas on the other side of the mountain.

Our daughter Brandi reminded us that she was out here staying at Heavenly Village on a ski trip a number of years ago.

Heavenly Village 1

Heavenly Village 2

We thought about riding up the top and looking around, but then found out it’s $38 . . . each! for the round-trip. Nah, ain’t gonna happen.

Heavenly Village is also a very nice shopping / dining area with a couple of high-end hotels thrown in for good measure.

And of course the other thing Heavenly Village is known for is that it’s the starting point for the Tahoe Duck Tours, which is the main reason we’re here this afternoon.

As we walked around, checking out the shops, the first place Jan saw was Sock City. Turns out to be a place that only sells socks. Who’d a thunk it? Well, they also sell knitted gloves and hats, too.

Jan did buy several pairs of very colorful socks that she really liked.

The next thing we came across was a really neat car show there on the grounds.

Heavenly Village Car Show 1

Heavenly Village Car Show 2

A 1932 Ford.

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Heavenly Village Car Show 3

A 1937 Chevy Truck

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Heavenly Village Car Show 4

And for Nick, this 1970 Mustang Mach I

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Heavenly Village Car Show 5

A very nice 1932 Chevy.

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Heavenly Village Car Show 6

A 1965 Austin Healey 3000. I used to have a lot fun shutting these down in my souped-up 1965 Triumph Spitfire. Surprised a lot of guys.

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Heavenly Village Car Show 7

Here’s a 1979 Corvette. Love that Blower (Supercharger)

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Heavenly Village Car Show 8

And a beautiful 1947 Chevy Stylemaster.

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About 2:45 we queued up for our Duck Tour. Our Duck was built in 1945 and can travel 55mph on the highway and 8 knots in the water. We’ve taken Duck rides in Philadelphia, Washington D.C, San Francisco, and Seattle. We tried to take one in Boston, but they were sold out the rest of the day.

Tahoe Duck Tour 1

Our driver was Captain Donnie, a South Lake Tahoe native.

Tahoe Duck Tour 2

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After we drove around South Lake Tahoe for a while, with our Captain pointing out the best of the local shops and restaurants, then it was time to get wet.

We drove over to the Tahoe Marina and right down the ramp and into the drink.

Tahoe Duck Tour 3

Tahoe Duck Tour 4

Lake Tahoe was formed millions of years ago when a now-extinct volcano (Mount Pluto) erupted and blocked off what was then a deep canyon. At over 1600 feet, it is the 2nd deepest lake in North American. Only Crater Lake is deeper.

The lake has been reshaped several times during past ice ages, and in fact, there are several areas where you can find ancient trees, 90 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter, 150 feet below the surface.

As we got out into the lake, the captain pointed the high-end lakeside homes. By ‘high-end’, we’re talking $10 million and up. The ‘poorer’ section is down at the other end. Those only go for about $1 million. Wish I was poor like that.

Tahoe Duck Tour 5

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This is the Safari Rose. Built in 1959 as a corporate yacht for IBM, its later claim to fame is that it was the very first ship to offer Alaskan cruises, before any of the big cruise lines started sailing up there.

Tahoe Duck Tour 6

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And this is a very unique boat. In fact it’s the only one in the world.

Tahoe Duck Tour 7

It’s the Tahoe Flyer, the world’s only fully U.S. Coast Guard Certified Hot Air Balloon Launch and Recovery vessel.

Tahoe Flyer

After launching from the boat, the balloon ascends to around 8,000 – 10,000 feet, giving you views all the way over to Yosemite when the weather is clear. And then when you come back down after about an hour aloft, the Tahoe Flyer is waiting right there underneath you.

After about 30 minutes out on the lake we came back ashore and drove around the area some more before finishing up back at Heavenly Village.

Tahoe Duck Tour 8

By the time we finished up it was after 4:30 so we decided to have dinner at Applebee’s once again since it was only about a block away.

It was almost 6 by the time we got back to the rig, and the park was even busier.

Tomorrow, maybe a movie. We’ll see.

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Thought for the Day:

It would amaze people from the 1960s if you were to say, "In my hand I am holding a device about the size of a deck of cards that has access to the sum total knowledge of all humanity from the beginning of time. I use it to argue with strangers, tell people when and where I am going to the restroom and look at short movies of cute cats."

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