Surprisingly, the Truckee area seems to have moved from drought to monsoon! It rained all night long and throughout the day. I guess there were a couple times when it was just a light rain, but it never paused long enough to let anything dry out! At least, we have electricity! We had fresh cinnamon rolls this morning (from a tube, not a bakery!). I guess we weren't quick enough with the baking because Leo snuck some goldfish for snacks and then fibbed about it, so he and grandpa butted heads a bit. jAfter that was resolved, we did some indoor things with the kids and talked to mom and dad. There is a strong winter storm headed our way, and the concert was cancelled. Disappointing. They decided to come home sooner than planned, which is the reasonable thing to do but that doesn't make it any better!
We, however, will be glad to have them back home. Bob and I decided we wanted to make a batch of beef stew for supper, so Bob went to get the groceries that we would need for that. The afternoon was spent with football for most of the household, while a couple of us accomplished a few other tasks.
We got the stew all ready to go and into the oven, but checked it awhile later (closer to supper time) and the oven wasn't turned on! It had preheated, but the power blinked off for awhile and that must have shut the oven off! So, we ended up making a little supper for the kids and then the adults ate the stew later.
When we went out to the trailer with the kids for bedtime, we discovered that for the first time, we have a couple water leaks! Just some drips, one from the ceiling in the bedroom and another in the bathroom. We dried things up as well as we could and tried to catch the drips until we could get a better look in the morning. I guess 24+ hours of rain aren't good for our trailer roof!
This morning, Ben and Brita left for a little weekend trip. They are going to the Sonoma area and then to Sacramento for a concert on Sunday by the Avett Brothers, a favorite of theirs. So, while the cats are away, the mice get to play! We started out with bacon and pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. They love pancakes! And if there is not enough bacon to divide evenly, there could be a fight!
It was not raining, so we went for an outing. We took them to Donner Memorial State Park, which is not far. We went to the museum and learned not only about the Donner Party, but also about the history of the start of Truckee. Some very nice displays and some things that even interested the boys. We walked out side to the Donner statue, which is supposed to be the depth of the snow during the winter they ended up in this area of the Sierra Nevadas. The kids enjoyed getting out to run around.
We also heard from Dan, who was out deer hunting. Looks like he's soaking up some sun and staying away from the grizzlies!
This afternoon we all played UNO, and read stories. After supper, we watched the Addams Family animated movie to get us in the Halloween spirit. We also made s'mores in the kitchen, so we were sugared up and sticky by bedtime! Tonight, all 3 boys slept in the trailer with us, and that's a bit of a crowd. Jack rolled on the floor but didn't wake up, and Ian was halfway between bed and floor! Must have been restless from the sugar and goofy bedtime stories!
This is Friday, and the kids don't have school on Fridays. It's designated for independent study. Jack and Leo are enrolled in some enrichment classes at the community center - music and art and climbing, for example. Bob and I drove them to that and got some groceries while Brita had an appointment for a massage. Lucky girl!
The power did come back on sometime in the middle of the night, so that helped a lot for getting started in the morning. Weather-wise, it's a gloomy and rainy day with some wind. This area was so so dry all summer, with wildfire threats not far away. Finally, they are getting some moisture, so the fires are finally all out!
Bob and Brita took the boys to the city library in the afternoon, and we all put together a supper of Pesto pasta with sausage, asparagus, olives and tomatoes. And baguette. The boys are happy to get the pasta, because Jack helped make it at our house last August from our homegrown basil. They get excited about eating something that they helped to make. Except Leo, who just wants butter on his noodles!
A relatively quiet day for the family, with more bedtime stories!
It was very blustery overnight, and the electricity was off until about 8 AM. They have frequent power outages here, especially in the winter, with the heavy snows. So it was cereal and milk for breakfast, and not Brita's good chocolate malt-o-meal! I rode along with her and the boys to school, then the 2 of us attended a yoga class at a studio in Squaw Valley. It was a nice easy-going class, which was good because I don't know much about yoga!
Before going home, we stopped off at Mountain Hardware in Truckee to look for a curtain rod. The selection was very select, i.e., not much to choose from, but we brought one home and Bob installed it above the door to the patio. All the other windows in the house have shades, so the door was the only thing left to cover. Brita picked out a pair of drapes online, so we are hoping that they will look good once they arrive. Shopping for Brita has changed drastically when they moved to Truckee. There is no Target, no Walmart, no Costco, no Kohl's and very limited fast food. I imagine there are zoning restrictions intended to keep that small-town feeling in Truckee. If you drive about an hour east to Reno, you can find all of that and more. It seems similar to the combo of Whitefish and Kalispell, MT. Whitefish is the spot for the small-town feel and 25 miles away in Kalispell, you can get all the big box stores.
The boys were dropped off after school (Brita carpools with another mom) and we got to hang out with the kids for awhile again. We made a good supper of chicken, green beans and french fries. Then, about bedtime, the power went out again! Jack and Leo came out to the trailer to spend the night with us, but not before there were several fun stories. Bob is real good at making up stories, and the kids beg for them! The stories are created around some fantasy creatures named for the kids, and many escapades. They laugh and giggle and offer many suggestions for the storyline as they go. I tell a few of the stories, but really, I just like to listen to Bob create these fun times with the boys. When I get involved, Leo likes to hijack the story and make it his own, so that's funny.
When the power goes out, we still stay warm by running the furnace on propane fuel and we have the trailer batteries to give us enough power for some lights and the furnace fan, as long as we aren't wasteful with the electricity! Most importantly, we have power to use our electric blanket! This thing is a lifesaver! Our mattress has a foam topper, and that gets really firm when it gets cold. So we get the bed powered up and turn it off after we get tucked in. Sweet dreams!
I'm starting to understand why Brita doesn't answer her phone between 7 and 8 in the morning! Her attention to getting all the details of getting to school on time is laser focused! It's best to just stand back and pick up the pieces if needed. Once the drop-off is accomplished, a person can take a deep breath!
Back in Truckee, Bob and I went to the little downtown area to poke around in the stores and get some lunch. We needed to stop at the Variety Store most of all. It's the old Five and Dime store that is probably one of only a few that are in existence today. They have shelves full of games and toys and puzzles and pranks and legos and art supplies. And that's just for starters. I went in to get another pair of miniature hands, but sadly, there were no more! I guess it was sometime last summer that I found them, and found out that Jack was freaked out and disgusted by them, so I wanted more! Plus the miniature feet, too. So now the search continues! Brita met us to help pick out a birthday present for Loti. Our newest family member just had a birthday and we didn't have it marked on our calendars, so now we can get this present sent off to her. Along with little cards and notes from the kids.
Later, after school, we all went to the final soccer night for Ian's team, and Ben was a co-coach. So the kids played the parents, and found out that they still had a few smooth moves and plays to learn! It was not intense, a lot of yelling and laughing, just the way sports should be. The playground by the fields was good entertainment for Jack and Leo. Pizza was served for all, and the season has ended.
Back home for some schoolwork and playing UNO games. Bob and Ben moved the deck furniture down to a storage spot behind the house, it's going to be winter soon! The kids have a nice yard to play on, a good amount of space with giant pine trees away from the house. The house is on a little rise above the road, but there is enough level paved area in front that we can park the trailer and not obstruct the garage. We have an extension cord running from the house to give us enough power to run the fridge, furnace and lights. Works great!
Today was spent just soaking up our surroundings and loved ones! It's a school day, so the boys have to get up about 7. That meant that we needed to set an alarm for a few minutes before that to allow time to get Leo and Jack into the house from our trailer. Within the next 45 minutes, they eat breakfast, get dressed (Brita lays out clothes for them the night before), get backpacks ready (Brita makes them each a lunch) and get their winter gear on and get into the car. That is an amazing feat for everything to happen and go smoothly! It's often a bit chaotic! But once they get in the car, they still have about 45 minutes to pick up a friend (carpooling buddies) and drive down to Olympic Valley to Creekside Charter School. It's part of the local school district, but there is no bussing. It's also known as Squaw Valley Resort, but their name is changing to Palisades Tahoe. The community is called Olympic Valley because the winter olympics were held there in 1960. It's a small school, with just one class of each grade level. A lot of their activities are outdoors, in fact, they eat lunch outdoors year round. That's why they put on snowpants, boots, parkas, mittens and hats to go to school.
The boys each say they love their school and classes. They have outdoor classroom areas. They were in in-person school for a lot of last year, but still have to deal with new covid cases which can cancel class. Also, the community rate of cases plays a role in whether or not the kids are at home with online school or in the classroom. I think Jack and Ian would prefer to get rid of online assignments and meetings, and I know Brita is definitely ready for that!
The picture above is the center "plaza" and the classrooms all face onto that. In the background you will spy part of a chairlift for the Tahoe Palisades ski terrain. The kids can take lessons over there after school, so that is great for them!
The day was busy with running some errands, cleaning up some stuff in the trailer, nature hike with the kids, and cooking up tacos for supper. A regular day made more special with the hubbub of a happy house! We are feeling so lucky to be here!
Woke up to snow this morning! Not very much, and melting pretty quickly. Just a little frosting that disappears soon!
We often get asked about traveling in cold temperatures and risks of freezing any working parts of the trailer. If you aren't aware, there are tanks beneath the floor of our trailer to contain fresh and dirty water. The area down there is referred to as the underbelly, and it is kept moderately warm by using the furnace that keeps us warm up above. A dip below freezing at night is not significant enough to cause us any harm, and we didn't have an outside hose hooked up to the water source here. That's another point of concern in cold weather, and we did actually once freeze the outside hose and water filter overnight out in the middle of Kansas. Some campgrounds do have a heated water line to the faucet (not making hot water, just to keep above freezing). And some campers do have heated hoses to supply their trailer/RV. But we have never had any freeze-ups since that first time, and we have experienced many nights in the 20's. The water supply is one big reason that many campgrounds are closed over the winter, in areas that are subject to arctic temps. They have to drain their supply system and keep water out of the pipes until warm weather returns. This means that restrooms and showers can't be used, either, so regulations usually prohibit them from allowing guests to stay there.
We're heading into California today and thinking about their state laws prohibiting outside fruits and vegetables to enter the state. A large portion of California produces food, even though that's not what you might picture with the image of California's big cities. So the laws are intended to prevent transporting diseases, insects, etc., into the agricultural communities. We have been through the checkpoints before, and never had an issue with any inspections. It's usually just answering a question from the person at the checkpoint and following the honor system. There was a time when Bob was driving alone from MN to Truckee, and at the checkpoint he told the guy that yes, he had some fruit in the car. I don't think that Bob fully understood that when he answered truthfully, that the fruit would become the guard's lunch!
With the trailer, this time might be different. Would they be checking our refrigerator and cabinets for those pesky oranges? What else are we supposed to "declare"? Well, it didn't really matter in the end because there was no person in the booth! So we still have that to wonder about for a future trip!
We found our way up to Truckee and beyond to Ben and Brita's house! It's a home they just bought and moved into last winter, so we are excited to visit for the first time! They have ample parking for our trailer to fit, which is a real treat. We plan to use the trailer as our guest room, and with a cord running from the garage we can have our own little apartment in the driveway! So fun to see them! The boys were in school, and it wasn't long until they would get back home, but we had a little time for the tour of the house. Then the kids burst in the door and it was all hugs and kisses for awhile! Ian is 9 and in the 4th grade, and loves sports. Jack is 7 and in the 2nd grade, and loves Minecraft. Leo is 4 and in the Transitional Kindergarten class at the same school as his big brothers this year. He loves just about everything, depending on his mood!
In the evening, we all went to the Alder Creek Center for dinner and meeting some of their friends. Even though we were all together not too long ago in Montana for the wedding, there is some catching up to do. The boys had to show and tell us about their rooms and ask us questions about who could sleep in the trailer with us! We worked it out so Leo and Jack could spend the night out there with us, and Ian would get another night. I did a little art project with Jack. Bob got a tutoring session to learn to play Madden Football with Ian and Ben on XBox. Then out to the trailer for stories and bedtime. And sweet dreams!
It's true, it's very lonely out here!
We packed up and pulled back onto Hwy 50 westward. A beautiful sunny day. We stayed on this highway all the way across Nevada, a loooong road. Officially known as The Loneliest Road. We can vouch for that! The highway is pretty well maintained, with some spots that need a little TLC. Very little traffic to contend with. Very little cellular signal. Mostly no signal, with a few moments of unexpected "Bars of 4", followed by nothing! We did get to participate in our Hansen family bi-weekly Zoom call, for about 15 minutes, before being unceremoniously dumped!
The Nevada stateline gave us the gift of one more hour in our day! I've always wished for more hours in my day, it's nice to experience that, even though it will be taken away eventually as we drive back home. We are bound for Truckee, CA, and our kids and grandkids there. It's just west of Reno, NV, so the excitement is increasing! We could have probably made the drive all the way today, but the weather forecast is predicting snow for them overnight. Not knowing when or if that would actually happen, and whether it would be snow, ice, sleet, rain, made us cautious enough to not want to arrive in the dark, too. Brita and Ben live at an elevation over 6000 ft. at their house. Reno is at about 4500 ft., so there is a climb of over 1500 ft. above that via I-80. There are some bad things that happen on that stretch of interstate when it gets cold and icy (remember the Donner party?) and it's a main haul route for lots of trucks. They have laws that require tire chains and/or snow tires in bad conditions. We don't want to get into the middle of that!
So we found a spot for the night at Cold Springs Station RV Park, NV. The 'Station' refers to an early pony express route and station. Maybe the Pony Express could be more stable than cellular service! Although, this station and neighboring spots were subject to the hazards of trying to take over land that belonged to the long-time residents, i.e., Native Americans. There is not much around there, but they do have a bar/cafe on the property, and we enjoyed eating out tonight!
This morning was a farewell to Moab and the area. We are glad we visited here, even though our time was limited. There is plenty more to see and do here. We were able to visit 2 of the several great National Parks, and we will return for more. The history and culture and geology are fascinating, and we have just scratched the surface. Plus, there's a yarn shop here that I just discovered last night after closing, so I better come back to check on that!
After getting everything ready to roll, we took the highway north to catch I 70. First, we had to stop on Main Street to pick out 2 t-shirts for our souvenirs. There are plenty of fun-looking little stores to poke around in, but we were just focused on the shirts so it was a short stop. We were early enough that we actually got a parking place on the street for truck and trailer, which isn't the norm for that street! It is usually packed all the times we have driven through there. Driving around with the trailer hitched really changes your perspective on where to turn, where to stop, how to avoid getting hit!
We left the interstate at Salina and then proceeded on Hwy 50 to get to Delta. We didn't do any sightseeing, just comfort stops now and then, about every 2 hours or so. Just to stretch some muscles, bend some joints, pump some gas, etc. We often eat lunch that we make in the trailer, salads or sandwiches. An apple, some chips, and on a good day, some cashews! A good day means we haven't run out of cashews!
We didn't take any pictures today, but we did coincidentally stop at the same viewpoint that we had stopped at once before, so I have that picture to share!
We had a good FaceTime chat with Dan and Loti, checking up on those newlyweds! They look quite happy to me!
We had reserved a spot to spend the night at Antelope Valley RV Park in Delta, UT. The area is farm and ranch country, and we got to camp next to an open field. We made it there with time left to sit in a chair in the sunshine and read a bit. Grilled steak for supper and a beautiful sunset rounded out the day.
Today was Arches Day! We decided we were going to get into line for the entrance and listen to a recorded book while we wait. We packed up some snacks and lunch and took off. Whoa! Before we even got very far, we came to a standstill. There was a bad accident involving an RV and car which caused a long backup in town. We had to drive through town to get to Arches. We could have taken another side road, but got all jammed up before we realized that. The people in the accident had already been transported, but crews were working on getting the RV and flipped car out of the roadway. I'm always sad for the people involved and thankful that we have made it one more mile safely.
I've been on the receiving end of accidents many times in a Trauma Center ER and ICU, and I always get pictures in my mind of what's going on for those people right now. And it's not a pretty picture for everyone. When I worked there, I always felt that it was only a matter of time before I was the one on the gurney, or my family. I had a kind of skewed perspective, working in the environment of all the injured people. At work, it was all about injuries, and not about the many, many people who drive every day without injury. I still have dreams about it.
But, back to the present, we were delayed in getting to the entrance, and when we arrived there was a sign informing us that the park was full, we should return in 3-5 hours. Well, this was a bit disappointing, but I'm glad they have a system to control the crowds. There is a limited number of roads and parking spaces to be used. From what I was able to find, the busiest time of the day is around noon, and there are over 1000 cars in the park at that time. There have been fights in parking lots over spaces, and even someone calling 911 about a strong disagreement. RV's are allowed, although there may be a length limit. But oversize parking spots are even more limited, so unless you are just taking a drive, I would suggest leaving your RV behind. They so allow trailers to be disconnected and left in the entrance parking lot, to be hitched back up later. We didn't witness any kerfluffles over parking, but it was often hard to get a picture of the remarkable arches without other people in the picture, which is not the best.
Anyway, we did return about noon and we made it into the park with a 15 minute wait. There were a lot of cars leaving the park so the congestion was easing. We spent a long time there, stopping for vistas and arches and rock formations. It was a perfect day to see these amazing works of nature and time.
There are so many more things that I have taken pictures of, but it does get to be a little overload if seen all at once. Some of our favorite sites - The Three Gossips, Petrified Dunes, Balanced Rock, Panorama Point, North and South Window, Landscape Arch and Devil's Garden Trail.
If you are planning to visit, and even do just the short trails, it's a good idea to wear some hiking boots or as close to that as you have. My boots make me much more relaxed and able to look around. It just makes it all more enjoyable. We were back at our trailer by dinnertime. We were planning to leave in the morning, so we did some of the picking up and packing up before lights out.
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate the time you have taken to look for and read my story. I hope you find something that you like!
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!