"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, November 1, 2021

November Began in the Emergency Room

Placerville, California
Ponderosa RV Resort


Thought I'd start out with a couple of cute photos of our Meatball out on a hike with his parents in the Redwoods.

Our November started off with a trip to the Emergency Room.
At least Steve had a nice view from his room in the ICU.

Steve hadn't been feeling too well by late Friday (of course it's always a Friday, right?) He rested over the weekend but still wasn't feeling any better.  By time we moved to Coloma, next to my brother and our friends John & Tina, he was feeling very weak and actually passed out.  I took him straight to the Emergency Room in Placerville with a GI bleed.  After many tests he spent the week in the ICU with even more tests.  Poor guy also had 9 blood transfusions.  Yep, NINE.  It was pretty scary for a while.  Of course there was too much bleeding at first to find where the bleed was occurring so he was later transferred to a bigger hospital down in Sacramento with a better GI Dept.  Unfortunately, due to Covid cases, staff and bed shortages he couldn't get transferred right away.  By time he was transferred and tested more, there wasn't enough bleeding so he was sent home after a couple days once he was stable.  Turns out this can happen again or maybe never.  
  
Hurley was in very good hands.
 
Between my brother & sister-in-law and John & Tina they set up the trailer for us and took care of Hurley the next week and made me a couple delicious meals.  I only came back to sleep.
Poor guy couldn't eat or drink the first 5 days.  He was so happy to finally get some Jello!  He's doing much better but since he left the hospital with only 1/2 his blood, we had to wean him back on food slowly and his exercise is a little at a time until his blood levels come back up. 

We relaxed much of the second week and did small walks along the river at camp.
A small road trip bought us through town and to one of our wineries for a pick up of some more Port.


We discovered one of those Tiny Outdoor Libraries on the backroads by a goat pen.

There's a small 1 mile loop hike down the road where we could get Steve hiking a bit.  It's flat.
This funky rock reminds me of the Lips on the Rolling Stone's album without the tongue.

It's unusual for the Madrone tree to get so large like this one.  It's been called the Octopus Tree.  The Native Americans would use the peeling bark to make medicinal tea.
   

These rock walls and other areas were made by the Chinese 150 years ago to channel water from the river to the mining areas.





Holes left behind by Woodpeckers hiding acorns for later meal.

It was nice to get back out in nature and Steve is getting his strength back slowly.

Next thing we knew it was Thanksgiving.  What was going to be only my parents and us turned into 16 people.  Everyone was there except my niece and her husband as they now live in Florida.
   
Always lots of good food!  Everyone brings something and helps out which makes it nice.
Then Ryan put up my parents tree.  My sister and Jaxon help decorate.

We also got a group pic in but I should've taken it earlier as Kaylee had to leave early.

We ended the month with our Black Friday usual hike.  Mike and Rose came along too.

Gerle Creek Trail is about 4 miles.  Again it's mostly flat and Steve did great.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms (thanks Angie for the name!)

Strange trunk left of this tree.  It's still alive too!
It was a great way to wrap up November.
Ryan, Jaxon and Diana's Santa picture.  Let's hope December goes more smoothly!


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Tunnel Hiking and Snow & Rain Evacuations

Placerville, CA
Elk Lodge


October continues to be a gorgeous month.  With such beautiful, sunny Fall weather Ron and Rene of R and R On the Road met me for a waterfall hike at Sly Park.  Once again, the firefighters did a great job protecting the lake and except for a burned area just before the lake, you can't see any fire damage around the lake or on the trail.
The huge pines make Rufus look tiny.
Look at the lovebirds!  Rufus says, Hey, I want in on this too!  The water is so low.  Usually it is right in front of the bench.
The creek was flowing nicely and there was still some fall color out.

Me, Ron & Rene.  Unfortunately Steve was working but he'll join us for pizza after the hike.
Rufus having a blast!
    

No water at this end of the lake at all!  What I like is that the trail follows right along the lakeshore.  But not at the moment.  It's not just drought.  They release a lot of water for the snow melt in the Spring.
The Dogwoods are still showing some red.
After our wonderful hike we went to Whitewater Pizza.  One of our new favorites!
I brought cupcakes to celebrate Ron's birthday.
There's someone I know from long ago camped at our campground.  Wayne and I went to high school together.  Funny how you run into people!
This is his huge, sweet dog.  A large Italian breed.
With the river flowing right in front of us we can do short hikes along the water.

Emigrant Gap, California
Snowflower RV Resort
Since we didn't get a chance to stay at this Thousand Trails Park last year, I thought I'd make a 10 day reservation to check it out.  This park sits at over 5000' elevation and closes the end of October before the snow hits.  Since the holiday weekend is over and the temperatures are dropping this gave us plenty of sites to choose from.  It's so nice to be back in mountains!
We snagged a nice long pull-through.  Our friends Rick and Angie will join us in a few days.
I've read about the tunnel hike up hear for years and always wanted to try it.  Fellow RV friends, John & Tina, were here in the Summer and they said it was fantastic.
Mutual friends, Tim & Leslie Muchow came back up to hike it with us.  You need headlamps and/or flashlights as some of these tunnels are long and totally dark.  The 4 1/2 mile trail takes you through parts of the original Transcontinental Railway which was completed in 1868.  The  Donner Party had come through this area in 1846 and didn't fare so well due to an early brutal snowfall that left some to cannibalism to survive.  These tunnels were used until 1993 when a longer, taller tunnel was built that was more reliable.  It runs very close by.
These old tunnels are now popular for hiking and for some gritty urban graffiti.
Here we go!
When you pop out of the tunnels there are some great views of the surrounding mountains and some of the tunnels up head.

Looking through one of the tunnels ahead to one after that.

Here comes one of the longest tunnels.


Some have "windows" with views and some are pitch black.



This one had a bit of a creepy look to it.
At one point you get a nice view of Donner Lake below.

At this junction the new railway section crosses the trail if you hike a bit further than the tunnels.  You can stand on top of it and if you're lucky you can watch the train go underneath you.
Two trains came by but we missed them both.
Painted on top of the bridge.  We agree.  This was a great hike.

There were still some patches of snow left from a storm that came by a couple of weeks ago.
After a nice snack stop we headed back.
 
You can see the rock climbers above.   This is a must-do if you're in the area!  Afterward we stopped in Truckee had lunch, walked around a bit and finished with a couple of chocolates.
We had some critter nibbling on our pumpkin decorations and figured it was a raccoon.
  
Turns out it was the cubs that are still hanging around the area.  We had heard they were here in the summer but thought with the colder weather they might have gone off to hibernate.  We made sure to throw them out since you're not supposed to have any type of food out for them.
Our neighbor took this cute video and sent it to us.
We were looking forward to Rick and Angie arriving but there was a sudden snowstorm predicted to roll in overnight, so they thought they'd wait and see.  Good call as it really came down and snowed through the next day.  Since we still had a few days left we didn't care as it would melt pretty quickly.  We were there to just relax.
Wow, that was a lot of snow!


Icicles!
Nice and warm inside!  I love it when we can catch the first and last snowstorm of the year.  

We walked around the lake and Hurley loved playing in the snow.
Well after a couple days the park decided to close their season early as more stormy weather was predicted for the next week and we'd all have to evacuate.  Rick called to check on the roads and they told him this before we knew.  Staff spent the day plowing and making sure we could all get out safely by the next day. Many left today but we figured we wait for more melt for the next day.
The cubs stopped over to say goodbye.
More of it did melt the next day as the sun came out.  We were very bummed we had to leave early.  

Well, it was beautiful while it lasted.

Coloma, California
Ponderosa RV Resort
We arrived back in Coloma for the rest of our reservation time.  We parked next to my brother, right across from the river.
The next week brought that crazy Cyclone River storm pattern.  As a matter of fact it was predicted to bring so much rain that THIS park decided to close and we all had to evacuate.  AGAIN!
Turned out to be a good call as the river rose to the boulders across from us and flooded the campground roads and sites.  We packed up once again and just moved to the Elks Lodge.

Placerville, CA
Elks Lodge
 
So much happening these last few days in October.  We celebrated our youngest son turning 30!
We snuck in a quick meet up for dinner with RV friends Ruth and Dale before they head to sunny Arizona.
On one of the few sunny, warm days left I got up on the roof and finally replaced the old attic mushroom vents.  They were so brittle and starting to crack.  I watched some YouTube videos and replaced them both.  I learned what Butyl tape is.  Gotta say I did a pretty good job.  I also checked the rest of the roof, vents, gutters, skylights, etc but all looked good. 
So shiny white.  Now the roof needs a good cleaning.
We celebrated Dia de Muertos at our favorite Mexican place with Doug & Deanna.

And we always end our meal with a round of Turantula!
Our county was having a fundraiser for the Caldor Fire and John was one of the cooks.  We enjoyed the food and friends once again.  Our county is a tight knit bunch.  A lot of money was raised that night.
Kevin, Me, Steve, John, Judy & Tina
A day spent at Apple Hill with our daughter, Kaylee.  Gotta pick up apple donuts, fritters and pies!
Ron was getting inducted into the Elks and since we all sponsored them, we met up at Tim & Leslie's house for wine and a very filling charcuterie board to celebrate.
And we wrap up our busy October with a picture of Jaxon dressed as a UPS delivery person!  He had a lot of fun this Halloween.  I sure hope November is a little quieter.