kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We've been having thunderstorms in the area lately, which unfortunately means also getting brushfires set by the lightning that comes with it. Still, when we get some rain, we sometimes get things like this.

Double Rainbow )

The rain hasn't actually cooled things down all that much, although the clouds cutting the direct sunlight, and that helps a lot.

Today, Lisa and I ran into Reno for the last set of errands and grocery shopping before we head off on the trip to Worldcon. Not a lot, but we did need to get some things done.

Kuma Bear complained about the heat. We told him that it should be cooler in Finland and Iceland.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We had another band of thunderstorms roll through today. It did not rain that much and did not reduce the temperatures a great deal, but it did apparently start a fire north of here.

Fire to the North )

As I started to compose this message, I thought I'd get an updated picture of the fire and got a small surprise when I went out onto the porch.

Hello, Bunny )

After all of the wildfires that we've had around here, it's almost hard to believe there was much more left the burn, but there's clearly a lot more dry brush out there, even with hailstorms and thundershowers flattening things.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Lisa had cause to be on the roof of the travel trailer yesterday and noticed that the seal on the forward skylight was failing. We did not have any of the roof goop sealant, nor did Big R stock any, so after work today we drove into Reno to buy a tube of it from Safari RV. Thunderstorms were in the area, so Lisa went up and put some plastic sheeting over the skylight to fend off the weather.

It being Monday (off peak) and with no big event in town (Hot August Nights happens while we're traveling to Worldcon), we decided to return to the Peppermill, where (thanks to our locals discount) we got two excellent buffets for less than half what we paid the Atlantis for meals that made us sick. Lisa went to the manager and told her about us being "unfaithful" and that we'd returned to the fold.

Even better: we won $65 playing keno, which paid for the meal, tips, and had some "profit" left over besides. We praised Keno Bear for his keno-playing skills and gave him extra fish.

We had no further errands, and it was a work night, so Lisa drove us home after dinner. We started picking up rain as we headed east. Around Painted Rock, Lisa and I both were mystified by the white residue on the highway thrown into contrast by the tracks of the big rig we had been following. A few minutes later when we got home, we figured out what had happened.

Not a Snowstorm, but the Remains Looked Similar )

The white debris through which we had been driving was obviously accumulated hail from one of the bands of thunderstorms hitting the area. While it has cooled things down a little bit, there also has been a lot of lightning in the area as well. We hope everyone stays safe and that there are no more fires. We've had more than enough this summer.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
As is our wont, Lisa and I went to the local Fire Board meeting. The first part was nice: the district holding "badging" ceremonies for the newest fire-fighter to pass his probationary period, followed by the formal badging of the department's first-ever captains. They managed to figure out how to budget for three captains so that the Chief didn't have something like thirty direct reports (an untenable situation IMO). After the ceremonial stuff, which ended up delaying the start of real business for close to an hour, they got down to work. But the Main Event item was being presented by one of the more boring people I've met, and even though he admitted up front that he "talks in circles," the Chair of the meeting didn't tell him to get to the point when he rambled along. After nearly an hour of this rambling, abetted by the board members failing to stay on point themselves, and everyone simply repeating the arguments over and over again, Lisa and I gave up and went home. This is too bad because there were other things on the agenda about which we were interested, but at that point it looked as though they were going to be there all night arguing about whether to grant the local raceway a permit to hold a "fire lantern" festival.

My hours don't allow me to stay up late on weeknights. We walked home and I went to bed, possibly going to sleep faster by envisioning the ongoing drone of repetitive debate.

When I preside over the Business Meeting, if a speaker is going in circles, I've been known to intervene and say something like, "Could the member come to a point?"

It was the meeting-induced sleep that led to me not posting anything yesterday, which is a rarity for me because I do try to post something daily if I get a chance.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
When I walked to the Wigwam restaurant for breakfast this morning, I could hardly see the Pah-Rah Mountains for all of the smoky haze.

Smoke in the Air )

There have been a lot of wildfires in the area, many of which are still burning, and smoke is in the air all the time. It leaves my eyes burning even when it's not obviously visible. When we drove to Reno today, we saw the burnt areas along I-80 between Fernley and Sparks from a large wildfire that raged through the area while we were down south.
kevin_standlee: (Trains)
Yesterday evening, while I was in the kitchen washing dishes from dinner, I heard Lisa shout for me to come outside quickly. From the sound of an oncoming train I had an inkling that it was something special. And it was, but it took too long for me to get the camera to activate to get a good picture of it.

Parting Shot )

After the train came through, we took a short walk and got a companion shot to yesterday's morning solstice sunrise.

Sunrise, Sunset )

Thank goodness it's sort of cooling down at night here (at least dropping below 20°C) or else it would be nearly impossible to get any sleep. Also, the daytime highs are slightly lower than their peaks earlier this week, which helps a lot. Lisa has been staying in the travel trailer (where the only full air conditioning is) during the day, and I can't blame her for that. I'm surviving with the swamp cooler and fans running full-tilt except when I have to turn them off for a conference call.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Because of my Central-Time-Zone-bound work schedule, I'm up before sunrise every day. Today, however, is the least before sunrise I am up, and I had the timing right for the northernmost sunrise we get here.

Sunrise Over the Asphalt Plant )

Yesterday, we had menacing clouds mixed with smoke.

Wildfire Weather )

It's still quite hot here, but not as bad as the previous two days, and a breeze helps a bit, although it's bad for any wildfires, of course.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
After a few days of snow in the mountains and weather that nearly led to us relighting the fireplace, normal service is being restored, and the temperatures should be quite summery by this weekend.

Three Days, Three Snow Levels )

Unfortunately, the pump on the swamp cooler is starting to give us trouble, and Lisa will have to investigate further before we decide whether we'll have to replace it.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
...there's a brush fire, in this case.

Yesterday morning after having breakfast at the Wigwam, I was walking to the Frontier Fun Center to play pinball (it being too hot to work in the middle of the day on Sekrit Home Improvement Project) when I saw a lot of smoke in the distance.

Uncontrolled Burn )

I got grumpy at someone who called a "controlled burn" an oxymoron and said "remember that the next time you start your car." I suspect he won't get it.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We are not at a convention or traveling this weekend. I turned off my alarm clock. And woke up 4:30 AM (earlier than my alarm) unable to get back to sleep. So I started my weekday routine, except instead of plunging into Day Jobbe, I walked down to the Wigwam for my normal weekend breakfast.

Beautiful Downtown Fernley )

No, we're not at BayCon. Because of needing to preserve resources for the European Worldcon trip, our only other convention this summer will be Westercon in Tempe, and even that one involves some complex logistics to preserve days off about which I'll talk when we get to it in July. It's not really a "staycation," though, as there is work to do. Today, Lisa and I will continue on the latest home improvement project. Concrete will probably be mixed and poured. No details or pictures until the project is complete, however. We don't want to jinx it.


May. 21st, 2017 07:22 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
After the SJ Giants game last night, I considered trying to drive part way home but decided to go to my usual location for the night and leave from there, mainly because I have not scouted out any locations between Sunnyvale and Yuba City where I can lay up for the night.

(Before any well-meaning person says, "Just part at any Wal-Mart," be aware that while many Wal-Mart locations (including Yuba City) are tolerant of overnight "dry camping" of RVs, not all of them are, and those in larger cities are much less likely to be tolerant of it. It's store by store. Tracy or Stockton would be convenient, but a cursory check of some resources shows that they're not friendly, either by store policy or local ordinances. I don't like being rousted. It's happened twice to me, and it's very unpleasant.)

Anyway, I woke up at 5 AM on my own, and did not rush getting up for a change. I stopped for breakfast in Tracy and continued up to Sacramento to visit my sister, then detoured to Yuba City to do errands for her there, then turned east for home. It was quite warm in the Sacramento Valley and didn't get comfortable until I was well into the Sierras. My MP3 player's mix of old time radio shows ran out, and so I stopped at the vista point on CA-20 to fire up my computer and pour more shows into the MP3 player. I also took the opportunity to open all of the doors and the roof vent to allow the Sierra breeze at 5000 feet to flush some of the valley heat out of the Rolling Stone.

To my annoyance, I discovered that for some reason the MP3s of Ray Gunn & Starburst are not compatible with this little slot-player. It's not the first time that I've found that not all MP3s are alike. I contributed toward the second series crowd-funding, but I still haven't listened to it.

I got home a bit after 5:30 PM and plan to fall into bed as soon as I can. It's another week of 6-to-3 days, with the added excitement of mixing more concrete in the afternoons now that winter appears to have finally left. Lisa said that there was still snow on the Pah-Rah Mountains this morning, but the afternoon, it was gone.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
Yesterday morning after breakfast, I walked to the Frontier Fun Center and played pinball, which was good for my mental health. On the way there, I took this photo of the Pah Rah Mountains west of Fernley.

Still Some Snow )

Later on Saturday, I got some of the tasks done that have queued up on me while I concentrate on the Day Jobbe. Not all of them. But I do have to spend some time not working and away from the computer or I get even less effective.
kevin_standlee: (Watch for Train Traffic)
Fernley's Black Bear Diner, where we had dinner on Friday, is at East Fernley, which is the east end of Fernley siding on the Union Pacific mainline. (We live almost exactly halfway down the siding, which is why we seem to see a lot of rolling meets as trains pass here.) After dinner, we walked over to have a closer look at the signal and associated equipment, and our timing was just right for a dramatically lit photo.

All Red at East Fernley )

The signals here were both red, which may have meant there was a train coming our way, so we got away from the tracks and went home.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
On Friday evening, when I decided to not drive to Yuba City that night but instead go down early the next day, Lisa reminded me that we'd been meaning to try the (relatively) new Flame Grill restaurant over near Scolari's grocery store here in Fernley. Every time we've passed them, we've seen their sign advertising "Friday Fish Fest" and thinking it would be nice to try it.

Well, the Flame Grill is a bar-grill, and Lisa said it smelled too much of beer. Furthermore, it turns out that the "Friday Fish Fest" is simply the fish and chips from their regular menu. So we balked and went to the Black Bear Diner instead. They used to have an all-you-can-eat fish fry on Fridays, but I think we contributed toward them giving up on that.

The Black Bear had a nice salmon dish that Lisa liked ([ profile] travelswithkuma got to have all the fish he could eat). I opted for their Friday prime rib special, which I thought was pretty good, too. We then took advantage of a free-play coupon for the adjoining Fernley Nugget casino, and ended up $2.50 ahead. That's nice, but not as nice as what happened to the person who we heard whooping and hollering as we were finishing dinner. As I went up to redeem the $10 free-play coupon, there was much excitement behind the counter as they were drawing up the paperwork for a Big Win (which is to say anything that requires them to issue an IRS Form W2-G proceeds from gambling). Someone had hit a $2000 jackpot.

We took our $2.50 and went home. I had to get to bed in order to be up at 5 AM the next morning for the trip to Yuba City about which I've already written.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
I left for Yuba City around 7:30 this morning, after having breakfast at the Wigwam. No free breakfast won this week; that's why it's called gambling.

Rabbits and Trains )

It was excellent traveling weather in the morning, and I made good time. I'll write more about the full day later, but it took me to Yuba City, then to Sacramento. I'd packed an overnight bag in case I needed to stay down there, but after stopping for dinner in Auburn around 5:30 PM, I decided to push on home.

Cutting it Close )

Wet snow began to accumulate on the windshield, but not the road. I had some difficulty getting the windshield to clear even with the defroster on full blast. Fortunately, the snow faded away around Floriston, just before the Nevada state line. It rained thereafter off and on until just east of Fernley, where it was windy but dry when I got home. Lisa had a fire going.

In retrospect, although I did get home safely, it would have been more prudent of me to have stopped for the night at Colfax and to have come home tomorrow. But I'm here now and I don't have to travel again until next Sunday. I hope it won't be snowing again then!
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
Fernley is well supplied with three large truck stops. It also has the site of the now defunct Truck Inn, whose sign (and 18-wheeler hoisted up in the air on pillars) is still there. The site of the Truck Inn is now a designated truck parking area across from the Flying J truck stop. It's a good place for trucks to stop (and also other oversize vehicles like RVs). Because of this, we sometimes see unusual loads, like this one we spotted while on our way to Lowe's a few nights ago.

Weird Load )

We also get strange movements on the railroad, but they rarely stay put long enough to get a good photo of them.

May Snow

May. 1st, 2017 05:14 pm
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
There is still quite a bit of snow in the Sierra Nevada here at the start of May.

Looming Piles of Snow at the Summit )

Although we cannot see the Sierra Nevada mountains from our home here in Fernley on account of closer (but slightly lower) mountains between us and them, we still have a little bit of snow in view.

Snow on the Pah Rahs )

I reckon everyone is getting 100% of their water allocations this year, and then some. Also, I saw that Alpine Meadows ski area is offering as an inducement to buy season passes next year that it would include the rest of this season, including the 4th of July.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
My train is running roughly an hour late, so I won't be able to get breakfast on board; however, that meant I did have time to walk to the Wigwam Restaurant and have breakfast there. (And also win it back on a free-play slot coupon.) On the way home, I was taken by how clear the weather was today.

Literally Not a Cloud in the Sky )

It was only just above freezing, but it did not feel that cold due to all of the sunshine and no wind.

According to the Amtrak web site, my train is now just passing the US-95 grade crossing south of I-80, so it's about time for me to shut down and finish packing so Lisa can take me to Reno.
kevin_standlee: (Wildlife)
Yesterday started off gloomy and overcast, but the sun came out and it warmed to a comfortable temperature. I kitted up in my coveralls, Lisa got out the electric chainsaw, and she cut branches from the small cottonwood trees along the west fence line. I raked brush into a pile, and used hand clippers to get rid of the smaller growth, then fed the branches as Lisa cut them into burnable-sized pieces. When we were done, we had somewhat reduced the fire hazard on the fence line, and had a wheelbarrow-load of cottonwood, which we hope will dry out over the summer and provide for a day or possibly two of heat next autumn.

Later in the day, Lisa called me outside to have a look at something. "George is back!" she said.

Hello, George! )

Today, in contract to the warm, sunny conditions yesterday afternoon, was cold and blustery. I ended up kindling a fire in the fireplace for the first time in a week. Apparently it was snowing up in the Sierra Nevada, but it didn't even rain here. However, it felt particularly cold when you got out into the wind. I assume the lizards retreated, waiting for sunnier days.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
On Friday evening, Lisa and I went down to Fernley High School, where we had ticket for an evening with the President.

No, Not the Current One (Thank Goodness) )

Friday's performance of The Teddy Roosevelt Show, was a benefit for Fernley High School and the Friends of the Historic Truckee Canal, and that's appropriate, because the Truckee Canal and Derby Dam on the Truckee River, which feeds the canal, were the very first project of the Newlands Reclamation Act, authored by Representative (later Senator) Francis G. Newlands of Nevada and signed by President Roosevelt. He (I'll continue to refer to him in character) discussed the act, pointing out that he was able to work in a bi-partisan manner with the other party, and expressed his wish the parties today could return to a spirit of cooperation for the good of the country.

(Aside: Newlands was not a particularly admirable person in other areas, including being an avowed white supremacist who advocated for the repeal of the 15th Amendment; however, the Newlands Reclamation Act made the area where I live habitable.)

We were treated to approximately 90 minutes of a discussion of President Roosevelt's life. He was very good about the anachronisms, starting off with saying, "Spoiler alert: I died in 1919" and, while discussing his repeated attempts to convince the woman who later became is first wife after she told him no, "Today, you'd probably call it 'stalking.'" Also, he was much better at handling the microphone than the people who opened the event and introduced him; that's what Lisa was talking to him about after the show.

He took questions after the show, and I regretted that he ended it before I got a chance to give him a leading question about the formation of the Forest Service so he could tell the story about how he and Gifford Pinchot designated a bunch of national forests just before the law taking away the President's right to do so took effect. I told him about that after the show and he gave me a short precis of the story (with more information than I had hear from growing up on USFS bases) and gave me his card and asked me to write to him about it.

During the show, he talked of how he took a long vacation as President and toured the country, and cracked, "I never played a single round of golf!" While I and a minority of the audience laughed and applauded, a whole lot of other people frowned and/or looked uncomfortable. Fernley voted about 75% Republican in the last election, and I expect a lot of people around here still are heavily supporting the current occupant of the White House.

I had a great time, and today as I looked at the show's exhausting tour schedule, I have even more respect for the man doing it. I said to last night's guest of honor, "Mr. Roosevelt, you are the kind of Republican that I would be happy to vote for today," and I meant it. And I personally suspect that the man who entertained us last night here in Fernley would make a better President than our current one. But I admit that is setting the bar pretty low.

August 2017

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