The Drive on 395...

After barely enough time to unpack, we've headed south to see family and friends.

I followed the Arctic Fox for 485 miles. What great views!
Thankfully, I had a beacon guiding me because I was fully entranced by my audio book, At Home by Bill Bryson. Oh my gosh. I didn't want to stop the car, ever. First off, it is read by the Iowa born and raised author. What's hysterical is the fact that he has spent decades in England and has a very British accent and vocabulary. The subject matter is mesmerizing. “Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.” Through 13 CDs, Mr. Bryson is sharing his Victorian parsonage with me and all the significant historical happenings by journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” I can't recommend this book enough.
“When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end.
So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it.”
– Charles de Lint

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Cornish Miner History at the SLT Library

Nothing says Summer like a meal in the backyard. Our guest of honor was author Gage McKinney.

I love to host library presenters when they come to town. Gage was here to share his book, When Miners Sang. Chris, Jan, Stephen and Karen joined in welcoming our Grass Valley guest.
Gage shared with us the incredibly interesting tale of the hard-rock miners from Cornwall who came to America early in the 1800s to tap the continent’s rich mineral wealth. They were crucial to the California Gold Rush and settled in the mining camps of the Sierra Nevada. Along with their mining skills, they brought their folk music and especially their Christmas carols. He described the origins of this music, which was composed, performed and enjoyed by mining families, and is preserved today by their descendants. 

What an incredible history lesson with some incredible friends. Oh, it's good to be home.

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My Emerald Bay Day...

Since the summer of 2012, I have been an enthusiastic volunteer with the California Parks System for their ADA program. We had to take last summer off due to being in Alaska, but this year I'm in with today being my first shift.

Besides helping a wonderful and appreciative family enjoy the splendor of Vikingsholm Castle and the beauty of Lake Tahoe, I had the opportunity to observe the amazement of nature on full display.
A huge variety of butterflies rewarded me for all my efforts. I don't know if I've ever seen so many different ones all in one day.

Nature never fails to surprise and delight.
Note how tiny this flower was. That's a dime underneath it. Wow.

"I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful...
an endless prospect of magic and wonder."
-Ansel Adams

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Father's Day Weekend in Tahoe...

What a wonderful family reunion, celebrating fatherhood in delightful ways.

We started the celebrating on Saturday with an awesome day at Tahoe Paradise Park.

There was a car show and silent auction... I even bid on a couple of items and won.
But what really got us here was the musical magic of Ike & Martin. Our favorite duo of all time.
Is this an image of bliss or what?
Today, we all awoke early and Steve, his sons and their wives, all went for a spectacular hike to Granite Lake... one of our most enjoyed trails, ending in a picturesque setting. This was the perfect start to a pretty perfect day!

Steve and his boys. Dinner was at the consistently delicious Base Camp Pizza. What a great, great day and idyllic return to South Lake Tahoe.
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons.
And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes,
even if it’s just in your own eyes.”
-Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

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Rock Tahoe Half Marathon Expo...

My first volunteer commitment, after being gone seven weeks, was for the exceptional Rock Tahoe Half Marathon Expo.

Four years ago, we volunteered for the inaugural event. This is what I wrote about it then and while I won't be there for race day tomorrow, I would still so write the same accolades based on my experience today:

How can one explain the powerful experience the Rock Tahoe Marathon gave? Pushing oneself beyond expectations in a setting so spectacular that if running hadn't taken your breath away, the view certainly did.
For hours, hundreds of people absorbed the sights, smells, sounds and warmness of our town.

As a volunteer greeting the finishers, all proclaimed complete and utter delight in being in this race. The cheering squads, the welcoming staff at the Hard Rock and the well organized team made it all come together flawlessly. The Rock Tahoe Marathon team, was welcoming to all. As an observer, I think what they did for Tahoe with this event will have an incredible ripple effect. It was an honor to be a part of it all.
The 'entertainment' for the Expo came in the form of a raucous, albeit very sweet, bachelor party. They heard the music being played by the DJ and were drawn to it like moths to light. HYSTERICAL.

Our job was to help direct the 2,000 runners (sold out by the way) to pick up their bib numbers for tomorrow's big day.
While I should have not been Up Rocking I'm so glad I was. It gave Cyndi and me eights hours in which to catch up and it was just such a blast. This is the race of all races. You might even say it ROCKS!

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Hanging with Olympians... A Pinch Me Moment

Today, the City of South Lake Tahoe did an awesome thing by honoring local National, World and Olympic Athletes with the unveiling the Walk of Champions.

My legends sandwich consists of Maddie Bowman- Olympic and X Games gold medalist (skiing); Travis Cabral- Olympian, World Cup champion, U.S. Nationals champion (skiing); and Jamie Anderson- Olympic gold medalist, Olympic silver medalist, X Games gold medalist (snowboarding). Incredible!
Along with Travis, I was blown away by local boy Juan Torres- World light welterweight champion and International Kickboxing Hall of Fame inductee. Next to him is Glen Plake- Three-time World Hog Dog champion who is also in U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame and a pioneer of extreme skiing (more about him below).
On the heels of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which several local athletes earned Olympic medals, the idea of creating a Champions Plaza was born. To honor and recognize these athletes the South Lake Tahoe City Council approved the construction and design of a Champions Plaza.

Peeking out of Jamie's pocket were her medals from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
I love this image of Hannah Teter- Olympic gold and silver medalist, X Games gold medalist, World Championships bronze (snowboarding). She's pointing to her name on the Walk.
I was entrance by Glen Plake. There is much to learn about this neat guy. When asked if he still had his mohawk, for which he was famous, he took off his hat to the delight of the crowd. Thirty years ago he was the star of the movie The Blizzard of Aahhh's. It was the movie that inspired a generation of skiers and popularized the concept of "extreme" skiing and, more importantly, it introduced local bad-boy Glen, a self-confessed drink-and-drug-fueled punk rocker. Fun stuff.
Our South Lake Tahoe community continues to impress and enthrall. Today blew me away!

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Santa Rosa: Rivers & Markets

For our first real day of being back in the USA and awake, our daughter-in-law planned an idyllic itinerary.

Being as it was 92° (and the hottest we'd been in months) we headed to the Russian River to frolic in the coolness and to delight in the nature that abounded there.

I'm a huge lover of 'heart' rocks. Steve found so many there. We felt the Russian River love indeed.
Dinner was at the weekly Wednesday Night Farmer's Market- a spectacle of delights.
One could find the usual 'fair fun'. But other discoveries were made as well.

Santa Rosa is a unique community and they like to regulate their fun. It's a good thing really.
Thanks to the North Bay Herpetological Society I even got to hold a snake. What a great, diverse day, here in Santa Rosa. Tomorrow, we head home to Tahoe. What an adventure.

“And then it happens all at once and unexpectedly.
That is how things happen, I suppose.
You pack your bags and find yourself walking yourself home.”
-Shannon L. Alder

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