Wednesday, January 23, 2008

California living- shovel, ski, sail

Camp Connell, CA - Well, it IS winter after all, and the fact that it continues snowing more than two weeks after the last blog was posted should only be a mild surprise.

Here's a picture from today, after I spent three hours shoveling and the plow came twice. I know it is blurred, but it was snowing and my hands were shaking from all that shoveling:

We do have snowshoes, and use them once in a while to get to the general store at the end of the lane and across the highway. But today was just boots and coats, because we stayed out of the deep stuff, like that on the roof.

We cancelled a trip down the mountain to the big city (Angels Camp) where they have a real car wash, and a Starbucks, due to bad road conditions. Yes, we have all-wheel drive, but we aren't stupid about it.

But all is not snow and ice and huddling by the fire. There is a beautiful ski resort just up the road. With my season pass I can go, ski for short while, and head home early for the hot chocolate, and still get my money's worth. We did that earlier in the week.

This is at Bear Valley Ski resort. Check it out at
Lines are rare, non-existent at midweek, and lots of groomed intermediate runs appeal to me and the other geezers.

Pat contributes as a lodge bunny (can I say that?) and brings along a good book and food, while I go off down the mountain.

And then of course, this being California, last week we went down to San Francisco Bay and went sailing.

You may notice were were bundled up a bit, but we were sailing, and there was no snow!

Forecast: For tomorrow there is a 70% chance of snow, and the high temperature is expected to be in the mid-to-high 20s.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snow, snow, beautiful snow

Camp Connell, CA -- While it wasn't the storm of the century, it was a beautiful BIG dump of snow.
We had about four feet within three days, most of it yesterday (Saturday) after days of off-and-on snow and rain.

Here's what our closest paved road -- it leads to our dirt lane --look like after a big snow while the power company crews work to restore power:

Here's what Pat looks like when she is wearing snow shoes for the first time--she only fell down a couple of times -- and that's a pretty good view of the house behind her:

Here's what Sanders looks like when digging out the Subaru, or at least thinking about it:

And here's what our summer toy -- the canoe -- looks like, with our stalled garage construction project (foundation only) not quite obvious to the left, marked by the rope:

We holed up in the cabin for a couple of days, and there were minor inconveniences: the power was off 16 hours, and we got a chance to test our little camp/boat stove, and all our flashlights; the snowplow showed up about 5:30 a.m., which was a rude but welcomed awakening, and it took me several hours of shoveling to clean up walkways, decks and the edges of the driveway.

But all in all, a pretty interesting couple of days.

Tomorrow, I go skiing for the first time this year.

Then, weather permitting, we'll go sailing later this week. THAT's why people live in California.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Storm of the century -- not quite!

Camp Connell, CA -- The weatherman had been warning us all week, and the regional television stations were bordering on hysteria. A REALLY big series of storms was heading our way from the Gulf of Alaska.

As of this writing, the third storm in the series is passing over us, and we are okay. Just fine, in fact.

Friends (from Virginia, Mexico, Maryland and California) had contacted us, concerned for our safety.

Rest assured, dear friends, we are surviving quite well. We have cut back on our driving activity, as the roads have been pretty messy, but we have lots of wood stacked, extra food stored, and our trusty all-wheel-drive Subaru full of gas and supplied with a winter emergency kit in the back (sleeping bag, flares, chains, wool hats and granola bars). And I watched two John Wayne movies (Rio Bravo and The Searchers), to toughen me up.

We were SO prepared.

And now, in the almost aftermath of the big storms, Pat is baking cookies, I am eating cookies and messing with the computer and making sure the birds have extra seed scattered on the snow. All is well. We may take a walk later.

The major concession we made to the storms so far was to sleep downstairs last night, in what is normally our guest room. With high winds predicted during the night, and living in a house surrounded by 150-foot-tall trees, we decided that would be a good idea. A few years ago one of these big trees fell through a nearby cabin and neatly sliced it in half. We can't control that, but we can be cautious in high winds.

It was very interesting yesterday to stand by the sliding glass doors and watch the tree tops sway wildly back and forth while the snow swirled around.

So far the blizzard did not turn out to be a blizzard. The first two storms brought gusty winds, but not extreme, and about a foot of new snow. The mountain passes above us got more -- three or four feet -- but nowhere near the ten feet predicted. So far.

It is currently snowing hard again, naturally, just after the snowplow came through to clean out the lane. And right after I shoveled a walkway. We expect another foot or two by morning.

So we may have to skip church if the roads are bad, but by Monday I think I need to drive UP the mountain to the ski resort and see if my aging knees have one more season in them.

It beats shoveling snow.

And then I can respond appropriately to my friends in Mexico who keep sending me pictures of them strolling on the beach, and at an open-air tango party in LaManzanilla.

Meanwhile, here I am testing our camp stove -- just in case.

For a picture of what is happening weather-wise in our neighborhood, check this link: