Saturday, August 30, 2014

Updates from NorCal

(remember, Californian's begin all their statements with "So..."?

So.. this is a photo of the scenery when you head north of Eureka toward Portland.  It is an unusual photo because it is a clear day.

This is me 'n Cassie having a brewsky from the local microbrewery and a picnic in a nearby logging park under ancient redwoods.

I am concerned about the way Cassie is eyeing my beer...

Later, we all walked down to the nearby Eel River with Cassie and Huckleberry (the Big Dog).

At first, Cassie was hesitant...

...but soon, she was "all-in", wet and filthy.  Good times.

So... the park  had 5 more evictions since I last blogged; only one of whom left quietly.  The final three are pains in the asses; one refuses to believe he is evicted, one is a dual diagnosis head case and the other a lifetime addict of various substances.  Another one, who looked good on paper, was probably the nuttiest of all as he was seen inside the dumpster one day.  Sis kicked him out after only 10 days.

The police are frequent visitors to the Park and are on everyone's Speed Dial.  Tonight we had 3 CA Park Police vehicles arrest an a man who had been living in the woods next to the Park with a tweaker female and two filthy, lice-covered children.  Residents reported many Sasquatch-style glimpses of this family.  The two kids looked straight out of Les Miserables. 

Local Joke:

Q: What do you have in a room full of tweakers?
A: A complete set of teeth!


But, every once in a while the young ones make ya smile!  The one in back with the flute is very pregnant and the one in the foreground is handling the hula hoop like a pro!

Then there's Wendy--an adult version of Shirley Temple--cute as a button and charming and supersweet to everyone.  Until she boards the Good Ship VodkaPop.

One morning, after an all night binge, she became near comatose and a friend summoned help.  Police and ambulance responders arrived and she continued chugging straight vodka while they were taking her blood pressure.  They took her on a "mental".

And the beat goes on...

 They're Here!!

It's Harvest Time in the Emerald Triangle and the Park is full and aromatic!

They come by private bus...

  by public transportation...

and everything in between!

They are here for ONE purpose:

To Trim.

Some come every year with "creds" and are sought after.  They get cushy jobs with pharmacies that feed them pizza.  Some are newbies out to rob and steal from the farmer.  But, they are all here to do well-paid and hand-wrenching work--trimming the harvest for the next stop in the chain that fuels this economy.

Everyone is hoping for a bountiful crop but anxious about the water shortage.  Rio Dell (nicknamed now "Rio Dry") was just hit with a "Level 3 emergency drought curtailment order" limiting use to 50 gal/pp/day (ave is 70).  That is not much--quickie shower, don't flush every time etc.  Rio Dell CA Water Curtailment

Sis's water bill last month was nearly $5000--that's for 49 RV sites!  (It was $800/mo in 2003).  Now, all outside watering is forbidden; all potted plants have been removed, all hoses stored away.  Heavy fines are in place and the inspectors are out watching for violators.  Bigger picture is that, without water, there is no crop--no cash--no economy.

But all is not Doom 'n Gloom!  Lotsa fun to be grabbed on the Rim!  We attended a big Fam Birthday Extravaganza in Newport OR a couple weeks ago in celebration of my grand-nieces 7th birthday.  Here are two pics--which one is 7 yrs old?


Biker Chick

The Newport Beach and Dunes--SWEET!

The mature ladies and Cassie stayed in a tony beachfront inn with balcony, comfy beds, wifi, fireplace, a full breakfast room and a wonderful beachfront bar and grill, while the younger set camped on deflating air mattresses and swatted bugs on the ground in the nearby state park.

Claire, the birthday girl's super sweet extravaganza was accompanied very ably by Grill Man aka "Dad", James.  He started us off with homemade Butternut Squash soup.  The food was incredible! 

The s'mores were not forgotten.

Thank you for hosting the event, James & Jessica!  Hope it becomes an annual event!

There are many parties and festivities during the summer months in NorCal (northern California--I am getting with the jargon), where pasty-pale people emerge from the dark Humboldt fog that blankets the coastal area during the winter.

Boom boxes blare and the mature set gets their groove on dancing in the forest to ZZ Top!

The girls got together for a delicious brunch under the redwoods.  The owner, Judy, had a tiki hut recently built to remind her of a tropical island.  Just add a fan, coconut aromatherapy and a cute CabanaBoy!

There are regular excursions to the several very nice casinos in the area.  Last night,  we met a galpal and had Happy Hour FrooFroo drinks and Nachos Maximus at Bear River.  After that, I won Triple Play Video Poker and doubled my money! 

I am loving this weather!  It's always "Sunny and Seventy" in Rio Dell.  You actually can see the thick fog/cloud curtain part into bright sunshine as you travel south from Eureka.  It's one of those strange microclimates that makes living here nearly perfect.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Workampin' in Rio Dell

Workampin' in Rio Dell

The RV Park high season has not yet arrived (July 4th weekend) but my sister and I are in high gear cleaning up from the winter and preparing the grounds and facilities for summer.

The First Project was to rehab and reinstall the Entrance Sign.  The City of Rio Dell had forced my sister to remove the sign.  Her property borders the city property and old campground owners had installed the campground entrance sign on city property.  Since it is the city's mission to harass my sister, they made her take it down and so we relocated it across the street. 

And now...a followup.  Those of you following this Blog might recall a tenant we called "Nasty Woman".  This tenant left seven 5-gallon buckets of human excrement hidden behind the storage sheds last summer.

Sis and I cleaned up the disgusting mess and chugged many margaritas afterwards. Nasty Woman was immediately evicted but the story did not end until May 15th--8 months later!

In typical California-funded social services style, Nasty Woman got herself a free female lawyer who was reportedly canoodling with the local judge and able to maneuver and delay the eviction for EIGHT MONTHS!  8 months!  During that time, my sister's professional eviction service to which she paid tons of money, was helpless.  Finally, no further delays could be found.  Nasty Woman, who had not paid either lease rent or shed rents for 8 months, was manually evicted by the Sheriff.  I am told the Park Tenants set up their lawn chairs nearby to watch the eviction.

Nasty Woman cost my sister around $5K in lost revenue and legal fees.

After physical eviction by Sheriff, Nasty Woman was "taken in" by a man on his private property in exchange for ?  He kicked her ass out two weeks later.  I don't know how he got rid of her but someone towed her out (maybe the man) and she squatted illegally on some commercial property.  The business reported her trespass and Nasty Woman went back to the original man who took her in again.  The man's sister called Sis a few days ago and asked if she would consider taking Nasty Woman back because she was driving her brother crazy.

Ya can't make this stuff up!

Almost immediately upon our return from Yellowstone, we had our first eviction-- "PsychoGirl".  PsychoGirl lied out her ass with a sob story about a relative, who subsequently paid her first month's rent for a trailer she did not own.  PsychoGirl is obviously an accomplished manipulator.

A few week's later, it was discovered that PsychoGirl was housing (for money) a homeless girl inside her trailer while she was living elsewhere. 

It all came out when HomelessGirl tried to operate the trailer furnace one chilly morning and didn't know how, so she borrowed a phone and called the local Fire Department and said something was wrong with the propane.  Fire Department woke the entire park up at 7am rushing to a potentially dangerous situation. 

After the "all clear" by Fire Dept, Sis and her manager went down to the PsychoGirl's trailer--rousted HomelessGirl --loaded her luggage into the Prius and offered her a ride to the Police Station.  The choice was 1) Ride in a Police car after being reported for trespassing and filing a false report or 2) Ride in a Prius with the park owner with no formal complaint.

PsychoGirl was given appropriate notice of immediate eviction.  After the expiration of notice, Sis and I hooked her rig up to a tow vehicle and hauled her trailer off the site and into the "Boneyard" (Storage lot).  Incredibly, PsychoGirl showed up just as the trailer was pulling off the site.   She wailed and cried and offered a million excuses and promises-- but to no avail.  Sis says "Not my problem(s)".

Since returning to the Park, there have been two fires nearby--one on the river bar adjacent to the park, set by juvenile delinquents with many police on scene, and one on the other side of the cliffs, requiring air support.

Sis and I are on High Alert on fire prevention--removing fallen pine needles, cutting the dry growth on the wildlife preserve, hiring tree cutters, testing auxilliary fire hoses, removing dead wood "everywhere".

Here I am doing maintenance on the tractor.  I am being trained by a mechanic to run the Kubota.  I changed a front and back tire, the oil and oil filter and the hydraulic filter.  I then mowed the wildlife refuge which was quite dry and overgrown with tall grass and other brush.  Part of mowing is watching for rocks and lifting the big ones into the tractor bucket to remove them from the mower's path.  I just love all that horsepower!

When I am not mowing, Sis and I are busy removing dead wood, stored lumber, firewood and other unidentified wood items into the pickup for disposal.  So far, we have made 6 dumps of wood and other debris at the nearby disposal facility.  I estimate at least 2 more trips.  Oooohhh my aching bones.

And if that wasn't enough...a couple days ago a tenant knocked on our door (a No-No unless your hair is on fire!) and said that another tenant had just dumped 8 large garbage bags of crap behind his RV and left.  We shall call this trash-toting tenant "TweakerGuy".

Q:  What's the difference between a crackhead and a tweaker?

A: The crackhead will steal your shit and beat feet--the tweaker will steal your shit and then help you look for it.

The tenant got the license number.  Sis recognized the vehicle description and knew where the TweakerGuy's girlfriend lived and went there to confront him (small town).  TweakerGuy was not there, but the vehicle described and the tag # were identical!   Sis told girlfriend what her boyfriend had done and that she could expect a delivery soon.

Sis then said to me "Let's go--get your gloves!" and we took the pickup and loaded it up with all the garbage bags plus the other crap previously left on the site and took it to the girlfriend's house.  Girlfriend was actually sympathetic as we threw her boyfriend's bags of garbage on her lawn.  We had an interesting Girl Gab about the boyfriend.

Finally, a "break" from all this bad stuff.  The park has some nice people living here and here is one of them--"Chihuahua Man". 
He and his little dog, who goes everywhere tucked inside his jacket, stopped by to report that he had won a scratch off lottery ticket and gave my sis some rent money from his winnings.  He carries his little chihuahua dog with him everywhere.  The chihuahua is a very popular dog in the park which is a most welcome change from the usual pit bull. Tiny poops--this is good.  But Cassie does not like the chihuahuas.

That's enough for this edition.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yellowstone..and Beyond-Part V

Yellowstone..and Beyond-Part V

The girls parted ways on Saturday morning for their next destinations.  Sharon & I began our trip back to Rio Dell, CA via Teton National Park.

I want to give a special shout-out to Theresa--who owns the motorhome that all four of us + Cassie toured the park in during the day and messed up at night!  She did a lot of driving and stocked the essentials for lunches.  Theresa also acquired the campfire wood and managed the evening campfires.  Theresa's generosity and patience with "the girlsl + Cassie" for 5 days was very much recognized and appreciated!

Teton Mountain Range is the most beautiful and picturesque of any I have ever seen.

Cassie loves to sniff the mountain wildlife smells.

Sharon and I stayed in a log cabin in Pinedale, WY enroute to our I-80 connection.

The Log Cabin is a historic landmark and was restored and rehabbed for guests.

They welcome dogs with a Doggy Bag with a coverlet for the bed quilt, treats, wastebags and a water bowl.

Sis and I enjoy cocktails on our porch.

About an hour out of Pinedale heading for Rock Springs and I-80, Sharon and I were busily brainstorming a problem when she became aware of lights behind us.  Colored lights.  State Trooper. Speeding.  We schmoozed a bit and he gave us a warning.  Whew!

About a half hour later, my fuel light came on.  My sister freaked because when her 2007 Prius fuel light comes on, it is an empty gas tank within a few miles.  I can go around 40 miles.  However, we were in Wyoming on SR191 with no civilization in sight.  For miles. 
Here is what it looked like.

My GPS showed our mileage to Rock Springs and "Miles to Empty" on my Prius that we could possibly reach Rock Springs but it would be dicey.

When we caught a cell signal, I nervously decided to pull off the road and call Toyota Road Assistance in a town called Reliance, WY.  It was town without a gas station.  I asked Road Assistance to find me a gas station nearby and found out there was one only 3 miles away so we headed back out into the bush.  We had cell phone service and made it the 3 miles.  Whew!  That's just too much excitement for one day!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Yellowstone Lakes-Part IV

Yellowstone Lakes-Part IV

Our final day in Yellowstone dawned sunny and pristine-pretty.  By this time--Day 4--, we were NOT pristine.  We started to want a shower.  There are no showers in the campgrounds and the only practical solution is a towellete touch up or a navy shower in the moho.  Since there was not enough hot water to make even navy showers practical for 4 women, we made do with touchups.

                                                                                                            Our plan for seeing the park was the West Thumb region and Yellowstone Lake.
After appreciating awesome lake views--frozen and unfrozen--we claimed our spot near Lakeside Inn for lunch in the moho.  It was windy and chilly at lake's edge.

At the ParkStore veranda, which was sheltered from the lake wind, the weather felt quite warm and we enjoyed ice cream.  My sis bought a book on Yellowstone Catastrophe's and Nightmares--a compilation of disasters describing in great detail past tourist deaths by grumpy bears, pissed off bison and unfortunate photos taken at canyons' edge.

Cassie patiently watches ice cream girls and hopes for a few licks.

Finally, Sweet Success!

The Girls at Lakeside

Sisters Theresa and Pat

Cassie and Sharon share a tender moment.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yellowstone -Part III

Yellowstone - Part III

Another gorgeous day in Yellowstone!  The weather was diamond-sunny and the air crisp and piney-fresh.

Sharon and I went for our usual coffee and internet and finally spotted the bison moms and babies:

Baby bison approaching for a meal.

Beware Momma--the bulls are nearby:

 Newly-birthed baby elk.

On Day Three we were forced to change sites; we had originally thought we would move the rig to Mammoth in the far north of the park for 2 nights; however, we were so happy in Madison that we decided to stay.  We did not realize that the approaching season would complicate our camping lives.  All the campgrounds were reserved and full!  However, the Park personnel found us a spot so we gathered up our stuff and moved to a new site.  Though we were unfortunately close to the Volunteers' service area, we were treated to super-clean, cozy-heated and lavender-vanilla scent filled bathrooms.

After the Speed Move, the girls headed out to discover more Yellowstone--today to Mammoth and Lamar Valley.  The streams, rivers and waterfalls were overfull from plentiful mountain run-off and waterfowl seemed happy to put on a show for us.  Theresa screeched the RV to a stop whenever we spotted humans with ridiculously-long camera lenses.

We encountered "safari's" from over a 100 miles away who were tracking a mated pair of rare species of duck (harlequin) that had been spotted.  These ducks like fast-moving water and we wondered how they weren't swept away by the swift river current.

We saw no bears or moose though I spoke with some folks who did see a moose mom and her twins in Teton immediately south of Yellowstone.  They also saw momma grizzly bear and cub at an elk kill in Teton.

The girls made the mandatory visit to Old Faithful and the new Visitor Center. 

Thirsty, we snagged a young buck bartender at the Old Faithful Lodge. This might explain the silly grins on our faces.

We checked out the iconic Grand Canyon of Yellowstone which was actually tricky to find.  We pulled into at least 6 overlooks before finding "The One".  The road is a big loop around the canyon but the signs are pretty lame.

After our extended canyon search, a nice bystander took our group photo; Sharon is steadying my dip to my knees for the pic.

Cassie was super-excited to see all the sights from the comfort of Pat's "pillow lap".
The girls, weary from their travel in the park, finally returned back "home" for a burger dinner over the campfire.  Later, we roasted marshmallows slathered with various forms of chocolate.  Yum-O.

Princess Cassie awaits leftover Burger Bites.