Saturday, May 23, 2009

Where Have I Been?

After spending a week visiting Mom in Colorado, without computer access, I got back with one day to myself. I spent Friday doing laundry, a bit of grocery shopping, catching up on mail, and writing about tomato problems for my turn on the Simple Green Frugal Co-op.

Saturday, I was up and out the door early enough to catch a hot-air balloon trying to land north of the garage. I was headed over to pick up Donna and then we were going to work a display booth for Muscle Powered in the Health Fair section of the Oodles of Noodles street fair in Dayton, Nevada - about 20 miles east.

May is Bike Month, and Muscle Powered had put together lots of events the following week for Bike to Work Week, so it was perfect timing to get the word out to lots of people. Probably not everyone has to contend with our afternoon winds - the Washoe Zephyr - but if you're putting together an outside information booth you might take note of my bungee cord set-up. Originally an idea from my mom for restraining a camping tablecloth, it works really well for keeping handouts in place and still easily available. Large bungee cords are wrapped width-wise around the display table and hooked together underneath. During a wet Earth Day street fair a few years ago, I had a piece of clear plastic the same size as the table I just tucked under the end bungees. Items were visible and it was easy to just reach underneath the plastic to pick up anything. It sure beats chasing litter down the street.

Sunday morning I was up even earlier. I spent the next six days working the early-early morning to mid-afternoon shift as a shuttle coordinator for the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Reno. The tourism destination management company I work on-call for was manning all shuttle bus pick-up areas, back and forth from the hotels to the convention center from 5:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. plus all outside tours. The sagging economy and the proliferation of Tribal Casinos in California means tourism has really dropped in my area, so I was glad to get the chance to pick up some hours.

According to our pre-Fair briefing, about 1,600 high school students from 50 countries participated. Counting parents, teachers, and judges, around 6,000 people stayed the week. Four million dollars in scholarships were awarded. About 20% of the kids already have patents on their projects and inventions (I was talking to one of the judges - lots of major corporations send representatives to this fair. I was thinking "how nice, they're looking to recruit these kids when they get out of school." Wrong - they're there to steal ideas - thus the need for patents).

After a long week, I got home Friday just in time to get my things together for a weekend on Lake Tahoe's north shore.

Our friends own a time-share in a little resort up there. It's a funky little place - this building was originally built in the late 1950's as athlete housing for the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, plus little old-Tahoe cabins. The time-share management hosts a pre-summer season work weekend - feeding us on Saturday and Sunday in exchange for work raking the beach, painting, flower planting, and various other fix-up chores. My friends often attend, and this year had reserved a two-bedroom unit so asked if I'd like to go with them (Aries was working until Sunday).

I rode with Larry to pick up Krista at the airport in Reno that evening, and then up to North Shore via the Mount Rose Highway. The summit of the two-lane road between Reno and Tahoe is almost 9,000 feet. The ski areas are all closed for the season, but there was still snow in the trees alongside the road and covering the mountains above. We had a nice dinner out in Tahoe City, and I spent all day Saturday and then Sunday morning setting out annual flowers and working on the landscaping.

Aries came up Sunday morning on his motorcycle. He pitched in working for a while too. He brought my helmet and jacket, so after lunch I let our friends take my things back to Carson and Aries and I took the long way home. We went west and then south around the Lake, stopped for a while above Emerald Bay, and from South Shore headed south away from the Lake over Luther Pass. At Hope Valley, we turned east to head down the canyon. At the bottom, as we came around the corner from the canyon out onto the sagebrush valley, the temperature increased a good 20 degrees - it was over 90F! I was so glad I'd missed most of the heat up in the mountains all weekend. And glad to finally have some time at home again too! I've had lots of things to catch up on around the house and out in the garden - more on that later.


Anonymous said...

We had a lot of people participate in Bike Month and the bike-to-work program, it was good to see people out there enjoying it in a way they might not have thought of before. Your Lake Tahoe trip sounds like a lot of fun, and what a beautiful area for an unwinding session.

Annodear said...

Wow! Keeping busy (as usual) I see :-) Nice pics!!

Nancy M. said...

You have been very busy! That's a really smart idea with the bungee cords! It is so gorgeous where you live.

TX Poppet said...

How nice that you got a little getaway weekend! Very cool pics.