... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Good news!  I've had volunteers!  These next magnets are from the fridge of the (in)famous Marn;

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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


Nothing--I fell asleep

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That's it for today!


(written for the On Display collaboration)

30 November 2001

It was a beautiful drive to Lake Tahoe, when we went up into the mountains last week to spend Thanksgiving with the family. Walt's mother bought a condo on the north shore of the lake about 25 years ago, or more, and we have been gathering there each year for Thanksgiving. It makes the perfect low-stress holiday. Nobody actually lives there, so Thanksgiving dinner becomes pot luck, with everyone contributing food and cooking duties, and nobody having to bear the brunt of all of the work.  The atmosphere is very definitely low key.

We never know, from year to year, what sort of road conditions we are going to find. We've made this trip during snow storms, and when the weather was clean and clear and the roads dry. We've inched up the road in heavy traffic, and sailed through on nearly uninhabited roads.

There were weather reports of approaching storms on Thursday morning and we wondered what we'd find on our travels. It was hard to think of bad weather anywhere on the beautiful crisp, clear, sunny day that greeted us on Thanksgiving morning here in Davis. The trees had reached their peak of color a week ago and were beginning to lose their leaves, but there was still enough red, yellow and brown around to make for a lovely start to the drive.

The roads, despite dire predictions, were relatively clear and with the blue sky and fluffy clouds ahead of us, we anticipated an easy, quick ride up the ~100 miles to the condo.

We had not driven this part of I-80 since the bad fire which took place this summer. The fire burned for days and blackened an appalling area. We have friends with a vacation cabin smack dab in the middle of the fire zone, which, by one of those quirks of forest fires, happened to be spared, while all around it was destroyed.

As we approached the fire area, the amount of devastation began to be more apparent. Hills which were once covered with lush greenery, which would at this time of year be dotted with color (the deciduous trees among the evergreens) were barren, with only blackened sticks and trees with lots of rust-colored pine needles standing. The first sight was a shock, but as we rolled along for mile after mile and the sight continued, we began to have a hint of what a horror it must have been to try to fight this fire.   It seemed almost miraculous that it was contained at all.

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As we began to leave the fire area, the skies were turning grey. The mountains were shrouded in fog and traffic began to slow to a crawl. It was the worst traffic backup we've encountered in 20+ years of traveling to Tahoe City over Thanksgiving. We crept along at 20 mph for an hour, watching the tail lights in front of us.

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At least by this time, we were into the higher altitudes and beginning to see patches of snow. I love snow, when I can watch it from the warmth of a car — and when it's not so heavy that you need to put on chains. There was just enough around to make you know you really were in snow country, but not enough to be a real inconvenience, other than the slow traffic.

At the summit, the parking lot of Boreal Ski Resort was filled to capacity with automobiles, packed so tightly that as we looked down from the higher roadway, they resembled multi-colored cobblestones on a wide city street. Even with all the snow which had fallen on the mountains, Boreal still had its snow-machine making fresh snow, and the hillside was dotted with happy skiers, looking like ants crawling up and down ski runs.

As we passed beyond Boreal, the snow started to get lighter but it was still beautiful when we pulled off at the scenic overlook to check out Donner Lake in the distance. This was a spot where Peggy and I stopped on our first trip to Tahoe, where she told me that the view alone made her trip from Australia all worthwhile. It's a view which is beautiful, whether in the sun, or in the snow.

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By the time we turned off of I-80 and onto Hwy 29, the road that leads past Squaw Valley and into Tahoe City, and then beyond to the condo, we'd left most of the snow behind. There were little patches of it here and there, both reminders of storms which had passed, and promise of storms yet to come. But for us, there were only wet streets, cars slowly driving up the narrow street of the town of Tahoe City, and then on to the condo.

When we walked in the door, hearing the voices of the family laughing upstairs and smelling the turkey in the oven, we realized we'd literally gone over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house. It was a nice, cozy feeling.

One Year Ago:
Survivor Journal Entry #4

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)

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Created 11/30/01 by Bev Sykes