I really needed this time away from the Park and the job, and the evacuation was a blessing in disguise for me. I spent the day with Jeannie, Donald, Ara, Autumn and Ariana. I called the Park office and it seems there was no trouble at Butte Lake so they were opening the campground back up today. Too bad I’m not there for it, but I’ll go back on Friday morning. What a way to get my Wednesday and Thursday off!
I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post again. I think the trouble is with my laptop and not the air card, but I should have been able to get online when I went to Susanville. I’m going to try to install the card again and see if that works.
Thanks to everyone who has stuck with reading my blog, as erratic as the updating has been. Hopefully I’ll be able to either use the air card or find campgrounds with free wifi on my way back east in September.
Thursday, July 23:
I was able to post a few updates when I was in Burney today but couldn’t find a shady spot in the entire town where I could read my email.
I just got back to the campground and wish I could have stayed someplace overnight. I had left a white board out in front that said “Host Off Duty – back in late afternoon”. So I got back about 3:30 which isn’t exactly late afternoon. I got my groceries inside and had just brought my two dogs put for a walk when a man came strolling onto my site with a large dog – of course mine don’t care for that at all. I put them back inside and told him it wasn’t a good idea to take a dog into another’s camp site, and that the majority of incidents in the park are caused by dogs. He blew me off and then told me how I should do my job – it seems the vans belonging to the group are driving too fast in and out of the park, and they kick up a lot of dust that drifts over into the campground. I have yet to see anyone who doesn’t drive too fast in here, which is why everything is covered in a layer of dust.
So I decided “screw it” and went and rubbed out the “back in late afternoon” off my sign. This will be my first day off since I went back for my granddaughter’s entering the world on the 23rd of June, and I returned here the 25th or 26th. I’m taking the rest of the day off, although I might go back and mention to the van drivers that they should slow it down until they pass the campsite area. Wouldn’t you think it would be obvious? Evidently it’s only obvious when the dust is blowing in one’s eyes.
Friday, July 24:
People seem to be coming to Lassen in unusually high numbers, and all the campgrounds are experiencing an increase, including Butte Lake. Although we are never completely full, no doubt due to the remote location and dreadful road in, we still have a lot of folks. There have been several publication during the past year that have named Lassen one of the top National parks and best places to visit and camp. I wish they wouldn’t do that, because the reason it is such a great place is because it isn’t packed with people as is Yosemite or Great Smoky Mountains.
I really liked the veterinary clinic I found yesterday. Lady is suffering from some kind of intestinal ailment, not parasites thankfully, but a battery of tests were run and I will find out the complete results in a few days. They clipped her nails without charge while they were at it, which is always an ordeal. At 86# and not liking to be messed with, it always takes several people to hold her. When I mentioned that I had to go to Safeway while they were doing the blood tests, they offered to keep both dogs at their kennel while I was gone. I really appreciated that, because if I have to leave them in the truck, even with the windows open, I always hurry through my shopping so they won’t get too hot. Both dogs have a couple of vaccinations due the end of August, so I think I will take them back there as it will be on my way.
I was able to get my daughter, Jeannie, on the phone while I was out. They have been having an awful time – swine flu has hit the entire family! Jeannie and the baby are at much higher risk, so they are being treated more vigorously; Donald has a mild case of it, and I guess 2-½ yr old Autumn is somewhere in between. I will try to get back to see them before I leave here.
A recent visitor to the campground told one of the maintenance workers that he had cell phone reception on his i-phone. I don’t know any more details about it, and it will be a while before I have the internet connection plus time to research it, but I am definitely interested in finding out more about it. I’m sure it’s a lot more costly than Verizon or AT&T, and I don’t know anything about the networks they use, but if I return here next year I would definitely like to have a phone connection. I never did like to spend much time on the phone, but I am so isolated and would like to keep in touch with my kids at least once a week if possible. The next thing would be to switch to a Mac computer and forget the Microsoft crap once and for all.
Though I wouldn’t want to go back to AOL for internet and email, I remember fondly the days when I could work offline and then send and receive mail at once, to be stored on my computer to read at my convenience. If anyone knows of an email program that will do that, other than AOL, I would appreciate knowing about it. (I’m not even sure if AOL even offers that possibility any more.)
Saturday, July 25:
One of the perks of this job seems to be the good things some of the campers give to you, such as home grown veggies & tomatoes that they brought with them. David, who works here also has an extensive garden and yesterday brought me some wonderful crookneck squash. Last night, and tonight as well, I am stir frying a mixture of squash, onions & tomatoes and serving it over pasta, splashed with a generous dash of good robust olive oil and topped with freshly grated parmesan. I just used the last of one bottle of good olive oil I bought in Corning, CA, near all the olive groves, and am into my stash of the best dipping oil I’ve ever tasted.
Tuesday, July 28:
It has been a sad couple of days for me. Mandy, the older dog, was put to sleep today. She threw up all over the carpets inside the 5ver, and could just pace back and forth when outdoors. I don’t know what was wrong with her this time, but at 14 and blind I knew it was time to let her go. I have been thinking it for some time now and kept backing out. I don’t even know where to begin cleaning up, and unfortunately I can’t just go have the carpets torn up and replaced with laminate. As dirty as it is with all the volcanic soil, I might as well wait until we leave here in about 6 weeks.
I was shocked today with the actions of a camper who just yesterday afternoon joined a boy scout group that is camped here. He and his young son arrived late, so he just pulled in to an empty spot next to the group site, and set up their tents, a laundry line, and the whole works. When I told him he would either have to move into the scout group site or pay for the site he was in he gave me a really difficult time, mostly acting stupid like he thought it should be ok. The scout leader said he would move him into their site, but this morning the vehicle had been moved but not the tents. I didn’t go up to them because the scouts were all divided into small groups here and there, with an adult obviously teaching them some aspect of scouting or camping, and one of the adults was our Mr. Cheapskate. I can’t believe what this man is teaching young people by example. Some day he will wonder what happened when his son is caught cheating in college, or stealing. He learned it all from the old man after all. Lie, cheat and steal – and then pass yourself off as a good person, scout leader and teacher, etc. It just blows me away and bums me out completely.
For all the really nice people I meet and talk to, it just takes jerks like this to unravel the whole experience. When I took Mandy to the vet this morning I left a sign out in front “Camp host not available; back around 3 pm.” When I made the afternoon rounds one of the campers asked me sarcastically if I enjoyed my break. I told him it wasn’t a break, but that I had to have one of my pets euthanized. He made one flip and sarcastic comment after another. I am not making another round until tomorrow morning when hopefully he will be packed up and gone, or still sleeping.
Can you tell I’m not at my best? Next time I write a blog entry I will be better.
Saturday, August 1:
I’m getting to where I really dread weekends. Sundays are a bit more peaceful, but Mondays are the best. Quite a difference from the working world where everyone complains about Mondays.
I am about halfway through my commitment here at Lassen but it seems to be a lot longer than just a month and a half. I will probably keep my options open for next year, although I definitely want to be in a remote location, where at least it’s pretty quiet during the week and the campers are mostly in tents. The big drawbacks here are the 6-½ miles of road in and out, and the dust. Every time a vehicle goes through the campground, and most are driving too fast for the conditions, they send out big clouds of dust that drift to cover everything in the campsite. I shudder to think what my lungs must look like by now because you can‘t escape breathing the stuff. It is so impossible to keep anything clean that I’ve given up on it. I am told that the soil here at Butte Lake is different than that in the rest of the park, so I guess that’s the price I must pay for being in the most idyllic location!
Monday, August 3:
What a surprise I had on Saturday afternoon. My two sons, Steve and Joe, showed up with Joe’s daughter, Alyssa. They brought dinner for the grill, cooked and even cleaned up! We had a great time and it was so enjoyable being with them again. Jeannie, Donald & daughters will try to get here either in late August or early September, and I hope the boys can arrange to come too. Joe’s wife is pregnant and I worry about her coming over that awful road, but maybe if he drives it slow enough…
Today would be a near-perfect day due to the relaxed atmosphere of the campground, except that I have to drive to Susanville once more. I had three prescriptions filled at Walgreens and they messed up two of them making it necessary for me to drive back – 100 miles round trip. I have yet to find a pharmacy in California that has the simplest drugs on hand – I have always been told they will have to order it and I need to come back in a day or two. That happened the first time at Susanville, so I went back the second time to pick them up. I later noticed that there was a problem with one of the prescriptions so I had to return. I later found a mistake in filling another one of them, so now I have to go back yet another time. I would have just had it transferred to the Safeway pharmacy in Burney, but of course they didn’t have it on hand and would have to order it. How can pharmacies in little Asheville, NC operate so much more efficiently for the consumer, while those in large cities such as Sacramento cause you so much of a problem.