Weekly Photo Challenge: Change in Progress

In 2010, we literally raced a thunderstorm across Iowa.  Taken from a moving car.

Racing the thunderstorm, Iowa 2010
Racing the thunderstorm, Iowa 2010

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/change-2015/

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A Trip To Reno-Lake Tahoe

The week after Labor Day, Hubby and I flew to Reno for a meetup with our friends from Ricochet.  Getting there and back wasn’t half the fun, but it was interesting.  Since we waited until the figurative “last minute” to book our flights from Seattle, we had to change planes both ways.  For three legs of our journey, we flew aboard a rather unusual aircraft (to us), a Bombardier Q400.

Q400

When was the last time you had to board your aircraft from the ground?  And hand your carry-on bag to the crew to store in the belly of the plane, returned to you when at your destination?

It was surprisingly comfortable, with 2 by 2 seating, and a fairly low noise level while in flight.  It’s a little weird, however, looking out your window and seeing the landing-gear retracting into the engine housings!  The funny-shaped propellers were fun to watch, as they speeded up from taxi to takeoff to full flight speed.   For the first two legs of our journey, the sky was so clear that we could see the ground all the way from Seattle to Reno.  Instant geography lesson!

All our flights were uneventful, and we landed in Reno ahead of schedule on Wednesday evening.  Thursday, we drove our rented car all the way around Lake Tahoe.  But first, we had to get to the lake.  That is done by driving directly over a mountain, Mt. Rose, on Nevada Highway 431. Picture-taking fool that I am, we stopped at many roadside turnouts to take pictures.

View of mountains, Mt. Rose Summit, Nevada
View of mountains, Mt. Rose Summit, Nevada
Mt. Rose Summit
Mt. Rose Summit

Also, my “Grammar Police” persona took over at the Summit when I read their sign.  Can you find the two misspellings?

Can you spot the two misspellings on this sign?
Can you spot the two misspellings on this sign?

On the downslope:

Mt. Rose meadow
Mt. Rose meadow
View of Lake Tahoe, from Nevada Highway 431, Mt. Rose Highway
View of Lake Tahoe, from Nevada Highway 431, Mt. Rose Highway

So we got to the bottom, and there is a T intersection.  Which way to go?  We chose left.  The first pretty place we found was a state park, and a trail down to Hidden Beach.  Some of the plants we saw were very beautiful-even the ones that looked “dead” didn’t turn out to be.  I’m not much of a botanist, so if readers can tell me what they are, I’d be delighted.

Bush at Lake Tahoe
Bush at Lake Tahoe
Alive and dead at the same time. Bush seems to have dead trunk, but green leaves.
Alive and dead at the same time. Bush seems to have dead trunk, but green leaves.
Clear water and rocks-Lake Tahoe-Hidden Beach
Clear water and rocks-Lake Tahoe-Hidden Beach
Lake Tahoe, East shore, clear water
Lake Tahoe, East shore, clear water

So, on we drove.  I could kick myself for not having taken pictures of the Nevada/California border, on the south shore of the lake.  Nevada, of course, has legal gambling everywhere.  And I do mean EVERYWHERE.  Every retail establishment, restaurant, and bar has gambling machines in view.  On the south shore of the lake, the Nevada side is lined with big casinos on both sides of the highway, with all their flashing lights.  The moment you cross the California state line, zero casinos.

The highway on the California side tends to be higher above the lake level.  We stopped at a big rest area/overlook high above Emerald Bay, and I got a lot of nice shots.

Emerald Bay, south end of Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay, south end of Lake Tahoe
Twisted tree-Tahoe overlook
Twisted tree-Tahoe overlook

I’m betting lightning caused the damage to the tree above.  Just twisted right off.

Pine cone found at Tahoe overlook. This weighed about 12 ounces!
Pine cone found at Tahoe overlook. This weighed about 12 ounces!

That pine cone is about the size of your hand, and weighed a lot more than it looked.

Overlook on south shore of Lake Tahoe has giant boulder next to the restrooms.
Overlook on south shore of Lake Tahoe has giant boulder next to the restrooms.

Restroom building for scale!

The California side of Lake Tahoe is much more built-up with residences that the Nevada side, so more of the property is private.  We did spot a lot of private docks, forlornly out over what used to water, and now is beach.  The lake level is way down due to the drought.

Friday, we met up with a couple of our Ricochet friends, and took a nice drive up to Virginia City, in the hills to the east of Reno.   I regret not having our friend take a picture of me with the Dodge pickup truck.  The step was about at the level of my hip, and, to my embarrassment, I had to be helped to get in.

I saw my first wild mustang:

Grazing mustang-east of Reno
Grazing mustang-east of Reno

Virginia City is mostly a tourist trap now, but many of the old buildings have been nicely restored.  1880’s buildings, 21st-century transportation!

Virginia City Brewery & Taphouse
Virginia City Brewery & Taphouse

We stopped here for a beer.  That Dirty Mucker Stout is excellent!

Beers at the Brewery
Beers at the Brewery
Virginia City, Nevada
Virginia City, Nevada

We took a tour of an abandoned mine, whose entrance just happened to be in the back of a local bar.  Really.  This is a hydraulic drill, used at the mine to knock the gold-bearing ore free.  The tour guide, who looked and talked like he had just stepped out of a dime novel of the time, told us that many miners were injured by this kind of equipment.

Hydraulic drill at abandoned mine-Virginia City
Hydraulic drill at abandoned mine-Virginia City

Saturday was the day of the official Ricochet functions.  In the morning, we headed back over Mt. Rose for the first of the day’s activities, which was golf at the Old Brockway Golf Course, in Kings Beach, California.  Now I do not play golf, and hubby hadn’t played in years, but our local host insisted.  So we had two carts, and for me a nice trip around the course, watching the guys hit those little balls with the metal sticks.  I did get some nice golf-course pictures.

First fairway, Old Brockway Golf Course, Kings Beach, CA
First fairway, Old Brockway Golf Course, Kings Beach, CA
Hole #8, Old Brockway
Hole #3, Old Brockway

This hole was especially difficult, and it was on two separate levels.  This sign was spotted off to the side of the course.

This sign speaks for itself.
This sign speaks for itself.

End of the Trail.

The last thing we saw at Old Brockway
The last thing we saw at Old Brockway

Saturday night was the official Ricochet Meetup Dinner, at the Hyatt Lone Eagle Restaurant in Incline Village.  We had hoped to get a table outside to have pre-dinner drinks and relax at the beautiful lake, but our plans were upset by two different problems.  First, there was a big wedding party there, and they took up nearly the entire bar and most of the restaurant, including all the outside tables. Remember that pretty shot of the lake with its clear water and view all the way across?  Well, this is what the lake looked like on Saturday night:

South shore of Lake Tahoe, smoky from California wildfires
South shore of Lake Tahoe, smoky from California wildfires

Can you say “socked-in”?  The smoke from the wildfires in California cast a pall over a goodly portion of the Nevada side of the lake.  So much for beautiful lake views.  We were lucky to see the lake on Thursday.  Everyone had a great time at the dinner, and the food and drinks were excellent.  Definitely a place not to miss if you are in the area.

On Sunday, it was time to head back home.  We had some time, so we went downtown in Reno, to check out the new Riverwalk neighborhood.  Due to the smoke in the air, and construction, we didn’t see much.  Here’s what we did see:

Truckee River, Reno
Truckee River, Reno

Back on the plane again, first to San Jose, then Seattle.  I finally got a window seat, and my trusty iPod camera.  No smoke above the clouds.

Above the Clouds at 30,000 feet
Above the Clouds at 30,000 feet
Sunset above the clouds
Sunset above the clouds

Altogether a very nice trip, and we made some nice memories.

September 11, A Day of Infamy

On September 11, 2001, the most horrible act of Islamic Terrorism was perpetrated against our country. A well-rehearsed team of Islamist Fanatics commandeered commercial jetliners full of innocent civilians, and deliberately flew them into the two towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, in the city of New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania (that could have been much worse, but for the bravery of the passengers).  Nearly 3,000 people were murdered that day.

NEVER, EVER, FORGET.

The forces of Radical, Jihadist Islam must be destroyed, wherever they are.

Is the Pope Catholic?

I am not Catholic.  I am beginning to wonder about Pope Francis.  Well, not really beginning to wonder, I’ve wondered for a while.  But this new revelation takes the cake in my humble opinion.

The pope has given Catholic priests permission to absolve women of

the sin of Abortion.  This seriously makes me fear for the oldest continuous Western cultural institution.  Church doctrine sees abortion as Murder.  Is that still true?  Catholic readers, kindly enlighten me.