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A scorcher

Today was hotter than yesterday. I spared the air in that I used no gasoline in today's drive. But I did two loads of washing (too hot to fire up the dryer) and the air conditioner was one a lot.

Restless night. Lots of worries about my impending homelessness. Yeah, I'm being melodramatic, but SS is only going to cover the rent & mortgage. Car, internet, food, medicine funds will run out in maybe 2 years. I need at least a job to stretch that out, and there are none out there. Just got email from a former Microsoft colleague, we shared an office and have the same skill set - actually he may have a little more - he has also been out of work for 5 months. His group at MSFT was sold to Ericcson, which laid them off. His next gig was the one I was canned from at Netflix, but he left after a year.

Ex boss and ex-boss' boss haven't as much as had an interview. Only one laid of co-worker besides Automation Guy landed a job, but it sucked so he left. He found another, but he's a coder so it doesn't count.

One guy who did not get laid off quit, and got a job I'd seen advertised, but it's field installation, 60% worldwide travel.

This morning NOVA called in response to my request for a training advisor appointment. No can do, my membership expired. They made an appointment for me to re-register in 2 weeks. Bureaucratic BS, hey have all my info, and it's easy for them to verify I've run out of unemployment insurance. That should have bumped me to a higher level, not expired my account. Jesus on a pogo stick.

My calendar said today Kaiser was giving flu shots. Coincidentally I needed to drop off my sharps container and get a replacement, so I drove the MV and discovered they are only doing shots on Thursdays. That was not what the email said. Pharmacy said prescription for a free sharps container had expired. WTF? And it would take 24-72 hours to get it approved. So I paid the $4.65 for an OTC one. Same item, different stash. :-(

There was a sign saying there was a Medicare workshop at 2:30, an it was already2 pm, so I checked it out. Nope, it was a sales pitch for people who are thinking of enrolling, not info for those who already drank the Kool Aide.

Down the road to Starbucks,  had a mocha and did some job hunting and facebooking and enjoyed the air conditioning. 97° outside. Stopped at Safeway on the way home for chips & champagne. Much cheaper than 7-11.

Homeward, dashboard thermometer hit its peak at 103°.

Finished watching the Raiders-Titans game over chips, dip & bubbly. Facebooked some, studiously avoided the debate, except to post this:

When Monday Night Football was an hour in, I fired up the DVR and watched the Saints shoot themselves in the foot just enough to not have a chance to beat the Falcons. Switched from champagne to quasi-mimosas - diet orange soda and bubbly.

Too hot to have a microwave meal, so I had cold cuts & HB egg instead. Which reminds me, lunch was bargain smoked salmon from Seattle via Grocery Outlet. It was not lox-like, and not really smoked. More like baked and vacuum sealed in mylar. I also poured half a jar of marinated artichoke hearts onto the plate, but is was clear they had been in the fridge too long after opening, and I didn't even trust them to the compost jar.

Ah yes, this morning I emptied the jar into the compost bin, and was pleasantly surprised that the contents of the jar were already steaming. I need to add a layer of dirt to the bin sometime soon.

Played with Spook a little tonight, she's been very frisky today. But she's also severely ADHD, so it did not last long.

Just for grins, I uploaded my Carson City photos to Google and made an album. Click here

Sometime tonight it ought to cool down enough to run the dryer.

I played the piano today. Boy am I rusty, and boy did the last tuner screw up the soft pedal setting.

Plans for tomorrow:
I suppose I should go to the dump and get some dirt. Depends on how long it stays cool enough to go out.

I woke the PC up from sleep mode at 9 pm, and it took till 11 to install the latest Windows 10 update. Without asking. Boo, hiss.

Slept till 11, waking up every three hours or so. At about 10 Spook head-butted my hand, which I have learned is her way of saying "it's time for treats". I went back to sleep. She went back to the cat tree and curled up.

Noon-ish, I used shower time to try CLR on the glass shower doors. It did not make them any cleaner. Scrubbing bubbles does a slightly better job, and smells less caustic.

By noon it was already 86°, I decided to stay inside with the aircon at 74. The only outside time was a minute to unplug the car, about 5 minutes in the evening to take the garbage/recycle bins out to the curb, and another 5 minutes to water all the gardens. The temp outside the house stayed between 93 and 97 all afternoon, cooled down to 92 by an hour after sundown.

I watched the Seahawks destroy the 49ers on DVR delay, and was highly amused by this ad:

It was a main sponsor of the game, ads at almost every break. The amusement is the Seahawks' first star quarterback was Jim Zorn, in their early days from 1976–83, second string in 1984 and he returned twice to be on the coaching staff. He does have a son, Isaac, who is a star lacrosse player, a senior, at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg PA.

Lunch during the game was the last of the chips & dip, and two slices of reheated pizza.

Did my job search stuff, facebooked, checked out the USPS careers page and there is nothing in CA except carrier jobs.

Dinner time coincided with the Cowboys stuffing the Bears, on DVR, fast forwarding past ads and muting the sound when the commentators went all philosophical on us. Call the game, jerkoffs. They also had severe problems showing their sidelines bimbo when she had something to report. 7,580 cameras and they couldn't point one in her direction. And worse than that, they kept showing the same cheerleader. Okay, the cheerleader has killer abs, so I shouldn't complain that much.

Watched an episode of Penn & Teller Fool Us while the PC updated. I love that they ditched their original dull as a doorpost British host for the amazingly pert and perky artist formerly known as Willow on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe NOVA will call with an appointment with a training counselor. I apparently am entitled to 6 more months of unemployment $$  and tuition if I enroll in some kind of career training. I filled in a request this morning.
Depends on the weather, whether I go anywhere else.

Two churches in one day

Keeping it short at almost 1 am.
This morning was an early wake-up, and as suspected there was no need to RSVP for the postal service workshop. It was in the all purpose room/gym of the school at the local Catholic church. It was an okay half-hour presentation which walked us (200 or so) through the basic parts of the test. The postal managers who gave the presentation claimed that everyone has to pass the carrier exam to get any job at USPS, but that sounds like a crock. They had left a print out of the material on each chair, and apologized that the ppt presentation was not given because they could not figure out how to hook up the computer. The room definitely is built for it.

The after-presentation questions were interminable, and may still have been going on when I left after half an hour of them. Mot of those had been answered in the talk.

Home by way of Target, where I got a sponge on a stick so I could treat the mosquito bite on my back, and also some topical drugs for the bee sting. And an electric can opener, because my manual one died.

Tested it on a can of minced clams, made clam dip, and lunch was chips & dip & milk. Target also had a good price for 2% lactose free, but I only had room for one.

Watched some football, napped a little, tried to get Spook to stay on my lap but got tired of fighting her after 10 minutes. The new harness was also a non-starter. She is completely scared of it.

Uploaded all my Thai 1975-77 pix to Google photos, and started the painful task of creating albums from them.

Found a couple of jobs to apply for.

Booked a lot of faces.

6 pm headed to Campbell for a karaoke meetup. Someone got the great idea of using her church's superb sound system and main chapel, so we could have a civilized session. It was excellent. Friendly, no pressure, I was able to lurk for most of the evening, but at one point late in the game they played a tune meant for someone who had already gone home, and it was one of my favorite Herman's Hermits tunes, End of the World in my key so I put on my stage voice from my seat and the MC put a mike in my hand. They had me do Piano Man later when they ran out of volunteers. Out of the dozen or so participants, three of the men and three of the women (including the MC) were very good, the rest were either volume or holding-a-tune-challenged. Everyone had fun, especially as it ended in a sing-along of a few tunes we all knew.

Home, made a couple of small frozen dishes. Grapes for dessert. Caught up on TMZ.

Plans for tomorrow:
Not much.

Bite Me!

A lot of the day was spent trying to reduce the itch and swelling from the bee sting on the inside of my leg where the knee meets the calf, and a new insect bite, probably a mosquito, on my back just out of reach.

Did my usual job search routine first, then went to the new Grocery Outlet ISO oral Benedryl, baking soda and meat tenderizer. Found generic #1, real #2 but they had nothing for #3. While I was there I picked up some bargains. 2 mangoes the size of papayas $3 the pair, a $12 package of Payday bars for $6, $12 Seattle smoked salmon for $6, and Tillamoook muenster slices for $2 (i bought two). Also got a few small items which were new to me. Checked out their champagne prices, and they had a brut for as low as $6. Pretty big wine section packed into a corner.

Home, found meat tenderizer in the back of the spice cabinet, took two benedryl capsules, made a paste of water & tenderizer & baking soda and applied that to the bee sting. That helped a lot. Also put on a cold pack for a bit.

Lunch was supposed to be a smoked turkey leg, but bit had been in a ziploc in the fridge for too long, so I had week-old PNB&J sandwich and I forget what else.

Refilled the hummingbird feeders, went out on the porch to watch, but the antihistamine knocked me out and I started to doze off, so I went inside and took a nap.

Woke up about 4, drove downtown, and there was a pair of parking spaces by the charger, but the charger was out of service. :-(

Upstairs to the plaza, went ~~ on Ingress and captured a set of blue portals and linked a few (did not have enough high level stuff to link them all) but being level 7 with a backlog of weapons is fun.

Starbucks, there was negative eye candy, so I didn't sit in my usual place. Had a free frapp and pointed the laptop to Google photos and over the course of 90 minutes deleted all the photos which had randomly autoloaded. They only let you select 1500 at a time to delete, and there were 25,000 to deal with. The automatic desktop app does not upload in any logical order, and then it does a crappy job of sorting by place, type and date.

Home at about 7, used the manual uploader to start with the Thailand scanned images from 1975-77. They are not in order, but maybe I can make albums now which are. After that I'll do albums year by year. Google will probably do better sorting with my digital photos because they are mostly GPS tagged, and all have EXIF timestamps.

Watched USC blow a chance to beat Utah, dinner was half a DiGiorno pizza. There's a story. Tonight was a biweekly pizza night in Saratoga for theater friends, and I wanted to go because there are a lot of shows opening this weekend so a lot of friends will be there after. But I didn't want to drive after taking another benedryl, so call it a sympathy/empathy pizza.

Having another glass of champagne, and it is hurting my upper lip where the clumsy assistant burned a notch with the polisher. :-(

Plans for tomorrow:
Check out the USPS job workshop
College football
Maybe try making quinoa

Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

Starting late again, I know not why.

Somewhat sleepless night, more waking up than usual, blame it on the temperature drop. It's usually >75 overnight, last night was in the mid 60's. Spook mostly camped out in the cat bed by the hampers, but made a few trips across the bed to the cat tree and to the window sills. I can't see the cat bed from the webcam, and I think that's where she spent most of my vacation.

Turned off the 7:30 alarms, but was woken up at 9 by Automation Guy phoning. We had a shorter than usual chat because he has a cold and I was still mostly asleep.

In the mail yesterday, besides one of my meds and a better cat harness was a postcard for a USPS exam workshop. RSVP required it said. I called the number, it tried to go to voicemail but the mailbox was full, so it gave me the machine for the main San Francisco PO, which was totally useless. I'll just show up Saturday and see what happens. Not keen on a PO job if I have to wear a uniform.

Skipped breakfast, just had a KIND bar on the way to a career fair. It was supposed to be 100+ employers across the whole range of industries, and I had an eVite Q-code VIP pass. It was cleverly hidden in one of the smaller Doubletree conference rooms, no signage at all, just a woman at a desk with a sign-in sheet, and no bar code scanner. FAIL #1. In the room, there are only about a dozen employers, and the few high tech ones were only looking for sales people. There were two police departments, a couple of colleges, a private preschool, a health care for veterans non-profit. No tech jobs at all. FAIL #2.

At least I was out of there in time to get free parking ($5/hr otherwise).

Home, put some juice into the car so I'd still be electric for my trip to the dentist. Lou, my 89-year-old across the street neighbor came calling, asking me to help him figure out the HP printer he got for $30 at a flea market. Turns out to be a very nice fairly new basic inkjet, only 2 cartridges and both can be accessed without turning on the machine. I showed him how to pop them out and in and told him about the scanner/copier (which is really his best use for it) and he'll take the black cartridge to Fry's to get it filled.

Back to the PC, there was one possible job from a recruiter in DC for a Sunnyvale site. One of my former co-workers had also been contacted by that recruiter and mentioned my name.

Later in the day I got a completely wrong job description from someone with the same not very common first name. Confused me for a bit before I saw it was a different last name. And some Indian bozoid phoned while I was getting in the car, I told him no, this is not a good time to talk, send me email. He said he had, and yes, there it is, an opening in El Segundo, 400 miles away. Ugly town too.

Got to the address for the dentist, and found it was an Indian restaurant. But wait, around the side of the building is the Quarter Note tavern, which is owned by a former HP co-worker and her husband. We went scuba diving in Cozumel together in 1985, I think it was. And then next door to that was the dentist.

Long form to fill out, a bit of a wait, the assistant was a bit clumsy with the x-rays and polishing, but the dentist was fine. She did some due diligence with the medical history, and said I have no cavities and did not tell me to floss more.

Checking out, there was only a $10 co-pay. I was expecting more.

No eating or drinking for half an hour due to fluoride treatment, so I headed home instead of redeeming my free Starbucks reward. But wait, today is the opening of the long-awaited grocery outlet where Fresh'n'Easy died a slow, painful death almost a year ago. So I stopped in, checking things out. It's kind of a hodge podge, they buy overstock and off-brand items, and try to keep prices low. I was only looking, the only thing I would have bought was quinoa, but they didn't have any. I may go back tomorrow for a couple of items which caught my eye.

Home, plowed through the job email and applied for one spot at Akamai. Facebooked, caught up on days of RSS news feeds and completely forgot about the latest travel photos. I am now 5 albums behind. Google photos continues to upload all my stuff, but I get a lot of errors on photos too big to upload. Flickr uploader will resize for me. I want to kill everything on Google and start again an album at a time. Or maybe a year at a time. But I don't see a way to do that without it also killing the photos on my PC. :-(

Made a late lunch of macaroni & sharp cheddar.

Took a nap on the couch, Spook was very vocal about that, and hopped onto the back and walked across it, and parked for a while near my feet, but soon decided that was too close.

Remembered there was football, and I was out of chips, so I assembled a small Groc list and went to Lucky's. Got quinoa (they had three brands, each a different variety), bananas, only one half gallon of milk because it's expensive there, but I splurged on chocolate (Ghrardelli's dark squares were on sale) and on a whim bought a bottle of the cheapest champagne they had. I don't usually like the stuff, but something told me it would go well with the chips & dip.

Home at about 7, the game was far enough along to watch it on the DVR, FF through the commercials, but as low as I made the center speakers, those commentators were shouting so hard that I had to mute the whole thing from time to time. It isn't radio, stupid network managers, we don't need every second of air time filled with voices. I'd rather hear the fans and only get play by play as the play is ongoing. And really not even that because I can see it right there in front of me.

Added minced clams to the French onion/bacon dip and consumed most of a medium bag of chips. Lay's original. No cardboard baked faux chips for me.

Started with a glass of diet coke, but graduated to a glass of champagne. It was an excellent pairing. And made me a wee bit drowsy but not much.

Outside, watered all the gardens & the compost.

Plans for tomorrow:
Redeem my Starbucks reward
Play some Ingress
refill the hummingbird feeders
Try to put the harness on Spook
Mourn the passing of Summer, knowing though that October can be the hottest month of the year here.
Mount the bedroom cam over the door where it can see all the cat haunts

How could I forget?

Monday morning it took several tries to get the car door open. The key is an electronic proximity sensor, not a traditional key or a keypad. It's still dark outside, and I'm trying to get to the train station on time. When I push the start button, all I get is an error message "no key detected".

Rush inside where I have replacement batteries, try to figure out how to open the key but totally fail. In my spare stuff drawer in the kitchen find my spare key, and take both keys with me. The main key also has a ring with all my house keys. Yes, I do mostly use the keypad on the carport door, but Murphy says if I don't take my door keys along, when I get home the keypad battery will have died.

One of the first things I did when I got my laptop out at the hotel was watch the video on how to replace the battery. It is not intuitive. There is some irony here - embedded in the key assembly is a small dagger-like object which can be used to open the door if the battery in the key is dead. However, you can't start the car once inside without a live battery. This gadget is removed by sliding a switch and pulling. Once that is removed, it can be used to pry open the case, and from there replacing the battery is standard.
When I got back home, one of the first things I did was replace the battery.

Can I go to bed now?

12:48 am

Today went sort of as planned, checked out at 11:30, went to the Starbucks in the lobby and had an ice tea and a morning bun. About noon I went back to the gondola to take some photos, then to the bus station, way too early. As I was waiting the weather went from summer to fall in 10 minutes, temp dropped about 15° and it rained a little from very high clouds.

Lots of waiting because I really had nothing I wanted to do. Read some stories on the Kindle app. Played Ingress. Did I mention that yesterday when I was capturing portals in Carson City all of a sudden it upgraded me to level 7? That meant I could do a lot more damage, because I'd hacked about 80 level 7 weapons since Day 1, but couldn't use them till yesterday.

Bus left at 2:05, only a few passengers. We picked up a couple more at the other stop, and then it was a quiet ride through light rain to Placerville. I was on the left side, to get the photos I missed by being on the left side coming up, but being two lanes further right, and lots of window glare, most of the pix I took are going to be deleted.

A few miles from Sacramento we hit all kind of traffic, and people were driving like it's a good idea to cut off a bus when you're in something eminently squishable. And it's a confusing set of on/off ramps, some cars looked totally lost. Worst case was traversing 10 lanes from a standstill. Not us, though.

Arrived in Sacto early, time enough to hit the restrooms, buy a couple of Payday bars at the machines. The station is still being renovated, they are latelatelate and there is no longer a shop in-house. The yellow jacket bite was still bothering me and I wanted to get something for it.

We were so early that I walked the half mile to the train, and still had a 20-minute wait to board.

The windows were filthy, so I tuned off the camera, capped it and yanked the GPS cable.

Did some reading, a tiny bit of Ingress, checked the webcams but Spook was not visible - probably in the bedroom cat bed which is out of sight if the bedroom door is open. I may need to remount that camera.

About an hour to go, the young woman sitting behind me wanted to chat, so we did for the rest of the trip. UCSC student, was able to rattle off coherent phrases in several languages, does accents too.

Got to San Jose only a tiny bit early, thanks to some slow signals around Hayward. Found my car and was home by 9:30. Unpacked, sorted the mail, uploaded the photos and added missing geotags, downloaded the latest transactions to Quicken.

Made some fried rice & BBQ pork for dinner, longons for dessert while watching Below Deck. Too much drama, and very poorly edited. Choppy. Watched Monday's PTI but Tuesday & Wednesday were pre-empted for a hockey game. And there was a huge pair of audio drop-outs, so the problem is ESPN, not Tivo. Grrrrr.

Medicated the insect bite. Iced it a little too.

Plans for tomorrow:
RSVP the USPS job workshop invite
Maybe go to the career fair at 11
Dentist at 2
Process photos

Another scorcher

This morning's adventure was a search for breakfast. Harrah's, which is connected by underground tunnel to Harvey's, has a HUGE esign saying their buffet on the 18th floor is now open. Or maybe it was the bar. It took a long maze navigation to find the elevators, and the view from the approach to the two eateries was gorgeous, but both were closed.

The only place I found open was in the basement, and there was a 20-minute wait.

By the time I'd given up on breakfast it was almost time for lunch, so I went exploring, and found that Heavenly ski slope's gondola was only a couple of blocks away. But this time of year it only runs on weekends. There's a while village of shops and such and I found a nice place called Gunmetal. As I was reading the outdoor menu, a yellow jacket bit my leg. When the hostess seated me outdoors as i asked, she said "we have a bee problem, you don't mind?" I told her I was just bitten by one, but not a problem. Because it wasn't a bee. But I didn't correct her. Of course as I was eating my buffalo burger (which was excellent) a yellow jacket tried to eat it as well. It was very persistent, and avoided my finger flicking.

Back to the room to get my camera, then Ingressed my way to the bus station at 1:30. Misread the schedule, thought it said 2:30, but it said 2:05. Glad I got there so early.

The driver had the aircon set to "Freezer". He probably should have removed his sweater. The drive was very scenic, wrapping around Lake Tahoe for half the trip, some beautiful views. Hazy, though, from lots of small fires. The second half started in hugely tectonified mountains, plates at right angles to the earth. Spectacular images. It ended in the flatlands, and central Carson City.

I had planned to spend some hours at the state historical museum, but the main road in town was being re-paved, and there was no way for me to get across the street to it. Apparently it was closed anyway because the construction was not just obstructive, it was noisy and smelly.

However on the same side of the street as me, a few blocks down, was the state capitol. Beautiful blend of colonial and Victorian, but with a catch. You can't see it very well because it is surrounded by gardens of trees which were planted 150 or more years ago, and they range from huge to gigantic. Most of them have plaques saying the name of the tree and where in the state it was from.

There are hardly any flowers, which is kind of a shame.

Got back half an hour early for the 4:30 bus. Plan A had been to catch the last one at 6:40 but with no museum and not much to photograph in town...

Got most of the photos I missed on the way up by sitting in the same seat. Serious eye candy in the two rows ahead of me. Nice driver let me off right in front of the hotel (there's a stop there, but I had to ask).

Best $4 of the trip. ($2 each way at senior price)

While I was waiting to return, my phone beeped with a FB message from a NC friend whom I knew was in San Jose today, inviting me to join her & hubby for dinner tonight. So sorry to miss her, she is my best friend from Peace Corps. That's two old & living far away friends I missed when they were in town. :-(

Back to the hotel, dropped off the camera, got some ice and a Pepsi, did some online stuff and then hunted down dinner. It took a long time. I made a side trip to the hotel shop, looking for insect bite meds but all I could find was aloe. Also got a more managable water bottle.  Did not want to go to Bee Central, found there was nothing on my side of the street except a burrito place with a neon warning sign "MENUDO", and a pizza place called "Dough Pizza". Not inspiring. Stopped in at a convenience store, again no insect stuff, but got some snacks for the trip back and diet Coke.
Across the street the one nice big place had live music.

Let me back up.

As I was having lunch and enjoying Gunmetal's recorded folk & bluegrass music, someone not too far away started channeling Johnny Cash. Complete with his famous tone deafness. It was horrible. After lunch I walked toward the source of the pain, and it was a nearby outdoor stage for this place I just mentioned.

I listened to the dinner singer from across the street as I waited for the light, but the three young women waiting with me were singing along, and they had chorale-quality voices. It was a Whitney Houston number.

Across the street, the women went off in another direction as I parked myself near enough to hear. The singer had a gimmick of singing the last note of each line up an octave, so it took a good 45 seconds to hear she was off key at least once a phrase.


On to the next place. "Fire & Ice, Improvisational cuisine". I sit down, am handed a tiny flip card menu. It is all drinks. Except for the first page which says to go to the salad bar, invent your own salad, and when you return the waiter will take your drink order.

Not what I was looking for.

Finally back to the first place, Stateline Brewery. It's in the basement, down a steep spiral staircase. I'll take the elevator back up. Despite being a brewery and half of it is a bar with lots of craft beers, they had a pretty good menu. The spring salad was excellent, I loved the lemon juice in the bleu cheese dressing.

And then the inevitable happened. They brought out my BBQ ribs before I was halfway through with the salad. It was a surgical strike delivery by a bus person, so no chance to have them keep it warm till I'm ready.

It was good, but too much too sweet sauce, the mashed potatoes still had a lot of skin, the cole slaw was overkill in light of the salad.

After the ribs were delivered, i didn't see a staff person again until 15 minutes after I was done eating. And even then, wait person had hostess take care of the bill, which took another 10 minutes because she was also accepting a delivery and playing with a friend's kid who just dropped by.

There was not a generous tip.

Got lucky on my way back and found the food court in Harrah's right away, and got me a chocolate shake to take back to the room.

And here I am now.

Plans for tomorrow:
Check out by noon. Maybe have something breakfast-like at the Starbucks in the lobby.
1:30 Amtrak bus to Sacto
Train to SJ

Weird wake-up

This morning I heard a bleep from my phone, then silence. The power must have gone out, it was dark and I could not see the time on the clock near the TV. Or an lights from the Tivo or USB switch.

It took me about 30 seconds to remember I was in a hotel in Nevada, and the clock was to my left.

Long Hot Day

Very restless night. Went to bed at around 9, kept waking up. Finally stayed up at 4:30 until the 4:45 alarms went off. I was ready to go by 5:30, should have waited till 6, but I was at the train station before that. The station wasn't open, but Caltrain staff was on the platform so I found out which track. San Jose station has horribly lacking signage, despite all kinds of electronic reader boards. It would be so easy to mark each tunnel entrance with the type and destination of train.

One other guy was waiting by the train, which was staged about 50 yards from where it would be taking off from. A conductor came out to give us a head-up at about 6:30 (6:45 train).

The ride to Sacramento was easy, we got there way early. The train was about half full at most, which meant I could keep my pack on the seat next to me.

There was a cart waiting for us on the platform, it's almost a mile from the track to the station where the buses are. My bus was not due out till 10:15, and got there at 10:10. Not a lot of passengers.

I am so very glad I had not tried to drive that final 72 miles, because Hwy 50 degrades from a 12-lane superhighway to a 3-lane mountain road which switches which side gets two lanes depending on which side is going uphill. The scenery is spectacular, sheer cliffs, Yosemite-like mountains, dense forests. There was a fire somewhere which hazed things up, and between the not-clear view and the winding route and the glare on the windows which my polarizing filter hardly touched, I took very few photos and just enjoyed the view and the vertigo.

The driver explained that the S. Lake Tahoe stop was three stops, the last one right by the hotel (which is in Nevada), but I had planned to take the first stop and catch a more scenic drive local bus. The good news is it was free for Amtrack transfers, the bad news is it was a 45-minute wait. It only runs once an hour. And it wasn't all that scenic, only about 3 minutes of lake view.

2-block walk to the hotel, plus a 2-block maze to the registration desk. They really want you to gamble. No problems checking in, the room is huge, but has no fridge and no view and no outlets by the desk. Nice TV, but it is glued to the wall, so no way to swivel it if you want to sit in one of the lovely chairs off to the side.

Dumped my stuff, put a light jacket and my tablet in my foldable knapsack, grabbed the camera and walked back to the bus stop. The bus had already gone. Took some photos in the neighborhood, and saw the camera battery was almost depleted, so walked back to the room, put that one on the charger, replaced it with a spare and put the second spare in my pocket.

Back to the bus station, which turned out to be a mistake because it goes to the end of its route and turns around, stopping right in front of Harvey's.

The agent at the first local station was very helpful, she suggested I visit something called Lakeview Commons. I had the driver drop me off near there, and it turns out to be a lovely public beach and boat ramp, with a sort of amphitheater leading to the lake. Very nice view of the lake. It's way too shallow to swim, but people were wading and sunbathing. Very scenic. I hung around for a while, then looked for food in the area, and found a lot of choices. It was late for lunch, early for dinner, so I had a huge chocolate malt at the "snow zone". Popular place. Burgers smelled wonderful, but I was not in the mood. The cashier is a cute pixie.

Investigated a few other places but was no longer hungry. Walked 1/4 mile to the crosswalk and 1.4 mile back to the bus stop and waited for the #50 to take me back to Nevada. Either the schedule is wrong or it was way late.

Totally pooped, sunburned and not hungry at all, I went to the room and got comfortable and watched some of MNF. Decided to be among people, there is a lot of eye candy around here, so I watched in the sports book room till halftime and then went through the underground tunnel to Harrah's, found the food court, and a Thai food stand.

The young man who took my order for Thai Iced Tea without boba pellets got it wrong, and when he went back to fix it he asked me, and still had it wrong, so I shouted in Thai asking if he spoke Thai. Both he and the really cute teenaged girl at the register said yes, so I gave him my order in Thai, he got it right and they both waied me. So cute! Still not hungry, and the main dishes were way too expensive, so if I go back it will be for Thai Iced Tea.

Back to the sports book room for a bit, but it was all men with  beer. Back to my room to watch the end of the game, log into the net (which cost $14! - it's free in Harrah's food court).

Hiked way down the hall to get ice and a diet pepsi. No coke. Boo, hiss.

Plans for tomorrow:
Not sure. This is basically a ski town but it's summer. I think it got up to 80 today. Major league khamsin winds from the mountains.
One of the buses from the terminal goes to Carson, which is a place I have never been. But it looks like it runs even less often than the #50.
There probably aren't any weekday tours now that summer season is over.
No shows on Monday night, nothing I want to see tomorrow as far as I can tell.

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September 2016



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