A High Speed Tour of the Tahoe Ski Areas

I took off in an F/A-18E jet from Truckee airport and visited most of the Tahoe area ski resorts in 12 minutes or less:

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Kevin & Vanessa’s Wedding

February 22, 2022 at Saratoga Springs, California:

 

 

 

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Gamers Gone Skiing

A four-minute video montage of our skiing days.

We got our gaming group together in Tahoe in early February for a few days of skiing and board gaming. Geof and Nacho joined me on the slopes at Tahoe Palisades while Jennifer, Adriana, Laurie and Richard checked out the lake and old town Truckee – and Laurie got in an afternoon at Northstar.

We had exploding potions in Quacks of Quedlinburg, color confusion in Hues and Cues, pushed our luck in Diamant, placed our bets in Wits & Wagers, rolled for the top in Mountain Goats, intercepted secret codes in Decrypto, managed our tricks in both The Crew and Instinct, swam with sharks in Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, built up a map of cities and roads in Carcassonne, dodged avalanches in Slide 5, and laid out our “stained glass” dice windows in Sagrada.

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Let The Games Continue

Starting with the wonderfully imposing monolith from Return to Dark Tower:

…and continuing with clan conflict in Inis, a jungle race in The Quest for El Dorado, city planning in Suburbia, back-stabbing cooperation in Cutthroat Caverns, murderous philosophy in Trial by Trolley, breeding pea plants in Genotype, holding back the inevitable dike failure in Lowlands, interstellar warfare in Cosmic Encounter, rail building in Iberian Gauge and feeding your friends to sharks and sea monsters in Survive: Escape from Atlantis!

More gaming in early February at the Tahoe house: Gamers Gone Skiing.

March update: Surviving an alien infestation in Nemesis, wheeling and dealing in Chinatown real estate, running around an Istanbul market, building power plants in Power Grid, working the financial markets in Speculation, evolving your sea creatures in Oceans, getting your pirates out in Cartagena, reaching the dramatic end to our months-long campaign in the The King’s Dilemma, arranging a group photo in Picture Perfect, betting and cheating on horses in Long Shot: The Dice Game, surviving in the paleolithic in Paleo, fighting foes in Return to Dark Tower, pulling off a difficult heist in Burgle Bros and racing crazed camels in Camel Up.

Also lots of game sessions without pictures: horse racing bets and cheats in Long Shot: The Dice Game, maneuvering a Parade of Alice in Wonderland characters, deducing the murderer and motive in Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, serving up beer in Taverns of Tiefenthal, shooting it out with Finger Guns at High Noon, more clan conflict in Inis, and a bunch of sessions with The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine and The Crew: Mission Deep Sea.

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Paddling Elkhorn Slough

 

While Darlene was out here visiting for a few days from Wisconsin, ;-)  we took the kayak out for a late morning paddle in Elkhorn Slough.  And of course we saw the usual array of sea lions, sea otters, pelicans, etc:

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Skiing With Friends Again

We got piles of snow at the end of December, setting new records for the month (17 feet).  The storm kept all the highways closed for many days, but Troy, Resi, Aiden and I were eventually able to get up to Tahoe – and ski together for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

A little four-minute video montage of our ski adventures.

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Merry Christmas from Tesla

I just received a software update for my Tesla Model Y today – just in time for Christmas.  Among many other changes and additions, it now includes the light show for all of their current models.  As a friend noted, it appears to be possessed by a ghost of Christmas:

Apparently it’s now possible for owners to create and load new light show arrangements.  The provided one is set to the tune of Carol of the Bells.

Update (12/27): As expected, folks are already making tons of new song and light show arrangements, like Eye of the Tiger, Star Wars Imperial March, Darude’s Sandstorm, Daft Punk “The Grid” from Tron: Legacy, etc.  Here’s a repository coming together to find and download them.

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High Speed Bear Crossing

The noise you hear is a snow plow operating nearby, probably clearing the road intersection off-camera to the left.  An hour later, apparently while I was editing the original video clip of his dash across the road, the bear came back – with the snow plow still operating nearby — and he tried crossing again several times.  (I’ve now combined all the clips together.)

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Gaming (and Costumes)

More pictures from our gaming sessions, including in costume for Halloween and for our ongoing King’s Dilemma council meetings:

 

Some of the many titles we’ve played recently: Cascadia, Burgle Bros (1 and 2), Chinatown, Pan Am, Cosmic Encounter, The Bloody Inn, Wiz-War, Mountain Goats, Plague Inc., The Search for Planet X, Maglev Metro, Near and Far, Gùgōng, Decyrpto, King’s Dilemma, Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, Bargain Quest, Nemesis, Obsession, Inis, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Barrage, Evolution: Climate and Flamme Rouge.

Update (11/29/2021): Added pictures from some more gaming sessions in November: Villainous, Unicorn Fever and Chinatown.  I forgot to take pictures during our very long but surprisingly truly funny game of Forgotten Waters.  D’oh!

Update (12/17/2021): Clay joined us in December on a visit: Die of the Dead, Power Grid, Flamme Rouge and Settlers of Catan — it was Darlene and Adriana’s first time to play Catan!  We also got together later in the month at Nacho’s for Bargain Quest and For-Ex.

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Grandpa’s House

Yesterday, Darlene and I came across “grandpa’s house” from the movie The Lost Boys while hiking in Pogonip Park here in Santa Cruz:

  

It’s now condemned and fenced off but they used the old Pogonip clubhouse for the exterior shots of “grandpa’s house” back in 1987:

And then we found this…

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Darlene Forgets Something

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Lake Tahoe to Desert Playa

We loaded up the van and headed out last week, stopping first for a couple of days to visit with Troy in Tahoe.

 

Our intention was to travel on to the Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada and maybe into Utah but we had to cut the trip short and head home early so that Darlene could help a friend.  So we spent the couple of days we had checking out Pyramid Lake north of Reno (which is where Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River drain to) and then visiting the Black Rock Desert playa before heading home.

All of this area (and in fact all of northwest Nevada) used to be submerged in a huge prehistoric lake (Lake Lahontan) and the ancient water lines are still obvious along the mountain sides.  There are also lots of cool tufa rock formations in the area, though unfortunately much of the area around Pyramid Lake is off limits to the public and open to tribal members only.  (The lake and surroundings are part of a Paiute Reservation.)

Tufa / calcium carbonate rock formations (or perhaps alien artifacts)

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More VR Demos

More demos of VR for friends, this time with Dave and Kathie, separately with Troy and (updated in December 2021) with Clay:

See also past VR demos with Martha and Dave and with Glenn, Michele and Seaerra:

 

and my original demo of VR experiences with me and Darlene:

 

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Colorado Road Trip

I’ve already posted a series of galleries for most of our Colorado road trip:

This last gallery (Florissant, Shelf Road, Flaming Gorge, etc.) contains more miscellaneous pictures — visiting the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, driving the dramatic, unpaved Shelf Road south out of Cripple Creek, stopping by the Royal Gorge Bridge, hiking out to the dinosaur trackways near Red Fleet State Park (Utah), spending a couple of days at the south end of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, seeing wild horses in Sand Wash Basin HMA in northwest Colorado, and overnight stops in Wyoming, Utah and Nevada on my way to and from Colorado.

Old homestead at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

On the Shelf Road

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

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Dinosaur National Monument

As part of our month-long Colorado road trip, we spent about four days in Dinosaur National Monument but could have happily spent more if not for the worsening smoke from this year’s California wildfires.

One of many canyon overlooks along Yampa Bench Road

 

Coming from the south, we started with the canyon portion of the park and spent two nights at the Echo Park campground.  One day was just biking out along the Yampa Bench Road and checking out many of the amazing river canyon overlooks.

The following day we turned our attention to the dinosaur fossils and petroglyphs in the western part of the park by taking a slow, rough 4WD road to the other side of the park.  (Why take the easy way around??)

At the Quarry Exhibit Hall, you can see hundreds of fossilized dinosaur bones still embedded in the rock:

Lots of petroglyphs along Harper’s Corner Road

And we had a close encounter with a pair of bighorn sheep:

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A Taste of the Kokopelli Trail

As part of our month-long Colorado road trip, we stopped at a fossil quarry site along I-70 near the Utah border called A Trail Through Time where you can see a few fossils still embedded in the rock:

Afterwards we chose to check out the mountain biking trails in the BLM area just across the highway. Turns out this very pretty area, Rabbit Valley, is part of the popular Kokopelli Trail that continues southwest into Utah and all the way to Moab, over 140 miles.  We just ended up riding as far as an overlook of the Colorado River that afternoon before returning to our campsite for dinner and to watch a very cool, very active, distant thunderstorm.  I went for another ride later that night after dark.

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