Monday, July 9, 2012

Family Fun For The Fourth of July

God Bless America!

We spent the Fourth of July with family, just the way it should be spent. After 2 years of sailing in Mexico, it was good to be on terra firma and pay tribute to "God Bless America" with my brother's family.
It was our first time "Courtesy Parking" in Tranquila - no complaints about the venue - my brother and sister-in-law's second home at Tahoma on Lake Tahoe, complete with a long dock for swimming, naps, sitting around catching up on family doings, and a couple of mooring for boating. We have been spending family vacations there for years; summer or winter, the place is perfect for celebrating holidays. Our family time on Lake Tahoe always involves lots of shared laughter, plenty of exercise balanced by lounging about, and an abundance of comfort food and flowing wine. This week was no exception.

Our view of Lake Tahoe thru the pines, a great way to start the day.

We had a fantasic view of the Lake under tall pines, but after 3 days of the sugar pines dripping sap and blowing pollen all over our little silver bubble home, Tranquila was filthy. So we gave our girl a 3 hour bath. Within a few short hours she was covered once again by pollen, so I said “to hell with it” and pretended it was yellow fairy dust. Life is too short to worry, besides it was time to hang out on the dock and gather a few rays. We slathered up with sunscreen and wore big hats to protect ourselves from the high altitude sun. Some of us braver types enjoyed brief dips in the cool crystal clear blue water. I swear, the color of the icy Tahoe water rivaled any tropical waters I have enjoyed, but the temperature kept me grounded in reality.

Sitting on the Family Dock of the Bay

Everyone brings their latest novel, but not many pages get turned.
Sparky, ever hopeful of chasing the tennis ball.

Spark greets all new comers with a soggy tennis ball.

Darrell may have been the last one to arrive on the dock, but he had no problem getting in the swing of things.  Behind him, in the background, on the neighbor's dock under the American flag, waves a Cal flag. One dock down, a rival Stanford flag flutters in the afternoon breeze. Perfectly content to be retired from both fine institutions, Darrell smiles a BIG grin, that says "Life is Good".

After another day of hard work, it was time to BBQ dinner. Each meal was a group effort with everyone pitching in from meal planning to preparation to clean-up. One night D and I whipped up some margaritas, barbecued arrachera (marinated flank steak) served with black beans spiced up with mole sauce. You can take us out of Mexico, but you can't take Mexico out of us! The next night, Rich made All-American Cheeseburgers for the Fourth served alongside fireworks from 3 locations across the Bay. 

The next morning, Terry, who is the "Queen of Breakfast" whipped up another feast that did not disappoint. At Christmas she makes a scrambled egg-french toast-sausage combo with maple or berry syrup that always knocks us out. This time she made a mouthwatering egg, cheese, and sausage casserole served with fresh fruit. It was getting time to loosen our belt buckles.

Katherine, my beautiful niece, waits patiently for dinner, while Rich drives the BBQ.

After 4 days of morning walks, afternoon swims, and evening wine & dines, we needed to mosey on down the road before we wore out our welcome. We were also due to meet up with Darrell's sisters along the Truckee River at Silver Creek Campground for a little "dry camping"....meaning no hook-ups, no pump-outs, with only our solar panels to satisfy our energy needs. Our solar system works great! We love to dry camp, it almost always means, grand views in peaceful settings.

This was one tight fit, and after doing some Lucy and Desi ("The Long Long Trailer") maneuvers we finally got Tranquila snugged away.  Well worth the effort.

Birthday Girl
These were our backyard neighbors just across the campground on the Truckee River. There was a perfect little swimming hole on our side to soak in and cool off from the 90 degree weather. Darrell and 2 of his sister's, Bobbie and Judy, enjoyed cooling off before we stoked up the BBQ and savored a pulled pork dinner served with Razzleberry Pie from, of course, Ikeda's! My FAV! Unfortunately, his youngest sister, Carol, was unable to join our gathering. Next time! We all sang "Happy Birthday" to Bobbie the next morning, and expect to celebrate many many more birthdays together camping under the stars.

The Ericksons': Darrell, Judy, and Bobbie

Darrell, Spark and I had a great afternoon walking along the Truckee River and watching rafters float happily down the river towards Alpine Meadows for lunch on a sunny terrace. We found a perfect spot to take a refreshing dip in the cool water. We will definitely be back to do a little rafting ourselves. The Truckee River Rafting group even allows dogs!  We are going to make sure we float downstream on a week day to avoid the crowds!

Weekends are busy!

All is fairly quiet on the terrace before the noontime lunch crowd arrived. 
Then watch out! Packed with folks hungry from the 2 hour trip down the river.

Next, we head up Highway 89 to Plumas County to explore some of the gazillion lakes filled with trout, swim a bit, and do a some hiking. There are also plenty of good restaurants in the area, offering me a break from cooking in the summer heat.  

Sneak Preview: We fell in LOVE with the area and will make it our summer home.

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