Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Mission Accomplished

Done deal. My whirlwind dash up to the DaveCave and back was all over in 28 hours.

I picked up my mail, spent the night in my own bed, and took care of my Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot duty. The charming woman with the English accent was equally charming in person, not to mention efficient! I was in and out of there in under 15 minutes.

Back in the good graces of my County Registrar of Voters, I was free to play on my way down the hill! I stopped at Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley to pick up a few things for the gardens at the Ancestral Digs. They've moved to a larger warehouse, with ample Retail Space, and a large Nursery Area. The staff were their usual cheery and helpful selves, and I got a free pack of Honeydew Melon Seeds.

I had planned to stop in Auburn at the health food store, and the Eisley Nursery, but the weather was threatening and I was in shorts, so I opted to just blast down the Super Slab and get back before the Heavens opened.

Lots of folks on the roads today...probably trying to get everything done before the rain too.

Just before I left the DaveCave, SturgeUrge phoned. He took the day off and wondered what I was up to. I told him where, what, and when, and he remarked on the blustery winds down in the Inland Valley. Eight hours later, they're still blowing.

I watched the 6 O'clock news from Oakland and Sacramento. KCRA's Senior Meteorologist reported that this will be the first May in 40 years without a 90 degree day! Yesterday, the CBS13 WeatherDude said no 80's this month...Mother Nature isn't taking any prisioners this Spring!

Both Weathermen said it was snowing in Truckee! I looked at the webcams about a half an hour before the news...just rain...I looked again and it was snow!

Reluctantly, I looked at Reno's AFD...not good! Showers or chance of showers for the next week...after tonight's snow that is! The Reno News-Talk Radio said snow in Reno tonight. You can tell the lingering winter weather is starting to exact a toll...

Hang in there Truckee Locals! Reno-ites, you too!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dispatch from the DaveCave

I rolled up the hill today. I've been at the Ancestral Digs for two weeks, and I needed to pick up my Absentee Ballot (and the rest of the mail before the Post Office starts jack hammering the new mail into my PO Box!)

I'm registered as DS, "Decline To State", and while I was totally focused on my BodyClock Reset War, I missed the deadline to pick a Party Affiliation for June's Primary Election by mail...I called my County Registrar Of Voters, and spoke with a lovely woman with a charming English accent, who gave me the answer I was looking for, so tomorrow on my way down the hill, I'll stop by her office, register with the party of my choice (for this election) and be on my way with a new Ballot!

After I finish being a good citizen tomorrow, I get to stop at Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley to pick up a few things for the gardens at the Ancestral Digs. Then I hit my favorite nursery in Auburn, my favorite foothill health food emporium, and my favorite tackle shop.

Just so you know, Jeweler is doing fine. He messaged me on Facebook:
"Thanks for the shout TD it came at a good time. Been having those El Niño Blues. Not working isn't helping. But I think that'll be changing soon. So the fishing hasn't been great but it's been nice if ya known what I mean. Going out towards Prosser inlet in a bit. Fished the Little Truckee and the inlet to Stampede to no avail. Had a great day though."

I'm sure Jeweler had a wonderful afternoon fishing or not. It's a nice Spring day in the High Sierra, lot's of dirt showing on South slopes compared to when I left town. Now the Sacramento WeatherDude just said: four days of showers out of the next seven days...Summer will come eventually, and the longer it takes getting here, the more we'll appreciate it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weather Phenomena or Public Health Emergency?

Late Tuesday (early Wednesday!)
I wanted to give a Shout Out to Jeweler, who posted this to my Facebook Wall today: "Yep Dave. It snowed all of Monday. It looks like there is a giant sucker hole over the summit today though."

That was his answer to my earlier comment on Jeweler's Status Update. Jeweler: "Depression hurts everyone. I want winter to end" he posted. I commented: "is it still snowing up there? That's three Mondays in a row!"

Tuesday, Jeweler posted this Status Update: "I heard the fishing is good close to me. If the rain stops, I'll get there this evening." When my blog posts Thursday, I'll put the links to my last two posts on Jeweler's wall.

Everyone forgets to "think outside the box" once in a while...even more so when El Niño is holding sway, and gray Winter-like weather persists deep into spring. For Hard Core Groomers, it's much worse. We suffer the Double Whammy...lousy weather and not being able to get into our tractors and deal with it! The old saw says: "An idle mind is the Devil's playground" That goes in spades for us groomers on Summer Hiatus!

Looking at the Climate Prediction Center's 90 Day Outlook Discussion, there isn't a whole lot for Jeweler to hang his hat on short term. Eventually, Spring will come, El Niño is in decline now. The CPC says there a better than even chance that we'll be having a hot Summer...once it gets here!

I remember the last round of Strong El Niño influence on the High Sierra Spring and Summer...It had to be late May or even early June. Winter had already hung on way too long! I was standing in the Check-Out line at the Albertson's with a half dozen other Truckee Locals. Everyone was looking down at their shoes or the floor...there was a lot of fidgeting about, it was creepy quiet, and nobody wanted to make eye contact. They especially didn't want to gaze out the front windows at the falling snow! I remember realizing right then that this was much more than a weather was becoming a Mental Health Emergency!

Truckee finally emerged like an animal awakening from hibernation to enjoy yet another fine High Sierra Summer.

That October, SturgeUrge and I were widening our horizons in Southern Baja. We visited Rancho Leonero on Baja's East Cape for the first time. The Ranch is one of the venerable "Old Baja" style fishing resorts scattered along the rural East Cape. The warm Mexican hospitality of the sleepy fishing villages around these resorts make for good times, and subtly civilize even the most grizzled traveling anglers.

When we arrived at the Ranch, after the three hour jitney ride from Cabo's International Airport, we stepped into the warm, lurid tropical afternoon. A brisk wind was blowing out of the North. We settled into our room, and enjoyed a few cervesas while we unpacked and started rigging our tackle. Tackle Ho-ing is a great way to spend a sultry tropical afternoon...winding down from a long day of travel with a frosty Pacifico...putting the diamond file to big game hooks can be very relaxing...setting the drag on a Big Game Reel with a 50lb hand scale always helps melt away the hustle and bustle of International Travel.

On our way down to the Dining Room, we noticed the wind had freshened. The Sea of Cortez looked like San Francisco Bay at 3PM in the dead of Summer...the sheep were in the meadow...Big Time! After a couple of hours of getting to know our fellow anglers in the cantina, we retired back to our room, and the winds were still howling.

At breakfast the next morning, the whitecaps were everywhere on the usually calm Cortez. We've learned over the years to never fish the day after we travel...we're too good at outsmarting ourselves on the water to add travel fatigue to our quarry's list of allies!

After watching the fleet head out for the day, we returned to our room to finish rigging. After lunch we took our light tackle down to the beach to do some shore fishing. The wind was still blowing out of the North. There was serious surf! Normally this far up the Cortez, there's no surf to speak of. Today, there were so many combers that we couldn't cast far enough to get past them!

When the anglers who did get out told their stories over dinner we realized we were the butt of Mother Nature's cruelest practical joke...not only had her Grande El Niño run Winter almost to the Summer Solstice, but down here in North America's Tropics, El Niño was now bringing Winter's steady Northerlies to the East Cape six weeks early! Our first trip to the fabled waters of the East Cape was scuttled by these winds.

The folks at Rancho Leonero were more than gracious. They refunded the rest of our week, arranged lodging and a boat charter in Cabo, and had their handyman/jitney driver drive us into Cabo where we had a great time catching Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado and some Sierra Mackeral. The cab ride was epic...SturgeUrge and I will never forget that ride, and coupled with a magic time in Cabo, we had our best Baja Adventure to date...but that's a story for another day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Forward, Fall Back?

Spring 2010? Fall Down...
Well, Mother Nature isn't quite done with Winter. She's sending yet another Monday precipitation event our way. (For those who are keeping score at home, that's three Monday's in a row!) SturgeUrge phoned from work today, and we hammered out a suitable alternative to boating for Monday's fishing trip. Foul Weather Gear and Crab Tackle are in order at Pacifica Pier.

We'll get a late start so we miss the Rush Hour Traffic across the Bridge, and to catch the last couple hours of the incoming tide and the slack at the top of the tide. SturgeUrge quipped "You never come home from the Pier empty handed...even if you have to swing through Chinatown to pick up some live crab on the way home! "Good plan" I agreed.

Getting Monday's plan settled was the capper to my great Sunday. I hit the sack early Saturday night. I answered the alarm at 0430, and settled in to watch the Monaco Grand Prix in HD. No problem staying awake after all the on-track fireworks on Lap 1! Monte Carlo in the spring is just gorgeous in HD...I was reminded of the scenery of the Tour de France, except with 200mph race cars in lieu of 200 bicycles!

After the F1 Race, I dropped Mom off at church and I did my errands. I picked up some soil amendments and tomato plants at the Home Improvement Store, picked up a bag of groceries, and toured the Farmer's Market for the first time this spring. No rhubarb, but I got a nice bunch of leeks, some Bing Cherries, an heirloom tomato plant of the "Pineapple" variety, and some vine-ripe tomatoes!

I made burgers on the BBQ for dinner, and the tomatoes were delicious. We were suprised to find such good tomatoes this early (especially with the cool, wet spring we've endured so far this year!)

I watched some NASCAR out of the corner of my eye...I was paying more attention to my computer screen that the tube. I watched the final 15Km of Stage One of the Amgen Tour of California, while following Amgen's Official ToC Twitter Feed. Lance Armstrong Tweeted his thoughts on the day just minutes after the Stage ended.

I wasn't done soaking up Sports, either! I caught the last three innings of the Giants vs Astros. The Giants won after a very high drama threat from the Astros in the 9th. Finally, I watched a few passes of the Funny Cars at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta. Kinda cool watching the Father/Daughter matchup between 14 time NHRA Funny Car Champion and his daughter Ashley Force-Hood. Ashley beat her dad with a holeshot win! I didn't hang with the rest of the brackets...I don't know who won in the end.

I love it when a plan comes together!
Well, our "evil" plan worked to perfection! The weather forecast scared everyone off, so we ended up with the Pier almost to ourselves! Oh, there were sprinkles on and off, but no steady rain until we had eight dungeness crabs in the cooler! Things started out slow for us, but our neighbors were killing them! After a while we started getting one every 10-15 minutes...all of them just under legal size.

About an hour before the top of the tide, we started slaying them too! Every set yielded crab! Many were keepers, too. Meanwhile, our neighbors were high-lining their limits...and giving us their culls. They gave us five in all, SturgeUrge and I got three keepers, and the rain started to pick up. We called it just before 5PM. Walking off the pier, changing out of our foul weather gear, and loading the car took a half an hour...we were in no hurry to catch rush hour going home.

We caught up to rush hour about a mile from the Bridge. The approaches were parking lots. The Westbound side was crawling wasn't raining hard, but traffic was definitely in defense mode. We enjoyed the time...all smug from our afternoon of fun and good fortune.

Back at the SturgeUrge Compound, I rigged the crab cooker out back, while SturgeUrge entertained and fed the dog. He made a simple green salad with some of his freshly pickled cauliflower, and shredded Parmesan, steamed all eight crabs in one shot, dropped them into the cooler now filled with ice water, and made his usual beautiful crab plates. We washed the bounty down with a bottle of Chandon Blanc de Noir, and some crusty sourdough bread. The perfect meal for our perfect day...three weeks of rain-dashed plans were forgotten...lost in the warm afterglow of success. Delicious success, too!

SturgeUrge explained the pickled cauliflower...out of the blue, he decided to make his own Giardiniera...but thought the cauliflower was too sweet. I said "Don't worry Urge, once you add some pepperoncini, celery, onions, carrots, and a few Pimientos it'll taste great" SturgeUrge said "You always follow the recipe the first time out, then you make adjustments" "Great Minds think alike" I replied.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Things Are Lookin' Up

I hit the wall today...I'm officially tuckered-out. I stayed up way too late fiddlin' with a bunch of gadgets last night, then tried to stay awake when my alarm went off at 0500. I did my best to watch the Formula One Qualifying from Monte Carlo, but my body wouldn't hear of it.

My eyes finally stayed open at 0830...that's when I noticed a new muscle pain. How the heck did I pull a groin muscle? I didn't exactly exert myself Friday! After lunch we took a drive into the neighboring town, and that's when I figured it out. Yesterday I wore Official Summertime Shorts, complete with front and rear pockets. Today I wore 'em again and I knew instantly when I plopped into the seat of the car...sitting on my not so thick wallet for the hour or more doing errands yesterday, had pushed something out of whack.

All Winter long, I never sit on my wallet. It lives in my backpack's inner pocket except when I'm doing errands. My pickup's bench seat is a hellava lot more forgiving than the tight, modern "bucket seat" in the 2003 sport compact I drive here in the Inland Valley!

It's already feeling better...just knowing is good medicine...

I put off some shopping because of the groin muscle thing...I didn't feel like wrestling a dozen sacks of compost and chicken manure in and out of the pickup today anyway. So I did the next best thing...I made a series of "Before" photos of the fence and irrigation projects, that will be hidden behind a verdant garden paradise of heirloom tomatoes, chilies, melons, herbs and squash over the next months.

Sunday is Farmer's Market Day here at the Ancestral Digs, and the sacks of the garden stuff are right across the street from the Farmer's Market.

Monday's "Winter Storm" is starting to look manageable from a fishing standpoint. I looked at the AFD's from SFO/Monterey, Sacramento, and Reno. There will be rain Monday afternoon, with 1-2 inches of snow in the Sierra down to 6500ft Monday night. Sac is calling for afternoon showers and mountain snow in the evening...they're backing away from the Thursday nonsense, too. Here in the Bay Area, one tenth to one quarter of an inch is forecast. The SFO Marine forecast says: Rain Likely with winds topping out at 10 knots...another way to say all that is "Do-able"

My mission for Sunday is to suss out the Fishing Reports and weather updates and Sunday evening, we'll make the call on what, where, and when. There's a big Minus Tide in the AM...just about the time we'd be launching on Suisun Bay...launching on San Francisco Bay proper fits our schedule...but the minus tides are going to preclude good halibut fishing...

Monday looks like Sturgeon City...big Tide Swings. Morning Minus Tide means early up and early rest for the wicked. SturgeUrge and TruckeeDave aren't above sufferin' for our art! A little anyway...