Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life Is Funny Sometimes

I don't remember who said it first..."Life is what happens while you're making other plans"...

The quote is usually attributed to John Lennon, but I heard it from Ruth Gordon in the 1971 movie "Harold and Maude" a couple of years before Lennon uttered it on the Dick Cavett Show. Honestly, it sounds like something Mark Twain would have rattled off back in the day...

I've been hanging in the DaveCave for the better part of the last week...ostensibly to work on my pickup, which needs a new distributor. I need the truck on the road so I can haul the lumber and other materials to finish my maintenance around the Ancestral Digs, and to finish the improvements to the Ancestral Diggins' gardens.

One small problem...I haven't turned a wrench yet!

It turns out that doing a little mental  housekeeping was more important in the greater scheme of things than getting my fingernails dirty, and the pickup road-ready just yet.

I didn't realize that I was coping with the emotional bends until I returned to my Fortress Of Solitude and let my hair down a little, so to speak.

The Dog Days' misfortunes of my San Francisco Giants have eked their way into my delicate psyche...allowing me to self-deceive myself...running my psyche into the emotional cite the currently favored political meme...

Taking my malaise by the horns, I did absolutely nothing for five days, save some TV viewing of my favored Niche Sports, and lazing about the DaveCave much to the consternation of Mr & Mrs Landlord, who are desperate for me to move the pickup outta the garage to enable their summer update plans.

Somewhere in those five days, I regained my station keeping resolve, and remembered to not allow other peoples' problems to rule my life, psyche, or plans.

I decided to block out my Giants' woes, and take a different tack on the National Pastime. I took in a Triple-A game in Reno. The SF Giants' AAA Farm Team, the Fresno Grizzlies were in town for a four game series against the Reno Aces, the AAA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks (who are beating the pants off the Giants in  the NL West as we speak)

Aces' Ballpark in Downtown Reno's Freight House District
I wanted to get a look at the Giants' prospects Brandon Crawford and Emanuel Burris, both of whom have been up to San Francisco and sent back down to the minors. Regular readers may remember my blog about Crawford's first Major League Hit, a Grand Slam in Milwaukee. To this day I still believe it was a miracle from above.

Everything about going to that game enforced my belief in Human Nature. I bought mt ticket online, and printed it on the DaveCave's EPSON R280 printer. I did some errands before game time, and parked right across the street from Aces' Ballpark, the barely three year old home of the Reno Aces.

Did I mention that my seat was In The Front Row!? yes, Section 103 Row 1 Seat 14 was right on the field, less than 30 ft from the third base line, adjacent to the left field edge of the infield dirt. This was a great seat, much closer to the action than my Dad's longtime seats at Candlestick Park that were also front row box seats on the left field side of the infield.

A beautiful night in downtown Reno's Aces' Ballpark
Believe me, I paid attention to each and every pitch...I was lethally close to the action. About a half a dozen foul balls sailed over my seat through the nine innings, one I would have jumped up for had I brought a mitt...bare handing that one was out of the was smoked, and landed two sections past us!

The Grizzlies lost, the Reno Aces clinched a playoff spot, and I headed home rejuvenated, even though I heard the bad news of yet another Giants loss on the radio.

Back at the DaveCave, I blogged about the game on CorduroyPlanet's Tumblr Page, and listened to some radio podcasts before falling asleep around 4AM.

I woke up at 0830 and drifted in and out until 11:30 when I got up, made the French Roast and a Vine Ripe BLT for breakfast. After ignoring the noon -1AM NewsBlock, and monitoring the 1-2PM business news, I headed up Old Hwy 40 to Soda Springs to post a letter and to do a little Lincoln Highway exploring...

When I came over the summit Wednesday afternoon, I noticed a new storefront HQ of the Donner Summit Historical Society in the old Soda Springs Hotel building. The storefront had been Soda Springs' espresso store for several seasons before going legit. The place had a Lincoln Highway sign in the window.

I passed the DSHS shop, hit the Post Office and headed west on Old Hwy 40 in search of Lincoln Highway touchstones. I motored past all four houses on the Lincoln Highway that I've lived in over the years, and all the way west to Cisco Grove where some Lincoln Highway associated buildings still stand. My digital point & shoot recorded the whole shebang. I spent a couple of hours stopping to photograph vestiges of the old road before stopping at the DSHS storefront for a look-see. BajaBabe suggested that I stop by the US Forest Service's Big Bend visitor's center...I did, but they were already on off season hours.

Cisco Grove's Lincoln Hwy Era Forest Gift Shops
I walked in to the cluttered, library cum museum space and announced to nobody in particular: Hello!

I heard a hello from the very back of the rooms, and walked towards the voice. There sat Norm Sayler at a computer on the cluttered desk. Norm was one of the first Donner Summit Denizens I met when I first started to frequent the Summit back in the late 70s. At that time, Norm was the Owner/General Manager of Donner Ski Ranch, and Donner Spitz Snow Removal and Backhoe.

Today, Norm is the Donner Summit Historical Society...lock, stock, and barrel. I quizzed Norm about the Lincoln Highway's Donner Summit history, about the concrete bridges I'd just photographed along Old Hwy 40, and wondered aloud how Mount Lincoln atop the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort got it's name.

3:19PM Monday
Norm is a walking, talking Donner Summit History-Bot. He knew that the bridges weren't part of the Lincoln Highway, but dated to the Late-20s advent of US Hwy 40...I'd asked if they were WPA-Era construction because they were built before the advent of plywood.

Norm opined that Mt Lincoln's name dates to the Transcontinental Railroad Days...It was President Lincoln's baby the Coast to Coast R/R...Norm knew that nearby Mt Judah was named for the visionary R/R engineer who surveyed that Trans-Sierra Route and lobbied Congress for the Transcontinental Rail Road. Judah, who died before the Transcontinental railroad was even authorized by Congress, wasn't honored until 1937 when the peak standing above Donner Summit was named in his honor.

I told Norm my story of visiting Utah's Promontory Summit in 1964, and how I didn't realize until I spent some time on Donner Summit how that field trip had sown the seeds of my lust for history. Norm likes my idea for a Lincoln Highway Centennial Bicycle Grand Tour, and my AMGEN ToC Stage from Placerville to Donner Summit.

We spent better than an hour catching up before I said adieu, and headed back down to Truckee, where I put Mr Landlord at ease before making pizza and watching my Giants lose to the lowly Chicago Cubs...

Still I'm buoyed by this week's events...that distributor will go in tomorrow, and I'll head back to the Ancestral Digs 'till I come back up for Reno Air Races Week mid-September.

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