Friday 23 August 2013

Familiarity breeds fondness (and Plague)

(August 3rd)

The lovely thing about returning to a place one has been before is the familiarity of it. You know where it is and how to get there; what amenities are around; little helpful tricks and tips that make things easier, and what the pitfalls are going to be; you know you like it, or why else go back? In our case, returning to site 22 on the Silver Creek campground, on the Truckee River, we have enjoyed immensely knowing what to expect. The walk from the car park is still just as far, but we knew about the private little beach that makes it worthwhile. There are still ants everywhere, but we know they drive away other insects and don't bite. Best of all, there have been two significant changes in the four years to the day since we were last here.

Firstly, each site now has a large bear box - not only good for keeping away bears but also for storing all our camping stuff while we're off gallivanting. Secondly, there is now a camp host: an extremely affable gentleman with braces and a cap, who sells cords of wood so we don't need to go and haul back termite-infested felled trees from the Olympic park down the road. "Bears - yes," he said when we arrived, "though not as many as there used the be. The chipmunks carry the Plague, like they have for the past 30 years [we were alarmed, before leaving the UK, to read that some campsites around LA had been closed due to Plague-infested squirrels] but this year they also have the Hunter virus which is airborne and REALLY nasty, so don't encourage the chipmunks." He has been round a few times to check on us and have a chat, and it's really comforting to know there's someone looking out for this place. Today he told us about the recent yoga camp up the road, and how impossible it had been to check everyone in because they left at dawn and returned at midnight, and how he'd stood in the road to try and get them to sign in but they were in too much of a hurry to get to their dawn workouts. Yesterday he told us about the paperwork he'd had to do when a group of people never came back to break camp, and how their stuff is still in his trailer and nobody knows where they went.

He's full of good stories. I think I would like to do his job one summer.

A panorama from our "private beach". 

Today we've been into Reno - me, to visit the Mecca that is Jimmy Beans, Mr Z, to play golf at Rosewood Lakes golf course. He returned saying it was insane and one big water hazard; not exactly Rosewood Lakes but Rosewood Islands, with reeds and geese and water everywhere. He also said he'd like to do it again which is good, because it will make visiting Jimmy Beans that bit less painful for him.

Since my last visit, the shop has moved over towards the airport. It's a modest size with a few skeins each of a good variety if yarn. But then, through the warehouse Row upon row of boxes of yarn, all labelled and indexed and waiting for a customer like me to rummage through. I was in there a good 90 minutes before I surfaced, and my rummaging paid off because I found a skein of Artyarns beaded silk light which was my intended purchase but was listed as on back order until September on the website - and actually, was put through the till as a different colourway, presumably because of this.

I'd love to say that was all that came home with me, but I can't, in good conscience. With all that Madelinetosh and Dream in Colour and Lorna's Laces and Malabrigo to choose from, I had to go back in for a second pass after the first rummage and a lot of justifying was done of the final total, chiefly that it is my birthday and that I did extra work in July for the exam board hat turned out to be surprisingly lucrative. I could so easily have bought more, but when will I have time to knit it up? And pretty yarn should become something beautiful.

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