This year marked the 20th straight year that I have spent time at the Dorado Inn at Lake Almanor. This year's cast included the Heringers, Hunters, Snipes, Tomasins and 15 Wallens. Highlights from the week include:
On Monday, Wallen and I spent three hours driving across two counties looking for somewhere to rent mountain bikes. Apparently, everything in the two county area is closed on Mondays. I was not pleased. I believe that we agreed somewhere during the course of the drive that we actually enjoy each other’s company.
Adding to my rant about places being closed during the height of their tourist season, the kids discovered on Tuesday that the video store in Chester is only open from Wednesday to Saturday!?!
Also on Tuesday, I watched Hunter talk on his cellphone and play golf with one arm for 1½ holes…
Chris was enlisted on Wednesday night to drive Tomasin and Hunter to the emergency room in Chester. Word from the examining physician is that he has been able to match Hunter's symptoms to Brazil Nut Disease, a condition previously only seen in the indigenous tribes of the Southern Amazon rain forest. The physician's findings will appear in the December issue of Nature.
Late Wednesday while Bobby was at the emergency room and for the second straight year, I towed Robbie et. al. in Hunter’s boat back to the Dorado Inn. Nathan and Danny remarked that they were impressed how well we did towing the boat back through the logs and up to the dock in the pitch dark. I noted that after about 30 times it gets easier.
In spite of a new, bigger engine, Hunter’s boat never ran the rest of the week. Of course, what would a week at Lake Almanor be without problems with someone’s boat. At Snipes' suggestion, I did enjoy Thursday morning's session of pounding on the new engine with a crescent wrench...
After an aborted attempt to fly Hunter to Sacramento Executive Airport to pick up his date on Thursday (a problem feathering the prop during the pre-flight checklist), Hunter's friend was forced to drive to the lake. Her arrival coincided with a miraculous recovery for Hunter.
On Thursday night, Carol channeled Connor as the arbitrator and enforcer of the rules during the traditional 21 aces event. This segment will appear in the August 24 airing of MTV's Real World Lake Almanor.
At one point, very early Friday morning, Tomasin asked me what I thought about Hunter's friend. Although Hunter was sitting to my left and she was to his left, I had to tell Tomasin that I had no idea; Hunter had her completely smothered and I had only caught a brief glimpse of her up to that point.
Due to a number of circumstances, it has been more than two years since I ran with Wallen; I have been dreading the day. Wallen and I ran on Monday and he smoked me after the turn around at the half way point. We ran again on Wednesday and I felt like I had acquitted myself a little better. When Wallen casually mentioned on Friday that he had turned a 7:40 mile over his first mile during his run that day, I realized that he was just toying with me on Wednesday.
Scattered over the week were several long sessions on the boats with Hunter, Wallen, Tomasin and Snipes discussing world hunger, a lasting middle east peace and the meaning of life. Snipes and I had a particularly good conversation on Friday about the meaning of life. We could agree on four things: faster horses (or cars or boats or planes); younger women; older whiskey and more money.