Working around Lake Tahoe…

My secondary reason for volunteering at Lake Tahoe was to use the physical exertion needed to help get my body back in shape. I’ve been too sedentary the last couple years and I had my bike stolen last August so I’m not even getting that exercise. That’s the secondary reason…the primary reason is to help make the historical buildings and artifacts on site attractive and interesting to my fellow citizens for years to come, and while doing so, making them safe from the ravages of time.

But back to the secondary reason for volunteering here, exercise, and the first week, I really felt all that walking in my hips, ankles, and knees. I’d go home after my shift and would be exhausted, collapsing into my chair and just zoning out for an hour. All that physical activity though really paid off because after the first week, my hips were feeling pretty good, another week and my ankles were fine, followed by my knees feeling better the week after. That activity really helped limber up the body framework.

And then, one evening after work I was driving towards town, and there’s a Thrift shop I pass by and outside there were nearly 25 used bikes for sale. And damned if the guy didn’t have a dual suspension bike in really excellent condition. I test rode it and everything worked, but it had those stupid plastic pedals. Had him change those out for metal pedals, paid him $78 (that sort of bike was $150 and up retail) and now I have a comfy bike to ride. Also stopped at the KMart and bought a new heavy cable lock for it. I do have the U bolt lock but those are so cumbersome, and with this style bike, there’s not a good place to attach it to the frame when I’m riding, and a cable lock is so much more convenient.


One of my projects at Baldwin was to sand and repaint a Forest Service sign. But that wasn’t keeping me busy enough and I decided to donate a saw cover to protect the big chop saw Bob (a FS employee who had been with the FS for decades. I believe he’s in his mid-70’s but he’s not slowing down any) bought and donated to the FS because he felt the volunteer crew needed it, and the FS didn’t want to buy one for over $300. Since he’d done that, I thought I’d donate a cover for it.

Here’s a shot of the shop a couple weeks into the 1st session. Very crowded with stuff. You can get 3 or 4 guys in here working with the power equipment though.

And our tool room.

Go out the shop’s back door, and you’re in the bone yard where we keep all sorts of scraps of wood, metal, electrical conduit, plastic plumbing, what-have-you.And here’s the chop saw. First thing I needed to do to it is adjust the sawdust sack so it would be both usable when the saw was operating, and easily removed and stored out of the way when I came up with a cover for the saw and table extensions.
 Bob really didn’t ask for anyone to make a cover for the saw, but did mention how much he disliked leaving it sit out in the bone yard in all sorts of weather when the only cover for it would be a sheet of black plastic…which was already showing signs of deterioration after only a few weeks sitting out in the bone yard. The entire saw and table was normally stored in the shop during the off season, but it would go out in the bone yard early spring, when it was still possible to have snow, and late fall, when rain is a definite possibility, so as to be out of the way.

So on my next day off a couple days after our excursion to Virginia City, I decided to come up with something for the saw. I tossed a few things around in my head for a while, checked around the bone yard for some way to cover it that would be lightweight and durable, checked on tent poles and tent fabric, but didn’t find much. But a few days later, while shopping at a Food 4 Less, there’s a ripstop nylon dome tent with those plastic braces for $20. I thought that if Bob can buy and donate a chop saw for $300 for us volunteers to use, I can spare $20 to protect it. I just guessed that it would be big enough to cover the entire saw, but my hunch paid off.

Here’s what it looks like open. The plastic tent poles were plenty long and flexible enough, I already had a rough idea of what to build at this point in the design phase.Still hadn’t ruined the tent yet so I could have taken it back but after setting it on top of the chop saw and table to check size, I thought it would work out fine. So went ahead with cutting the material and the plastic tent poles.See? It almost fits perfectly before I’ve even done anything to it. And this is what I came up with. A 1X2 wooden frame, with plastic ribs over arching the chopsaw. The fabric, waterproof ripstop nylon, covering the whole assembly, with furring and brads to hold the fabric in place after pulling it taut. So this is was it was looking like after I got most of the framework set up. The wood frame was fun to build and the tent fabric was just the right size. I did end up cutting off some scrap fabric but the tent size was almost perfect for this project. And for only $20 too.

So to protect the saw from inclement weather, I’d 1st remove the sawdust collector bag and tubing setting it on the saw table, pull the saw full forward, turn it fully to the right, then cover the saw with the waterproof bag the tent originally came it. That was the 1st layer of protection.And then drop the 2nd cover over it. Safe and sound. Rain, snow, light winds, and falling pinecones will have little effect on it. I hope. 

After that project was completed, it was time to get back on the FS sign painting job. A bit of sanding, some brown FS paint, and it’s ready for the artist to do the fine lettering work using FS yellow.

Well, enough of that. One of my more boring projects. I’m not kind that enjoys painting.

And than the other Bob came and asked me to help him with a carpentry project shortly after I finished the painting…yea! I jumped at it of course. The decking…made with cedar…had a rope railing surrounding the deck and one of the supports was rotten and wobbling. This is not good if a citizen that needs that support grabs onto it to steady themselves and it breaks off. So, I listened to the problem description, grabbed some tools, and off I went to the boat house. And here’s Dennis getting ready to climb the ladder and paint a window frame. Bob and I didn’t want to do it because we both get dizzy from the BP meds we take. The lowered BP can cause sudden onset dizziness. Just ask me. The fence section I worked on is in the back of this picture. Ended up grinding flats on the old bolt with the broken off head so I could get a wrench on it, and then since I couldn’t get the other one out, drilled a new bolt hole in the 4X4 fence post, ignoring the rusted out bolt. And with those two giant wood bolts holding the post, it was a solid as new.

While I was working around the boat house, and since I have keys, I toured the displays inside. It’s set up so you can only peer inside at those expanded metal screened windows to look at the antiques inside. And occasionally we give tours inside. But today, I just did the tour by myself to give you readers some pictures of the place…

Decades ago, they installed these RR tracks so the boat could be winched outside or inside as weather dictated. The boat would stay inside all winter.

Here’s the main doors for the boat.
And just inside the doors is an ongoing project. This isn’t the original boat that the Pope’s owned, but rather a 2nd boat that sat on the beach nearby for some 30 years before the FS got the property. And the volunteers have been slowly attempting restoration for 15 years now. It looked a lot like this 12 years ago when I was here so the work is progressing rather slowly. Some antique motors. I believe this was the actual boat that the Pope’s owned. It was sold, used as a Lake Tahoe tour boat, then eventually scrapped.

Nice little speed boat there. You can still make out the original paint colors. But of course they’re scraping all the layers off so they can treat the wood and fix the gaps between boards.Nice big brass prop Way up front is one of those expanded metal screened windows that tourists can gaze into. A big ol’ retired engine of some kind.Boat engine, it’s been rebuilt and restored and it’s all ready to go back in the boat…if the boat is ever finished.

And this is the original winch used to haul the boat out of the lake. They usually start it up and get it running at least once a year to keep it conditioned. That’s why the steel rope looks new, because they have it haul something heavy when it’s running so they replaced it a few years ago.

The boat’s name ‘Quic-chakidn’ is often mistaken for an Indian word. Actually, it means ‘Quit your kidding’.  

And that’s the end of the Pope Boathouse excursion. Hope you enjoyed it.

Next time we’ll visit downtown Stateline for the antique car show. Thanks for visiting!

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One Response to Working around Lake Tahoe…

  1. hafcanadian says:

    oops. Apparently your first few shots of the chop saw and tool room didn’t make it in where they were meant to, near the beginning of your post.

    Not sure what you mean. Just read the post again, and the pictures are where I placed them to begin with. And seem to be in the right places. But I have been having problems with the Revolving World widget lately. Maybe that’s doing something so it’s odd when your computer downloads the page. On mine, it’s fine.

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