Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beach Day at Tahoe

The weather has been HOT the last few days, so today I headed up the hill to Lake Tahoe to cool off. I left Carson around 10:20 and got to Zephyr Cove about half an hour later. There were cars parked on both sides of the street, but the parking lot ($8) still had plenty of spots, and the beach wasn't too crowded either. The beach was beautiful tan sand, and the water was clear blue. There were mountains in the distance, but I almost felt like I was at the ocean. I feel so lucky to live so close to a place like this!

The day was wonderful and very relaxing. I picked a spot on the beach near some bushes and settled down with a book (Under the Dome, Stephen King). I spent most of the day reading and taking breaks to dip into the water. The water was cold, but very blue and it had that wonderful lake water texture. The first few times I only made it about halfway in before getting cold, but by the end of the day I was swimming around and the water felt fantastic.

The only downside of the day was the sunburn I got on the backs of my thighs...All day I kept reapplying sunscreen, but I realized when I got home and looked in the mirror that I forgot to put more on that one part of my body. Now it is bright red and quite painful. Probably the worst sunburn I've had since I was little. Hopefully it won't hurt too much at work tomorrow!

Rocky Mountain High

Found this post from a few weeks ago that I never got around to publishing 

June 12, 2013
This week I am visiting Boulder, Colorado to attend a short training course for work. I arrived Tuesday night to 100 degree heat, but I hardly noticed, which is a little funny since I used to hate being hot. But it seems that i have become a heat lover.I guess its a good thing, since I live in the desert now!

My rental car is a dark blue Chevy Camaro, which was a fun surprise. The rental company was one I had never heard of, so I was expecting something very basic. When the agent handed over the keys (which he had to retrieve from "the government key area"), he smiled and said I had a nice ride. He didn't say it sarcastically, but I still wasn't sure what he meant.I figured it our right away when I walked out to the lot and saw the car in spot 8A.

On Tuesday night, a colleague invited me to a barbecue at his house. There was a small and somewhat random group of people there, and we relaxed in his tree-shaded back are chatting, drinking beer, and eating grilled pork and kale salad. Kale salad was a revelation for me. I normally don't like kale, because it is so tough and bitter. But wow, kale salad with raspberry vinnagrette is delicious! 

On Wednesday evening after class I took a drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. As I left Boulder, I just kept smiling at all the beauty around me. Mountains and hills and pine trees. Even with a haze of wildfire smoke it was incredible. And it just kept going. The drive from Boulder to Estes Park ,where the park entrance is, took about an hour. I drove into the park and got up to over 11000 feet elevation on the road. 

On Thursday after class I wandered around the shops in downtown Boulder. The Pearl Street area has a ton of cool stores and restaurants. I could have spent an entire day shopping there. I had good pizza at a local pizza place, then went back to the hotel for a relaxing evening of reading.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Job

On April 22nd I started my new job as a Civil Engineer (Hydrologic) at the US Bureau of Reclamation Lahontan Basin Area Office. I was both excited and nervous to start, because this is really the first job of my professional career. So far I am really enjoying my job. It has been interesting, with a variety of things to work on.

 First day of work

One of the first things I got to do was take a tour of the Truckee Canal, which is one of the major things I will be working on. We started at Derby Dam, which is one of Reclamation's oldest projects. Derby Dam diverts water from the Truckee River (which flows to Pyramid Lake) into the Truckee Canal. The Canal carries water from the Truckee Basin to the Carson Basin, where it is used for irrigation.
Derby Dam
Start of the Truckee Canal

Next we took a slight detour to visit Marble Bluff Dam, near Pyramid Lake. Marble Bluff has a fish passage facility for moving endangered cui-ui (a sucker fish) upstream to spawn.

The cui-ui were running while we were there, so we got to see them go through the fish facility. They were much bigger than I expected--about 8 lbs and more than a foot long

Next we drove through Fernley, NV and stopped along the canal.

 Finally we made our way to Lahontan Dam, which is where the Truckee River water is transferred to the Carson system. The canal empties into a reservoir above Lahontan Dam, which is on the Carson River. A bit downstream of Lahontan Dam, a smaller diversion dam moves the combined Truckee and Carson River water to the fields for irrigation.

Last week I also got to spend some time in the field helping with discharge measurements on some of the canals below Lahontan Dam. A Reclamation team was collecting data to use in a HEC-RAS model of the canal system. We used Acoustic Dopper Current Profilers (ADCPs) to collect the discharge data. These instruments ride on small boats, which are towed across the channel. The instrument samples across the channel and calculates discharge from water depth and velocity. We also used RTK GPS to record water elevation and the elevations of structures along the canal.
SonTek M9 River Surveyor

One Month in Carson City

I've now been in Carson City for an entire month, and a lot has happened in that time! Life has been pretty hectic, with moving, starting a new job, and learning my way around a new town. Although some days I've felt pretty homesick and have missed my friends and family, it has also been really exciting to start my new life here. Along the way I've tried to snap a few photos to document what has been going on, so without further delay, here is a photo journal of my first month in Nevada!

I spent the first few days doing a lot of shopping for house things like toothbrushes and toilet paper, and Jasper was very excited about the new toothbrush...

Jasper was also excited about the quails that live in the bushes outside my apartment, and has been keeping watch at the window.

Jasper and I both love hiking in the desert. It is dry and warm, and it smells amazing


We were walking in the park by the river and I spotted a coyote in the wetland
Turns out coyotes act a lot like dogs. This one peed, then sat down to scratch its ears.

My parents came to visit during the first weekend in May. We drove all the way around Lake Tahoe on Saturday, then went to a cowboy festival and a historic army fort on Sunday. The weather, which had been sunny and warm, turned cloudy and rainy when they arrived. I guess the Washingtonians brought some much-needed rain to Nevada. I realized once the warm sun returned that I haven't quite recovered from my sunlight-deficient life in Oregon--I was way more excited than anybody else in Nevada for the sun to come back!

Thunder and lightning over the desert

Fort Churchill is out in the desert and is mostly falling down, but it is still really cool. Nevada has a lot of history.

Last weekend Jasper and I went for a hike up Prison Hill, which is right in the middle of Carson City, but feels like the middle of nowhere. It was about 85 degrees and absolutely beautiful.


Jaspee is my former roommate Peggy's nickname for Jasper, and it is really a pretty fitting name for him, unfortunately. Although he is housetrained, Jasper sometimes pees inside...he pees when he is excited, he pees to mark his territory, and he pees when he gets impatient and I am not letting him out soon enough. Sometimes I think he just forgets about the difference between inside and outside. On average, he pees inside one or twice a week, and for a long time I have just put up with it. However, this week Jasper peed on my work bag, and this weekend he peed on my sleeping bag, so I decided that I won't put up with it anymore. I am tired of finding dried urine on my stuff or smelling it when I walk into a room. I am tired of scrubbing the carpet with cleaner, but never being quite satisfied with the results. I am tired of buying paper towels in bulk and always being worried that Jasper is going to go inside.

So, Jaspee now gets to wear dog diapers. At first I was really skeptical of the idea, especially since Jasper ate the dog booties I got to protect his feet, wouldn't walk in his raincoat even though he doesn't really like being wet, and fought the head collar that was supposed to easily guide him on walks without pulling. But, maybe it was a good sign when I was walking into Petco and was greeted by an overexcited puppy in the parking lot who dribbled all over the pavement. The pup's owner was extremely apologetic, but I shrugged and smiled and told her that my dog did it all the time, then I walked straight to the dog diaper section.

Jasper did not like the raincoat he got from Aunt Julie

When I brought the diapers home, I was still hesitant to try them out, but I took a deep breath, got a treat and opened up the new toy I had gotten for Jasper. Then I reached down wrapped the diaper around his belly, and gave him the treat. And he did nothing. He ate the treat, took a few steps, looked back, then trotted off with the new toy!

Jasper has now been wearing his new diaper for almost a whole day, and he doesn't seem to even notice it. I take it off when we go outside, and put it back on and give him a treat when we come back in. It looks a little silly, but silly is way better than pee everywhere!

Happy dog in a diaper!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Moving - Summerville, CA to Carson City, NV

Friday, April 19th, I finished the journey to Carson City. As I drove from Susanville through Reno to Carson, the landscape got drier and drier. Trees faded away and were replaced by sagebrush. There were dusty hills with dots of silver green all around and glimpses of snowy Sierra peaks.
North of Reno

After passing through Reno, I arrived in Carson City!

Moving - Corvallis to Summerville, CA

Thursday, April 18th was the major traveling day of my move. I got up, showered, ate some breakfast, packed up some food in my cooler, and headed out!

New ring
The first stop was just across the street from my house, where I stopped to answer a phone call from my mom. Then I was off again to the next stop: downtown Corvallis to pick up the ring I bought myself as a graduation present. I got the ring from Richard Gretz Goldsmiths in downtown Corvallis. It is a small white gold ring with some scrollwork on either side of a center stone. It originally had a diamond in it, but I had them set a light blue sapphire instead. I've never worn or bought nice jewelry before, but I fell in love with the ring during a Downtown Corvallis Wine Walk in March and decided that it would make a perfect graduation present :)

Then the journey really began!

View Driving directions to carson city nv in a larger map

 I drove out of Corvallis, got on I-5, and headed south to Eugene. From Eugene I headed over the Cascades on Highway 58 along the Willamette River. Along the way I stopped at a park in Oakridge to stretch. The park was right along the river, and was probably the greenest and wettest place I will see for awhile.

Willamette River
Jasper in the car
Over the crest
After going over the Cascade crest, I turned on Highway 97 toward Klamath Falls. In Klamath Falls I got on 137 and  headed into California. I kept expecting to go through an agricultural checkpoint, since California is very strict about what types of plant materials can be brought into the state, but I never saw one. I drove in and out of the Modoc National Forest, which was sometimes not really forest at all, but grassland, sage, and juniper. It was very pretty, and very empty. For long stretches I saw no cars. Jasper and I stopped occasionally to get out and stretch, but we mostly just drove.
Modoc National Forest

Roadside stop

Almost to Susanville, and a sign for Reno!

Jasper was very happy to be out of the car
Around 6pm I drove into Susanville, California and stopped for the night. I got a room at a hotel and ate dinner at a local diner. Jasper even got some of my leftover meatloaf! After a long day of driving and the previous night spent on the floor, it was nice to have a bed to sleep in.