Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur-Sunny Days-Part 2

This is part 2 and the final part of this trip, read part 1 here.

On our way back to Carmel from Big Sur we stopped at Point Lobos State Park. We only had an hour but I wanted to get the layout for sites, parking and hiking trails for when we came back the next morning at opening time. Point Lobos is very popular, parking is limited and if parking is full you cannot drive into the park. It is possible to park outside and walk in but not as convenient. We purchased a map and headed to Whaler’s Cove where I had always wanted to dive but never did as we always tried to get in on weekends. (Now you can reserve a weekend time slot for diving.) It was spectacular! We climbed up the steep stairway to the cove cliff and walked around then headed back to drive the park roads and determine our planned starting point for the next morning. We also parked near Sea Lion Point Trail and walked the beautiful Sand Hill Trail to see many sea lions.  The Point Lobos Foundation is a wonderful resource for learning about Point Lobos.

Whalers Cove
Looking to the cove south of Whalers Cove
Looking out at the ocean on top of Whalers Cove Cliff Trail
View from Sea Lion Point Trail

As a side note, I have the California State Parks Poppy Pass which for a yearly fee allows free daily use at most California State Parks including the parks around Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake. This pass excludes some of the Southern California Parks. They also offer the California State Explorer Pass which covers all California State Parks. This allowed us to not worry about paying for just going into the park for an hour. These passes help support the parks and solve the problem of not having exact cash. I love having the pass because it encourages to get out all year. If you are over 62, you can get a reduced rate  senior pass but it excludes park entries from Memorial Day to Labor Day so for us this excludes all our summer fun.

We stopped at Monastery Beach along Highway 1. This large, expansive beach is beautiful but can be treacherous due to the strong undertow and deceivingly steep water entry and exit. On a calm day it is fine but once the waves start, keep your distance from the water. This is also a popular SCUBA diving location for experienced divers because just off the northern end is the area known as the ‘trench‘. This deep canyon brings many fish and marine fauna closer to shore than possible for almost any shore dive. Bob, my husband, and I dove this area many times, many years ago. It was not any safer then than it is now but on a good, clear water day it was exquisite. At that time, diving was my husbands life and we both got the chance to see many beautiful places on dive trips. Now, just walking along the beach is a lovely experience.

Looking south, Point Lobos is the next hill with the trees
Looking north, the wash rocks at the end of the curve is near the trench

As you can see by these pictures, the surf was calm at this beautiful beach when Rachel and I visited.

Dinner was at The Forge in the Forest in Carmel By The Sea.  The menu is extensive.  We had had a outstanding lunch in Big Sur, so we choose to split an order of Steamers (clams and mussels) and a pizza.  I think it was the best pizza I’ve ever had!

Back to Point Lobos

We arrived early the next morning at Point Lobos State Reserve and drove to the Hidden Beach parking and picnic area. We had breakfast and then followed the Bird Island Trail to China Cove and Pelican Point. Beautiful views and coves.

China Cove with beach just peaking out. This beautiful jade color was only seen as the sun was shining over the cove in the morning. A good reason to get up early!
Looking out China Cove to the Pacific Ocean

The Pelican Point Trail goes uphill around China Cove and because it had rained just a few days before the Ceanothus or California Lilac bush was in full bloom.

We lucked out as Harbor Seals were just coming into China Cove beach for birthing in March

Gibson Beach can be reached by steps down from the top of Pelican Point Trail. It may be closed if animals are on the beach.

We took binoculars and saw lots of birds, sea lions, harbor seals and otters on our walk.

Arched rock and beautiful wash rocks as we continued to walk the Pelican Point Trail
View from Pelican Point

We then doubled back and walked the South Plateau Trail across the peninsula towards Whalers Cove. This densely brushed area is filled with trees and native plants.

South Plateau Trail scenery

Back at the cove we visited the Whalers Cove Cabin and Whaling Station Museum. A small place but filled with historical treasures covering many years and different uses of Whalers Cove prior to the park being created. Incredibly, this whole area was saved from being a housing development after its many different uses. Plan to spend some time here and talk to the docents. The ones we spoke with were so interested in sharing the history and answering questions that it really was an amazing part of the day.

Another view of beautiful Whalers Cove, the clear & calm water made me want to dive again!

Inside the Whalers Cabin is information about different eras and businesses that took place at Whalers Cove. The top picture is a bench and pounding table for preparing abalone. The bottom picture is jewelry and personal items made from polished abalone shells.

We took the Mound Meadow Trail back towards the coast and walked along Weston Beach and Hidden Beach before ending our visit to Point Lobos. 

The South Plateau Trail and Mound Meadow Trail cross the Point Lobos peninsula offering beautiful forest views and a chance to see some wildlife.

Walking along Weston Beach trail towards Hidden Beach

Hidden Beach

Point Lobos, another beach to explore.

We had a beautiful morning at Point Lobos and perfect weather.

Back in Carmel, The Tuck Box is a restaurant and tea chop inside one of the storybook cottages. It was started as a tea room in the early 1940’s. My husband had visited here as a child with his Mom and I had also visited as a child, so it was a real treat to have a late lunch here. Rachel and I enjoyed tea and a wonderful lunch.

Beautiful tables and an outdoor courtyard at the Tuck Box

We went back to the hotel to regroup and then headed back to Pacific Grove, near Lovers Point, to take the 17 Mile Drive from north to south so that we were on the ocean side of the road for all the stops. The wind was up but it was still beautiful to stop and see all the points of interest. Here are just a few pictures.

Our first stop was a large beach with waves and surfers trying to catch the waves
Then we saw this tree, ‘is that The Lone Cypress’? No, but it is all alone
Bird Rock
Another beautiful beach with houses along the cliffs
The real Lone Cypress at stop number 12

Lone Cypress

The sun was casting a beautiful light on the cliff holding the cypress.

Ghost Trees

As the sun was setting, the silhouettes of these sun-bleached cypress trees were just beautiful.

Recommend doing this with a little more time and making plans to have a snack or cocktails at Spanish Bay where you can see a person playing the bagpipes at sunset. Also, you can visit the Pebble Beach Visitors Center and learn the history of Pebble Beach.

Dinner was at Village Corner Bistro, another great Carmel restaurant.  We were pleasantly surprised at the wonderful selection of restaurants and the great quality of each establishment.  When we asked around, we were told that restaurants have a lot of competition and ones that just look at tourists as one-time customers just don’t make it. They restaurants pride themselves on great food, service and ambiance.  We would have loved to try Bistro Giovanni too!

We also visited the Carmel Mission Basilica which is still a working church, school and historical mission. This historical site has the St. Junipero Serra and the Mission Basilica Shrine and The Caravaca Cross.

Beautiful gardens
Junipero Serra statue in the garden

Basilica from garden entrance and side entrance near the school quad.

Beautiful cactus and succulent garden along the school quad.

Too soon, it was time to go. Our four perfect days of sunshine was done, we woke up to a chilly fog which is not unusual for the Monterey and Carmel area. The town was very quiet during our visit, not sure if this is normal winter crowds or others were already avoiding travel. We were granted a late check out so we took another walk around Carmel admiring all the flowers and looked at a few shops. Then we were on our way back via Moss Beach to see Elkhorn Slough which is a wonderful kayaking estuary near Moss Beach. We love to kayak as does Rachel and her husband. When kayaking, Elkhorn Slough it is a birders paradise and you often see seals and otters. Unfortunately, from a car you don’t see much!

We stopped in at Phil’s Fish House for lunch and then drove back to Hayward. We spent the night, visited with my granddaughters and visited some dear friends of Rachel. We headed back to Truckee the next morning. All in all, a relaxing and beautiful trip with a great friend.

Rachel and Vicki

This is part 2 and the final part of this trip, read part 1 here.


Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki
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Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur-Sunny Days-Part 1

Before our world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 Pandemic a friend, Rachel, and I took off for a few days road trip to Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur and Moss Landing, California. Our husband’s decided to go skiing at Mammoth Mountain so we decided on a road trip. We didn’t have any idea that this would be our last trip for a while and that upon our return home we would be ‘self-isolating’ (the new term, along with ‘social distancing’) Always looking for the good, I have lots of time to update this blog which has suffered from neglect for quite a while. Not that we haven’t been traveling! I just have not sat still long enough to put my thoughts and pictures together. Now this unthinkable pandemic has us all wondering what the future will bring so maybe some ‘arm chair’ vacations will give you an escape during this strange time we find ourselves in. We wish you health and safety. Rachel and I drove from Truckee at the end of a snow storm, it took us two hours to get over Donner Summit. Normally, this would be about a half hour. This was the first good storm since January. My clean car was a mess and as we drove into the cute Carmel hotel to check in, they must have wondered where we were from on this beautiful sunny afternoon! We stayed at the Candlelight Inn which was perfectly located to walk everywhere in Carmel. As soon as we checked in we called for dinner reservations at Cafe Napoli for dinner. Just a short walk away. Wonderful food, staff and Sinatra music played in the background so that you could still talk. A perfect way to end the day!
Cafe Napoli decor
Cafe Napoli music was ‘Rat Pack’ era
It had been years since I had been to Carmel. Rachel and I decided to take a guided walking tour the next morning. Gael Gallaghers, Carmel Walking Tours. We highly recommend taking a tour with Gael. She does many different types of tours in the Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur area. She is knowledgeable, fun and kept everyone’s interest. She encouraged us to follow paths and get lost in the many small alleys and gardens off Ocean Street. We started our tour in one of the many almost hidden courtyards of Carmel and we walked through many more beautiful shops, galleries and gardens.

A sampling of courtyards just steps off the main streets.

Just up from Ocean Avenue, The Forever Couple by George Ludeen. Gael telling the story.

Above, exquisite sculptures by Richard MacDonald.

Gael with the visor and sun glasses, one of our stops was in Cafe Napoli
Carmel Courthouse, where you can get a permit for wearing high heels among other city tasks. Beautiful railing.
Church of the Wayfarer A bear sits outside of the church. The story is that many years ago a little boy forgot his bear. A bear is outside waiting for the boys return.
Beautiful stained glass windows inside the church
Small church but has wonderful wooden accents and pews
Church garden and patio
Across the street from the church is the Cypress Hotel commonly referred to as the ‘Doris Day Hotel’. A lovely, pet friendly hotel.
The Cypress Inn Hotel, previously co-owned by Dorris Day
Dorris Day photo
Large Dorris Day movie poster as you enter the hotel
We had planned to get back here for cocktail hour but just ran out of time. Another highlight of the walking tour was visiting the Restaurant Casanova. One of the original adobe houses converted into a restaurant. It is one of the longest running restaurants in Carmel and highly rated.
Casonova from the front
Part of the patio dining area
A special treat was being able to see the private Van Gogh table and dining room which can be reserved. The table is said to have belonged to the painter Van Gogh. We walked in and out of alleys and gardens and saw many more beautiful sights.
Vibrant window displays

Hogs Breath in Patio Seating with a large mural painted on the wall

Carmel by the Sea park, just off Ocean Avenue

Gallery and store for Thomas Kinkade paintings was found by following another alley. Disney painting of Minnie & Mickey was on display. As well as others. A very peaceful setting to see the art.

The last stop on the walking tour was getting glimpses of some of the storybook cottages that are famous in Carmel By the Sea. Now, most are private homes so they are fairly hidden behind fences and plants.
A beautiful cottage that is easily seen
One of the original cottages, very well hidden
Storybook Cottage Stacked stone walls and entry area on a cottage. These cottages are protected and can be repaired but not significantly changed or enlarged.
h We arrived so late on Sunday that we didn’t get to spend the afternoon in Monterey as planned. We spent Monday afternoon in Monterey exploring the Wharf, Cannery Row and the beautiful walking area near Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. This was old home area for me. Over 40 years ago, my husband and I had spent every weekend for 2 years, except Easter and Christmas holidays, taking SCUBA diving classes out at all the local dive spots here. I told Rachel about what was the same and how so much had changed along Cannery Row and about the wonderful dive spots.
A section of the Monterey Wharf for taking a whale watching boat
Private boats along the wharf
Pleasure craft with access from the Wharf
This beautiful, warm weather brought out the paddle boarders and kayakers
Sea Wolf, one of the Whale Watching boats
Cute houseboat, wouldn’t that be a nice place to hide away?
We walked to Cannery Row by way of the Monterey State Historic Park. Another place we need to go back and explore when it is open. The buildings and gardens were beautiful!
Monterey State Historic Park
Beautiful spring flowers at the garden
Garden near some of the park buildings
Fish Hopper is built on a pier over Monterey Bay
Cannery Row Monument Author John Steinbeck anchors the monument at the top of the rock with friend and marine biologist Ed Ricketts towards the bottom. Several other characters represent those who once worked in the bustling canning industry on the row including Chinese fishermen
We did not go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium this time but if you are going to Monterey, I highly recommend visiting this wonderful Aquarium. You can even have a virtual tour by visiting their website. The next morning we headed out early to drive the Big Sur Coast and stop wherever we wanted! This area is similar to views from Jenner, CA to Mendocino except the mountains are higher, the population density is much less and it seems so wild. It really would be the perfect romantic get-a-way for couples staying at any of inns or high end resorts or for hikers that want to tackle the highs and lows to reach the peaks and the beaches.
The iconic Bixby Bridge
Rachel, my travel buddy, look far below the Bixby Bridge to see a beautiful beach!
Lots of state and national park land for hiking. The Big Sur Visitor Guide may help you plan your stay. I think we stopped at every sign of civilization, each pull out along the highway and went into both Pfeiffer State Park and Andrew Molera State Park. February and March are the slow season, so visitor centers and museums were not open on a Tuesday. We loved the views, river walks and just being in such extraordinary scenery!
Big Sur River Inn The Big Sur River Inn and General Store was a great spot! The guests have a pool and a beautiful spot to relax by the river.
River beach area at Big Sur Little River Inn
A big highlight of the day was lunch at Nepenthe Restaurant! We scored a ridge overlook table and it was a beautiful sunny day. During lunch we watched many groups of whales out at sea. Nepenthe Restaurant was recommended to both of us.
Garden path with steps from the parking lot to the Nepenthe Restaurant
Nepenthe Restaurant has been in business for over 70 years. The staff was very friendly and the food did not disappoint. What a treat! The building is beautiful and its history is told on the website. They have a very unique gift shop called Phoenix and another restaurant, Cafe Kevah which is an outdoor terrace.
Redwood Phoenix At the top of the steps you are greeted at the terrace by a large, beautifully carved redwood Phoenix.
The view from our lunch. During lunch we saw many birds and whale spouts!
Cafe Kevah below Nepenthe Directly below the rail where we had lunch, we could peek at the Cafe Kevah Terrace restaurant
Inside Nepenthe From their website, “Working with Rowan Maiden, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, they sketched out their vision. Legendary Big Sur builders, Frank and Walter Trotter built the structure using native materials; redwood, hewn from the canyons and adobe bricks…”
The timber frame building is a just beautiful and so unique
The Phoenix Gift Shop has a delightful collection of gifts, books and artistic pieces
Wherever you stop, the views are breathtaking!
On our way back, we even drove up to Ventana Big Sur, a resort, just to see the place we had heard about for years. We had planned to go the Henry Miller Library but it was closed. So we have a few places to check out when we talk our husbands into going to to Big Sur. This will be a two part post. Next post will cover our time at Monastery Beach, Point Lobos, the 17 Mile Drive and the Tuck Box in Carmel.
Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki Start Hyw 89 series | Start Peru series | Start Galapagos series | Start Remodel series | Please add your email to ‘Follow this Blog‘ for updates. We never share your email. Interested in a vacation in Hawaii? Check out the units at SurfCondo.com

Fall is in the air…

Yes, I know this isn’t the next post about the Galapagos. This is a detour post to share the joys of fall. I will get back to finish the Galapagos posts as soon as I have time to get thru the pictures and sit at my computer. 

In Truckee, the cold nights have brought out some beautiful colors.

Aspen Tree, Truckee, CA

Aspen Tree, Truckee, CA

From Truckee to the coast…

We have been on the road a lot.   Took a quick trip to the California coast and came home along the Russian River. Stopped to pick up some redwood lumber at Barry’s Sawmill in Cazadero,  Ca.

Barry’s Sawmill, Cazadero, CA

Fall landscape, Cazadero, CA

Beautiful Fall decorations near the parking lot.  And, gorgeous trees all around.

Redwood Trees

Further inland, beautiful vineyards near Korbel Winery.

Korbel Vineyard

A quick week on the road but oh what beautiful scenery we have in Northern California!  I hope you get a chance to go for a drive near you to see the fall colors!

Next up, more of Northern California as we travel to Lassen National Park, Burney Falls, then into Oregon.  I’m using this opportunity to try out the Word Press App for my phone without bringing a computer along.

Thanks for checking in!

21. Redwood trim, stain and patience!

So far, most of 2014 at Truckee can be summed up with woodworking, trimming, staining and finish work!  Bob has finished the flooring on the 2nd floor and 1st floor and is just short one box of flooring for the 3rd floor loft. As you know we put in tile in the entry ways and Quick Step Laminate flooring in the 2nd floor living space and loft office area. It looks beautiful!

Quick Step Hickory Laminate flooring with Redwood 2" baseboard and 1/4 round redwood trim

Quick Step Hickory Laminate flooring with Redwood 2″ baseboard and 1/4 round redwood trim

All the baseboard and trim in the house has been replaced with redwood trim which we purchased from Redwood Lumber Company in San Carlos, CA .  Bob has stained and cut all trim  on site.  We choose redwood to blend with the existing wood ceilings in the house and stair railings which are redwood and we are very happy with how the woods are blending.

The living room, almost completely furnished!

The living room, almost completely furnished!

While we love the look, we are not recommending Quick Step laminate.  We usually use Commercial grade Pergo laminate flooring but this time could not find the floor coloring we wanted.  Consumer Reports rated this flooring higher than the best Pergo; however, we are already seeing some damage to the floor with much less wear and tear than our other Pergo floors have had after many years.  So check your flooring out from more sources!

After completing most of the floors. Bob started on the deck railings.  The deck and wood railings are also redwood.  The center of the railings will be metal and the metal is being ordered.

April 23, 2014 fabricating the deck rails.  Then snow that night!

April 23, 2014 fabricating the deck rails. Then snow that night!

With the weather change, Bob went back to window trim and has now completed all the windows trim.

Kitchen window

Kitchen window completed just after Valentine’s Day

Living Room windwo

Living Room window

Small windows completed-just do this 5 times!

Small windows completed-just do this 5 times!

Five Loft windows completed, both the plate glass & opening part!

Five Loft windows completed, both the plate glass & opening part!

There were a few more windows, but you get the idea of how many cuts and trips up and down the stairs were taken to do all the cuts in the ground floor garage since we now have furniture in the house and had cleaned up all the sheet rock dust!  One day, Bob counted that he had climber over 1,000 steps!

After many pickup loads of boxes and one large load with the pickup and rented trailer our furniture was moved here from storage and my parents house.  The dining table and hutch fit perfectly in the new kitchen/dining space.  I cannot tell you how nice it is to see my dining set again-we only had it for 1 year before it went into storage in 2010 when we moved into my parents house to take care of them!

Dining hutch in its own alcove

Dining hutch in its own alcove

On June 12th we took a bike ride on the Truckee River trail to Tahoe City, CA.  It was a great day.  Lake Tahoe water is being released early to keep the Truckee River flowing to Reno and for the fishery.  Rafting is up and running at least for now!

Bob at Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City

Bob at Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City

Lake Tahoe water being released into the Truckee River

Lake Tahoe water being released into the Truckee River

Lake Tahoe is already very low for June

Lake Tahoe is already very low for June due to the needed water release and the drought

We ordered Bali Blinds from Home Depot in Reno and they arrived in about 10 days.  We put the blinds on the 2nd floor windows and in the 3rd floor loft.  They are dual honeycomb shades with black out backing.  They should give us privacy and increased insulation from the cold nights.

Loft Blinds-up, down & the clear glass door from our bedroom that leads to the loft

Loft Blinds-up, down & the clear glass door from our bedroom that leads to the loft

As you can see by the door from our bedroom-blinds will certainly improve privacy.  We have had a sheet over the door since the remodel started!

The ground floor workshop is coming together.  Bob put a sealer and epoxy coating on both the workshop and storage room garage floor.  Then he went to work re-purposing our old kitchen cabinets into workshop storage space.

Garage staging area for cutting, staining and painting!

Garage staging area for cutting, staining and painting!

Front side of the workshop with the window facing the street

Front side of the workshop with the window facing the street

The rest of the workshop area.  Counters are next!

The rest of the workshop area. Counters are next!

Lastly, Bob upgraded the porch ski lift swing.  It had the old broken blue plastic slats that came with it.  He had some oak slats which he cut, stained, & installed.  To finish it off, he used his dremel tool to personalize the swing.

New seat on swing

New seat on swing

Personalized swing

Personalized swing

Well that brings us up to date.  We will be posting again soon and are now on the lookout for native, drought tolerant plants to update the street view of the house.

Drought tolerant and colorful plants needed!

Drought tolerant and colorful plants needed!

The following are a couple of plants that have caught our eye in the neighborhood.

Yellow blooms and  low growing

Yellow blooms and low growing

Small purple flowers on a green ground cover

Small purple flowers on a green ground cover

Thanks for checking in!

20. I’m back, thanks for your patience!

Lots has happened since my last post.  Needless to say for those of you that know us personally, December thru March were very involved with family matters and posting on the blog was the last thing on my mind.

Now, back to the house!  I last posted when the floor had just been put in and the kitchen appliances installed and granite rock trim was being put on the outside of the house.

Ext1-GraniteDone

Granite rock trim

Granite rock trim

The granite counter-tops were to be installed on 12/19/2013 but since they wanted to cut the granite piece for the island in half we had to delay. We had a meeting with the granite fabrication designers.  After the meeting, we were back on track with a one-piece island and the granite being cut as we had intended for the counters.  It was installed on 12/23/2013 and looks beautiful!

2013-1223-GraniteInstall-1_sm

Kitchen granite completed

Granite corner detail

Granite corner detail

The granite is called ‘Blue Flower’ and has some beautiful movement and great colors.  To me, it looks like ‘real granite’ from the Sierras which is just what we wanted.

Back to the garage – the wallboard, tape and texture was completed in the workshop and wine room.  Then it was time to prime and paint and put in the finish electrical.  Later the doors and cabinetry will be installed.  Jim & Tricia came up for the weekend and helped us yet again.

New garage workshop with window, lights and paint.

New garage workshop with window, lights and paint.

Jim worked hard and ignored the cold temperatures; he put in the Pottery Barn sample sale chandelier in the wine room.  It works and looks beautiful!  Sometimes it pays to take a chance on a discount, ‘as is’ fixture!

Chandelier in the room that will be the wine room

Chandelier in the wine room

We cooked our first dinner in the kitchen in January 2014 with Tricia and Jim and Bob & I.  What a wonderful evening!

Bob not only builds...he cooks!

Bob not only builds…he cooks!

Even with limited snow, the Foxagufer lift chair is now in operation for a relaxing swing to watch the birds fly by or snow come down!  Special thanks to Dave Carter of Precision Metal Tooling for the exceptional custom metal fabrication work!

Swinging lift chair, originally from Homewood Ski Resort

Swinging lift chair, originally from Homewood Ski Resort

At the end of January we had our first week long party at the house.  Friends came from as far away as Switzerland and Germany and as close as Glenshire (near Truckee).  Even with very limited snow our group got in 3 ski days, a fun day at Virginia City and had a great Fondue Party on Saturday, Feb 1st. (Seating 19 people, all within sight of each other!) The house isn’t done but enough was done for twelve good friends to find places to sleep,do lots of cooking and eating, and LOTS of good times.

We get together for skiing....

We get together for skiing….

but, we really do it for the friendships!

but, we really do it for the friendships!

Sometimes we just walk!

Sometimes we just walk!

When you can't ski-go to Virginia City, NV in all your ski gear & have fun!

When you can’t ski-go to Virginia City, NV in all your ski gear & have fun!

Dinner-19

Our week ends with a big fondue party. This year we opened up the dining table & added a 10 person table in the living room-seated 19 for dinner!

During the week we visited many sites around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and Reno along with the ski areas.  We also managed to go out and relax at many nice restaurants. Below Bob & I are at lunch with our friends, Maggi and Margrit, at the Bridge Tender, Tahoe City, CA.

Relaxing at the Bridge Tender, Tahoe City, CA

Relaxing at the Bridge Tender, Tahoe City, CA

Bob & I enjoyed a great week with GREAT friends! So happy with the house! Being with our friends was the best stress remedy you could imagine.

Bob & I enjoyed a great week with GREAT friends! So happy with the house! Being with our friends was the best stress remedy you could imagine.

We also enjoyed local restaurants that accommodated our large group in stride:

I think it is time for a couple of before and after photo’s of the kitchen dining room.  The first one is taken before we started the demo.  You can see the old solar atrium through the windows in the kitchen and dining room.  We took this load bearing wall out and now use all the space.

Kitchen & dining area before and after the remodel.

Kitchen & dining area before and after the remodel.

The following picture shows the view from the living room (fireplace) before and after, but after we began the demolition.

Before and after the remodel

Before and after the remodel

Bob has been working on finish trim on all the windows, the doors and floors.  This week he is working on the final deck railings so that he can order the deck mesh that will finish the deck railings.  We are on count down to get our final completion for this remodel by the end of July 2014!  More soon and thank you for all the sympathy and support during these past months.

19. Primer, paint, finish work and patience!

We haven’t run off to Timbuktu, it is just that progress is slower and we do not have as many interesting pictures to post.  But fear not, Bob continues to work everyday to get this house finished!  I was able to be in Truckee on November 2nd and 3rd.  It was so nice to see all the progress.

I was amazed to walk into the main floor and feel like the kitchen looked even larger with the cabinets and island in place.  I had expected it to feel much smaller with all the cabinets.  It should be a great party place! My daughter, Tricia, and I had been out shopping for flooring options.  Of course, you cannot choose until the samples are in the room-so I brought all the samples we liked and laid them out next to the cabinets.

Maybe I have too many floor samples??

Maybe I have too many floor samples??

The three top choices.  We choose the lighter one which looked much darker after installation.

The three top choices. We choose the lighter one which looked much darker after installation.

On Saturday, 11/2, the replacement slab was poured.  Not as smooth as the first, but so far no cracks!

Replacement slab in the new garage/workshop area.

Replacement slab in the new garage/workshop area.

Bob had to wait until the Thursday, 11/7, to rebuild the wall between the workshop and storage room and put back all the insulation.  He also built a double wall in the storage room to moderate the extreme temperatures better.  Now, we are waiting for the sheet rockers to fit us into their schedule to finish up these rooms.

The following week Bob cut, stained and installed the wood trim on the new skylights.  I think they look great!

2013-1106-SkylightsTrimmedOur new dining room light arrived and Bob also installed it.  We need to get the table out of storage soon to stop accidentally backing into the light!

New dining room light.

New dining room light.

He also primed all the walls on the main floor and then painted everything off-white.  Since he had the scaffold up to paint, he also hung his sled and the old snow shoes.  He says every cabin needs these!

2013-1106-Paint-SledPainting also includes the stairwell from the first to third floor, the sleeping loft and the office loft at the front of the house.  Bob has taken off all the railings, sanded them, re-stained them and put them back up after primer and paint.  Notice the board against the brick wall.  He is also refinishing those trim pieces and installing them on each side of the bricks.  As I said, lots of work but not very interesting for pictures.

Bob and Stevo, the electrician, have been working on finish electric.  Connecting all the wires and making the new switches and outlets work.  I am really enjoying our new porch lights.

Porch lights work!

Porch lights work!

Bob came down to Hayward the weekend of 11/9 and picked up the flooring.  He started installing it on Friday, 11/15.  Tricia and Jim and I came up for the weekend.  Jim helped Bob to lay the rest of the floor on Saturday and Sunday and do more electrical work.  Tricia and I went to Reno to pick out tile samples for the entry way and then came back and did touch-up paint on all the metal fasteners on the deck and stairs.  Jim and Tricia have been a huge help with this remodel.

New floor in living room, dining room and kitchen.

New floor in living room, dining room and kitchen.

You can see the main entry way floor is not done.  We picked out tile for this floor, the 1st floor entry/laundry room and the garage entry during this weekend and Bob will pick it up tomorrow, 12/6, in Reno.  Then he will figure out the best way to install it himself (new skill for him).

The following week  Bob continued on various projects in the house and put up more of the deck railing timbers when the weather cooperated.  The other big event was the trim granite was being installed on the front of the house starting on 11/22.  We purchased our stone through Sierra Stone Supply and the installation was done by Johansen Masonry.

Starting the granite corner.

Starting the granite corner.

They sent 6 men out to work on the project.  First they dug down into the ground and poured a footing for the granite rocks.  Then they laid out the granite and hand stacked and mortared them into place.  They did a beautiful job.

Granite installed around the 1st floor entry door.

Granite installed around the 1st floor entry door.

 Bob asked them what they recommended for under the door.  They said they would find the thin pieces and cut to fit.  It came out beautiful!  They also had to find thin pieces to fit behind the gas meter.  Again, they did a wonderful job.

Door threshold finish work.

Door threshold finish work.

Finished granite behind the gas meter.

Finished granite behind the gas meter.

I cannot wait to get a picture of the front of the house with the granite finished and all the protective plastic and painters tape removed to post.

Bob came to Hayward and took a week off from Truckee during the Thanksgiving holiday.  I really enjoyed having him here and of course, the poor guy had more ‘honey do’s’ for things at my parents Hayward house.  But he says he did feel like he got a rest and is back at it in Truckee as I type.

On Thursday, 12/5, the microwave, stovetop, oven and refrigerator all arrived from three different delivery companies!

Refrigerator is connected and working!

Refrigerator is connected and working!

Microwave is working; oven & stovetop are awaiting connection.

Microwave is working; oven & stovetop are awaiting connection.

Happy Late Thanksgiving to all of you who check in on our progress.  We are thankful for our friends and family and look forward to spending more time with you!

18. Kitchen cabinets & more…

I don’t think Bob liked my title of ‘Snail’s Pace’ for the last post and he is doing everything he can to be sure the house is completed as soon as possible.  Can anyone say, ‘ski season is coming’ and you know he doesn’t want to be tied to the house!  Major accomplishments during the 2nd half of October:

New exterior lightning installed on deck (4 new lights and motion sensor).  Motion light reconnected at ground floor entry and 1st floor entry lights reconnected.

New entry lights on Oct. 18.

New entry lights on Oct. 18.

Deck stairs and decking is completed.  Still need to locate and purchase the deck railings that we want.

Deck flooring and stairs completed on Oct. 26th.

Deck flooring and stairs completed on Oct. 26th.

Kitchen cabinets were moved from the 1st floor garage to the 2nd floor main living area and installed by Bob alone!  He also installed the LED can lights and dimmer switches for the lighting. Below the pictures tell the story…so not much need for my comments.

First cabinet installed was the upper corner.  Then the other upper cabinets, then the lower cabinets. Oct. 25th.

First cabinet installed was the upper corner. Then the other upper cabinets, then the lower cabinets. Oct. 25th.

Cabinets on the new window side installed on Oct. 27th.

Cabinets on the new window side installed on Oct. 27th.

Started the opposite corner cabinets on Oct. 27th.

Started the opposite corner cabinets on Oct. 27th.

Oct. 28th installed the cabinets to along the back of the kitchen and turned the corner.

Oct. 28th installed the cabinets to along the back of the kitchen and turned the corner.

All the wall cabinets installed by Oct. 29th as well as the new stove vent.

All the wall cabinets installed by Oct. 29th as well as the new stove vent.

By Oct. 31st, all the cabinets including the island; LED ceiling lights, vent and pot rack were installed.

By Oct. 31st, all the cabinets including the island; LED ceiling lights, vent and pot rack were installed.

On Oct. 26th Bob opened the garage door and noticed movement by his truck.  A rather large bear came walking by.

Oct. 26th morning visitor just outside the garage door.

Oct. 26th morning visitor just outside the garage door.

On the night of Oct. 27th Truckee had its first large snowfall of 2013-2014 winter.  Bob woke up on the 28th  to about seven inches and snow and it continued to snow most of the day and into the evening.

Beautiful snow!

Beautiful snow!

In between all of this work.  Bob had to take up the sub-floor in two places. Both the living room and kitchen had a noticeable ‘bump’ in the floor.  He fixed the problem and reinstalled the sub-floor.

New electrical, water & waste lines in place for the new island.

New electrical, water & waste lines in place for the new island.

Another problem also had to be solved.  I mentioned in the last post that we had a problem with the cement in the new garage.  Not wanting to bore you with details, but it was a major problem with severe cracks throughout the new garage/workshop.  After various discussions, on Oct. 28th, Neft Construction came back and jack hammered out the garage slab that was put in in June.  Before they could do that, Bob had to remove the wall and all the insulation between the workshop and storage part of the garage.  On Oct. 31, they removed some of the base material under the slab area and put in new sand to be ready for the new garage floor pour.

New garage floor after being jack-hammered out. There was a pile outside as well as inside!

New garage floor after being jack-hammered out. There was a pile outside as well as inside!

The new cement was poured on Saturday, Nov. 2nd.  So far, so good.  Bob has to rebuild the wall in the garage and put in the insulation again.  Then we can have the drywall contractor come back and finish the two rooms in the new garage.  So another delay…but we are still moving forward!

Thanks for checking in on our progress.  We look forward to being done and enjoying the house with friends and family!

17. Slowing to a snail’s pace…

Well, now it’s just Bob working away at Truckee.  Larry and Elder have moved on to new jobs for the winter.  I am staying in Hayward to take care of my parents.  So Bob is working to progress things but tells me it will be much slower from now on.  That’s OK-we have already accomplished so much and limited help was planned!  So updates will be fewer and less pictures of major changes.  But, never fear the work continues.

Tuesday, 10/1, they started the skylight side of the house.  Here is a picture with the holes through the ceiling & roof sheeting..

Skylight holes open to the outside.

Skylight holes open to the outside.

Here is a picture with the skylights from the roof side. Sierra Sage Roofing has done a wonderful job with our roof and the skylights look great!

Skylight holes from the outside.  Due to the angle they look smaller.

Skylight holes from the outside. Due to the angle they look smaller.

Skylights being installed.

Skylights being installed.

Here is a picture of the living room with all that wonderful light!

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

Bob continues to work on the new deck.  Here is the first set of stairs completed on Wednesday, 10/3.  Notice the extra piece of wood on each step.  New regulations require that a 4inch diameter ball cannot fit thru the treads.  But of course, the standard stair height must be kept, hence the additional wood.  A nice detail to slow snow removal in winter and add time to getting the stairs done!

First set of stairs.

First set of stairs.

Bob continues this week (10/14-10/18) completing the deck.  He has to take each board, some of which are 20 ft long by 2 inches by 6 inches, to the back yard and stain them on four sides.  Then after they dry he brings them up to the deck to install.  Usually, I would be painting while he works so this is slowing the progress along with the weather.  He is limited to the time he can stain and work on the deck because of frost on the deck joists in the morning and if the day heats up enough to dry the stain.

October 9th snow

October 9th snow

October 9th snow

October 9th snow

Meanwhile, the sheetrock and texture has been finished in the house (not in the new garage which is another story) so when Bob is not working on the deck he is priming all the sheetrock and starting to paint all the new walls the wall that were patched.

Bob came to Hayward this past weekend for a short stay.  Then he loaded up another truckload of firewood and headed back to Truckee.  He is hoping that by November 1st he can start getting the cabinets installed in the new kitchen.  More pictures soon!

16. New deck started outside, drywall inside & finally a roof…

Bob removed the old deck by Friday evening, 9/20.  Looks so open without the deck!

Old deck all gone!

Old deck all gone!

The following week (9/23 – 9/27), Larry and Elder came back to help Bob with the supports and main framework of the deck. The support beams were about 400 pounds so they rented a machine called a ‘super lift’ to help get the beams in place.

New deck supports.

New deck supports.

Deck rafters for decking.

Deck rafters for decking.

Deck in progress.

Deck in progress.

Stairway landing being constructed.

Stairway landing being constructed.

Deck stairway framework built.

Deck stairway framework built.

At the same time that week the drywall contractors were working inside the house putting up sheet rock, taping the sheet rock joints and applying smooth wall in the kitchen and texture in the rest of the house that had walls torn apart (2nd floor, 1st floor entry, and the ‘mouse holes’ in various parts of the house).  It looks so much lighter now with the drywall done.

Kitchen & dining room sheet rock in and taped.

Kitchen & dining room sheet rock in and taped.

Looking at the new entry and closet from the living room.

Looking at the new entry and closet from the living room.

Living room with new recessed lighting under the loft.

Living room with new recessed lighting under the loft.

Kitchen & dining with smooth wall in kitchen and texture in dining area.

Kitchen & dining with smooth wall in kitchen and texture in dining area.
Recessed lighting in kitchen.

I’m still in Hayward, so Bob will continue to work on the deck and paint primer then paint inside the house when the weather doesn’t cooperate!  He has to find dry weather times to pre-stain all the wood for the deck before he can install it.  This is one year that we are not hoping for an early winter!

As noted in the last post we have had a fair amount of rainfall since the roof came off in mid July and luckily not many leaks.  It rained hard on 9/21, then again on 9/25 it not only rained but snowed.

Rain and snow on Sep. 25th

Rain and snow on Sep. 25th

Snow 'stuck' for a while.

Snow ‘stuck’ for a while.

Great news, they started installing the roof on Friday, 9/27 and are working on it as I type today!  Hopefully, the weather gods will shine on us and it will be completed soon.

New roof going on!

New roof going on!

Bob came back to Hayward for the weekend.  It was time to pick up the wine grapes and do the crush.  The guys picked up the grapes from Lodi (one and one-half tons) on Saturday and completed the crush on Sunday.  Bob headed back to Truckee on Sunday evening.  He’s back hard at work!

He called me Monday morning (9/30) and it had rained last night so the crew went up on the roof and then off.  About a half hour later they started working on the roof again-so glad they didn’t have to wait another day!  It will still take a couple of days to finish.

15. Stucco finished and wood exterior finished (almost)…

I’ve been in Hayward since September 9th taking care of things at my parents.  Bob has been holding down the fort and working away.  He has completed all the insulation and passed the insulation inspection.  He has been working long days and into the evenings.  On September 14th he sent me a picture of the interior holes cut out for the three new skylights.  I’m so excited and cannot wait to seem them finished!  Our living area was dark for me before the remodel but very dark after we lost the window which is now the wall to the new garage.  These 3 skylights will go in with the new roof and should make a world of difference in the main living area.

Skylight holes from inside.

Skylight holes from inside.

Well, the scaffolding went back on the deck while Larry and Bob completed boxing the rafters Monday thru Wednesday (Sep. 16-18). On Friday afternoon, the Truckee Rents came and picked up all the scaffolding.  Bob said that was a major milestone for him.  He was very tired of being the person to take it down and move it so much!  It also means that our part of the exterior work is almost done! Yeah!!

Last time for scaffolding on the deck!

Last time for scaffolding on the deck!

By September 13th all of the exterior stucco was finished with the final color coat.  It is off-white and helps bring the Swiss feel to the house.  Below the wood ledge, will be granite rocks but for now it just looks gray in the picture below.

Stucco all done!  Gray area will have stone later.

Stucco all done! Gray area will have stone later.

Sierra Sage Roofing had a team come to extrude the metal for the roofing on Tuesday.  Very exciting that they make the roof panels on site so that each panel goes from the center point of the house to the eaves.  We won’t have any cross seams like the old metal roof.  Below is one stack of the metal roofing that we are hoping will be installed soon!  Friday, the 20th, they came and ‘dried in’ the roof the rest of the way where the new addition connects to the house.  We were very happy about that given the large rainfall on Saturday, the 21st!

Metal roofing, fabricated on site.

Metal roofing, fabricated on site.

Mudslingers Drywall Company started putting in the sheet rock and filling all the large ‘mouse holes’ (see post No. 6) on September 17th.  They will be there next week to tape and texture so that we can paint!  We will have lots to paint!

Bob worked on his own on the 18th and 19th and removed the deck.  Here you see it almost gone.  Starting next week on Monday, September 23rd they will be rebuilding the deck completely and extending it out over the small cement pad in front of the new garage.

The deck is almost gone, it will be replaced.

The deck is almost gone, it will be replaced.

More pictures are in the camera and I will post as soon as I can.  Thanks for checking in!