On Monday, August 17, 2020, Joanna, Victoria, Jeffrey, and Lizzie left for Bass Lake (near Yosemite National Park). They rode along with the Oautu family. They returned six days later on Sunday, August 23rd.
Note: You can click on any picture to view it full size.
Once again, we start the day with a big, late breakfast.
Josiah was covered with bed bug bites over most of his body. So after the first few nights, we moved him out of his bedroom and informed the owner. Fortunately, he didn’t get any more bites and he gradually recovered.
Jeffrey bought and brought a bunch of meat to grill during our vacation.
A few years ago, Nicole gave Tim his first Lego set. It was of New York City and had the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Flat Iron Building, and the Freedom Tower. So finally Tim (with some help from Jeri) put it together.
Here’s a time-lapse video condensing the two-plus hours into 4+ minutes. A few times, Josiah would come over look at the instructions and immediately start putting the pieces together. Whereas Tim had to methodically identify the correct pieces and figure out how to assemble them.
Watching TV (when we could get it to connect) included food shows, Korean dramas, and (clean) stand-up comedians.
Jeffrey periodically tended the grill.
For supper, we picked up some food in Pine Knot Village (including a top-rated poke place) and brought it home to eat.
Some of the Age of Empire (video game) players enjoyed watching recorded matches of top players.
The weather was hot and dry. The highs were in the 80s. The relative humidity was below 10% during the day. As a result, everyone noses were very dry.
Some even got bloody noses. Here’s Lizzie with hers.
Several of Tim’s coworkers recommended the board game Sequence. So we bought a copy and played it multiple times during our stay.
Day four (Thursday) was grill day. Here’s Jeffrey preparing to grill.
We prepared some chocolate-chip cookie dough before we left home. And then we baked cookies several times during our vacation.
We ate a big, late lunch.
Downstairs had a pool table, an air hockey table, an indoor basketball game, and a Pac-man arcade game.
Then we headed to Big Bear Lake to try kayaking and paddle boarding.
Initially we rented two paddle boards and three two-person kayaks for two hours (5 PM till closing at 7 PM). Although there were 11 people and only eight spots, our plan was to swap people after an hour.
However after Tim rowed out on a paddle board, he realized that no one out on the lake had their cell phones (due to the water). Plus it was looking like a lot of fun for everyone.
So he decided to paddle back and rent two more kayaks. However the guys at the dock said that it was getting late and if I rented two more kayaks that we wouldn’t have much time left. So he gave us two kayaks for free!
Later that evening, some had left over barbecue for a snack.
We relaxed at the house on our first full day of vacation. Around 4:30 PM, Tim, Jeri, Sarah, and Justin drive back to Running Springs to pick up the Civic with its new clutch.
After picking up the car, the plan was to hike to near by Keller Peak (which we visited during our Lake Arrowhead vacation previously). However we discovered that the road to the peak was closed due to a fire the previous week. So instead of driving up to the peak, it would be a five-mile hike. “No bueno!”
So we called back to the house to tell them the change of plans. After some indecision, Jeffrey took charge and said that he was going to Castle Rock Trail. We were concerned that there wouldn’t be any parking and that we would have to walk along the busy highway for a while.
However we were all able to find parking spots very close to the trail head (the place where the trail starts)!
The goal was to get up high enough to get some good sunset pictures. That didn’t happen. But we did (mostly) enjoy the hike. Josiah was suffering a bit with his sore foot. Although she was over seven months pregnant, Hannah made it.
The hike was over a mile up with an elevation gain of over 800 feet.
Here are some pictures.
Sunset was a little after 8 PM. Now at the top, we had to hike the mile plus back down. By the time we get to the bottom, it’s getting pretty dark.
We finally made it back to the house after 9 PM. So we place our online order for Domino’s Pizza (around 9:40 PM). And wait. And wait. And wait.
The supposed 30-minute delivery turned out to be about an hour later. Apparently the delivery guy confused our address on “San Martin Circle” with the one “San Martin Street”. The pizza didn’t arrive until about 10:45 PM. So needless to say, we ate late.
We relaxed at the house on our first full day of vacation. Because it was hot and dry outside, we waited until later in the day to head out. Justin didn’t feel up to going with us.
Our first stop was the boardwalk at Big Bear Lake. The girls enjoyed dressing up and taking pictures.
After the boardwalk, we went to Azteca Grill in Big Bear. Because they were busy, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. Fortunately they were able to seat us all together.
Because we were there on a Tuesday night, they had live music featuring Mike Cross. We found him very entertaining (and left some cash in his tip jar). And although the food took forever to arrive, we didn’t mind the wait. And we certainly enjoyed the food!
They were very accommodating. Jeri and Tim asked for a veggie burrito to be fried like an enchilada. Half red sauce; half green sauce.
One of the songs that Mike Cross sang was “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. The official lyrics include these lines: “Hands, touching hands, Reaching out, touching me, touching you.”
He changed it to a PSA (Public Service Announcement) version: “Hands, sanitized hands, Reaching out, don’t touch me, I won’t touch you.”
We drove four vehicles to Big Bear. Jason, Hannah, and Josiah went in Jason’s truck. Jeffrey took Sarah and Lizzie in his car. Nicole drove Joanna’s car and took Victoria. Tim, Jeri, and Justin drove the Honda Civic.
During the drive up the mountain (Big Bear is around 7,000 feet elevation), Tim noticed the Civic was sometimes hard to up and down shift between third and fourth gears. At one point, he had couldn’t get it into third and a line of traffic started building up behind. One car even honked.
Fortunately he was able to finally get it into third and decided to leave it third gear. Around 4:30 PM as we approached the small town of Running Springs (population less than 5,000), we needed a bathroom break. We pulled off and coasted into a parking spot of a small grocery store.
We couldn’t get the car started. Jeri went to the NAPA Auto Parts store that was next door and asked about auto mechanics. The guy said that there were two in town but that they closed at 5:00 PM. Now it is about 10 to 15 minutes until 5.
One of the garages is just a block away. So Tim runs over and asks about our car. The mechanic said that if we could get it there that he would take a look.
Back at the car, Tim figured out that the clutch wasn’t releasing. So we rolled back out of the parking spot. He started the car with the brakes off…the car lurched forward and started!
Once at the garage, our car was diagnosed with a busted clutch. We unloaded our luggage and called Jeffrey who was already at the house. Jeffrey made the 45-minute drive through windy roads to pick us up. And then he took us back.
The Airbnb house was very nicely furnished. Here is Tim and Jeri with two “towel bears.”