For weekend 1 we had a lot of people drop out of coming. Originally there were going to be 16, but only 8 made it. I was more accepting of it from the friends who thought it through and let me know ahead of time, less so for those who messaged me while I was driving up. Either way I still had a great time. We got in after hitting the grocery store.

Ricardo and Irene came in shortly after. Steph cooked some delicious tom yum and we chilled for the evening. Ricardo taught us how to play dominoes, the six dot version, and we had a good time playing. It was a simpler game then I was expecting, but still a decent amount of strategy. In some of the games I felt like there wasn’t ever a real decision, but most of the time I did get a few interesting choices in a round.

Brian, Brittany, and Ethan came in shortly after that. Ethan was a great kid. He was communicative and only ever had the problem that he didn’t want to put on a life jacket. That led to Brittany hanging out with him in the car while the rest of us went kayaking, but we made sure she was able to get a little bit of time on the water later.

We went kayaking from Sand Harbor Beach, and made it down to Thunderbird Lodge. Many of the attractions and rental places weren’t open until Memorial Day weekend. This meant we went to a rental place that wasn’t as convenient and we had to load the kayaks on the car. They had just opened for the season, so they weren’t fully ready. Even so we didn’t have any issues with the rentals, and since they weren’t prime placement it was much more affordable. That was an interesting place. We looked it up later and it is a rentable private area for extremely wealthy clients. The annual fee for being a member that can reserve time there is $20K. The kayak trip was gorgeous and the weather was perfect. The snow capped mountains across the lake made for a beautiful backdrop. The sun was intense and I got some sunburn on my knees. We also found a little cave, but it was so small that we would have had to army crawl, and nobody was up for that. Ricardo and Irene were in a tandem, and they struggled the whole time to find a rhythm. They made it out and back. I think a large part of their issues was that Ricardo wanted to control things from the front, where he needed to really just keep a rhythm.

We did a long hike out the back of the property where we are staying. This had a really nice loop that started about 250 feet away from the house and returned 250 feet on the other side. It was a great hike and we saw a lot of mushrooms, and some interesting flowers. The flowers that were the most interesting were the fleshy blood flowers. They are parasites that feed off the trees in the area and are related to asparagus. They can also be cooked like asparagus but are protected. In the middle of the hike we got an amazing view of the lake with a large rock slide of large boulders. Ricardo and Irene were having trouble with the hike, but made it without complaints. Irene was nervous at parts, where she had a really hard time with being near a ‘cliff’ that was more of a slide of boulders. She also had a hard time with some rowdy dogs that came by. I think she enjoyed getting out of her comfort zone, and away from the work computer. Ethan was amazing on the hike. Brian and Brittany went to get a backpack for carrying him around. He took a nap while Brian was carrying him up the hill, and then he was quiet and taking in the sights and sounds for the rest of it. He even hiked a little. While we were on this hike Steph was out picking some morel mushrooms.

Adam showed off his plane one day, allowing people to see it and get in the cockpit. Ethan loved being in the cockpit and was hitting all the switches, under close supervision by Adam. Ricardo and Brittany also got some time in the cockpit. The next day he took me up for a tour around the lake. It was amazing to watch him fly and see how different it is from the grounded methods of travel. He chatted with the different towers of the airports we were flying next to. Some of the interesting things were the South Tahoe tower reaching out to the unknown plane flying south along the west side of the lake. Apparently that is the normal way for a tower to reach out to a plane, assuming as little as possible. The Reno tower reached out directly with the call sign asking us to stay left. That was to let a Southwest flight climb normally, which we got to see come pretty close by us on our right. There was another high performance jet, that Adam thought was military. The jet went from behind us and 1000ft below to in front of us and 1000ft above in about a minute. It was pretty close on our right side. From the air I got a great view of the Caldor burn scar as it came into the Tahoe area. We also could see all the extra lakes around Lake Tahoe. We had a little bit of turbulence around one shorter hill that didn’t have snow on the top, so thermals were able to form and push us around a bit. On our approach for landing the tower first told us to keep speed, because we had a plane behind us. They then must have told the plane to circle once, as we then were able to slow down a bit. They also contacted us on our final approach to let us know there was a coyote in the runway. Adam had to do a double take as he was concentrating on landing, and was probably trying to remember what kind of plane was a coyote. The coyote was fine, and most of the way down the runway. We didn’t pass it, but I did see it happily trotting around the runway as we were on the taxi way. The Sasquatch quality photo below is the coyote in the runway.

We played a round of codenames and had most people get a chance to be codemaster. We did codenames pictures as that seems to be slightly better for non-native english speakers. The games were all pretty close, and the new codemasters got a good understanding of how hard it can be to give good clues.

We also played a few rounds of Drawful 2. Everyone really enjoyed it and Brian was amazing at both the funny aspects and the guessing correctly. Steph as usual was the best artist, but that doesn’t always help in getting points or likes.

We played one game of Spirit Island with Adam, Steph, Brian, and myself. Brian and Adam were pretty new to it, but both did really well. We played a harder scenario and it turned out pretty well.

I had a great time, and will probably do another outing like this for my 40th.