Archive for June 2015

Tour De Manure!   Leave a comment


Photos courtesy Laura Read.

by Tim Hauserman

Here it comes again, my favorite Lake Tahoe area bike riding experience: The Tour De Manure. It combines a beautiful ride around the Sierra Valley with great friends, music and delicious food.

The Tour De Manure is a metric century ride (62 miles) which begins in Sierraville, CA. The ride starts with a valley crossing on the lightly traveled A-23 to the junction with Highway 70 at Beckwourth. A right turn brings you in a few miles to A-24, where you recross the valley to Loyalton. There, you get your one and only climb of the day, up Smithneck Road, before returning to Loyalton and the last 13 miles on Highway 49 back to Sierraville.

There are a number of factors that make this ride so special. First, while a 62 mile ride is nothing to sneeze at, this one is about as easy as you can make it. It’s mostly flat and the views of wildflowers, cows and a wide variety birds make for a pleasant spin. Find a peloton that matches your speed and ride with a new group of friends. The event is a fundraiser for the Sierraville Fire Department, which brings out a host of friendly volunteers dishing out food, signing up participants or whatever it takes to make things run smoothly. Speaking of the food, not only is it delicious and filling, but given the difficulty of the ride, most people actually get to eat it right about lunch time. And finally, the ride was the original brain child of long time Tahoe local Doug Read. He has got the word out among the North Tahoe cross-country ski and bike community that this is the place to be in June, and I always find a ton of great Tahoe buds to ride and eat with.

The Details: The Tour De Manure is on Saturday, June 20, 2015. The ride begins and ends at the Sierraville Volunteer Fire House.

Directions: From Truckee, take Highway 89 north 25 miles to it’s intersection with Highway 49, turn right and you are at the start.

Riders should start pedaling between 8 and 9 am.

Register online for the 62 or 42 mile version at


Posted June 10, 2015 by lynnnrichardson in Uncategorized

Truckee’s Got Trains!   Leave a comment

By Tim Hauserman



Amtrak’s California Zephyr train on its way to Reno from the Truckee train station


For many of us, Truckee’s trains are the frequent background sounds of life in town. They are a chance to simplify our lives as we watch the cars rhythmically clatter down the tracks. Or they are the thrill of the roaring locomotive drowning out the raucous sounds of Truckee Thursday. But Truckee’s rail line is more then just a blast from the past, or a brief interlude in our day, it is one of the things that makes Truckee the place that it is. Truckee is a railroad town, with well over a dozen trains a day rolling through. And trains are also an important part of how Truckee became more then just a blip on the radar.


Vintage train at the Truckee Train Station

Truckee Railroad Museum in a vintage train car at the Truckee Train Station


The Transcontinental Railroad made its way through Truckee in 1867 on it’s way to its’ eventual completion in Utah in 1869. Building the first railroad all the way across the country was an impressive feat at the time, especially the section just to the west of Truckee over Donner Summit. There Chinese laborers took two years to build the routes longest tunnel through solid granite.



Vintage safe inside the Truckee Train Station




Truckee’s position as the last stop before the climb over the Sierra crest was key to it’s development as a town. Once the line was complete, the railroads quickly went to work transporting logs to feed the immense silver mines of Virginia City. By 1900, the railroad dipped its toes into tourism, with a new railroad station that is still standing, and a narrow gauge railroad to Tahoe City. Visitors would transfer to the Lake Tahoe Railroad in Truckee, and take the 13 mile line to the shores of Lake Tahoe and the swank Tahoe Tavern. Both the railroad to Tahoe City and the hotel are gone, but for awhile, tourists prime mode of transit to Tahoe was via train. Now, there are just two Amtrak trains a day through Truckee, the rest are freight trains providing the materials needed to keep America moving.


The Truckee Train Station also is home to the Truckee Visitors Center, Chamber of Commerce and a variety of local craftsmen

The Truckee Train Station also is home to the Truckee Visitors Center, Chamber of Commerce and a variety of local craftsmen


For more information on the impact of trains on Truckee and the development of the Sierra, visit the Truckee Railroad Museum in the caboose next to the Amtrak Station in downtown Truckee. The newly opened Donner Memorial Visitor Center also has an exhibit on the Chinese workers who built the railroad.


View of train tracks towards Donner Summit

Train tracks in downtown Truckee going west



Getting Your Lake Tahoe/Truckee Yard Ready For Summer! Part 1 – Controlling Moles and Voles   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi

This will be the first in a series of articles dealing with getting your yard ready for summer: controlling garden pests (today), planning a drought tolerant yard for our current water restrictions, putting in some inexpensive curb appeal to wow potential buyers and growing plants in shade and vegetables in sun in your high country garden.




Spring is a relative term here in the mountains. Teasingly warm, sunny days quickly followed by snow and sleet. I suddenly have hail in my yard even as I write this. (Where was this in February when we actually wanted it???) But hey, we need the water, so we’ll take it!

That being said, our growing season is precariously short, and if we want a glorious summer garden, we have to start preparing those areas now.


Today, we’re focused on controlling garden pests while still being good stewards of our fragile forest environment.

For the first time ever, I’m battling moles/voles. They’ve managed to eat almost everything I’ve planted in the last two years. A thriving potted plant from the nursery would be a wilted mass once in the ground. Close inspection revealed a new series of tunnels in the entire planter and the roots of everything completely eaten away, leaving behind dieing, shriveled, soon to be brown tufts above ground. Being not too wild about providing an expensive outdoor buffet for the little beasts, this year I declared war!

Most suggestions however on how to combat moles, voles and gophers  involved poisons, but in our wildlife rich environment, using them has some tragic and unexpected consequences:

This is from Dave Rees’ post on Facebook~ 



I died today.
I was found by a kind, sweet woman who does wildlife rescue.
I was so sick, I could barely open my eyes.
She took me inside, cradling me in her warm arms, and made me warm and comfortable.
I opened my eyes and looked at her and thanked her for making my last few minutes as comfortable as possible.
But i was too sick to keep fighting anymore.
I had eaten a mouse that was poisoned, and it made me very sick.
I closed my yellow eyes for the last time and went somewhere else.

Please, all I ask is never use poison to kill the mice.
Poison kills owls, like me.
All I wanted was a mouse for dinner.
I died today….

Please SHARE this for poison awareness.
Stop the use of poison for rats or mice. Live traps are the best to use. Catch and release. Please.
Save a precious life today, because all life is precious.

* * *

While using poisons my seem expedient, it’s important to keep in mind what else along the food chain you’re also killing once the poisoned critter is ingested. In addition to owls, the list includes bald eagles and hawks, the rarely seen red fox, coyotes and even your own feline pets. In addition, these poisons can seep into the ground water and wash into creeks, rivers and lakes. Bad idea all around.

So I was thrilled to find this suggestion.  Lining your plants or even whole planters with hardware wire. Your plants get protected, the environment is safe from poisons, and the critters we share this lovely area with get to live another day to hunt your garden pests. Win, Win all around!

Hardware wire. Try chewing through this vermin!

Hardware wire. Try chewing through this vermin!


In short order, I had dug out the planter and boxed it in with the hardware wire.  In addition, this allowed me to mix in some much needed compost with the excavated dirt as I filled the planter back in. (Most of our soil is decomposed pine needles and is way too acidic, nutrient deficient and has very poor drainage and/or water retention ability.) The area is now ready for new plants to thrive in once our weather becomes more consistently warm.

Be aware. Be kind. There are almost always better solutions to combat common garden pests than using poisons.




Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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