Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tom's Advice Column - Happy Fathers Day!

Mackenzie Anderson and Odin Oakley-Barnett Clean Wild Trout

Dear Tom,

My daughter, who has visited Ross Lake almost every year of her life,  just "graduated" from middle school.  When she walked out on stage I was stunned with her beauty.  I saw how she carried herself and how much in her I saw of her mother. I looked over at my wife and saw the same smile and glow.

And then I saw her new dress .... and how short it was ............... and all I could think of was what I was thinking when I was 14. 

My buddy sitting next to me, whose two daughters recently graduated from college looked at me out of the corner of his eye. 

Two simple sounds emanated from deep within my throat.

"UH- ohh!!!"

You would have expected a pal to render sympathy, instead over the next 30 minutes all I heard was "chuckle, chuckle, chuckle", a few snorts, one guffaw, and multiple "he he he's".

Do you have any advice from your lofty perch high in the North Cascades?

Bewildered in the Lowlands

Dear Pau  Bewildered,

When I went thru a similiar situation with my daughter, I obviously turned to many of my good friends for advice as well. Oddly enough, many of them had the same reaction as your good friend.

What got me through it was the internet. A friend gave me the name of a company back east that sold designer women's clothing for concerned parents.

I searched for months on the Internet but couldn't locate it. The futility of this research distracted me so much I forgot about everything else, and when that happened I realized I felt better, less stressed out.

The dot com out of Freeharbor, Maine was called something like L.L.BBurqua.

Bewildered -  for the next four years you control NOTHING!

Only your wife and daughter have control, and to be blunt - the only thing you can do is accept that.

So! Take up fly fishing like so many men before you!  Over the next 4 years you will end up with a quiver of rods, a few reels, dozens of wet flies, hundreds of dry flies, fancy waders, a float or two, designer polarized glasses, goofy hats with big bills stuck with flies, lures and maybe even a few beer bottle caps like those soccer fans.

I suggest you spend more time up on Ross Lake with your pals!

It is the only way to keep your sanity and your last shred of dignity!

What ever you do don't take any advice from friends that don't have daughters.

Good lord, be a man and run from this situation.

He he he!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We have seen the Tug Boat many times next to the Dam! Can you tell us what the story is behind the Tug Boat and why it is here?? Also why it is buried in the ground?? Thank you!! Ron

As depicted to me without verification from either the NPS or Seattle City Light

It was a dark and stormy night, Captain Tom was trying to save the villagers from a fate.....

Many years ago when Sasquatch frequented the shores of Ross lake....

The tug boat mentioned in the earlier post is a piece of living history of Ross Lake. It plied these waters for many years before age, codes and history caught up with it.

It is really a very simple explanation as to how it found its current resting place.  Cost.

The tug needed a complete overhaul It was no longer able to ply the waters of Ross Lake without upgrades required by necessary regulations.  It sometimes hauled or might have been required to haul passengers.

To meet the latest codes would have cost more than what the returns justified. To move it further down the road perhaps near the power house was tricky, and in reality space was limited.

Also old boats would have to be stripped of paint etc. a difficult undertaking in the current location.

So from what I've been told. A common sense approach was taken.  Partially bury that beautiful old girl alongside the road, and surrounded by a small protective berm, where everyone could see it on a daily basis and it could be monitored regularly by staff from Seattle City Light.

A piece of history kept where it belongs.

Wet Spring?

Summer is here in a few days.  Here is another reminder of what awaits you as the summer progresses.

Suuummmmertime and the Livin' is Eaaaaasy

Well,  down in the lowlands the spring has been wet.

Grass has been growing at a fast clip...... ha! Sorry about the lousy writing!

Long summer days mean more growing time.

But there just isn't much time spent cutting grass on a floating resort.

Go figure.

Well maybe a few patches get out of control.

The nurse logs supporting these cabin are a part of Ross Lake history.  These are a few of the old growth trees that had to be cut down when the dam was built. As the water began to fill the reservoir that is now Ross Lake, loggers constructed floating platforms for housing and work stations and used the felled timber for supporting, floating the structures.

As the water rose up the steep sided canyon, the platforms would be floated over to what ever area was closest to the loggers.

When the logging was completed the founder of the resort bought the buildings - the floating camps - and Ross Lake Resort was born.

Question from a reader: So what happens 50-60 years later and these logs wear out?

Well, the simple answer is they don't really wear out.  They perhaps get water logged, and as additional weight is added to the cabins when they are remodeled and modernized new supports may have to be added.

Question from a reader:  Do you mean more trees are cut down?

No of course not! That wouldn't happen.

Tom and Will are both good divers and when more floatation is required they add pre-made floats.

Question from a reader: Huh, dude you mean totally like my old coffee table from college - a big wooden spool that held wire, or my old end table - an empty keg of beer - way to function man, LOL?

No of course not!  We use something a little less 60's & 70's old timer and quit trying to disguise your age and yourself with expressions from different generations!

Statement from a reader:  TMI and quit trying to be so gnarly you old f...!

Hey! Knock it off Son or no allowance this week and stay out of those old photo albums!

Here is a picture.

These plastic barrels are filled with water through a precise measurement process to achieve as close to neutral buoyancy as possible then Tom and Will drift them into position using their own form of navigation and lift techniques - sort of a Ross Lake Resort version of GPS and applied physics.  They sort of guess to see what works best.

Using an air line from a compressor they then pump the new floats with air forcing out the water until poiinnnnnggggggggg - the cabins are floating nice and high and as level as possible.

Pretty cool - especially when you have been in the water for as long as they have been. Tom and Will I mean

If you drive up on the haul road you may see the old tugboat buried in the ground.  Next to the tug is the next generation of floats.  Large black pvc pipe sealed on both ends and with valves for the air and water these will take the place of the white plastic in the future and will be less labor intensive.

An innovative suggestion by one of the regular guests created this new concept.  We all have a vested interest in the history and future of the resort even if it doesn't include beer keg end tables.