‘Leaping’ into the abyss of Interstate 80’s slow lane | SierraSun.com

‘Leaping’ into the abyss of Interstate 80’s slow lane

Norm and Alan Nicholls

Happy Leap Year everyone. We hope you enjoy this extra calendar day. I sure do as it gives me an extra day to pay off my Tahoe Donner Property Association dues (delinquent March 1) and gives us all an extra shopping day before Christmas.

Weekend before last we enjoyed a two day break in “Sonapanoma” celebrating Alice’s sister’s 70th birthday. The group of party goers stayed at the Silverado Country Club and we did some sight seeing, wine tasting and snuck in 7 holes of golf once the golf course marshals went home for the day. The weather was great, the grass was green, some trees were beginning to bloom, and there was no snow! Keep in mind the Nicholls love snow, but it is fun to get out of it once in awhile.

On Saturday morning we took a tour of the Frog’s Leap winery, which included tastes of five different wines, a 2-hour guided tour and a “Leap Year” T-shirt. I am not a huge wine lover, and I find that paying about $10 to stand in front of a wine bar to receive four or five splashes of wine in a wine glass a bit boring (however, I do like the crackers and cheese if offered). This tour, however, was great and I would suggest it to anyone heading down that direction.

As we were leaving Truckee to go to Napa, I nearly lost control of our car as I was merging on the freeway from the Donner Pass Road on ramp past Smokey’s. As I was accelerating and checking my side mirror to check for traffic approaching from the rear, I was sucked in, then thrown out of the double ruts that have been worn into the roadway. After years and years of traffic flow and the grinding of tire chains into the concrete the roadway has become quite dangerous.

This situation has existed for years but continues to get worse. There has been talk of repairing the section of road from the site of the old ag station to Donner Lake Interchange for “at least” 10 years. In fact it was scheduled for replacement this coming summer. However, the project lost its priority to refurbishing the Donner Summit section of freeway, and is now scheduled for next summer. What is it going to take to convince Caltrans that this is an extremely dangerous situation?

I like to refer to this section as our “cobble stone freeway” because that is all you are riding on. Replacing this section is not only going to make it safer, but I guarantee the decibel level for those living around Donner Lake will be greatly reduced.

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In the interest of good reporting I thought I would go out early this morning with a straight edge and a measuring tape to see just how deep these ruts are.

However, before pulling out of my driveway to do the deed, I thought the better of it. Dashing from the shoulder of the freeway into the traffic lane, making my measurements, and dashing back before being run over by a speeding car or truck, seemed about as “stupid” as ice skating on thin ice at Donner Lake.

You’ll just have to trust me that the ruts are “deep.”

I attended the Truckee Fire Protection District workshop last Monday evening to learn more about the proposed benefit assessment. The ballots have been mailed to “all” property owners within the fire protection district, not just to registered voters; a welcome change to taxation without representation.

I admittedly have not made up my mind on this issue yet, but I was impressed by the fire district’s presentation and their willingness to answer some very pointed questions. There will be a couple of other meetings on this matter and I encourage you to attend and ask your own questions.

I was most impressed with Fire Chief, Bryce Keller. I had heard about him before and knew he had past CDF experience, but I had never met or heard him in person. I assure you that this fine gentleman has your interests as his foremost concern. He is a true professional and leader and is doing his very best to give the citizens of this community the maximum fire and emergency coverage possible.

I also salute fire district board members Ben Malone, Ron Perea, Joseph Straub, Gary Waters, and Bob Snyder for their commitment to their constituents and to the fire district staff.

Last week’s question

The “Beginning Restaurant” was the restaurant that formally occupied the present site of the new Taco Bell (which, by the way, opened Tuesday.)

Jackie Wells mugged the Sierra Sun newspaper delivery man and called her answer in at 5:02 a.m. At 6:15 a.m. Corine Harvey answered the question correctly. Since Jackie has an unfair advantage (she works graveyards) I am declaring the early bird contest a draw ” 2 points each.

Other players with the right answer included Mark Brown (and the early morning “Coffee And” crowd), Dave Lade, Charlie White, Bettye and Steve Carmichael, Gordy Kjer, Bill Kenny, Pat Callahan, Norm Justesen, Larry Ford, Sue Powers (former Beginning Restaurant waitress), Pat Northrop, Montgomery Atwater, Betty Baker, Bill Mullins, and points to Ron Rettig and Leah Krone for coming up with the question. Also a win to Jerry Blakeley for his answer to the previous question (but I forgot to acknowledge him…sorry Jerry).