Posts Tagged With: flume


Past family reunions always included a run on the flume over the Independence Day Holiday. Virginia is floating peacefully along. I chose this picture to show what the flume looks like with dappled sun, shadows, and growth on the banks of the gunite flume. It was built during the gold rush to bring water to the miners.

A staying hand, a paddle or two, and the tube obeys in the swirling waters.

Flume Master, Doug, is the hoss, picking the best drop-in to start and the best, and the safest, pull-out near an eddy. He wanted to introduce his friends, Dirk Christianson and family to a unique waterway.

Everyone carries  their own tube. You can jump in anytime but a low spot we’ve nicknamed the beach is Doug’s choice to launch. The gunite can be rough on knees and elbows so an anchor helps people up the bank.  The flume is practically in our backyard, so it’s been our air conditioning for years. Jump in, get your clothes wet and stay cool in half damp clothes for the rest of the day.

Mother, Kelly skipped the first run. She is strong and supple and has the appearance of a yoga maven.

And that is the way she sat her tube. Doug told me later that she is a yoga aficionado. I love my yoga and thai chi, so we have a lot in common.

Daughter Kendal…

…and her friend, Jenna were enjoying the ride. The water is high this year, but that is a relative term. Some places are thigh deep, others calf deep. In a low year, your butt can’t always clear the rocks.

Dirk is watchful, and takes the tubes out for the girls

Young and nimble, they need no help to get up the bank.

They tell the Flume Master all about their experience. It looks like Kendal has twigs caught in her hair.

Time out for snacks between runs.

By the second…

…and third runs, the girls are relaxed and playing games. Kendal admitted they were careful on the first run, watching for poison oak,  spiders, the swift curves and maybe other things Doug teased them about.

Dirk liked the flume. He also pulled out some plastic garbage tangled in some bushes.  The girls snagged a flattened tube someone ditched on the bank. Our rules are you take everything out that you bring in.

Dirk found himself a cool spot, hanging onto a tree root, to sit and enjoy the cool water in the shade.

Virginia and Theo got into a race, passed the girls and…

…the winner was Theo,  first under the bridge.

Mom was a close second.

When Theo made it up top, he was surprised to find out that his dodge past a patch of blackberries left him souvenirs.  The flume is not a straight shot. It winds around and around to slow the water and passes several spots for water to be taken out in case of fire.

Cedric opted to snack and stay on the bridge with Owen who appeared to be feeling poorly, though he denied it.

Hmm! I don’t know. There has to be something amiss with a 17 year old who doesn’t pay attention to two beautiful girls. Time to do some digging and turn that sad face into a smile.

Back at the house, the Flume Master also reigns as Master Meat Chef. Doug makes some amazing tri-tip, ribs, sausage and chicken come off the grill.

Neighbors Cindy and Gary Gonzalez joined us for eats, along with my brother, Bill. Pushing eighty he looks terrific for his age. I’d like to steal some of his natural curly hair. He told me to meet him at the barbershop and take home what I wanted. That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, doncha know.

Happy Independence Day tomorrow.


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Saturday, about noon, the tubes were ready, some a bit patched. We trucked up to the flume. Alec and Austin’s other grandma, Eunice, with daughters Cathy and Bev, treats,  drinks and towels in tow, are ready to go.

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Eunice’s son Uncle Rick, attemded the reunion for the first time with his girlfriend Tammy. He brought a box of freshly baked donuts, another first. Yum.  And, he is a talented chef. I know because I’ve tasted his cooking several times. Sister Cathy is a great cook, too. (We KNOW who to invite for our family reunions. ) Rick is from Southern Cal, also.

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It didn’t take long for everyone to find a comfortable spot to relax, have a snack and a brew, or sun tan for a while.

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The bridge makes a nice “deck”.


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If you get too hot, take a dunk. Kris and Laurie, the boobsie, I mean bikini twins cooled off for a while. Kris never tubes. She calls herself, “flume fluff.” Eunice picked up that expression and says, “I’m flume fluff like Kristanne.”

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The first run came in. Everyone walks about a mile or two back and floats to the bridge. Last year, Abbie was still asking for help. Now she is an old pro.

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Ted carried his snacks and a beer with him. The rules are, you carry out what you bring in.

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Daniel brought a squirter to torment his fellow floaters. Hey!  Wet is wet, right?

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Cathy carried a stick to shove away from the sides when rounding the curves.

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First timer, Tammy, took a lesson from Cathy.

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Ken, Mr. cool head. When he was a kid, he would find every lizard in the water weeds and inspect them for parasites. He’d pull off the parasites and set them free.

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After the first run, everyone swam or played before the next run.

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We took time for some pictures, we two grandmas.

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Mason, Stewart, Alec and Austin. Stewart is my oldest grandson, at 21. Alec is 21 also, but Stew is a couple of months older.  They commented it was the first time they could come to the flume and drink a beer. Austin is the youngest at age 12. Theo is 12 as well, but a few months older than Austin.  It is so fun to have them all together.  I’m just sorry we didn’t think to get Owen and Theo in the photo, as well.

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The girls got together for a picture.

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The water was about ten inches lower than usual,  but no one seemed to mind. The flume has deep and shallow spots.

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Diane and Randy, who are lifelong friends of Laurie’s, came in on a second run. It’s a nice float. But…DSC07048 (Copy)

…the current can be pretty swift. On stopping, Randy was adamant that he not lose his expensive sandals, while Diane took a dump trying to get out. We, of course, laughed.

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When we returned to the house, Uncle Tom, Clark and Theresa, and brother Bill and his daughter, Rena had arrived.

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Brother Bill with Rena’s boyfriend, Chris. Still plenty of snacking going on while Doug barbecued the tri-tip, chicken, ribs and shish-ke-babs.

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After a huge meal, Rena chuckled as Chris took a nap. They were jet-lagged, after flying in from Florida.

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After dinner, the guys got up a beer-pong game. In stead of paddles, the challenge is to toss the ball into a beer cup. I think there was some chugg-a-lugging going on, too.

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Tom and Ken lost to Stewart and Alec.

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The pong game watchers seemed to enjoy it as much as the players.

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The weather got as hot as expected, over 90. Theresa and Clark took refuge in the mist.

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The mister was a last-minute idea, and it was welcome heat relief. I think I’ll get one for the deck, as well.

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Normally, people stay for a second flume trip on Sunday. But, every year is different. Alec had to be taken to the airport early. Kris and Cathy and Austin wanted to ski in Ken’s new boat. Bill, Rena and Chris took a scenic driver up over the pass and returned Sunday afternoon. Chris cut and chopped some vegetables and  fruits. He roasted the veggies and we had a lovely lunch, along with some of the leftovers.

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Bill brought vanilla ice cream with some home-made (by friends) maple syrup from Michigan. What a delightful combo.  Rena and I had a chance to do some genealogy, but all too soon, it was time to part.  We missed those that couldn’t make it this year, but, the party is always a good time and a reminder to get together more often.



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Normally, I blog every day.  However, I flew home for a family reunion that I host every year.  After a great deal of preparation to entertain, feed and coordinate a three-day event that peaked at 58 people on Saturday July 7th, I can truthfully say I meant to blog . Instead,  I  enjoyed the whole chaotic experience; the  bedlam, cooking, eating, visiting, drinking, snacking, games. The skinned knees, overtired kids, frisbees knocking over your beer, getting squirted by the errant squirt gun. We laughed at  the child who fell asleep while eating and the treasures placed on the totem.   There were swim suits and towels drying on every railing and chair; errant socks and shirts in every room and on the ground.  Whose shoes are these?  Tiptoeing around rooms full of sleeping people on the floor, in the closet  and on makeshift beds;   Listening to the  clanging of horseshoes;  the late night laughter during card games;  watching the  breakneck dancing by lantern  light; thinking I might get some sleep tonight. Blogging was out of the question. In fact, I couldn’t even  concentrate on taking pictures, I handed the camera off and asked others to do it for me.  Here are a few photos they took:

Prep time comes first.



Then a bit of kickback time.


That first night, the guys played horseshoes until they couldn’t see them anymore.

The kids danced by lantern light and raced around playing hide-and-go-seek until the first tumble in the dark brought the game to an end. (No serious injuries.)

The next day, some serious work on the totem commenced.

The small fry squared off for the squirt gun wars.

There is never a winner or loser. Everyone just stays wet and cool in the heat.

An impromptu opera in the kitchen.

A card game before heading for the flume.

The flume water was the lowest I’ve seen it in 35 years.  So low some of the kids needed help getting in instead of out of the flume.

But, everyone got to ride and get cool even if they did scrape the bottom in places.

First timers need a little coaxing.

Someone was expecting to get “tossed” but the water was too low.

Tandem helps keep your butt off the bottom in low spots.

There is nothing quite like tubing the flume for all ages.

All that fluming takes energy and a few snacks afterward are standard.

After the flume, everyone got seriously into decorating the totem.

The ladder reaches to the very top.

Some people  like to decorate and let someone else attach their treasures.

And some like to be up on the ladder as much as possible.

A budding artist turned a piece of wire wrapped in yarn into a rattlesnake.

By the end of the day, there was little room on the totem.

No one took a picture of the cooks nor the over laden table. Everyone brought a dish to share and we shared a sumptuous feast. But, part of the clean-up crew enjoyed a bit of laughter as they washed up a mountain of dishes.

The rest of the day was the same. Kids just all out running, jumping and having a good time. The rest of us wishing we had half their energy, enjoying the food, and watching the action.

And, after the s’mores, a few sparklers lit up the night.


I think I had a bed that night and slept until the coffee crowd came in for their cuppa wake me up in the morning.



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Summertime and the livin’ is easy. Come Independence Day, we celebrate with a  family and friends reunion. Doug spends a couple days mowing and weed eating; raking the horseshoe pit, blowing up inner tubes and a multitude of other tasks to make ready.

Sister Karen set up his chair with a humorous note and identified garbage from recycling.

Preparation counts.

By 11:00 on Saturday, people began putting up their tents.

The adults enjoyed snacking…

while the kids jumped on the trampoline until they were temporarily exhausted and needed a rest.

Squirt guns were  popular items for keeping cool.

Sisters, Bev and Cathy.

By 2:00 everyone was ready for a cooling flume ride.

That is, everyone except our youngest, 4-year-old Abbie who fell asleep on Dad’s lap.

Doug challenged Anthony to swim to him in the swirling current.

The chicken and tri-tip are Doug’s strong forte.

The two best cooks. Norma brought her famous home-made Chili Verde with Peruvian yellow beans and rice.  (To die for.)

To by-pass mosquitoes, we hid inside and played Black Magic for a couple of hours.

The kids got to stay up really late and played on the trampoline with light sticks until everyone was ready to call it a night.  More tomorrow.

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