OUR wild ride started about ten (10) days ago here in California Alps Cycling country. Things have been in disarray since, made all the better (not!) by some extended travel time, and other challenges, and so my apologies for not getting this report out a bit sooner.
‘TWAS Wednesday, August 3rd, about 3:00 p.m. That’s when the skies opened up, and within hours the waves of mud and debris came tumblin’ down Markleeville’s Main Street (aka Hwy. 89).
THERE I was, sitting on said Hwy. 89 just north of town, at the temporary light constructed by Caltrans, just after giving blood (1 gallon milestone, by the way!) in Minden, NV. Another car was coming up the hill in the one lane that was available for travel – hence the light – and I was surprised at how much, and how fast, that puddle it just passed through, was growing. Then I noticed the mini-boulders on the road.
AND then I looked up and saw the water, rocks and mud beginning to flow from the scarp above me. “This isn’t good,” I said aloud. Then I began yelling at the light to change (there were no more cars stopped opposite me). Also aloud, and with some, as you might imagine, colorful language.
IT didn’t change fast enough (that detritus above was getting chunkier) and there were no cars coming up, so off I went. Just over a mile and home I was. The rain was just getting started as it turns out. I learned a little later that Mom came in ahead of me. She had hitched up her wagon to go to town (Gardnerville, NV – just so. of Minden) and do some shopping at the general store, i.e., Raley’s. 😉
WE both got home about 3:30 p.m. Thunderstorm-palooza then began in earnest.
This was the scene on Friday, after much of the mud had been removed.
2.2 Inches In About An Hour!
OUR weather station’s console read “It’s raining cats and dogs!”
Mrs. California Alps Cycling and I had seen that message before but not displayed for so long and not with so much associated ca-ca (i.e., sticks, mud, pinecones, etc.) in the run-off outside. I donned my foul weather gear (including hard hat) after awhile so I could do some cleaning and clearing in order to keep things moving the right way. My wife and I did a lot of whoa!-ing and holy-s*&t!-ing, let me tell you.
DIDN’T know how bad it was in town until the next day…
MARKLEEVILLE’S Post Office parking lot the day after – and this was after much of the mud was cleared away. Still, needed my muck boots to pick up yesterday’s mail. We were shocked when we got into town. We had some idea that it was going to be a mess, but this? Not on our radar…
“WHAT can I do to help?”
I heard that. Thanks so much for asking. Here’s a link to the Markleeville Business Reslience Fund.
SO many have been so generous already and if you too can help out, please do. Our little county doesn’t have much of a tax base (1100 people in the entire county) so grants, donations and the like are so very helpful.
MAKE a donation of $50.00 or more and I’ll send you a t-shirt as a small token of appreciation. Go big ($200 or more) and I’ll send you a windvest. Just send me an email with a screenshot and I’ll follow up with ya!
WE are grieving (again) but we are NOT wallowing so please don’t feel sorry for us. We, like so many communities throughout the world, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
OKAY, so back to the story…
THURSDAY afternoon it was. I found myself filling sandbags with so many of my friends. Everyone had rallied at the fire station so bags could be positioned in town to protect the buildings from what was supposed to be the next wave. Thankfully it didn’t come. It might, however, this week, and if not, IMHO it’s likely to occur before summer’s end. We’re resilient though if nothing else, and more importantly there are a lot of skilled, Sierra-forged individuals – with heavy equipment 😉 – in the area.
Deep mud, and silt, and debris. Pretty much everywhere.
WE needed all the help we could get. And that help also came in the form of two (2) bay area fire departments making the trip to Markleeville and spending several days helping us dig out.
THANK YOU Menlo Park F.D. and Oakland F.D!
ABOUT another week of going over Monitor Pass to get to Nevada or South Lake Tahoe, for one. We’ve all been doing that since the 3rd, but the temporary bridge over the ~20 foot gap on northbound Hwy. 89 should be in place by the 22nd. Just this past Friday the sheriff’s escort started, though, so we can get in and out via a side-road constructed just for that purpose. Twice a day only, between 7-730 a.m. and 6-630 p.m.
Otherwise it’s a southbound trip down Hwy. 89 then east up and over Monitor Pass and then north on Hwy. 395 only to turn west in Gardernerville and head up Hwy. 88 to Luther Pass where it’s north again to Big Blue.
SO, what is usually about a 40′ trip to So. Lake Tahoe takes about two (2) hours! No fun. Especially when at the 1.25 hour mark you end up at Woodfords Junction, six (6) miles north of Markleeville.
RECOVERY is also on the agenda.
Events continue, lives go on.
GROVER Hot Spring’s waterfall beckons (and the campground is open)…
EBBETT’S Pass is still rideable…
Like I Said, Grieving, Not Wallowing
ALPINE County is still one of the most beautiful places in the Sierra.
AS the saying goes, one (1) person per square mile (it’s actually .6754 persons), and you!
DON’T give up on us. We’re not going anywhere and we’re looking forward to seeing you again soon.
AFTER all Hwy. 89 into Markleeville will be open next Monday! You can buy me a beer. I’ll pick up the second round.
LET’S KICK SOME PASSES’ ASSES!
3 thoughts on “Debris Flow Dancing Here in Markleeville – Another Challenge for Alpine County”
Hang in there! You picked a great time to move to Markleeville; but they got lucky getting a newcomer so dedicated to the community.
Thanks, Steve! We’re doing our best, and we really appreciate the encouragement and kind words.
Thanks for the description of another tough event and so glad everyone came thru it safely! Someone once said disasters come in 3’s, so hopefully Alpine Co is in the clear for a while.