The most spectacular change (unfortunately it is in the "not so good" category) of all is the unbelievable rise in the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
If you don't think that we are not getting robbed blind, then you haven't bought gas for some time.
The cost per gallon is ridiculous, it is getting worse, and someone, somewhere, is making a mind-boggling fortune by gouging the consumers.
And, it is negatively affecting travel.
For example, on Monday morning, when I talked to Dennis Dunn of the Wildhorse Resort (it is located 64 miles north of Elko) to get his weekly fishing report, I asked him, "Hey Dennis, just out of idle curiosity, what's the cost of gasoline at Wildhorse?"
Dennis replied, "Don, you don't want to know. We are having to charge $2.95 a gallon and this coming week, that price will go up to about $3.10 or $3.20 a gallon. We have no choice in that increase, and it is killing our business. There has been a big drop-off in people traveling to this area of the state."
I replied, "Heck, Dennis, it's not just you guys, way up there at Wildhorse. When I've talked to other locations to get their weekly fishing reports, they are also saying that their business is way off and to a person, they are blaming it on the high cost of gasoline."
Wow! Three dollars a gallon for gasoline at the Wildhorse Resort! Can you imagine what some of those large-sized motorhomes that only get about 5-7 miles a gallon are spending on gasoline!
It is very easy to see why business is way off this year at Wildhorse and many other remote locations.
Wildhorse is 364 miles one-way from Carson City (that's 728 miles roundtrip).
And, for example, if you are getting 6 miles a gallon to travel a total of 728 miles to and from Wildhorse and if gasoline is anywhere from two to three dollars a gallon, I can well understand why a lot of folks are now staying home.
That high cost of gasoline at Wildhorse is definitely going to impact Little Donnie Q, because, in the very near future, Elaine and I will be traveling there to do some fishing and to scout that area for my upcoming deer hunting season in that area.
Much closer to home, Elaine and I just returned, early on Monday morning, from a relaxing vacation in the Davis Lake area, near Portola, Calif.
While there, we had a chance to see first-hand, how the cost of gasoline is affecting everyone, including us.
Last Thursday afternoon, we took a tour of some of the U.S. Forest Service campgrounds at Davis Lake.
At one campground, there was only one unit occupied and that party was getting ready to leave. All of the other units were empty and that was the beginning of a big holiday weekend!
At several other U.S.F.S. campgrounds that we visited, there was just a scattering of campers, where I would normally expect to find the campgrounds at near capacity or jam-packed for the last big holiday weekend of the summer.
Then, on early Sunday afternoon, we stopped to visit the folks at the Grizzly Store/Resort and to have a cheeseburger at Frosty's at The Lake, both located on the south end of Davis Lake.
The Grizzly Store/Resort is a great place to get up-to-date and detailed fishing reports for the lake.
Frosty's at The Lake has awesome cheeseburgers, and it ranks up there with the Wood and Rose Restaurant in nearby Chilcoot, Calif. for having the best cheeseburgers, outside of Carson City.
I informally judge cheeseburgers based on the number of napkins that it takes me to finish one off.
At both the Wood and Rose and Frosty's at The Lake, I generally use a total of 3-4 napkins for each cheeseburger, which gives them a solid, Don Q, "Five Star" rating.
And, as a bonus, at Frosty's, the owner and cook, Vivian, serves a huge order of French fries that is much, much more than one person can possibly eat.
Elaine and I get one order of fries to share between us, and we always have a ton of fries left over when we are done.
Ominously, both the Grizzly Store/Resort and Frosty's reported that their business is way off this year.
Chuck at the Grizzly Store/Resort said that they could have closed for the season, several weeks ago, and not have missed too much action.
Vivian at Frosty's told us that she was going to close for the season on Monday afternoon, and said that her business was downright pitiful for the Labor Day holiday weekend.
And, even more ominously, she told us that she is seriously thinking of not even opening up, next year.
When Elaine and I left early Monday morning to return to Carson City, I needed gasoline in our little, red pickup.
I told Elaine that I would probably stop at either Wiggin's Trading Post in Chilcoot or at Hallelujah Junction to gas up. However, at both locations, gas was $2.39 a gallon and I told Elaine, "To heck, with it, I'll try to get home, without running out of gas, and buy it in Carson where it is a lot cheaper."
And, that's exactly what I did.
I suspect that we are no different than many other travelers at this time of the year: We are either going to curtail traveling or only buy gas where it is cheaper.
That was reinforced, even more, when I called Dave Kirby of the Woodfords General Store in Woodfords, Calif., on Monday morning, to get a weekly fishing report for Upper and Lower Blue Lakes, Caples Lake, the East Carson River, the West Carson River, Indian Creek Reservoir and Red Lake.
Dave said the same basic thing, "The high price of gasoline is killing us. Our business is off 30 percent compared to Labor Day weekend, last year."
As you can see, there is a common thread running through all of those experiences. The high price of gas is slowly but surely, negatively, impacting a lot of travelers and businesses dependent on that travel.
Especially, here in the West, where there are often many, many miles between locations.
Maybe, some day, some genius, somewhere, somehow, will discover something that can power our vehicles, other than gasoline.
Then it will be a personal Don Q pleasure to thumb my nose at all of those gasoline producers, who have been gouging us for so long.
I sure hope so!
$3 a gallon is ridiculous!
-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you the all-time highest price that I have paid for a gallon of gasoline.
If he grins and says, "It was last February, when Don was ice fishing and bought some four gallons of gasoline for $10.00 ($2.50 a gallon)," he could have been one of my three ice fishing partners when we bought that gasoline at where else but: Wildhorse.