On Timberline Lodge

I worked there as Indoor Maintenance Man from May 1975 to January or February 1976.

Swimming Pool Story #1

The circulation pump for the swimming pool failed just before I arrived for my first On-Duty shift. The pool would have to be drained if the pump was off for more than 24 (?) hours, because it ran the water through the charcoal filter and past the chlorinator.

Charlie Lake and I removed the pump for repair and took it to the shop. Luckily we found a set of bearings on the shelf in the shop to replace the burnt out ones in the motor. By 3 AM we were back under the pool with the rebuilt motor. One problem: We didn't note which wires went to which terminals. (Being a 3-phase motor, if you reverse any two wires, the motor will reverse direction.) The wires had no memory either, so we took our chances with just a couple hours to spare. Sure enough, morning came and we found out that we'd back-flushed the filter into the pool. It had to be drained anyway!

Swimming Pool Story #2

The swimming pool was heated by steam from the boiler room. Water was pumped (see story #1) through the giant filter and past the chlorinator, then through a "heat exchanger" consisting of 600 (?) feet of copper tubing surrounded by the steam piped from the boiler room.

Unfortunately, the freshly injected chlorine took its toll on the copper, and ate a hole through it. Water from the pool travelled all the way east into the belly of the boiler, which dutifully regurgitated it along with the iron-rich guk that builds from boiling volcano water. The iron water travelled back to the pool and mixed with the chlorine in the water to form an ugly iron chloride precipitate about and 1/8" thick over the pool walls.

I arrived at work to find half the crew in the drained pool scrubbing with various implements. We determined that phosphoric acid worked the best, so we spent I don't know how long scrubbing with that stuff to try to save the pool walls. Next time I came to work, they had given up, repainted the pool, and changed the plumbing too! (Chlorinated after the heat exchanger.)

The Meaning of the word "Maintenance"

Working in Maintenance was never dull. One day you might fix the big toaster in the kitchen, do a small wiring or plumbing project somewhere in the lodge, replace a fan belt in the attic, or retrieve a wedding ring from a sink trap in a guest room.

Walter taught me the true meaning of maintenance - I complained that some of the spotlights were not illuminating the WPA paintings on the mezzanine. So I got the job of going up a ladder to change bulbs. (Check out where those fixtures are someday!) In one case, the bulb didn't do it - the transformer was shot, so I had to take the 20 pound fixture to the shop to repair it, then re-install.

I didn't learn my lesson! I complained that the coin-op dryer wasn't tumbling - so I got the job of fixing that. So I realized that we were the maintenance department! From then on I washed my clothes for free because I figured out how to bypass the coin-op circuit. Anyway, Zack Lorts & I agreed that after one summer doing maintenance work at the lodge, there wasn't anything we couldn't fix.

Other Stories

The creamery, domestic water supply, steam valves, oil preheater, blowing a circuit breaker, the Hot Water Tank circulation loop, Rosebud, On-Duty, Charlie Lake, ... see page of notes.

Looking Back

It was an honor and a peak experience for me to chop fire wood (under the swimming pool), carry an armload up to the main fireplace, set and light the evening fire, take down the flags at sunset, and lock the doors for the night. In the morning, I put the flags back out and looked over the hundreds of square miles of forest stretching out around me. What a fantastic place to have worked!