Upstairs Downstairs

We have moved into our rental property at Ram’s Hill because we haven’t been able to sell it and we want to simplify. Our house with the incredible sunrises at De Anza is now up for sale instead. We have the RV at the Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park stored in Encinitas and the goal is to once again go back and forth from desert to beach. When the heat is too much here, we will pack up and go to the coolness of the beach. And when the beach feels too cold and damp, we will pack up and head back to the sunny desert. I feel so fortunate and grateful for how everything has worked out. It hasn’t been an easy three years for me.

Callie under no circumstances can ever be outdoors without a leash snapped on here at Ram’s Hill. At De Anza, she could at least climb her beloved olive trees under supervision and after her playtime, she would come back inside willingly. Here, the coyotes and predators are so numerous, that she would be in grave danger if I left her alone for even a few minutes! A neighbor told us last night that a mountain lion was captured on his webcam being chased by a bobcat several years ago. There are huge owls, rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widows and the list of dangerous animals to Callie goes on and on.

Michael and I had the brainy idea this morning to move upstairs to the master bedroom since the heat has dissipated. We were trying to keep the utility costs low by staying downstairs. So I have been working all day today getting the upstairs ready for tonight. In the mean time, I am allowing Callie to hang out on the top balcony while I clean. She has an uninterrupted view of the pond, and tomorrow morning at dawn, I am hoping to watch the coyotes hunting from a different vantage point. She is safe in her element and I doubt owls could swoop down and get her because of the angle of the roof line and the rod iron fence.

The downstairs bedroom is going to be turned into Michael’s music room because he is an audiophile and it does his heart and soul good to take time off and have music blasting. That drives me nuts because I am basically an introvert and like peace and quiet. So Callie and I get to be upstairs with a fan blowing air for white noise, and he is downstairs with the stereo playing at full volume. I can feel the thump and vibration of the music through the floor but only hear muffled booms. After 41 years of being together, it is imperative that solutions be found and implemented in order to keep the peace. That way, the call for a divorce is kept at a safe distance and harmony can once agin be restored.

Are We There Yet?

Callie, Michael and I headed to the beach to hang out in the RV for a couple of days so that I could have a checkup on my eye after surgery; scar tissue has developed and I see double when I look to the left. The doctor wasn’t happy with the way it is healing and another surgery is scheduled for November 19th. I am bummed about it, but what can you do?

So we stayed for three days in the RV that is parked in Encinitas and then came back to the desert in separate cars. Callie came with me, and she is not accustomed to traveling in the BMW, so she was a little nervous and I suspect she thought she was heading to the Holiday Pet Hotel to be boarded. When we pulled into our neighborhood and she recognized where she was, she let out a yelp and howl of joy and relief and stood up in the seat and looked around with renewed excitement.

She loves it here and still can’t get enough of bat and coyote patrol. As soon as I feed her dinner, she races back to the bedroom to watch real-life Animal Planet. This morning, the coyotes came right into the backyard and were less than 5ft from the door. Callie didn’t see them, but I sure did. At least 3 handsome and quite large coyotes raced around the pond and then checked out the backyard thoroughly before scampering away in search of breakfast. They are very healthy and in their prime and Callie wouldn’t have a chance if they spotted her. They are also lightning fast and very bold, so I am just going to have to be really careful when walking her. I won’t go out until the sun is high in the sky, and will no longer walk her down by the pond.

Animal Planet

Callie is learning to go on long walks with the leash and harness every morning because there is no way that she can run free and unattended in the desert. The coyotes and raptors are so abundant here, that all Callie has to do is look out the window and see for herself ducks, herons and great white egrets being hunted at the pond behind the house. Bats swoop down in dizzying numbers at dusk and she is entertained for hours at a time. As soon as I feed her dinner, she races over to the back bedroom just in time for the show to begin. I peek in on her every once in a while and watch her peering under the drapes as her tail swishes back and forth in spasmodic jerks. She can almost taste duck and bat herself. Fortunately, I have not witnessed any kills as of yet, and I imagine that the coyotes are much more successful with mice and smaller prey.

We will not be hitting the road quite as often now that the temperature is mild here in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I don’t think Callie will mind at all though because she has Animal Planet playing out in real time every evening. This is almost as much fun for her as being the dash cam cat in the RV.

Full Circle

I have finally arrived back home to my beloved Anza-Borrego Desert State Park but have moved up to Ram’s Hill Country Club. We are attempting to sell the beautiful house that I took all of the incredible sunrise photographs. Ram’s Hill has its own unique charm and as I write, I am listening to a chorus of coyotes howling and yipping off in the distance. I have a pond in the back of the house that attracts a lot of wildlife, so I am excited about the prospect of new photo opportunities.

Michael, Lara, Callie and I piled up most of our belongings into the SUV so that we could leave the RV in Encinitas and have the chance now to go back and forth to the beach and the desert. It can feel a little isolating in the desert and Callie can never run around free because of all the predators. I actually let her explore her surroundings at the beach with frequent checks from me so that she could feel a little more freedom. She loved it and stayed close to the RV.

Callie is doing very well and loved all the travel time. She has had so many experiences as a cat that it still amazes me how much she has learned about travel. She can watch the world go by as she rests on the dash, she walks with a leash along wilderness trails and will soon be put on a bike basket again to whiz along the roads and feel the wind in her fur.

You Are My Sunshine

On the return trip from attending a wedding in Poulsbo, Washington, Lara got out her ukulele and we harmonized to the song called- You Are My Sunshine and it became painfully obvious that Callie does not like to hear me sing. She will run up to me and ask me to stop and will even jump up on the table and threaten to swipe at me if I don’t! She is very polite about it all but clearly does not find it enjoyable to listen to my beautiful voice belt out an old folk song. It is almost like she thinks I am fighting and is here to be the peacekeeper.

A couple of nights ago, Lara left the drawer that has the hot water heater behind it ajar, and before we knew it, Callie had slipt inside and was nowhere to be seen. It isn’t exactly dangerous for her, but it isn’t safe either. I can’t reach her and she can roam around on the underside of the RV where I can’t get to her if she were to get into any trouble. So Lara had the brainy idea to suggest that we go over to the kitchen table and belt out You Are My Sunshine for her to hear.

Once we started, it didn’t take any time at all for Callie to jump down with a thud from the back room and to race over to where I was singing my heart out in order to tell me to stop. What a funny kitty she is; she also likes to sleep in Lara’s ukelele case when she is playing.

We are currently in Las Vegas and have until the weekend before we return to Encinitas, California. It is sunny and warm in Vegas today without a cloud in the sky. It was a wonderful trip but I am road weary and ready for a little downtime. Traveling and as much fun as it can be, is still a lot of work.

The Ease of a Class C

Our 24ft Class C Fleetwood Icon may not be the biggest rig on the road, but it is more than comfortable and so easy to maneuver within city limits. We managed to find parking on the streets of Portland, Oregon when we decided to visit the famous Powell’s City of Books, Book Store. Our daughter Lara really wanted to check it out after her friend from Ireland, Laura’s husband, told her about it.

After Michael edged the RV into a tight parking spot right across from the bookstore, the three of us collectively held our breath as a cable car slowly drove past without causing any harm to either vehicles. It was a tight fit though and Michael chose to stay behind just in case a traffic cop asked him to leave. The RV was a little long both front to back, but just right in width. What an awesome RV we have! It fits 3 adults and a cat comfortably, and the mobility factor adds a lot to the overall positive experience.

We are leaving for Poulsbo, Washington today and are having a fabulous time. The weather has turned sunny and warm and Callie is having a blast on the dash and taking in all of the new sights. Her love of travel and adventure adds so much to the fun of traveling as we look forward to another awesome day. Fred has continued on toward Seaside without us to visit his brother and we will reconnect with him after the wedding.

The Importance of Good Tires when RVing

I can’t stress enough the importance of good tires when RVing. It isn’t just the thread but also the sidewalls that are important. You cannot help it if you run over debris in the road, but having blowouts can be catastrophic, dangerous and just plain inconvenient when traveling.

When we were on the way to Big Basin National Park last month and AFTER we had driven past the sign stating that there would be no services for 83 miles, we had a blowout in the back outside tire below the gray water tank. It tore through the tank and displaced the pipe by at least an inch when it blew! Michael drove the RV with great caution and at under 25 mph and we made it to a gas station finally at a crawl. He was able to get some help and changed out the tire and switched it with the spare but we had to depend on it all of the way back to Borrego Springs.

Fred just happened to have a slider issue yesterday morning after I had posted my blog on leveling, (he has a very weak motor) so we caravaned into Tillamook to have his MINNIE repaired and Michael had the repair shop work on our gray water tank at the same time. The Tillamook RV Repair Shop took care of all of our needs as we pigged out at the Tillamook Cheese and Creamery Factory across the street. I had to put aside my thoughts and concerns about the care and needs of dairy cows in order to enjoy the delicious cheese they produce and had a fabulous Caesar Salad and Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Curds melted in it.

Because the repair work took all day, we headed back to the Jetty Marina and Campgrounds at Rockaway Beach and watched a magnificent sunset. It was a beautiful evening with the smell of salt in the air and the sounds of gulls calling out their mournful song as the waves lapped at the sand while the tide came in. This RV site has about 10 spaces on grass that have an incredible view of the ocean and sand spit. The photographs are listed as the Nehalem River so I am a little confused about whether it is a river or inlet. Whatever it is, the view is extraordinary!

You know you are level when your candle burns bright.

When traveling in an RV, you must make sure that you are level before having the sliders go out or you risk damage to the motor. A good indicator of being properly level besides using a level, of course, is to burn a candle and see if the wax melts evenly. Another tip is the iPhone. It now has a leveling app that is just one of many features that help everyday life. I highly recommend it.

We are at a lovely campsite called, Jetty Fisheries and RV Park and Campground in Rockaway Beach, Oregon and Callie just finished her morning walk out to the boat ramp. She loves walking in the rain and doesn’t mind stormy weather as she jumps over puddles with ease. We are about an hour from Seaside, Oregon and plan on heading to Portland today. Michael, Lara, Callie, Fred and I have been having a fabulous time and look forward to reaching Seattle on Thursday.

Who am I and Where have I Been?

I have taken about three weeks off from posting any new material because I ran out of storage space and I keep debating on what to do next as far as blogging goes. I could buy a business plan on WordPress but that seems too expensive, or delete old photographs. I have chosen for the time being to delete past images until I can figure out what I want to do next because I miss writing and posting photos of Callie. I have also noticed that I can’t remember what I did yesterday, much less, where I was last month! If I don’t attempt to record my thoughts and experiences down in a journal, I quickly forget who I am and where I have been!

Callie visited 6 National Parks last month- Zion, the North Rim Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Great Basin National Park, and see, I can’t remember what the 6th place was that we stayed at unless I go back and look up old photographs. (It was Monument Valley) We are currently heading up the northwest coastline to Seattle, Washington with our friend, Fred and daughter Lara to attend a wedding.

As soon as we crossed over the Oregon border, we got steady rain and it has been raining all night in Brookings, Oregon at the Harris Beach Campground. Listening to the rain last night as we slept was peaceful and soothing and the fluffy blankets have come out because Callie insists on sleeping underneath them. She is doing well and so loves traveling and resting on the dash while she helps out with the navigation.

We left Encinitas, California last Monday and it is now Saturday morning. We stopped at Jalama State Beach the first night, Bella Vista in Cayucos on the second night, Big Sur on the third, The Redwoods, the fourth and we are now camped at Harris Beach. It has been so hot and dry for so long in California, that the damp and coolness of the rain is a wonderful respite. The muffled sounds of wet leaves and raindrops pinging on the top of the RV and the trill of various songbirds as they rustle underneath for food makes for a peaceful and misty morning.

The sun is supposed to come out later today, so we are planning on staying one more night. Callie got her walk this morning in the drizzle and was greeted by various campers with stories of their own to tell about adopting stray cats and kittens. For the most part, it seems like a lot of cats choose their owners, just like Callie did with me.

Heading to Yellowstone

We are having an incredible time and are currently at a rest stop off the 15 in Idaho. We left Monument Valley and spent 12 hours on the road. It is now 5:45 am and Michael, Callie and I are up and at ’em! We want to make it to Yellowstone today. We have a 3.5 hour drive to go.

I cannot upload photographs until I buy more storage. I have linked my 500px photographs so that you can see what I have been up to. I want to thank all of my readers for following my blog. Callie loves traveling with us and has been an awesome traveling partner with Michael and me. The Tracker that we are pulling is a great addition and the 24ft Icon Class C, fantastic.

Love, Joan & Callie of course!