A Storm for all Seasons

Anza Borrego Desert State Park had the storm of all storms last night. We had a steady rain all day long and during the night; it poured. It sounded like rain pounding on the roof of a house perched on a tropical island. Sheets of water fell from the sky and the wind howled and screeched and the desert was flooded with much needed rain-water. This storm probably helped replenish the water to the aquifer and that is very encouraging to me.  There has been concern that the citrus farmers are depleting the water to the extent that in 50 years, the aquifer could run dry. The wildflowers are growing like weeds and with a full week of sunshine predicted, they should unfurl within the next week or so. The super tiny Onyx Plant and Popcorn Flower are the first to bloom and you will see patches of white if you look really close to the ground. They are referred to as a belly flower because you have to get down low and sometimes crawl on your stomach to appreciate them. Woody Bottle Washer and Purple and White Verbena are just now poking their heads out from the sand and I am hoping that within a week the sand dunes will be covered with blossoms. Brittle Brush are sweeping the carpet of green with a blend of bright and pale yellow and the foothills behind the house were golden this morning. To see the color green along the saturated hillside is a first for me. It has never rained this much in the 10 years that I have been taking photographs of Anza Borrego. And what a beautiful morning to live in the desert! There is snow on the Santa Rosa Mountains and everything is fresh and clean. What a great way to start the day! Callie of course takes it all in stride by hanging out on the rocking chair, soaking up the sunshine and relaxing on this fine and chilly morning. She had a big night last night with all the commotion from the rain. Time for her to sleep the morning away…

An Update on Anza Borrego Desert State Park

I am sitting here in my warm dry house and it is pouring out. Callie is all curled up in a tight little ball in a rocking chair. The rain started this morning and it is predicted to last the rest of the day. This is absolutely perfect for the wildflowers. Sunshine will come again tomorrow and will last all week. I can’t wait to take photographs of Henderson Canyon, Glorieta Canyon and Coyote Canyon. This should be a spectacular spring. Photos to come ASAP….

A Farrier Named Rochelle

You do not find many women farriers in life and my sister Gayle has met a good one. Rochelle use to be a lab tech drawing blood in a hospital in Long Beach, California and switched careers mid life. She is a talented horse shoer with loads of patience and a gentle but firm touch.  The horses respond well to her and she does a fabulous job and has been doing Gayle’s horses for close to 15 or more years. It can be very dangerous work and her injuries are numerous. A horse can react in a split second, rearing up and coming down on a human foot, pulling back on the lead line and snapping a finger off and of course landing a swift kick when you least expect it! I am very impressed with Rochelle and thought I would post this short story about her in my blog about Callie. Callie is not the only animal in my life, but she doesn’t know about the others. Katy Kittie, River, Murphy, Bella and Sargent live with my sister Gayle. Gayle and I are very close and it is always a pleasure to visit with her and go horseback riding and play with her awesome dogs and one cat…. Callie doesn’t like to see me pack up the suitcase, and will never know of my whereabouts; she must suspect something is going on but is too happy to see my return and doesn’t ask too many questions. May it stay that way…

Do You Believe In Miracles 

How do you get a hummingbird to cooperate and stay put? That is a good question and Callie would like an answer to it. She does her best to climb as high up on the branches as is possible and the hummingbirds continue to be illusive. She stays perfectly still except for her tail which twitches and shakes in anticipation of catching just one little bird, but to no avail. The hummingbirds seem to know and understand Callie’s limitations and almost taunt her by flitting back and forth just out of reach of her grasp. Callie’s frustration mounts but she doesn’t loose heart. Maybe tomorrow she will have her lucky break. I don’t mind if she believes in miracles. It encourages  her to climb up her beloved olive trees and I get to watch.

Seeing Green! A Super Bloom in ABDSP

It is difficult to say quite yet, but I am convinced that Anza Borrego Desert State Park will experience a “super bloom,” this spring. The hillsides are carpeted in green and I can see green everywhere I look. The Ocotillo have burst forth in a dense blanket of waxy green leaves and they almost appear to be big fat leafy bushes from afar. When Fred, Michael, Callie and I camped at Agua Caliente, you could see the glow of green everywhere. Driving through the Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach Route and Blair Valley was a shock of green. I will keep my fingers crossed and my hopes high that the sun will shine and the evenings not drop to below freezing temperatures. The weather calls for mild temps and plenty of sunshine. We received more rain a couple days ago and have had good rainfall all winter. These conditions are perfect for desert flowers. I took a few before shots and will be sure to go back to the same areas to show the explosion of color when the desert starts to bloom. How fortunate I am to be living in Borrego Springs at this time. And with the RV, I will be sure to get Callie, Michael and myself the hell out of here when temperatues soar to 124 degrees. (The first 2 photographs are from Henderson Canyon last year at the same time)…

Agua Caliente

After a picturesque drive through Pine Valley, we headed east on Interstate 8 toward Ocotillo Wells and to our final destination of Agua Caliente. We were able to get adjoining campsites facing east and have had a fabulous time. The campgrounds are very clean and the bathrooms heated and super clean and spacious. There are 3 swimming pools with the hottest one at 105 degrees all the way down to 80 degrees. Michael and Fred took a morning hike to Marsh Trail and we swam for several hours in the heated pools during the afternoon. What a treat! I have not showered since the start of the trip and it felt good to soak in the mineral water. I am surprised at myself for so quickly adapting to camping grunge and funk. At home I shave my legs every day and while camping I haven’t once. My legs aren’t as hairy as they were in my youth. Chalk that up as a bonus point while getting older. Hair grows where you didn’t have it before and stops growing where you did. The aging process is a trip and it is best appreciated rather than fought. You really don’t have a choice in the matter. I find it refreshing to not mind worrying about my looks and am still a lot younger than most of the people camping here. Health is much more important than appearance. The Staff are super friendly and helpful and we met many nice people. One man in particular had a beautiful sheltie dog named Darcy who reminded me of my first dog with Michael named Prudence. Darcy is 3 years old and wanted so badly to play with Callie. She kept bowing down and leaping up to invite Callie to do the same. Callie sat in Michael’s lap and just watched Darcy in a bored and destained fashion. She likes dogs but Darcy was too immature for her liking. It was so funny to watch. We enjoyed happy hour both nights and it was great to stay for 2 nights instead of just the one. We all slept well and enjoyed the sunrise both mornings. Thursday morning was the best of the 2 sunrises but they were both spectacular. It is Friday morning and we are packing up and heading for Borrego Springs today. A storm is predicted and Fred has a damaged roof vent that needs to be repaired. We have a check engine light that came on 2 days ago and the RV will have to be serviced. Callie is doing really well and has adjusted nicely. She pops up and down to the top bunk in style now and I think she is really enjoying herself. I love it and feel very grateful that it has worked out the way it has. Fred and Michael are childhood friends and get along so well and Callie and I are best buds too. There has been no phone or internet service for us at the park and it is refreshing to not hear the news and watch TV. I am appreciative of the time to write while Fred and Michael organize the outside packing and I am responsible for the inside. It is getting easier for all of us and I can see the fun we are going to have in the near future. This was our trial run and it was a big success.

I woke up to the most beautiful and vivid dream this morning. It is the first morning after having set up camp at Agua Caliente County RV Park and in my dream I was cranking a rotor blade that was on top of a box that was similar to a toy I had as a child. A simple blade that you twist with a rubber band and when released it soars up into the air before falling back down to the ground. The toy I had as a child did not have a box attached to it though, just a simple blade that you twist. The blade is like a single helicopter blade that goes round and round and will create lift when it is allowed to spin. When I released the blade, the box soared up into the sky and I clearly understood that all of my negative energy was stored in that box and that it would be released when the box lifted skyward. I felt a surge of euphoria as I watched the toy rise. I then turned my attention to Callie because she started to run away in a joyful bounce across a meadow filled with flowers. I watched her leap and cavort and took pleasure in seeing her happy gait as she ran across the beautiful field. When I started to chase after her, I noticed someone to my right watching the two of us run and I felt joy and happiness and love for the moment. I understood that Callie wasn’t running away from me, but only running for the shear pleasure of it. When I woke up, I reflected on the dream and knew that my dream was about the RV experience I was having with Michael, Fred and Callie. Fred joined us soon after and I shared the dream with him too. There was something special about the morning and we all felt an appreciation for the beauty of the place. The RV’s faced east and the sunrise put on quite a display that latest for some time. It turns out that a storm is building up in the north and heading this way. A little while later I shared my dream with Michael while we sipped tea and coffee and watched the sunrise on the front seats of the RV. It was a spectacular sunrise filled with pink and orange and a few Ocotillo standing tall and proud on the distant horizon line. Callie sat in my lap for a short while enjoying the moment too, and then jumped up to the top bunk to sleep the morning away. Reality hit again a little while later as we were attempting to flush out the bright pink antifreeze that somehow was in our clean water tank to prevent it from freezing the pipes. The previous owners had put it in there when the RV had been stored. Every day brings a mixture of pure magic and small and insignificant little crises that make the experience of RV camping so powerful. I suppose a lot of it has to do with the learning curve and eventually it won’t be so new and stressful but also won’t be filled with the newness of wonder either! Waking up to a dream this detailed and pleasurable has meaning for me. I haven’t been recalling my dreams for quite some time now. I believe it must be because of the RV experience as it pulls you out of your routine and into a day by day and here and now form of existence. Your reality is shaken up and you are forced to adapt to constant small changes that require you to react to them immediately.  How you react will determine the outcome. Very interesting……..

We spent one day and night at Borrego Palm Canyon before heading to Lake Cuyamaca which is south/west of Anza Borrego at a higher elevation of about 4800 ft. The lake had more than doubled in size since the last time Michael and I visited about 6 months ago. We ate lunch at the lakeside restaurant that specializes in chicken pot pie and hot apple pie with ice cream. I opted for the Reuben sandwich and it was out of this world. I try to avoid meat as much as possible because of climate change and that cows live in such deplorable conditions unless allowed to graze free range. This sandwich was a treat and incredibly tasty so I was very appreciative. We ended up getting a camp site for the night and parked right by the lake and watched people fish and listened to Canadian geese and coots squabble and jabber throughout the later part of the day. Turkey vultures soared above and an occasional bald eagle pair are known to nest in the pines on the island. At dusk the geese started to head out in small groups to roost wherever they roost for the night, and would honk and chatter to one another as they took flight. The sun set behind Stonewall Mountain and as soon as it did, the temperature dropped noticeably. By dusk, the Santa Ana winds picked up and the glass like lake became roiled and choppy. When the stars and planets made themselves known, it was a fantastic display and we all agreed that it was one of the best starry nights any of us had ever seen. The wind blew throughout the night, gently rocking the RV and it was a fun but chilly evening. Michael and Fred play cards in Fred’s RV and that gives Callie and me some quiet alone time before going to bed much earlier than them. We got up to the geese returning to the lake and had breakfast out on a picnic table in the crisp cool morning. I took Callie on several short walks and her leash skills are improving and we are going for longer and longer walks. Mid-morning we decided to head east again and settled on Agua Caliente as our next destination.

Borrego Palm Canyon

What a beautiful morning! We have set up camp at Borrego Palm Canyon and dawn couldn’t come soon enough…. Callie did the demonic chew and needed a lot of reassurance last night. The demonic chew is when she wakes you up from a deep sleep to chew in your face to show you that she is hungry. Getting to the ground floor from the top bunk is a little challenging when you are half asleep and it is dark out. You have to crawl up and down a ladder. Michael and I giggled and laughed at the vision of IF and HOW Callie was going to be able to navigate the jump back up to the bed, but I shouldn’t have doubted her. About 45 minutes later, just as we were dosing off at 3 am, wham, thunk, scrape, claw and chirp… Callie returned with a very happy, “I’m back!” Poor Michael did not get much sleep and I did not get any. I feel happy and excited about the day though and already took Callie for a walk. Michael is sleeping in and I had to turn Fred away to let Michael catch up on his rest. He is not a morning person. The desert is at its best at dawn though. Birds are chirping and wild bees are buzzing. We heard coyotes all night. A pack of at least 11 with many pups yipping and yapping enthusiastically started right at sun down. They seem so joyous and what with the full moon and ample rainfall, they probably are having the best time of the season. A good reason to enjoy the day. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Not Filing For Divorce Yet! 

We arrived in style at 2:00 pm to Borrego Palm Canyon RV Park. Michael and I have full hook up and Fred opted for using his generator. Both RV’s are parked and we have settled into our spots. So far so good.  None of us are cursing each other or filing for divorce! I have already taken Callie out for a short walk and we visited Fred in his Mini Winnie. For now, Callie and I are hanging out in the RV for some qirl time with the air conditioning on and Bob Dylan’s, Blood on the Tracks playing in the background. Such luxury…  I can write and load up photographs and I am thrilled with our first day’s effort. Fred did really well for his first time. Michael and I are already old hands at it, having crossed the States from Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to California. You have to know what you are doing and it can be confusing in the very beginning. The first week of owning an RV will bring about at least one good scratch on the exterior. And as for Fred, I bet he never locks himself out of the RV again. You learn hard lessons at first and then I suppose if you persevere, the rewards will improve and the stress levels go down.! I never gave it much thought when I watched middle aged and elderly people ambling down the road in their RV’s. It isn’t rocket science but you have to be on top of your game to pull it off. So three cheers and a hip hip hooray!!!! Fred, Michael, Callie and I did great…..❤👍 *an after thought 

*Last night we finished off the evening listening to Pink Floyd’s -The Wall and it brought back a flood of memories of my wild and crazy youth. When was the last time any of you looked at the lyrics.? This was a rock opera long before its time! We heard coyotes all night, Callie did the demonic chew and struggled to stay warm, hence- I did not get any sleep, the RV was more than comfortable though. Campground is beautifully maintained and bathrooms exquisitely clean!