The Long Drive Home

When we left Morro Bay for Malibu RV Park, we had another blow-out, and this time it was the right side, inner, back, dual tire. Fred was following close behind us in Santa Barbara when the explosion happened. It is at least our 5th tire failure if my memory serves me correctly. The load is so heavy on this Icon Class C RV and because it is really difficult to check the tire pressure, especially the inner back ones, we have been lax and don’t do it every time we hit the road as we should be doing. We have since learned that there is a valve stem sensor that can be sent to an app on my iPhone for a readout. Michael is going to look into that before our next trip.

Once we had the back 2 tires replaced at the Santa Barbara Tire Shop, we continued on to Malibu and the Malibu RV Park and finally made it there around 6:00. With Michael and Fred having called beforehand for reservations, we were able to nab an ocean view for $50.00 a night. It would have been perfect if Highway 1 were just a little further away though! The cars were an endless stream of noise and exhaust that fortunately quieted down after midnight. We walked along the highway to get a late night bite to eat around 8:00 at the Malibu Fish Market but following in tandem along the side of the road, and in the dark was just a little bit nerve-wracking and dangerous. We all slept like logs though and woke up to a misty morning high above the foggy Malibu coastline with wild parrots screeching playfully in the sycamore and eucalyptus trees.

Yesterday morning we headed east toward home with Callie on the dash the whole way. Traffic was horrible in Los Angeles and all the way to Riverside with multiple accidents on the freeway. When we finally turned south toward Rancho California, there was a full moon rising in the east. Driving along the last stretch of the high desert, the chapparal scrub was illuminated by moonlight in the otherwise pitch black darkness before we dropped down onto the desert floor and to our final destination in the middle of nowhere at Anza- Borrego Desert State Park. It was a relief to leave all of the hustle and bustle behind us, and to smell the fragrant scent of desert and citrus flowers, and to see the night sky filled with stars and the beautiful Milky Way.

We are home safe once again and enjoying a delightful morning in the desert. Callie climbed her olive tree and checked out the backyard to make sure Romeo hadn’t visited while she was gone. It doesn’t appear like he has been here since we left. I just heard the cuckoo call of the male roadrunner and smiled at his love song. It really does sound just like a cuckoo clock. I have only heard him rattle and growl before. Spring has arrived in the desert, and the calls of love interrupt the silence of the otherwise quiet desert. Roadrunners are solitary birds until they choose to mate and raise a family. Once the brood is raised, they go their separate ways.

Toys R Us

I have been feeling rather guilty about packing so few toys for Callie on our RV trips, so I decided to invest in a few more after taking Callie to our vet. Dr. Stephens is here in Morro Bay, and is a wonderful vet and was able to finally give Callie a diagnosis of asthma about 9 months ago. She had a bad cough for over a year and was treated for viral pneumonia for months but a cough would always return after the antibiotic was finished. We are now convinced it is asthma and not the other and every once in awhile we apply a steroid cream to the ear flap if she starts to cough.

We took her to the vet this morning because she also has a chronic itchy ear condition that won’t go away. She shakes her head and scratches at her ears and I believe it contributes to her cough when she gets a tickle in her throat. Dr. Stephens thinks it may be food allergies and put her on Science Diet- Venison and Peas. She can’t have any other food because the chicken I have been preparing for her along with Science Diet Oral Care contains chicken and chicken is a known allergen. Go figure!

On the way back from the vet, we dropped by Albertson’s to buy groceries and I picked out a couple of new toys for Callie to play with. When we returned from the vet and shopping, I wore her out with snapping a wand toy on a ribbon at her, and she played with two fur balls with feathers attached to them for about 15 minutes.

She is now sound asleep after a serving of venison and peas and a round of rough and tumble playtime.

A Story Worth Telling

I mistakingly called the crow a raven in an earlier post, but I have since learned that he or she is a crow. This particular crow is so big that surely it must be a raven, but no, crows have just grown bigger in size and weight since my childhood years. I used to live by the Santa Ana River bottom in a city aptly called, Riverside, and there was a large garbage dump alongside of it. In my youth, my sisters and I boarded horses at this mostly dry riverbed, and the murder of crows would darken the sky as they flew past us in large numbers, always heading east in the morning and west at sunset. Those crows were not nearly as large as the ones living here in Morro Bay. I also remember huge flocks of seagulls scavenging at the dump. What a memory jog! They too would fill the sky with the sound of screeching and wings flapping as they fought over scraps of garbage and debris.

The neighbor across the street, who I had a chance to speak to about this matter, feeds the crow a slice of bread or sandwich meat a couple of times a day while the crow hangs out on the telephone wire and caws a friendly greeting to him. But the seagull who has joined the crow is an opportunistic feeder and the man must discourage the relationship now because he or she is a Shit Hawk, as my salty sailor of a brother calls them, and his neighbors have complained about all of the poop. So the seagull is no longer welcome here, but the crow still is, making it difficult for the seagull to give up hope of ever acquiring another free meal.

This morning while Callie sat on the dash of the RV, she was able to watch the man shoo the seagull away and throw the slice of bread high up in the air for the crow to catch. The crow snatched the bread midflight and then flew away, delighted with his breakfast. Yesterday afternoon, the seagull happened to nab a slice of meat before the crow was able to grab it, and then landed on the street, quite smugly, to eat the stolen food. But the very smart crow was not to be discouraged and dove down one more time and snatched it back, and rightfully so, from the unsuspecting Shit Hawk’s beak!

I think that the crow is smarter than the seagull, but the two have met their match and it is an ongoing saga, with the drama unfolding on a daily basis, that makes it worthy of a story worth telling. They both hang out across the street from where the RV is parked, with the crow on the wire and the seagull on the telephone post or pacing nervously on the ground down below. Sometimes they have friends that join them and they all compete for a chance to grab a free snack. Callie loves being entertained by it all and watches the scene unfold on the dash in real-time only, as she places a silent bet on who will be the next one to take the prize.

Homeward Stretch

We are returning south to Anza- Borrego Desert State Park on Friday and will stay in Morro Bay for a couple of nights before heading to Malibu. Lara, our daughter has a job interview with Interpret LLC on Friday and we thought it best to fit it in on the way back instead of having her drive back to Los Angeles. She met the president of the company when she was at the GDC18 in San Fransisco and will now get an interview with his company. He checked out her resume when they met with her friend, Laura, and found it very interesting. Lara is fluent in Japanese and moderately so in Mandarin and we think that and her math and computer skills along with music and art put her in good standing for this marketing firm.

The drive from Pillar Point to Morro Bay was spectacular and the North and Central California coastline are experiencing a super-bloom. We walked down to the marina last night and checked out the herons that fish along the rocky shore and on the dockside and watched the sunset. Callie loves it here and sits by her personal heater in order to stay warm. We always walk down to the rock and bike over toward Cayucos. It is bright and sunny out but very chilly. There is a warming trend developing and no rain in sight. What a wonderful couple of weeks we have had.

Meet Austin from Texas

As many of you who have been reading my blog posts on Callie the cat, you know that she hates other cats, that is except the mystery cat that I have dubbed “Romeo!” So cats can’t walk into her line of vision or she screams in fear and outrage, but if a dog drops by, she can’t wait to greet it. I don’t know whether she was raised with dogs as a kitten, I adopted her as a stray at approximately 3 years of age, or whatever, but she lights up at the image of a dog coming her way. She especially likes dogs that have already been introduced to cats and knows their evil ways, because she will raise up her paw ever so slightly just to see if she can get a rise out of the dog.

Austin and his owner came around the corner to go for a walk and the elderly, senior dog, Austin had his leash in his mouth as he quietly ambled along. When he spotted Callie sitting up high and mighty on top of the picnic table, he dropped his leash and attempted to back out of the confining corner and return to where he had come from. He didn’t want to walk past Callie and to make her mad and was acting quite deferential. The owner, whose name I didn’t catch, of course, went back to get Austin and they were then introduced with a quick touch of the nose. I didn’t have my camera ready and was as surprised as Austin when Callie ever so slightly raised up her paw. Austin jerked his head back right away and Callie delighted in his frightened response.

After that, Austin refused to make any more eye contact with her and kept a safe distance alongside his owner’s legs. But Callie, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of this handsome hunk and she was begging him to come just a little closer for her to get another look. He would have nothing more to do with her though. One shot at it was all that Callie was going to be rewarded, and she blew it. She lost her chance to touch noses again with this beautiful golden lab from Texas.

Confunk

We are heading south to Morro Bay again on the return voyage to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The sun has come out and will be shinning the entire week. I for one, loved all the rain we got but the RV and towels are beginning to smell just a tad bit of mildew. Mold and mildew are a constant concern in RV’s so when we get to Cypress RV Park we will need to do a load of wash and open up all the windows and doors to air the place out.

In the meantime, Callie assisted Lara on the computer and Lara is completely brain dead after the game developers conference. She can hardly move or think clearly and there is a special name for it- confunk! These gamers are a geeky bunch for sure. She met a lot of awesome people and exchanged about 50 business cards from all over the world and the conference was a big success. Now she has to find the right job!

Callie is spending the morning in her favorite spot up in the loft where she has a fabulous view and the sunshine pours over her and warms her body. As soon as the engine starts up though, she will jump down to her rightful place on the dash.

Shit Hawks

Excuse my language, but these birds OF the sea are aptly called by my brother, who also lives ON the sea, “shit hawks!” They poop everywhere and mob the migratory hawks and ospreys that make a living hunting from the air, and in many respects, they are just plain thugs and mobsters.

I walked over to the marina at Pillar Point and saw these seagulls landing on parked cars and on the tops of pilings and decided that I would attempt to take photographs of them while dodging the loads they unleashed in their attempt to shit on me. I have seen them shit on picnickers, myself included, that makes you get up and run and then they dive bomb your food and steal it away. A woman who had purchased fish and chips in Morro Bay and had rested her goodies on the top of her car before she climbed inside, had 10 or more birds attack the bag before she could do a thing about it. She drove away in disgust and the seagulls got a free meal.

I was able to capture one seagull in action unloading a dump and my experiment worked. I proved my point and the seagulls did exactly what I thought they were going to do. Thank goodness I was on to their game and kept a close eye on them while filming their antics. They are beautiful in flight never the less, and as long as they don’t poop on me, I will appreciate the power of their wings and the grace with which they take to the sky.

Conservatory of Flowers

Today we drove into San Fransisco so that Lara could swap bags with her lovely new friend from Ireland, Laura who she met at GDC18 in the Moscone Center and we all went to Golden Gate Park and the Conservatory of Flowers. We walked from one end of the park to the other and focused on the Japanese Gardens and the rhododendrons. It was too early for the roses but the azaleas and rhododendrons more than made up for it. Laura was a wonderful young woman and we all had a delightful time. Photographing flowers, especially exotic ones like orchids, is an amazing experience and I am exhausted but so appreciate of all that I saw today.

Seeking Revenge

After a long and drawn out night for my nocturnal cat, she seeks her revenge out on us by playing noisily with her catnip mouse on the couch. This mouse doesn’t squeak, but Callie’s back feet as she claws the pathetic thing to death is the sound of something being shredded to bits and pieces. She then looks up and around to see if anyone has taken notice of her early morning wake-up call. She evens out the playing field and I am the first one to crawl out of bed to feed her. I swear she takes delight in her success at making us get up because she immediately takes to her own bed high up in the loft as soon as she eats her breakfast.

It is another beautiful day and it rained again last night. The sun is going to make an appearance later today and all of next week. We are going to San Fransisco to check out the Japanese.and Botanical Gardens. I will take hundreds of photographs.

If Only it were a Dog!

Callie has shown a keen interest in a male cat that has been visiting her in secret at Anza- Borrego Desert State Park where we live, and we have named him Romeo. He could be one of two cats that I know of, a ginger feral tom or a black and white tuxedo tom. Whoever it is, I haven’t seen him in the light of day, but Callie knows he has visited and checks out his scent markings and waits for hours in the evening by the master bedroom door for his nightly visits.

When we dropped by Pillar Point RV Park, I noticed 3 cats hunting in the abundant grasses and ice plant growing between the park and the seashore. Two of them, both young and pretty females, I later found out, live with a resident camper, and the ginger tom I saw on the walkway lives somewhere around here locally. He was out walking this morning and acted like he owned the place.

So this morning, Callie and I went out for our walk and she was on the leash when a beautiful, female, tricolored, longhaired- beauty came trotting up to me to say hello. She was oblivious to Callie until it was too late. As soon as they came within striking distance of each other, Callie hunkered down and let out her loudest banshee scream and it scared the poor other cat half to death. She ran in blind terror over to her RV and primly sat back down at a safe distance and stared back at Callie. I immediately stooped down to reassure Callie that everything would be ok, and she screamed again and closed her eyes tightly shut. She is so traumatized by other cats, that I can’t help but marvel at the power of her neurosis. I can’t pick her up or touch her or anything until she calms back down and behaves reasonably. She will strike out blindly and in a panic and scream again if I try to carry her, so I have to wait awhile until her breathing returns to normal and she actually feels safe again in order to continue on.

So the answer to my question about how Callie would react to the other cats that I had posted earlier, I was hoping since she has shown receptive behavior toward Romeo, she would be open to new relationships out on the road. Well, the answer is a resounding, NO! She is still an attack cat and hates her own kind. When we headed over to the walkway to continue with our morning stroll, the ginger cat was sauntering along in front of us and Callie had another nervous breakdown and we had to go back to the RV so that she could recover. If it were a dog on a leash, she would have marched right up to the dog and demanded a hello, but with other cats, she has a complete and total meltdown. Once we got back to the safety of the RV though, she took a nice long nap and had a complete recovery.