Rug Beater

Cohabitating with a nocturnal cat in a 24ft Class C RV can be an ideal situation, that is until it is not. But the advantage of having a cat over a dog, for instance, is that you can leave them unattended for most of the day and they don’t bark and bother the neighbors. Cats also do not have to be taken out for potty walks because the litter box can easily fit into a corner of the RV. We keep Callie’s in the shower in the bathroom, and this works out perfectly. I do have to cover up the leather seats with towels and that doesn’t exactly go with my choice of decor, but it is a small price to pay for enjoying her company and not having the seats scratched up. If a cat will take to traveling as Callie has done, they can provide you with lots of fodder for storytelling and they usually aren’t as much work as a dog. Readers may argue the point either way, but because I adopted Callie as a stray after having put my beloved but aging Jack Russel down, it is even more bittersweet to be defending her as a good RV companion.

The disadvantages with cats over dogs are that cats are nocturnal, and every once in a great while if Callie has been left alone for too long, she stays awake all night and tries to come up with things to entertain herself throughout the long and dreary hours. Running up and down the hallway and springboarding up to the loft gives her a great deal of pleasure when she jolts us both wide awake with a heart-stopping thud. This seems to be one of her favorite tricks because of the sheer drama of seeing our reaction. But the game she prefers more than anything else is to beat up the area rugs at pre-dawn with as much noise and drama as is possible.

I have always discouraged her from sharpening her claws on the furniture, so grasping the heavy-duty cotton rugs, with all claws extended, provides her with the sensation of killing a substantially large-sized animal as she pummels it with her back legs and embraces the poor thing tightly in a death grip with her front paws. Callie loves to make a dash for a singled out rug as if it is her chosen prey and doesn’t stop disemboweling it until her teeth have sunk deep into the nape of the fabric and all signs of life have been extinguished. The morning after attacking the rugs, I find them all scattered about and bunched up and tossed to the side of the hallway like an antelope that a lion has killed during the night. The two of us solemnly survey the damage she has done and try not to crack too big of a smile or belt out a laugh. She looks up at us then to see our reaction and seems quite proud of herself as she struts back to bed with her tail raised high in the air.

We would much rather that she take out her aggression and energy on the rugs than jumping up to the loft and on our heads. And because Callie seems so satisfied with herself after a night of battle, we are grateful that she has found an activity that suits her and doesn’t destroy the RV in the meantime. Michael and I really love traveling with her and wouldn’t change a thing except for maybe excessive shedding, vomiting up hairballs and just a few other minor inconveniences….. But like I said, minor issues, and who is counting anyways.

So, after several years of hitting the road and being confined to such a small space together, we three have worked out most of the pros and cons of nomadic life and couldn’t be happier with the arrangement. When she enthusiastically jumps up on the dash just as soon as the motor starts up and takes her rightful place as co-navigator and road warrior, she settles down between the two of us to begin our travels with Callie adventures. My heart just beams with pride then, for having rescued this incredible little creature, and for giving her a life of meaning and purpose and high jinx and adventure. With all of that in mind, just who rescued who would be a fair question to ask yourself!

Road Weary and Battle Scarred

We came back from Canada so incredibly road-weary and exhausted, that quite frankly, I haven’t felt much like writing at all. Traveling in an RV can be very exciting, and the adventure beyond words, but it is also good to have a house to go home to and gather your wits about you when the journey appears in the rearview mirror.

I know for a fact that our traveling companions, Fred and Becky were also pretty tired and no extended trips are planned for the near future. When looking through photographs of Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California though, nostalgia does set in and the temptation to go becomes a tiny flame and a fleeting glimmer of interest can ignite before you know it.

Callie has loved being back in the desert and when parked at the beach, she can run around and roam unattended. We are going back and forth from desert to the beach where the RV is parked and fitting in scheduled doctor’s appointments and visiting with friends and family while getting things accomplished that were put on hold.

My photography has been ramped up to a whole new level now that the cervical stenosis surgery is behind me. I am working with the massive 600mm lens and tripod with gimbal head and even taking the heavy 500mm to the zoo. I was pleasantly surprised that the zoo would let me bring in a tripod, and with the help of Michael who carried the tripod, we went to the Africa Rocks Aviary and I was able to take images of Bee-eaters. I have always wanted to take a portrait of one because they are such gorgeous and entertaining birds. Another bird, the Paradise Whydah is the size of a small sparrow with tail feathers on the male during the breeding season, three times longer than the body.

The pond at the desert is once again filled with life and the heron and white egret compete for food alongside Say’s Phoebes, Black Phoebes, and Gray-Blue Gnatcatchers. Dragonflies are everywhere and provide food for all of the above. Bighorn Sheep are coming down from the mountains in search of water and while waiting for the herd to appear, a single, solitary, roadrunner zipped right past me.

The Geo Tracker is still in Canada and it will probably have to be totaled. I discussed the accident in the last post and don’t want to go into detail again about it, but it is the battle scars portion of the title of this blog post. Geico, our insurance company has at least decided to send an agent to the car instead of having the car towed to the States. That will help…

It will be a while before any of us feels like traveling again, so taking photos and possibly picking up a pencil and brush and painting is something of a possibility. Callie is doing well except for her asthma that is aggravated by all the fires here in Southern California and Michael and I are fine and biking and swimming once again. It is extremely important that you exercise when you get older, or everything falls apart and your health declines. I am now 64 years old and last year was a year for eye and neck surgeries and I am so appreciative that they were successful. I feel better than ever and I am looking forward to a wonderful year of travel and photography and good mental and physical health. Cheers to all you road warriors out there and may this be a year filled with high five adventures!