Cranking Up the Heat

I don’t know what it is about cats, their small body mass probably contributes to it, but Callie absolutely cannot handle the cold. She huddles under blankets when it drops below 80 and prefers basking in the sun behind curtains that are drawn to keep the sunshine from blasting inside when it is 99 degrees in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I would be baked alive if I did that, but Callie finds it ever so delightful.

This morning dawned brisk and windy with a temperature of 40 and I was glad I left Callie’s personal heater churning away all night. We sleep up in the loft above the cab and need to have a window cracked open so that it isn’t so hot for us, but Callie finds it barely tolerable. She delicately declines the offer of sleeping down below though, much preferring the warmth and company of our bodies during the night, but as soon as I get up, she pounces on the suggestion of lounging next to the heater.

I tried walking her this morning, but the winds have strengthened because of an upcoming rainstorm and she doesn’t like the wind either. So, huddling by the heater today and watching all the new campers from inside the RV will have to do. Surprisingly, Lonepine Campground has filled up and there are people in tents lined up along the shoreline. It can’t be super fun for them in the wind! It will be a beautiful day nevertheless and we will probably go on another bike ride. Stronger winds and a further drop in the temperature is predicted for tomorrow. On Tuesday, we are heading to Agua Caliente to ride out the storm.

DANGER- Hunting Occurs Wednesday & Sunday

Thank goodness it is Friday and not Wednesday or Sunday because we would have been in danger of being shot by hunters while off-road biking in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. We did not see any deer grazing at all in the lush, golden meadows and sadly, they must not know that it is only Friday and have taken cover regardless. I did come across one lone tom turkey and the red-winged blackbirds were out in force. I could hear the meadowlarks calling their lovely warbled trill, but couldn’t see them in the tall bleached grasses. The Canadian Geese couple were proudly standing over their goslings on the shoreline, and coots and mallard ducks were enjoying the warm weather and ample sunshine. I can also hear the bald eagles screeching but can’t see them either. I learned to recognize their call when I was visiting Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. They are common there and so remarkable to watch as they catch fish in the ocean. They are making a comeback in the United States thanks to a ban on DDT.

Michael and I left Callie happily resting in the RV and biked over to the old Stonewall Goldmine. It is abandoned now but was once a thriving mining town. Nothing is left except for rusted mining parts and equipment that is fenced off and on display and one, single room, lone cabin that is maintained and left open for visitors to check out how the pioneers once lived. The bike ride was a tad bit difficult for me because of how narrow and grooved the trail was, and I actually knocked my back wheel loose hitting a rock. That was a first for me and I skinned up my shins with the pedal too. It was well worth it though and if I had a choice, I would do it all over again.

Today it is gorgeous out and we have neighbors. Michael, Callie and I have had the campground all to ourselves. It is supposed to fill up over the weekend. Callie is in love with the feel of grass under her paws and looks up at me with wonderment and a twinkle in her eye. Mountain lion warning signs are everywhere and raccoons, are nightly raiders. Callie is picking up new and interesting scents because she stops and sniffs and has a faraway look in her eyes. I am so happy for all three of us and for getting out of the desert heat.

A Walk in the Woods

We had an absolutely perfect first day here at Lake Cuyamaca and in the late afternoon, Michael and I took a walk in the woods to explore the partial island and view of Stonewall Mountain. Lake Cuyamaca is home to ancient oak trees and evergreens that border the woods and provide shelter for a pair of bald eagles, numerous turkey buzzards, and owls. I noticed two nest boxes hammered to a large pine tree but they were both empty.

On the lake, I witnessed a lot of Canadian Geese noisily honking and one pair, in particular, had 7 goslings with a mallard duck couple that seemed transfixed by them. The two geese allowed them access to the babies and it almost appeared like they were assisting with parenting the noisy children. The turkey buzzards were swooping and soaring and seemed to just be enjoying the thermals that they caught along the shoreline.

As you head toward Stonewall Mountain, you walk over the decreased water levels and shrinkage of the lake and the path takes you through grasslands that are usually submerged. Male, Red-Winged Blackbirds were singing their hearts out and arrogantly displaying the bright red shoulder pads on their jet, black wings and fisherman were catching trout that are stocked once a year.

It was a beautiful afternoon and we are planning to bike the same path today. The temperature is cooling down because a rainstorm is predicted after the weekend. We are the only campers at Lonepine Campground, but it is expected to fill up by Saturday. The showers which cost $1.00 in quarters every 3 minutes is a bit steep, but the bathrooms are brand new and the campground is still under some construction. We have an uninterrupted view of the lake on site number 38 and are very pleased with our experience as of yet. It is one of Callie’s favorite campsites of all time because of the peace and quiet and the numerous birds that keep her endlessly entertained.

The California Poppy

Michael and I left Callie sleeping in the RV and drove over to Julian to check out the wildflowers. It is springtime in the mountains and there are wildflowers everywhere. What a difference compared to the desert. The desert has its own stark beauty, but nothing compares to a field of California Poppies. It is illegal to pick them, they grow wild in meadows and alongside roadways and are also called- Cups of Gold. I can see why!

Where to put the Litter Box when RVing

Callie, Michael and I are traveling in a 24ft Icon Class C RV, and because Callie is a cat, the question of where to put the litter box loomed over us for a short while. You don’t want it too close to the kitchen area and you especially don’t want it near the bed. Actually, you don’t want it anywhere in the RV, but the advantage of traveling with a cat instead of a dog is that you can leave them unattended and you don’t have to take them out to go potty, and they don’t bark while you are away. A lot of RVers don’t realize that their beloved dogs are howling their separation anguish the whole time they are away!

I have seen some setups where a cabinet door has been removed for the litter box, or under the sofa or table, but in our case, because the RV is medium size, I was very concerned. I had a brainstorm though and measured the shower floor to see if possibly that would work. It did, and Callie not only uses the same space that we do for going potty, she also has a bench in the shower for her kibble and water to be placed on. It couldn’t be more perfect.

We are currently up at Lake Cuyamaca because our home in the desert is having a heat spell. It is difficult to imagine the heat at the moment because it is so fresh and cool at the lake. Callie and I went for a lovely walk first thing this morning until the Canadian Geese honked too loud at us. That was a little too much for her and we high-tailed it back to the RV lickety-split. I don’t download videos anymore because they take up too much storage space, and my daughter has failed to teach me well enough to do it on my own. I also have to set it up on YouTube and I don’t have my computer with me. You will just have to use your imagination to visualize Callie’s tail held high in the air and trotting quite briskly in front of me as we head for the safety of the RV.

Lake Cuyamaca

Oh, my goodness, we are just way too pleased with ourselves for choosing to head up to the mountains instead of staying in the desert. It feels so fresh and cool. We have a lovely campsite right on the lake and the breeze is blowing across the bright, blue, water like air-conditioning. Callie can’t believe her good fortune either and doesn’t yet realize that our daughter has left. She is too busy enjoying the intoxicating scent of wildlife and fresh, green grass under her paws.

Bon Voyage

Today is the day! We are leaving for Lake Cuyamaca because there is an early in the season heat wave descending on Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with a high of possibly 100 degrees today. We can’t afford to invest in solar quite yet, and we definitely can’t afford the high utility bill that comes with air-conditioning, and because our daughter is heading out too, a celebratory exodus to the beautiful local mountains is one I am very much looking forward to.

Callie loves traveling in the RV, so as soon as the suitcases come out, I will put her in there while we pack up; that way she will know that the plan includes her and won’t be as stressed out.

Last night we had a beautiful sunset and the evenings are still cooling off. When summer hits with a vengeance, the air temperature stays warm all night and there is no relief. This morning Callie climbed her favorite olive tree and the sun rose and shone it’s beautiful, golden, rosy light on Mount Illuminous.

A change of Plans

The mornings are absolutely gorgeous now in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park, but the days are heating up to 99 and we have decided to go to the mountains instead of The Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort. This week, in particular, there is a heat spell going on, and I am tired of being hot!

Lake Cuyamaca is the second oldest dam in California, having been completed in 1888. It is located off of California State Route 79 and the lake wraps around three shores. Julian is to the north and l-8 to the south. Julian is famous for its apple pie and rustic atmosphere. Cuyamaca Reservoir is a 110-acre recreation area with biking, hiking, fishing, and camping. The weather will be in the high 60’s with a low in the 30’s. Now that is quite a difference from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park!

Callie loves the mornings and takes the challenge of climbing her olive trees quite seriously. She is not allowed to leave the yard because of rattlesnakes, coyotes, kit foxes and owls, so she has to find entertainment and exercise with the trees while being under constant supervision. Callie knows that something is up because packing has begun and she is already stressed out about our daughter leaving. Putting her in the RV and taking off to the mountains will make all of us feel so much better.

The Fountain of Youth Spa

Founded in 1965, The Fountain of Youth Spa is located in the Sonoran Desert region of California by the Salton Sea and is about an hour and a half drive from our house in Borrego Springs. It will be our first time that we visit this RV park, and boy am I ready to get away.

The hot springs has a pH value of 6.5 and loaded with minerals that help reduce inflammation and calm arthritic joints. Count me in! There are full hook-ups which is a must because the overall temperature next week will be in the high 90’s.

Callie is anxious to get on the road again too and is watching my every move as I pack up supplies and organize clothes. She used to get really nervous when the suitcases came out, but now she knows she is part of the plan.

Our daughter, Lara will be heading out on her next adventure and will be moving in with my sister, Gayle as she hunts for a job. Callie and I will miss her sunny disposition and great company so I am relieved that she, Michael and I will be enjoying ourselves while we grieve the loss of our daughter. She has been wonderful and a joy to be around. I hope the best for her in life and that she finds a fabulous career in game development or tutoring students in math and science. She can do anything she puts her mind to!

Gone with the Wind

Summer temperatures are upon us and it shall soon be time to hit the road in our RV and be gone with the wind. Biking over to Henderson Canyon, I reminisced about the super-bloom and how Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was covered with wildflowers. It amazes me to look out over the sand dunes now and see how the wind has shaped the environment and patterned the sand with ripples and waves. If you look closely, you can see the tracks of small animals going about their nightly business of searching for something to eat while not being eaten in return. The study of animal tracks has always fascinated me.

I happened to bike past a plain looking cactus that had somehow managed to create an obscenely beautiful flower and was thankful for the opportunity to photograph it before it too would be gone with the wind. The gnats and bees were frantically hovering over it because it was the only show in town. The citrus is flowering too, but this blossom was an opening act of high billing and in a league all of its own!

As I continued down Henderson Canyon Road, I happened to look up to see that a hawk was perched on a telephone wire over by Seley Ranch, the famous Organic Ruby Red Grapefruit farm. When I biked too close, it flapped it’s mighty wings and soared over the giant tamarisk hedge that is used as a windbreak for the fragile citrus. Neither trees are native to the area and require special care so that they can survive. I finished the bike ride with a stopover to take a picture of the Kneeling Camel by Ricardo Breceda. I am so appreciative that the wind is gone, but in its place is the rise of temperature. This beautiful desert will soon heat up and be in the high 90’s all of next week. The temperature in summer can exceed 123 degrees. I joke that birds flying overhead, drop from the sky fully roasted when it gets that hot! Summer is almost here, and we too, Callie and Michael and me, shall be gone with the wind.