Cleaning out the WC

Callie is such a fastidious kitty and she takes it upon herself to REALLY, really clean her litter box after she has used it. Sometimes I catch her standing in the shower of the RV and reaching up along the walls and cabinets with her front paws. It is so funny to watch her grasp and drag a big pile of nothing to cover up her poop. This particular short video doesn’t do her cleaning duties justice, but I thought it was cute anyway.

We are still at the Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park in Encinitas, California and Michael and I love the temperate climate and the community atmosphere of this neighborhood. The park is ideally situated with restaurants and the beach is within walking distance. Steve, the manager is hard working, thoughtful and always lends a helping hand if needed. We have a beautiful pool to swim in and our daughter, Lara has been visiting us for a week. Next Tuesday we head to Yellowstone if all goes well.

Day 3 of Callie’s Diet

I was right in the middle of chowing down on a Hagen-Daz chocolate and almond covered ice-cream bar when I remembered that I was going to give up chocolate to show my solidarity with Callie when it came to her diet. She is on steroids because of asthma and her weight has gone up because her appetite has been stimulated. It isn’t fair, and I feel bad for her because I absolutely despise dieting, but Callie can’t get enough exercise and has to cut down on her caloric intake instead. So I didn’t even make it to day 3 before I inadvertently screwed up, but Callie is doing better than I expected and isn’t showing any signs of distress.

We went on a long walk this morning and she picked up a young suitor. He is gray and white, long and lean and followed us back to the RV to check out this new and cute arrival to the Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park in Encinitas, California. There are in fact, quite a few cats that run free, and when Callie gets a whiff of their scent, she hisses at imaginary shadows and bushes in anticipation of a fight. She hates other cats and prefers dogs. This handsome boy doesn’t know it though.

Callie is doing well, has more discipline than me on the 3rd day of her diet, resting comfortably in the RV while I write and work on my photography, and Michael works on his research. It is a quiet day with a marine layer muffling the sounds of the nearby coastal train. Encinitas has a train station and it is really an awesome beach town. We are so appreciative to be out of the desert heat in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park and back home again to our favorite city. We had to move away from here about 3 years ago and love the desert 9 months out of the year. The summer is truly an inferno though and I feel so bad for the plants, animals, and humans that are forced to endure the brutality of the heat!

Pretty Please!

Michael, Callie and I would much rather be here in Encinitas than the desert, but sometimes the RV gets a little small for Callie and she needs several walks and rough and tumble playtime. Michael and I went to go see The King movie about Elvis and the decline of America and the middle class and she was stuck inside the RV all by herself for a couple of hours. When we returned, it was within her rights to demand some fun and I obliged her by getting out the catnip mouse and “the worm,” so that I could wear off some of her pent-up energy. The rug came in handy too for a few swift kicks and bites before it succumbed to her deadly attack. She is now resting comfortably on the front seat and I will walk her when the sun sets so that the asphalt isn’t too hot for her paw pads.

BTW- The King was a very insightful documentary on Elvis and civil rights and how it took a white male singer to introduce the Black Blues to white Americans. It also touches on the pain and difficulties that Elvis had to endure with his quick rise to fame and fortune. I loved the movie and am saddened by the state of affairs in our country. I can’t stand Donald Trump and don’t care if I lose readership because of my position. The movie touches on the conditions that were festering and ripe for this con man to be voted into power.

Riviera Mobile and RV Park

When we headed down from Whitney Portal so that I could find a place to park the RV while I waited for my eye surgery and the removal of a Pterigium, we decided to wing it and just hope for the best as we got closer to Encinitas. Well as luck and good fortune would have it, Steve from the Riviera Park returned my call when I left a message, but only to tell me that there was a strict “no” pet law enforced and that I should call Oceanside RV Park. When I tried calling repeatedly, the line was busy, so I called back and told Steve I would jokingly flush Callie down the toilet! He was appalled by that and reassured me that he would work something out and to try and get there before dark because that too was an issue as the office closed at 6 and we were still in Murietta.

Well, it all worked out and Steve found us a place in the Mobile Home section where animals are allowed and we were able to make it to the surgery the day after and the surgery went better than expected and Callie did NOT need to be flushed down the toilet! We used Uber to get back and forth from the Morris Eye Clinic and the surgical center below and everything worked out better than planned. The surgery was a success, Callie had a blast walking around the facility on a leash and taunting all the dogs, and we bonded with Steve and will be going back again on Thursday for follow up care and for Michael to be scheduled for cataract surgery. Getting older is the pits, I also have to have a neurological exam for an old back injury that is causing numbness in my feet. At least we have good medical care, and we now have a super awesome place to park the RV at while we seek treatment.

It was a little more than sad to walk past the bench that I was sitting on when I heard of my good friend, Dolly’s death, but life goes on and I am glad she isn’t suffering anymore. I got to see another good friend, Nancy who goes way, way back and Michael has Fred and Robert that live in the area too! It will also be wonderful to get out of the heat again. It was 120 degrees in the desert today and it puts such a strain on living in Borrego Springs in the summer. We will get laundry done, check on mail and the house and will try to pack up and head out again either tomorrow or Thursday morning.

I was able to get my hair cut and colored and do a little grocery shopping and Michael did most of the laundry while I was gone. I needed to offer Callie ice water and try to keep her cool because only one of the air conditioner’s is working. It was 96 degrees last night in the house, but at least tonight it is only 87. Still really hot though.

Washoe Lake State Park

Washoe Lake State Park is a 3,375 acre recreation area on the southeast shore of the lake in the county of Washoe in Nevada. Crescent City is less than a 15 minute drive and we stocked up on groceries before we got to the lake. It is home to magpies, coyotes, scrub jays, meadowlarks, kestrels, white pelicans, bald eagles, hawks, ospreys, flickers, quail, deer, wild horses and more.

When we pulled in late yesterday, a family of quail dashed across the road and the chicks were the size of tear drops. A family of kestrels are noisily going about the business of life next to our campsite, and the parents are frantically attending to at least one fledgling. The baby is old enough to fly short distances and is screeching its demands to be fed constantly. One parent insists the baby fly to a neighboring tree and then the other parent asks the youngster to fly back again so that it strengthens its wings. This little guy has hearty vocal chords and is not at all happy about having to work for a meal. The magpies can be seen checking out vacated campsites and are gorgeous because of the white patches on the wings. This makes them much more attractive to me than the jet black of crows, starlings and ravens. The pesky scrub jay followed Callie on our walk this morning and scolded us nervously, but also kept an eye on her until we got back to the RV.

Michael and I went on a bike ride after breakfast and adjacent to the campground, there is an equestrian area. Guests can corral their horses and park the horse trailer and RV alongside of them. You can hear them neighing back and forth to each other and when we were on our bike ride, we met two women on their quarter horses and I asked them about the free roaming horses we had seen earlier grazing on tall grasses on the top of one of the sand dunes. They informed us that they are wild and come down from the surrounding mountains in search of ample grazing and fresh water. They were gorgeous, well fed and their coats were glossy. I was able to take photographs with my iPhone from a distance and was really impressed with how healthy they looked.

We flushed out lots of jack rabbits that were the size of dogs and one coyote let us get really close for a good look at his or her, much darker and redder coat and bushy tail. Anza- Borrego Desert State Park is home to lots of coyotes, but they are much smaller, thinner, the color of sand and their tails are scrawny so they don’t get tangled up in the cactus quills. This coyote blended in well with the sage brush that flourishes here. The scent of sage by the way is intoxicating and fills the senses with the call of the wild and what the prairie must have looked and smelled like years ago.

The campground is clean and the spaces are far apart. Tall sage brush, pine trees and cottonwoods help give you a sense of privacy. The bathrooms have free use of water and the shower has a timer on it but you can press the nozzle for additional time. We got the last campsite available yesterday, but this afternoon, campers have pulled out and the place is a lot less crowded.

The lake is stocked and you can fish in the shallow waters, but consumption of your catch needs to be limited because of high levels of mercury. There were hang gliders soaring along the hills when we first arrived last night and high winds make it a popular destination site for windsurfers. There is hiking, ATV use, picnicking and boat launches too.

Callie is able to go on much longer walks at Washoe because of the wide open spaces and the dogs are kept contained. I am always a little worried about dogs in crowded campgrounds attacking her when she is on a leash. They look so appalled when they set eyes on her and it brings out a variety of reactions, not all of them friendly.

We are staying tonight and will decide whether we will hang around longer in the morning. It has been a little stressful finding campgrounds that are not full because of the 4th of July holiday coming up. We don’t want to be searching for a place to stay over the weekend and find ourselves stranded.

Silver Lake RV Resort

This morning we pulled out of Shady Rest Campground because of a forest fire behind Mammoth Lakes and the sky was filling up with smoke. Fire season is already upon us and with Callie’s asthma, we need to limit her exposure to pollutants. Helicopters were buzzing overhead most of yesterday as they carried buckets of water to the fire zone. The buckets look so small and inconsequential, but I suppose there is a weight issue, and something is better than nothing.

We made it to Silver Lake Resort by noon and have a lovely spot with full hook-ups. At Shady Rest, it is dry camping only, and our auxiliary battery is starting to go bad. It only holds a charge for about 6 hours now. Having full hookups will be a treat. It has been warm all week, but nothing compared to the desert.

Callie loves her place on the dash of the RV and always attracts a crowd wherever we go. Silver Lakes Resort is no different. I had a woman come up to me that had raised an orphan badger and for some reason, Callie reminded her of her badger. We will be staying here for 4 nights. YAY!

Another Great Escape!

We did it! Callie, Michael and I managed to load up the RV yesterday in 110-degree weather and flee from the heat in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. As much as we love the desert, it is close to impossible to enjoy when the heat cranks up into triple digits.

The drive was uneventful and Callie took it upon herself to help with the navigation by taking her place on the dash and being co-pilot. The higher we got in elevation, the happier we all became. Made it to Shady Rest at 8:00 after a very long drive of at least 9 hours. So excited to be among the pines and the cool fresh air.

Turkey in the Desert

It seems almost unfathomable to me that turkeys can survive in the desert, but as harsh as it is, last spring I counted 5 turkey hens, and now there are only 2, trying to survive in the harsh desert. Still, that is pretty amazing and probably about right for any hatchlings survival. I believe they are the same turkeys that I spotted earlier and the two of them that are still alive, are sticking close together and appear to be in pretty good health. They were panting like most birds would do in the desert heat, but when they spotted me watching them, they sprang into action and trotted out into the wilderness. The five hens must have somehow traveled down from the higher elevations of our local mountains and learned to survive a very different environment than the grasslands and oak trees from where they came from. Turkeys have specified territories and maybe overcrowding was a factor and these birds sought out the wide open space of the Mohave Desert, but only as a last resort. I don’t think the desert would be their first choice of territory though.

There are a lot of insects out here, but very little grasses and green plants. They have learned to hang out at the De Anza Golf Course when they have to search out water, and that is probably the most important thing for them to learn. The grains and seeds that they would normally eat are far and few between, but maybe the sage offers sustenance. Turkeys are capable of short bursts of flight and this area has just enough trees for them to roost in and escape from predators. The first time I spotted the five sisters was over by Seley Ranch and that is where I also see a lot of coyotes and bobcats when I am out biking. These two girls seem to be pretty smart though and are fully mature. All they need now is for a tom turkey to discover them so that a family can be started and raised and a new species can call this vast desert their home.

Photographs of Rancho Cuyamaca Wildlife

I promised as soon as I returned home and had internet service again, that I would upload photographs I took with my Nikon D70s camera. Well, we returned home today and the first thing I accomplished was to download and edit my telephoto photos. I have a long way to go as far as quality of shots, but it is a start. The birds and deer are at least recognizable but the lighting is poor and the subject matter somewhat blurry. It wasn’t easy having Michael haul the camera equipment in a backpack on his back when we biked, and wildlife doesn’t stay still and pose for you, but it is a start and I shall improve.

We saw Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Red-Winged Blackbirds, White-Tailed Deer, Canadian Geese Kildare, and wild turkeys. It was fun and exciting to off-road bike on all the trails, and my great big gigantic bruise from falling off of my bike and landing on a rock is a little less sore today, but growing in size. It was worth it though and I would do it all over again if I had the chance.

It is 110 in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and we will be packing up and heading toward Mammoth in about a week. Looking forward to a higher elevation, cooler temperatures, and green pine trees all around.

Off-Road Biking at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

I finally took a mean spill yesterday on my bike at the Soapstone Fire Trail as I was climbing up and banking into a sharp right-hand turn. My front tire hit a rock and I ever so serenely and dreamlike, lost my balance and in slow motion, started to fall to the right and up and over my bike. I didn’t have much time to panic and I thought to myself, no big deal, but when I landed in the bushes, there was a pointed, jutting boulder hidden from view and my right thigh took a direct hit. It hurt and I gasped from the searing pain but after pushing the bike off of me, got back on and pedaled in search of Michael who was in front of me and oblivious to the accident. I casually let Michael know that I had fallen, but didn’t make a big deal of it until we got back. There were still many miles of trail to go, so I ignored the pain and fortunately, the adrenaline kept me going.

I will spare my dear readers the details and the photo my husband took of the bruise, but suffice it to say, it is by far the biggest bruise I have ever had the pleasure of wearing. It is larger than my hand when my fingers are spread out, is the color of a rich and dark, burgundy wine that has spilled across the side of my thigh, and very swollen today. I am icing it and did manage to ever so bravely get a bike ride in this morning, but I feel just a little more restrained and a lot more subdued today.

Every time we head out on the trails though, I am rewarded with glimpses of wildlife and that more than makes up for all the falls I have taken lately. The other day I ended up on my back in a large patch of prickly foxtails, and when I was finally able to stand up and brush myself off, I had foxtails piercing me everywhere. My shoes, socks, pants, and shirt, all had multiple foxtails buried in the fabric and ready to be transplanted in foreign soil. No wonder this particular grass flourishes so well, it hitchhikes on every unsuspecting creature that happens to cross its path!

Michael and I have spotted deer, hawks, bald eagles, turkeys, herons, red-winged blackbirds, Canadian Geese, coyotes, ducks, cormorants and much more. Swimming is not allowed, only boating and fishing, so maybe that is why the wildlife is so abundant here. Hunting is permitted on Sunday’s and Wednesday, but I haven’t seen any evidence of hunters as of yet.

Callie is having a fabulous time and appreciates the wide open space and cooler temperature. We are heading back to the desert tomorrow to get some work done, but are planning a trip to Mammoth as soon as possible.