Escaping the Furnace

Poor Borrego Springs is suppose to hit 122 degrees today. As I write, it is 121 out. Oh the poor creatures that I love so much in Anza Borrego. How can they possibly survive? Our dear friend, Salvador keeps an eye on our house and plants while we are away, but what about him? How does he manage? Thank you Salvador for all your hard work and you do it with such grace and dignity. We appreciate you so much.

Here at Silver Lake at the series of lakes called: June Lake, it is 83 outside and Callie thinks it is way too warm and she can hardly open her eyes and move about. She is hanging out on the top loft but we have the air conditioning on and she is still being lazy. Thunder and lightening storms are expected on Thursday and it should be quite exciting hanging out in the RV. Callie isn’t afraid of thunder and lightening like our jack russel dog, Addy was. Thunder and lightening would send Addy into my closet and she would bury herself under any discarded clothing or pile of shoes she was fortunate enough to find. She would cower and shake and shiver until the storm would pass. Attacking a coyote was nothing for Addy, but thunder and lightening did her in.

We are having a fabulous time in the RV and it is another beautiful day. I suppose it is cooler for those that don’t wear fur coats!

From Dawn to Dusk

The morning started out bright and early with Callie once again expecting me to get up and serve breakfast so that she and Michael could go back to sleep for a couple of hours. It is rather funny and because I am a morning person, it is no big deal. As soon as I fed Callie, Michael was already sleeping and Callie tucked herself into the tent I created for her on the sofa. It is chilly at night but today it reached 85 and it felt warm to me. It is nothing compared to Anza Borrego though, which will hit a high of 121 on Tuesday. Those kinds of temperatures are a killer for birds and mammals and plants. It is so hot that when you take in a deep breath, your lungs feel scorched.

Michael and I went on a fabulous off road bike ride again this morning and because it was so difficult, I am considering packing a first aid kit. I wear a scarf around my neck in case I will ever need a tourniquet, but can see the use of bandages and wraps for all kinds of injuries. You can’t see the deep sand in the shadows when it is mixed with dappled light and the ruts in the trails trap you before stopping you in your tracks. I had air put in my tires this morning and I think the added pressure made for a much more difficult ride. We made it back to the RV in one piece though and felt the zen of having a strenuous workout roll over our shoulders all day today. 

Fred decided to head back home this morning so Michael, Callie and I have the rest of the vacation to ourselves. I will be able to celebrate Father’s Day and not worry about Fred anymore. He blew a tire heading home and is waiting for a tow service as I write. The same right back tire that we had a flat fire with! RV’s sit a lot and the tires are the first to show wear and tear. He has a long way to go yet to get home, I wish him the best.

Callie got a morning walk and was able to hang out on the picnic table most of the day while Michael worked on the bikes. She is getting more than her fair share of excitement and the strain is starting to show. When I find her up in the loft in between the rungs of the step up ladder to the loft bed, I know I have sufficiently worn her out from dawn to dusk. Wearing out a cat is always a good thing!

Biking Sand or Sea

Biking in Morro Bay on the new bike trail by the sea was fabulous when we camped at Cypress RV Park, but Michael and I still rate Anza Borrego Desert State Park as the best. This morning we got up early and got a ride in before it became too hot. Temperatures are already passing 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark! You have to get your outdoor activities in before noon, or the heat becomes too oppressive and even dangerous. We have a couple more weeks before we head out again in our RV, so we are going to try to bike every morning and swim in the afternoon. I have put on some weight over the winter months and want to lean out again;  not so much for appearance sake, but because my overall health improves. Once you hit 60+, it is a slippery slope to age related illnesses.

In De Anza Desert State Park, all the visitors have abandoned the desert for the coast and the mountains, so we have the place to ourselves along with the few locals that stay during the summer. This summer we will only come back periodically to check on our house and caretaker and then off we will go again. It is just too hot to stay here year round! Last summer it peaked at 124 degrees Fahrenheit and I swear, birds were falling from the sky already pre-roasted…

But biking before it gets too hot is the best of all. You hardly ever see a car on the road, and the light and shadows on the mountains cast a unique pattern superimposed against the powder blue of the sky. The mountains all around appear pasted on a background and look incredibly surreal. It must have something to do with the dry air, because I have not seen this look anywhere else. There are still plenty of cottontail rabbits, jack rabbits, roadrunners, coyotes, quail, hummingbirds and bighorn sheep to keep you company. Today I came across 2 cactus blooming their outrages pink blossoms that must be dependent on a particular moth or migrating hummingbird to germinate it. I also find it interesting that they were both blooming at the exact same time and were not next to one another. I am reading a wonderful book called: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlieben & Tim Flannery, and it suggests that plants do communicate with one another and have a consciousness that we have yet to fully understand. This book crossed my mind when I saw these two neglected and pathetic, water starved cactus plants flowering their hearts out in full display about 5 feet apart.

If we can get up early enough; my husband is not a morning person, we will attempt to do Coyote Canyon tomorrow morning. It is a sandy, off road trail that winds around and over 2 possible water sources at this time of year and is home to a variety of wildlife; especially the bighorn sheep. While I may miss Morro Bay, I am making the most of a situation by biking in desolate Anza Borrego Desert State Park in the early hours of the day, or after the sun sets in the evenings. There is something to be said for worrying about running into a bighorn sheep or rattlesnake; rather than a car. Callie, of course, spends most of the day, sleeping in her red basket, and assisting me with my blog. Her health is still improving and she is coughing less often, so I am hopeful she will continue to get well.

If Looks could Kill

Callie was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection with the added insult of having an ear infection a little over a month ago. She would give me the most pathetic look and would start wheezing and gagging and trying to cough and catch her breath. If looks could kill, she was telling me how miserable she was. Her tiny little pink nose was congested and you could hear it in her lungs too. It was pitiful to watch her suffer; to say the least. I was so grateful for the diagnosis though when we took her to the vet and after a 7 day supply of antibiotics and decongestant, she is almost back to normal. Now you may ask how does one give meds to cats? Very carefully I might say, and it isn’t easy and usually done by syringe in liquid form. Callie was so astute concerning the timing of a dose every 12 hours, that she figured out how to hide right about the time I would get the syringe ready. Once I had her in my grasp though, I would wrap her body and front legs up tightly with a towel, then swiftly give her the medicine before she had time to rake me with her claws. The look on her face after she swallowed the decongestant was especially comical. She would do everything she could not to swallow it and one time she even frothed at the mouth in disgust. Couldn’t they flavor it a little bit? What a princess… She does have allergies now and we think a touch of asthma to boot, but to see her once again climb her beloved olive trees, is a joy to watch. The Anza Borrrego Desert State Park super bloom may well be in the past, but what lingers is a lot of pollen and dust. Allergy season for me and for her! We will be heading out soon on another road trip!

The Last of the Desert Wildflowers

It is with a heavy heart that I write about the last of the desert wildflowers. I understand that it is the story of the desert and the extremes of an arid climate, but it is still a dramatic and incredible feat of nature to witness the super bloom and I am sorry to see it fade. The caterpillars, wind and rising temperatures have been the doom of the blossoms and the seeds and pollen have been dispersed for yet another year. Anza Borrego Desert State Park is returning to normal, the crowds have moved on and the cry of a single Swainson’s Hawk fades in the distance. 

Let Your Little Light Shine

I am a morning person and Callie is a morning cat and sadly, Michael is neither one… It is still dark out when I get up and Callie is waiting for the moment when she can dash outside and run up the first olive tree. She isn’t allowed to leave the yard unless I am with her, so olive tree climbing will have to do.  There are always hummingbirds around that scold Callie and zip from one branch to the next while teasing her and putting on a show. Callie loves it and tries to outdo her personal best from yesterday and climb just a wee bit higher. It is a little nerve wracking when the branches become so thin that they bend under her weight, but watching her little light shine and the glow of the hillside at dawn, makes it all worth while. Callie loves this time of day best, when she can be free to climb and chase the birds and wait for the morning light to fill up the sky. The desert is peaceful at this time of day, even in the middle of summer, and Callie and I have made it a morning ritual. When we have had our fun, and the foothills have lost their golden glow, we come back inside and have breakfast and I finish my cup of coffee. Michael is ready to get up by then and we prepare to go on a bike ride. Biking in Borrego Springs and Anza Borrego complete my morning ritual and I am ready to let my little light shine too…

Put On Your Rain Dance Shoes

The storm arrived last night around 1am and I felt like doing a happy dance in the still of night. It is such a big deal when it rains in the desert that everything and everyone celebrates on some level. I didn’t exactly put on my dancing shoes, but I did pull on my UGGS for a second day in a row and Callie got to chase olive leaves and observe a beautiful rainbow developing in the northwest.  It is fresh and brisk outside and the trees have been washed and the dust and sand packed down for a day. The winds are just starting to pick up and there is a chill in the air which means I actually get to put a sweater on too! With the winds come beautifully formed clouds that spiral and sail past the mountains at dizzying speed. When a storm arrives, it is time for me to get out the camera to take landscape photographs. Cloud formations add so much to the overall scene and the desert landscape has such a big sky format that it compliments the dry and arid ground. Southern California received some much needed rain yesterday and Anza Borrego Desert State Park accepted the storm today with relief and appreciation. It feels like the ocotillo turn green and leaf out over night and the beautiful red blossom on the tips of the branches were noticeable today when I went out on a bike ride. You can smell the sage and creosote and quail are dashing around in the underbrush while the white winged doves choose to risk flying erratically overhead. There is a sharp-shined hawk that is so athletic and fast out here that even when the doves are hiding under a bush, it can divebomb down and force them to take flight. There is much more of a sense of the precariousness  of life in the desert and every day a bird or jackrabbit survives is a gift. I could hear the coyotes howling last night and the young pups do their best to join in the chorus. Their voices are higher pitched and so joyous that you just have to hope the season will be kind to them. The scorching hot summer temperatures are behind us and for that, I too can rejoice. Thanksgiving arrives this Thursday and Michael and I and hopefully our good friend, Fred are going to go to Ram’s Hill Country Club for our traditional feast. I don’t have to cook this year, another cause for celebration! Happy Thanksgiving to all…