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.

The Other Side of the Mountain

I had no idea before I lived in the desert how much that wind is a factor for weather conditions everywhere else. It takes the low pressure of the arid desert to drag moisture-laden clouds toward it, but then in return, the mountain ranges block the rain from falling on the arid side. This low pressure-high pressure dance of aerial currents pulls storms across the land. The clouds have to be heavy enough with moisture and the wind strong enough to pull them over to the other side before precious rain can then fall in the desert. If they don’t have enough moisture left after they pass over the peaks, the desert receives only the gift of wind which carries the sand instead. We have had a lot of wind this season, and because it has been a dry winter, the sandstorms have been fierce and unrelenting.

Last night was particularly windy and the banshee howls and shrieks shook the house and rattled the windows. When I rise, I must sweep up fine grains of sand most every morning, but I haven’t been able to stay on top of it. I have resigned myself to the realization that I can’t be as good of a house cleaner as my sensibilities would like, so screw it, I must lower my standards in order to stay sane.

This morning the sun rose to a delightful and peaceful stillness, so I jumped on my Raleigh bike and headed over to Coyote Canyon to see if I could find any wildflowers left. The creosote bushes still have their pale yellow flowers, frosted, blue colored berries and the adorable white cotton balls all over them. The wild desert honeybees were covering the creosote in a frenzy of pollen-collecting and to my delight, I came across the Sacred Datura blossoms too. This trumpet type flower is a luminous white with pale lavender colored edges. It is also known as Jimson Weed and is very toxic. Native Indians have used this plant in religious ceremonies for centuries to induce a hallucinogenic trance, but if one is not extremely careful, the plant can cause an agonizing death.

I also biked over to the dragon sculpture by Ricardo Breceda that I had mentioned in the Bighorn Sheep Sculptures post so that I could take a photograph of it. Today is calm and clear and my sanity has once again been restored. We are planning on another RV trip next week and are thinking of going to The Fountain of Youth RV Park by the Salton Sea. I could use some of that magic because my skin feels really dry and my throat parched from the intense heat and lack of moisture. The Fountain of Youth sounds like a miracle to me! Callie was able to climb her olive tree again this morning and can actually hang outside for awhile today. It has been too windy almost all week for any outdoor activity.

The Bighorn Sheep Sculptures of Anza- Borrego Desert State Park

What a beautiful day it was for an off-road bike ride in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park. The weather is beautiful and the wind has died down for now. Another windstorm is expected tomorrow so we took advantage of playing outdoors today. We biked over to the herd of bighorn sheep sculptures that aren’t far from my house.

Ricardo Breceda is a local sculptor that works primarily with metal and places his artwork, here in the desert, free of charge, for people to appreciate and admire from all over the world. I love the animals that are native to the region, but Breceda does have a dragon near my house that attracts a lot of attention and is one of his favorite pieces. The head and snake like body is situated on one side of the road, and the tail with a rattle like a rattlesnake sits on the other side of the road. It appears that a section of the dragon’s body has slid under the street. There are scorpions and locusts, saber-toothed tigers, horses, a raven, elephants, tortoises and many more.

Biking up to the bighorns is like sneaking up to a real herd of sheep with 2 rams butting heads and ewes nursing their lambs. They are very realistic from a distance and beautifully designed. You can also drive your car up to the herd if you are a visitor from out of town. The sculptures are situated right across from Indian Head Ranch in Borrego Springs, CA.

A Cat up a Tree

Callie has been stuck inside all day because of the strong winds blowing across the desert this morning that lasted until dusk. Lara tried taking her outside in the middle of the afternoon, but she didn’t make it past the doormat before she aborted her claim to the great outdoors and scurried back inside with her ears blowing sideways and her tail wrapping itself around her head. We get a lot of wind here in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park, that and a lot of sand that is carried along by the wind in clouds of sand called: sandstorms.

Right about the time that the sun is slipping behind the San Ysidro Foothills, the wind does seem to die down and I was able to successfully encourage Callie to climb up one of her beloved olive trees and check out the unique cloud formations in the sky. I love how unusual the clouds appear as they are blown every which way, high above the desert floor once they have made it up and over the Santa Rosa Mountain Range.

Callie climbed her trees and had some fun before she was blown back inside once again along with the swirling bougainvillea and oleander blossoms. Tomorrow should be a little calmer and maybe I will be able to take Callie out for a walk along the De Anza Golf Course.

I Kill You!

I don’t have any plans to go on an RV trip for the next 3 weeks or so and Callie is content to play with her toys and choose which bed she wants to sleep in at home in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park. She has the backyard and the olive trees to climb up in and a fairly good size house to explore. I have benches alongside the windows so that she can soak up the sunshine, and the hutch that her two beds are sitting on is the go-to place when she doesn’t want to be bothered.

Callie has about 6 toys now that I purchased a couple of weeks ago, and she will sit next to them if she wants to play. She loves to wrestle with the catnip stuffed mice and the whip is one of her favorites. Callie begs to feel the sting of me snapping the whip at her as she pummels one of the mice. It is only when she gets over excited that she takes her frustration out on herself and kicks at her own head and neck while she stares at me intently. Callie has a look of, I KILL YOU, but wouldn’t dare scratch me because the consequences would be severe.

When I first adopted her, she made the mistake of striking out at me just one time. I chased her around the room until she gave up and I reprimanded her sternly, but only verbally, for behaving that way. She had obviously never been challenged before and was shocked. Yelling at her and pointing a finger at her did the trick. I told her that if it ever happened again, I would swat her on the butt. Calico’s are famous for having a lot of attitude. Thank goodness she has never done it again. Callie is welcome to think about it all she wants, but can only act out her vengeance on the catnip mouse, and most definitely not on me.

Morro Bay is very Bike Friendly

Morro Bay is a fabulous place to cycle and hike in. The community is very bike friendly and a coastal trail for walking and biking extends for many miles. We have taken the trail to Cayucos on Highway 1 which had some traffic on it but the shoulder is spacious and I didn’t feel too uncomfortable. I do not like to share the road with cars and that is why biking in the desert is so appealing to me.

The nature sanctuary trail is also wonderful and there are viewing benches to observe birds such as the endangered Snowy Plover. The sand dunes have nesting areas cordoned off and these adorable little shorebirds are treated with respect and courtesy and given prime site sanctuary locations in which to raise their young without being stepped on and trampled. I love this about Morro Bay; they are very pro-wildlife and try to give local and migratory animals a place to thrive in alongside us humans.

If you are staying in Morro Bay and wish to bike north, head down to Morro Rock and follow the boardwalk north of town until you pass the water treatment plant. Right before you bike underneath the Highway 1 bridge, turn left into the high school and follow the paved path on the west side of the highway. This trail will take you to Morro Strand State Beach and from there you can hook up to the 1 and follow that North to Cayucos. If you wish to bike south, Morro Bay State Park is another great place to bike around in. I don’t recommend going to Montana de Oro by bike because of the narrow roadway, but it is an incredible place in which to hike along the sand dunes. Biking through town is also fun because the cars go slowly and there is a bike path.

I have a front loading handlebar basket that I use for Callie and she loves biking but it has been too rainy and she has had to be left behind in the RV. I don’t think she minds all that much though. When we return, I find her in the same position as when we left. She seems to really enjoy all the activity of RVing and there is never a dull moment. She can rest on the dash and watch people walking their dogs or she can jump up into the loft for privacy and take an uninterrupted nap.

Morro Bay has a fabulous bike repair and rental shop called – The Bike Shop that is on Main Street in town and my husband bought an off-road Raleigh bike for me last time we stayed here. I love this bike and use it off-roading in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park. We have been coming to Morro Bay for 40 years now and this sleepy fishing community hasn’t changed all that much. It is a great place for walking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and windsurfing.

Callie’s Troubles are Behind Her

Michael, Lara, Fred, Callie and I all pulled out of Borrego Springs this morning at 7:30 am and made it to Morro Bay by 4:30 pm. I drove ”Pipsqueak” and Fred drove his Minnie Winnie. Michael hung out with his best friend Fred and the girls all traveled together separately. As soon as we made it up Montezuma Grade, I had two truck drivers motion me over. I assumed it was because I was going too slow up the pass, but it was actually the bike rack that had slipped down with the extension arm, and Lara’s bike was actually dangling and the only thing holding her bike on, was a bungee cord.

I pulled over to the side of the road and Lara and I were able to secure the bar back up into place and get her bike back on the bike rack. It could have turned out really bad and we were so fortunate that kind and attentive truckers alerted us to the problem. Michael and Fred were ahead of us and because of bad phone service, they didn’t even know we were having difficulties.

The two of them finally came back to us and Michael helped me attach the bike even better and with more security. Apparently, the extension arm wasn’t locked into place. I am not placing blame on anyone, but it wasn’t me that loaded up the bikes!:) When we were finished, I looked up and over at a pasture full of cows in the heavy mist, and I happened to see a beautiful and very unusual white rainbow or a sun halo, so I quickly took a photograph and away we went. If we hadn’t stopped, I wouldn’t have seen this strange phenomenon!

Callie hopped up on the dash right away and she takes her job of Dash Queen Cat quite seriously. Once I start the engine, she leaps up and settles into her spot. She gets all in a huff if we start without her. Callie was obviously exhausted because she slept the whole way up the coast. I don’t think she will be spending too much time worrying about whether Romeo is making an appearance anytime soon. She has much better things to do now and places to see!

The Stories just Write Themselves

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t take at least a couple of photographs of poor Callie. Whatever we are doing together, I have my iPhone 7 plus handy and I am always capturing the moment with images of her. I would hate it if someone had the lens turned on me, and Callie sometimes shows great irritation when I have it aimed at her, but for the most part, she is a good sport about it all.

So this afternoon we spent time rescuing wild desert honey bees from the pool and basking under the diffused light of the sun. There is a hazy cloud layer but the temperature is warmer, maybe 82 degrees and the insects are starting to hatch and the gnats which feed the hummingbirds aim for your eyes and nose and ears. They are quite annoying but a necessary part of living in the desert where water has been interjected.

So many wild animals benefit from the water sources of golf courses and the trees and shade that they provide. I for one am not a fan of golf but do appreciate the shade and cover from the sun the park-like setting provides for birds, cottontails, and coyotes, even the bighorn sheep depend on the grass and water before the rains come. There have been times that I am driving at night and I will see an entire pack of coyotes romping along the lush green belt.

Springtime is almost upon us and you can feel it in the air. The days are getting longer and this is probably the best time of year for desert inhabitants. Cactus start to bloom which feed the hummingbirds and pollinators, insects thrive which in turn sustain the flocks of migratory birds and people get to enjoy the mild climate in a paradise setting.

She has it Bad!

If you have been following my blog posts for the past week, I have noticed that Callie disappears down the hallway every evening and after searching for her, I found her behind the bedroom chair in the master bedroom and staring out into the darkness of night. The next morning a tomcat strolled through the yard of our remote desert house and mournfully meowed as tomcats will do as he headed home to wherever he lives during the day. Cats normally are not roaming around out here because of the very real danger of coyotes, so I have been surprised to witness a ginger tom and a black and white tuxedo, each cat paying a visit once in the past several years of living out here that I have been aware of. I haven’t caught a glimpse of Romeo lately, but it is obvious that Callie has, and she likes what she sees. She has always hated other cats so her behavior is at odds with past reactions and I can only surmise that he is one helluva Casanova or Callie is just very lonely. Next week we leave for San Fransisco so I am hoping I can keep her busy and her mind off of unrequited love. She sleeps well during the day and is eating just fine. It is only the evening hours that she pines away.