Celebrating “What” Exactly!

Donald Trump’s, in your face display of fascism and division on sacred native Indian land at Mount Rushmore left me feeling horrified and saddened with the disgusting turn our country has taken with this presidency. It has brought out a side of humanity that I had hoped was buried for good and for all after Hitler died. But no, there is an element of nationalistic fervor still brewing amongst my fellow American citizens. If at this point, my post is offensive to any of you readers, go away, we have nothing in common and you aren’t welcome here anymore.

Callie had a tummy ache again after we finished a 10 mile bike ride yesterday along the many miles of closed beaches of Pacific Grove. She rushed over to me as soon as I stepped up into the RV and did her classic, demonic chew that expresses hunger and/or discomfort and promptly threw up several times. There is nothing less fun than a cat throwing up in the small confines of an RV. I quickly remove all of the rugs and roll them up because that is her preferred choice to barf on and I also stop feeding her even when she goes into overdrive about telling me she is very unhappy. She thinks she is hungry and pats me constantly and chews and this will go on throughout the entire night. Fortunately for me, at 1 am when Michael chose to come up to bed, we were able to feed her a small amount and she slept well, and so did I for that matter, for the rest of the night.

This morning she and I both got up nice and early and I turned the heater on for her and we are having a pleasant enough dawn while I have a cup of coffee and appreciate my health and her much improved health. The fairgrounds are celebrating the 4th of July with fair food and I walked over and picked up funnel cake and kettle corn yesterday that people could drive through to pick up (you weren’t supposed to get out of your car) but I had walked over from the campgrounds, so I was an exception to the rule. The fairgrounds would normally be humming with hundreds of people going on thrill rides, checking out display booths of all kinds and celebrating our independence with fireworks at the end of the evening. This has all come to a grinding halt again because of COVID-19. The virus did not go away like a miracle and infection rates seemed to have spiked and actually have accelerated since opening the country back up too soon and it is another example of the retched incompetence of this monster in the White House.

Biking along the coastline, all the beaches have been closed in anticipation of large crowds and it is forcing people to keep social distance and masks are required for everyone. Wearing a mask while biking is difficult and my mask kept fogging up. I apparently don’t have it snug enough around the nose and under my eyes. So today could have been a celebration of all the hard work of those of us who have sheltered in place since March, instead of the horror show playing out all across the county now. The economy will only recover if we help those in need by paying people to stay at home and to distance ourselves from one another until a vaccine has been discovered. Stay safe everyone and do your part to help heal this country. The hospitals and health care workers need our participation so that the ICU beds don’t reach full capacity as they are doing now in Texas and Florida. We will happily do the same in our 24ft Class C RV. Happy 4th of July.

A Hitch in her Giddy-Up

Callie has been given the somewhat grave responsibility of being able to explore her surroundings outside free and unattended while staying at Cypress RV Park in Morro Bay, California. I realize that many people believe that cats should not be allowed to run free outside because of the danger they pose to themselves and to wildlife, and I totally get it, but I do let Callie roam a bit while parked in a safe and enclosed RV Park that she is familiar with, and I keep the door and a window open and check on her frequently. She usually stays within sight of the RV and if I don’t see her after a short time, I whistle and she comes running.

The other day I was aware that she had been gone for a while so I went out and checked on her and whistled and whistled and she was nowhere to be found. I stood outside and whistled some more and finally, she darted out from a parked truck one site over and she was being chased by a noisy cowbird that was swooping down and pecking at her as she ran as fast as she could toward me. Callie had to run across loose, medium size gravel and an old shoulder injury made it difficult for her to get to me fast enough. As she limped along at a pathetic lope, and with the bird hot on her tail, the term, “a hitch in her giddy-up” came to mind. No wonder she hadn’t come back home any earlier, she needed me to protect her from the bird that was harassing her and she was waiting for my back-up before she headed back to the safety of the RV.

It was quite the hilarious scene witnessing her being tormented by a bird and I think she viewed the whole experience with a mixture of fear and trepidation. Her desire to go exploring seems to have faded because now she parks her rear end next to the picnic table in our site and keeps a wary eye out for those pesky birds.

Chilling in the RV

The Wapiti Campground

My days have been filled with so many wonderful activities, that the desire to write after many hours of photography, biking, hiking, and just plain fun, that I haven’t felt much up to it. Today I thought I would just focus on Callie and what a good time she is having, and when I feel up to it, write about all the wildlife I have seen and the adventures I have been on. Jasper, AB, Canada is an incredible place and the people have been so helpful and friendly and the wilderness, beyond breathtaking, that it will be difficult to leave. And if Trump is reelected, I may just move here permanently.

Pipsqueak is parked toward the end of a long parking lot with two rows of RV’s placed across and next to one another. Fred and Becky are to the left of us and we both face the Miette River that roars right past in a deep ravine within a forest of fragrant pine trees. The fast-moving rapids are many shades of blue and can be heard in a whisper from our RV window. Elk, for which this campground is named after, roam through the forest and calmly stroll past tents and campers, while the bull elks bugle their mournful calls early in the morning and later at dusk. It is a really nice campground with hook-ups so we don’t have to depend on batteries and propane. My only complaint is the tepid water when taking a public shower. It never gets to anywhere near hot enough, and you have to keep pushing a button for 3 minutes, and I am being generous here, worth of flow. The restrooms though are clean and heated, which makes for a better experience when trying to dry off in the cramped stall in order to get back to the comfort of the RV. The nights have dropped into the low 30’s and snow is expected Thursday and Friday, but yesterday it actually got to a balmy 69 degrees.

Callie is asking for several walks a day and the two of us can cross over to a grassy meadow right behind the RV that has benches and big rocks for her to climb upon. She loves being up high so that she can survey her surroundings and take it all in from a different perspective and a higher vantage point. She looks up at me frequently while walking by my side on her leash and I swear she has a huge smile on her face! The sun actually came out in force both yesterday and today in between mild rainfall and many wildflowers are still in bloom. Callie loves soaking up the warmth and didn’t want to come back inside today. It won’t be long though before summer is over and fall and winter hit with a brutal force. I can already see the aspens turning golden yellow that are sprinkled in between the pines on the mountainsides.

We will be staying in Canada for one more week before heading to Washington State. We plan on driving back down the coast on our return voyage. There is still so much to cover about elk, moose, bighorn sheep, magpies, glaciers and more, but it will have to wait for another day.

Hit the Road Jack

We are preparing for the journey north to Banff and Jasper and are really excited to be hitting the road With Callie again. I haven’t been able to travel much due to surgery on my spine for cervical stenosis. I have 2 more weeks with the brace on and then I should be able to resume most of my forms of exercise. I have had to lay off with biking and it has been too warm for much walking. I thought I would have to give up photography too, but compromised with a handheld lens and not using my 600mm lens and tripod.

Callie goes into the vet today for a rabies shot and checkup so that I can have her paperwork in order. Crossing into Canada, they may or may not ask for it, but I want peace of mind and she is now running around free at the RV Park and there are other cats that she comes into contact with. She has been doing pretty good with her asthma but her ears are still very itchy. It is due to allergies and the best I can do is to put steroid drops in daily and limit her outside activities. I can relate, sometimes I sneeze 20 times and I itch too:-)

The vet in Morro Bay thinks she might have a food allergy to chicken, and several days ago I bought Natural Balance Limited Ingredients that is chicken free. She has been wolfing it down ever since and wouldn’t you know it, this morning she got me up at 4:45 with a tummy ache and was barfing. I have to scramble up and over my husband and shimmy down a ladder in the loft to get to her. She was considerate enough to throw up on the linoleum and not the sofa and rugs.

I have been taking photographs of the wildlife right here in the RV Park so that I don’t have to get in the car. It is really quite amazing how much there is all around you if you take the time to listen and observe. Can you imagine the subject matter I am going to come across in the Pacific Northwest?

Lake Cuyamaca

The temperature is really heating up in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park, so we decided to get away for the day and meet our RV travel partners, Fred, and Becky up at Lake Cuyamaca. It is less than an hour drive to the lake from our home, and the 110-acre reservoir provides natural air conditioning to the surrounding shoreline and kept the temperature at a comfortable 85 degrees. We sat around the table at the only restaurant that overlooks the water, and this eatery is famous for its chicken pot pies and fresh, fruit pies. You can be seated outdoors on a wooden balcony and hummingbird feeders hang from the eaves and Brewer’s Blackbirds wait patiently for you to finish eating before descending, somewhat mannerly, onto the leftover French fries when you get up to leave.

I pigged out on both the chicken pot pie and the Mountain Berry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with whip cream that was then generously sprinkled with cinnamon on it for dessert. Fred and Becky had the veggie burgers with coleslaw and fries, and that too was fresh and delicious. All of the meals were served in a timely manner and were very delicious. Our waitress was good-natured and accommodating, and even filled up the hummingbird feeders so that I could take photos with my camera. I highly recommend going there because it is also a fabulous place in which to camp overnight in an RV. I have written about Lake Cuyamaca in past posts, so I won’t get into a lot of detail, but just wanted to once again reiterate what a nice place it is to visit and camp at.

The lake provides food and shelter for a variety of wildlife. Canadian Geese and Brewer’s Blackbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Red-winged blackbirds, and Great Blue and White herons can be seen fishing along the shore. There is also an elusive pair of Bald Eagles that nest there every year in the fall way up high in the branches of magnificent evergreens on the island. If you are so inclined, easy hiking and biking trails are also available and you can’t go wrong if you are looking for a great way to spend time outdoors and escape the summer heat. One can also rent a boat and go fishing or just enjoy bobbing on the surface of the water and checking out the wildlife.

On the way back home, just as we were heading down the hill at San Filipe Wash in Anza- Borrego, a handsome bighorn sheep ram, dashed across the street in front of the car and up and over the rocks. Michael slammed on the brakes so that I could take one photo of him before he disappeared. I was still in the passenger seat with my seat belt on and used Michael’s shoulder for a tripod. I was very lucky he stopped for just a brief moment in time to look around. What a magnificent beast. He was probably searching for water and looked very healthy.

We came back home to Callie sound asleep on her chair and it appeared that she didn’t miss us one bit. We are heading back to the beach tomorrow and had a very relaxing time in the desert.

Morro Bay

Morro Bay is probably without a doubt my favorite place to visit. I love that there is still ample wildlife and the RV Park is ideally situated for walking or biking down to the marina. The foghorn is a delight to hear and the sounds of harbor seals barking and seagulls arguing makes me smile. Today I photographed Sea Otters and Snowy Egrets and had a blast. Michael cleaned up the Tracker and the outside of our RV and I cleaned the inside yesterday. We had a BBQ last night and Michael grilled fresh halibut. Callie is getting in a couple of walks a day and there is plenty of sunshine and fresh salty air to go around. We will be leaving for Encinitas on Tuesday.

Returning South

Callie, Michael and I are returning south again after a 6-day stay at Carmel by the River RV Park in Carmel. It was a splurge and quite pricey but the grounds are beautiful and the resort well situated off the beaten path. I was able to do a lot of photography and we biked every day and visited Big Sur one day. There is construction on Highway 1 which backed traffic up for about a 30-minute delay, but there is nothing like the drive along this rugged coastline.

We are staying at Cypress RV Park now in Morro Bay and I highly recommend it. The grounds are clean and the bathrooms immaculate. The owners are friendly and Callie is able to walk around on a leash and check out the other sites. There should be ample opportunity for photographing otters and herons in the bay and I am excited about that.

Full Circle

I have finally arrived back home to my beloved Anza-Borrego Desert State Park but have moved up to Ram’s Hill Country Club. We are attempting to sell the beautiful house that I took all of the incredible sunrise photographs. Ram’s Hill has its own unique charm and as I write, I am listening to a chorus of coyotes howling and yipping off in the distance. I have a pond in the back of the house that attracts a lot of wildlife, so I am excited about the prospect of new photo opportunities.

Michael, Lara, Callie and I piled up most of our belongings into the SUV so that we could leave the RV in Encinitas and have the chance now to go back and forth to the beach and the desert. It can feel a little isolating in the desert and Callie can never run around free because of all the predators. I actually let her explore her surroundings at the beach with frequent checks from me so that she could feel a little more freedom. She loved it and stayed close to the RV.

Callie is doing very well and loved all the travel time. She has had so many experiences as a cat that it still amazes me how much she has learned about travel. She can watch the world go by as she rests on the dash, she walks with a leash along wilderness trails and will soon be put on a bike basket again to whiz along the roads and feel the wind in her fur.

Rise and Shine

Michael, Callie, and I made it to Zion River RV Park after a 12-hour drive at 7 pm and it was a long day for all of us. Callie loves being on the road though and helps navigate on the dash as if her life depends on it. Yesterday’s adventure was just a tad bit too long though and I could tell she was wondering when we would get there.

When we finally did set up camp, which now includes disconnecting the Tracker, Michael and I quickly changed into swimsuits and dashed over to the hot tub to soak our weary muscles and joints before it closed at 9. Sitting for so long when you are a senior citizen makes you stiff and achy! The wisdom of aging is that you aren’t as restless and a long day of travel is just part of the overall scheme of things. The three of us really had a fabulous day and are now reaping the rewards of reaching a lovely destination.

The hot tub was divine and a quick BBQ of veggie and salmon burgers were grilled with Callie being fed her favorite Science Diet nuggets, and off to bed, we went. I woke up with my usual rise and shine energy along with Callie and we took a fabulous walk before all of the dogs got up. It is bright and fresh outside with a fragrant breeze rustling the cottonwoods. A delicious breakfast shall be served as soon as my exhausted husband wakes up. Michael is going to try and find out if we can get into the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and if so, we may head out again. If not, we will stay here and take the bikes out for a trail ride. I vote we stay put for a couple of days and check out the local mountain trails and of course, Zion!

Creekside RV Park

Creekside RV Park is really next to a creek, a creek that roars like a river and is fed by beautiful, South Lake that has an elevation of 9,800 ft. Driving up from Bishop you make a jog to the left rather than head straight toward Lake Sabrina. When we left Virginia Lake on July 3rd, we were quite concerned about finding another campsite because of 4th of July, but Nick from Creekside, who also happens to be the owner’s son, had only one cancellation which he promptly gave to us, and we have been here ever since.

The campground is clean and spacious and because it is family owned, they make every attempt to accommodate most of your needs. We keep extending our stay due to the heat wave down below and so far they have managed to find a way to allow us to stay. There is a well-stocked store, small fishing pond for children and South Lake and Lake Sabrina are a draw for many fishermen. The wildflowers are also out, but so are the mosquitos, but if you remember to put repellant on, you shouldn’t have any trouble.

Two days ago, we made the intense 5-mile bike ride up to South Lake and it took us 2 hours to get there and a roaring 20 minutes to return. It was steep with a 2,000 ft verticle grade that left us wheezing because of the high altitude and me cursing most of the way because we forgot to bring along mosquito repellent. Whenever we stopped to catch our breath, the mosquitos swarmed us and they were not deterred by simple swats of the hand. They would rather die than be forced to fly away and were incredibly persistent.

Once we made it to the top though, it was well worth it. The lake was surrounded by receding glaciers and evergreens and the fresh, brisk air, a reward after the grueling climb. Hikers come from all over to hook up with the Pacific Crest Trail and the series of lakes are supposed to be spectacular. The wildflowers, such as the apricot mallow, lined the roadside as we huffed and puffed up the hill, and the temperature couldn’t be better. Once we caught our breath, we walked around and I took photographs and we admired the view, and when it was time to head back down, Michael checked our brakes and away we went as fast as 45 mph. We were smoking and it was a thrill, to say the least. We went so fast that I was concerned when a blast of wind almost knocked me off of my bike; that and the ruts in the road were cause for alarm. Once we pulled into Creekside though, we laughed at the thrill of the experience. The rest of the day we spent totally relaxed.

Callie isn’t able to walk around as much at Creekside because of all the dogs; she misses Virginia Lakes. At Virginia Lakes, she had a large forest range to walk around in and one evening, a deer raced right past the front of the RV while she was hanging out on the dash and it made her jump up and stare at the passing creature. She is doing very well though and is happy as can be to be traveling in the RV. It is going to be a sizzling 114 degrees in Borrego Springs tomorrow. Thank goodness we made the great escape.