Badd Ass Catt

Callie is doing really well and has adjusted to a life in the desert that only allows her to be walked outside with a leash. There are just too many predators in this wilderness area that could harm her. She seems to know it and has accepted her loss of freedom and not to be able to climb her beloved olive trees. When we take her to the beach where we have the RV parked, Callie will be allowed to explore outside once again. In the meantime, I am taking lots of photographs and appreciating the abundant wildlife that either call Anza- Borrego Desert State Park home, or are just passing through.

Another Year has PASSED!

Yikes, the time is flying by so quickly. All is good with Callie and us. We finished a wonderful trip to Vegas to meet our daughter and to camp at Valley of Fire and Death Valley. Callie got a spooky, bright red, furry tarantula for Christmas and we are back home in the desert once again. It is a big, beautiful world out there in spite of the government shutdown. We hauled all of our trash out of Death Valley when we left and most people were doing the same. Happy New Year to all of you and may this year be filled with peace, joy, and happiness.

Joan and Callie

Peace and Joy be with You!

It has been a long time since I have posted an update on Callie. She is doing really well and loves this desert house with a view of a pond. She spends hours in the evening watching bats swoop back and forth and in the morning she has hummingbirds and a beautiful male Vermilion Flycatcher that is absolutely gorgeous. Coyotes head out in the evening to hunt and return when the sun starts to climb in the sky. We are planning on hitting the road again during Christmas and may go to Death Valley again. Thank you all for checking in and may the holidays be joyous and full of peace and joy. Happy New Year too!

Living a Life of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you reading this blog post. I have much to be grateful for and one of my greatest pleasures is to share my experiences of traveling with Callie the cat and my husband in our 24 ft Class C RV. We have recently parked the RV at the Riviera RV and Mobile Home Park in Encinitas, California to give ourselves a rest from being on the road and to enjoy our home in Borrego Springs for the winter. The desert has some of the best weather in the country now and to stay there for weeks at a time is a luxury instead of an inferno!

For Thanksgiving, we decided to go to a local restaurant called: Captain Kenos that provides a meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, carrots, corn, stuffing, hot buttered roll, and pumpkin pie to the needy, lonely, and homeless. They welcome all with open doors and arms, and a shout out of Happy Thanksgiving with big smiles on their faces, as guests enter to partake of a delicious feast. If you can afford it, a $3.00 donation is warmly welcomed, but otherwise, it is totally free, no questions asked. We made a small donation so that others could eat, and then sat down to a community dinner that was served until 6:00. The doors had opened up at noon and there was a steady stream of people lined up at the entranceway receiving a much needed meal.

People of all walks of life, most of them poor, stood patiently with plates in their hands, now had a warm and cozy place to eat and to be served by respectful and cheerful volunteers with Christmas lights twinkling merrily and rock music playing in the background. The owner actually sat at the bar and chatted with his guests as if he were rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. It was such a welcoming sight that I just had to go up and speak with him briefly in order to thank him for his generosity. Gerry Sova, the owner also provides another feast for those in need on Christmas Day and he has been doing this for over 36 years!

Michael and I then drove over to Moonlight Beach to watch the beautiful sun set in the Pacific Ocean as people played volleyball and sat around hot, roaring campfires. We listened to Bob Dylan on the radio and reflected on past Thanksgivings we had shared together. Our first date was 41 years ago on November 6th and our first Thanksgiving, Michael braved visiting my entire family of 6 sisters, their boyfriends, 1 brother, and my mother and father and paternal grandmother. He survived that gathering and then we went over to meet his parents and 2 brothers and their girlfriends. And here we are today, 41 years later, still miraculously married and with an adult daughter and an adorable cat we are very fond of.

Marriage is not for the meek of heart. It takes a great deal of love, grit, forgiveness, patience, respect and most importantly, only one of you can be angry at the other at one, single, time. If you survive young adulthood together and merge into middle age and then on to becoming senior citizens, your hormones are no longer raging but you now have aches and pains, disease and the joy of getting old. I can honestly say though that this is becoming some of the best times I have shared with my husband. We have a rich and vast history together and have been through more than most couples would have tolerated. So, I am feeling particularly grateful for hanging in there, at least it is how I feel today; it is always subject to change. Smile!

So Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Give thanks if you can, for LIFE can be incredibly difficult. It waxes and wanes though, and tomorrow could bring either hardship or joy, pleasure or pain. The act of being alive means to live, get out there and live your life to the fullest. This is not a dress rehearsal! Thanks for reading my blog.

Upstairs Downstairs

We have moved into our rental property at Ram’s Hill because we haven’t been able to sell it and we want to simplify. Our house with the incredible sunrises at De Anza is now up for sale instead. We have the RV at the Riviera Mobile Home and RV Park stored in Encinitas and the goal is to once again go back and forth from desert to beach. When the heat is too much here, we will pack up and go to the coolness of the beach. And when the beach feels too cold and damp, we will pack up and head back to the sunny desert. I feel so fortunate and grateful for how everything has worked out. It hasn’t been an easy three years for me.

Callie under no circumstances can ever be outdoors without a leash snapped on here at Ram’s Hill. At De Anza, she could at least climb her beloved olive trees under supervision and after her playtime, she would come back inside willingly. Here, the coyotes and predators are so numerous, that she would be in grave danger if I left her alone for even a few minutes! A neighbor told us last night that a mountain lion was captured on his webcam being chased by a bobcat several years ago. There are huge owls, rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widows and the list of dangerous animals to Callie goes on and on.

Michael and I had the brainy idea this morning to move upstairs to the master bedroom since the heat has dissipated. We were trying to keep the utility costs low by staying downstairs. So I have been working all day today getting the upstairs ready for tonight. In the mean time, I am allowing Callie to hang out on the top balcony while I clean. She has an uninterrupted view of the pond, and tomorrow morning at dawn, I am hoping to watch the coyotes hunting from a different vantage point. She is safe in her element and I doubt owls could swoop down and get her because of the angle of the roof line and the rod iron fence.

The downstairs bedroom is going to be turned into Michael’s music room because he is an audiophile and it does his heart and soul good to take time off and have music blasting. That drives me nuts because I am basically an introvert and like peace and quiet. So Callie and I get to be upstairs with a fan blowing air for white noise, and he is downstairs with the stereo playing at full volume. I can feel the thump and vibration of the music through the floor but only hear muffled booms. After 41 years of being together, it is imperative that solutions be found and implemented in order to keep the peace. That way, the call for a divorce is kept at a safe distance and harmony can once agin be restored.

Animal Planet

Callie is learning to go on long walks with the leash and harness every morning because there is no way that she can run free and unattended in the desert. The coyotes and raptors are so abundant here, that all Callie has to do is look out the window and see for herself ducks, herons and great white egrets being hunted at the pond behind the house. Bats swoop down in dizzying numbers at dusk and she is entertained for hours at a time. As soon as I feed her dinner, she races over to the back bedroom just in time for the show to begin. I peek in on her every once in a while and watch her peering under the drapes as her tail swishes back and forth in spasmodic jerks. She can almost taste duck and bat herself. Fortunately, I have not witnessed any kills as of yet, and I imagine that the coyotes are much more successful with mice and smaller prey.

We will not be hitting the road quite as often now that the temperature is mild here in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I don’t think Callie will mind at all though because she has Animal Planet playing out in real time every evening. This is almost as much fun for her as being the dash cam cat in the RV.

You Are My Sunshine

On the return trip from attending a wedding in Poulsbo, Washington, Lara got out her ukulele and we harmonized to the song called- You Are My Sunshine and it became painfully obvious that Callie does not like to hear me sing. She will run up to me and ask me to stop and will even jump up on the table and threaten to swipe at me if I don’t! She is very polite about it all but clearly does not find it enjoyable to listen to my beautiful voice belt out an old folk song. It is almost like she thinks I am fighting and is here to be the peacekeeper.

A couple of nights ago, Lara left the drawer that has the hot water heater behind it ajar, and before we knew it, Callie had slipt inside and was nowhere to be seen. It isn’t exactly dangerous for her, but it isn’t safe either. I can’t reach her and she can roam around on the underside of the RV where I can’t get to her if she were to get into any trouble. So Lara had the brainy idea to suggest that we go over to the kitchen table and belt out You Are My Sunshine for her to hear.

Once we started, it didn’t take any time at all for Callie to jump down with a thud from the back room and to race over to where I was singing my heart out in order to tell me to stop. What a funny kitty she is; she also likes to sleep in Lara’s ukelele case when she is playing.

We are currently in Las Vegas and have until the weekend before we return to Encinitas, California. It is sunny and warm in Vegas today without a cloud in the sky. It was a wonderful trip but I am road weary and ready for a little downtime. Traveling and as much fun as it can be, is still a lot of work.

The Ease of a Class C

Our 24ft Class C Fleetwood Icon may not be the biggest rig on the road, but it is more than comfortable and so easy to maneuver within city limits. We managed to find parking on the streets of Portland, Oregon when we decided to visit the famous Powell’s City of Books, Book Store. Our daughter Lara really wanted to check it out after her friend from Ireland, Laura’s husband, told her about it.

After Michael edged the RV into a tight parking spot right across from the bookstore, the three of us collectively held our breath as a cable car slowly drove past without causing any harm to either vehicles. It was a tight fit though and Michael chose to stay behind just in case a traffic cop asked him to leave. The RV was a little long both front to back, but just right in width. What an awesome RV we have! It fits 3 adults and a cat comfortably, and the mobility factor adds a lot to the overall positive experience.

We are leaving for Poulsbo, Washington today and are having a fabulous time. The weather has turned sunny and warm and Callie is having a blast on the dash and taking in all of the new sights. Her love of travel and adventure adds so much to the fun of traveling as we look forward to another awesome day. Fred has continued on toward Seaside without us to visit his brother and we will reconnect with him after the wedding.

The Importance of Good Tires when RVing

I can’t stress enough the importance of good tires when RVing. It isn’t just the thread but also the sidewalls that are important. You cannot help it if you run over debris in the road, but having blowouts can be catastrophic, dangerous and just plain inconvenient when traveling.

When we were on the way to Big Basin National Park last month and AFTER we had driven past the sign stating that there would be no services for 83 miles, we had a blowout in the back outside tire below the gray water tank. It tore through the tank and displaced the pipe by at least an inch when it blew! Michael drove the RV with great caution and at under 25 mph and we made it to a gas station finally at a crawl. He was able to get some help and changed out the tire and switched it with the spare but we had to depend on it all of the way back to Borrego Springs.

Fred just happened to have a slider issue yesterday morning after I had posted my blog on leveling, (he has a very weak motor) so we caravaned into Tillamook to have his MINNIE repaired and Michael had the repair shop work on our gray water tank at the same time. The Tillamook RV Repair Shop took care of all of our needs as we pigged out at the Tillamook Cheese and Creamery Factory across the street. I had to put aside my thoughts and concerns about the care and needs of dairy cows in order to enjoy the delicious cheese they produce and had a fabulous Caesar Salad and Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Curds melted in it.

Because the repair work took all day, we headed back to the Jetty Marina and Campgrounds at Rockaway Beach and watched a magnificent sunset. It was a beautiful evening with the smell of salt in the air and the sounds of gulls calling out their mournful song as the waves lapped at the sand while the tide came in. This RV site has about 10 spaces on grass that have an incredible view of the ocean and sand spit. The photographs are listed as the Nehalem River so I am a little confused about whether it is a river or inlet. Whatever it is, the view is extraordinary!

You know you are level when your candle burns bright.

When traveling in an RV, you must make sure that you are level before having the sliders go out or you risk damage to the motor. A good indicator of being properly level besides using a level, of course, is to burn a candle and see if the wax melts evenly. Another tip is the iPhone. It now has a leveling app that is just one of many features that help everyday life. I highly recommend it.

We are at a lovely campsite called, Jetty Fisheries and RV Park and Campground in Rockaway Beach, Oregon and Callie just finished her morning walk out to the boat ramp. She loves walking in the rain and doesn’t mind stormy weather as she jumps over puddles with ease. We are about an hour from Seaside, Oregon and plan on heading to Portland today. Michael, Lara, Callie, Fred and I have been having a fabulous time and look forward to reaching Seattle on Thursday.