Day 2 of Silver Lake

The roar of the waterfalls lulled me to sleep last night while I fretted about the bag of trash that Michael refused to take to the dumpster! He doesn’t want to waste a half full trash bag and I agree, but I don’t want a bear ripping out a side window to get to the garbage either. There are bear postings everywhere. I woke up to the sound of the waterfall roaring and a bear did not come a scavenging during the night!

Callie coughed again last night and we think it was because of the air conditioner. If that is the case, it could very well be asthma again as the default diagnosis for her ongoing health problems. She is feeling fine today and we went on a morning walk and she got to hang out on the picnic table and watch the ground squirrels argue about their territorial disputes, and the deer tiptoe ever so elegantly in search of food.

Silver Lake Resort RV Park is wonderful and we are very pleased with our location. Due to the overwhelming amount of water flooding out a lot of the campsites, only those with reservations can stay. We are going to move a couple miles down the road to a day use facility called: Aerie Crag- an original founder of the Lake site camping in 1916, that will be allowing RV’s to camp overnight. There will not be any hookups and I would be surprised if I will have phone service. We can bike into town everyday and I will post photos and write if I so desire. If it isn’t too hot, we may try to stay for at least 5 days or through the weekend. Because of the flooding everywhere, including Yosemite, campgrounds are filled up and reservations that were made a year ago, honored first. There are no first come first serve availability at this time.

We went on a bike ride this morning and are amazed at all the water. Silver Lake is filled to capacity and the overflow has flooded out neighborhood cabins and driveways. The California drought is officially over in this area. I bet there will be a huge mosquito problem in a couple of weeks if the temperature stays warm. There is a lot of stagnant water lying around and they are already starting to buzz around when I stop to take photographs. Wild Iris blooms are everywhere and the scent of sage and pine fill the air with a wonderful outdoor scent.

It will be another warm day and I hear it will hit 101 in Oceanside, California where Fred lives. It will be 86 here….

Silver Lake Resort RV Park

This morning we packed up and headed to the June Lake series of lakes and are now camped at Silver Lake Resort RV Park. We are parked in E-11 at the very back of the park and our RV is the last row alongside the hiking trail to a major waterfall that is flooding out the cabins and the bridge. There are 3 more lakes still frozen solid that are starting to thaw in this heat wave. The entire campground and all who wanted to volunteer last night until 1:30 this morning sandbagged the perimeter of the Resort trying to keep the water from rising any further into the campground. The waterfall is roaring and the Silver Lake is way beyond most known borders. You could literally fish right outside your car window if you so inclined. A main water pipe also broke yesterday and people were without potable water yesterday. It has been an exciting day of grocery shopping at Von’s before dropping off Michael’s old bike to the Second Chance Thrift Store for the Wounded Warriors Project, and then making the 30 minute drive to the campground. We decided to head north instead of to Convict Lake because of the heat wave. Silver Lake is having an overwhelming black bear problem too, so all food has to be stored in airtight containers and nothing left outside. What an adventure we are having. 

June Lake


Badge of Honor

I am gaining much more respect for trail biking! I have bruises between my thighs from braking hard and jumping off of the seat in order to prevent myself from crashing. I have discovered that you cannot use your front brake when you hit deep sand because you will go over the handlebars lickity split! Fortunately for me, I have been a horse back rider all of my life, so the urge to bail before I get into trouble is an immediate reaction to the first sign of danger! One must know their limitations, and in most cases, I most certainly do. I haven’t taken a nasty fall yet, but can only imagine not if, but when. It seems totally inevitable, so I brought along bandages and my trusty bandana just in case I loose a limb, break an arm, or worse, sever an artery or vein and bleed to death. I imagine head bashing is another thing to worry about, so we both wear helmets. You can see where the younger generation does stump jumping and rock bouncing and they must be able to become totally air born. I won’t ever get to that level of sportsmanship, but I did go over an embankment and land in one piece and I consider myself lucky. You also have to lean back and straddle the saddle with your thighs when going downhill and into deep sand, and that is a talent I am very good at. I have always had powerful thighs and Michael can attest to that, so my thighs have been a big help to me. That is also the reason why I have bruises between my legs. When I am convinced I am going to crash, I jump down with both legs to keep from falling over! When I land hard, I stop myself by planting both feet firmly on the ground and this bangs the bike frame into my thighs. Better that then landing in a broken heap.  No shame in that! So, bruises between my legs at 61 years of age is a badge of honor, and I shall take it as a compliment to my level of skill at staying out of trouble. I am also having a little more difficulty with crossing my legs!:)

Callie woke up to birds singing and enjoyed watching them flit about outside the window. She loves RVing and I am so proud of her for being such a good sport. I made Michael a nice Father’s Day Breakfast and now that our bike ride is finished, we are going to have lunch and possibly walk into town for dinner tonight to celebrate. We may go to Lundy Canyon or Convict Lake tomorrow. Not sure which direction to go in as of yet, but staying out of the heat is a deciding factor. Fred made it safely home after a disastrous tire blow out near Indio and we hope he recovers from his big adventure as soon as possible. He attempted to travel with a fractured ankle and it was too much for him. Rest up Fred and get on that new awesome, Stumpjumper bike. 

Happy Father’s Day to all the good men out there raising children. The world needs good parents!

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!

Off Road Biking & One Tuckered Out Cat

It is beautiful here in Mammoth. The sky is cloudless and the sunshine just bright and warm enough to add color and light. Michael and I went off road biking after introducing Fred to some road biking around Shady Rest Campground beforehand. Fred bought a new bicycle yesterday and it is a beauty. We did some test riding and then left him back at the Campground to rest. The altitude takes some getting use to and we have been doing some hill work.

I would have to say that off road biking is about as good as it gets. It reminds me of horseback riding with just a hint of danger if you get caught in deep sand, or you run over a rock. I haven’t been thrown yet, but know it is inevitable. One minute you are speeding along, and the next minute you are stopped mid-track. We were able to bike on some well maintained logging trails that were shaded by massive pine trees and carpeted with pine needles. We did a loop around the Campground and it took us maybe 45 minutes. At one point we biked along an airplane and helicopter strip that must be used for emergency plane landings or for the forest fire service. 

Callie had a long walk this morning and I would have to say that it was her best walk yet! She turns when I whistle and when I tug gently on the leash. She also walks at a pretty good clip. She has gotten the hang of it and enjoys seeing the sights. She doesn’t seem to smell everything like a dog does, but rather stops and stares and then stops to stare some more. Her eyesight is more dominant and she uses her eyes more than her nose. Our walks are lasting at least 30 minutes now and when she is tired she lies down and lets me know she has had enough. I couldn’t ask for a better RV pet companion. She is so tuckered out that I think I will pass on the bike ride with her in the basket today. We can do another walk later in the day.

I thought Morro Bay was the best place to bike after Anza Borrego in the winter…. But I have to say that Mammoth in the summer is about as good as it gets. It is a very bike friendly town. I am so appreciative that we have stayed put and can hang out until Monday morning. We are just now beginning to explore the bike and hiking trails and I much prefer it to road biking. I don’t like biking around cars. Two more full days of biking and enjoying ourselves at New Shady Rest Campground and then on to Convict Lake. I got a call back from the host and he said we will be able to have our pick of campsites after Father’s Day weekend…..

A Glass Half Empty or Full

Being Bipolar means that I have to be very careful about over medicating myself. More was always interpreted as “better” in my teen years and on up until I hit menopause. Menopause was a breeze for me and for some reason, probably because my hormones are no longer raging, I am able to have a glass of wine at night for happy hour. Mind you, my glass is a good size glass; I don’t know how many ounces it is, but it is a good pour and I achieve just enough of a buzz to make the world a better place in which to live in. I am respectful of the privilege of being able to have some wine at the end of the day and try not to abuse it. Alcoholism is a sad place to exist in and with the support of Michael-who doesn’t drink very much, I am able to pull it off for the most part. 

Last night, Fred and Michael built a huge bonfire, and while they sat around roasting their hands and feet, I was able to sip a glass of Chardonnay and write about the days experience. Callie got in two walks, a bike ride and I have reintroduced her to some canned cat food for its moisture content. She was so wiped out and satiated from all the fun and excitement, good food and play, that she could hardly keep her head up and her eyes open at dusk. She was a little restless later in the night, but I have taught her to munch on her midnight snack right at the base of the upper loft. This way she doesn’t have to jump up and down from the bunk to eat. It is a win -win because I was never going to be able to train her to leave me alone at night and I was shoving her off the loft whenever she wanted a snack. She would land with a thud and eat from a bowl that had been placed right on the sofa, but it would wake me up too much and was hard on Callie too when she was shoved off the bed. I have talked about this habit of needing to nibble at night and I have finally met my match with Callie. She not only sleeps tucked in my arm pit- she also gets served kibble several times a night when she asks for it with a friendly bedside manner from me. I would call this a “glass half full” moment. Short of beating her and throwing her out of the room, her charm has won me over and she gets to snack during the night, and with my full, heartfelt blessing. I am not usually a pushover- but if you met Callie, you would know why I caved in.

Today we went on a walk and another bike ride and she had a little motion sicknesss because I had the clever idea of weaving back and forth on the trail in order to slow down my speed while heading downhill on a narrow bike path. I was having the time of my life until I glanced at her and she was just beginning to roll her eyes into the back of her head! The poor thing started to dry heave so I had to pull over and place her head outside of the basket just in case she threw up. After she dry heaved several times, we were good to go and I was able to get her home in one piece.

She is now queen of the loft and can rest the remainder of the day. We were going to pull out of camp and head to Convict Lake but discovered that it is Father’s Day weekend and everywhere is booked. We are going to actually stay put until Monday and I will be able to read and write and I can take photographs and just relax. I am delighted….

Happy Father’s Day! Michael has been a terrific father to our daughter and he has learned so much from her. Thank you Lara for making him a super dad…..Like Callie with me, Michael has met his match with a daughter like Lara. May the glass continue to feel half full and never, ever, half empty!

The Ladder at Balcony House 

Michael and I booked a tour of the Balcony House at Mesa Verde National Park for  3:30 in the afternoon. All I could think about all day long, was the damn 32 ft ladder that I was going to have to scale at the end of the day! Never mind the 2 narrow tunnels that I was going to have to crawl through on my hands and knees; it was the ladder that preoccupied my thoughts. We spent the day checking out one “kiva” * after another and explored all the Mesa dwellings above ground before preparing for the tour of the Balcony House at the end of the day that was constructed within the cliffside.

Apparently, these people lived on top of the Mesa for many years hunting bighorn sheep, elk, deer and harvesting corn, beans and squash, and they even domesticated turkeys and had pet dogs during this time. The reason for descending down into the cliffs is still not fully understood, but it appears to be water rights and shelter. War and fighting amongst themselves does not seem to be a factor in this decision. 

This particular tour requires that you scale a 32 ft ladder before emerging on top to the back of the house. Before you scale the ladder, you have to walk down 150 stairs. The ranger that was going to be our guide explained to the group that this was a strenuous hike and that climbing a tall ladder and crawling on your hands and knees through 2 narrow tunnels was a prerequisite to exploring the house. All of those not comfortable should avoid the tour. I chose to stay after looking around and deciding that I could do it if these people could. Michael said that once the tour began, I headed up the ladder so fast,  it looked like I was having loads of fun! On the contrary, I was just trying to get it over with as fast as possible. Looking down was not an option and we were told to count if you became uncomfortable, keep at least one hand and two feet or two feet and one hand clinging to the ladder rungs at any given time….and if worse came to worse, the ranger would have to assist you in getting to the top. No one had fallen yet! When does climbing a ladder become such a big deal!? Children look at a ladder and think to themselves that the fun has just begun! What is it about becoming an adult that makes climbing a ladder such a big deal? I suppose in this case it had to do with the sheer height of the cliffs! I cannot for the life of me understand how these people managed to live like this. I am truly left in awe of the obstacles these people had to overcome just to survive one day at a time. 

Once you get to the top of the ladder and step back and look around, you are amazed at how these people lived!. You actually enter the back of the house and the entrance is actually two very narrow tunnels that the people of the time used to go in and out of the house after squeezing through a rock crevice from up above on the Mesa. The Balcony House is named after a balcony that is constructed below two apparent windows that are actually doors. The view is spectacular and the sound of silence is all that you hear besides a gentle beeeze rustling through the vast opening and far away caw of a single raven.

I survived the climb and was left in awe of a people that lived in these cliff dwellings about 1200 AD. Climbing a ladder was something for me to endure, but these people used toe and hand holds only they knew about! Simple ladders were constructed once inside the house, but the cliffs and travel passages outside the dwellings, those were all done hand to toehold!

* Kiva… thought to be a cooking area that over time became a ceremonial one….

Arches National Park

There is a reason that Arches National Park is so popular. It is a spectacular place to hike, bike, climb and to take photographs. Storms have been blowing through all week and the tail end of one left the sky strewn with gorgeous clouds. We hiked to Delicate Arch like a swarm of ants marching to the same destination. It was a little unsettling after having been camping in less populated areas. What a sight to behold though once we made it to the arch. I had to ask some people to please give me a moment to take a photo before they maneuvered under the arch. That is apparently the new thing to do, pose under these natural bridges and have someone take your picture. They were considerate and let me do so. I took many photos with my Nikon D70s*and will upload them when I return home. What a spectacular day of photography though. I feel like I took over 500 photos and am exhausted and happy. Callie loves every minute of it and it is fun to know we are hiking and she is enjoying a moment in the sun and relaxing with food, water, litter box and shelter at her paw tip…We may try to go to Canyonlands today.

* None of my Nikon photographs turned out. I didn’t check the settings again after the strenuous hike and they turned out too dark. This is a very good lesson to learn the hard way!

Michael and our RV….


Capital Reef National Park

Capital Reef National Park is located in south-central Utah, and we are going to get up extra early and try to make a dash for it tomorrow from Mesquite, Nevada. It will all depend on if I can get Michael out the door early enough. Apparently, campsites fill up fairly fast, and I am hoping that because it is Mother’s Day tomorrow, most families will be at home spoiling their mother’s with breakfast in bed, etc. My idea of a wonderful way to spend the day now that my daughter is all grown up, is to go to Capital Reef National Park and bike and hike, and take photographs. I will keep my fingers crossed and go to bed early tonight. Now that Linda and Shaun are staying at our place in Borrego Springs, I can go to bed and not worry about those party animals keeping me up past my bedtime!:)

Callie had a restful day and then went on an hour bike ride with us when it got a little cooler in the late afternoon. It was still 86 degrees out when we biked, but there was a light breeze blowing and it felt good to be outside! Callie enjoyed herself and got a chin scratch and a belly rub for her bravery. It is still a little stressful for her when cars whiz by and I am always on the lookout for loose dogs that would try to charge the bike, but so far so good. 

Tonight while taking the trash out and getting ready for our exodus, I looked up at the CasaBlanca main building that is all lit up from above and saw hundreds of bats circling overhead in pursuit of insects. It was almost like there was a cloud of insects and the bats circled and swooped after an infinite amount of food. What an amazing scene unfurling from above and I doubt if many people even notice. I probably won’t have Internet service for awhile and thought it best to post as often as possible while I am able….