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

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.

A Full Day of Travel

Yesterday morning we headed to Las Vegas. We packed up the RV with big raindrops plopping down hard on the roof and the thirsty ground, as gusts of wind billowed the clouds up above. The scent of creosote suddenly filled the air and there was a sense of delight and relief in the desert. The plants and animals that call Anza-Borrego Desert State Park their home were parched from the dry spell. It was the longest-running dry spell in California since records have been kept. Rain in the desert is a relief, whereas mudslides in Montecito after the Thomas Fire, were a tragedy.

As soon as the RV starts up, Callie jumps onto the dash to be a dash-cam cat and we are good to go. It was a full day of travel with clouds forming and blowing into mist and snow falling on the mountains. To see the mountains dusted with snow was a welcoming sight. The sunset was really dramatic as we wearily pulled into Vegas, and Callie was tired from keeping her post on the dash for 7 hours. We had one detour at Route 66 that slowed our progress down, but we finally made it as the sun was setting in shades of purple and a flash of deep gold, orange, and burgundy.

We are staying at the Oasis RV Park and it is an assembly line of big rigs and gigantic RV’s. Twinkling lights were wrapped around the palm trees in the entranceway and everything was orderly and well executed. We are staying for 3 nights and our daughter Lara will be joining us as we head toward Mesquite and possibly Zion, weather permitting.*

* with the government shutdown, we may have to come up with an alternative plan…

Lights out for Callie!

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest state park in Nevada, USA and is located only 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. It was a perfect getaway for Callie and my family while staying in Las Vegas and a much needed reprieve from the crush of humanity that the city endures during the New Year’s celebration. Over 2 million people descend on Vegas for this holiday and after a couple of days of city life, I needed to take a break. Valley of Fire is home to brilliant natural formations of eroded sandstone and sand dunes that are more than 150 million years old. The bright red hues of burnt sienna, raw umber and golden yellow ochre, paint the landscape with an artistic and colorful pallet, and when the suns rays strike them a certain way, the rocks and sand dunes appear to be lit with fire. Nature photography is at its best after a storm has washed the sky and nourished the ground and this day did not disappoint me. We drove over to Lake Mead when we first arrived and traipsed through semi dry but sticky mud to get to a cliff overlooking the lake. The clouds were dramatically back lit and reflected perfectly on the calm water, and it was crisp and cool after torrential rains from the day before. There was evidence of flash flooding everywhere and I was thankful we arrived when the storm had fizzled out because it must have been one powerful weather front! The sun came out in the early afternoon which provided ample sunshine for a picnic at Seven Sisters. After we ate we hiked along the Mouse Tank Trail to witness the beautiful petrogliphics that adorn the cliff walls. It was a breathtakingly beautiful day perfectly designed for dramatic and soulful photography. We spotted a group of female bighorn sheep with one yearling lamb quietly grazing along the roadside and ended the day at Arch Rock. I felt refreshed and energized after an afternoon spent outdoors and was ready to head back to Vegas to finish out 2016. Callie loved hiking around Seven Sisters and sitting on the picnic table for lunch. She needed to get away and enjoy the great outdoors and nature too. The next day when we decided to go out for breakfast she dashed under the bed to hide, which is her way of saying she wants to spend the day napping. We granted Callie her wish and let her stay hidden under the bed. We weren’t really going to ask her to join us for breakfast in the first place, and let her think she was getting her way, which pleases her to no end. If you go back to the hotel room after leaving for 10 minutes, you will find her spread out on top of the bed in a blissful state of sleep. She always lifts her head up in disbelief that you are back so soon,  blinking in a sleep filled daze and appears consumed with guilt. It is a win-win for all involved. We get to have a quiet breakfast without her and she gets to spend the day in a lazy blur of sleep, thinking she got away with murder.