Category: Comments about Life, the Environment and more


Camping at another KOA in the rain.

I headed south towards I-40 driving briefly though Fayetteville as I wanted to camp at one of the State Parks. Forth Smith was the closest: not only was it SUPER WINDY it was isolated with no Wifi and other than the joy of being blown around if you didn’t have a boat there was not a lot going on. I decided the weather wasn’t right.  I don’t mind being inside my little camper with the dogs on an inclement day but I like to have somewhere to walk during breaks other than sink deep mud, stickers and burs. Soggy gunk automatically transfers into my van hoping for a free ride to California no matter how many paws get wiped. I drove in and out  of local towns, walking with the dogs when the rain and wind allowed. Wound up at a KOA. It was muddy but I managed a spot with some gravel, a view of the fields and masses of colorful birds. Couldn’t do the hiking trails with wading in calf-high mud but the KOA dog park worked out great and afforded a long conversation about “bad” breeders and some tragic tales with another breeder camper. (Please if you breed animals be responsible and if you don’t know what that means, get yourself some fixings for stuffed animals. You can smooch these together in any way you like; stay away from living creatures! Got it?)

This was one of those times when I parked “backwards.” My RV is not quite 20 feet so if the “camp” side (that’s the side with the picnic table where my double side doors open (parked correctly) means that there is not a nice view out the back doors/window, I turn around the other way. Don’t care how many campers watch with amusement as I vie for the right angle. With only one of me this sometimes means backing a little, then getting out to check, going forward, changing angle and doing it over until I’m satisfied.  My power cord is long enough to wrap around from the power side (the side with the RV connections) to reach the campsite power box and water supply.  If I want to use the septic I’ll turn around in the morning before I leave to drain the tanks.

Love waking to a great view and relaxing in the evening to the outer world. I leave my bed (which when retracted is a couch) all the way down or mostly down when traveling with the bed made up with sheets and blankets.  I have a 2″ foam pad  with a 2″ organic wool topper under me, this compresses but is very comfortable. Then a fitted sheet to keep these clean, covered with bed sheets and a blanket.  Over all of this is a fitted soft polyester sheet for keeping dog sand (and mud) out of bed.  If I know we’re going swimming or it’s pouring rain I have a waterproof dog blanket that I can throw on top.

Typically I buy gas at a Truck Stop, this is the truck side; there’s another side for cars and van’s like mine. The prices are always better than commercial gas stations, there is more space, proper windshield cleaning tools, useful amenities including food and showers, and one can rest without being disturbed. A few such at Pilot provide additional gas discounts with a Good Sam card. Alternatively Costco has good prices and other larger chain stores that offer gas stations. This Love’s Truck Stop was just past Oklahoma City. There were truck stops on all 4 corners, both sides of the highways and they were JAMMED PACKED WITH TRUCKS! Red ones, and pink ones, blue ones and silver ones, black ones and white, yellow and purple and on and on and on.

Oklahoma City was a mega shopping mall overlaid with Lego like freeway overpasses. Don’t most people buy things online?  Well, maybe not, what would they put in their pickup trucks?

 

Nice secure feeling, one can run for the restroom! And so many told me how they were afraid of CA earthquakes. Typical Rest Stop Tornado Shelter! Glad I didn’t have to test this.

 

I drove all the way through Oklahoma into the Texas Panhandle not stopping till I reached Amarillo. My plan to head south onto highway 9 and leisurely explore had instantly been replaced around 10 am. I was exploring Muskogge, OK, birth place of Carrie Underwood, most everything was closed so that’s when I decided to head south to 9 thinking I’d spend the night somewhere around the river or lake, maybe Lake Eufaula State Park , can’t always avoid “man-made” lakes or perhaps Fountainhead State Park, I tend to be curious and I-40 was too big a road for me.

I had known that hwy 9 just south of me was where the worst of the hail had hit, but that was days ago. It was on my mind. I pulled into the town of Checotah hoping for something open, maybe a coffee or late breakfast. I never got out of the van. The sky went from partially cloudy, a little drizzly to densely clouded, looked like it might flood which is what the posted signs said to watch out for. I pulled over and studied the map. I pulled open my weather app, turned on the radio. Those darn words, DANGEROUS weather conditions…  Oh Shit. That was happening here and hwy 9 was the place to avoid! Even as I sitting and checking on this the sky did something I’d never experienced before. It turned completely BLACK! 10 am and reminiscent of black velvet being spread out on the sky and tucked into the corners. AND IT WAS QUIET. I floored it. Go West Young Woman (hmm …   not so young woman) and Dogs, Go West. No wonder nothing was open. I was the Lone Ranger with the William Tell Overture  This RVgirl kicked her accelerator pedal and off she went. Yeah, the dogs gave me a nasty look when we didn’t get out and walk.

I beat the storm, but is wasn’t far behind me!

Have you any idea how fast such a sky can change and fill with dark clouds, rain and thunder. Can you see how the wind is blowing.

The wind pierces holes in this realm we inhabit as the cold bites inside minuscule channels of my skin.  will the world really hold together?

The reminder of my drive that day was as fast as I could go. Every-time I found sunlight it felt good, but it never lasted long. Along the highway wind turbines and cows.

“Wind power accounted for 12.68% of the electricity generated in Texas in the 12 months ending Oct 2016. …..   created over 24,000 jobs”

This Amarillo Visitor Center is permanently closed but the important stuff is etched on the door.

 

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Below the little dots in the middle of the page is what I wrote before, I’m gonna leave it. Today as I wake I’m tired and achy and still anxious. I don’t see how I’m going to go on this trip as things are going so slowly. I did get my new tires, finally!  There was so much confusion on the process, they arrived, they didn’t arrive, they arrive…  well maybe not. It seems Costco lost my tires (or they were swiped?) and so had to send a different set. I dragged my housemate up at a very early hour to have them mounted only to find out the tires were missing in action. Anyway they are on my RV now. Hope I like them; they do look nice.  Of course since I changed something in the delicate and queasy ability of my RV to track the road, that will be a fight again…<sigh>

The Door Panel: for now the tires are inflated with nitrogen exactly as stated.

The Door Panel: for now the tires are inflated with nitrogen exactly as stated. 55 Front, 80 rear.

Still waiting for that silly bit of lace to finish the curtain lining….  see below. Monday the RV goes to my mechanic, Bruce’s Auto, I hope he can do a lot, if not most of the things on my list as it’s beginning to look like other things just won’t get done. I’ve already shortened the length of my trip as well…..  ok, so I’m leaving it open. I SO WISH I could have found an affordable upgrade to my ride and “home” ..  I was dreaming of smooth power, ease of driving, a bathroom with a shower that is all contained, an awning, a quieter motor, a cooler interior, a vehicle that stays in its lane, a happier me, happier dogs….   not to be. Not without giving up too much of my funds and facing the unknown with approaching zero resources.

My phone updated to the new Marshmallow system….  it burns my fingers when I use it. Verizon jacked up my monthly bill by about $27 or so a month, all for the pleasure of rapid battery draining and burnt fingers. I have a grandfathered unlimited plan but Verizon still found a way to mess with those of us that have hung on to a bit less wallet draining or data limiting plan than they currently offer. I will have to tack on another $25 a month to be able to use it to post on the Internet as a hot spot while I travel and another $5 if I need to call out of country.  Ok, what else can I complain about. Ordered a new diamond cutting blade for my ring saw which I need to finish the fused glass dogs that I hope to take with me on this trip. I was cut by a flying piece of exploding glass in my glass class…  I’m fine but it was scary.   I’ve yet to have time or inclination to begin another CP (colored pencil) drawing, and I’m supposed to give one away to my breed club for the raffle…  that may not happen….  ergo the fused glass dogs as substitute.

And don’t even start with troubles with my beloved animal companions. I finally broke down and ordered a vibration e-collar…    Will post later on results and who I wind up taking with me.

I’ve been struggling to understand automobile bluetooth radios….  don’t like the one the audio shop offered to sell and install..  the buttons are so tiny I couldn’t use them even if they were close enough to use and the readout cannot be seen in daylight….   combine that with my burning cell phone and big bills and hopefully I’ll be able to talk hands free and listen to audiobooks, and internet music….  If it happens?  I also could use a new laptop but I can see I’ve reached that age where technology is moving faster than I can understand. Please send me a newer RV all nicely equipped and ready to go!!!

I think the lace may show up today. Will wash my hair and take the dogs out to  play, then back to work.

 

This is the Post I didn’t Get Posted
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Time is moving at a fast pace. From Halloween to the middle of January, time was marked with migraines with aura accompanied by heartbeats that would occur so fast, a days worth of them fit into a few hours leaving the remainder of the day floating in a strange region of distortion.  Now there is much to do, I’m pushing hard, like a race; sometimes exhilarated, other times fearful.

I’m shocked that’s it’s been 9 … 10 days… and the curtains are still lying neatly folded in the living room. After a search I re-found the video with the technique to attach the lining….  here it is:  RV Stuff – Keeping RV Cool in Summer Heat Project   Thank you Wander Dano for posting this! Of course I’d forgotten this video the day I scurried to Michaels for supplies. What a good camper I was carefully measuring the lining and testing the fabric glue; yep the solarizing material glues nicely to itself; however it does not glue to the curtains! Instead it soaks through the curtain material and leaves stains! Ok I got that off and attempted at random: straight pins, nope, makes big holes: riveting tool, I’ll just say no: safety pins … hummmm  just couldn’t get those lined up right with the pleats, hole punch to put something in the liner to hang it… no, no. no. . I came up with all kinds of ideas using ribbon, duck tape, velcro, taking the mess up to Lee’s for her to do the sewing….    I’m terrible at sewing. I’m sure I could learn but I’ve reached saturation, at least for the moment.   Many many thanks to Jacqueline for your insight and great ideas, you were right on btw! 

Failed attempt to get the lining on. Now waiting for the binding lace.

Failed attempt to get the lining on. Now waiting for the binding lace.

After rewatching the video I ordered 1.5 inch lace which I will glue onto the lining and then hang it into the curtain hooks and train the pleats (just like the video says) with paperclips and clothespins. Tried to pick up this simple item in Santa Barbara, but there are no functioning fabric stores remaining in our city. I went to Art From Scrap and found some fun tiny little containers which I will use for my K9 Nose Work students as soon as they are ready for the  challenge. Meanwhile I was hit with an outbreak of Thoracic Outlet pain (I’m not fooled by that anymore…  it’s not a heart attack stealing sharp angry from my chest and mid back down into my fingers which paralyze… days earlier it was my foot feeling like it was broken at the instep, then up into my ankle. I don’t know what’s wrong with my body, I’m used to it so I ignore it as much as possible. Intense pain occurs randomly to my shoulders, thoracic vertebrae, ribs, hips, knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, feet….  so it’s not everywhere…  oh and my eyes and ears and breathing. It’s background, like visual snow which I also am plagued with, body static. I do get very scared at times. I miss the ones who are gone that I loved…  some dead, some alive but gone. I not only found great joy in knowing them, but I relied on them. I meet women that tell me how brave I am…  let me tell you I am in no way brave…  stubborn, yes, brave… ha! Brave means you have to put on a tough face and take it….  I’m not capable of that. I type complaints to my new besty and to my amazement she graciously types back encouragements and never reproach or the adamation  to be brave.  If you find yourself suffering don’t fall for that nonsense.  Do something about it. My rule is to do 3 things to help myself feel better at any given time. If it doesn’t work it’s off the list and find something else to try. By experimentation I’ve found things that might help, it isn’t necessarily the obvious. Then I ignore it, sorta. I’m not going into details, you wouldn’t want to know.  As my mother will say about me, “I’m glad I’m not you.,” and my favorite, “I don’t’ have any suggestions for you.”  I don’t mind being me though, actually it’s perfect and although I suffer I’m happy being me.

Darn that silly sewing lace is not here yet. Wed morning brand new tires at Costco! They say it will take 2 hours to install them and since my vehicle is big I need to be there very early, radio next, then my mechanic.

I’m very tired, have been waking about 6 am but there’s so much to do. …  tomorrow will work on the fused glass dogs I’m making and get them into the kiln at glass class.

Something to sing next time you’re on a mountain herding Livestock!
Vallåtar från gammelboning (Swedish kulning)

I know why this section of HWY 395 is scant of vehicles and human trespassers; there’s no fast food chains, supermarkets, tourist shops, no big billboards announcing what’s coming up, no cordoned off areas, only forests, mountains, lakes and open land with farm houses and barns, long empty roads with an occasional big truck or a group of loggers, a few fancy cars, occasional motorcycles, truck campers turning on little side roads begging to be explored. Gas up before you start and again when you hit a town, its steep and winding with frequent climbs and descents. You’ll pass Abert Rim one of the highest fault scarps in the US, basalt lava formation from the Miocene Period (millions of years ago,) as the road moves you across seasonal snowy peaks to alkaline desert scrub.

Traveling south wondering if this might be another dimension, I thought of Hwy 97 through Bend, I-5 and the 101, then I sighed in awe.  Since I’d never been this way and with no planning to go this way I had no idea that I’d find a beauty road. Trouble plagued this land reshaping it’s climate and available water, as much of the west, as all of our globe, I loved it more for this.

A troubled pine.

A troubled pine.

Passing the outskirts of Pendleton and McKay Creek National Wildlife Refuge my adventure began. Some of what I was to see would be Native American land, some Forest Service land, and some private ranches. Spring is ideal for this drive except for those seeking isolated winter wilderness. Scanning the Internet for info about this stretch of 395, there’s isn’t a lot in its favor and that’s fine, because it lays without makeup or glitz. This is not a road to travel fast, it’s a soul healing road, with its own voice which if you get out of your vehicle and touch the earth, feel its texture, breathe it’s wind and air, immerse yourself in its particles of light you’ll see it change and may even hear it speak to you. I took some shots, I almost didn’t as it’s not possible to capture the ethereal in a quick pass by point and click.

The first bastion of mountain with its covering of trees surprised me, I wasn’t expecting it thinking I’d left the pines behind me. Battle Mountain Forest State Park imparted lush coolness of pondersosa, larch, douglas fir and spruce.

Trees DSC00564

If I had any doubt this drive was the right way to go ahead was Ukiah-Dale Forest Scenic Corridor. How could such a name exist! Yet it was so, another crawl up a mountain alongside the John Day River and Camas Creek on the North Fork. Dale Glaser’s home was just outside of Ukiah and Forrest Lewis lived in North Fork. Forrest once met Dale, I’d introduced them in North Fork and we’d gone for a hike in the wilderness near Yosemite, Dale was 62 on that day, telling me he’d never felt better or stronger, I was hobbling with joint troubles and Forrest was still weak from his illness, we were laughing and happy; it was a precious time, the three of us together, helping each other to climb a rock dome. Somewhere nearby there must be a Jolyon town.

Oregon 395 continues to rise, twist and drop over and over through ponderosa pines, douglas fir, western larch. Along the river are songbirds, deer, elk, fun little roads pointing to lakes and campgrounds, unless I take the roads I cannot know how low the lakes may be but I am aware that everywhere I have traveled is in a semi-state of shock. In-between the gatherings of pines are open vistas of scrub and grasslands, ranches for cattle, old barns weathered and picturesque, stunning ranch complexes and a few little towns and a bigger ones on the cross highways with traffic traveling east to west. I know nothing but what I see as I pass of this area, its history and current status. Perhaps there are vineyards here, guest ranches and groups of visitors on tour, certainly in the forest there is camping, fishing, hiking, horses and winter snow play.

DSC00566

 

DSC00569

Passed several of these alkaline lakes in semi-arid landscapes.

Lake Abert stunned me, it was shock still. I wondered if it was real. I’d passed a smaller alkali lake that looked like it’d turned to quicksand. An alkali lake has high alkali content and high salinity, fish cannot live there but brine shrimp normally can. The brine shrimp attract birds; this area is also on the Pacific Flyway and so should be teaming with life. The surrounding is bluebunch wheatgrass, cheatgrass and big sagebrush.

Lake Abert

Lake Abert

 

Lake Abert

Lake Abert

Lake Abert

Lake Abert

 

Lake Abert

Lake Abert

I don’t know why this lake called to me, there is something still radiant here; the lake is not suitable for swimming or extended contact but in its current state I think it may be dying.
DSC00597

Oregon’s only saltwater lake is disappearing, and scientists don’t know why

 The uncertain future of Lake Abert

 

Next post I will cover more of this road. California is close.

 

View from my camping spot.

View from my camping spot. Umatilla, OR

I’d parked, not where the camp host had suggested, in the back with the nice grassy area and shade tree but right on front of the small cliff overlooking the harbor on a pad of white rock, these sites were around $20 – $25 for power, water, wi-fi, bath/shower…  lots of hot water.

Walked the waterfront, grass, trees, beaches for swimming, little harbor, lots of happy dogs, made dinner then noticed that I hadn’t talked to any campers and I wondered why. I was keeping to myself, so I walked over to my neighbors asking if I could pet their Keeshonds.  Serendipity? They’d camped at Black  Island same as me…  we talked about the campground, the strange rain and how nice and quiet it’d been. They’d taken the sunset cruise and spent a bit longer than I had.  Their rig had crept upwards in size of their RV to over 30 feet to accommodate their dogs. I can understand the wish to get bigger; but all I want is better insulation to keep my dogs comfortable, my own useable shower and solar for extended boondocking, I’m happy in my little space.

They lived in the Dalles and loved it! I was envious.

We couldn’t have a conversation without talking about water. They  begged me to move out of Southern California, I wasn’t crazy was I! Anything would be more affordable, but I don’t think it will be possible to escape impact of our changing climate. I read this morning how Canada is worried about water.

This year, the Rocky Mountain snowpacks, which usually melt slowly, releasing water well into the summer, have had “a dramatic decline.” This past winter, those snowpacks were as low as 25 per cent of normal measurements, and they vanished quickly in the spring.

“All our stations are free of snow now, which is the earliest we’ve seen it,” Dr. Pomeroy said. “Not only was the maximum of snow water available quite low, but the snow melted much earlier – about a month to a month and a half earlier than what we would expect.”

He said the conditions are “eerily like” what he has projected will occur if a global warming of two degrees occurs, which climate-change scenarios consider likely.

“The relatively warm winter and spring in B.C. and Alberta this year has shown … what a future winter will look like,” Dr. Pomeroy said.

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/signs-of-drought-appear-to-be-in-western-canada-for-the-long-term/article24954511/)

Yeah!  Friendly and Thoughtful!

Friendly and Thoughtful! Thank you Oregon.

With an unstable climate there will be lots of surprises, the process of our planet are interlinked, our food bill will keep rising, troulbe will be the norm. Drought also means a lower snow pack, greater avalanche risk, an increased fire season, hungry wildlife, stressed and dying vegetation, more heat, less fog, shrinking waterways and increased susceptibility to flash floods.

 

Pendleton, OR

Pendleton, OR From 1868. Lots more to do here than I took time for.

Resisting the urge to go West I headed South and visited Pendleton.  I missed the factory tour by 15 min, darn. Wasn’t going to wait for the next one. Items in the store were expensive, even the sale items.

Pendleton Woolen Milll

 

Colorful ...  in the Sale Room.

Colorful … in the Sale Room.

Pendleton, Oregon

Taking a walk

Taking a walk in Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Sandpoint Waterfront Park

Sandpoint Waterfront Park

I spent a day in Sandpoint Idaho on the glacial Lake Pend Oreille, parking for the night at Bonner County Fairgrounds. It was a busy weekend but tons of room. Can’t help but compare to our Fairgounds  here in SB, we have top-rate facilities yet the attitude is harsh, last I was there I was chewed out in a very nasty way for training my dogs. In Sandpoint I found a welcome. Turned out the hosts relocated from Southern California, they informed me there were growing numbers of transplants, seeking a kinder, gentler, safer  but fun and enriching home town. In that vein I have a complaint about Sandpoint and that is that their downtown water area is closed to dogs, they don’t even offer a few early morning hours or off season times, nada, for folks to go for a nice jog with their pet. Yet over by the fence where there was an RV Park  I saw dog droppings no one had picked up in a long time. One of my highlights in SB is taking the dogs to Shoreline Park or the Harbor, so for this SB shines and it’s clean.

 

Sandpoint

Sandpoint

I’ve come to judge a town’s friendliness by their dog polices and RV parking. I’m well aware there are people that allow their pets to be out of control, dirty, noisy and destructive! I can only wonder what their kids are like.

The Bridge at Sandpoint, Idaho Waterfront

The Bridge at Sandpoint, Idaho Waterfront Park

Sandpoint is full of layers and walkways and interesting sounds. Reminded me of the game MYST.

Sandpoint is full of layers and walkways and interesting sounds. Reminded me of the game MYST.

Banning pets does not solve the problem. I propose a certificate for traveling pets desiring access to restricted locations, the humans and their pets would need to pass a rigorous test of skills and manners. Obtaining the certificate would not be easy and would entail insurance coverage for any potential damages, health certificates and appropriate behaviors. Maybe it’s a bit extreme but if you thereby wanted to take your dog hiking, or to a resort, or out to lunch or for a walk in a lovely park there would be a means of earning the right to visit. Offenders would be subject to fines and having their permissions revoked. Might this motivate thousands of travelers to better train their dogs and to be better citizens to earn the right of access to such locations? I’m putting it out there for cities and towns to consider. Open the doors to travelers (and residents) with pets and reward good behavior rather than treating them all as if they’re antisocial and while you’re at it start handing out toxic substance littering tickets to smokers tossing their butts on the ground and the lazy who cannot seem to put their waste into an appropriate container. At campgrounds how about fines for incessant shouting and screaming, outdoor entertainment systems, smoking campfires, blaring lights, trampling vegetation and stuff like that and yes, dogs out of control or tied up and destitute and people leaving poop piles, yep people …  I’ve never yet seen a dog pick up after itself! How about training your dog to use a doggy bathroom area, they don’t have to pee and poop on everything in sight, chase wildlife, be aggressive or out of control,  ….  who made that up? Isn’t it time to bring back manners, accountability and stewardship in place of the growing lists of menacing No Signs which have no effect on offenders or dogs! Folks, dogs don’t read, so stop blaming them! The type of people that allow their pets to be obnoxious are that way themselves. Leave a place better than you found it, all of you OK!  Well, I said this was a rant.

Downtown Sandpoint early in the morning.

Downtown Sandpoint early in the morning.

More layers of Sandpoint

More layers of Sandpoint

 

I spent the next night at Blackwell Island RV Park on the Spokane River in Coeur d’alene, where it junctions the lake; $42 with discount.  I don’t generally stay at one of these large RV Parks, but occasionally when I’m tired and finding something more primitive is too much work or too long a drive, I opt for them.  My spot was on the end, so tons of room and very quiet, no campfires, no noise with a partial view of the river.

Plenty of room here.

Plenty of room here. Blackwell Island RV Park

I spent more time there than I’d intended to as I was tired and didn’t feel like doing anything other than walk along the beach and trails. It went from sunny and warm to dropping huge soft pieces of rain, big clumps of rain, as if it’s wasn’t water but some other substance falling from the sky, this right after I asked the Park staff if there was any rain in the forecast and I was reassured that there would be none. Then there was some booming thunder followed by a more normal rain and then back to no rain. It was a nice park with a beach including a dog beach but the dog beach wasn’t separated from the non-dog beach so not sure how this was supposed to work.

 

The dog beach.

The dog beach.

Walking on the Pier from the beach at Blackwell RV Park

Walking on the Pier from the beach at Blackwell RV Park

The dog play area wouldn’t allow any play for the majority of dogs as it was nothing more than an unappealing gravel pen, sharp on feet and likely very hot when the sun comes out; getting there not so good either with stray weeds and stickers for your dog’s coat. I didn’t go into town until the next day.

I wouldn't want my dogs using this so was not surprised I didn't see any other dogs using it.

I wouldn’t want my dogs using this so was not surprised I didn’t see any other dogs using it.

This book would be useful to have. Nice that the Park had a copy.

This book would be useful to have. Nice that the Park had a copy.

I have so much to say. But this will be a little at a time. For those keeping track and wondering, today I’m near Radium Hot Springs in British Columbia camped by a rushing and noisy brook. It’s cloudy but sunny, maybe it will rain, I’m not sure. Rain happens frequently and suddenly here  in Canada unlike in Southern California where it’s a get out and dance celebration.

Here’s photo of where I was several days ago… there are many more, I will post them in time.

Lake Moraine in May, sill frozen.

Lake Moraine in May, sill frozen.

I have seen great beauty and experienced pain and sorrows. This trip, after-all is not about renewal; laughing and singing, but must be about introspection, contemplation, endurance and worry. Things go wrong, I am well aware of this, it’s never expected.

More later, and I promise gorgeous photos.

Turns out the LT needed a new part, this time it was the fan clutch, so the reason it would heat up and turn the air conditioner off was because the cooling fan wasn’t going on when headed uphill…. okay, sigh… so I had Bruce also check out the back side window which only worked a few times before quitting. Same problem as last time, the gear is stripped. Now how did this happen, supposedly this occurs do to brute force.. the only ones who messed with the window were the guys at Quality RV, were they overzealous in their efforts to make it work? Or is this more of that infamous quip of mechanics everywhere…. COINCIDENCE! Rather than pay Bruce again to fix what he’s already fixed I will try the repair myself.

Quality RV did not call or respond this week, so I will try to figure out what happened to the frig on my own. Will see how far I get.  Am suspicious that their prognosis of “coincidence” was actually caused by something…. Hmm… What a novel idea!

Brakes have gone squirrely and that annoying road jiggle is back so next week– tire/brake place, Dal Pozzo’s for a checkup including a check on the front end steering stabilizer. It is rusty but that doesn’t necessarily mean the spring is not tight…. will see. If it needs replacement this time I will locate a good part, something of quality and then have the shop install.

You can see not the best week but the shocker came with my darling Olympia’s pregnancy. I was so happy taking her in to my local vet, Dr. Mobraaten. Sally was late, I think I know now who the dog is that had the emergency that delayed her… hoping and wishing for her health. Sally tried and tried with the ultrasound…. all of us going from cheery to scrunched. No puppies! am not going into details here because I’m furious at Warner Pet Clinic and I don’t want to hear how this is COINCIDENCE! I spent a fortune there and they have not even returned my call. Going to the Warner Pet Center was an unpleasant ordeal but I preserved. Ugh, later when I’m more centered I’d write a review of my experiences. Don’t like how now so many of my acquaintances who’s used Warner for repo have had no puppies on the first try…. what, you say, coincidence? Sally wants to do a recheck on Aug 1st… she’s suspicious, maybe, could be, possibility … one pup hiding in my girl. I’ll keep an open mind. So re-breeding then in Feb. Scrapped all my fall and winter plans… scrapped all my plans for Spring and summer of 2014 in a few short moments. I took to eating. Stress eating and now my eyes are threatening with their migraine like thing they do. I’m so tired, it’s not the 5K or making all the phone calls to breeders, puppy buyers, friends, it’s the empty rush. It’s the stuff in the back yard waiting to be made into a whelping box, a puppy play area, it’s the adventures we were slated to embark upon… all the dog shows we would travel to, the freedom of the road with my 3 pups, everything falling into place… a good life, fun.

Fine, I shouldn’t be stressed, I need a home. Am supposed to take all the constant losses with a smile. I don’t like empty. I don’t rootless.

I’ll leave you with some photos I took at Avila Beach in SLO, the Diablo Power Plant sitting there so innocently. I almost stayed the night up on the hill. It’s funny they flattened it on top… I thought back to 1978 and being there with Alan Salyes the night before the Protest, wanting to have Patrick there, but he wouldn’t come, sleeping on that hillside, rolling down in our sleeping bags: Here’s a bit I wrote about those times:

Without Patrick I continued south on Hwy 1 towards Avila Beach. Sans sleep the low-lying fog caused time to be like a dream. Out my rear view mirror Roadrunner, my favorite cartoon character came racing up the yellow divider. In his left hand was a gigantic red stop sign. He planted himself a few hundred feet in front of my car thrusting his right hand in front of my windshield causing me to slam the brakes from 65 mph to nearly a dead stop before I realized that Roadrunner was not only not there, but that he could not possibly be there since he wasn’t allowed out in the three-dimensional world. Next was Bugs Bunny chewing on a giant carrot. I drove right through him. I was hoping for another but it was quiet after that.

I bundled into my bag and joined my affinity group imitating sleep on the hillside. It was the funniest night, we’d doze then wake having rolled down the hill, shuffle-walk without getting out of our bags back up a bit, rearrange at a new angle, doze and roll down again and wake again which went on until Alan appeared; this is when I learned he’d joined my affinity group. We whisper-chattered about non-violence, social responsibility, the innate ability of people to choose best actions. At 4 am we laid out a spread of stone ground peanut butter, apples and carrots with seeded honey bread but we didn’t eat, we were too excited. The ability to care was in the grasp of the people, we said to each other, if they could act in the face of a wrong and take responsibility, mutuality would prove stronger than greed; the masses were shrouded in ignorance and apathy; big business conned media, powerful lobbyist clouded the peril of nuclear dangers, we didn’t need exponential population growth. We clicked, lusting for action, agreeing with each other excited to be there and to be together.

Avail Beach in 2013 … on the pier

The Avila Beach Pier... looking out.

The Avila Beach Pier… looking out.

The Avila Beach Pier

The Avila Beach Pier, SLO

 Avila Beach Pier

Avila Beach Pier just missed the fish market: closed for the day

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Peteris Vasks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQBLCeg5UtM&list=PLA8A96A765F963259

Traveling with dogs can be a blast, they have a great time, they’re wonderful sentries and companions, fun loving, eager, joyful…. but it’s hard on the human. For the first time ever I didn’t stop at Harbin Hot Springs or Sierraville or any of the hotsprings that I love. A few days soaking would have been bliss. No dogs is the standard policy. No dogs may be left in one’s vehicle, no dogs unattended, no dogs on trails, no dogs in parks, no dogs in buildings, no dogs…… No on-location (safe and clean) kenneling, dog sitting, pet area, etc, etc, is offered and to make it worse dog napping is on the rise. California used to be a friendly place. I remember friendly dogs at Harbin, cute mutts on hiking trails, well behaved dogs in stores sheltered from heat exhaustion welcomed with a pat and a biscuit. Having once been a public sector servant I know that these policies are passed to provide the same requirement to all. They can’t say, no bad dogs, they can’t ask for self-enforcement of common courtesy instead they levy fines, restrictions, they mar the scenery with dozens of sings that must be paid for and maintained. Nature must be pristine, sculpted and controlled, unchanging so everyone gets to see the same thing.

It’s doubtful all this regulation will curtail the flippancy of non-caring humans, and even though dogs can read simple signs and words most don’t know how. The non-caring, non-stewarding human doesn’t give a holler about the results of their passage. Where’s the sign that says, no cigarette butts on this trail, you will be fined $100 for each butt, DNA testing enforced. How about no radios and TVs at campgrounds? No smoke plume campfires? No yelling and screaming, no cigar toking, no trash and plastic left in the fire pit, no revving super-sized trucks with all the lights blazing especially at 3 am, no unsupervised kids pawing everything in sight, no gunshots, no human waste piles, trash piles…. you get the idea. Most folks and their dogs are great. Isn’t it time we collectively ask the troublemakers to get with program and respect the land! Aren’t you tired of all the trash, violence, pillage and disregard for one another and for our environs? What happened to the Litter Bug, kindness towards strangers and leave a place better than you found it? Why pick on dogs, especially weary travelers, visitors and tourists with dogs? It’s time to be respectful, teach your dog good manners, teach each other and have them yourself or soon the next sign I expect to see is NO HUMANS.

My phone provides pleasure, especially via Tunein Pro radio, right now I’m listening to Folk Alley via my little pop up black portable speakers–I-Home–I think they are. Other favs, Sleepbot Environmental, Silent.li Nature Sounds, Misterium, Niryana Relaxation Radio, KCBX Public Radio, WKSU Classical, All Classical Portland. Most of these are for sleeping to kill the annoying wine in my bad ear, but they are for pleasure as well.

 My parking spot in the rain at Konocti Vista Casino, first night in Lake County

My parking spot in the rain at Konocti Vista Casino, first night in Lake County

Taking a walk around the Casino

Taking a walk around the Casino

My Note’s GPS is far better at finding and laying a trail via car or walking than my Garmin. My newish Garmin is a confused and wayward creature, I don’t recommend it although I loved my original one. The Note provides overview maps and specialty info. My e-mail is delivered as received, same for Facebook. I can watch movies, read a book, tell the time, count the stars or at least know what I’m seeing up there in the night. I can keep in touch, video and photograph what I see, draw a picture or pen a note. I can record fantastic bird and nature sounds. My Note will talk to me if I ask it to, it will sing to me in my own voice from one of the moments when no one was listening but my Note. Remember when one needed a daypack for all their stuff? All I need is my Note, a water bottle, a hat and my dogs. Oh and my wallet, which brings me back to the story of losing my wallet. How many of you have experienced precognition? If you have an explanation I want to know.

Comes cordis Olympia of Flying Curls Lagotto Romagnolo at the dog park

Comes cordis Olympia of Flying Curls Lagotto Romagnolo at the dog park


Flying Curls Mason at the dog park

Flying Curls Mason at the dog park

I had returned to a favored spot, the dog park at the Kelseyville County Park. Now this involves a pet peeve of mine; its women’s jeans pockets. Men’s pants have nice roomy pockets, front and back. Women’s have itsy-bitsy teeny weenie pockets, some pockets are even fake, oh how I hate those! How many road savvy, feet hiking, dog toting, camping, fixing, picture-taking, RV driving where other RVs don’t dare to go, women, have the space to carry a purse or need to with a nifty Note? So what’s wrong with pockets? One for the phone, one for the wallet, one for dog treats, one for pooper bags and I’m good to go. Why must they be so shallow?

I thought of leaving my wallet, it’s one of those Eagle Creek things, lot’s of stuff can go in there, I actually have a sort of purse, a green sling bag from Magellan’s Travel Supplies in which I keep my checkbook, camp cards and a few other things; my wallet and phone will fit in there if needed and I don’t want my too small pockets bulging…. ah hum… leaving my wallet in the LT was a good idea, I was thinking, but being the don’t trust anyone sort, my head plays the scene… while I’m off having fun, someone breaks into the LT, maybe they take my wallet, or maybe they take the van …. better have my phone, my dogs, my wallet and a jacket just in case. I was a Girl Scout, a leader of my troop and learned to Be Prepared. I’m skilled at worrying. My Mother taught me to think ahead. I doubt she ever thought I’d get it. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, I’m excellent at listening. I listen to what others don’t say out loud, I listen to the animals, to the wind, to the sound my feet make, to the dogs breathing, to the sound the stars make and more.

So, there I was in Lake County on a too tired day not understanding why an environment of such astounding beauty should be inhabited by communities of drugged out, smoking, beer drinking, trash heaping, badly groomed, overly poor, burned out humans. I’m gonna say beauty is learned thing. No I’ll change that, beauty is natural, but the senses can be so degraded that humans lose touch and start living in a collective illusion, often an ugly one.

My private world of water and birds at the lake, Lake County, CA

My private world of water and birds at the lake, Lake County, CA

So I had the feeling, actually a premonition, maybe you could call it a vision, that I would actually lose my wallet that day. I don’t pay too much attention to these things being a skeptic. I was considering what a silly idea losing my wallet was; I could leave it stashed in the LT but since I planned to do some meandering I decided my premonition was nothing more than a reflex from the panic of the last week; I’d be extra careful. After playing with the dogs I was tired headed to Clearlake State Park to spend the night, having earlier that day rejected a half-dozen so called RV Park/Resorts in Kelseyville and Lakeport that were run down Trailer Parks of the kind that we used say were trash camps, the one or two that looked nice were private, none seemed to have any offerings for an overnight guest in defiance of their welcoming signs. So, I rolled up to the State Park kiosk, surprised that this time there was a human in the booth rather than a note saying one should self-register, I’d been here the day I arrived but had gone to the Casino for their Internet access and plug-in power.

I tired to pay my entrance fee. No wallet! No panic either, this time I knew I’d lost it, I’d known I was going to after all. I pushed the LT over the rough roads, bump and grind ignoring the dogs look of pained “do you have to do that, Mom” look, as fast as I could. The young pole fishing couple in their blue 4×4 waved me over just as I arrived at the dog park, they were about to disappear. “We were gonna mail this to you,” he said. A few more moments they would have been gone.

Camping at Clearlake State Park added to my study of the uncommonly seen species, the human male fisherman. At the State Park they come out into the open and are to be found everywhere! They are a noisy bunch but seem to be having a lot of fun. I walked all the paved roads from top to bottom, some 3 or 4 times as dogs are not allowed on the trails. On the upper roads, which had been barricaded from traffic I was completely alone save for my dogs, no fishermen, no campers, only me and the dogs. It was gorgeous. I found my favorite spot up there but it was closed for the winter.

I’d began my observation of the Human Male Fisher the previous night at Clearlake RV Resort; the first hour at the resort I spent raking dog poop and cigarette butts from the camp site I choose; my dogs were embarrassed, they hid under the LT until I’d cleaned the mess. I felt sorry an Australian Shepard mix tied outside a weathered trailer, never saw his owner, the dog was waiting until I went to sleep and tied up outside in the morning, don’t know if the piles were his but he had a sad lonely bark. I suspect I was the only “visitor” in the Resort; the others appeared to be semi-permanent. Only one resident was brave enough to check out the newcomer (me) other than one of the wilder young girls who asked a lot of questions. The man brought his dog, a cute but vicious little chihuahua over to poop while he tried to engage me in conversation. He was smoking and trying real hard to explain about his retirement and moving to Clearlake, I was polite but cold. I cleaned up his dog’s gifts after he left.

I loved my spot on the lip of the lake with no view of the campers far behind me. I laid out a nice clean big mat for the dogs and a few smaller ones to collect mud. We had a private paradise to ourselves. I left dogs off leash, Olympia played in the water, Mason and I watched the birds. I relaxed tossing the ball to Olympia, sitting in my green chair over a good dinner on Mom’s little nautical folding table. I felt like I was in a Disney Nature World, but it was real! Mergansers, plovers, mallards, greebe, coots, osprey: the feeding in turns… what expert fishers the birds are! The four guardian geese. The rituals, the crickets, squirrels, pond turtles, the bullfrogs, turkey vultures and hawks, the wind… it was rapture. The Resort was not so great, the wi-fi didn’t work, the shower took quarters so I didn’t bother, the store was closed, the pool and hot tub chained linked closed. I paid way too much to be doing my own cleaning but my spot had to be singularly the most vibrantly elegant bit of lakefront that I’ve experienced. I dreamed of having a place like that. I drew a picture, read my book, cooked a great meal, I was happy.

To my horror in the morning I made my first sighting of the human male fisher, they often came in pairs, in boats, looking very serious in special costumes and talkative among themselves at an hour long after the fish have retreated; what’s alarming is that they hunted for fish in the dirtiest part of the lake made even dirtier by the inhabitants of the resort… and I put all the blame on the humans here not the dogs. I dreaded what would happen if they caught a fish and took it to their wives for dinner…. mercury in the lake too. . . sick kids, sick mom and dad.

Keeping Guard over us

Keeping Guard over us

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Clearlake 077

I think Clearlake needs to be repurposed as a naturalist habitat. I love all the organic farms. . .pears, peaches, apples, walnuts, grapes, herbs and figs, melons, berries, olives, pomegranates, lamas, flowers, free range pheasants, chickens, goats, wild turkeys, etc. but not the failure of the fishing economy and the collapse of tourism. The Lake is troubled, contaminated but she’s ancient and beautiful. It would be terrible to turn the borders into another Lake Tahoe where you have to pay for a view and the traffic is thicker than frozen butter. So if I won the lottery…. well who knows. Bed time now.
Clearlake

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