Category: On The Road


 

Busy Reststop in the Washington Cascades. Look at all those big Class A’s! So roomy compared to my little camper.

It was so hot…  in the mid 90s!  I put up all my sunblocker curtains and was running the air-conditioner as low as it would go. You need to do that and leave it running as the window type air conditioner will otherwise at best only lower the temp by 10 degrees.  If you work at it can do better, maybe 12 to 15 degrees. The volunteers at the Park told me it was fine to take the dogs for a swim which I did! The water was perfect, the walk was perfect. Was a great stay here.  This was the quiet peaceful part of the park, down below closer to the water were groups and families. The volunteers warned me about a snake that liked to hang out on the other side of the fire pit where my dogs were playing catch but none of us ever saw it. We (I, the human) checked carefully esp in the morning. Saw plenty of bunnies!

After our swim. They were making faces as they still wanted to PLAY and chase chase chase the tennis balls.

Approaching Spokane

Driving through Spokane. A rather confusing and spread out city with differing sections.  A newer fun looking downtown and older run down sections, very evident of homelessness and a sense of loss yet also has organic foods (I took the opportunity to restock my frig.) Trendy in parts with parks, bike paths, bridges and big box stores, a nearby State Park along the river which I’m sure must have been jammed.  Lots of traffic.  Would this city, or near this city be livable? I’ve driven through before but have never stayed long enough to explore it. Is there a City Plan or does it sprout ideas in increments?

I love my friend’s garages! Winter snow and summer grass takes lots of labor to maintain.

A sweet night at Jane and Pat’s home in Loon Lake Washington. I felt very welcomed and very much enjoyed my visit. The dogs did too, our apologies to the resident cats.  Mason was quite afraid of the fiery little black one!

I fit right in! 🙂 I listened in awe to amazing tales of adventure and perseverance that my friends told about their travels ( major challenges) in their big RV! Wow! They have a trailer too.

Jane and Pat treated me to breakfast at their regular Saturday hangout. Hmmm… maybe I will remember the little town and name of the popular Cowboy restaurant where they know your order and my host and hostess have been known to get up and help serve coffee and food. Maybe it was Pauline’s Place in Deer Park? Lots of gravy and biscuits, chicken fried steak. . . “comfort food.”

Very touched by the hospitality being shown to me and my dogs. Jane is a new quilter, loved her work, wish I had a picture to show. Maybe she will enter a piece for the quilt show in Santa Barbara since she is from here? Very impressed with Pat’s hand designed and created greenhouse he’s crafting. He showed me the machine that will form and shape the plastic sheets into arch pieces that will create the greenhouse and of course he built the machine as well! So incredible! Lots of snow in Loon Lake and lots of summer sun and lots of trees!

More Great People

Coffee and light breakfast off the I-90 heading East

Granite Falls was as far north as I traveled. The Olympic Peninsula is a favored locale but I sought the not so much known way, heading for the I-90. Before the turn east I stopped to visit another Lagotto friend, Jan Danielson. I had not met her in person nor her dogs.  She’s planted truffle inoculated Hazelnut trees in her yard! How cool is that! I know of one person who reportedly attempted to cultivate truffles where I live, they quit the effort. I have not spoken to them to hear the story; will they or will they not grow here or wild in the Las Padres forest? In Oregon and Washington they can be found wild and cultivated. In time, when it’s the right, my dogs and I will head to OR and WA during (actual) truffle season and have some of these great people and their dogs teach us how it’s done.

Vasa Park…  the neighbors who were interested in my dogs left super early that morning for a medical appointment. Doesn’t look tight now that they were gone and the other neighbor was not hanging out playing cards outside their rented rig, but it was a tight squeeze to get my little van in that spot. As far as I could pull up I could not reach the power box so had to use my extra power cord and adaptor; so glad I had it along. (No, backing in would not have worked either although sometimes I can twist the power cord under the van and reach the outlet on the other side. ) 

I camped for the first time on this road trip at a commercial park; by day it was open to anyone who paid the entrance fee being situated on a small lake with a children’s playground. Dogs were not permitted for day users. Dogs were permitted to overnight “campers.” RV’ers  park like this to be legal, receiving hookups (water, power, sewer, cable for your TV (if you want it,) wi-fi, often some outdoor furniture, a bathhouse, sometimes a swimming pool and spa, a game room, laundry room, dog play-exercise area, sometimes nice and interesting walking trails, sometimes group activities, happy hour, arts and crafts or tours, bicycle rentals, kayaks, a library, can even be meals provided and brought to your rig . . . all depends. Some are no more than an ugly squeezed in parking lot, others are glorious. This “campground” had a terrible identity confusion…  really needed to have some therapy on who it wanted to be …  Dogs allowed? Dogs not allowed? Big signs saying no dogs, yet dogs all over, even the proprietors had dogs. Not OK to walk dogs on the beach or in the park even after the day use was closed. Why? Because the day use people could not have dogs even though the day use visitors were required to leave at night and as noted there were dogs a plenty. Instead it was required to take your dog across the heavily congested road to an open field where they could run and play on or off leash. Dangerous scary cursing as you try to get across, crossing with no signal.  Do such owners stay up all night dreaming up this stuff? Can you imagine the planning discussions?  Arguments? Debates?

My neighbor (for the night) when they showed up back to their trailer jumped out of their car…  Oh, I LOVE your Lagotto Romagnolo’s!!!!  Say what? Hardly anyone knows this breed. Guesses range from them being certain that it’s a Doodle to a Poodle, a Bedlington Terrier, a Wheaten Terrier, a Bichon and some really odd guesses even once a Sheepdog. I’ve even been asked after explaining that no, these are not crossbreeds but purebred esp to the doodle People. . .  (they give a funny look first as they try to take this in) ‘Okay, what was mixed with a poodle then to get these fancy Lagotto mixes then?’ Or. ‘is this a poodle mixed with a Lagotto?’ Choke! No, you fool, purebred! All these hypnotized crossbred aficionados have no idea what they have.  Yes my breed is special and it’s a real breed with honed instincts, personality, character with developed type and conformation. An Italian dog. And then there’s Mr Mason. Everyone says he’s part Corgi, they call him the Yoda dog. A Chi-Terrier something mix for sure, Mr. Lovebug.

Kate playing with my gang in the park, she snapped some photos of them all. Good to see her.

Short visit with a high-school friend, Kate Johnson in the morning at a local park near her home. Found out that white fluffy, not so fluffy when it started piling in huge drifts and getting clammy sticky when wet stuff. . .yep, it was raining …that fluff at first so lovely but now annoying is residual remaining after the pollen from the Cottonwood (Poplar) Tree.

Litter blowing off the Cottonwood tree.

 

 

 

Nope these are not bison but part of the canine greeting committee adjacent to the Valley of The Rogue State Park in Gold Hill Oregon. About 20 of them came running over to stare at the dogs!

Valley of the Rouge State Park is directly off Interstate 5. It is also a reststop area which I’ve frequented many times. Camping is further along the long and narrow frontage road, with almost as much walking as you’d like since it’s part of an access trail along the Rouge River. Not a destination Park but perfect for a stopover. My night was peaceful, far enough from the Interstate not to be bothered by passing trucks.  $29 for electric I believe, a tad more if you need a full hookup. It’s worth the time to hunt around as some spaces are close to the I-5. I recommend this location as opposed to the expensive KOA although if it’s a destination there are plenty of campgrounds on the river.

Somewhat deceptive image approaching Portland Oregon. The traffic was HORRIBLE! Of course it’s horrible in California too. Over 2 hours to get through the city center, late afternoon. My “friendly” GPS keeps adding delay time to my route….  ha ha. What is the solution to all this crawling gridlock! What happened, Portland? I recall Portland positioning to be a model for traffic relief….  it didn’t work. Rush hour now 6 hours a day.  Maybe not as congested as LA’s gridlock (which I avoid) but daunting.

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I was thrilled to spend a night with Sue Yarbrough, a Lagotto Romagnolo friend I met at last year’s National Specialty. When she said she lived in Vancouver, I automatically put that as Canada, but nope I was wrong and I realized it just in time. She lives in Washington so we were able to connect. Graciously opening her home to me and my 4 wild ones, we had fun, what better topic that dogs! She brought us dinner and invited me to do a load of laundry. A beautiful home she shares with her daughter. Can’t wait to visit Sue Y again for truffle hunting with her soon to be Lagotto puppy girl.

 

An advantage to having a small van-type RV is that it can go (almost) anywhere; perfect for visiting and parking in driveways where a larger rig could not fit.

 

 

 

Getting through Seattle, mid-morning. Took the 2 mile Underground Expressway (coming up) underneath the downtown area. Is it a good answer? I don’t know but much as I missed the view I found it useful and a bit surrealistic. Drilled by a machine named Bertha. Zoom, zoom, zoom.  People like to lean on their horns. 

My ex-pal Sue Belanger moved from Santa Barbara to Granite Falls to initiate a romantic life with her long time known and now newly wed husband Jim. Many people I know (of my middle age and older generation) are finding new adventures like this.  A harmonious companion, a home with land, financial security, purpose and love;  along with water, birds, plants and the joys of simple beauty …  Sigh. If only such delight would catch me and my band of canines too. As she says, she is blissful.   I somehow missed a nice shot of the front of the house, complete with porch….  sorry.  Very much enjoyed my visit, thank you Sue and Jim for your welcome and hospitality.

Jim is a master craftsman, this is his Hudson Jet he’s rebuilding, he has other classic cars he’s taken apart and put back together as well as an impressive array of motorcycles, and power lawn equipment.

Flying Curls Jackson demolishing yet another tennis ball.

I found an article from this last January explaining that permanent water rationing will be coming to California. This is to occur with faucets spraying tiny jets of water annoyingly  delivered by a plethora of quirky gizmos and gadgets. This kind of thing is already in evidence across the country and not just in those bathroom faucets where patrons practice the latest in hand waving voodoo, finger flipping and swearing in hope that enough wetness will be delivered to wipe away all the germs, dirt and feelings of guilt, oh and the responsibility, that yes, you see, we have clean hands. You’ve all been there, shaking off your wet hands or just avoiding it altogether because of the absence of a towel in favor of a blasting jet of loudly delivered air that is said in public facilities to be spreading fecal mater right back into your hands.

 

The article explains that homes will be retrofit to have these things and not just public facilities. In almost every state I visited water is rationed in this manner, even in the showers let alone the sinks where the water spurts so quickly and uncontrollably that it’s nearly impossible to brush your teeth unless you remember to bring a cup.  I experimented with dry tooth brushing and paper towels when using camp restrooms. The most extreme was a shower that required the pushing of a button approximately every 20 seconds. Maybe it was 10 seconds.  A quick flash would jettison something that sure looked like water but before you could test it out or feel it on your skin it was gone!  I developed some nifty new skills, leaning in just right to press the button with my elbow while still having hands free for soap sort of twisting my torso so I could get wet or more difficult to rinse off.  I learned to use a stick to control the sink water, I even used an empty paper towel roll to get enough water to clean my toothbrush; ever try to get two hands washed when the water only stays on for a fraction of a second? Forget washing a dog! Or your hair! Need to add a sink stopped to my toiletry kit.

A long time ago, maybe 30 years ago I began to write a book about water wars. In my story, something had happened to all the water making it generally unusable. Individuals were assigned only a few cups a day which were jealously guarded. A young girl child born into this world of scare water started having dreams. …  and so on….     I’d worked out the story line except for one thing, why or how water would be in such short supply. And now here we are.

Along with water rationing I’ve noticed a boom of housing developments. I used to call them bedroom communities. They seem to be incredibly popular yet I remain leery of them. My good friends however have recently moved into theirs in a suburb of Sacramento CA and they love it. Visiting Lee and Craig, their American Eskimo Dog Zak and their new Eskie Asha was first on my list. It took me over 13 hours from Santa Barbara to reach Elk Grove although I stopped in Atascadero to visit a new friend for coffee and conversation. I was so tired when I got there. . . . after meeting Asha was treated to a nice room and bath in the front of the house where my camper was parked all for me and my gang.

Cute Asha, the new Eskie love in Craig and Lee’s new home.

Zak and his sista Asha

   I was unable to explore Elk Grove beyond a trip to the store for groceries and a fun find of a Vietnamese Drink called a Che; mine had red, white, mung beans, taro, pearls, pandan jelly & combo jelly, coconut milk at Bambo. I’d like to try more of their drinks, next time I’m in the SF Valley seems to be one of these shops in Panorama City. I looked Elk Grove up on Wikipedia. It’s fast growing which explains how my friends were able to watch their home being built as the region moves away from away from farming to suburban. Urban sprawl, I think is the right term. They seem to truly enjoy being back in “civilization,” closer to their activities, nightlife, restaurants, concerts, art classes, music, yoga, all the things they love.

I’d hoped for more of a tour but Lee is a busy woman with the new house, the new dog Asha needing lots of TLC and all her community and creative involvements.

My friends engaged on their computers enjoying the view of their growing trees and open space

Jackson was being a pest. Lee bought my dogs an automatic ball launcher.  I put it together and tried it out. It’s very loud! Olympia was scared but she gave it a rousing try, Jackson of course loved it but he did not learn to put they balls back in so I still had to go gather then up and place them back in the machine.

 

This isn’t the ball throwing video, need to find that one but this one is all 6 of the dogs 🙂

 

 

Took a quick trip out to Prescott for these two to meet. Barbelo and Jeana, Lagotto Romagnolo (Italian Water Dogs.)

Barbelo’s a patch, white and brown, his coat is short here. Great temperament, he and Jeana hit it off.

 Jeana does the chase-me, chase-me zoomies…  could be puppies in their future!

My dogs exploring our host’s backyard. They’d just moved in when we arrived.  There’s a lot more Lagotto Romagnolo hanging out in the house and few cats too.

 

Going for a hike in Prescott. Olympia hunting for whatever she can find!

The girls cooling off.

Windy up here as I take a photo overlooking the dam.   I don’t know if dogs like heights but mine are very patient with me.

Lovely Spring hiking including displays of vintage gold and copper mining equipment.

River access and in-town trails make Prescott a great place to walk.

I’ve been to Prescott and surrounding areas of AZ and NM quite a bit in the last few years. (I haven’t always posted about these trips.) The area continues to grow. Wish to see less of the cookie-cutter stuff and more sense of place like this mural.

This trip was a working trip, still the dogs and I did some sightseeing including visits to Sharlot Hall for history and the Phippen for more American Art.

A gambling basket on display at Sharlot Hall Museum

In the Transportation Building at Sharlot Hall Museum. Notice the dog.

An overview of Prescott, Sharlot Hall Museum

 

Cowboys, Cowgirls, Native Americans and the Great Southwest.
Loved the Phippen! Here’s a few photos from the museum. I took a lot more. 

George Phippen, first President of the Cowboy Artists of America, died in 1966, leaving behind a group of artists interested in creating a facility that specifically represented artists in the American West. In 1974, the George Phippen Memorial Foundation was formed to create a centralized venue that would fully support Western Art.

Mule Train, George Phippen

Devil’s Herd, George Phippen

Walking your saddle, Hoss? Steven Lang

JD Challenger, From the Warrior’s Heart

James Swinnerton, Near Sedona

Maher Naguib Morcos, Jack-Knife the Leader

George Phippen, Danger in Red

Solon H. Borglum, Evening

Solon H. Borglum, The Indian – A Study

Jim Norton, A Shared Fire

R. S. Riddick, Midnight Arbuckle

Arthur C. Begay, Lead You To the Squaw Dance

Edward Aldrich, Under Dark Skies

Kim Wiggam, Full Moon

Leo Beaulaurier, Squatter’s Rights

Dave Drost, Sonoran Moon Glow

Jack Van Ryder, When the Desert Meets the Moon

Cowgirls

Gail Jones Sundell, She Dances for the Moon

The Road to Jerome

Interesting weather in Prescott. Had to shorten my visit to Jerome as the thunderclouds surrounded the smoke from a brush fire. Before I was down the mountain it’d started to storm. I could see the clouds streaming down with heavy rain while it remained only drizzly as I drove back to Prescott. The next day I was walking with the dogs in sunshine, visited downtown then drove to one of my favorite lakes in the area to be pelted with hail. The dogs and I ran back to the van with wind so strong it rocked the van and caused it to slide in the gravel, yet by the time I’d returned to the home I was visiting the sun was peaking back.

One of the nice things about my little B Camper is how easy it parks and how simple it is to take on tours. Did great pulling up the 7% switchbacks, parking in the tiny town of Jerome, camping in front yards, fitting nicely into parking areas at the lakes and trail heads, perfect for shopping, downtown, viewing wildlife . . . almost anywhere I want to go except for towns implementing no RV Parking and some oversize parking restrictions.  Although my van is legal for any normal or full size parking spot I can run into trouble with these regulations.

The Official Prescott Song — Will Strickland & Norm Fisk

 

Met many residents relocated from California and from the Mid West.
The CA folks missed the ocean, I would too.

Amiss in California

I remember California’s majestic beauty far more from my earlier years. How I loved its solitude, the natural arches, cliffs and wide open beaches of the shoreline, tall trees in dense forests, rock outcroppings and wild rivers. From deserts to ferns; from orange groves to fields of flowers.  I remember wild open spaces, the awe of nature and long distances between cities. Today as I drive in the roads are typically terrible and crowded. For whatever reason the fast lane is smoother, with less potholes, rumbles and dips which makes it awkward. I give up the slow lane and just let the faster cars go around me. The rips in the road even have the trucks moving over and/or doing the road maze dance trying so hard to avoid that roughness. It ratchets heavy vehicles giving nasty jarring lurches to anything inside. Thick traffic is the norm with pedal happy swerving motorists.

I thought I could spend the night at the edge of Bakersfield, I wasn’t prepared to find camping at $70 and higher..  Yep, CA prices. I can’t boondock or dry camp as I need power to run the air conditioning and the heat, I need space to run and walk the dogs so it’s easier, simpler to use a paid camp, but I expect $12 to $29; have been paying more but $70!  Considered detouring to Lake Isabella but the sky was stormy, intensely windy with blinding sand so I opted to the I-5 for a quicker journey.

 

Spent an uncomfortable night in Coalinga stuffed into an unused cobwebbed site between full-time residents, I heard fights and the lights were left blazing all night. I left before first light not bothering with the bathhouse or dumping my tanks. Walked and fed the dogs at the next restsop, washed my face and had a glass of water.

Found these fields near the campground, wanted to walk in them but decided to stick to the road. On the other side of the RV Park was a large empty lot which would have the better place to spend the night. A few big rigs were doing that, it was behind a large gas station and store. Approaching the RV Park trash marked the path like landing lights.

A random street in Tracy, California

The non-usable bathroom next to a well used playground at a big park in Tracy. Great idea kids, and no bathroom. BTW it was Spring and not Winter but still not open. Nice park though, had a lovely walk, the dogs of course rolled and rolled in the grass, they were laughing and happy.

Most coffee and breakfast spots were closed in Tracy on a Sunday. There was one restaurant open at 9 am. it’s down this path which is in the downtown area. I’m hungry!

Turns out all these people were hungry too. Too long a wait for me, darn. Maybe a few more places could be open? Everyone can’t be in church? Isn’t this CA and not Texas?

Daisy the cow.

Hmm, this was in Placerville. I thought about buying that beer just for the can.

My friend patiently waiting for me while I bought a cappuccino. I was in a new temporary habit of getting myself a cap and snack in each city I stayed overnight to compare the quality and artistry of the offerings. A fun and innocent adventure.

Lee and Craig’s place and my darling girl Olympia.

Home away from home, the sewing room. Very Comfy 🙂

Blooming Ocotillo in the Sonoran Desert. Saw these all over. They live for 60 to 100 years and can be up to 20′ high.

Are we here yet?

 

Needles Marina Park, lucked out with this spot on the point all to myself 🙂

Yes, Mason, we’re in California now!

Loved this Park on the Colorado River on the California side. Very dog friendly and close to town. The Park is well maintained, with lots of grass, water and room to wander. The weather when I was there was actually perfect (in other words not roasting hot!)  I didn’t use the pool but it looked inviting. I checked the Arizona side of the Colorado where there is another Colorado River RV Park, also very spacious, but more set up for groups traveling together and families and friends wanting to spend time boating.

Sunrise

Beautiful sunrise morning.

Swim time but there were stickers.

“Needles Marina Park located on the Colorado River off interstate 40 and Historic Route 66 nestled right at the Needles Bridge has been family owned and operated since 1976. We are in our 40th year of business. The park owner takes pride in the facility and his love for this park comes through with the way he meticulously maintains the facilities.” 

See how peaceful it is here? That wasn’t going to last only the WIND would last.

West and then Northwest to Northern Cal.  WINDY WINDY WINDY doesn’t show but the last part of my drive was the usual fight against the wind with the addition of sand storms, little twisters and thunder.  

My truffle dogs exploring the forest in Flagstaff, AZ

The Coconino National Forest is one of the most diverse National Forests in the country with landscapes ranging from the famous red rocks of Sedona to Ponderosa pine forests, from southwestern desert to alpine tundra. Explore mountains and canyons, fish in small lakes, and wade in lazy creeks and streams.

The City of Flagstaff in the Ponderosa Pine Forest at 7,000′ makes a reasonably easy crossing over the mountains, certainly easier than I-70 over the Rockies. I recommend the Lowell Observatory unless you’re seeking flash and entertainment, then you might be disappointed. I didn’t visit on this trip but have in the past, taking the time to learn about research, construction and history of the telescopes.  In a land of ghosts, alien sightings, UFO’s, crazy weather and dark skies it’s heartening to seek for the universe out there. Where are you everyone! It’s frustrating to me to be limited to this one tiny beautiful planet. No matter how many voyages and discoveries I want more, I want what’s out there. I don’t know why but somewhere out there could be a place that might fit with the images in my head? No? Yes? Well, having reached Flagstaff I was primarily interested in getting to Northern Cal to pick up Olympia. It was time to head back.

The city itself was intensely crowded, I was unable to find parking before my patience wore out. There was an almost LA kinda frenzy, honking horns and getting cut off by zooming SUVs and jeeps.  I wasn’t prepared so I went in search of camping. Hoping to avoid high fees I wanted to stay at the County Park but the RV camping wasn’t open yet for the season, instead I found a nice (and relatively inexpensive) spot on the edge of the forest. The dogs could run naked of their leashes. I was intending to head back to the city and explore, have a coffee and browse the scene but the forest won. Frankly one store is like another and all to often they are the same stores, the same experience, a “non-place” or placelessness pervades.. Sure, each city is a constructed environment with its key symbol and narrative however the loss of place still happens with the agonizing repetition of  sameness, for some perhaps its a comfort, they never really left home, only rearranged with a different backdrop and climate (am I being silly?) I didn’t want to leave the trees. I hiked about, made dinner, watched the sunset, the stars and had an early night.

I met a few campers, a couple from Germany traveling by RV across the U.S. I ran into them again. Pulling in next to me in her Class C camper another solo woman RVer, she had a dog but it wasn’t with her. She had a space problem, too much stuff. With a small RV everything you take needs a purpose and a place. If you start allowing things to pile up in the aisle or in the kitchen or the bath area, you’re gonna be in trouble. It doesn’t take talent to live and travel in a small space it takes discipline. In the beginning when I started out I’d pack items that SEEMED so useful, even essential only to discover they were in the way. I don’t do that anymore. I rarely need to buy an item on a trip as I know what I’m going want and need and I know where I’ve stored it (most of the time), comes from experience and many hours sorting, eliminating, measuring and like a fine wine, getting the correct balance. You can’t be lazy, everything has its place.  Well you can be lazy, but that’s not my style. I’m happy when my rig is clean, the dogs are safe and there’s a sense of beauty.  I’d wanted to own a B&B, a dog and art friendly one.  It wasn’t possible yet as I travel more and more I know it would have been a perfect security and joy for me.  I don’t “relax” as many do by sitting still, I relax by motion and activity. I’m happiest when my entire day is busy. I do for my dogs what I’d do for my guests, creating a perfect space, fixing problems, cleaning what needs, repairing whatever breaks, organizing, figuring out improvements. I’m happiest making others at ease, being useful and entertaining in little doses. People that come and go are the perfect recipe. During my working days I was best at resolving intractable issues and “herding cats,” as they called it. I’m sure this is due to my past and to my inherent nature. I’m driven to fix things, solve things others say can’t be fixed, or can’t be done.  It’s tough for me to walk away, I’ve learned to, I’ve learned to sit and do nothing…  hey never mind, drifting off to other subjects. Let’s get back to this trip.

Elvis is EVERYWHERE!

A lively Route 66 town and the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

There was a life-size human replica sitting on a chair by one of the stores. He was in motion with his hand moving up and down and looking very real. My 2 larger dogs had to place their heads (one at a time) just where the arm would come down expecting he’d of course pet them. You can image their disdain when he did not!

Early still but plenty of activity.

Love street art!

Next time will do the drive through Bearizona Wildlife Park.  Apparently it’s doable in a small RV with pets as long as one keeps their windows rolled up. “One can view larger North American mammals up-close.” There’s a walk through area as well. I’d think the dogs could stay in the van for that. Website says animals are rescued or rehabilitated. I can only hope it’s a good place for these animals, they seem to run free while the humans come to observe.

Another improvement is to do a bit more research, even if I’m in a hurry there could be things I’d take the time for.

Heading West to California.  That towel is up there on my dashboard because Jeana often likes to get up there when I leave the dogs in the RV on their own. I’ve seen Mason up there too. 

 

Yep, WINDY, as always. We were warming up a bit from our night in Amarillo. It’s time to have the door seals replaced on the LTV! When it’s cold enough and windy enough it feels like an arctic blast pouring in around the side doors.

Checking out the dam at Santa Rosa Lake State Park, there was a campground here. Didn’t stay.

How do you get a lake in the desert? Build a dam.

I stopped in to see the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa New Mexico on Route 66 halfway between Amarillo and Albuquerque. What was I expecting? It wasn’t what I found, didn’t look like the picture on the Internet or in my mind. Maybe it was the wrong time of year, the entrance gate was closed. No one was there as really there was no reason to be there. There was some water, and it was blue and round. That was it. I thought about taking the dogs over to it but it was windy and cold and the water level at the entrance was low and steep.  It had that deep deep look. I think it’s 60 or 70′ feet down and nearly 200′ with the caves at the bottom.

I was unimpressed with the reservoir, Santa Rosa Lake, probably fine for fishing or boating, likely a nice family outing. It would be quiet and have stars but no view of the lake from the RV sites. Probably wrong time of year although there were a few, a very few campers. In the right circumstances with some warmer or less windy and drier weather it could be fun but it wasn’t it for me. Being alone, if it doesn’t suit my fancy or doesn’t seem right for my dogs I don’t need to stay.

Old Town Albuquerque and the Pawslinger Gang! Hey, guys the snake went that way! 

Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Pawslinger Gang hanging out thinking about their next caper. We were missing our big mamma boss, she was back in Northern Cal.

 

Gallup NM, Route 66

OK everybody, hold still and it’ll look like we’re part of the street art.

Flying Curls Jeana

 

Familiar Rest Stops Route 66 Trading Post. The shops here were having clearance sales, at the junction of New Mexico and Arizona, the rest stop is just ahead. There’s a row of  Native American souvenir and gift shops…  touristy.  Up on the hill there are replicas of wildlife. I remember traveling as a family in the 1960’s how thrilling it was to spot REAL animals! Elk, pronghorn antelope, bears, bighorn sheep, bobcats, mountain lions, fox, beaver, javelina, porcupines. All I’ve seen are rabbits, deer, squirrels and of course birds.

 

We’ve been at this rest stop  too quite a few times lately… approaching Flagstaff.  Flying Curls Jackson.

Road song about traveling west:
Ballad of I-40 West ~ Kevin Brennan and Wavelength ~ original song

Happy. Art Part 3

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Thompson Dog Park, Amarillo Texas.  Discovered this off leash dog park as I was wandering the neighborhoods of Amarillo, it’s located within a much larger park. Was super cold and windy so no one was there.  This might have been a good thing as I’ve read unfavorable reviews of crowds and trash. Wonderful park for us! Clean, Texas style big for long long runs and happy sniffing, green and it had a pond.  I did keep diverting the Lagotto’s attention from the water; far too cold for wet dogs.

A so-so night at Amarillo Ranch RV Park. They at first assigned me what could have been the worst site in the park which fortunately they let me change. I don’ know exactly why but it happens with some frequency that I as a woman RV’er alone am shunted into some of the worst spaces in RV Parks. Do they think they have to put me near the bathroom with the lights and people going back and forth or the entrance with lots of traffic, or in their worst space that no “single male” or couple or family would accept?  I do wonder.  Frankly the first space I was assigned should not be a camping spot at all as it was on a busy intersection surrounded with foxtails, bight lights and smack on top of the neighbors in front and to the side; kinda leftover  bit of land that some wise ass said, hey we can put another one in there.  That’s revenue!. I did notice that while they put out the No Vacancy sign they never put anyone in that site. To further this aggravation a single MALE in a 22 foot Sprinter showed up while I was going through the process of being switched which took quite some time; he did not have a reservation either and arrived at nearly an hour after I had,  yet somehow they found him a nice site. What, the park wasn’t full for him?!?! They didn’t put him in my vacated miserable joke of a site?!?!  You can tell I didn’t leave this Park a great review. It was not my style, noisy, crowded, strange layout, but in spite of the super-fierce wind I slept well. The park offered limo trips to the Big Texan Steak Ranch, my Canadian neighbors tried it with the comment, ”it was interesting,” BIG steak. Beef town. They (a mature couple and a cute little dog) in an upscale Class A were using my park site table (the one which should have been mine) since their outdoor TV and entertainment bar was on their opposite side (and they wanted to take up both sides, one for her and one for him I guess) which left me no room.  (They were supposed to use the table on their camp side.) Didn’t matter as it soon started RAINING with the wind and thunder, rock & rolling our rigs so after discussing treacherous driving conditions we all retreated.  Oh that was another reason I wasn’t fond of this place, I asked the ladies who staffed the park for the forecast, and , well, no, they didn’t know anything. Nope, not a clue. REALLY!  After about 10 min one of them gave me the local news station so I could listen to it in the privacy of my RV. Shush… everyone the weather is a SECRET!

Amateur art galleries on Route 66..  artist occupied.

I called ahead and reserved a different RV Park, Oasis, for the next night as  Amarillo was on snow watch! Up ahead was already a blizzard.

On the Route 66 section of town I found something open, it was still very early even after the dog park, comes from waking up at 5 am. Found a mall type building full of amateur galleries occupied on the availability of the artist. I visited the first one open owned by a woman who was married to the curator in charge of the Amarillo Art Museum. She told me how the City of Memphis, I think the Dixon Garden and Museum where the museum had been closed, maybe they were rehanging the pieces, had loaned works from Monet, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Matisse, Cézanne to the little town of Amarillo. She was very proud of it so of course even though that show had closed I had to check out the museum.

Amarillo Museum of Art.  Dr. and Mrs. William T. Price of Amarillo Asian Art Collection.

It was raining. I love rain. Love exploring. I parked in the student parking lot. According to directions if you’re visiting the museum you do not need a parking sticker on your vehicle. I looked around for the pay machine; what I thought the parking sign said could not be right but there was no way to pay for a parking spot. Logically that meant I could not park there. In California if you can’t pay, it’s no problem you will be given a $50 parking ticket or possibly booted and towed. I closed up the van, lowered the blinds and cracked the windows for the dogs and happily immersed myself in the cool wet windy environs enjoying the sound my shoes made on the wet asphalt and then the brick stairs. I asked if I could park in the lot across the way, Oh yes, I was told as long as I was visiting the gallery, no problem. I stopped myself from asking how it would be determined that the owner of any given vehicle sans parking sticker was in the gallery or not. I did not see a spy.

 

Texas Panhandle Sunrise

Am running short of time and likely won’t have wifi again for a bit so will have to label the art work later (if anyone checks back) and tell the great story I heard about the Texas Rancher and his daughter who made the Amarillo Art Museum so special….  more wonderful American Art along with international offerings. Suffice to say that although it did not snow with the wind chill factor it was in the low 20’s and biting. the cold came in through the door seams, I had to stuff them and cover them over even with both my little electric heater and the propane heater it was still chilly, but enough to be comfortable especially with a nice hot Tex-Mex fish plate. Going outside for walks!  That was another story but by morning the storm had cleared….  nothing left but the WIND!

 

….  So may be a delay before the end of this journey is posted…  Off on the road again.