Category: RV Parking and Temporary Residences

I wrote this post just after I returned from Tucson (and Phoenix.)  I’ve been a little suspicious about completing it due to counting the long months since Olympia’s failed AI (artificial insemination) where she went into a false pregnancy. It’s been tough to wait the 8 months but this time…..  this time…..  well, we’ll see, I’m not saying anything; meanwhile here’s the story. She’s been an 8 month cycler for all of her nearly 4 years but nevertheless she was a bit early, I suspected such but with the pressures of day-to-day life and the usual emergencies and ‘must do now’ drills I was still surprised.

Sunset on the way to Phoenix

Sunset on the way to Phoenix

First thing I did was call off all social engagements, oh yeah, I overreacted.  She came in on Thursday, blood droplets in the kitchen which I noticed as I was putting dinner on the stove;  the next day I rescheduled her pre-breeding check that I’d scheduled for later that week.  There was no sign of that nasty stricture.  I’m going to call it a mythical Warner Clinic stricture  since we’ve been to 3 other veterinary specialists, none of whom could find any evidence of this inoperable, uncorrectable vaginal stricture….  Sure, that makes sense you can’t correct something that doesn’t exist.  Frustrating and expensive yet good to discover such fiction.

Sunset in on the way to Phoenix

Sunset on the way to Phoenix 2

Then around day 7 it was time to go. Driving always takes longer than my GPS would have me believe especially though the morass of Los Angeles. On 11-11-11 I’d reconnected with my high school friend Lindsey on her marriage to her hubby Bruce; they offered their Phoenix home as a wayport, which I gratefully accepted.

Lindsey and Bruce invited me and the dogs to their Saturday Corvettes and Caffeine event  at their Corvette Performance shop   Lots of hospitality and lots of gorgeous cars! If you’re in Phoenix take a look! If you need anything for a Corvette and/or just curious give them a call. It was such a nice event and they are excellent hosts.

The stunning AZ sky

The stunning AZ sky

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Mason was terror stuck by their African Gray, I’d forgotten this from the 11-11 visit; the African Gray pipes up with explosive and piercing sounds not unlike the signal that the world is about to end.  I didn’t bother showing Mason the bird, how could he understand such a feathered creature is so capable?  There is a plethora of animals here, cats, birds, dogs, puppies, it brings back memories of being a kid and having such a lively houseful of species.  Olympia was having none of it, she made it clear that the enthusiastic welcome was not even remotely acceptable so we did the shuttle system. . . . the household dogs in, mine out and vise versa which worked perfectly except for the mornings when Olympia did a dive bomb into my bed landing on top of me on holding on for dear life, little paws grabbing on for comfort; she convinced that monsters were coming … bird crashing and screeching and the household pups clawing, snuffling and scratching at the guest bedroom door. ….  Ah such bravery!

As much as I love Lindsey and the delight of visiting with her we could all tell Olympia was ready, especially Duke, the King Cavalier stud!  Mason told me too in his sweet, look mom gentle way of his.  We were to meet Cubby In Tuscon at 1 pm. It was going to go well, everything orderly and calm….  I was telling myself this battling the heavy wind on the freeway….  this year was going to be  a good year, things were going to go right for a change! Cubby welcomed me with a sandwich and ice water, I was starving! She invited my two to relax in the backyard and then the big moment. . . . .  OUCH! Olympia took one look at Terzo and screamed like a demon.  What was she saying. . .  Hell no you!  Mason is my stud so don’t even think it!  Stop looking at me right now!  Good old Sweetie dog of mine kept up her screaming no matter what we tried.  We put the dogs together on leash . . . we walked them around the yard.. we gave them breaks.  … kenneled them next to each other…. I even brought out the Tennis Ball which Olympia happily chased… all sorts of things but it turned out to be the kitchen that did the trick.  I put a muzzle on Olympia, my vet at home had suggested I bring one just in case she freaked.  What actually worked was not letting Olympia see Terzo and giving her a little help by holding her in the corner between the wall and the refrigerator! If she didn’t look at him, she wasn’t exactly happy but at least more or less tolerant.  Anytime she could turn around, out would come her opinion of where Tero’s real place should be in her world.  She seemed quite proud of herself, bouncy and cheerful when he was done which surprised me. Oh, she still would have liked to take a bite out of him, if she could!

As the sun was lowering I set off for the ½ hour drive to my RV camp.  I’d picked Desert Trails  from on-line reviews.  I liked that it was a natural and quiet setting, that’s what I wanted and it was $23.  I was eager for calm after the noise my dog had made.  The Park was crammed, I was in the last available space which I couldn’t find until someone took pity on me and led the way….  way over on the outskirts of the Park up against a noisy and busy road, (it’s right behind that fence that you can’t see for the bit of greenery,) there in a massive offering of gravel, the kind the Mason won’t walk on, was my spot crammed in between  vacant RVs with lights left ablaze.

Desert Trails RV Park, my spot

Desert Trails RV Park, my spot

I tried to settle after a stumbling walk avoiding the sharpest of the rocks; cars and trucks a few feet away whizzing their songs, not the vision I had in mind of peaceful and serene, but okay this was Arizona where smokers were still allowed in public and firearms are the norm, also the place were sunshine truly reigns and the cost of living is closer to livable.   The morning was better, the Park was not as advertised, yet not different from what was advertised….  the photos glorified it.  Yes it had a dog run with a few pieces of ‘imaginative’ agility equipment (it was touted as having a full agility course) yes it had an observation deck “of sorts” and a pool and hot tub of sorts….

Desert Trails, Sea of RVs Desert Trails, Sea of RVs[/caption] Desert Trails...  Sea of RVs Desert Trails… Sea of RVs[/caption] Desert Trails Sea of RVs at Desert Trails

I didn’t go in.  I caught the end of a meeting, hundreds of gray and dyed heads absorbing the schedule for the week… daytrips, jeep trips, nature walks, bike tours, hikes, photo classes, arts and crafts, singing classes, cooking, movies, entertainment, wow!  Really?  Folks were busy.  There were  men out walking dogs, not just women, friendly seniors with big dogs. I’d step back out of the way and they’d take this as a sign to come forward, I’d move further back they’d give their dog full leash stretching their arms in my direction saying, oh don’t worry, my dog’s friendly!  OK what part of me and my dogs retreating didn’t register?  Well, I’d tell them, my dogs are vicious…yeah really. Those big dogs were in real trouble from my little ones.

I finished my exportation walking the trail towards Saguaro National Park.

The Trail

I didn’t have a map or water so I didn’t go too far instead I departed, heading up the road towards the Desert Museum at the entrance to the National Park.  I opted to spend time at one of the outlying picnic areas, only one or two other vehicles and no people! Was gorgeous and relaxing, I sat still with the dogs by my side listening to the birds enjoying the delight of the scene.

.Picnic Area




I was looking forward to the next breeding… okay I was being hopeful….  Adrienne suggested we breed every day rather than every other day and that she would be available, but instead Adrienne wanted to be sure about the timing given Olympia’s less than stellar demeanor so we did a progesterone and vaginal slide. I spent 3 or 4 hours waiting in the parking lot at Four Paws, the vet where Adrienne works (except she wasn’t there that day.)  I had lots of time to explore the Trader Joes and the Pet Smart.  The vet clinic could not squeeze me in earlier than our appointed time.  $200 later (the next day) I’d learn that Olympia was indeed ready.  I’d been calling RV Park after RV Park trying to discover why they were all filled!  Turned out that a city wide Gem and Mineral Show had begun; the largest such show in the US!  Alongside there were 30 other shows spread throughout the city.  Given different circumstances it might have been a blast to explore but all I wanted was an inexpensive, quiet, safe place to spend the night.  Apparently it was fortunate I brought my RV, hotel rooms within a 30 or 40 miles radius were non-existent.  At least someone warned me that parking at Wal Mart and such during the gem show would be severely ticketed, could you just see them towing away the RV with Olympia and Mason barking and barking at the tow truck!  After what become the usual 3 hour search, I was directed by a Park that had filled it’s quota of dogs (yes they have a quota!) to the Voyager.  The Voyager is a village.

On the Streets of Voyager RV Park

On the Streets of Voyager RV Park

It cost $40 for the “economy” spaces.  The dogs liked it as there was not too much gravel and lots of streets to walk; other dogs we meet were well behaved and didn’t approach us and even better it had restaurant for tired Mom so I could eat!  Around the back of the park is a green area with a long dog run perfect for tossing tennis balls and it was empty!  The rain started, not a downpour but cold and refreshing for this rain starved Californian.  I was sure tomorrow would be my last day in Tucson so I checked out in the morning. We met Adrienne early, with her it was straight to business.  Olympia’s numbers were good but she still wasn’t going for any lovey-dovey.  We bred them in the kitchen, I had her muzzle off but it was evident she still didn’t like Terzo yet Olympia showed the same happy tail, head up into the house and frisky playful when it was over.  Maybe all she wanted was put Terzo in his place, but I’m sure if given a chance she would have chased him off. Must be tough to be an almost 4-year old maiden bitch.  Next time….  breeding should be done in the 2nd year or else with a stud she already likes. When Olympia was 2 she loved other dogs, by 3 she began to be picky and by 4 she’s definitely established herself as the queen.  Terzo, looking adorable was trying his darndest to be a good suitor.  

I missed the offering of Fennel-Chamomile tea Cubby (Adrienne’s wife) had made me after the first time when Terzo had adorned his “smoking jacket” and we’d relaxed a bit in the “afterglow” . .. today was a rush.  It seemed to me Olympia was done and we could head home.  Adrienne suggested we go for two more times, Wed and Thur.  I said OK for Wed but declined for Thur.  I sensed she was passing out of standing heat and I wanted to be home Fri besides I couldn’t stand that screaming of hers. 

I’d found a place to stay early while waiting for Wed’s 6 pm meeting (yep the very last space in the park!) at the KOA Lazydays.

KOA Lasydays...  the parking lot Park

KOA Lasydays… the parking lot Park

Nothing but a big parking lot. I don’t really understand the glowing reviews but for a parking lot, sure it was nice….  pool and hot tub did not look inviting so I avoided them.  Luckily my spot was on the border and there was no light which I appreciated except when I returned after the breeding it was dark and I had to ask the gate guard to send someone over with a flashlight.  The back-in space had a water spigot sticking out close to the ground…. impossible to see.  Two golf carts showed up, with two guys happy with something to do as they guided me in. Walking around and around was boring….  we’d done that earlier but we did it again for the dogs staying out of the dog play area, too many dogs were in there and now that Olympia had been bred I wanted to keep her away from where other dogs gathered. There wasn’t much to do but it was surprisingly quiet so I slept.  I slept in a little in the morning too not having anywhere I needed to be until breeding time and then the drive back to Phoenix.  I decided to head to a local grassy park and wait the hours there but just around the corner as I was leaving, what did I see! Two!!!  Strangely looking familiar shaped and colored dogs…. I told the woman sitting in front of her Airstream, hey…  you won’t believe what I have in here!  We spent an hour or so chatting about our darling Lagottos. She was from Washington, her dogs from Brigit in Vancouver. One of her girls was very very shy, I hope she contacts me.

I headed to Beyond Bread which Adrienne had mentioned as a good place to eat and ordered up at tasty chicken curry salad with bread to go, hit the grassy park for a quick 20 min visit and then was standing in the kitchen with Adrienne, Terzo and Olympia. Terzo was as revved and hot to go as ever but there was a problem!  A new problem!  Try as he would he couldn’t quite make the connection. Adrienne was helping and Terzo was exerting himself but it just didn’t work.  Poor Olympia was as tolerant as possible given how she felt about him.  After a ½ hour of him on her back she let out a low growl.  Adrienne tried digging a ditch in the in the yard so she would be lower…  that didn’t work!  Poor stud, the look on his face was too much…..  I want her but I just can’t. Terzo needed a rest without Olympia to distract him so we retreated to another park. I didn’t even get out of the van but I sat and thought. . . . It was starting to get late and would be later still after we tried again….  What was I gonna do?  The KOA was filled.  I’d need time to find a place.  Terzo would need time before he was ready to try again.

I called Adrienne and postponed until Thurs, I’d come all this way I could give up going home by Fri.  So for the next 3 hours I searched; actually  found a place that offered a $24 rate in their overflow as all their regular spaces were filled but my GPS took me on a wild goose chase over torn up roads packed with traffic and great views of the air museum and then up into beautiful canyon across town, but no RV park….  As it was now after 6pm I gave up and headed back to the Voyager.  The clerk was someone new and he wasn’t agreeable to giving me a space, saying they were full except, oh maybe he’d have a $55 space available…  so I was getting directions to another park when the kindly host who’d shown me to my space a few days ago appeared…   well, whaddya know, suddenly there was a space for me, a $45 dollar rate which quickly dropped back to $40 when I whipped out my Good Sam card.  I was led to a quiet area around the corner from my previous space, oddly no one came in the night to claim any of the spaces around me or behind me, I didn’t mind but for a full park there was a lot of empty.

hmmmm....  full, really?

hmmmm…. full, really?

After walking the dogs, I explored.  Voyager has a hotel, park models with little RVs like mine in their car port, mobile homes, cabins, 500 spaces for RVs, restaurant, bar, min-store, several pools, an array of Jacuzzis, tennis courts, an exercise room and lots and lots of classrooms and meeting halls.  I was beginning to get the picture, this was retirement and Tuscon was Mecca.  Recreation bonanza!  I popped open the ballroom door a crack and was greeted by ticket takers…  the concert tonight was Simon and Garfunkel.  Even a medical office and help with finances.

Voyager 20140205_201828 20140205_201901 20140205_201915 20140205_202130 20140205_202218

The Thurs breeding was to be at 8 am. I woke at 6 am (5am, in my CA time), walked the dogs, fed the dogs, cleaned up the RV, took a nice long shower, oh and I lost my bathing suit, you know, the one that fits nice and is flattering and cute…. that was a bummer.  This time it was Cubby and both my dogs got to run around in the yard, then we tried socialization with Olympia and Terzo in adjacent outside kennels while she offered me breakfast!!!  I was happy since I’ll always feed and take care of the dogs but frequently don’t bother for myself.  Cubby said we’d do the breeding just like we did the first time since that was successful.  I was hopeful, I didn’t believe Adrienne that the reason Terzo failed was that he couldn’t kiss Olympia…  you know flirt and play with her….  come on I’ve read lots of virgin bitches are not all that gung-ho….  or is it just Olympia??? No.  I wasn’t sure what was going on but my suspicion was that she was going out of heat and while some bitches may bred as long as possible that certainly wasn’t going to be Olympia’s style.

Terzo couldn’t do it, he gave up earlier this time even with Cubby helping.  The owner of the stud handles the stud and the back end, while the owner of the bitch handles the front end. I know, I know, why do we have to help them….  well because we do.  Olympia kept putting her tail down….  if there weren’t two of us helping I don’t think she would have been bred at all. We would have been off to the reproduction vet for a side-by-side. I didn’t feel bad for her as she was so darn cheerful, she’d stopped the plaintive yelping and replaced it with a low rumbling growl…  no doubt Terzo was not her choice, maybe if he’d succumbed to her authority she might have allowed it, in time, maybe?  Naturally Olympia has to pull out all the roadblocks and challenges….  With two failures and two successes and the packed conditions in Tucson I’d had enough.

This was not a pleasure trip or a chance to explore, this was for one purpose only….  to bring my recalcitrant 4 year old virgin bitch to her stud, nevertheless as I left town I took a detour to the Biosphere.  It was an enjoyable drive, scenic with snowy mountains in the vista.

On The Road

When I arrived there was a line and about a ½ hour wait until the next tour which would last an hour.  Outside temperature was 35 degs, yet I knew if the sun came out the LT would heat quickly.  What to do?  Leave the window vents and fan on and risk it getting colder or close them so the dogs would stay warm hoping the sun wouldn’t break through? The more I thought about it the less appealing the $19 tour seemed.  I continued to the little town of Florence and McFarland State Historic Park.  The town goes back to 1866 and while quiet boasts attractions. After a tour and history lesson, I bought some mint and root-beer fudge at the fudge shop and talked to a transplant from Oregon who was about to open a pet rescue store on main street. The building had been trashed and the woman responsible had just walked by. . . interesting small town.

Florence, AZ 20140206_132525 20140206_132529 20140206_134408 20140206_134436 20140206_134451 20140206_135732

Headed Back To Phoenix

Headed Back To Phoenix

Back in Phoenix, I arrived early, Lindsey and Bruce wouldn’t be home until 5:30 so I headed to Camelback Mountain trail area.  I’d forgotten that I’d tried that in 11-11 and dogs are not allowed….  I tired to remember the other place where dogs were allowed but it was rush hour so I opted for a rest at the Barry Goldwater Park where I read the mosaic and snapped photos of Arizona’s really cool looking plants.

Barry Goldwater Park, Phoenix ...  and the beautiful flora of Arizona

Barry Goldwater Park, Phoenix … and the beautiful flora of Arizona

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Lindsey made dinner, thank you sweetie!  And Bruce showed some of the great links and videos he’s put together for the Corvette shop.  Their pups mauled me, I thought they would have been able to tell the difference between human me and Olympia but I guess smell like her.  All was good, my adventure almost over.  I carried Mason across the kitchen past the birds to bed.  I slept well. I woke early to Daisy (the Cavalier mom with 3 puppies)  telling the world it was time to get up.  Once the household dogs were up I snuck Olympia and Mason out to the van…. we went for a neighborhood walk in the dark morning.  Lindsey and Bruce work hard long hours, here’s to wishing them happiness.  Maybe some day they’ll come to Santa Barbara.

On the way home I stopped in Quartzsite, the dogs liked that.  I was planning to pick up another basket but to my surprise my $4 basket increased to $10, I still could have bought it but on principle I didn’t.  Many vendors had packed up and left for their next venue ….  still so much shopping going on, it clouds the beauty of the desert and the desert is lovely. So cool and vast in February.

20140207_11353020140207_11362920140207_113837Quartzsite, AZ Rest Stop20140207_094603

Attempted lunch at the Chiriaco Summit Café outside of Indio but I lost my appetite as the wait staff twice looked right past me with blank glazed frazzled eyes….  my presence didn’t register.  A shame, it’s a great location, I wondered how the place must be managed; instead I opted for a yummy Garden Burger and date shake at Hadley’s after completely ignoring those blinking yellow lights on the sign coming over the San Gorgonio Pass that clearly says high wind, dust storm warning when lights are flashing!  Whoops, it was an interesting ride…. only one of the windiest places in the U.S…  sure no problem there.

Now the wait begins….  is she or isn’t she? I missed friends I wanted to connect with in Tucson, it wasn’t the time.  Baby Girl, aka Olympia was the star of this trip.  She was messy, almost the messiest she’s ever been…  good cover for NOT looking as special as she is.  I didn’t want anyone fussing over her or anyone knowing she was in HEAT.  Normally when she’s in season we stay home. She is to be pampered and stress free, plenty of time for exploring later.

Oh…  one last comment on Arizona….  gas prices!!!!!!  When I arrived back in Santa Barbara gas was around $3.70 a gal! The lowest price I saw in AZ was $3.09 and the highest $3.46.

Gas in arizona!

Gas in Arizona!

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, 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

Clearlake 056

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 054

This turned out to be a favored camping spot: River Reflections RV Park … could’ve, should’ve spent another night there but with the rain I went exploring as you already heard…. Oh yay yay Great camping spot with a view of the Feather River. Had our section to ourselves, peaceful and serene.

The Park had some sticky seed pods in the grass, Mason was suspicious, when something funny gets in his paws he gives me this look, like, you gotta be kidding, what, walk on the stuff, no way! But he’s little I can pick him up. I gave him a nice foot massage and all was forgiven.

On our last walk of the day we sat at the bottom of the boat loading ramp watching the birds.

On our last walk of the day we sat at the bottom of the boat loading ramp watching the birds.


Rain Outside Our Window

Rain Outside Our Window

Oh yeh….. and the dam – I would have liked a tour but I wasn’t finding anything that day. Maybe it was down the way too small and steep looking dirt / gravely and wet road that I didn’t dare take the LT on or maybe further up the hill or maybe on the other side… I was driving in loops and circles.

Oroville Dam from the road

Oroville Dam from the road

Porto Bodega Marina – Bodega Bay, CA

  • Simple gravel parking, lovely view of the Bodega Bay. Pay more to park directly on the Bay.
  • Clean pleasant restroom and showers but is a bit of a walk.
  • Wi-Fi provided in the meeting room near the office–a further walk.
  • Verizon signal and hotspot excellent.
  • Dog walking fair, range is restricted.
  • No access to shops or restaurants.
  • Would stay again for the view and ambient sounds.
  • $47 (including tax) Full season rates.

Silvers at the Wharf – Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg CA (Restaurant)

  • Greatly enjoyed in spite of the thick fog and the cold night.
  • Dogs cheerfully allowed on the deck.
  • Service and food excellent.

Pomo RV Park Campground – Fort Bragg, CA

  • Woodsy and private (pretty)
  • Lots of room to walk dogs
  • Showers and bathroom clean but no windows and few amenities
  • This was the only location for this trip in which payment (quarters were required for the shower and as per usual shower cheated on time.)
  • Very bright spotlights at some parking spots – I had one of these huge lamp posts and had to use several block out curtains which was a shame since is was woodsy.
  • Paid $43 plus $1 for pet and tax, $47
  • If I stayed again would ask for spot away from bright light and request full hook-up (only $3.00 more.) My parking spot was private and quiet, there are many spaces which are shared.

North Coast Co-op – Aracata, CA (Food supplies)

  • Have stopped here many times. really appreciated back up rear view camera for getting out of crowded parking lot
  • Selection not as inclusive as I remember from the past, but a fun stop to stock up on natural foods
  • Farmer’s Market in town square but dogs not permitted.

Emerald Forrest of Trindad – Trindad CA

  • I’ve stayed here before but I didn’t remember. Much nicer than the other parks I saw in the area more like a state park in an area of redwoods.
  • I had a spot with partial hook ups and no nearby neighbors
  • Good walking for the dogs around the park
  • I did not get Escapee Club rates
  • Nice place, would stay again

Arimitage Park – Lane County near Eugene, OR

  • Excellent walking for dogs, very scenic. Included natural trails and large off-leash dog park
  • No showers or hot water
  • Lovely camp site but did have annoying “park” lights at each site attached to plug-in.
  • Quiet
  • $30, full hook ups

Barnacle Bistro – Gold Beach, OR (restaurant)

  • Picked up Fish (Alaskan Cod) and Chips (sweet potato)  and an Australian Root Beer to go…. was yummy
  • Didn’t see any pet friendly dinning area

Secret Camp RV Park – Gold Beach, OR

  • Like a summer camp
  • Dogs had opportunity to play ball off leash (relaxed friendly atmosphere)
  • Full hook ups and WI-fi
  • Clean free showers and bathroom
  • Quiet
  • Couldn’t walk dog very far in the woods because of stickers and brambles
  • Paid off season rates!
  • Driving necessary to get to town, ocean, etc.
  • Many folks staying monthly
  • $25

Port of Suslaw Campground and Marina – Florence, OR

  • This camp is definitely not for everyone but almost my favorite. wish I had stayed another day.
  • Simple, nothing fancy but well located.
  • Great walking for me and the dogs! Can walk around boats, the harbor with birds, sea lions and fishermen to the Old Town stores and restaurants and along the river.
  • My spot was private and quiet and had full hook-ups not all spots may be this way.
  • Typically there were spotlights but not as bad as some.
  • Nice tourist video:
  • I think this was $26

Sisters Bakery – Sisters, OR

  • Delicious house made bear claw and muffin souffle vege lunch treat.
  • I was intending to overnight in Sisters except for the nearby fire….  I was weary of smoky air by this time.

Crown Villa RV Resort – Bend, OR

  • My favorite park of the trip even though I passed it by at first
  • 12 Acres, very pet friendly with good sized off leash dog run
  • Clean, lots of grassy areas for walking, a few trails, lots of trees
  • Beautiful bathrooms / showers and nice hottub
  • Was street traffic but died down at night
  • I took a street side location for a discount
  • Woodsy, personal site services
  • Car needed to get to town, etc.
  • Discount site $40

Caldwell Campground and RV Park – Caldwell, ID (near Boise, ID)

  • I was lucky, arrived on a Sunday and found a peaceful site open near the little lake, other sites were not as nice (crowded and little privacy)
  • Many long term campers with trailers
  • Fairly quiet until midnight, then a long parade of trucks drove past my parking spot….  lasted for 45 min. Lights shinning in my windows and noisy Not sure why they didn’t take the other road into camp.)
  • A bit rundown and unkempt but decent
  • Lots of cigarette butts and dog waste in spite of sign to pick up after your pet
  • Lake area was nice, fair walking. Had long trail but didn’t have time to try it.
  • Freeway / highway noise
  • Nothing interesting in the area
  • $25 (I think)

Best Western Plus Cotton Tree – Pocatello, ID

  • I will not stay here again
  • Uncomfortable and noisy
  • I enjoyed driving around the town and found a nice park for the dogs.
  • $85 plus tax, was given $5 refund for discomfort

Huckleberry AnnE’s, West Yellowstone, MT

  • It’s terrible, I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I think this might have been it. The patio was closed so the dogs had to wait in the LT.
  • The food was wonderful!

Signal Mountain Campground – Grand Tetons National Park, WY

  • Loved this campground – I had the best spot in the camp overlooking the lake
  • No showers, no hot water, no showers even at the lodge area
  • Main drawback was the smoke from the area fires. The smoke obscured the view completely. . . could not see the mountains
  • Other drawback was neighboring campers…  walked though my space and caused my dogs to bark (they could have walked around but were too lazy) and someone left their generator running.
  • Stayed two nights, could have easily and happily stayed longer.
  • $20.65 per night.

Dornan’s – Moose, WY ( food and hootenanny)

  • Camp chow, music and fun. . . darn they didn’t have salmon the night I was there.

Mangy Moose  –  Jackson Hole, WY (restaurant and bar)

  • Don’t bother eating here just look at the cute decor and go somewhere else.

Jackson Whole Grocer – Jackson, WY (grocery and natural foods)

  • Ate at their deli several times and stocked up on food supplies
  • Really enjoyed this store

Smiths – Jackson WY (grocery and supplies)

  • Pleasantly surprised to find lots of fresh organic produce and great selection of supermarket supplies.

Employees Parking – Grand Tetons National Park, WY

  • Boondocking….  I was given permission to stay here for some nights. This is not something one can normally expect; others should not plan on doing this. It was a great location for touring with my friend on his off hours from work at the Lodge.

Rendezvous at the South Fork – Swan Valley, ID

  • I think this was the place I stayed – it was a last min. find backtracking down the canyon. It was getting late and I was tired.
  • Park was okay.
  • Nice hot shower – it was getting cold outside
  • Right off the highway
  • Somewhat quiet…  someone rented the cabin right behind me and turned on the blazing outside light after I’d gone to sleep – it woke me and I sat there waiting and trying to block out the light….  finally had to knock on their door….  fellow immediately apologized and turned out the light.
  • Mediocre walking for the dogs because of stickers and highway on the other side
  • I was sick so appreciated that few others used the bathroom / showers… clean and lots of hot water.
  • Don’t remember what I paid. Prob would not stay again, but it was okay.

Jerome KOA – Jerome, ID

  • Normally I don’t care for KOA camps. .  . they can be very expensive and have too many smoky campfires. I was very lucky at this one not being able to find a place for the night. My Mom helped locate this (and many others)
  • My parking spot was off in the long-term section, nice and private away from the others who were all squished together and therefore quiet and peaceful.
  • Nothing to complain about – arrived late and exhausted, left fairly early.
  • Decent walking for the dogs.
  • $38

Sparks Marina RV – Sparks, NV

  • Nice walking across the street
  • Park was clean and quiet.
  • I used the pool and hot tub.
  • Very large park, when full it must be crazy.
  • Even being an off time I was the only “little guy” in the park.
  • Think I paid $33 with a discount

Private Boondocking

  • Had a nice opportunity to boondock outside someone’s home in a guest parking area.
  • Quiet and peaceful
  • Friend let me use their shower and made me a wonderful breakfast!