Down to the desert-Anza-Borrego

Desert Sunrise

Colours, enchanting colours of the desert mornings. The sound of doves and early a lone coyote cry in the distance. We are always approached and warned by the plethora of paranoid campers about being”careful”, those coyotes, they’ll come and snatch your cats, right off the leash…sigh, yes, thanks for the warning. We have lived in the wilds before:) Maybe they mean well, and no, we don’t let our cats out loose and yes, we are perceptive about wildlife:) The camp host at first came over and said”Hey, dogs need to keep to the paths” then looked, cats? Never mind nothing in the rules about cats;) Funny world:)

The Palm Canyon trail is a beautiful hike up to a grove of, yes, palms:) 3.5 mile loop trail, up about 400′ in elevation. It starts at a small parking lot at the end of the road where the dry camping is located. The creek was running well, so much water! The trail criss-crosses the creek several times as you wind your way up. The path ranges from smooth sand to rocky bits and even a bit of scrambling at the end. I think it is remade each year after the rains wash it out:) It was quiet, a few other hikers but not crowded at all and that blue blue sky to marvel at!

…and the wildflowers are just starting. Mostly small bunches here and there, Western Painted Lady Butterflies are flitting about, landing briefly and moving on in waves. At one point in the path Mike’s eagle astronomer eyes spied a hummingbird on her nest, right next to the path. We sat on a rock and watched her come and go, fascinating, some hikers stopped, others just walked by…

One of nature’s marvels these tiny cuplike nests, made of plant fibers and spider webs, lined with plant down and sometimes feathers. I’m not sure if she is an Anna’s or a Costa’s Hummingbird, I thought I saw a flash of pink as she courted a male so most likely Anna’s:) They associate with males only long enough to copulate. The female constructs the nest, incubates the eggs, and cares for nestlings, lots of work for a single mother! Incubation is 14-19 days, that is quick! I could have stayed for hours…and I did come back the next day and sat for an hour before we had to vacate our campsite.

This was the first chance I had the opportunity to put my new camera strap to work, a BlackRapid Breathe Sport Strap that attaches to the Tamron Lens. It made it much easier crawling over rocks and through boulders, which is all part of the trail carrying the rather heavy lens:) The strap crosses your shoulder and has an additional under arm band to keep things from moving around, yet it is easy to raise the camera for any shot. Impressed:)

We went back the alternative way as that is usually where we see Borregos but none this trip, there is so much to eat right now they don’t need to come down into the canyon to forage. The hummingbird nest made my day!

I ventured out after dark to see if I could image the Winter Milky Way to the West but it was mostly faded from the light pollution coming from the West, LA and Desert Palm Springs I believe. It was still a gorgeous night to watch the stars and listen to the coyotes .

The next day we hopped across the lake, or the Salton Sea, I just want to call it a lake…a short drive from Anza-Borrego to the Western shore. I’d read up on a few of the campgrounds and we wanted to go someplace completely new to us, which it was. Didn’t know what to expect but so glad we did!

Our view to the Salton Sea

Stay tuned for the Salton Sea…coming soon! Saludos amigos!


Closing a chapter…

♫♪♫ I wish they all could be California girls♫♪♪♫ I hear the Beach boys singing!

We needed a change of pace, wandering about looking at ducks had me wondering if I’d be sprouting feathers soon;)….A walk on the beach sounded the perfect thing to do when our friends Regan and Sheila arrived from Canada, one day after their vacation, they hopped on a plane after agreeing to drive a 20′ U-haul back to upstate NY with the remains of what we own and not stuffed on the trailer. It was time to close the California chapter and get those last few belongs, books and picture albums, worn bits of family furniture, heirlooms or not, it is the few things we still feel we have a history to and we have a place to put them so out of the 20′ shipping container on my brother and sister-in-law’s property and off to Ontario they eventually will go! After the checking the price of moving companies and choking, this was our option, Regan stepped up and coerced Sheila I’m sure to a 6 day cross the USA adventure driving a truck…ha! They are amazing people! And yes, I still found birds;)

We walked down the beach…”all those fit Californians” Sheila remarked:) Indeed, one less trip to “Habit Burger” the little angel said sitting on my shoulder;) We toured Ocean Beach the next day after having breakfast at Gillespie Field, the devil made me order the eggs benedict, honestly… watching the planes take off and land. Ran into some people with bengal cats on leashes, NEED! and Obi Wan’s church (I could have sworn it said that) as well as a peace hostel and a tour through “The Black” finished by margaritas on the boardwalk people watching:)

It is such an odd place California. After the God billboards of the South, California has its own Gods, the Cannabis ones…American marketing at it’s best, there is someone out there waiting to sell you something;) And the Trump flags…sigh…do you really need to fly your flag at a campground, God forbid some sane thinking person might approach you, warn them off right away!!! Maybe I can get an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez one, billionaires beware!

We live in such divided times don’t we, it seems the middle ground has sunk into a swamp and we are clinging to either side…but at least the West coast is well medicated from what I can see, eases the pain…;)

We bade farewell to Sheila and Regan and our truck full of memories headed North, pleaded with the weather Gods to be kind for their travels and started to pack up as we had a three or four day hotel stay ahead of us as our trusty trailer Myrtle had some body work to be done after an encounter with road debris, maybe it was a road nargle… put a bump in the left rear quarter and pulled the trim away. I called a body shop a mobile RV guy suggested, first it wouldn’t be until the middle of February, then he called back and said bring it in right away!…now, to find a cat friendly hotel, and dog friendly ones are not interchangeable…rooms that smell of wet dog will not be accepted Groot exclaimed!

We searched online as the insurance company gave us a budget of what we could spend, the Ritz Carlton was right out;) I was craving countryside and dirt, we looked at the beach but it was concrete wall to wall so headed inland and checked out a small motel near Julian. Huge live oaks behind, places to walk the cat, kitchenettes with fridge and freezer…bingo! Even a bakery across the road with lovely home made biscuits! It was Groot, Gamora and Puffy approved once they had the chance to explore and settle in. They amaze me these creatures of habit that can adapt to sudden change! Kitty Vacation!!!! Nooks and crannies to explore as well as high cabinets to perch on!

The forecast was for rain so we took a morning drive before the front came through and checked out a few local state/county parks for future RV reference, William Heise and then off towards Mount Laguna before the clouds rolled in and the rain started. I do love this terrain. Perhaps it reminds me of the Baja Sierra mountains and live oaks, I feel at home here at this elevation more than anywhere. I didn’t get Mike to visit the Camel/dromedary dairy though;) Will save that for next trip! The trailer was actually done a day early (imagine that) but our reservation to return to Santee was not so we stayed put an extra day before heading back to Santee to retrieve Myrtle, cats in tow and heading back to the lakeshore loop at Santee Lakes for a few days to make sure all was in order, shopping done and a few more walks around the lake and bid farewell to my troup of birds:)

It keeps me out of trouble;) All these birds. The morning we were scheduled for departure the clouds had parted and the sun was glorious! It has seemed to be an oddly wet time of the year and spoiled as we are, what is this mud thing??? Ha! It brings mushrooms and glossy berries and cats hidden in trees!

We headed North on the 67, Mike and I chuckle now when we start to give highway directions, SNL “the Californians”, thanks Regan and Sheila, ha! Yes we do sound like that sometimes…so, like we took uh the 67 North to hmm, the 78 at Santa Isobel you like turn left onto the 79 North to like the State road 22 East….to get to Anza-Borrego State Park. Past snow covered hills and then the LA mountains to the North. The road going down to the Salton Sea had been sanded, wicked weather here a few days back, the road signs were covered with ice. Just wild! Nothing like Ontario my friends but weather nonetheless, I think it was my great Grandfather that said Southern California has climate, not weather;)

So with our escape from the city complete it was with a bit of a heavy heart as it felt indeed like a chapter coming to an end, things that tied us here, things, not the wonderful people, family and friends, are now gone. We place so much stock in these things at times. Sometimes I think the longer we stay away from the them, the less important they become, until we open that favourite dog eared book, and gaze at the photos, the old chinese chest and the old ass sucking (yes, you really can not get your ass out of this sofa once you sit down) rattan sofa…our things…not new, not fancy but just wonderful comforting old things. They will await us for another few months as our journey continues, seeking a few warmer spots before it is time to head North and East once again. Stay tuned for the desert and the Salton Sea my friends!

Good night Anza-Borrego

Saludos amigos…love this desert air!

“I’m stoked”

Though Merriam-Webster defines “stoke” as “to stir or add fuel to (something that is burning)” this expression has absolutely nothing to do with building a fire, at least in a literal sense. Californians are stoked when they’re totally, completely exhilarated about something, whether it’s a trip to the mountains or a huge swell coming just in time for the weekend.

Or even a good cup of coffee…welcome to California:) Sort of, the laid back beach vibe doesn’t inhabit all the state, at least nowhere on the freeways, but we’re sticking with our pay it forward, be nice to people merging and to those who seem not able to drive at all and take a deep breath;) ha! Easier said than done! Occasionally someone throws a thank you wave your way, a small gesture, just meaning you have acknowledged each others humanity:) Isn’t that nice!

We’ve stayed on the coast before, down in Pacific Beach there are two RV “resorts”, having a pool classifies you as such I think;) but at $90 a night and lined up cheek to jowl with your neighbour is not my idea of a good time, also, concrete as far as the eye can see, I need dirt to walk on. That is why we come back to Santee Lakes, we do have to shuffle about every week or so to a new spot but if we plan we get good separation and trees for cats to climb, and birds to perch in:)

The sites near the pool in the center of the campground are in groves of sycamore and pine trees, the Willow Loop, yup, go figure;) Here the small songbirds and finches flock to the fruiting bushes. The Red Tailed and Red Shouldered Hawks use the upper branches as cover as they hunt their meals. A family of crows will tell you when they are there. I first thought they were barking at the cats on their leashes but then I looked up, and a hawk was looking down at me:)

Other than the incessant helicopter and military aircraft noise it can be quiet surprisingly enough, they do rest occasionally the military:) The wildlife isn’t just humans walking their dogs, the coyotes yip and snarl at night after they have caught a rabbit or a bird too close to shore, Coot control one might think. Mike pointed out the coyote yips to a woman one day while he was taking the trash to the dumpster…”Is that what that is! How incredibly creepy!” she exclaimed…what??? Are we that far removed from nature that the glorious yips from a coyote sound creepy? Very sad…Mike said he was left without words and walked away.

At least one small tied up dog has been snatched by the coyotes but then they do say, don’t tie your dog outside the trailer…sad way to learn a lesson. We must share these areas. As further construction above the lakes increases, 450 new homes I was told, it squeezes these creatures out of their natural environment and into the campgrounds and neighbourhoods. It is very sadly called “Weston”….”one road in, one road out” a woman walking her dog exclaimed, “450 houses, not exactly good fire planning”.

Depending on where you are in the campground defines what is around you. The first spots, oldest in the park from the 1960’s, are the lakeshore loop, my favourite. Spot #44 backs onto the lake where the Wood Ducks spend the night, any of the spots in here are quite lovely, though you can be very close-side by side in some spots, it pays to pick and choose. You can drink your coffee in the morning looking at the ducks and various other water birds, a nice way to start the day:) This is a large campground with many choices.

During the week the shorter lakeside sites are generally empty, they fill up for the weekend but so nice and quiet the rest of the time. The cats can wander along the lakes/reservoir and watch the coots:) Groot got very excited watching a man fishing, no doubt thinking of Otty Lake and what those fishing rods catch! The fisherman declared they don’t eat anything out of the lake, it all tastes like pond bottom green moss he said. Not a surprise as they are farm raised and released here to eat, pond bottom green moss;)

The Egrets and Herons fly from bank to bank looking for small fish. They are quite used to humans and let you walk right on by. The Black Crowned Night Heron either looks like a Mafia henchman sitting on the edge of the water to an occasional perch in a tree. I missed catching the Green Heron down at lake one but will endeavour to get his photograph, he is a beauty. The American White Pelicans often follow the Double Crested Cormorants about as they heard schools of fish too and fro, waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of their work. They are impressive when they fly right over your head. Even get to visit with some Canadians, geese that is, and even a few fellow human Northerners in the campground as well;)

When the water is flat calm, the reflections are astounding. Mother Nature’s artwork at is’t best:) Sometimes it is simply the reflections of the surrounding shrubbery that amaze me, the birds are gravy:) I sometimes wonder why all my birds seem to swim left to right…hmmmmm…..;)

So here we are, about to embark on a new month in a New Year. We are having some repairs taken care of, the shore power went out, turned out to be the surge protector and electric reel, those are now replaced we have our lights back, no more extension cords leading out the trailer door, thank you so much Offshore Outfitters and Good Sam Extended Warranty! We found some road debris as well had done some damage to the driver quarter panel so Myrtle is at the body shop now, getting that replaced, the rear cap bracket must have come loose when something hit us, the bottom of the cap swayed from side to side at the bottom way more than it should as we went over a bit of pavement at the campground backing in…0_0…. tithery things these trailers. Great body shop in Santee said it will be ready by the morning, we will be happy to get back on board tomorrow hopefully, to home. It really is home:) and the only DRV I’ve seen with bumper stickers…hahahahaha!

…and not the only adventure this week, but we’ll explain that soon:)

Saludos amigos and stay tuned! We’ll let the duck have the last quack;)

Estero Estuary Life

Sunset at the estuary

It is always bittersweet leaving Estero behind. Hardly seems like a month has gone by but here we are at the end of January, seems so far away. I can still smell the tacos and am missing the smiles of the water refill store boys who wave as we drive by and Mariscos cart on the corner, those shrimp cocktails and the latest gossip about people we do not know, his family trials and tribulations and his weird porn, yup, he’s a sharer, on his phone…0_0 hahahaha, what some people want to pass on eh? 😉 The air in Ensenada was starting to affect me, and Beezil the old cat. With no garbage disposal (on strike, no money) people resorted to burning everything, plastic, styrofoam, everything….It created a noxious odour and those nasty little particulates, not good to breathe in:(…doesn’t seem to bother the birds…

The bird life in the estuary is a constant source of beauty and affirmation of life here, almost in the city but not. As the tides go in and out the wildlife change spots and reorganize with every passing hour. Crabs scramble as the Willets chase them, the Mergansers can be seen herding fish underwater, working in pairs as the herd of Egrets greedily follow them hoping to catch a tasty morsel unaware.

The Osprey comes and goes with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The seagulls tell tall tales to each other after the tide has gone out with scavenged pieces of fish. At low tide the Black Skimmers land in huge flocks (are they aliens or what?) and just sit as do the Egrets and Herons.
Now I’m going to have to explain to the cats…other than the fact there will be no more fresh fish or shrimp from El Garo, no more beach!!!!

The highlight of the cat’s day is a trip to the beach where the old RV park used to be. Now a brand new cement road leads there, empty lots sit, it makes me sad to see the park gone as it was truly a spectacular place to be. The cats don’t care much for busy days so after four, when most have gone home they get to go and run on the beach, free range kitties. Groot watches for passing bicyclists and Gamora stalks birds to no avail, they run and play…they are not going to forgive me;)

It’s not all seabirds here. The flycatchers wait and dash from the palms at flies. Mrs. Merlin has a spot in a leafless tree where she waits each afternoon, and the Red Tail Hawk, shyer than many used to humans was a wary watcher from the posts.

Gray days of January

With the rains have come some wildflowers on the beach and the orange trumpets the hummingbirds love so much, a few rare aloe blooms, not so much rain this Winter so far but a delight to see the wildflowers poking their heads through the sandy patches.

The last week we spent an afternoon in Valle de La Guadalupe-Birthday lunch at Laja-food porn for anyone who understands what simplicity and wonderful fresh ingredients can do. The wine pairing was fabulous, local wines all, especially the Bichi label from Tecate brought many smiles. I start to drool just looking at the pictures and reliving the flavours:) Best Birthday present ever:) It was a fabulous way to spend a rainy afternoon with my love:)

We hoped to stay through February but it was not to be. We headed back across the border at Tecate, a surprising 5 minute wait at the border had us flabbergasted, a kind, working without pay, CBP was gracious, a reminder how difficult life can be for these guys, even when they are getting paid! No emergency here folks, can someone pass that on to #45….

A bientot Estero, can’t bear to say adios Baja California:)

Last Estero sunset

Saludos amigos, stay tuned, back to Sandy Dayglo:)

Look again at that dot…

Mother Nature’s artwork

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” 

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Mi querida Baja-Feliz Navidad, or is that Feliz Saturnalia;)

Estero estuary

The sigh of relief when we cross the border, the smiles at the toll booths and customs, the views of the amazing coastline from the toll road, all the signs of getting back to Ensenada. I can’t quite explain the feeling, maybe it is leaving the city behind and the endless traffic, maybe it feels more like the countries I was raised in, or the slipping back into Spanish, like comfy slippers:) Is it a pristine environment, no, it is a wonderful mix of poor and middle class, the wealthy and folks that live in shacks. It is the smell of meat being roasted over wood fires for tacos and the easy smile from kids you pass in the street, it can be the smell of the fishery in the North of town and sometimes fosa, septic but it is what it is:) There is nothing homogenous about this wonderful place called Baja. We get so hungry just driving through town, the wafts of food lingering in the air! Like dogs with their heads out the window we take in the smell and our mouths start to water;)

We’d called ahead at Estero Beach, the RV park is long gone, a spanking new concrete roads leads to lots, that are not sold and it is not finished. We miss our spot that backs up onto the estuary but are glad to be squeezed into the last small row of houses built back in the 50’s and 60’s. Of the 15 or so houses, only a few get any visitors, a few times a month, otherwise we feel we are on an abandoned street, not a bad thing:) We can see the beach and walk there in moments:) Mike has his telescope set up and waiting for that laminar air flow that produces spectacular seeing! The small trips to the corner store for fresh fruit and vegetables are so easy and so reasonable, and of course Poblano’s Tacos next door, or El Rey del Tacos up the street, or Lupita’s fish tacos in Maneadero, or the Mariscos cart just before the Estero road…sigh…so much good food, so little time;)

It feels like home:) We can walk to the beach, the cats can frolic there, at the very end they race up and down in the sand doing spectacular aerial moves, ninja kittens:) Many smiles watching them tear around and play, climbing up the palm trees and looking for crabs under the rocks and just enjoying life, they have us well-trained, whoever said dogs were smarter?;)

All the familiar birds are back. The Herons and Ospreys, known as Fish Hawks in Spanish, Aguila Pescador. I’ve come to think of these birds as travelers, just like us. They go to Canada for the Summer and head South in the Winter:) The osprey differs in several respects from other diurnal birds of prey. Its toes are of equal length, its tarsi are reticulated, and its talons are rounded, rather than grooved. The osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish.

The osprey has several adaptations that suit its fishing lifestyle :

  • reversible outer toes
  • sharp spicules on the underside of the toes
  • closable nostrils to keep out water during dives
  • backwards-facing scales on the talons which act as barbs to help hold its catch.
  • dense plumage which is oily and prevents its feathers from getting waterlogged

The osprey is unusual in that it is a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide. according to Wikipedia, I learn something new every day:) Love the fact it can close it’s nostrils:)

A new bird of prey I have not seen before, a Merlin (Falco columbarius) has shown up, not the wizard but this beautiful raptor;) this is their Winter range, they migrate, the last pair I saw was on an Otty Lake boat ride:) This female is slightly larger than her male companion, who I have not seen. She has the same perch every afternoon, looking for birdie numnums, yes, they are also called pigeon hawks, for obvious reasons.

and the hummingbirds:) I do miss these Anna’s as we head North and East and the Ruby Throated takes over. The feeder has been up for a week and we have quite the population already of various males and females coming to visit, but this little guy thinks he owns it:) I won’t try to tell him otherwise;) After battling a cold and flu for the better part of the week I’m starting to feel a bit more normal. With Christmas almost here we’ve decided to stay, the neighbour has offered his oven for a price…a meal…hahahaha, great neighbour (Thank you John!!!) and it looks like our Condor amigos will be here as well so it is going to be a wonderful celebration, the sharing of food and smiles, laughter and wine and good company. I do miss my family, but this is my Baja family:)

So tonight, on this eve of Christmas, we want to pause and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday, in what ever religion you care to celebrate, or none if that be the case. May it be full of good food and friends, even family;) and peace, in our often less than peaceful world. Saludos amigos y Feliz Navidad:)

12-19-Santa quero


Back to the desert…Tucson, Yuma and then the land of little manners

2018-11-26 186AsS_stitch

We were considering our options as stops and our favourite places on our way West, Portal, Arizona, been there, Kartchner Caverns, been there several times so we decided on a new state park, about 30 miles North of the 8, Roper Lake State Park, or reservoir actually. It was a fair hike off the 8 but below Mount Graham Observatory so it sounded interesting…and Ok, yeah, I figured there would be a lot of birds as well;)

It was a pretty place, we had a large back in site in the Hacienda Campground. It offers three campgrounds but the views to the lake mostly consist of marsh. It was not as wild as I had expected I guess, it felt very man-made. Groot and Gamora enjoyed stalking the local Road Runner sunning him/herself and a feral cat hid in the bushes but not really a great birding/photography area, unless you have a boat or kayak.

But always good to see new places. The Graham Observatory is not a place you can just drop into to visit. Tours are scheduled at $40 per person, lunch included they say, but a minimum of 6 people so no visits this trip. We were off to Tucson the following day back to Desert Trails RV Park right on the edge of the Tucson Mountain and Saguaro State Park. This has to be one of the friendliest, and funky RV parks we have stayed at. They found us a primo spot with birds and bushes for the cats ( yes, we do look for that, I hate seeing other RV’s out the windows) and it was Food Truck night, Wednesdays and Sundays they bring in different food trucks. We actually opted for the one on the corner as you are driving in, Jandy’s, great tacos and salsas:) we highly recommend him!

I do love this area, the parks and trails, the views. I was planning a visit to the Sonora-Arizona Desert Museum but a sick person must have coughed our way and we were under the weather for a few days. We did get a trip to Total Wine though…oh my, it is an amazing place for wine, spirits and beer lovers;) Mike gets his fill of wonderful Greek whites and Kölsch beer and I just wander around dazed by the selection! Worth a trip just to gawk!

Be patient with my videos, a new thing for me with the phone, which at times works and at others does not;) ha! Great for Sanpchat! Tucson has a kind of cool downtown as well, old buildings and lots of interesting places to see. I still don’t get the double stop signs will have to ask next trip;) for really tall people? or short?

Time to move on, we spent a night in Yuma at the Riverfront RV Park right on the Colorado river, not the one off of the 8 where all you hear is traffic all night but the on the “other side of the tracks” 😉 it makes the jump to San Diego shorter. The owner is quite the lady, she gets an A plus in my books, anyone who can run a backhoe without blinking an eye gets my vote!I think we could drive this route with our eyes closed. At least no wind warnings and clear skies:)

and back to sandy Dayglo as we affectionately refer to it as. It’s not that I don’t like Southern California, I’ve spent decades here, it perhaps is just large metropolis that make me feel as we as a species are somewhat doomed. The lack of manners, the very simple stuff, holding a door, saying thank you, seem to be rare qualities. Never mind trying to merge with a 37′ trailer and truck;) or walk on a sidewalk without having to step off and let folks three abreast pass, yup, happens…someone told me just not to step aside, I guess that did not occur to me. It’s as if these large population areas need a Miss Manners refresh, a reboot;) I’ve been accused of not liking Americans, that is not true, as I wouldn’t like half of myself if that were the case;) I just find in our somewhat hyper individualized country manners seem to give way to the “me” problem, empathy dissapears and many fall through the cracks with little safety net. Perhaps it is the time of year to pay it forward, hold a door, let someone merge happily with a smile and try to bring a little bit of politesse to the world around us. I will always try to cover the good, the bad, and the ugly:)..or maybe just stick to landscapes and birds;)

Santee Lakes is our go to spot for now, enough spaces you can get a weekend slot. During the week we get a primo lakefront space, #44, watch your AC units on the low hanging oak branches but your view to the lake, wonderful and it is where all the Wood Ducks hang out in the late day and evenings…bonus! The elusive Kingfisher only comes out when I don’t have my camera it seems;)

I hate to admit most of these were taken within 100 feet of the trailer, some from my chair;) You also get good cell signal here, further back in the park it is always problematic. So we had this great space from Sunday to Friday and then moved back to the more long-term stays are. I swear the cats know when we come back to familiar places:)

The variety of bird life here is astounding. The migrant ducks are always a joy to watch and the local Egrets, Herons and Cormorants are a treat. Everywhere you look something is flapping, flying or swimming by. Go during the week if you can, the weekends are loud and noisy and the birds go into hiding, not that I blame them;)

Did I mention I like to photograph birds;) ha!

We had a few unusual grey California days, had some great visits with family, the reason we stop and a few good meals. Discovered the “Yummy House”, how could you go wrong with that name;) up on Convoy thanks to a great food writer and critic Michael Gardiner with the San Diego City Beat, not many people who I trust in food tastes but he is one! We wanted the Pekin duck but did not realize we had to order an hour ahead, so that will be for the next trip! The stir fired vegetables (pumpkin, water chestnuts ,wood fungus mushrooms and shrimp) and spicy pork was amazing! The Shank and Bone, fusion Vietnamese in North Park was great as well, the grilled scallops were to die for, we ate them before any pictures, so sorry and the BÚN ĐẶC BIỆT, the works is my go to;)

We had a delicious breakfast with my aunt and uncle, always a treat to catch up, Sunday brunch with my brother and the extended family on that side with a birthday thrown in. Santee squeezed us in a few extra days as well so it was not too rushed but at about the week point Mike and I are ready to get the hell out:) Guess we were not made to live in the city. We were craving the easy smiles of Mexico, the great food and the overall happy feel we get when we are there:) I did get a whole new slew of billboards from the city. From Psychics to Cannabis delivery it has a whole different feel that the South;)

Borders, always a bit of stress, whether they are US, Canadian or Mexican I never really seem to get the right information on what we can bring or can’t so have given up and just get rid of most of the produce and leave the rest to chance. The lovely aduana lady in Tijuana was refreshing. We know the routine, go to the bus lane as the trailer has to go through the large Xray machine. We was sweet and polite, asked a few questions. We inquired as to how all was going given the massive influx of migrants from Central America, she smiled and shrugged, saying it had been quiet and we were nice to ask. Off we went and parked in the Xray lane, we take the three cats out in the carrier, go behind the shield, the same guy has been running this for years and he knows us, after that we pull away and park, waiting for the final OK to leave, the nice aduana lady came a few minutes later and motioned us on our way, with a smile. When is the last time a CBP smiled at you? Welcome back to Mexico:)

6-25-Coastline sign

From the toll road-Baja coastline

So very very nice to see those easy smiles, it always feels like we are coming home, and I guess it is after a decade.

Saludos amigos, stay tuned for tacos and hummingbirds….we’re baaaaaacccckkkk:)

From dunes to the mountains…back to the birds!

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We were really quite shocked as we pulled into the Monahans Sandhills ( yes hills, not dunes;) State Park. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect only being a hop and a skip off of the very busy I 20 but the road into the campground takes you further and further back, away from highway noise and the train whistles. We backed into a spot surrounded by sand and no close neighbours, talk about happy cats, rolling and digging…heaven! This was a one night stop so we hopped into the truck to run into Monahan 5 miles West for diesel and a quick stop at the grocery store, forgot it was Thanksgiving eve, full of busy harried, unhappy looking customers. Brings out the best in people doesn’t it;)

Glad to fuel up and return to the park to await the moonrise. Climbed to the top of a dune near the trailer with a glass of wine, a fold up chair and my tripod and camera and waited. It was incredibly hazy but a beautiful evening sit to and watch the full moon coming up.

A really worthwhile stop, even for a night to take in the sites. Lots of people clamouring around the dunes. There are no marked trails and the front interpretation center was being remodeled so didn’t do much other than poke about around the trailer. A deer wandered past behind the dunes and I followed a ton of trails of small animals in the sand. The wind was from the North, in the morning we awoke to the stench of petroleum, wind was from the South where a huge refinery of some sorts sits, not pleasant but we were ready to head South a bit to Fort Davis.

It wasn’t a big jump, we planned it that way stopping at the dunes. A far different view than one we had several years ago after heavy rains, it is very very dry. We’d planned on staying in a RV park in Fort Davis as the park had been fully booked but the front desk staff said to call the morning of, “You never know” and how glad we were we did. A pull through had come available, for three nights! Woohoo!

We had planned on staying two but really wanted a rest and at least one day of only walking, no driving!  The very cheerful desk staff checked us in, open fires prohibited in the park due to the dryness, no surprise there, but when we reached our site, another camper was in it and they didn’t look like they were getting ready to leave…sigh…went back to the front desk and they called the park rangers who paid them a visit, took them another hour and a half to leave. They said their truck had broken down and were waiting for someone to arrive, but it was an A class and a pop-up trailer. They finally borrowed a hitch and moved the pop-up with the A-class. Front desk ladies were not happy, seems they had taken this spot this morning, taking down our “reserved” sign…the neighbours noted that. Patience is indeed a virtue:) they were kind enough to come over and tell us they were trying to resolve the problem:)

Did I mention they have bird blinds;) Our camping site was in the center. In the future, as we will be back, I’d take 18, 20 or 21 facing the arroyo. Here the trees are alive with birds, live oaks and small pines along with plenty of cover with mesquite. I didn’t get to see the javelinas, another birder saw them early in the morning. No hummingbirds…yet!

Wonderful to sit and rest and watch all the fluttering about:) I followed my favourites around for a few hours…The Acorn Woodpeckers. Watching them gather acorns and then find precisely the exact spot to stash those acorns is very amusing! The electrical poles are full of acorns!

We had considered spending a night watching for the Marfa lights, but that will have to wait for the next trip. A cold front coming through dampened our spirits to sitting outside in the howling wind and we opted to check out the area first with the truck and take our laundry into Alpine.

What we did discover is we could camp here overnight and keep an eye out all night is need be! We started our laundry and had a coffee next door at a lovely coffee shop, and lunch from the “Cow Dog” food truck. Wonderful hotdogs, everything fresh and made to order as well as home-made mashed potato patties with green chillies and cheese! YUM!

The other food truck we wanted to go to-Tri la bite…was closed for Thanksgiving;)

It is always with a heavy heart I leave here. I could stay weeks, maybe next time:) We took the back road out of Fort Davis towards Marfa, cut across on the Texas 166 that meets up with the 90 and then back to steady traffic on the I 20. It was pretty straight, a few curves, but not the winding road leading past the McDonald Observatory.

We passed the Prada Store, a piece of architectural art, mocking perhaps mass consumerism? Read about it here: Prada Marfa. I’ve been told it gets so crowded you sometimes can’t get a shot…not today! ah, right hand shoes and handbags with no bottoms…

Our next scheduled overnight was at another Harvest Host, Sombra Antigua Winery, just across the border into New Mexico. These are long straight freeways full of semi’s and a few billboards;) The only God in West Texas appears to be oil.

The Sombra Antigua winery is located well off the 1 20. Quiet roads leading past pecan groves and cotton fields lead you this spot. It was fairly busy this Saturday, live music and wine tastings. We went and dieseled up before partaking and upon arriving at the turn to the winery followed in another DRV trailer. It had Florida plates but turns out they were a lovely pair of Canadians fulltiming like ourselves, what was the chance we would pull in, in almost identical trailers? Love them, had a few glasses of wine and great conversation. Garth and Debbie, we will meet up again!

For today, I’ll leave you here, a few more stops and jumps and we’ll be back to the Pacific Ocean! Saludos amigos and stay tuned!

If not for the billboards, it would not be as much fun…Deep South and Texas

As the passenger I get to spend a lot of time looking out the window, the billboards, wow, I can only chuckle at times and wonder what they say about our society;) If aliens were to come to Earth and just read them…now, that would be a story worth listening to:) maybe they have, I want to believe;)

We had a gray day  leaving Tennessee, by the time we arrived in Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama the clouds followed us with drizzle as well. We opted for a few days here. The sites were a bit wonky but it turns out we were alone on either side for our stay and we had full hook ups as well. It was chilly! This was a Groot and Gamora approved park. Full of paths and soft leaves to dig in and very little traffic, Gamora is not fond of cars, Groot doesn’t like strange humans;)

We had a cold night, frost everywhere in the morning. We had to refill our propane tank at the local TSC store, seemed to have the best prices, but a grumpy staff, guy a head of us called the clerk a “horse’s pattootie”…hahahaha! Had me thinking of Colonel Potter, Sherman T, in M.A.S.H 😉

Felt like the cold and rain were once again following us! We wanted, needed some sunshine! We headed out clear and cold towards Mississippi, our next stop, Yogi on the Lake, a RV park in Pelahatchie. We had sun, glorious sun and not so many crazy billboards;)

This is a lovely one night stop unless you are into closed water parks, or open water parks for that matter. We were the only trailer backed up onto the lake, for a few dollars more we had a premium view, a few trailers were scattered further in. Pelahatchie Lake looks like a reservoir, the RV park on one side and cottages and homes on the other. It was the first time we’ve been able to open our door! We were in for another cold night according to our weather app, that is why we opted for power over a Harvest Host location. Keeping Beezil’s electric blanket and the fireplace on high!

I knew as soon as I woke up I had to go outside. I sat at the picnic table drinking my coffee and watched Mother Nature’s light show unfold:) Spectacular mists and fog rising from the lake surface. It was nice to see life, Canada Geese and Mallards, a Great Blue Heron and Egrets fishing on the shoreline. It finally felt that we were leaving that cold zone. It seems like months since we left Perth, it is a mere 10 days. Wish we did not have to hurry along as we are…The staff was friendly there, the large statues of Yogi and Booboo a bit weird but hey, this is America;) I didn’t opt for the photo with them;)

Our next jump was under 4 hours, our limit for the old cat Beezil. I found a campground in the Kisatchie National Forest North of Minden, Alabama that came with rave reviews. The Beaverdam Campground. I prepaid my $15 a night, yes, $15, now THIS is affordable camping and our GPS’s, both of them, did take us an odd route through some very small back roads but we arrived in one piece and were astounded by how lovely it was. Take State Route #159 North from Minden and turn left onto the Caney Lake Road, it will avoid the back road we came in on, follow the campground signs:) We could see Caney Lake out our back window. The camp host stopped by and chatted for a while, he’s been there 5 years, I can see why:)

I have never seen so many different mushrooms in all one place! These are all a few hundred feet from the trailer. This was another Groot and Gamora approved park, it was warm enough to leave the door open! un milagro!

This must be a healthy forest to have such wonderful assortment of fungi! Check out this article by the forest service: Interesting facts on Mushrooms and a fabulous page by Paul Stamets “Fungi Perfecti” and a Ted Talk: Six ways mushrooms can save the world.

I didn’t want to leave but time to move on. Make note that Minden is a dry Parish, yes Parish, not county. Religion at work here, but nearby Dixie Inn is not, a town made up of liquor stores I might add;) We did some grocery shopping, alligator nuggets anyone? Ate lunch out at a Sam’s crawfish-seafood shack, we had the grilled shrimp and passed on the deep-fried chicken livers and gizzards…nothing wasted here!

Love looking at local grocery stores for what’s cookin’;)

I wasn’t looking forward to our next stop, it was going to land us in Dallas/Fort Worth. Mike had found a county park with decent reviews so we sadly left the Kisatchie Forest behind and continued West on the I 20. Just about the worst bit of freeway we have hit so far, like riding a bronco going through Shreveport, yeehaw, even the cats looked green and were complaining the whole bouncy way through. Generally we find the freeways through cities to be the worst but this one took the grand prize! It was also a banner day for billboards! The 1-855-for-truth guys had all kinds of competition here!

Between Dallas and Fort Worth, Loyd Park Campground at Joe Pool Lake turned out to be better than I anticipated. It was not picture worthy but a good one night stop. The next morning we headed West to Lake Colorado City State Park, a few miles South of the I 20, now this was better! We were greeted by a beautiful young tabby girl, the camp hosts cat perhaps, we never saw the host. Groot was appalled at the competition, but Gamora was unfazed by the young lady;) We and the camp hosts were the only ones there when we arrived. This is a reservoir as well, 51% full it said at the campground office. Been very very dry.

This was a two-day stay for us, we were planning our next few jumps. Wonderful bird life and bunnies galore. Dragonflies were the cat’s favourite, games of chase and pounce;) There was even a fishing dock to wander around on. We had lunch in town at Mary’s Cafe, I felt brave enough to do a burger, nothing with white sauce on it thanks…0_0….this is another little town that looks prosperity has passed it by. It had a sad air to it, the refueling spot up on the highway had us standing and waiting at the counter for 5 minutes why they gossiped about a friend’s personal problems…not what one might call polite. We’ve found so far Texan drivers to rival Southern Californians in their rudeness on the freeway. Kind of odd, but this is another big “it’s all about me” state, bigger, bolder, brasher hyper individualistic perhaps? Sad after finding the other Southern states were extremely kind and civilized. Maybe it is just the transient working population. RV parks that include the bare minimum line the freeway. Cheap housing, not much personal pride at most of these stops:(

But a good spot to end for today. Tomorrow is sand dunes and then mountains! Stay tuned amigos, hope you don’t run into any old horse’s patooties;)

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Common Buckeye, not so common looking!


Guns, God and wineries, not in that order;)

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Bluestone Vineyard-Virginia

…and rain, it seems to be following us! Argh!!! After three days we heard temperatures were going to take a plunge so we opted for a RV park, Harrisburg East Campround, in Pennsylvania for two nights until the cold passed and we could do some laundry and rest from three days of driving. Friendly, clean easy in and easy out, it was an essential laundry and sewer dump stop and generator repair in the heart of the city, next to the interstate. Our trusty Honda had run then suddenly coughed a few times and stopped back in New York. We called around to a few spots seeing if someone could look at it on short notice, I was not holding my breath but a nice lady said “Sure, bring it in, if it’s something simple we can have a look” that was a lovely surprise! Shout out to Kerry’s Lawn and Garden, we didn’t even go to the location we had talked to, there are two, we didn’t know. The folks at the Northern office were just as kind. Turned out we had water in the gas, a bad load of gas no doubt, they cleaned it up and we were on our way! Delightful people! 5 star review! We are truly grateful to people who can help out someone driving through!

We finally drove out of the clouds the nest day and had a few hours of sun in the afternoon at the Bluestone Vineyard, it was delightful! We took a stroll through the vineyard and along the hedgerow, found a few flowers and much to Groot’s delight, wild catnip!

Parking was wonderful beside the grapevines with a view up the hill towards the tasting room. We paid a visit after settling in and taking the furry ones for a walk and sampled some wines. They had a water pump with real well water, sigh, so nice after a few days of chlorinated water, can’t drink that stuff, we could fill up our 3 gallon water container:)

Love these spots. I am truly not a fan of the normal RV park. My heart leans towards State and National Parks, birds and critters and room to move and breathe. Harvest Hosts has been the next best thing to the parks for me! Are there hook-ups, no, but we are pretty much self-sufficient for a few days at least:)

I sleep at night, no highway/freeway roar, no noise at all actually. Perfect. You are limited to a night at these spots unless the host invites you to stay longer.

We woke up to rain the next morning and moved on through some cloud and drizzle as we headed SW through Virginia on the Interstate 81. Our next stop, Whitebarrel Winery in Christiansburg suggested we get their early as they filled for Friday night live music and wine tasting. Scenic drive in off the 81 past horse farms and fields, some low branches bent our air vent back, again, not an uncommon occurrence for some of the out-of-the-way places we choose, nothing a trip onto the roof and bending it back couldn’t fix;) It was pouring rain when we arrived. Lovely lady in the tasting room motioned me where to park, and we went about getting set up and then went for wine and lunch:)

The lady, Maggie I believe her name was, deserved a medal. She juggled 8 plus animated clients, doing wine tastings, did up the charcuterie platters in-between as well as telling us where to park. Give that woman a raise! Lovely spot, we parked in front of the garage where they make the wine, a large A class arrived later and took the other remaining spot. Thanks Whitebarrel, the wines were lovely, your discounts were more than generous including a free tasting! We will sing your and Maggie’s praises!

The morning was clear and cold! -4° celcius, chilly! We drove through with the sun, all the way to Tennessee! We’d stayed at this RV park before, Two Rivers Landings RV resort, (a pool makes you a resort BTW:) on the  Broad River in Sevierville, Tennessee. We had an appointment in Knoxville on Monday at RV’s for less to replace the awning motor and microwave that were under warranty and thought we’d weather out the cold front with full hook-ups. It is a very touristy area, Dollywood being the big draw I think. That is Dolly Parton, of the country music fame theme park for those of you who did not know, she has her own Disneyland;)Pamorama SiervervilleAsign

It is a lovely spot, not too noisy down by the river. The spots facing the river are saved for A-classes, sadly, but this time of year it was half empty and the cats enjoyed a nice walk along the shore doing their sniffy thing. This is an odd part of the country, billboards market not only God, but Moonshine, personal injury lawyers and the dangers of “lust” as well as machine gun rentals;)

Not sure if I can ever get used to this but it is what it is. Tennessee:)

We tried a BBQ joint we’d visited last year, not very good, sadly but found a Mexican market with a small restaurant and had lunch there the following day in Gatlinburg. Real gorditas and chiles relleños! Quite the surprise!

In the morning we headed over to RV’s for Less North of Knoxville in the rain. They replaced the awning motor and the microwave I had sent there after a few calls back and forth to the Good Sam Warranty department we eventually got everything straightened out, authorized and done…by then it was fairly late and they invited us to spend the night, they have electric and water hook-ups so we graciously accepted after sitting waiting in the car for 5 hours while the repairs took place. We spent an hour or so talking hot rods and the in’s and out’s of the area with Ken and Butch, it was quite enlightning;) and maybe a bit scary…just a bit. I didn’t hand out an Astrogypsies card:) This has got to be the most over the top Christian paraphernalia spot I have ever seen, when you swear, you “Lose a little bit of Jesus” our salesman Ken claimed. That explains my complete loss of religion I guess;) I have never seen so many God stickers and placards in my entire life, it is a wonder we did not spontaneously combust in their presence. They were helpful, kind people but I would not have wanted to stop in wearing a burka. The alien fish on the back of the trailer was enough to send us to hell I’m sure;)

We will be back this way. So far the going has been great and the stops at the Harvest Hosts a new direction for us. Enjoying it, tomorrow we move on, time to head to the West as we’ve come as far South as we needed to get things done.

Saludos amigos and stay tuned! Alabama here we come-there are way more billboards as well;)

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View of the French Broad River-Tennessee

Heading South-here we go!

Hard to say goodbye to our spot on the lake, good friends, good times, great spots for cats to run around and frolic, but that cold is coming. After our first bout with 4″ of wet snow we waited for a sunny day to slip away after our goodbyes, au revoirs, hasta leugos, we’ll be back;) I’ll miss the people, the wildlife (which was sometimes the people;), the quiet times and fabulous views of the wind still lake but after 10 days of rain and clouds and howling winds my inner tropical self was very much alarmed;) ha! Such wusses we are!

We debated a few different routes South, mainly getting South as quickly as we could perhaps on a new route, we choose to cross the border going into Vermont, we skirted South of Montreal, great roads and South past Saint Jean sur Richelieu. Beautiful countryside, horrible border for trailers or RV’s. Tight turn at the last-minute showed the scraped paint of many trailers. Mike managed to swing right into the other lane with the help of some lovely motorists that gave him room to do so and then they “selected us for a random search”, yes, yes, humorless CBP, really humorless, you know when they don’t react to an orange tabby poking his head out the window you are in for a rough ride;) Sometimes you have to shake your head and wonder just how much time is wasted confiscating rice…seems we had illegal “basmati” rice, yes, you heard it folks, rice, basmati, that we had bought “in the USA” and took to Canada was confiscated on its way back in, why it could have picked up a serious disease while sitting in our pantry in Canada…I have never felt like such a criminal;) That’s it, we are marked for life as basmati rice smugglers;) I had to so bite my tongue…our tax dollars at work, confisgating rice. Didn’t know the US had such a burgeoning basmati rice production I was threatening. What do these people do when they go home at night????

Aren’t borders fun! NOT! Well, with that under our belt, we need more rice;) Our first stop was a Farm stand, Sam Mazza’s part of the amazing Harvest Hosts network For $49.00 a year you join and have access to hundreds of farms, ranches, wineries and even antique stores and museums that let you spend a night for free, some even have electricity for a small fee. They are usually quiet and in the country and often offer stores for their products, or tasting rooms for their spirits and a flat place to park!

This lovely stop had stunning trees in glorious colour, goats and ponies and a wonderful store with their produce and even doughnuts! And we had sun, for a short time anyway! The cats were good their first time out, seems the feliway cat pheromone plug in worked miracles. Gamora hardly put out a peep, Groot fell asleep and Beezil snuggled in under many blankets by my feet, it’s the warmest he’s been in a week. I would certainly suggest this product to anyone traveling with a pet who fusses. We kept looking at each other going” wow, wow, wow” happy cats make for happy passengers and drivers;)

I was not expecting so many leaves, perhaps being close to Lake Champlain moderates the temperatures, it was truly beautiful! Groot and Gamora were not so sure on their first foreign outing, very open they said, hiding under the apple trees was better than getting near those scary goats!;)

Our good news was tempered with bad news as we found out our current housesitters, who are amazing, have to leave at the end of the month for health reasons:( So sad as they have been the best, we wish them well and hope everything turns out as they are wonderful people. So it’s back to adds and vetting people, working past the wackadoodles and people who don’t actually read the add, “Do you have a 4×4?”…”No?”…”Can you read?” and hoping we sell sooner than later…ranch for sale in Baja! Anyone? must let that sarcasm go;) Let’s all be nice now!

We left in the morning under cloudy skies headed to our next Harvest Host’s destination, an Apple and Cherry Farm in Gardiner, NY. It was a dreary drive but splotches of Fall colour came and went as we made our way South on winding roads until we hit the freeway. All the campgrounds I’d called in the area was already closed for the season so these Harvest Host locations were our only option, other than driving for a lengthy period of time, something the old cat doesn’t let us do;)

We arrived at Wright’s Apple and Cherry Farm and after a short wait the delightful owner motioned for us to follow her back up behind the store and out towards the fields behind on a small gravel road. She explained they had music festivals and other events up here. We were a bit worried about pulling off the road but she said the ground was hard so we moved the trailer to the side. After she left and we started to set up, a large hissing noise was coming from the back left tire, oh dear, a very large piece of screw was wedged in the tire…what to do, what to do…call a mobile tire repair service! Luckily there was one right down the road and as it started to rain two very pleasant guys came by, took the tire off after jacking Myrtle up, and decided to take it back to the shop after battling to get the gigantic screw out. End to the day, well, not really, the generator stopped running after a few hours so we decided to call it a night and climb under the covers. We’d filled the propane tank in town and dieseled up so just had to wait for the tire in the morning to go!

The morning wasn’t clear, but it wasn’t pouring rain, yet, the radar showed it was coming. Gamora spotted several deer behind the trailer passing by, that was exciting. We took them for a short walk around, they are still getting used to this not being at Otty Lake when they come out the door, the look of surprise on their faces is most amusing! The Wright Farm Stonehenge was a fun cat jungle gym.

Our repaired tire arrived at 9:30 and it was quickly installed by the younger of the two guys, he was in charge of the truck today, and we were ready to go just as the skies opened up again. Mike backed the trailer down the road before we could back it into y where another gravel road branched off. We didn’t want to risk turning around on the grass with all that weight and pouring rain all night, the idea of being stuck and finding a very large tow truck was not appealing so we erred on the side of caution. Bad things come in threes right?;) After backing down the lake road over 400 feet this was a piece of cake with no trees;) and we were on our way, South again…and did it rain…from fog to hard rain to bits of clearing it was a dreary day to drive.

These are the days you’d rather be bundled under a blanket reading a good book than traveling on the interstates. A large accident involving three semis slowed us down just before our destination in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Almost there but not quite. You need to find the beauty in the small things on days like this. Gamora spent the slowdown gazing out the window, I took pictures of raindrops…there is beauty everywhere, we just need to look. Our first world problems sometimes feel huge, but in all reality, we are so lucky. Period.

Saludos amigos, stay tuned as we continue to drive towards the heat;)

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Beauty in everything


Wait…it has snowed! We’re still here;)

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I can’t say I mind, it is so beautiful! It started falling and quickly covered the ground and trees. Wonderful wet snowball and snowmen snow! Gamora got to see snow for the first time, I think she is part snow leopard, Groot was not as amused and went from dry patch to dry patch, looking for rocks and stumps to stand on.

Glad I’d gotten a winter jacket the week before at the GT boutique, needed it, as well as out hats and mittens! It seemed a few days ago it was warm! You never know here. Halloween kids will be dressed as snow men this year:)

We’re holed up in the cottage keeping the wood stove going to keep the pipes from freezing. Night time temperatures have dropped below zero for a few nights and with the wind it has been chilly. Hopefully we can close up the cottage this coming week and help drain the lines and pump. In the meantime it has been odd being in a house with a kitchen! Woohoo, and a large sink! The cats are taking full advantage of the room to run and gleefully skid around the corners at top speed sliding on the wooden flooring with no traction at all:) Vacation time for cats! The old guy has his bed and the wood stove, he is quite content:)


Last ride down the paths littered with leaves crunching under the hooves…:)

We went down to the barn at the end of the week anticipating leaving and to say goodbye to our four-legged family and their fabulous caretaker Jennifer. Had one last hack with her and Joanne, Boots, Maya and Phoenix, walking on a long rein between the bare trees, cold but beautiful going down these trails with the sound of crunching leaves under the horses hooves. Their coats are getting woolly and thick, soft to the touch like a plush toy.

Mike stayed and stuffed the cats and donkeys with treats. They are adorable, and they wanted in! and food! They have their winter coats and are ready for winter! It all seems to change so quickly, ten days ago we were at peak colour and now, not many leaves left on the trees, the snow and wind knocked down a new blanket of them to cover the ground.

By tomorrow this white stuff, it will be all gone, just a taste of what is yet to come for souls hardier than us. We will very soon be heading South! In the mean time though, this is glorious!

Saludos amigos, stay tuned!

Time to make like a Loon, and fly South…wait, we are already loony, aren’t we?

Heading South, always the question, when, where, what route. The winds are howling outside tonight and the temperatures will be dipping close to zero°…celcius that is. Myrtle is very comfortable in these temperatures, the DRV’s are known for their excellent insulation and RV values, it’s just getting…well, cold:( yup, we are wussses;)

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I don’t often photograph our wonderful trailer or its able companion Hagrid, the Dodge Ram 3500 that hauls her about, yes, a she, like the sailboats I was raised on;) and I should more often. I tend to veer away from man-made things and towards nature but it is good to share how, and why we choose to live this way! Being mobile, sometimes for months at a time, and sometimes stationaryth , as we love this lake near Mike’s home town of Perth. No there are no RV parks or campgrounds here but we have made do over the years, squatting is a great technique;) on our wonderful friends property, and next year, on a property we now co-own with them next door that includes a cottage and a bunkie! The sewer is set up, as well as a 30 amp service, a bit of gravel will even it out and presto, we have a spot to call home, or a base over the summer. Now this is the view…instant smile:)

The view

Right now we are waiting for parts covered under our Good Sam Warranty that are backordered. Four weeks they told me at the RV Store, I call every week, yes, we have not forgotten about you, no, still no parts…and now the microwave/convection oven gave up the ghost, just in time for Halloween…the old cat is looking at me with horror in his eyes..”How will you heat my food? I can’t eat it cold” says the soon to be 19-year-old Burmese..aka..Beezil…sigh…what to do, what to do, our first world problems;)