Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our Day on the Road

Kansas, Nebraska??  Nope New Mexico!
Left dear friends in North Texas with prayers & hugs.  Headed through silent oil fields and navigated a flock of tumbleweeds.  Got buzzed by a crop duster doing acrobatics as he dusted his fields.  Talked to an old friend.  Watched the oil fields give way to crops.  Pondered the differences between west Texas, north Texas & the Texas area designated “national grassland” but found non.  Saw some cowboys.  Honked the horn as I crossed the state line.  Which prompted loud singing of the Dixie Chicks “Heartbreak town”.  Made the change from the playlist of my mind to an actual playlist and did an awesome “Cowboy Take me Away” duet with the Dixie Chicks.  Pondered why New Mexico looked so much like grassland … even without the official designation.   Felt like I was on the Nebraska or Kansas plains. Saw lots of sunflowers.   Honked the horn when changed time zones too. It is sort of cool to get to redo an hour … plus I kind of just like to honk the horn. 

Always good to ck the rearview.
I took pictures through my rearview mirror, watched a thunderstorm cross the plains and as B.B. sang about the Thrill being gone, I decided the thrill of anticipating what is over the next rise in the road will never be gone.  Once a road warrior always a road warrior, you can change the size of the wheels but the thrill remains the same.

Passed through a couple gully washers & was happy to lose of some of the bugs on the windshield. 

Woo hoo Mountains!
Then we saw foothills! The terrain quickly changed from wide-open grassy plains to a winding, sunflower lined mountain road with a creek crisscrossing our path.  Deer grazed off the side of the road and a couple of blue birds raced us around a curve.  Big Daddy Weave’s “Overwhelmed” came up on the playlist  “Captivated by Your beauty, I am overwhelmed by you”.  Overwhelmed …  Overwhelmed indeed!  Being a mountain girl, there is nothing like the beauty of the mountains.

Mtns & sunflowers

With storms forecast for the evening, I opted to forgo any chance for drama and I dished out the extra dough to have a roof over our heads rather than the stars.   It was a good choice.  As I sit down to write on my little cabin porch, the air is crisp, the aspen are quaking in the wind, hummers are buzzing about, the sound of a harmonica playing softly fills the air and Dog is laying peacefully at my feet.  Couldn’t ask for a more perfect ending to our day on the road.

Any place run by Ducky's relatives is alright by me!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

FAQ #3: Where is the most favorite place you have been?

Rving in Canada
Canadian Rockies

People always ask me about money & mail and then this question (or a variation of it), always follows - "Where is the most favorite place you have been?".   I think this one is the toughest questions to answer as my most favorite place is usually wherever  I am at the moment.   Every place seems to have something special about it, whether you are in Barrow, AK , the tip of Texas,  Keywest, FL or anyplace in between.  The bottomline is that North America is an amazingly diverse and beautiful place to explore and I have been so blessed to have spent a decade on wheels exploring it.   I recently started a new company called His Wonders to highlight through pictures and gifts some of the incredible scenery that can be found throughout the US and Canada but much of the time even the best pictures don't do justice to a location.  My hope is always that my pictures will encourage you to go check a place out for yourself.  But back to my favorite place.   I can't pick just one, but some of my most favorites starting from north to south would be: the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone, the San Juan Mountain area of Colorado, Southern Utah and the central coast of California plus about 20 other places that would follow close behind!  
RVIng in CA
California Central Coast
The important thing to remember is that what is amazing to me may not be the same as what is amazing to you.  So get out there and do some exploring and have some adventures and then come back here and share with me what your favorite places are!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We were robbed by Masked Bandits!

 After a nice evening listening to some light Jazz and getting a few things accomplished, I took dog out for her midnight potty in anticipation of winding down for bed.  Normally I  just let dog out the door since she knows the routine and goes straight to the back of the rig to potty & returns for bed.  For whatever reason, this time I felt like I should put her on a leash and go out with her.  Something immediately caught her attention under the rig but I pulled her away and told her to hurry up.  She obeyed & we went in.  I turned out the outside light, closed the shade and walked over to close my computer and then heard a strange noise.  I attributed it to a wind burst that must have blown something around outside.  Then I heard something again.  This time Dog got up and headed to the door .. as did I.   It sounded like someone was tampering with my rig!!!   I am thinking WTH, I still have my lights on & was just outside two minutes ago, who could be so bold or stupid as to pick a rig to rob where the people were up!!?   I flipped on the light & opened the shade & simultaneously heard a loud thud in the cargo bay to the left of my door.  I didn’t see anyone out there so I started to open the door only to find a grey body and striped tail on my top step!!   I shut the door quickly & continue to hear loud noises.  Again I am thinking, or I may have been even talking out loud at this point, “WTH!!??”

So what do you do when masked bandits are tearing into your cargo bay??  I tried to call the office at the County park I am staying at, but no answer and no referral for after hours emergencies. There continues to be loud banging in my bay and dog is going nuts, wanting to get out the door.  I try opening door a little & slamming it to scare it away.  Its still there …   I call 911, I explain to him my rig is being broken into by raccoons and that there is even one manning the step!  Being a professional he doesn’t laugh or hang up on me, but instead says he will send a car.  

Eventually, the big clunking noises stop and I watch as a huge raccoon takes a drink out of my dogs dish outside of the door.   I only see one raccoon now, so I decide that I should sneak out my rigs driver-side door and try and shoo the bandit away.   It goes under the rig when it sees me.  I reach down & grab some seashells to throw (yes, seashells, this is Florida there aren’t rocks here just sand and seashells)!  It kind of plays chicken with me under the rig, until I actually hit it with a seashell.  I kind of felt bad when I hit it because I heard the thud and it paused and kind of looked at me like “Really? That hurt”.  Eventually I got it out from under the rig.  It headed for my water hose, where it stopped a took a drink out of a water leak (washing down its dog food buffet?) before trotting off towards the woods after one of my seashells actually got close to it again. 

With it gone, I went to open up the cargo door and check out the damage.  That is where Dog’s food is kept in a plastic bin, so I knew that was what it was after.  As I opened the cargo door, I was shocked to see 4 pair of eyes looking back at me!!!  In fact I was so shocked, I might have even let out one of those ‘little girl screams’ .. though quietly, as it was quiet hours!  This time I had no “WTH”,  I was just speechless.  After all in 10 years of full-time RVing,  I have never had 1 raccoon in a cargo bay much less 4!  Hello! Four, LIVE, WILD animals IN my cargo bay!  They happily munched away on dog food and didn’t mind me at all!  Finally the park security guy shows up.  He has a flashlight & shines it on the bandits.  They don’t move.  I ask him what he is gonna do to get them out!??  He just smiles and shakes his head … he had nothing.. !  Grrreattt!!   As we backed up a little bit, one of the bandits starts to head down the tire cover that they have draped down out of the bay like a curtain.  Two more follow, but one is pretty darn happy munching on the dog food buffet.  Eventually, it leaves too.   I send the dog food with the security guy.  We decides that I shouldn’t lock the bay as they may come back and just try and tear it open.   I wind down and get to bed about 2 am.  At 2:30 am they come back and I chase them away and decide to go ahead and lock the bin now that they had a chance to see the food was gone.  They come back again at 5:30 am., this time they leave quickly and finally get a bit of shut eye.   Tonight the dog’s food will be locked in the car; hopefully it is a less eventful night!   Note: as I publish this .. they are back!!  sigh

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kayaking the Elkhorn Slough – Swimming with the fishes

Happy sister after our Elkhorn kayaking adventure.

It was a lovely morning and the fog rolled out just in time for my sister and I to push off for our much anticipated kayak trip in the Elkhorn Slough. The Slough is an important wetland area and one of the largest saltwater marshes in California. It opens to Monterey Bay at our start point at Moss Landing, which is between Monterey & Santa Cruz, CA. There are several options for kayaking on Monterey Bay but we opted for the quieter waters of the slough. Our goal was to see some of the awesome bird and marine life that make their home here. Okay –my- goal was to see the awesome bird and marine life, my sister just wanted to watch the sea lions & otters from the water!

Camera, phone, keys and binoculars on board, we set off on a nice smooth paddle. While we were still in the harbor area we saw Harbor seals, a large raft of otters and dozens of sea lions crowded onto one of the docks. The tide was coming in so we decided to just take a nice leisurely float in a for a few miles before paddling back. As we were floating, I had a Harbor seal pop right up next to the boat and just look at me. It was close enough I could have touched it with my paddle had I wanted. It stayed long enough that I was able to get off a picture or two before it slipped back underwater & disappeared. HOW COOL WAS THAT!? I was so stoked and couldn’t wait to see my picture. From a distance we saw many more seals, sea lions, otters, wading and nesting birds. I was glad that I had my binoculars because they really made a difference in what we could see.  Once we turned back against the tide, we had to do some major paddling. I was glad I had taken so many pics on the way down because it was impossible to stop paddling and get a picture on the way back.  When we finally made it back to the harbor. I got a great picture of my sister with 3 sea lions that had popped up to look at her. As we cruised by the raft of otters I decided I would try and get just one more picture of them and THAT IS WHEN IT HAPPENED!

Attracted some marine plant life!
As I reached for my camera that I had tucked into my life vest, I saw my camera fall into the water. My world went “slow motion”. I gasped and reached to grab the camera as it started to sink. The next thing I knew, I was in the water spitting out salt water and my kayak was upside down! WTHey just happened, I thought as I realized that this water was pretty cold and I was swimming with the fishes and sea lions! Thoughts of all the things that I had discovered were in the water at the Monterey Aquarium all flashed before me as I splashed around with my life vest up near my ears to see where my sister was.  She was paddling my way & yelling ‘what are you doing!??’. I was wondering that myself! Another kayaker came to my rescue too, as we tried to turn the ‘most stable kind of kayak’ back over. It wouldn’t turn. I panicked a little more when I remembered my keys, credit card, driver license and phone were in the dry well that I only partially locked! I was relieved when I reached under the kayak to find that the latch had held. Thankfully my binoculars were still around my neck & sunglasses still on. My rescuers towed the kayak towards shore and flipped it over for me. I swam with the fishes & who knows what other kind of critters and eventually made shore so I could get in my boat and paddle back to where we started, where I drug my soggy self back to the outfitters mourning the loss of my camera. To say the experience was memorable would be an understatement! The loss of the pic of the Harbor seal and my sister with the sea lions still makes me sigh. I don’t recommend swimming with the fishes, I do recommend exploring the Elkhorn Slough by kayak if you get the chance. Its great fun if you manage to stay upright!

At least we weren't in a double kayak!
The "Sea Lion Dock" at Moss Landing


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