Finally!! The Desert!!

Tonight I was texting my sister and I realized I have not blogged in a while. I also realized that very few people know where I am or what I am up to.

After a month at the RV facelift hospital-my rig is minus some major dents and bumps and is back where she belongs, with me. It was a good time to get some of this work done as I had a place to stay (thank you Cynthia and Ward). EmmyLou is home and looking spiffy.

I usually spend every winter wandering the desert southwest. If it is too cold in one spot I move to the next. It is a good way to spend the winter. I usually find interesting and unique places to visit and meet interesting people.

This winter was a bit different with the RV in the hospital getting a makeover. I had to stay a bit more stationary, sheltering in place during this Covid time. My annual medical and dental appointments seemed to stretch out more than usual.

Peggy Hiking Into a Slot

I really wanted to get to the desert, even if the time was limited. A week ago I departed for the closest desert I could find. Here I am in the California Desert. I started in Anza Borrego State Park near Borrego Springs. Most of my friends did not come to the desert this year due to Covid. Two of them did. I met up with Peggy and Roger who have been safely distanced camping in the parking lot of a church. It was fun to see them. Masks up and all. Peggy came and joined me for a few nights. Two little rigs parked together at a boondocking campground. We had some girl time and did pretty cool hikes. It is exciting to see people.

Now I have left the State Park and have moved on to the Salton Sea. It is rather a unique and unusual place. I come here because of birds. I love birds. I love to take photos of them and watch them. The Salton Sea is a major migratory stop and wintering ground for over 400 species of shorebirds and other birds. Today the Snow Geese were the stars of the birding experience. At one point there were so many coming in for a landing on the water, you could hear their wings. It was so cool.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am here for a few days and then will move on to the Squaw Lake, part of the Colorado River, to get a little bit of Kayaking in before I have to return to San Diego.

I will be returning to San Diego on February eighth to get my second vaccine. After a few recovery days, I am off to Santa Barbara to get some interior work done on my rig.

Dan Neeley the owner of Dan Neeley RV Service specializes in Roadtreks. He travels from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He is really good at what he does and I am thankful he comes far enough south that I can reach him. Now that EmmyLou has had an outside job, it is time for the RV part of her to be checked. Once that is done I bet you think I will be hitting the road.

Not so. I have to return to San Diego for a little over a week so that the final part of my post thyroid cancer screening can be completed. So far everything looks good and I expect that these tests will look good as well. I still get nervous and wait anxiously for the results. After these results come back I can take a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling, and be ready for another year of adventure.

I think that covers it. I have been learning to rest and relax. I am thankful each day for wonderful friends who continue to love and support me in whatever way they can. I am thankful each day that I can venture off for a hike, see delightful and awesome birds, and catch a good sunrise or sunset along the way.

 

Did you know that if you click on any picture it will enlarge?

Did you know that if you click on the different colored words that are underlined, it will take you to the web site?

Dollhouses, Kayaks, Moving Forward

An Example of a Queen Ann Style Dollhouse

Years ago, more than I can remember, Jim (my husband) and I decided to build a dollhouse. A good friend of mine had mentioned that she would love to have a Queen Ann style dollhouse. Sharon is someone we both loved. She wanted a dollhouse and so we built her a dollhouse. This was not just a wee dollhouse, it was at least 2-3 feet tall. We shingled, wallpapered, carpeted, painted it and more. It was an adventure we enjoyed together. I don’t remember how long it took us to build. It was months by the time we finished it. It was a labor of love. Every moment we worked on was rewarded by Sharon’s reaction when we presented the finished product to her

Building the first one was so much fun that we decided to build a second one for Jim’s niece. This second house was just as much fun as the first. After it was completed it went home to Chris.

Once the second dollhouse was complete we decided to move onto a much larger adventure. Jim and I had been planning to buy kayaks for some time. It was Jim’s suggestion that we try to build our own. After much research, we narrowed our search to two companies, Pygmy Boats, and Chesapeake Light Craft. Chesapeake Light Craft became our company of choice. Did we want to use their blueprints or build from a kit? What was the difference between the two? The blueprint meant we would have to find the wood, cut it into the shapes we needed and find all the components that were needed to put it together. The kit came with all the wood pieces cut into the shapes we needed. All the screws, nails, rolls of fiberglass, epoxy glue and more were included. We decided on the kit.

We were both working full time. The kayak building was done on weekends and nights. We were busy. Jim was certainly the lead on the building, I was a very active second in command. In approximately six months the first boat was complete. We painted her red and named her Whistling Woman. I was reading a book titled A Whistling Woman is Up to No Good. This book showed women of the ’90s how to express their wildness, describing how they can get in touch with their true natures and express themselves in a sometimes-disapproving society. The first kayak was mine.

It took us six more months to finish the second kayak. We had learned a bit from the first kayak so the second one was easier to put together. It was five pounds lighter. When it was complete it was painted forest green and named Ronin, after one of Jim’s favorite movies. The second one was Jim’s.

After launching them successfully on Mission Bay, in San Diego, our kayaking adventures started. We took classes through Aqua Adventures and an independent boating store. We learned how to capsize our boats, turn them over and re-enter them. Learning to come in through the waves on the ocean was a challenge. It was fun to get wet. Kayaking into a strong wind also presented us with new challenges.

The kayaks were frequently out on the water. Early, Sunday mornings often found us back on Mission Bay. We would kayak until the other boat traffic would get heavy, then retire to a coffee house to enjoy the rest of the morning. As we became more proficient with kayaking, the learning curve is quick, we ventured further afield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took them camping on the lower Colorado River, on the back bay at Newport Beach. When we finally felt brave enough we went camping and kayaking throughout California, making sure to spend time on the lakes and bays. It was fun to combine our love of camping with the joy of kayaking.

After Jim died I continued to kayak. My tactics changed. First I had to figure out how to get my kayak on the roof of the Subaru Outback. Then I had to figure out how to get it off the roof. I got very good at asking others for help. Kayakers are a nice group of people and I never had to search far for assistance.

Three years ago I started my nomadic full-time existence in my Roadtrek RV. I sold my house in Southern California, moved what I wanted to keep into storage, including the kayaks and began my full-time traveling adventure.

I have been thinking of the kayaks often over the past year. I have held onto them for emotional reasons. Jim and I built them. They were a precious reminder of our life together. They were a reminder of this very loving and unique man I married. Over the past year, I decided these kayaks needed to find a loving home, where they would be used and cared for. Keeping kayaks in storage is not the best use for any boat.

October 2019, I decided that I was OK with selling them. I had a few requirements.

  • They need to go to a loving home.
  • They need to be used.
  • I need pictures of them once in a while so I can see they will be enjoyed and loved.
  • They are not to return to a storage unit.

With Elsie’the Cat’s disappearance the kayaks, once again were put on the back burner. Trying to find Elsie was the number one priority. Unfortunately, Elsie is still missing.

Early in March, I decided to proceed with the selling of the kayaks. I spiffed them up, took pictures and after advertising them to friends, I put them up for sale on Craigslist, Nextdoor, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace. The offers started coming in. How was I going to choose? Just as I was preparing to sit down and sort out all the offers, a friend contacted me. He wanted to buy both kayaks and I would get visiting privileges. That, is a sweet deal. They will be going to someone I know. I have no doubt they will be loved and taken care of. Any time I want, I can ask Jon how they are doing. Maybe I will get an occasional picture. And…I have visiting privileges.

On a blustery afternoon in San Diego county, three of us loaded them on the top of Jon’s truck and off they went to their new home. It was hard to see them go, yet I know that it was the right thing to do. They weigh in at 40-45 pounds. I no longer have a car to haul them. They are 16 feet long, making them to long to fit in or on the back of my RV. The bottom line, I want them to be used and not just sitting and waiting to be used. It is the best way to honor them and to honor Jim.

I am content. I can look at this as a sad farewell or another step forward in my life. Maybe I can find a smaller kayak that will fit my needs better (12 feet sounds right to me). Maybe I can manage without one at all. Or maybe I will just decide to build myself another boat. the opportunities are endless as my life moves forward, one step at a time.