Oh The Places I Have Been-a post by Elsie the Cat

Elsie the Cat here. I have been one traveling kitty. I have seen big mountains and lots of sand and met up with some more dogs. I am one traveling kind of kitty.

It is hard for a little six pound kitty to see the big wide world. I am so glad for my tiny house on wheels. When things get to overwhelming I run for the rig. I know this is my safe place. Every kitty needs one. It becomes a bit hard for it to be safe when Janet, says, “Oh bring that dog in, Elsie is used to them”. Hmmm, I wonder how she got that idea. Being used to them and having them inside are two totally different stories.

Sonny

While we were staying at City of Rocks State Park, I met up with Sonny. He came in my house but only stayed a little bit. He was skittish and so was I. What is that dog doing in my house? He didn’t stay long, so it was OK. Sonny belongs to a new friend of Janet’s, Connie. She rides the same kind of RV as Janet.

Roxie

Then I met Roxie. She belongs to Mary. Another Roadtreking fool. Roxie was a different story. Roxie and I got to hang out for the greater part of an afternoon, while the people went off somewhere. This was not our choice. I even had to give her a hiss a swipe, just to let her know who was in charge. I couldn’t even get a decent afternoon nap. I had to keep one eye on Roxie all the time. I let Roxie have the back bed and I laid on the counter top so I could keep watch. I slept really good that night.

Roxie travels with her own kitty, Frank. I think Frank is a bit nuts to tolerate a dog. Janet better not try getting a dog while I am around. Whew, I was glad when that day was over.

Roxie & Frank

Now Janet and I are back on our own. I  like that. It has been a while since I have had her all to myself, although most of the time it doesn’t matter because I like to sleep a lot. Sleeping is really important to me. I love it. I really love it when I am undisturbed.

I am braver now. For the past month or more I no longer sleep under the sheepskin. I now sleep on the passenger seat. I think it is important to keep an eye on Janet. She tends to take the road less traveled.

For the last three weeks we have been way more social than what I am used to. I am not sure I like this social stuff, yet I am getting used to it. Although everyone has their own rig, Janet has been hanging out with other travelers. I have had to get used to the fact that Peggy often took my seat in the evening. She said that it was actually Janet who took my seat but I know better. I protested a little and then went to sleep on the front dashboard.

Where have we been since we finished up riding with another Mary, in September? With Janet’s help, here is a list.

  • Our land in Colorado-near Durango
  • Aztec Ruins National Monument
  • Fort Davis, McDonald Observatory, Davis Mountains State Park (I really liked it there), and Marfa
  • Big Bend National Park-lots of mountains and a big giant river. I saw my first Javalina-a strange and interesting looking thing.
  • Silver City, NM
  • Gila National Monument
  • Guadalupe National Park-we camped in a parking lot.
  • Carlsbad Caverns
  • City of Rocks State Park-there were a lot of coyotes there and owls.
  • Oliver Lee State Park
  • White Sands National Monument. This one was just one huge giant sand box. Janet took me out and I did not like it one bit. The wind was blowing and sand was everywhere. I like my litter box-thank you very much.
  • Aguirre Springs National Recreation Area and Campgrounds
  • We stayed at the St Clair Winery in Demming, NM for two nights. We could here owls right outside our house at night.

Now Janet says we are on our way to San Diego. I know I have been there before but I am not sure why we are going there. Janet says we are staying put for a few months. Hmm, that should be interesting. I will wait for this to unfold as I am sure it will. Until then I believe it is time for me to get some sleep. Nap time!!!

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Another Year-Reflections

Tomorrow is my birthday.

The day after tomorrow will mark the sixth anniversary of Jim’s death. Time stands still. Time flies. It is amazing that it is six years since I last saw him. It is amazing that it has been six years since I last heard his voice. Well this whole process is pretty amazing and not always much fun.

I grieved when my mom died. I grieved when my dad died. I have grieved over the loss of friends and over the loss of others in tragedy, which we have seen so much of this year. The loss of Jim was different. I lost my life partner, my friend and my companion in mischief and dance. I describe the three and a half years leading to his departure, like a deck of cards thrown in the air. Just as they started to come down and I was picking them up, something else happened and the cards were thrown back up in the air again.

I am still picking up cards from six years ago. I didn’t know there were so many cards. Yet I have accomplished a bit along the way and each day I attempt to live life to its fullest. Some days it is a wee, tiny bit and other days are big a luscious and overflowing with awe and beauty.

I am beginning to realize that I may never have an answer to the question “What’s Next?” At my best I look for the large and small around me and find some marvel in it all. At my worst, I still find I can treasure my current surroundings and who I am.

  • I am not homeless.
  • I have this lovely little Roadtrek to call home.
  • My home is heated, which feels good on these chilly fall nights.
  • Elsie is always my faithful companion, in adventure and silence.
  • I know, oh how I know, I have many out there that support me daily, mostly in thought and prayer. Yet I know you are out there.
  • There are many books to read. On days where I don’t have much energy, I sit and read.
  • When I was younger I went through a short, period where everything was gray. I appreciate that I have never gone back to that place. I still can see and marvel at the loveliness of the places I visit and the people I meet. Color is a wonderful medium.
  • I have a family, sisters and nieces, that though not often heard from love me and support me.
  • And there is always my camera-I love taking pics even at my lowest.

There is always hope. In this coming year I am going to attempt to not be so hard on myself. I really don’t need to make far reaching decisions about anything. I want to focus on what is best for me at this moment in time, in this day and in this year. I want to experience a little more joy, wherever I can find it. And, although I am not sure I may want to settle down. I shall see on that statement.

I now understand a bit more of the statement from others that “you can move forward, while treasuring the moments Jim and you had”. I know that I can do both. And, ever since Jim’s passing he has been very good at helping me find my car keys. I have called on him more than once. This is one of the important reasons to keep him nearby as I adventure forth into life.

If you look on this site you will see a Go Fund Me tag. I have been raising money for the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship for 6 years. I am close to my goal of $25,ooo to make this a perpetual scholarship. I have about $8,000 more to go. I have been constant and steady in trying to raise this amount. If you would like to donate, small or large, some student out there at Grossmont Community College will thank you for your efforts.  I treasure each donation because I know about the thought and caring behind it. If you would prefer to donate directly to the college, here is their information.

Mail your donation to:

Scholarship Specialist
Financial Aid Office
8800 Grossmont College Dr
El Cajon, CA 92020-1799
Contributions are tax deductible

On to another year of discovery. Who knows what it will bring. I will continue to follow my own path, carrying the memories of my time with Jim forward. This year I pray that it will be just a wee bit easier. Each year seems to be getting that way. I am thankful for this.

I am thankful for 21 years of love, caring and relationship. I am thankful for being able to have those memories to help me move forward with my life, no matter what direction it takes.

Today I am thankful.

 

 

 

Elsie Follow-up—-Because many of you asked.

Elsie asked me to let you know about her gear. Here it goes.

Elsie is chipped. She has been since she was a kitten.

She also wears two locators on her collar. The one I have had the longest is the Loc8tor. It is a small beacon that is on her halter. It can track her up to 400 feet. When I lived in San Diego and she had free run of the yard, all I had to do was turn on the handset and she knew her time was up. She would appear from wherever she was resting. I have this on my car keys as well. I tend to lose them. 😁

The Loc8tor has come in handy on the road. She has gotten out on me a couple of times, due to human error. I have found her each time. It is really handy with the car keys. I have lost them more than I like to admit.

The second one is called The Nut. It is that greenish round thing hanging from her collar in some of her photos. That one works with my iPhone.After you buy this you download a free App. It takes a little time to set it up. What I like about this one is that I can share the nut app with others, who house sit for her. Then they can find her as well. It is a little big but she doesn’t seem to mind it.

The hardest thing I have to remember with these locators is to carry extra batteries with me. The batteries last about 6-7 months.

Elsie is also command trained. Jim and I started training her when she was small. She is very responsive to commands. The first command she learned was “Elsie, Come!” along with three claps. One night while we were in Tennessee, I was trying out a different type of halter and she slipped out of it. It was pitch dark, trees from the bottom of the mountain to the top and thickly forested. I was a bit panicked. I said the above command and there was this little dark shape running into the RV. Whew! The other commands are:

  • “Collar”-to remove her halter when she comes inside.
  • “Outsie?”-If she wants to go out, this command is her cue to head to the door.
  • “Elsie Wait” accompanied by showing her my flat hand or a finger. She doesn’t always like this one and cringes sometimes as if I am going to hurt her. Like I ever would. She will stop and wait, though. It might be worth the effort to go back and re-enforce this one again so she doesn’t get so anxious. I trained her to this command by putting her on a short leash, and gently pulling up and saying wait, like I meant it. When I trained her she would sit down and wait. I chose this one because when I first began introducing her to the RV, she would sometime spring for the side door when I would open it. This is the one command she learned after Jim died. I figured if she was going to travel with me, I would need her to pay attention. She is a very good kitty and although a scaredy cat, aims to please.

She has some interesting dog-like behaviors. I can walk her on a leash with ease. I can take her to my friend, Nancy’s house for dinner or an evening. She really likes Nancy and has stayed with her. She walks in for the evening like she owns the place. I don’t have to bring her litter pan in. She is good at waiting. I bring her short leash with me in case I need to take her for a trip outside.

Her adaptability is what amazes me most. Then again my adaptability, since I was diagnosed with breast cancer,then Jim’s death has pretty much surprised me as well. 

Elsie is such a delightful traveling companion. I am glad I have her along for the ride. We are a team, all the way. I believe we have saved each other time and time again.

Elsie Steals the Computer

Whew it is hard to get this computer to myself. Janet puts it away or takes it with her and I have been wondering how to let my fans know about my adventurous life.

I know not many cats get to do what I am doing. I understand the owners and their own hesitancy. Here is what I want to tell all you cat people out there “Cats are Adapatable”!! I know, I am the world’s worst scaredy cat, yet I like to explore new places and see new things, as long as I have a home to return to when I want security, comfort and a good nap.

I have been to many places since I last posted here. Janet, me and the Roadtrek spent the winter in Arizona, I guess that makes us official snowbirds. I like the idea of Snowcats better. We returned to San Diego in the early spring. Janet says she needed more dental stuff done. I know dental means teeth. I keep trying to tell her that if she ate dry crunchies her teeth would be OK. I don’t know why she doesn’t listen.

Dharma the Dog

Finally in mid-April we left. Since then I have stayed in many interesting places. First stop was to visit a long time friend of Janet’s, Sharon. She lives in a place with “biggggggg…..” rocks everywhere. I had to get used to Dharma the dog. Whew it was hard. Dharma is big and I am small. I am not so sure about dogs but there she was. We stayed inside in a secluded bedroom. Every time I wanted to go somewhere Janet had to carry me. Who would be sniffing right behind? You guessed it Dharma the dog. During the day I would go to the RV so I could look outside and be curious. Who would be outside looking in, you guessed it? Dharma the dog. If we had stayed long enough Dharma may have worn me down and I would have become friends, of sorts, with her. Well maybe.

Since then I have been to the desert, the mountains, the ocean and more. We have camped, rallied (Roadtrek Rally, Monterey) and stayed in people’s homes. I like going back to homes I have been in before. For a while we stayed with Mary, a friend of Janet’s and mine in Medford, Oregon. I remember this house. I have been there before. I love the stairs. I haven’t seen many houses with stairs. They are so much fun to run up and down, over and over again. Janet calls it the rip and tears. I may be older but I love a good run as much as the next cat.

Me groveling with Andrew

For about three weeks we stayed with Linda and Steve and their son Andrew. First Janet was there, then she left, then she came back again. Where does she go? I am not sure. All these other people took good care of me, making sure that I got fed and skritched and loved. I really like Andrew. I am not much of a “guy” cat. Andrew is an exception to that rule. He would come in the room they had set up for me and visit. I admit I kind of ended up groveling a bit when he was around. A cat has to make the best of every situation, right?

These people had other animals. Poncho the dog, kind of ignored me. He didn’t seem to care about me at all. What is wrong with that dog? I am all nervous around him and he pretends I don’t exist. Dogs, go figure. Janet says, Poncho is such a dog. I am not sure what that means but I agree with it. The other animal was Misty the Cat. We didn’t see eye to eye. Whenever we met there was growling and hissing. Setting up territory is hard work.

When Janet returned we arrived at this lovely home that we have been in for about 3 weeks. I like it because, once again, I am the solo pet. I like it when I have Janet to myself. this place has birds and other animals to entertain me when she is out and about. It is nice that she brought my own personal sheepskin inside. I love “making bread” on it and resting in the window where I can watch the world go by. I dream of humming birds. Those swallows make me weary. The just seem to never stop, flitting here and there. I am not sure what birds are about but I like to watch their quickness. It keeps me entertained. Wouldn’t it be interesting to catch one?

Exploring

Janet says we are here to regroup. We have been traveling a lot for the past year. I like stopping for a while. I like the big house. This one has stairs too. I like being able to stretch. I love to rip and tear through this house. All my toys are here, so I can look at them with disdain when someone is looking. Late at night when no one is up I play with them and carry them around the house. They are fun. I pretend they are birds and mice and lizards. I love lizards.

I am not sure how long we are here. I will enjoy all the time I get wherever I am. Life is too short. When things get stressful I will retreat to a time out under the blankets. And when I want to explore the big wide world I will come out from under them and go off and check things out. It helps to have Janet here. She is my rock. I know she will always take care of my base needs. Once in a while when I want her to she will always be there to scratch, love and feed me. We are a team.

Separating Ways-Almost

Cat solo

Cat solo

 

Saturday, Cat (cycling the coast with her pups) and I, chose separate paths for the rest of her trip down the 1 and the 101. She is strong and has been cycling on her own for several days in a row for over a month now. Saturday I decided, since I was not needed any more, I would like to venture off in my own direction. I want to explore some of the area around central California on my own time and schedule.

I am still carrying the gear she does not need. She loaded up the rest of the dog food and other essentials and now is totally independent as she finishes her ride down to the Mexico border. I am still there in case of emergency but that is it. We will meet up in San Diego after her ride is complete and sort out the gear.

I hope Cat can appreciate what we have done for each other. At the beginning of this trip we had several long conversations about the “what ifs” of this journey. I asked her if she would have pursued this trip without me and she said, she did not think so. I am honored to have been a part of this adventure. I am glad I could more than, get her on her way and help out when I was needed. I imagine that many of the through bikers would have appreciated the support that I was able to give to her. It is a hard journey, physically, emotionally and more. Now it is time for Cat to fly solo and for me to figure out what is next.

This has been an interesting two plus months on the road. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned what I can tolerate and not tolerate. Whoa, I am only 64 years old and I am just now figuring this out. Mostly what I have learned is that I want to be appreciated, not more than necessary yet appreciated none the less. I guess I really want to appreciate myself and I am getting there. I didn’t always feel this appreciation on this journey of two. Because of the long days, Cat did not always have any more to give at the end of her day. This trip truly tested us both in many different ways.

I was the one who instigated our separation. I felt like a mother who was seeing her sidekick fly the coop. I am glad to know she is strong and continuing her journey down the coast. I am proud of what she has accomplished and what she will accomplish still. It will be good to meet at the end of her trip.

img_6158 img_6167Meanwhile I am in the town of Atascadero this morning in a sweet little coffee house, typing like crazy. I spent last night at a Harvest Host site near Paso Robles. The Rio Seco Winery is a small family operation with an interesting history. It was used as a film set for the 1987 movie “The Junkman.” The barn, where the tasting room is today was also part of a major drug bust. It was used as a growing house for marijuana. Today it is a lovely small winery specializing in red wines. The sunset was gorgeous from my small house on wheels.

Today I am not sure where I am wandering off to. Wander I shall. I think I am going off to look for those twisty little back roads that I love so much.

Please continue to follow Cat’s trip. After more than two thirds of her trip was over, her bike is now in good shape. She is riding strong.

Elsie, the Roadtrek and Me are riding strong, too.

RT in the Redwoods

RT in the Redwoods

Janet in the Redwoods

Janet in the Redwoods

Elsie the rave

Elsie the Brave

Friends & Wine Anyone?

img_3431Last Monday I took a break from the coast and route 101.

Have you ever had one of those forever friends? You know the ones I mean, you may not be in touch for years, but suddenly, one day you are back in touch. Not too long after that an opportunity arrises to be able to get together and catch up. It is like yesterday. I have one of those friends in Corvallis, Oregon.

Last Monday after I made sure Cat was good to go, I departed the coast, drove one hour inland (east) and met up with Kat and her husband Charlie. We figured 2003 was probably the last time the two of us physically saw each other. It has been almost that long since we have spoken. Thanks to Facebook and her daughter (we are FB friends) Kat and I got in touch. The first phone call was hours long.

I spent this past week in their home. Elsie and I had the downstairs apartment. I think Elsie was glad for a bit more room and so was I. Initially I was suppose to leave and head back to the coast, today. By the second day of our visit, we both realized we needed more time. I extended my stay until a week from today.

Kat, Charlie & Kat

Kat, Charlie & Janet

I am having so much fun. Kat is a spinner and loves to explore genealogy. With hikes mixed in we have been catching up. One day we spent immersed in my family’s genealogy. She has promised to help me dye some wool and go home with my own yarn. It is so much fun. I am also enjoying Charlie, her husband. We all get along very well and I am so glad to be back in her company. It is truly a delight. I am getting to see a part of Oregon that was not on my itinerary.

There was one glitch in the plans, in regards to spending a second week. This Sunday they have family coming into town to spend the night. I have my sweet little Roadtrek the RV. This afternoon I took off to go camp for the next two nights.

12249836_925564227523865_4050253941871400085_nI am a member of Harvest Hosts. They are an organization that works with different attractions all over the United States. For my $49/year I can call ahead to different attractions (vineyards, farms) and spend the night. Tonight I am at Emerson Vineyards in Monmouth, Oregon. I am camped behind the barn for the night with Miss Elsie the Cat. It is so nice here. I am out in the country. It is quiet.  While it is raining outside I am sitting inside writing this blog. 1614519_10152171414074326_1764785442_o

img_4527-2

Tom, owner of Emerson Vineyards

Emerson Vineyards is a small family run business. I have met Tom the owner and investor. He is very laid back and nice. Not only is he knowledgable about the wines he also was a wealth of information on the local area. I went to a wine tasting this afternoon and now have 3 bottles of wine and a bottle of yummy port sitting on my countertop. I like this type of camping.

I am so glad to know I have friends, similar to Kat all over the United States and Canada. Often my visits coincide with my need to be social and be in other’s company. My visit with Kat is very well timed. We have known each other for so long, there is an ease between the two of us. We share a history and it makes it easy to be in her company. Right now I am enjoying that ease.

Today I am thankful for organizations such as Harvest Hosts that add adventure to my life.

Today I am very thankful for my forever friends. They bring such joy to my life. Today I am thankful.

img_3971Hi everyone, Miss Elsie the Cat here. I finally got Janet’s permission to post to my fan club.

This little house on wheels must be a permanent thing. Janet doesn’t mention going home. This must be home. I am still adjusting to this. I miss my outdoor space. Janet tries hard to give me time out. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I also have to be on a leash. What’s with that? I remember last summer I had to be on one. It really isn’t that bad, I just don’t want Janet to know it.😏

Have I told you that there is are two dogs traveling with us? They seem OK but I am keeping my eye on them both. I don’t think any cat should trust dogs too much. When they ride in the Roadtrek with me they are either in a small green thing called a Playhouse or up front. So far this has worked out. I still keep my eye on them because I have to be ready.

One morning I was outside on my leash and the dogs came by. I ran for the bushes. Thank goodness for those big green things. I blew my tail up larger than it has ever been before. I was ready to “mean business” if I had to. Thankfully Janet and Cat kept us apart.

img956725Cat, another human, keeps coming in and out of my new home. I am not sure about her. She smells like those two dogs. She keeps trying to be friends, my eyes get big and I am not quite sure about her. I did celebrate our arrival into Oregon with the two humans. They had champagne, I took one sniff of it and decided the it wasn’t for me. Now if it had smelled like fish….

Rolling

Rolling

I have done some traveling, for a little kitty. I will have to make a list sometime of all the places I have been. As long as Janet is around I am pretty good with that. I like when I go outside and smell interesting things in the grass. I think it must be like catnip because I get down and roll and roll. I also like the dirt and sand to roll in, too.

Birds fighting over fish

Birds fighting over fish

I am still not sure of all the water and the people and the animals around. I like watching the birds. They are quick and it makes them fun to watch. One day I saw some seagulls fighting over something in the water. Janet says it was food. They were squawking and fighting.

Janet and I seem to spend more quality time together in this small house on wheels. I like that. I like it when she sprays my scratching pad with cat nip. At night while she sleeps I play with the small super balls she bought for me. I would like to say, I hope I don’t keep her up but, I am a cat, so I really don’t care too much. Maybe if she is up, we can play.🙃

Time to get back to what is important. I think it is time for a nap under the sheepskin, after I check on those two dogs.

To the Sheepskin

To the Sheepskin