On the Move North for the Summer

I have been traveling. Woody the cat and I departed company at the end of May. Mandy, his owner, and friend, and Rocky the dog returned home. And, just like that my time in Salinas came to an end. 

It was a good month with a lot of kitty time, kayaking “The Slough” and riding my bike. Salinas and Monterey County is such an interesting area. It is the home of Monterey and Carmel, where the views are amazing and wealth abounds. It is also the home of many hard workers. They work planting tending and harvesting the crops of many things that we eat every day. Artichokes-check, cabbage-check, Strawberries-check, Garlic-check, check and check. The soil in this Salinas valley is so rich and something is always growing here. 

As a Tour Manager, I remember taking tour groups through this area. We would stop at “The Farm” to learn more about this culturally rich area and the hard-working men and women and children that still harvest the food we eat. One group was even offered to get off the bus and help the workers harvest celery. The driver and I refused as it had been raining and these were seniors. The driver didn’t want to get his bus super muddy and I needed to protect my tour group. 

Salinas is Steinbeck Country. It is the home of John Steinbeck and his family. Have you read The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men or Cannery Row, and many of his other books? Steinbeck wrote often of these hard-working people and the perils of the working man. Salinas has a museum, library, and more dedicated to John Steinbeck. You can even have a meal in his childhood home. 

My trip north was a good trip. I found State Recreation sites and State Parks to camp in. All of them are on my list for a return visit. One was on the Salinas River in northern California and the other was on the Willamette River in Oregon. I may be kayaking on the Willamette on a return visit.

The most memorable part of the trip north was visiting with friends. Mary and I were able to catch up, in-person in southern Oregon where she lives. She is getting ready to raft a few rivers. That is her June activity. I had the opportunity to swamp for her on the North Fork of the Flathead River several years ago. It was work and it was fun. We are planning a trip in the fall into the southwest, not involving rivers and rafting.

On June first I met up with Pat another Roadtreking friend. We had made plans to meet at Scenic Beach State Park near Seabeck, Washington about nine months ago. Why? Great Blue Herons and Eagles feeding on Midshipmen Fish that come in the spring to breed among the oyster beds, and an opportunity to see nature happening close up. I also had the opportunity to photograph all the action.

Now I am on Whidbey Island, arriving just less than a week ago, to house sit for another summer in the same lovely home I was in last year. Ooooh, more amazing sunsets. It has to become summer first. People who live here tell me they are still waiting for spring and summer to arrive. It has been raining, a bit. 

And…guess who was here to greet me? Birdy Boy? If you have followed my blog from last year you will remember the posts about my relationship with a sweet little Song Sparrow. He is still here and is back to sitting on my arms and legs and singing up a storm. It is so fun that he remembers me. I have been enjoying the low tides this week while waiting for spring and summer to arrive.

Summer is off to a good start.

A Month in Salinas

Today I realized that my month in Salinas, CA is almost up. It feels like I just arrived when in truth I have been here for three weeks. Time has a way of slipping by.

What have I been doing with my time? What spectacular places have I discovered? How is the whole house-sitting thing going? What is next and next and next?

Here are some of the things I have been doing with my time in northern California.

  • I have discovered the Elkhorn Slough. The Slough is in the center of Monterey Bay and is managed by the Nature Conservancy. One can hike or kayak and bird watch in and around the Slough. I have taken full advantage of it’s close proximity to Salinas. I think I will kayak for an hour or so and then three hours later I am returning to my put in at Moss Landing, hungry and happy for a day on the water. And, oh the wildlife I have seen. It is definitely a place worth exploring.
  • The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove was alive with Butterflies. By the time I leave on March first the butterflies will also be migrating. I am glad I saw them. It is a special place.
  • Calla Lily Valley at the north end of the Big Sur Coast was in full bloom. After enjoying the lilies I made my way out to the beach and admired the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
  • Wineries abound in this area. I spent my first Saturday afternoon at the Folktale Winery, tasting wine and listening to good music.
  • I have done a lot of walking around Salinas. I have enjoyed looking at the well cared for and lovely homes in the neighborhoods.
  • I have explored the coastal communities. I have been in and out of several state parks and explores some of the local wildlife refuges. I love being outside and exploring the natural settings.
  • And then, there is Woody the Cat. He is a darling boy who I am glad to have met. This cat craves affection. He snuggles with me every night. I have found him sleeping next to my face, on my head and under the covers. He is a delightful boy, a charming personality.
  • My bicycle has two new tires and is tuned up for another season. It rides well. It is always good to find the good bike shops in town.
  • Although not submitted, my taxes are complete. This is the first year in many years that I have done my own taxes. Turbo Tax made it relatively easy. My “accountant” Cynthia (not offically my accountant) will review them with me before I submit them. It is good to have friends who understand accounting and are willing to help. I am thankful for Cynthia’s help.

I could go on but as you can see my time, even when I am in new places, is a mix of adventure, and getting things done. It is no different than yours. We go have fun and then we do taxes.

Where to next? I am returning to San Diego for most of March. My dentist and I have an ongoing relationship of many years. I am returning to San Diego to once again get involved with dental work. Oh joy. I once told Jim, my husband that he should have checked my mouth before he married me. With his usual roll of the eyes, he laughed and proceeded to love me, no matter what.

Today I am thankful for the opportunities that continue to gift my life. I am thankful for the dentist. I am thankful for Woody. Today I am thankful.

Woody the Cat Tells His Tail

Hi, I am Woody the cat. I am new to this experience of telling my story. Janet says that Elsie, her kitty, would write on here and I decided to try.

I live with a really nice person. Her name is Mandy. I also live with a rather rambunctious dog, Rocky. I like living with them. They let me cuddle and visit when I want to. If Rocky gets too much for me I go to my private retreat, under the bed.

Mandy likes to travel in her “Roadtrek”. It is a big, well to me, a really giant house on wheels. When I look out the front window I see another one that is not quite as big in the driveway. Mandy has gone on holiday. She leaves and then she comes back. I have no idea where she goes. As long as she comes back I am good with that. I am also glad I don’t have to ride in it, I am not sure about this riding in a moving object. Rocky goes with her. Phew, I have some dog-free time to do what cats do, sleep, eat, sleep, get brushed, sleep, and snuggle and cuddle and sleep. I am good at snuggling and cuddling.

I am resting

When Mandy goes away I often go to Scott’s and Megan’s house. I like being there but I don’t like having to be caught and put in a tiny box and driving in a car to get there.

Guess what? This time when she left, I got to stay here. I am really happy with this arrangement. The day before Mandy left, Janet showed up. Ooh, I have heard she likes kitties. I don’t know where she came from. I have no idea how long she is here. No one ever tells me anything. Maybe it is because I don’t care. I am a cat.

Janet says she is house sitting and cat sitting for me. I am good with that. And…I get her all to myself. She is really nice to me and I get my needs met and a little more. I am good with this arrangement. I sleep with her every night. She lets me snuggle by her head or anywhere else I want. I get petted and sometimes she carries me around. She also feeds me and gives me treats. What else can a cat ask for? Well…I would like to go outside but she says no, even though I tell her it is OK. Sigh.

Look at the tail. My pride and joy.

Before I go take a look at my tail. My tail is beautiful and I carry it proudly. It goes straight up and then curls to my back. It is a fine feature and one of my best. All kitties should be so lucky.

It’s nice to meet you and I might just write again. It depends on when I can get to the computer. It depends on whether I am sleeping.

Here, There & Back Again-Adventures Along the Way

The View From Whidbey

In the third week of June, I left my house-sitting job on Whidbey Island and resumed my nomadic lifestyle. I traveled to southern Utah to celebrate my dear friend, Sharon’s, ninetieth birthday. I was surrounded by family and friends. I reunited with her family, one I have known since I was a young girl. I made new friends and enjoyed all those that I do not know at all.

The following week I traveled north through Utah. I kayaked lakes and rivers, biked along the byways, and kept my hiking limited due to an ongoing ankle injury. Utah never disappoints me. There is always magic there and it draws me back time and again. I waved to Salt Lake City as I drove by. This city was my first real move away from home in 1976. Yes, I have almost always had a nomadic tendency.

I gradually made my way into Idaho. After exploring the City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho I stayed in Boise with good friends for two weeks. Linda and I are like sisters. We hike and walk together and even tube the Boise River together. It is so much fun to have friends that have a sense of adventure.

When I left Boise I returned to Donnelly, ID, where I spent my 2020 Covid spring, summer, and fall. This time I was there for ten days. It was long enough to see one of my favorite chiropractors, go to the Farmers Market and kayak a section of the Payette River. It was an action-packed ten days. I would have stayed longer but I had a plan.

Linda, Mary, Phyllis, Janet

Mary Z, Linda, and I became friends back in 2016. I met them on that fateful desert trip. I ended the long weekend, breaking my ankle, delaying the sale of my home, and my imminent departure into my full-time RV life. The three of us have remained friends. Our last great adventure was traveling the White Rim in the backcountry of Canyonlands National Park. It has been a while since the three of us have been together.

A Gathering of Friends

We decided to meet up on the coast of Oregon. After some quick decision-making, we reserved a group site at one of the campgrounds near the town of Florence. With that one decision, it became a gathering of friends. We invited a few friends to join us for this group camping adventure on the coast. There were six Roadtreks(our RVs) and seven people. Two dogs and one kitty also joined the laid-back festivities.

Since I bought my Roadtrek in 2013 I have met wonderful, interesting, and unique people. I had no idea how this single purchase would change and enhance my life. I have traveled with some of these people. Others I meet in the desert during the winter months. Sometimes it is purely by fate that we meet at all. Recently while I was making my way to Boise two Roadtreks passed each other, we waved and there were my friends from Michigan. And, as with the Canyonlands trip, sometimes we leave our Roadtreks behind (safely watched over) and head to the backcountry in high clearance vehicles and camp, once again, on the ground. Almost anywhere I travel there are people who are waiting to have me join them for a day or two or more.

Linda, Mary, Pat & Pancho the Dog-Hiking during the Coastal gathering

People who RV are a welcoming, adventurous, and fun lot. I have become friends and or acquaintances with many. When I travel cross-country, I usually have people to visit, places to stay, or others to go camping with. When traveling distance it is so joyful to break up the monotony of the drive, by meeting delightful people. I have learned of unique and interesting places to explore. There is laughter and catching up to do. Sometimes serious and heartfelt conversations help relieve the stress of making major decisions on my own. I treasure my RVing friends. I treasure my friends. My Roadtrek may have been the catalyst to meet others yet several friendships have gone beyond the RV. I treasure all these friendships.

Today I am thankful to have discovered a lifestyle that has opened my world. Today I am thankful for good, good friends. Today I am thankful for by-chance meetings that create change in my life. Today I am thankful for my Roadtrek, for my friends and for a sense of adventure.

House Sitting Review

Today is Elsie’s and my last day in this beautiful home. We have had a good month. Elsie likes the room to run and I have enjoyed the quiet and beauty of this home. I have learned a few things.

  • I don’t need 2500 square feet to live in. When I first arrived I went from my bedroom to the kitchen. After finally giving myself permission, I expanded my space to the den and sun room. The formal dining room and the master suite were areas that I explored very little, if at all.
  • I like being still. I liked having a place to come home to after appointments and walks.
  • I really like being surrounded by beauty.
  • A good hot shower was a delicious treat for me. The shower in my RV is a bit on the small side.
  • Another treat is having a washer and dryer handy.
  • I enjoyed Therese’s art room. It is light and airy and has really good vibes.
  • As I lay in bed at night it was a delight to hear the coyotes howling in the canyon. I really like coyotes.
  • I like chicken sitting but I would not choose to be an urban farmer. Fresh eggs were a treat to be savored.
  • When the hip bursitis got bad I fell in love with the couch in the den. It was one place I could lay without any pain. It is a magic couch.
  • Sometimes it is good to have someone take care of your home. A week ago one of the drip irrigation pipes broke. I went outside to find water rushing down the driveway. This neighborhood is so quiet, it may have taken a while before anyone noticed this.
  • I like the pool but I am not sure I would like the maintenance and upkeep.
  • I liked having a garden that I could play around in. I love pruning and making a yard look nice.

Here is the beginnings of a list of what I will look for when I am ready to move back into a sticks and bricks type home. The longer I stay in one place the more I begin to long for a sense of permanence. I continue to recognize the longing for community. It is hard to do when one is “on-the-road”.

I am not done with this house quite yet. I move back in for two weeks over Thanksgiving before my house sitting gig is done. It has been a fun and interesting adventure.

Today I vacuum and dust and clean. I want my friends to come home to a happy and well cared for home. I know they will have many tales to tell.

Tomorrow Miss Elsie and I move back into our small house on wheels. We are going to camp on San Diego Bay for a few days before venturing off to visit friends.

Today I am thankful for good friends, lovely homes and my Roadtrek RV.

 

Friends & Urban Farming

I have been in San Diego for a week. My re-entry to this community is usually a bit hard. I don’t think it is the memories. I feel it has more to do with me trying to decide if this is still my home.

Last winter I rented a studio at the beach for 3 months. It was delightful to be near the beach, yet I found I was lonely. When one disappears from their friends for a long period of time, well they move on and in some ways so do I. I wondered how I would feel coming back this fall.

My month long home

Things are different this time. For the first month I am here I am house sitting for good friends in a large, beautiful home that has a feel of a retreat in the middle of a busy city. Both Elsie and I are enjoying the space. There are ample opportunities to sit outside, by the pool, looking over the canyon and a cozy, protected side deck and yard.

Having this space has offered me the opportunity to invite friends over and enjoy their company. Many of my friends are curious about my current home, so they arrive in ones or twos to visit, catch up and take a look around. And, because the house comes with six laying hens, people can go home with fresh eggs.

I am learning about chickens. When one stopped laying a few days ago, I was concerned. Like all good techies or techie wanna-be’s, I headed to the internet to read up on why one of the girls is not laying.

  • Did you know that when daylight hours are decreased hens will stop laying? Yep…so I wonder if this is the reason that she has stopped laying. Chickies need 15-16 hours of light to lay eggs. Our daylight hours are decreasing, so this might be a normal event.
  • A chicken needs around 20 grams of protein to lay an egg. In addition to protein, chickens need: calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, fat and water.  A chicken also needs a lot of protein to grow feathers; feathers are approximately 80% protein. So a chicken only has enough protein to either lay eggs or moult, it doesn’t have enough protein to do them both at once.
  • Too many goodies-table scraps and such may also cause them to stop laying because they are not getting the nutrition they need from their main food source. OK I admit it, I have been table scrapping them. This stopped yesterday.
  • If they are dehydrated they will also stop laying. Chickens will drink around three times as much water by weight as they will eat. I don’t think that is a worry as I change their water every other or third day.
  • Are their nesting boxes clean? They don’t like them damp or dirty. Guess what I am doing this afternoon?

Now, you too may know more than you ever needed to know about the urban chicken craze. I had two pet chickens when I was growing up. I am enjoying being around them again. They are funny and personable.

I am house sitting for a month and then plan to camp and visit other friends for about 10 days and then return to chicken farming for another couple of weeks. It has certainly upped my game. I am relaxed and sleeping in and am enjoying exploring my new neighborhood. It is a beautiful area. For those who know the city I am in Tierra Santa and some of the trail heads to Mission Trails Regional Park are a mile away. Sweet.

I am enjoying seeing all my friends, a little bit at a time. I still do better in small groups. Large crowds continue to overwhelming to me. For all my San Diego friends. I am back and I plan to stay until January 2019. Please give me a call or email or text. I love this time of the year because I catch up with all of those who have been part of my social community for almost thirty years. I love all of you.

Today I am grateful for friends near and far. Today I am grateful for this lovely home and retreat. Today I am grateful for chickens. Today I am grateful.

A Quick Update

Poncho

I made it to Boise, Idaho. I am house sitting in this beatifully situated town for a week. My charges are Poncho the dog and Misty the Invisible Cat. Why is she invisible? She resides most of the time under the master bed or under the covers. Ah it reminds me of Elsie the cat.

I am including a link to my latest post on the Roadtreking site.

Roadtreking: Celebrating the Small RV Lifestyle.

I thought you might enjoy reading of my adventures as I was heading for Idaho. Click on the underlined link above and it will take you to this post. I guest post for this site approximately twice a month. If you enjoy RV’ing you may want to follow this blog.

I also have updated my photos of my travels. If you would like to see more of these click on the link below and it will take you there.

Photos of Life in a Small Motorhome

When you look at the page on Shutterfly I have added some new albums. Zion National Park would be a good place to start and then move on from there. Idaho will be starting soon.😀

I am in Boise until later this week. When Linda and Steve return I will be heading north to Donnelly and McCall, Idaho. I am looking forward to spending some time in one place. It is time to catch up and reflect on a year since I sold my house and moved into my small and comfortable RV full time. There is more to come.

Meanwhile, I hope you are celebrating Memorial Day, well. Get out the grill and enjoy the day. While you are having fun and enjoying the beginning of summer, never forget what this holiday is all about. I remember as a child we would drive by cemetaries and see the American flag flying from the majority of graves. It was and always is a touching thing to see. Remember to honor those who have served or are serving today. It is part of the freedom we enjoy.