Miss Elsie the Cat Takes a Ride

Elsie in the desert

Elsie in the desert

If you have been reading my blog from the beginning of my journey in 2013, you know I was suppose to be traveling with my cat, Elsie. That first summer she opted out and stayed in San Diego with my house sitter and friend Raquel.

This coming May I am planning on taking to the road for three months. More to come on that adventure. This time I decided that Miss Elsie is traveling with me.

How do I get Elsie (one of the original scaredy cats) and myself ready to travel together in my RV? I have for the past several months taken her out to the Roadtrek, made it comfy and spent the afternoon or evening reading while she explored and got used to the movements of my neighborhood. I wanted to make it feel like her home.

Once she was comfortable with this I then started the engine and took her for short rides. The short rides became longer with destinations in mind where we spent time inside the RV looking out. A few times over the course of last summer I would take her to the bay, open all the doors and windows and have dinner while she first hid under the bed and then gradually made her way to peer out the side door. Any noise or person would send her scooting under the bed again.

Miss E looking out the back door.

Miss E looking out the back  screened door 

Elsie rolling in the desert

Elsie rolling in the desert

Early in February we did our first overnight. We went out to the desert and boondocked. It was just her me and the desert. There was no one close by. First she laid on the bed and peered out the back screened window. Eventually she made it to the screened side door. With great timidness she stepped outside and discovered the desert floor is covered with dirt and sand. This cat has always loved to roll. Well she took off for one of the most major rolls of her life. By the time she was done she looked the color of the desert. When the night sky was in it’s full glory she and I went out and laid on the desert and looked at the heavens.

hiking and rolling in the wash

hiking and rolling in the wash

The following day on the way home we found a place up in a canyon and I took her hiking up the wash with me. I admit this makes me nervous as there are coyotes out there. She was on a short leash so she could not wander far. She again loved exploring and rolling on the desert floor.

Elsie in Patagonia

Elsie in Patagonia

Trip two occured about two weeks ago when she and I headed to Patagonia, Arizona. Although timid in campgrounds she did come out from under the covers and look around. I took her for short walks late in the evening when everyone was inside their RV’s. We stayed there for 4 nights.  The more we were there the more curious she became. And her world began to open a little at a time.

Here is what I have done so far to ensure the safety and happiness of Miss Elsie.

  • She has a halter on at all times except when we are sleeping.
  • She is chipped with ID information on all her halters.
  • I am going to add a locator to her collar so if she does get away I might be able to find her.
  • She always goes out with a leash on. I have a short one and a long leash.
  • She has a kitty playpen that I can put her in if she shows interest.
  • I have all doors screened and I can add screens to the front windows when camped.
  • All her vet records will travel with me and her immunizations will be up to date.
  • I am putting a sign on my RV letting people know she is on board.
  • I have favorite toys and sheepskins that she uses in the house with her in the RV.
  • The litter pan is easily accessible and will be cleaned immediately after use.
  • I have a designated place for her food and water.
  • Several years ago Jim and I taught her commands. Clap 3 times means come in the house, and she does. Collar, means stop let me put your collar on or take it off. My latest one I started when I first introduced her to the RV and that one is Wait and she does.

This summer when we leave I will travel differently. We will stay in one place for more than a day. I think that will ease her nervousness and I will get to know a place better. I will need to pay attention to someone elses needs and that is not a bad thing to consider.

Elsie was Jim’s kitty. It took her about five months to decide he was not coming back and she changed her allegiance to me. Over these past few years she has been a good friend and a constant in my life when everything else is changing. I am glad to have her along for the ride this summer.

Go Miss Elsie.

Birding in Patagonia….Arizona

Have you ever been to Patagonia??? Arizona??? I just returned from a week in southern Arizona visiting my friend Cat. Remember her…she was biking across the United States with her two dogs. She got as far as east of Tucson and had to change her goals once again.

Cat's home

Cat’s home

Cat’s doctors informed her that the “Bike across America” would need to go on an indefinite hold. She was without a home and wasn’t sure what to do. Cat fell in love with my small Roadtrek RV. Thinking that an RV would give her a home anywhere she wanted to be…she bought a 5th wheel (much bigger than mine) and moved in.

For the foreseeable future Cat is making Patagonia home. I decided that seeing her new RV was worth the drive and the visit. It was a great re-connection. When I arrived Dory the dog, came running out and up to the door of my RV and waited for it to magically open. She really likes me and my home on wheels. You might remember a previous post where I met up with Cat and the pups in Yuma.

What a fun 5 days that was. I have learned that people go to Patagonia to bird watch. I mean these are serious birders, folks. For a 5 day stretch I became a birder too, and, it was fun. There are a lot of birds there, of all kinds. We hiked the Nature Conservancy Reserve with  binoculars in hand. We went back to the Paton House, managed by the Audubon Society three times while I was there. For five days my binoculars were around my neck and my camera was close at hand.It was so relaxing and fun.


Violet Crowned Humming Bird


Gambles Quail



Yellow Rumped Warbler

When I was young I was in the 4-H. One of my projects was bird watching. I remember it as a time when I had a close connection to my mom, as she helped me with this project. I have never lost the interest in wild life. I have found that since Jim’s death, I have become interested in birds again. There is something soothing about watching birds. And…they  are such pretty colors. Being outside also is another bonus for me. It is a challenge to photograph them.

Cat & Janet at Paton's

Cat & Janet at Paton’s

Spending time  with Cat was also special. She and I mutually inspire each other. Our friendship is new so we are still learning about each other. I love our conversations. They are so easy and natural. Her sense of adventure exceeds mine, although I could be right behind her. She is an example of taking one day, one hour, one minute at a time and never, ever giving up. This is a reminder to me as I age, gracefully, I hope, to be willing to accept the changes that occur in life and if need be, change course. I don’t need to stop just change course.

Friendships are important. Each one is of such great value to me. I would have been very alone without my friends to support me and helping me to keep looking forward. Mostly I am happy they are more than willing to come along with me and have fun and explore our world. Each trip I take reminds me again of the value of good friends. And…I am thankful.

Cat & Janet

Cat & Janet

For those of you who are reading my blog you will notice something new. On the left side bar is now a button that says Go Fund Me. This is something new I have started at the suggestion of friends to help raise money for the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship. This is a scholarship honoring my husband’s dedication to education. It is a quick and easy way to donate anything from $1 on up.

Who Knew???

Approximately two weeks ago I was interviewed by Caitlin Kiernan for Yahoo Travel. At first I was going to be included in a larger article about RV’ing. Then her boss and she decided that my journey in my cute and new little RV that started this blog would be good as a feature article.

She interviewed me and some of the people I met along my travels and soon the article was finished. It appeared in this weeks Yahoo Travel on the web. It was a good article and I felt that she had done a good job. And I thought it was done.

Oh my goodness, the past few days have been amazing. I have recieved e-mails from people commenting on the article and their own personal journeys. Several people are now following this blog.

I am overwhelmed. So what did I do? I left town. When all else fails, run away (sic).  I am now in Patagonia, Arizona visiting a friend and taking time out to digest what happened with this article. I am also going bird watching and hiking and generally enjoying my time out.

I started this blog as a way to keep friends and fellow adventureers up to date with where I was as I moved across the country. Very quickly it became something more. All any of us can do is help each other out. I hope that through these posts that maybe just maybe it can touch someone else’s life and help make their struggle just a wee bit easier and if not at least it is a good read. These posts have certainly helped me become clearer about life and my own personal journey.

I have continued to post because people did not want me to stop. My own journey is not over yet. Each time that I go somewhere whether it is for a day or a week or much longer it is part of my own personal journey of healing and wholeness.

So welcome aboard all of you who decided to start following my blog. Welcome to those who have been following this blog since it’s inception. I am honored and grateful for each of your visible or invisible presence in my life. Let the journey continue.

Here is a link to the article in Yahoo travel. Driving Through Grief