A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A Couple of Projects

The battery in Gracie was on its last leg.  A few times in the morning the green light wouldn't even show when I turned the key on.  After several kicks Gracie would come to life.  I'd ride around a bit and the battery would charge up.  It was just not holding the charge overnight.  I broke down and bought a new battery.  I had to buy the battery acid (to the right) separately.  Finally it arrived.  I put the acid into the battery and had 6 volts in a short time.  Cool beans.  I didn't have to charge it.
Gracie is happy now.

I had a regular quality bicycle cover on the bike in back on the carrier.  After a couple years of being exposed to the sun the material began to give way.  After numerous patchings and tapings, I broke down once again and bought something different - a canvas tarp.  The silver thing was part of the old bicycle cover.  It was on the top portion, made of a reflective rubberized material for sun protection.  It was still in good shape.  I cut it out and was in the process of installing some grommets onto it when the wind picked up and I quit work for the day. The plan is to secure it in place somehow.  
I haven't quite figured that part out yet.  

Another day and a workable solution.  I added a few more grommets and ran some nylon rope through them.  I think it will stay in place while driving.  This will give the tarp a bit more life where it is exposed directly to the sun.  It's a bit of a hassle installing the tarp and all.  The only alternative is to leave the bicycle exposed to the elements and eyes of thieves. 
Oh well...

I also had to make a repair to my new sunshade.  The grommet ripped out.

All the while I was working on this Beans assumed her supervisory position. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

More Trash

Well the scene around the dumpsters was getting out of control.
It had turned into a used furniture depot.

Tires and mattresses also.

Finally he arrived.  It seems his schedule is down to once a week now.  

The dumpsters are so overloaded when he dumps the bins 
loose paper and plastic is scattered all about by the desert wind.

The next morning was calm and I went out on litter picking patrol in our yard.

Someone tossed that pink chair into an empty dumpster after he left. 
 I'll try to get those tires in there next time.

(several days later)
I didn't get the tires in there in time.

(two more days passed)

He came again the next day after dumping the above and loaded up the tires, chairs, mattress and all the other debris scattered about.  I helped some with the lighter stuff .
I never thought I'd see this space looking this nice.

Meanwhile across the highway at the other camp area...

Beans is happy sunbathing.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Into the Bio-hazard Zone

I had to do some grocery shopping yesterday.  I wasn't looking forward to it.
This is what I envision it to be like in town.

This is the best Quartzsite has to offer for a grocery store.
I went early on Sunday thinking not too many would be there.
Good planning.  There wasn't.

Geared up in my bio-hazard gear and ready to go inside.
I saw only one lady wearing a mask.  
The dozen or so others I saw, the fools they are, made no effort to protect themselves.

Groceries bought but some items I wanted were not to be had.
This may mean a second visit this week.

Everything goes into my backpack and another stuff sack for the ride back to Camp Quarantine.
I can fit a half gallon of milk in that separate compartment on the bottom of the backpack.

As you can see I can fit in quite a bit of groceries in the two packs.

A few hours of ultraviolet light from the sun does the job.

 Dad, don't touch me until after you've washed your hands for twenty seconds and 
then sanitized them with 70% or more alcohol hand sanitizer!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Camp Quarantine

You may have noticed that for some time now my posts to the blog show up every other day.  Mainly that was because we were not traveling around and the amount of material to be had here was limited.  So I was trying to stretch it out.  Well now we are all under this quarantine/stay in place mode and many of you are confined indoors in your homes.  So I decided to try to put something out daily now, just a little something to help you get through this.  It may not be much, but its something.

Resigning to the fact that we will be here for the long haul I moved camp yet again (what else do I have to do?) a hundred yards up the road.  This spot is a little bit more secluded and hopefully will keep anyone from moving in nearby.  It's not the COVID-19 I'm concerned about, I just don't want to be hearing their generator running all hours.

There is this nice large mesquite tree here which offered a good opportunity to set up the solar shower.  That was refreshing and I felt like a new person afterwards.  I pour in four gallons of water and set it out in the sun to warm up.  It takes about three hours to get to a temperature that doesn't take your breath away.

Beans is handling this quarantine very well.  
After all, shes a cat.  Not a problem.

Friday, April 3, 2020

We Get to Stay in Place

I talked with two of my neighbors (from a safe distance) about their plans.  I knew that both had been here in previous years and wondered what they thought about staying on past our scheduled April 15 date that we are paid up to.  Tom for Minnesota said one year he did stay all summer.  He bounced around among the several free 14-day stay areas that border the Long Term Visitor Area we are in.  He said no one ever bothered him or said he had to leave.  In fact one day the rangers stopped by just to check and see if he was okay.  So that was good to know as it was what I planned to do if we were evicted after the 15th.  We could stay here but would have to pay $75 for the summer season.

Several days later I talked with my nearest neighbor Theresa who also is from Minnesota.  She is one of those I featured earlier living out of her minivan with two little dogs.  She told me she talked with the BLM personnel and they assured her that they will allow everyone who paid the $180 for the six months winter period to stay in place and will not be required to pay to do so.  Well that is even better to hear.  So stay in place we will.  Now it is just a matter if things will return to normal before this place becomes an oven.

Beans found this on our walk together.
Interesting how all of it was eaten except the hind end.
Not enough meat on them bones I guess.
I hope it will not come down to us two eating desert rats to survive.
Beans will make it.  Not me.

Nice find Beans...Beans?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


- no pictures as I want to respect Samantha's privacy -

One day I rode Gracie three miles south of us to check out the free 14-day camp area there in case we have to move after April 15 when our time runs out where we are.  There weren't many people there, usually never is.  That is why I like Road Runner.  Tooling around I was surprised to see Samantha was still there.  I met her a couple of months earlier, same spot.  She has a ginger cat named Sprout and I saw it wandering around.  If you have a cat you can expect me to come and see it.  
So that is how we met.

Samantha is from Georgia and I'd guess to be early sixties in age.  Like many women I meet out here on the road she is running away from her dysfunctional family.  "I'm thinking about changing my name to make it even more difficult for them to find me." She is living out of her black Nissan Cube and has next to nothing for a camp except a camp chair sitting outside.  She also has a little dog. 
 I stopped to visit - ten feet apart.

She was getting ready to go into town for some ice.  I told her about my recent foray into town, the harrowing experience in Family Dollar and the kind lady who gifted me a mask.  "Yeah, I wish I had one.  All I have is this bandanna" she pointed to around her neck.  "Ever since I have been out here in the desert I quit wearing my bra.  I'm going to cut off one of the cups and use it for a mask and cover that with the bandanna."  No, I didn't laugh.  I thought it a good idea.  Even just what that lady gave me, your typical dust mask, isn't ideal but it's a hell of a lot better than nothing.  I'll cover mine with a bandanna also.  I was even thinking of sticking an antibacterial wipe between the mask and bandanna. If nothing else it shows that we are serious so just stay back and don't invade our space!

I think it had been quite awhile since Samantha had last talked with someone.  She was just going off rapid fire with stories and things to say.  I wish I had a recording for it was all good material for my journal.  I too was once guilty of that.  A couple years back a lady, Lana was her name, came over to our camp.  We got to talking and later on I realized it was if I had been vaccinated by a phonograph needle.  I apologized to her the next day for being a little Chatty-Cathy.  "I just haven't talked to anyone for weeks and weeks.  She laughed and thought it cute.
Since then I've tried to curb my enthusiasm when meeting someone after a long dry spell.

Lock down.    

Monday, March 30, 2020

Like Winning the Lottery!

I got a roll of paper towels at Family Dollar!  
One to a customer the sign read.  That was fine with me.

I saw a news bit about a Danish store having some hand sanitizer in stock on their shelves.  
The sign read: One bottle $4.09.  Two bottles $95.
Very smart! 

There was no toilet paper though.  I didn't need any.  In fact I had found two rolls stuffed away in the RV the other day.  That would be like finding a lost treasure except on the way here back in October I stocked up on supplies at a Walmart outside of Phoenix.  I had mistakenly bought a four pack of SINGLE-PLY toilet paper.  When I discovered my mistake later on I wasn't very pleased let me tell you.  But you know what?  A roll of single-ply lasts a very long time!

There was a lady ahead of me wearing a mask, one of the good ones, an n95 mask.  Just as I was finishing at the register some guy back in the line started coughing and hacking.  I grabbed my bags and bolted for the door.  As I was loading the motorbike the lady with the mask came back from her RV returning the shopping cart.  I told her "We got out of there just in time" adding about the cougher in line.  She said "That's why I am wearing this" pointing to her mask.  Boy I wish I had one of those I quipped.  As I was finishing up loading my purchases she came back from her RV to gift me a mask!  Not an n95 like hers but it was a kind gesture on her part nevertheless.  I appreciated it. 
 "Oh you're a sweetheart!" and I gave her a big hug.  

-just kidding on the hug part-

Thursday, March 26, 2020

These Uncertain Times

I'd like to thank everyone for their enlightening comments to the Sheltering in Place post.
Basically, during the pandemic we've all become cats.  We avoid people, we stay indoors, stare out the window, get bored, take naps.  Yup, we're all cats now.

Normally I would be moving on right about now beginning another tour of the country.  But normal no longer exists.  I had a loose plan to head east through New Mexico into Texas, explore some new country there and maybe loop around in the South some.  But that is not happening now.

The last time I filled up with fuel was September 25 last year.  We arrived here in Quartzsite with a quarter of a tank left.  Only driving from one camp location to another plus a few trips into town I only used half of the remaining fuel over the winter months.  I'd be good until we were ready to continue our journey and would fill up then.  Now if you told me a month ago I wouldn't be able to buy toilet paper or paper towels at this time I'd think you nuts.  Who would have thought? 

Time for a new plan.  We and everyone else who bought a long term pass are good to stay here to April 15.  What happens after that is unknown.  For one, I've never been here past that date.  Two, I can't imagine BLM Rangers coming around running people off.  It's too large an area - over 11,400 acres. Too many people may choose to "shelter in place" here. Lastly there are like only a couple of Rangers for this whole area.  So I plan to stay put.  If we're evicted I will move south a few miles to the Free 14-day stay area where I've camped  in years past.  The camp host there is already gone so there is no way to get the free permit.  What can they do? And in a month or so beyond April 15 it will be getting pretty hot here.  When that happens we'll move to higher elevations north of here about a two hour drive and camp in the National Forest.

So I filled up now and eliminated any possible toilet paper like event with fuel.  I'm now good for over four hundred miles of travel. If we never leave Arizona I can still return to our winter home here in Quartzsite without buying more fuel.  After all I'm sure I could find someone to tell me now 
"In one month you won't be able to buy any fuel"  I wouldn't think them nuts. 

The morning I left for the gas station this guy was on the front tire.
That is an insect.  A walking stick.
Pretty neat!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sheltering in Place

Recently I've had friends check in to see how we are doing during this lock down stay-at-home crisis.  Sheltering in place, social distancing, self isolation...this is a normal every day to day life style for me and many of those out here.  Nothing has changed.  We wouldn't even know anything was going on if it weren't for the news media.  Which brings me to the point of this post.   

As of March 20 the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control reported 26,686 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the United States with 340 deaths.  In comparison the figures for your garden variety flu cases for the flu season (we're in week 11 for the season) stands at       "...at least 38 million flu illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations and 23,000 deaths from flu".

The only thing I see here is a higher percentage of death rate for the COVID-19. 
But a large majority of those deaths the patient had preexisting health issues and was elderly.   

So why all the hysteria, hoarding and pandemonium over the Coronavirus?  What am I missing here?  Educate me.  All that I can find out is that this new virus is a bit more easily contracted?  To me all this panic is the result of the news media stirring up a frenzy.  The real killer here seems to be the more commonly reported influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus.  
But we never hear about it.

Simple precautions is all that is needed. 
The very same precautions I take every day, all year long.

I asked Beans how she was handling it.
Social distancing?  Ha, cats invented that.

Avoid all contact with hoomans.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hoarding for the Apocalypse

Yes, I am guilty as all the rest.  But I have my priorities.
A box of toilet paper?

 Food for Beans.

Now you see where my priorities lie.

Thanks Dad for putting me first.
(thanks for the box too)

Friday, March 20, 2020

Oh the Madness

Even the little town of Quartzsite isn't immune to the hysteria going on.
The scene at Family Dollar.

All I wanted was one roll of paper towels.  That's all.  
Now I may wind up cutting my blue workshop paper towels in half.

Beans would never!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A New Camp and a New Word

I learned a new word the other day: coddiwomple.  It is a British word meaning to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.  I like it.  It pretty much sums up Beans and I. 

With that in mind I went scouting for a new location.  Reason?  Some nimrod close by would run his Noisemaker 3000 generator every early evening.  I rode Gracie all around searching for a new spot keeping the distance within a mile or so.  This way I could walk back from the new camp to get Gracie without having to load her onto the RV.  Finding nothing I returned to camp only to discover the people across the way had left.  Huh!  Thank you!

It was an easy move of only a few hundred yards.  
This should be fine for the remainder of our time here.

Mr. Coddiwomple and his cat.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Dusty Road

I make a big loop around the camp area each morning for my walk.  It's only a mile to two miles depending on which loop I take.  There aren't many campers left so there's very little traffic which means no dust.  The plan is to stay here for the rest of the month maybe longer now if a travel ban is implemented.  That's fine.  Less likely to run into the infected.
We're okay to stay until April 15 and then we will have to pay on a bi-weekly rate I think.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

A Travel Ban?

Here are a few scenes of the wash behind our previous camp across the road after the rain.

Even the desert can have a running stream...for a few hours.

As I write this a travel ban has been implemented.  They say it could even go so far as a ban from travel state to state.  I don't ever much much stock into what the fear-mongering media puts out there but nevertheless I cannot think of a better state to be confined in than Arizona.  So we're good.

Here's some good news:  The guy in the white minivan finally fixed his flat tire.

At one of the Free Tables someone left some cat food.  Guess their kitty didn't like it.  Score for Beans.  Beans, it's the apocalypse.  When you get hungry enough, you'll eat it.

I love this. 
I don't think Beans (nor my back) would tolerate it though.