A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Memory of Cats

I was reading an article about cat’s remembering events in their lives.  The question more specifically was ‘Can cats remember being abandoned?’  
The cat expert answered “Most definitely”.     
I can attest to that.

I met the owner of my new cat, soon to be known as Beans, in a PETCO parking lot.  He handed me the cat and her belongings then took off.  I placed Beans in her new home (the RV) and we stayed in the lot for awhile while she explored and got comfortable.  Eventually I started the motor and slowly pulled away.  She jumped up into my lap just like Sinbad had always done.  “Oh this is good.”  She was fine for the short drive back to the house.  I brought her inside and set her down.  She cautiously inspected each room, came back into the kitchen where I was, looked at me and ran at me, gave me a playful swipe and took off again.  Soon she came running out of a bedroom jumping up against the wall of the hallway to make the turn literally bouncing off the wall.  She was ecstatic, happy as could be.  

About a week later I was ready to leave the house for good and begin my/our new life together living on the road.  I put her in the RV, locked up the house, came back settled in and started the motor.  I got as far as the corner and she began to howl.  “Oh, this is not good.”  I pulled over to the curb.  I tried to console her.  Once we got rolling again she began howling again.  “Oh no!  I can’t have this.  She did fine from PETCO to the house.”  The howling continued.  I eventually put ear plugs in.  This went on for nearly an hour.  I was distraught.  Will she adapt to traveling?  She eventually got quiet.  Either she wore herself out or had a sore throat.  We stayed a few days at our first stop and she was fine.  When we left from there she began with howling again.  I was mortified.  This time she didn’t keep it up as long and settled back into my lap.  That was the last incident.

It wasn’t until a long time later it dawned on me what was going on with her those first few days:
The last time I went for a ride I was given away to a new human.  I like my new human.  I am happy with my new human.  Now I am going for a ride again.  My new human is going to give me away to another human.  I want to stay with this human.  I don’t want to be given away again.  I am scared.

Even if at the time I understood what frightening thought was going through her little head there would have been no way I could have conveyed to her that I wasn’t going to give her away.  She had to come to that realization on her own that I would be her forever human.  

And she did.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Another Move

This guy moved in nearby three days ago.  No generator so that was good.  But occasionally I could hear his radio music.  Yesterday I had had enough.  His loud talking on the phone made my mind up. 


So we moved back over near where we were before.

Like what else do I have to do?

I walked back to get Gracie.  You can see our new spot in the distance.
I think this will be far enough away from the Top 40 Hit Parade.

You can see here how we’ve been bouncing around the same area.
Other spots this winter are off to the right.

In other news it appears we are to have 70 (21.1c) degrees 
and above weather until the end of the month.
No complaints there.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

There is Always Something to Do


Sunday was a good day (well they all are usually).  I decided to clean house.  I take out all seven rugs, shake and sweep them.  Then I sweep the linoleum floor.  I swear I collected an entire cat-full of dirt.  Then I wipe the floor with moist sanitizer household wipes and put it all back together.

Nice to have a clean home.

Beans started out her day sunbathing in the morning sun.  She is real good about hanging around while I have the door open cleaning.  She’ll go in and out numerous times during cleaning.

I have three hiking sticks partially finished.  They’ve been that way for months.

I stopped on them because it is a real pain in getting the cap off of the bottle of tung oil for the finish.  You have to push down and turn and the “teeth” fail to grip the inner cap.  Stuck tight.  I have to take pliers to it.  Well I finally discovered what I have been doing wrong all these years with these bottles.  I put the cap back on with oil on the threads.  It dries hard and thus - stuck.  I cleaned and scraped it all clean, bottle and inside the cap and now will always put the cap back with a clean dry spout.
Now I may get back to those sticks.

That was a big win for me but this one was even bigger.  The headlamps on the truck were so clouded and dull I would always have the high beams on when using the lights.  Been that way for years.  Being as I never drive at night, no big deal.  Figured someday I would buy replacements.  Well last week I got into cleaning the front end of bugs and such. Dug out some restorer for the grill and bumper.  That really improved the looks. I wondered What would this stuff do to the headlamps?  I applied it and wiped clean with a cloth.  I could tell a difference.  I was amazed.  I did it again days later using a Scotch Brite pad and there was an even bigger improvement.  I could not believe it.  I have used those headlight restorer kits before with no luck.  So this was a huge win for me.
It would mean more to you had I took a before photo but I had no idea this would be the end result.

The dark grey bumper was a light sun-bleached color before I applied the ‘restorer’.


School Bus Home


School bus conversions are not all that unusual to see out here.  They come in all sizes.  This one appears to have once been a touring bus which is a bit different.  I personally would not one.  They most likely do not get great fuel mileage.  I’d imagine upkeep and maintenance could be slightly costly.  Parts too not all that available.  I don’t really know.  The other thing is the places we go and stay a large bus would prevent us from doing so.  Wide open places like the desert is not a problem.  Many RV parks do not allow them.  Well I wouldn’t want to stay in an RV park anyway.  Now if this was your permanent home as many are staying here for six months in the winter and moving up north to some property you might have in say Montana for the rest of the year then a bus makes a lot of sense. That is a whole array of solar panels above the roof.   

Inside you can create your own home just the way you would like unlike a standard RV motorhome which limits you to a certain extent.  Many are quite nice inside.  You are only limited as to your imagination to how you create your living space.
Here are a few examples I pulled off the internet for you.
Could you live in this?

Friday, January 14, 2022

Who’s the Fool?

“Come on Beans, lets go home.”

At the RV I turn around and see she’s still back there sitting down now. 

“Beans, come on.  Beans!  Come home.  That’s it, just sit there and ignore me.  Beans!  Come!  Want some treats?  Treats!  Come on Beans, please.  Yeah, just look around like you don’t hear me.”  

Stubborn cat!

“Oh that’s just fine. Lie down and continue to ignore me.”

Finally tired of playing this game I get up and walk on out there.  Halfway there she gets up and high-tails it past me running back to the RV and jumping up inside.

Ha ha Dad!  Made you get up!  Ha, ha, ha.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Racetrack of the Sky


Yesterday morning was very pleasant, nice temperature with no wind.

Perfect for a long walk.
I see more campers here now that the Big Tent RV Show is about to open.
Still though there isn’t as many here as I have seen in the past.
Our immediate neighborhood is still all ours.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Rules Are For Thee, Not Me

I went to Family Dollar yesterday to get some kitty litter.  A not too bad of a line to stand in, around a half a dozen or so.  While waiting my turn I looked around.  Right there behind me is this mask-wearing, multi-vaccinated woman standing right up my butt ignoring the social distancing markers on the linoleum floor beneath her feet.  Thankfully I had my backpack on or she would have been even closer.

I could have given her a snarky remark, coughed in her face or something but being a non-confrontational person I did nothing.  Actually I didn’t realize she was giving me the full court press until I was at the checkout so it was just a matter of paying for my cat sand and getting out of there.  Had I been aware earlier I most likely would have switched on my sarcasm button.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Digging in the Desert


Digging deep into a dead saguaro cactus.  No stickers. 

Digging a cat hole.
Dad!  I was taking a potty break!
That is something Sinbad never did.  
He’d hold it until he got back to the RV and his litter box.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Alone and Lonely


I was going to leave replies to a couple comments on the Good Boy Zeekie post then decided to make a complete post on the subject.

It was October 2016 and I was preparing to leave for the desert for the winter.  I felt it would be Sinbad’s last adventure with me.  One evening he was sitting next to me in my chair as he always did while I read.  He jumped down, went over under my desk and laid down.  He never went over there.  I went to lay next to him.  Two hours later he passed away peacefully.  

I was okay with it.  I had done my grieving two years earlier when I thought I was going to lose him for good.  The vet pulled him through and with medication we had two more years together.  I thought about what if we had taken off for the desert?  What if he had passed away out there?  How could I possibly dig a grave in the desert, lay him to rest and drive away as did Zeekie’s owners?
I looked at his passing when he did as Sinbad’s gift to me.  You go on ahead without me Dad.  It’s okay.

A week or so later I was packed and ready to go.  I locked up the house started up the motor home and pulled away.  No one jumped up into my lap.  I made it around the corner, pulled over to the curb and lost it, tears rolling down my face.

That winter I learned difference of being alone from being lonely.
Alone is being with no one else around.
Lonely is being without someone you really cared about.

Sunday, January 9, 2022



Sunday late morning I pushed myself to go grocery shop.  No sense in putting off any longer something that had to be done eventually.  I rode Gracie into the face of a cold breeze to town.  When I returned home I discovered Mr. and Mrs. Generator had left while I was away!  I could not believe our good fortune.  The evening before while reading I could hear loud music coming from their way.  I was contemplating a criminal act, possibly a felony.

I am always amazed as to how much I can carry on the little bike.  I am careful to not buy more than I can pack.  I thought this time I may have exceeded the limit but I made it.  The green canvas backpack I picked up at the flea market years ago.  The guy wanted five dollars for it.  I couldn’t pass that up although I already had a smaller backpack.  This one has proved to be wonderful for packing in purchases while out on the Honda 90.  It has White Mt. R.D. Inyo N.F. stenciled onto it.  White Mountain is where the bristlecone pine forest is in the eastern Sierra mountains of California.  I suspect it belonged the Forest Service although I don’t know what R. D. could mean.

The black and blue nylon bag is a compression stuff sack for backpacking.  I picked it up from eBay back when I had these dreams and desires to do long distance backpacking.  Well that never happened.  I thought my investment was a waste.  Now in this lifestyle and having the trail bike the bag has proved to be very useful for this very reason, packing the groceries home.

The camo bag on the side is where I store the stuff sack, bungi cords, water bottle and a few tools.

Let’s go home Beans.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Good Boy Zeekie


I was awake before sunrise.  Couldn’t go back to sleep.  I gave up and got up.  After a wash-up, coffee and bagel, and oh yes, feeding a cat, the sun began its show.  I stepped outside for a photo.

The generator was already running.

See the white speck to the left beneath the mountain.  That is Mr. and Mrs. Generator.
See the white speck to the right of the RV in the middle, that is Mr. Curmudgeon and his fat cat.
You can see it is quite a distance.  We were about behind that tree before moving.
  Its just that sound travels out here in the silence.
The wind is no longer blowing from the left so that helps.

I came across this pet grave while out for a walk.
So sad.  I cannot even begin to imagine.  Don’t want to either.

Friday, January 7, 2022

When Will I Ever Learn?


Just the day before I make a post about how this is a wonderful neighborhood.  I’ll probably jinx myself writing that.  Sure enough.  These people move in across the way the next day.  Look just above the mirror on the bike and slightly to the left.  First thing they do...start up a generator.  Now you may think they are far enough away that it would not be an issue.  Sound carries out here.  If the wind is from that direction (and it was) the sound travels even farther.  

I walked over a ways to the north.  This is better.  I walked back, threw a few things inside and slowly motored over not having to secure anything inside before moving.  We were over there by the single tall cactus saguaro in the middle.  I walked back to get Gracie and rode her to our new spot. 
All done in fifteen minutes.
 I hoped they noticed I moved.  I doubt it.  Being oblivious is commonplace with people.

Beans is happy.  New land to prowl around in.
Two hours later I see them, a youngish couple, ride away on their ATV.
The generator was stilling running.
No one was home.

As the sun set, the generator was still churning away.  Never turned off.  All day long.
Would they run it all night too?

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Comment on an Eight Year Old Post


I recently received a comment on a blog post made back in January 2013.
  This was during a cross country trip Sinbad and I were doing.

The commenter wrote:
My 2nd great-grandparents met at the Trading Post in Bordeaux, NE in 1865/66, so thank you very much for the pictures and story of Chadron and Bordeaux, NE.  She my 2nd great grandmother actually left Iowa to teach at the trading post and my 2nd great grandfather was a cattle driver.  Again, thank you.

Wow!  That was really nice to read.  Pretty cool.

You can see the post by clicking on the link below


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Its a Wonderful Neighborhood


Looking to the south, no one except that small white speck in the distance.

To the east two small white specks.

And to the north, no specks.  Oh they are out there but too far away for the eye to see.
I honestly thought we would have had to evacuate long ago.  This has proved to be a great area to stay.

I apologize for not having anything more interesting to post.  There is simply nothing going on.  The weather is warming up.  In fact Friday is supposed to top out at 72 (22.2c) degrees.  Nice!

I have been putting in time each day doing the final edit for this year’s eBook.  I hope to have it published in a couple of weeks.  You will see it here first and as usual it will be FREE to download.

Meanwhile if there is any special requests as to something you would like to see or know about in our way of life, leave it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Trash Run


Yesterday was not as chilly and the wind was just a breeze.  A good time to get out and about.  To make it meaningful and gathered up my unburnable trash and would drop it off at the dumpster.

I stopped twice on along the way to pick up a beer can.  See it?

Just two cans for 3.8 miles.  Not bad.  Still it leaves me wishing I had the power of God and I could just zap these litterbugs from the face of the earth.

After dropping off my refuse I motored through Tyson Wells Long Term Stay camp area, crossed over highway 95 into the South LTVA.  I was going to see if I could find a friend’s camp.  This is the line of RVs waiting to access the dump station where you can empty your holding tanks of grey water (regular water down the sink and shower drains) and black water (sewage from the toilet).  The line was longer when I first went by.  On my way back out after at least twenty minutes of searching (I didn’t find her) I stopped for a photo - blog material.  See the second vehicle up at the front?  It is a converted school bus so it was easy to remember.  He was back about where that truck and camper is to the left when I first went by.  This would drive me bonkers having to be in a line to dump tanks.  I have better things to do.
Incidentally, the vehicle in front of the truck and camper is a converted ambulance.
They make into great campers.

Before I went full time on the road back in 2016, one of the big improvements I made with the RV was to remove the toilet and install a composting toilet in its place.  This and installing solar panels are the two top modifications I made.  Makes for me being a much happier camper.

Mourning Routine


When I crawl out from bed the first thing I do is fire up Mr. Heater.  No surprise there.

Then I turn on the burner and get the kettle going.  When the water is good and hot I slide over the pot on the right to warm that water up for a wash.  I’ll put in a can of Beans food in that pot also to warm it up to a fresh-kill body temperature for her to enjoy.

While my coffee is brewing (one cup is all I make)

I’ll wash up over the sink allowing the water to clean off Beans’ food plate.
Yes, that plate has been broken a few times.  You’d be astonished to know how many cats have eaten from that plate.  Dozens is my best guess.

When she gets up then I will make up the bed.

Then I will set the toaster on the stove and prepare a half of bagel with cream cheese to enjoy along with my coffee.  I’ll plug in the phone to recharge (the cold drains the battery fast) and turn on the iPad to see what is going on trying to avoid any news items in the process.

Right about at this point Beans is tapping me on the arm wanting her food.
So I have to stop everything, take care of that then go back to my now cold bagel and lukewarm coffee.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

On Keeping Warm at Night


Saturday night it went below the freezing point, down to 29 (-1.7c) degrees.

Here is how we combat the cold.

All the windows are covered with a panel of Reflectix.

Imagine bubble wrap with shiny Mylar on each side.  That is Reflectix.

The screen door has some in place.  The bottom portion is a recent addition this year.

Adding the carpet this year (much to Beans’ delight) over the removable floor panel that covers the batteries helped.  I could feel cold coming in from below.  There already was a rubber mat there but this added carpet panel helped even more.

This heavy double sided fabric curtain that separates the forward cab from the living space came with the RV.  It does work in keeping the cold from up front coming into the back.

There isn’t much I can do about the front windshield.  
I have a sun shade for for it but that doesn’t seal off temperature transfer.

One of the first things I made when I bought this RV were cardboard panels for the door windows.  I glued on window sunshade material to the part that faces out.  This was to reflect hot sun.  Just this year in a rare moment of brilliance, I glued Reflectix to the inside of the cardboard panels.

The main idea here as with the other Reflectix windows panels is to retain the warmth generated by an old man and his fat cat while asleep inside the living area just as much insulating it from the cold outside.
All of this does work.

As soon as the sun comes up and there is no cloud cover, the entire front area (and cat) is quickly warmed up.  I can then remove the curtain.  I always park facing east for that reason and for the sun to hit on the door side of the camper during the day.  Same in the summer, keeping the hot sun off the side with the refrigerator.

Taking all these precautions maintains a seven to eight degree difference between the inside temperature from outside.  Here you can see the slide-out extended about four inches.  It will go as for as eighteen inches.  I never put it out that far.  I don’t need the space.  Like this here I can sit at the table and still reach across to the drawers, countertop and the stove controls.

If I shut the slide-out it seals off that gap enough that there will now be a ten degree difference between the inside and outside.  There is a rubber seal all around yet shutting it tightly makes a lot of difference.  So that Saturday morning it was 29 outside, 39 inside.  That is the difference between life and death for me.  Also, if I remember to do so, in a hard driving rain I will shut the slide-out.  I have experienced wet carpet where the slide travels inside if I do not shut it.

There is this sticker on the outside - Oregon Recreational Vehicle Compliance.  I looked it up one time and happily discovered that it meant the RV was constructed with thicker insulation to meet this requirement.  Winnebagos are made in Indiana.  Why would only Oregon have such a requirement?  I would much rather have a Minnesota Recreational Vehicle insulation compliance...if there was such a thing.  Now that sucker would really be insulated.  Anyway, I’m not complaining.  I was happy to discover this RV had a few millimeters extra thick insulation over the factory standard.

I almost forgot these.  There are two ceiling vents.  These are inserts you can buy to block them off.  They have soft sheepskin like material on the interior side and Reflectix on the outer side.  Can you believe I found two, brand new, still in their wrapping in a dumpster here several years ago?  Someone bought them, must have ordered the wrong size and simply through them away!  
Unbelievable the things people throw away.