A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Project One

Quartzsite, Arizona

It is so ding dang cold outside that Beans and I are confined indoors most of the time.  As I write this the wind is blowing twenty miles per hour.  Who wants to be out in that?  Yesterday was cloudy and cold.  The day before, raining.  Anyway, this gives me a lot of time to think which leads on to a project.  This post will be the first of a couple project posts

This is a motion detector security light I bought here in Quartzsite three years ago.  It has a small solar panel that charges two small batteries which powers the light during the night.  It worked great for a year then the motion detector quit detecting motion.  I took the light down and have been carrying it around ever since.  Being cooped up inside I got to thinking.  The solar panel brought in 13 volts.  The batteries put out 7.8 volts.  I took the light apart and hooked up a 9 volt battery.  What could 1.2 extra volts do?  Nothing.  It didn't catch fire or blow up.  (I knew it wouldn't)  I reinstalled the light high along the roof line pointing to the rear and ran wire down along the ladder and inside the RV.  With the solar panel no wiring was needed but I couldn't use the solar part anymore nor the batteries as I needed to be able to switch on the light manually.

To do that I picked up a small transistor radio at the local Animal Shelter Thrift Shop for $3.  I took the radio apart and figured where to connect the wires inside.  Turning on the radio makes the light go on.  The radio is mounted next to my head at the bed.  Now if I hear anything outside, I can flick on the radio and see what is going on.  This will be especially nice when over-nighting at places like Walmart parking lots.  You may wonder "Why not just get a new security light?"  That'd be too easy.  Where's the fun in that?  Besides, that Chinese junk doesn't last long.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Never Fails

Lay something new or different out
"I need to sit on it".

Then there is when I am reading a book.
"Really Beans?"

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas

Beans and I wish you all a very nice Christmas.

Poor Beans, she'll never be able to experience such joy at Christmas time.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Meet Jasper

Quartzsite, Arizona

One day as I was riding around on Gracie I came upon a woman supervising her cat who was wandering around sniffing everything.  I stopped, got off Gracie and approached them as both who understandably were a bit guarded. I introduced myself adding "I'm a cat guy.  I just had to stop and see your kitty."  The lady relaxed and the cat wandered away.  I then saw another cat and she informed me there was a third one around somewhere.  The other two cats weren't interested in me, but Jasper was and cautiously approached me, checked me out and then turned away and continued his exploring.
She then told me about Jasper.

Be forewarned...this is very BAD!

In his first year of his life he was raised to be "bait" for pit bull training.  People (I shouldn't call them people for they a below such) take young cats and throw them to pit bull dogs where they are savagely torn to bits as a training tool.  I never heard of such and thing and wish I never had. Oh what I would give to just have a few minutes with this type of individual in a world without consequences.  Jasper was lucky in the fact that he escaped this horrific fate.  He was eventually rescued and the lady adopted him.  She already had the other two cats Sasha and I don't remember the name of the other.  When Jasper was introduced to the family he was extremely aggressive to the other cats and his new Mom.  There was hissing, scratching, biting and blood.  You can't blame him one bit.  People, including her vet said he was hopeless but she didn't give up on him.  
Today Jasper is six years old and he is a cuddlier and a lover.

Jasper walked back to me and allowed me to pet him, then wandered off again.  The woman was surprised he did this  As we talked Jasper came back a third time and gave me a couple head butts on the leg then rubbed up against me.  She was astonished at this behavior from him.  
What can I say?  Cats like me.

The woman, I think her name was Alicia, was very concerned about coyotes for she could hear them at times.  I tried to reassure her that there wasn't any need to be concerned for she was out there watching over her cats and the coyotes never come around during the daytime with so many people about.  Nighttime yes for people leave food for their pets outside or even people food at times.  As I rode away I thought about the fact that rattlesnakes would be a bigger concern than coyotes.  I wished I had told her this.  It is winter and very cold so all the snakes are hibernating now so there is no need to worry.  If she is reading this and ever plans to come back to the desert areas (she was from the midwest) just be more watchful for snakes in the warmer months than coyotes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Dreaming of Chasing Lizards

Frigid Quartzsite, Arizona

Seventy-one degrees one day then overnight it drops to the high fifties with lows at night in the mid-thirties.  The winds makes it seem all the colder.  We're both taking shelter inside all day.  At least there are sunny skies and no rain.  We have that to be thankful for. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Late Bloomer

Quartzsite, Arizona

One day during my wanderings I came across this lone ocotillo with blooms.  
All the other ocotillo I've seen have long since lost their blossoms.

Hummingbirds and ants pollinate the flowers.

Reminds me of candy corn I used to eat as a child, a popular candy around Halloween time.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Typical Beans Day

Quartzsite, Arizona

The day usually starts out with warming the butt by the heater on these cold mornings.

Then as the day warms up the lizards become active and it is time to hunt.
Here she is leaping into the bush.  She really doesn't have much a chance catching lizards here due to the brush and rodent holes in them to escape into.

But she never gives up.  She'll lie there for the longest time waiting.
I'm giving here free roam (well supervised) as she never ventures off.  She makes her rounds checking all her bushes.  The door is open on the RV and she comes in and she goes out...because I can.  If a bicycle comes by she hightails back inside.  So funny.
What is it with bicycles?

Watching for any movement.
I bought this carpet sample to place between my chair and footrest.  
Beans thinks I got it for her.
I don't have the heart to tell her otherwise so we just leave it at that.

Yesterday and today (Friday and Saturday) was very nice with the temperatures at 70 and 71 with no wind and sunny skies.  By Tuesday it will drop 12 degrees then slowly climb back up.  
I'm not complaining.  

Thursday, December 12, 2019

There's a Problem

Quartzsite, Arizona

Trying to get into the "spirit" of the season I dug out the Christmas lights and hung them up.
Only I never remember to plug them in.  And if I do remember, it isn't dark enough yet to appreciate the full effect of the light show as you can see by the photo.  Finally when it is dark, I'm usually in bed by then reading and then what?  I forget they are on and run down the battery.
And really, when I think about it, there's no one out here to see the lights.
So why did I bother?
So I could share it with you?
Yeah, that's it.
Guess I'll take them down now.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I Wanna Go Home

Quartzsite, Arizona

These folks moved in across from us late last week. Well, they were far enough away (barely) that I was okay with it.  Much better than having one of humongous coaches or monstrous fifth wheel trailers in my view.  Here you see he's unloaded the camper from the bed of his truck.  The camper is a low profile model that you raise the roof by hand (lifting) once settled giving you room to stand up.  The sides of the raised part are made of a type of rubberized canvas so as you can imagine this unit isn't well insulated from the cold.  So every morning (before the sun was up) he'd start up his generator so that, I assume, they could run the heater inside.  The generator was in the middle of his flatbed trailer surrounded by boxes and wasn't one of those exceedingly loud contraptions.  Nevertheless it has been real quiet here during our stay and that humming noise was annoying.  I gave him, or rather myself, two days.  On the morning of the third day that was it.  I was going to move.  Not far. Just on the other side of the wash with a huge Palo Verde tree between us filtering out the sound.  I finished up breakfast and was preparing to go outside and start the move.  I looked out the window and it appeared he was loading up camp gear into the trailer.  Could they be leaving?  Yes in fact they were.  Yippee!  I found out by a third party (I never talked with the guy) that his wife/girlfriend (African American) wasn't digging being here.  She wanted to go home.  They were from Oklahoma!  Can you imagine looking forward to coming out here for sunshine and warmth (relative speaking) for the winter and then heading back within a week?  The poor guy spent all morning getting loaded up to leave and pulled away right at noon.  She did absolutely nothing in helping out except guiding him backing up underneath the camper.  In fact I only saw her outside twice sitting in a camp chair for a short time, all bundled up.  Otherwise she was inside that camper all the time.  Ya know, if maybe you stepped outside and took a walk around every once in awhile you might grow to appreciate your surroundings just a wee bit.  They were in their 50's I'd guess and this was to be a test run thinking about making life on the road a new lifestyle.  Buddy, it ain't happening for you.  

Sunday, December 8, 2019

What a Difference Six Inches Makes!

Quartzsite, Arizona

My old sleeping bag (I'm not saying how old or you'll lose respect of me) started following apart.  Time to get a new sleeping bag.  The one I selected on Amazon just happened to be six inches wider and three inches longer than my old bag.  This wasn't something I was searching for but I'd take it.  That first night was a revelation.  

Beans the Bed Hog wasn't crowding me anymore!  I had room for my feet now!
Plus the new bag was so soft, comfortable and toasty warm.

It even has a Velcro closure pouch for your phone.  Really?
People sleep with their phones?


Friday, December 6, 2019

Delicate Arch

NOT Quartzite, Arizona

Arches National Park, Utah

You may have read in the news where two people died last week and a third seriously injured when they slipped and fell into the sandstone bowl beneath Delicate Arch.  I am really surprised more people aren't injured or die from falling here.  I did this hike a few years ago and unfortunately cannot find my pictures from that day.  I had to take this one from the internet.  After several miles of hiking I remember walking out from behind some rocks and presented with this view.  When I emerged from the rocks I then felt the full force of the fierce wind blowing that day.  I watched as people walked around the rim of the bowl so that they could stand beneath the arch and take a picture of themselves. Nope, no way. It ain't happening and I stayed put.  A lady was standing near me not venturing any further.  Smart woman.  A sudden gust of wind blew across the bowl (we heard it coming) we both hit the deck to keep from getting blown over.  

I couldn't find a photo showing the bottom of the bowl but this is pretty close to it as it flattens out. I thought If I drop my water bottle it's staying down there with the other water bottles and few hats.  
I suppose it is possible someway to get down there...somehow.  Thank goodness there wasn't this many people there when I did the hike.

They said that day of the tragedy the rock was wet and slippery.  Add some wind and it's not good. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Cold Mornings

Quartzite, Arizona

The mornings are quite cold but they could be worse and may be so come January.

One morning Beans discovered the warmth that could be had in bed with me.
This is a first for her, to snuggle in the sleeping bag.
Sinbad would do this all the time sometimes burrowing down to me feet.
I always worried about him smothering down there and would make him come up higher.

Beans likes the heater too.
"Be careful and don't singe your whiskers."
Sinbad would get too close and I'd have to warn him all the time.

In the afternoon the sun hits the front and some good warm sunbathing is called for.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Lightning Strike!

Quartzite, Arizona

You may have read about all the nasty weather going on over the Thanksgiving period.  Northern Arizona received so much snow that the Interstate was shut down east and west of Flagstaff.  We missed all the action only getting some high winds and a bit of rain.  The phone kept going off warning of flash floods in our area.  The numerous loud blarings from three different weather apps would scare the bejesus out of me.  I eventually turned the phone off and went to sleep.  I awoke the next morning finding we were still here.  Amid all of this was one really close lightening strike (that didn't scare me) and my lightening app showed it was less than two miles south of us. The red dot.

I got the idea of taking a couple of screenshots of the location and try to find where the lightening hit.

A zoomed in second shot. 
When a nice day arrived I went off on my motorbike in search for it.  Bouncing back and forth viewing these screen shots and then my map GPS on the phone I was able to find the spot.  
Not as easy as I imagined it to be I might add.  

Here Gracie is parked on the spot.  I found nothing.  I walked all around.  Nothing.  I rode Gracie around in ever widening circles.  Nothing.  I had looked online for images as to what to look for too.  A blown out hole, disturbed earth radiating out in all directions...nothing.  I thought maybe I'd see a saguaro cactus blown to smithereens.  None.  I was really disappointed.   

Maybe the app doesn't actually pinpoint THE spot.  I don't know.
Someday I will find a lightening strike.  I'm not giving up.