A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

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.

Friday, March 13, 2020

The Trashman

For some reason the trash truck hadn't come by to empty the dumpsters.  They used to make the rounds twice a week.  The scene reminded me of last year when there was that government shutdown because congress could agree on the budget.  Finally one day the truck arrived.

I really wished I had looked at the clock but he was there at least a half an hour, part of that to finish eating his Big Mac and extra large soda.  He dumped all three dumpsters and then climbed out of the truck to begin chucking the trash piled up on the ground.  One of the nearby campers came over to help.  Between the two of them they filled two more dumpsters.  He left this behind.  I can understand the chair but why the carpet, large tarp and the cardboard box with trash? 

I wouldn't be a good trash man.  I couldn't leave the job unfinished like this.  Each time the dumpster tilted to drop its load in the truck loose paper scattered all over by the wind.  I'd be running around trying to collect it all.  And there is the fact I'd be bringing home all kinds of "treasures" I found.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

How Do They Do It?

Tuesday was the first day of four scheduled days of on and off showers.  Maybe some full-on rain too if I'm unlucky.  I try to line up some indoor projects to keep from going nut-so being inside all that time.  I have lots of reading material also.  But it gives me time to think and my thoughts turn to those who confine themselves inside almost everyday rain or shine!  Here are three close by us.

This lady is in a minivan with her little ankle-biter dog.  She's a heavy-set woman so I can somewhat understand her sitting inside all of the time except for the occasional moments I see her outside so her doggy can do his business.  The car is gone at every so often so she does go into town now and then.  Otherwise she's always sitting in the driver's seat.

Then there is this guy.  He's not going anywhere.  He has a flat tire.  His car is packed to the roof with who knows what.  There's just enough room for him to recline in the back on the driver's side. He is in there all day long and this has been for at least the week we've been at this new site so I don't know how long he's really been here parked like this. He has the long term sticker on his window so its safe to say he's been here all winter...reclining inside his car...every day.

Finally there is this lady.  I've seen her outside the car maybe twice rearranging stuff.  I don't think the car has left that spot in the week we've been here.  All the windows are blocked off to the sun and privacy.  She can't see out.  Think about how small it is inside and being in there every hour of the day and night.  Seriously, you could put this woman in solitary confinement and it'd be like a vacation to her.  How do these people do it?

Beans and I have 126 square feet of living space.  
Cabin fever starts to set in after the first day of confinement.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lost Cat

No, not us.  
I have my sweetie safe with me.
It is a wonder that the cat allowed someone to take it in.
Hopefully it can be reunited with its home.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Wouldn't You Know

When we arrived at our new camp location I selected a spot and stayed there for the night.  I kept eyeing this little spot across the road.  See how all the ground looks sandy unlike the usual rocky terrain.  It's obvious that water pools up there when it rains.  We're done with the rains here, it'll be fine.  So I moved over there and set up camp.  It's a nice spot and Beans likes it even though we haven't seen any lizards so far.  Then one morning I did my usual daily weather check and saw rain forecast for early the next week.  Say what?!  Not just a shower or two but beginning Monday night and continuing off and on until Thursday morning.  A quarter of an inch. BEANS!  No, not you Beans.  Come Monday I'll move to higher ground back across the road.  
Hey, what else do I have to do?

Where's Beans?

Friday, March 6, 2020

Our Neighbors

There are over a half a dozen single middle-aged women scattered around where we are, all solo female travelers.  Across the road from us are two.  One in a minivan and the other in the even smaller Ford Transit.  No tents. 

This woman is probably the youngest, late 40's early 50's.
 I haven't seen her that close up yet.  Again, no tent.  Living inside.

This woman is in a small BMW SUV. 
She at has a small tent beneath a sunshade frame.

And there is this lady. She might be the oldest.
 A small pickup truck with a camper shell.  That's it.  Nothing else.

Lastly there is this lady.  She is 73.  What you see is all she has.
There are a couple others in minivans I didn't sneak pictures of.

This is not all that unusual.  A lot of solo female travelers are out here on the road full time for whatever reasons and I have heard all kinds of stories so I'll leave it to your imagination for now.  There are two main reasons they are all around the same area.  One is if you are "tent camping" which doesn't provided proper toilet facilities as does a RV or trailer you are required to camp within 150 yards of a long drop (pit toilet) and there are several scattered around the main camp area.  Secondly women will camp within sight of other campers for the security it provides.  They still may have to deal with the occasional creep nearby and if feeling uncomfortable they can always move.  But there's never any problems unlike if they were out in the boonies by themselves like we were or worse still in the city.
In case you are wondering, they are not homeless.  They are houseless and chose this life.
They are happy and free enjoying being a nomad.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

New Neighborhood

I was facing filling up the water tank.  Then a few days later the propane would need filling.  I could do a proper grocery shopping trip, buying more than I could carry on Gracie.  So I decided to just go ahead, put camp away, load up Gracie and move to a new place when errands were done.  
We'd been at that camp location for over a month.

I ended up a mile and a half north from where we were.  This is the Tyson Wash Long Term Camp Area proper whereas we were out in the boonies from here before.

It has really cleared out with much fewer campers than before.  This will be good.  Beans and I need to be around people more.  She was real good with people coming around when I first adopted her.  But since being on the road and camping in isolated places a lot she's lost that quality.  Now whenever she sees someone, even way off in the distance she's on alert and high tails it back to her home.  As for Dad, he needs to not be so much of a recluse.  
So our time here should be good for both of us. 

Our new camp.  Beans likes it already.  New sights and smells.  I guess a cat can get bored exploring the same place everyday.  And she's already at ease with our neighbors across the road. 
 More on our neighbors in the next post.

Our back yard. 
 It looks like a low spot where water settles.  I think the rains are done so we're good.

Dad, I don't want to get up just yet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Cooking Cornbread

My redneck wind guard works well.

Oops, I wasn't paying attention and it got a little too hot on top.  Okay on the bottom though.  
I used a different brand of corn bread mix as I cannot get my usual Dave's Famous Cornbread. 
 This was good but Dave's is better.

Another of Beans admiring the sun going down one afternoon.

Monday, March 2, 2020

A New Sunshade

Well it is new in the fact that I ordered it back in October when we arrived here in Quartzsite.  I just never got around to setting it up until this weekend.  You can't rush some things you know.  This is a material called Aluminet.  It's is a weave of aluminum fiber.  I had one of these long long ago but gave it away.  Foolish I know but at the time I never dreamed I would be doing what I am now.
Whereas the black weave sunshade in the previous post is 8x10, this one I ordered 10x14.  As you can see that fourteen feet was a perfect fit for the length.

I use the brackets the destroyed awning was attached to which work great after I installed some eye hooks onto them.  The poles holding up the other end are from the awning and were for holding the awning up.  Had I staked them into the ground that day the wind probably wouldn't have flipped the awning up and over on top of the RV.  Fortunately the solar panels up there weren't harmed.  This sunshade having the aluminum netting really reflects the sun light away and you can definitely feel it cooler underneath.  It is is so many ways better than that awning except for only it takes a little bit longer to set up than rolling out the awning did.  But hey, what else do I have to do?  A good purchased which will withstand the wind and serve Beans and I well.

As for the black mesh sunshade I can use it on the other side if that side is facing the sun and it'll keep the sun off the refrigerator.  I also can hang it off the front of this sunshade to keep low level sun from coming in and cooking me in the late afternoons.

Here is your serving of Beans
She is looking at the sunset