A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, October 30, 2020

In the ER


My view for nearly three hours

When I first arrived at the ER the ambulance was bringing in a white guy in a orange jump suit.  I didn’t think anything of it as I was in a bad way at the time.  In the waiting room I stood in the corner.  Four other people were in there.  A black woman with her older daughter came in after, both nice looking.  I caught from the admit nurse part of the conversation. The daughter had braces recently installed.  There was a sharp wire on the braces and they had come to the emergency room.  Good grief!  I was called in.  Laying on the bed in cubicle four I could hear conversations next to me.  Sounded like two law officers talking back and forth and thought maybe they had brought someone in?  Anyway later a black guy is wheeled in on a gurney, he too in a orange jumpsuit.  I see hand cuffs on his wrist and ankle.  “Oh my goodness these guys are prisoners!!”  My mind goes to movies I’ve seen where prisoners fake a illness so they get taken to the hospital where they escape and take hostages.  I want out of there anytime soon.  When I left three hours later no one was in the waiting room except a black guy who was still sitting in the corner playing on his cell phone.  He was one of the original four from the beginning. What, he just hangs out in a hospital ER waiting room to get out of the cold wind?
I spent the night in the hospital parking lot and slept well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Out of Order

I had a medical emergency Monday and drove to the nearest hospital in Blythe, California that evening.  This is not COVID related.  Let me tell you I am so glad I made that decision to seek help.  I am better now but don’t know what lies in store for me.  With that uncertainty I am worried about Beans so for her safety and care I have decided to make the drive back to Northern California where I know she will be comfortable and safe.  Just the three hours I was in the emergency room she was so happy to see me come back to the RV at 10:30 PM.  They know when things aren’t right.  

Normally I wouldn’t be posting about this but I felt a responsibility to my followers and it just wouldn’t be right to go silent on you.  So I guess the blog will be inactive for awhile.  I hope I can get back on track and not lose those of you who have followed along all these years.
Thank you for being there.
John and Beans

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Rodent Wars

I am sorry about yesterday’s post not having the words visible.  This is what happens when I don’t preview before publishing.  Blogger changed everything last month and I don’t like it.  It is really a clunky format and takes longer to create a post.  But that’s just me.  Maybe you folks who have a blog adapt to change better than I.  Anyway, I fixed Safeguarding Beans.

Our camp is about a hundred yards down the way from where we were at the beginning of the year when I was engaged in the mice and rat war.  The ground here is riddle with rodent holes.  Some places look like Swiss Cheese.  Where there are rodents there are snakes and I am extra cautious taking Beans out for it is still hot and the snakes have not gone into hibernation.   

Mice and rats fear snakes.  This got me to thinking, would placing the rubber snake I have on the dashboard be a deterrent in keeping the vermin out of the engine compartment?  The experiment is in process and I will report back on it in a few weeks.  

Beans after the BIG one.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Safeguarding Beans


 These are the ways I keep Beans safe.  Upper left is a 12 foot long nylon cord (a fish stringer I found) that I attach to the RV so she can lounge about outside at camp.  The upper right is a 23 foot long paracord.  We use that for hunting lizards and mice.  She drags it around while I follow along.  Being white it is easy to see in brush and easy for me to keep track of her.  In conditions like where we are now we use the fish stringer cord as stickers do not get caught up in it as they do with the white cord.  The lower left is a 27 foot long cord attached to a 5 pound lead weight.  This is used at camps in wide open places.  Yes, she is able to drag that thing.  She’s a strong cat.  The lower right retractable lead we use for walks in campgrounds, city parks, rest areas, Walmart parking lots and such.  When I went shopping for a harness for my first travel cat Sinbad, I didn’t like the vest type for cats. “Would I want to wear that?”  No!  I went over to the small dog section of Petco and bought the simple harness with a easy latch I can undo with one hand and slip off over her head.  I NEVER leave her unsupervised while outside.  
A coyote could snatch her up in seconds.  Birds of prey too.  We had a crow swoop down upon us just three weeks ago while in Tonapah.  That was a first.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

We Are Now COVID Protected in Quartzsite

Each of the four long term stay locations in Quartzsite has a check in station.  
This year they have been COVID proofed for our safety.

As you can see only two campers are allowed inside at a time.  Anyone else wanting to go in must stand outside.  There are no “Stand Here” markers in the desert dirt.  They trust us to know how far six feet is I assume.  Inside each station are two to four bookcases full of paperback books people leave and borrow during their stay.  This year the bookcases are sealed off in black plastic.  (No comment)

Out in front of each station is a picnic table.  People leave things they no longer have any use for but maybe someone else could use it.  Not anymore!!  
(I’m trying real hard to keep my sarcastic comments in check)
The only reason these hiking sticks and a very nice bicycle tire pump are on the table is because this station was closed at the time I went by on my bicycle.

I found the official notice on another table.

And then there was this, another first.  Conditions here are no different than any other year in the desert.  I don't know if I could start a wildfire here if my life depended on it.  Maybe its a COVID thing.  You know how a nice campfire can attract people to gather around and have a good time making new friends.  Also you are aware as to how the Wuhan virus can survive in a hot arid desert environment.  
(Okay, I failed in keeping my sarcasm under control.  Sorry)


Friday, October 23, 2020

Camp What?


We have a nice little spot that is well shaded from the afternoon sun.  Yes it may not look like much but shade is at a premium out here in the desert.  You take what you can get.

We are very close to Quarantine Camp from early this year.  This looks like it will be safe from anyone moving in close by.  We shall see.  Sweet Beans likes it here.

I have no name for this camp yet thus the title of the post.  
I bet a name will come to me after the election.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

No More Dumpster Diving


The second thing I noticed upon arriving after the lack of people is that all the standard lift and dump trash containers have been replaced with these large containers.  No more pillaging through the dumpsters for good reusable gear that people throw away.  Just in this one here I saw a backpack thrown inside.  I am not about to go climbing down into these things.  A good thing though is no more trash being scattered about by the winds when the truck comes to dump the old style dumpsters.

Oh all the treasures I will be missing out on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

We Have Arrived


Quartzsite, Arizona

This is the main avenue in one of the four long term camp areas in Quartzsite.  Typically at this time there would be dozens of RVers visible in this scene.  In years past I would have already been here for a few weeks myself.  It is simply still too hot with temps still at the mid 90’s (35c).

Another factor too is those poor Canadians unable to cross the border. 
They would be here by now.

I just would like to reassure everyone that I am careful with the mask wearing situation.  When I write that I ripped off my bandana there are no other people around anywhere close.  While shopping if people are coming I slip the bandana back up.  I will be more conscientious about keeping it in place from now on especially since the “season” will soon be upon us all.  This dry desert environment is a big plus.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Burger King vs Jack in the Box


Parker, Arizona

We stopped in Parker on our way to Quartzsite to pick up a few last items at Walmart.  When done I told Tracy I had to eat before we continued on down the road.  She needed to eat too.  It was hot and I really wanted a milkshake.  I told her I was going to stop at the Burger King a half mile down the road.  Tracy doesn’t eat crap food and would fix her on lunch.   “I’ll meet you there” she said.  

At Burger King the side doors were chained shut.  I could see someone waving me around front.  At the front a kid stuck his head bout the door and told me to go around to the drive-up window.  Good grief.  At the window (no cars in the drive thru) I told him I wanted a Whopper and a chocolate milkshake.  “We don’t have any milkshakes” he says.  “Man, I really wanted a milkshake.  That’s why I came here” I asked why they didn’t have any.  Evidently the trucks hadn’t delivered any product.  “I’ve had ten people leave today because of no milkshakes.” he said.  “Tell you what, I’ll give you two Whoppers for $5.” I can’t eat two of them!  Oh well, I could eat one later for dinner.  “Okay, go ahead.”  He rings it up.  "I only charged you $3.60.”  He had given me the old person’s discount.  Okay that made me feel better.

I ate my Whopper in Tracy’s RV.  She needed to fill up with gas so I said I would go on down to McDonalds and get my milkshake while she filled up.  I don’t care for McDonalds but I really wanted that milkshake to get me to Quartszite.  On the way I passed a Jack in the Box.  “This will do” and I swung in. The door to the dining area inside was open, unchained.  I walked in wearing my bandana.  Only the lady who walked in before me was inside.  Nether she nor the workers wore masks.  I ripped off my bandana and ordered my milkshake.  Two big burly guys walked in just then.  They looked at me and the woman, then the workers.  They ripped off their masks.  “This is a bunch of $#!+”                                                The worker handed me my milkshake and it was good.

Monday, October 19, 2020

London Bridge

Lake Havasu, Arizona

Another one of the good parts of traveling with someone is seeing something I would normally pass on by.  I stopped to see and walk across the London Bridge years ago so I would not have stopped this time except that Tracy wanted to see it and so we did.  I’m glad she wanted to stop.

As you can see there was like no one there and of those who were there very few were wearing masks.
Yep, it was a nice little tourist type break just like in years long gone by.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Lone Tree Camp

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

We moved on the next day south a little over a hundred miles to our next camp.  It was warmer there by almost ten degrees at the mid-nineties.  Bad call on my part.  

Beans knows where to lay down to keep cool while inside. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Stocking Up


Twenty miles south of Las Vegas

It is nice to travel with someone new.  You learn things you didn't know before.  We both had the same things on our to-do lists.  Stock up on food and supplies for the impending apocalypse after the election was the main thing.  Tracy had found a WINCO store in Henderson south of Las Vegas.  I had never been to one before.  Inside I found it to be just like a Costco with loads of everything stacked on pallets the only difference was WINCO only dealt with foods.  This was great and with big savings.  Skirting around the edge of Las Vegas was even greater.  We then drove over to a Home Depot where for the first time I became a “spreader”.  I forgot my bandana.  I wasn't barred from entering by a gestapo security guard at the door.  No one cared.  I found a dumpster nearby where we each got rid of a weeks worth of trash (one of the real pleasures of nomad traveling) and I spied a water machine across the boulevard where we were able to fill our drinking water containers.  We both agreed “That all went well”.

Twenty miles south we found a nice place to camp over night.  At 2500 feet the temperature was ideal with a nice breeze and no bugs.  The evening was just as nice.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Time to Go


Lovell Canyon, Nevada

We have been here for ten days in absolutely ideal weather but the road calls and we must be moving on.  Also the weekend is here and the rabble from Las Vegas will be arriving.  Tracy had asked when I planned to leave and she too was going to leave the same day for the same destination.  So we will travel together.  I warned her that I drive 55 while knowing she usually drove 65.  She said she needs to learn to slow down so this will be something new for her.  I told her to feel free to move on if she couldn't stand the slow pace.  I would catch up to her eventually. 

Goodbye Lovell Canyon.  You have been a good place.  I just wish people respected you more.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Hike up the Hill


Lovell Canyon, Nevada

Ever since we arrived at this camp I had wanted to go to the top of the hill where you can see the dirt road crossing over.  I thought I would ride Gracie up and over but as you learned on the previous post I never took the motor bike down off the carrier.  So this day I decided I would just hike up there instead.

I passed by Tracys camp (the lady I met soon after arriving) and she was sitting outside sipping her morning smoothie.  I said good morning and asked if she would like to go on a hike.  She was all for that.  “I wanted to climb to the top of the hill.”  Her eyes got real big.  She thought I meant that tall cliff face.  “Oh no, the hill off to the right with the road” and I pointed it out to her.  She relaxed. Whew!
 “No those days of climbing mountains are long behind me.”

It was really nice to have someone along to walk and talk with while on a hike.  I cannot tell you when I last had that pleasure.  The view up top was wonderful.  The Little House on the Highway is sitting down there just off center to the right along the edge of the green and yellow vegetation.

Earlier that morning someone parked near us and a guy took off on a hike following the line of vegetation behind our camp.  I talked with him when he passed by camp eight hours later.  He had crossed over the low ridge line off in the far distance to the right then descended down the other side cutting cross country for Rainbow Mountain in Red Rock Canyon Park twelve miles away from where he began.  Twenty four miles round trip.  In his thirties I would guess and looked fresh as could be.  
Those were the days.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Exploring Canceled


Lovell Canyon, Nevada

When we first arrived here I saw a lot of opportunities for riding Gracie around exploring here and there.  Well here it is a week later and the Honda Trail 90 still sits in its carrier on the back of the Little House on the Highway.  After that day when I saw all the trash and poop scattered about I just lost any incentive to ride around exploring thinking that I will being seeing more of what I don't want to see.  So I just take Beans out for walks and stand around while she hunts for lizards.
I am planning on moving on this Friday before the weekend warriors arrive from Las Vegas.
The temperatures have cooled down some in Arizona.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

U.S. Border Closed


The above photo has no direct connection to todays post but I needed something to lead in with.

My new friend invited me over to her camper the next day for a visit.  She asked if I played cards and I said I never have the opportunity to do so.  “You can teach me a game.”   She offered up gin rummy.  “Yeah, I have always wanted to learn how to play that.”  Ooo boy!  What a complicated game.  Too much for me.  

In the course of our conversation when I wasn't struggling keeping track of all the cards on the table she mentioned to me how the US/Canada border was closed.  Being as I rarely follow the news I had no idea.  Seems this went into effect mid-September.  A very large percentage of the people wintering in Quartzsite are from Canada.  They come and stay all winter for the nice weather.  This happens all over Arizona, Texas and to a very large part in Florida.  I felt so bad for these poor people who cannot make their yearly pilgrimage south.  They spend a lot of money while being here and the little town of Quartzsite is going to feel it.  Even worse so are the Mexican border towns where snowbirds go to get their eyeglasses, dental work and medical prescriptions filled at substantial savings.  The town of Algadonas over the border from Yuma, Arizona is one of these towns.  No one, Americans included, will be able to walk across the border from some real Mexican food and a cervaza this year.  Every vendor, restaurant, optometrist, dental office and prescription outlet may just as well close down for the winter.  They are really going to suffer.

Monday, October 12, 2020

We Have a Visitor


A lady came by to visit us.  She said “hello” and stuck out her hand to shake.  My first thought was shes not COVID crazy and we shook hands.  I remarked to her how that was the first human physical contact I have had since back in March when my camp neighbor shook my hand.  I offered her a chair and we sat and visited for an hour or more.  She told me how she was camped where we are when she first arrived then moved over to the other side of the road for the shade.  I got to talking to her about all the trash and such I saw over there.  She said she had cleaned up our spot when she first arrived and had filled a large Hefty trash bag.  I was stunned for I had filled a small plastic grocery bag which I thought was a lot.  She was 60 and had been traveling alone now for eight months, throughly loving her new life.  She too was heading for Quartzsite which would be the first time for her and so I shared with her some useful information.  As she was getting ready to leave she said “Let me give you a hug” and we did.  I said I hadn't hugged anyone in over a year due to this damn pandemic thing.  She said likewise clutching her heart saying “I feel emotional”.  I felt it too.  We humans need physical contact to be human.  Self-isolation, hunkering down all alone for months is not healthy for mind or spirit.  That was the first real social sit and visit I had had for nearly a year, and it was nice.  Beans too was happy to have a visitor.  Its been far too long.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Lovely Campground

 Lovell Canyon, Nevada

The next morning I collected a small bag full of trash scattered around camp.  Remember that for the post tomorrow.  After breakfast I walked across the road to walk around the campground area I had decided not to drive into.  This trailer was the first camper I came upon.  I later learned she is school teacher in Las Vegas.  She camps all around the nearby area for the school year for she is limited to 14 days at any one spot then come summer she travels around the country.   

As I wandered around the camp area I was appalled at all the trash strewn about.  I  have been in trashed areas before and this was not the worst I have seen but there was also toilet paper and mounds of crap, and I am meaning human shit,  all around and for that this was the absolute worse I have ever seen.  I didn't take pictures.  You don't want to see that.  In one instance the subhumans had brought a five gallon bucket to crap in and it had eventually broke so they just left it half full of toilet paper and crap.

This here though just boggled my mind.  The bag was full of like new dishes and pans.  “Hey lets go camping this weekend.  We can stop at Walmart and get some pots and pans and such then just leave it all there when we are done.”  

I so despised humanity for the remainder of the day.  This is what you get when you camp near a large city.  The locals for the most part are the problem and Las Vegas being the hellhole that it is just breeds an even lower level of idiots.  The campground is just as the title states with nice little secluded campsites nestled in among the junipers but people are ruining it and I would not be surprised if someday it is closed.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Lovell Canyon


The next morning we continued on south taking a turn towards Pahrump, Nevada.  This route we would avoid most of Las Vegas later on as we make our way to Arizona.  I topped off the fuel tank in town thus avoiding having to get fuel in Las Vegas. The grocery store was nearby and I picked up a few items and then had lunch at the next door Dairy Queen.  I only did it for I saw they made Orange Julius drinks and it has been years since I last had one.  It was so-so.  They used to be much better.  On to our next camp.  Three miles off the main highway on a paved road brought us to the camp area.  I parked and got out to walk the dirt road down and check out the camping prospects.  It was a rough road and I wasn't up for the adventure so I decided where I was parked was good enough.  Later it seemed the best choice.  Being at 5000 feet (1524 meters) the air was cool, a nice breeze blew up the canyon and there was a wonderful view.  In the camp area there was no view except juniper trees and no real breeze.  This may be it for awhile for Arizona is still way too hot for the next couple of weeks.


Friday, October 9, 2020

Traveling South


We returned to the Goldfield Visitor Center for the night then moved on out in the morning southward on a pleasant two hour drive to Beatty, Nevada.  The camping opportunity there was bleak and desolate as pretty much was the town.  I loaded up on ten dollars worth of quarters at the car wash (a sure thing over a slot machine), ate lunch in about the only shady spot I could find and then put Beatty in the rear view mirror.  A half hour later we were at the Amargosa Valley Rest area, a very nice spot where we stayed before three years ago when Beans had been on the road for a few weeks in 2017.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

International Car Forest

Goldfield, Nevada

We left Tonopah and headed back south through Goldfield to see this.  It stood at the south edge of town.  I had to pass by a traffic accident on the highway to get there.  I'll spare you the details of what I wished I had not seen.  With that image in my mind I was in a somber mood when we arrived.

That mood soon turned foul upon seeing all the graffiti on the cars.  At one time they were not all marked up.  Although the owner encouraged true artists to create inspiring images, taggers were not welcomed.  I'll refrain from expressing my opinion as to what should be done to taggers.

I did like the school buses.

There was a high number of paint vandalism from 2020 apparent.

The International Car Forest along with the famed Cadillac Ranch of Texas isn't really worth going to see.  The true impressive car art structure is Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska, a to scale recreation of Stonehenge in England done with automobiles.

The oldest car body there.

And then there was this, a Honda 90 street version of Gracie.

I waited there on top of the hill for the emergency crews to leave the scene down below before moving on to our over night spot.  I didn't want to drive by that incident again.  The guy could have died from old age before the ambulance finally drove away so maybe it wasn't that critical or on the other hand maybe he was beyond the point of any urgency.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

One Positive For the Pandemic

The next day I walked a half mile down the road to the Tonopah Station Casino.  Debby said all the way in the back were washing machines and dryers.  I put on my bandana and walked inside.

Yep, there they were.  This will do.  
I would come back tomorrow and do the small load I had which I could carry in my backpack.

I walked back through and removed my bandana just before exiting the casino.  That's when it hit me.  Casino cigarette smoke!!  I hadn't smelled it with the bandana on.
See, there is a good thing about the pandemic and mask wearing.
Not one of the half dozen slot machine players inside wore a mask
but they were very well social-distanced.

 In the parking lot I saw this RV.
Very well done paint job dude.