Saturday, September 30, 2017

My New Job ... Teacher

Bet you never saw THAT coming!!  Yeah, me neither.  Although I'm kinda okay around kids, I'm NOT good when it comes to screaming, running and raising havoc.  Here's the deal.  My neighbors run the best Pumpkin Patch in the country.  It happens that Dad is also a good friend from the Elks Lodge.

When Dad called me last month and said his wife had been in a bad accident and they needed my help at the Patch, I couldn't say no.  I probably should have at least asked WHAT they needed me to do, but I didn't because you help out neighbors and friends every chance you get.  It's what you do.

Thursday night I went over to the farm where I met up with 20 giggling teenagers from the local high school, all with work permits in hand.  Everyone got their job assignments and the brightest orange T-shirts you've ever seen.  That's so you can look across and see exactly WHO is supposed to be working.

Here's the old barn, totally reconstructed of the original wood.  This used to be a dairy farm.  Now it's the sight of many a wedding, birthday party and photo shoot, those things happening year round.   There is presently corn planted where this picture was taken.  To the right is a huge walk-through corn maze, followed by a drive through maze just for the hay ride.
Of course there are pumpkins everywhere, all of which are grown on the property.  Not just regular pumpkins, they have a huge variety of decorative ones.

They have this bounce pillow, the biggest in the U.S. they say, that the kids go crazy over.  There's a petting zoo and kids face painting, along with a tall stack of hay just for climbing.
This is the gold mine, complete with an original old water tower that of course, holds the water for mining.  For $5 you can buy a bag of pay dirt and borrow a screen to mine for gems, gold and Indian arrow heads.  It's kind of hokey, but the kids scream with delight.  
What the kids REALLY scream over is the Time Travel Tractor.  It goes back in time to the land of the dinosaurs.  I've got to tell you these are some of the most realistic dinosaurs I've ever seen and SO MUCH FUN!!
It's crazy ... I think there's maybe 30 hanging out here.  Some even have nests with eggs and babies.
T-Rex is of course the star of the show!!
But wait .... there's SO much more to see.  The best one ever is called Billikens' Blaster.  Four big air cannons that shoot tennis balls at an old west scene.  Boy am I going to have fun with THAT one!!  There's also Dino Dig where kids can dig for dinosaur bones, all of which are reburied every night.

The Pumpkin Patch has made arrangements with all the schools in this area to bring their kids in free.  That's where I come in.  It's not just a free day at the patch ... they actually have classes to attend on where food comes from and how it is grown.  Just ask you're neighborhood kid where rice comes from and you'll understand.  

Even though this is a farming community, you'd be surprised how many kids don't actually know how food is grown.  This year they are even going to get to experience growing something themselves.  That's where I come in.  I get to explain about soil, nutrients, sun and seeds as we all plant something (I'm not sure what yet) in a styrofoam cup they can take home with them.  I foresee lots of dirt on the floor of the bus.  Hopefully SOMETHING will sprout if they water it.

I know ... it's going to test my patience to the max ... but I couldn't turn them down.  So be ready for some crazy Patch stories.  I start Monday morning at 7:30 ... a little on the early side for me to actually have my brain in gear.  Hopefully that bright orange shirt will wake me up!!

Friday, September 29, 2017

To Believe Or NOT To Believe

That's the burning question when it comes to my truck ... or the rig ... or just about anything, come to think of it.  Maybe it's just where I live, but believing someone and having it be true around here is like finding a unicorn.  It's a rare experience.

I finally got my truck started and made a beeline for the nearest repair shop ... Jacks R Better.  Nice guy ... I think all he's done for me up to this point is smog my diesel truck, but I know they do lots of repairs there.  Thankfully I was able to figure out the brake light problem myself, probably saving a couple hundred dollars.

Since it goes for several months without use while I'm on the road, I asked for the best battery he had.  Don't sell me some cheap thing I'm going to have to replace in two years.  I got Interstate batteries.  Expensive?  Yup!!  $135 each.  I probably could have gotten them cheaper if I bought them myself, but then there's that installation thing that I'm sure I couldn't handle.

I wondered out loud why these had not lasted as long as the first set I had.  He said I had some very cheap batteries in it.  Really?  Why?  Because the last time I had them replaced, it was done at the GMC dealer in town.  They use cheap batteries so you will return sooner for another set.  I say SET because there are TWO batteries in this beast.  Do I believe it?  I suppose, since he showed me the batteries.

He also showed me how to disconnect just the black cable when I'm gone.  I'm not so sure about trying that.  Like I said, there are TWO ... and will I get them back on tight enough?  Will that mess with any of the electronics other than the clock??  I'd much rather put my store in you guys than the repair shop!!
Unfortunately, I still have a problem.  It's getting hard to start.  It turns over longer then it used to before it finally starts.  Like maybe it's not getting fuel fast enough?  My friend Mark who knows all things diesel is on a fishing trip in Idaho where he is picking up HIS new truck to replace the one that was hit last month in Oregon.  That's the picture I showed you of the smashed trailer.  I'll check with him upon his return.

In other exciting news, I spent 45 minutes trying to figure out how to get my power washer to work before cleaning the front entry way.  The place looked like a spider's lair ... complete with black widow spiders.  It would have been perfect for Halloween with the webs hanging down two to three feet (for real), but the spiders had to go.  

The mud wasps were on a roll too ... with most of that ending up in my hair!  YIKES!!  It's not the best job I've ever seen, but it's much better than it was.  Pressure washers scare me.  It's the picture in the instruction booklet with someone's head missing that does it.

I've got an early hair appointment .... won't she be surprised if there's still cobwebs in there ... so I've got to get my act together.  I'll explain my new job tomorrow!!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Big Dog Hike

I don't usually take my puppies with me when I explore the countryside wherever I happen to be.  There's nothing like having two dogs terrorizing a small dog or trying to fight a big one with a camera and backpack in your hand.  I feel bad about that because I know they would just love it.

At the Florence Oregon Elks RV Park there is a trail up on the hill that goes on for about half a mile.  Since there didn't seem to be lots of puppies around, I decided to give it a shot.  Best intentions, and all that!!

So here we are, being good puppies and walking straight up the trail.  We did pretty good until they found bear scat.  Boy did THAT make their noses work hard.  In no time we were going two different directions tracking the bear.  That's not MY idea of fun, just in case they actually FOUND it!!
That's when some guy with a small dog came rushing up the path straight at us.  Jessie of course went into a barking fit like a good watch dog, but a bad hiking buddy.  I don't understand why people will run right up on you with their dog when they can definitely see I have TWO dogs who obviously don't want another dog around.  I asked him nicely to wait just a second until I picked her up since she was not dog friendly.  I've been there before, right?
He waited all of two seconds before barreling past us while I clamored in the mesquite bushes, trying to keep my kids out of the way.  Is it just me?  It seems that happens every time I take the dogs out, which honestly, is the reason I DON'T take them out much at all.  

Occasionally I'll take Cooper out for a quick walk ... he's more tolerant of other dogs ... but then I feel like a bad Mom for leaving Miss Jessie alone.  She's just so stubborn!!  I suppose that's the Jack Russell ... weirdest dog I've ever had.  Even after seven years, she's not one bit better in spite of everything I've done.  She's such a good watch dog, that I guarantee no one will ever get in my house.  Good for me, but not so quiet for the neighbors.
We finished off the hike, well over a mile, with no further incidents.  They had SO much fun smelling every bush and weed.  In the end, my puppies were too pooped to pop!!
As soon as we got home, I let them out in the big back yard to wander around off leash after four months.  They went bananas!!  I call it race horsing.  They ran around in circles until they couldn't breathe, they were so happy to be home.  NO MORE HARNESS!!

The good news for today is my truck is up and running, sorta kinda.  More on that tomorrow, as well as my new job!!  In the meantime, I'm still working on the address change.

WARNING:  Please do NOT open those emails you are getting from Experian about your credit scores.  It's a SCAM!!  Do NOT check out your score that has dropped.  Again, it's a SCAM!!  The bad guys know that Experian was hacked and they are using that to get your personal information.  Do not fall for it!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Ghosty Is GONE!!

I got lost yesterday morning.  When the alarm on my phone went off at 4:30 am I awoke with a start, dogs barking up a storm, jumped out of bed and ran smack into the wall.  I wandered through the house looking for the door to let the puppies out.  I ended up in the laundry room.  It's certainly different having a large house to live in versus my motorhome.  I don't have to exercise any more because it's a quarter mile walk to the front door!!
My shower is HUGE compared to the rig.  After the first ten seconds I reached up to turn the water off.  Hey ... I don't have to do that here.  How cool is that?  However it did make me feel really wasteful.

Unfortunately it has a big overhead light, meaning you can now see all those long hairs you missed when shaving your legs in the dark hole of a shower in the motorhome.  Yikes!!  I sure hope everyone ELSE didn't see that!!

The other nice convenience in my bathroom is a large magnifying mirror so I don't look like I applied makeup with a stick.  Good heavens!!  Where did all those wrinkles come from?   Home apparently DOES have it's downsides.

After 2-1/2 hours of vacuuming, I dumped out an entire bucket of dirt.  I don't understand how I can have a fairly new house that allows this much dirt inside.

That's when I heard the chirp and Jessie crawled up my leg.  She doesn't mind a lot of things, but chirping smoke detectors are at the top of her I'm-Going-To-Die list.  I quickly discovered there's no use buying extra batteries, because when you go to use them, they never work.  Dead just like my truck.  Luckily I robbed one from the motorhome that killed the awful noise.

So YESTERDAY, I left at 0-Dark-Thirty for the lovely drive to Hanford.  All went exceedingly well considering I hate driving my Jeep on the freeway.  It's so light, it practically jumps off the road every time you hit a bump ... which is constantly in California.  When I got to Fresno, traffic came to a screeching halt ... parking lot style.  It took me an hour to go from one side of town to the other.

I arrived in Hanford just in time for the meeting to begin.  Mostly this is just to go over everyone's wish list for the Indio Rally.  I wished NOT to get a radio, but was voted down.  The best part was catching up with several Golden Spike Members who came to have their vote counted.  I love those people!!

That's when the attack began.  Their Secretary is leaving and they REALLY wanted me to take the position.  I'd love to ... it's not even that much work.  Trouble is, it would mean I had to give up my Golden Spike office .. a group I feel a great affinity for since they have all made me feel a part of their family.  Not to mention all the extra work at the Indio Rally, being Secretary, Ice Cream Captain AND helping put on a Golden Spike Rally-Within-A-Rally.  I think I better pass for now.

Here's the early scoop on the ice cream.  Our Friday ice cream giveaway will be held as usual.  Saturday instead of an ice cream bar, everyone will get scoops covered in the sauce of their choice, chocolate, strawberry or caramel, along with a piece of cake to celebrate 30 years at the Indio Rally.  Pretty cool!!  And did I mention it's all FREE?  This one will be held inside, just in case it rains.

The drive home was unremarkable.  YAY!!  That's when I decided to go mess with my truck again.  I pulled the brake up, pushed it down .... did everything I could think of.  NOTHING.  That brought me in close contact with the horse trailer electric brake controller.  I'd hit it several times before to no avail, but this time I hit the switch hard, moved the box up and down and checked the wiring on the back.

IT'S A MIRACLE!!!  The brake lights went out!!  I was more excited about that than having two days of ice cream work at Indio instead of three!!

Now I better let the engine run awhile to charge up those batteries.  Click ... Click!!  RATS!  My excitement was short lived.  I hooked up the battery charger again and hope to get it to start today and run just long enough to get me to the repair shop for new batteries.  The ghosty is gone ... at least for the moment!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Long Story Short

While Miss Jessie snoozed on the couch, Nancy went crazy yesterday trying to find her mail.  The first stop was the dentist's office.  What a lovely way to start the day.  No problems, just cleaning, but I'm dentist-phobic.

Next stop ... the Post Office where I explained my predicament.  The Supervisor heard my complaint and came to the counter, an unusual and refreshing change of pace for the Post Office.  He had no idea what was going on with the UPS store.  They were still picking up mail for their clients from the post office, so he rummaged through their basket and pulled three of my letters out.  One was a property tax bill.  Lucky me!!
I inquired about a large P.O. box and a change of address.  Unfortunately, there can be no forwarding of my mail because everything from the UPS store would be forwarded.  In layman's terms, that means I have to call each and every business or person I get mail from and report a change of address.  Do you have any idea how many that is???  So far I'm half way through and it took five hours.

After I picked myself up off the floor upon hearing the answer to my "how much for the box" question, I figured my only choice was to go ahead and set one up.  If I don't, all of my mail will continue to be taken to Never Neverland.  No, the post office will not deliver to my house because I don't have a mail box.  My neighbors killed it several months ago and I have no one to install another.

I could really have used a stiff drink, but instead I wrote out a check for box rental of $300 for one year.  Took your breath away, right????  In an attempt to come up with two pieces of I.D. for the box rental, I scrounged through my Jeep glove box looking for a registration that had my actual house address.  Found it ... expired ... but the nice lady overlooked that part.

Upon my return to the line, the lady behind the counter said ... that lady in line needs to talk to you!  It was one of the girls from the UPS store.  How lucky could I get??  She took my phone number and promised to call in the afternoon, if I could meet her.  YES!!!  And sure enough she called and I got my mail.  YAHOO!!  I did a happy dance!!

Back home, I was still working on my truck.  How weird was it when I walked outside and saw red lights coming from my garage.  Well for heavens sake ... the brake lights are on!!  I called Mark again and he stopped by in the afternoon.  We removed every single fuse and still they would not go off.  

On the brighter side, after pumping up the pressure thingy again .. Mark is much stronger than I .. the truck actually started!!  HALLELUJAH!!!!  Course the brakes lights are still on, so we left the charger on low so as to keep the batteries up because it can't go to the shop for repairs until Thursday.

This morning I'm off very early to drive to beautiful downtown Hanford ... sort of like Stockton, only much smaller.  It's the FMCA Indio Rally planning meeting and they want my input on the Ice Cream Social.  Speaking of ice cream, they do have the best place there ... like an old time soda fountain ... where three scoops of ice cream are equal to ONE.  I ordered one scoop previously and couldn't finish it.  Maybe another scoop will help cool my heels from the mail snafu!!

Thankful I'm back in the land of Instant Pot, I put mine to good use immediately.  This is butter chicken ... kind of an Australian version of chicken tikka masala.  Not my all time favorite, but it's much better than lean cuisine!!
The stories of the great address change will continue tomorrow!!  

Monday, September 25, 2017

My Surprise Findings in Eureka

The City streets of Eureka are a mess of angles, turns and dead ends.  I have no idea where I was headed.  I thought I looked up a quilt store and saved the location, hoping my not-so-trusty GPS would take me there.  That's when I spotted this creation.  On one hand I think it's absolutely beautiful.  On the other hand, did they just not have enough money to buy paint??
I've seen so many marijuana dispensaries on this trip ... literally every once-vacant house now sells drugs ... that I figured someone just got a little too crazy.  On the very next block there was another one.  It's sort of graffiti I suppose!!
Finally at a dead end where I can't get there from here, my GPS kept telling me to turn left into a house.  I made a couple of questionable turns sort of down one way streets the wrong way ... I plead the fifth ... and drove right up to an antique store.  I hit the brakes and came to a screeching stop.  As I contemplated a place to park, this carriage came by.  How cool is that??  I think they were getting a tour of old homes.
It's was karma ... fate ... the second I stepped in the door I saw him.  The perfect addition to the Arizona house.  Chief Somebody ... I wish I knew who, but alas at this point in time he doesn't have a name.  Made from cast stone, he weighs a ton.  Literally, it took two people to get him in the back of my Jeep.  Although I thought I might have overpaid a tad, I have since found his twin for sale on the internet for eight times what I paid.  Now that's a deal!
I found this basket stashed in a corner on the floor with a Papago Indian tag.  I have no idea if it's real or not, but a customer came in to their store, said it was Indian not African, and it should be so noted.  Who knows if she's right or not, but it was $20.  
Now home with all my treasures, I went to pick up four months of mail from the UPS store where my mail box is.  They had called me three weeks ago about my box overflowing.  Even though I tried to find a place to have it sent to, no one would cooperate.  The RV parks refused to accept delivery and many Post Offices don't accept General Delivery any more.  

So of course my first stop was at my mail box.  Wait .... WHAT??  There's cardboard covering all the windows and the UPS sign has been ripped from the building.  They are out of business?  Where's my mail???  I called the phone number and left a message on the answering machine TWICE.  Where's my four months of bills and bank statements and property tax documents??

I've no idea because they haven't called me back.  Nor do I have any idea what the post office has been doing with my mail.  Unfortunately, they don't open until 10:00 this morning.  I mean really, isn't it a federal offense to steal someone's mail??  

I can't go online and change my mailing address because I don't have a mail box.  My lovely neighbors backed into it (although they won't admit it ... white paint on the post, white car) and broke it so it can't be reused.  Even so, I called one of my Elks friends for help and broke into tears.  I was just overwhelmed with the fact all my mail was gone and my pickup truck wouldn't start.

He came right over, hooked up my battery charger and checked out the mail box.  It can't be repaired, so I have to go buy a new one.  I'm hoping to get a large box at the Post Office instead, but last time I checked, none were available, not to mention they are expensive.  You don't suppose they will go out of business too, do you??

I think that Ghosty followed me home.  The battery charger worked, the engine will turn over, but still won't start.  Mark showed me how to pump up the pressure thingy so fuel would go through the lines, but it didn't work.  

Early this morning, I figured out why the battery went dead.  The brakes lights are on.  Yes they are ... lighting up my whole garage with red light.  I tried everything to get them to turn off, to no avail.  What in the world is going on??  I guess I'm having it towed this morning.  There's another cool $500 ... I'm hoping it's not worse.

I'm really trying to look on the bright side.  Thanks to my $225 a month PG&E bill (even though I was GONE), my grass couldn't be greener.  I'm not counting the two dead plants.  Really, if I let them all die, I won't have to worry about them any more!!  

I'm off to the dentist.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

I Talk To Animals

Mostly because I'm alone in my rig with two puppies and a talking parrot, I talk to animals all the time.  I even talk to myself in the grocery store, but I won't go into that.  The critters at the West Coast Game Park Safari are no exception.  While explaining how it all works to some new visitors, this little guy kept butting my leg with his head.  These miniature goats are just so darn cute!!

I gave him lots of chin scratches along with a good ear massage, which seemed to satisfy him as he went about his way looking for grain.
They are all kept in a huge corral out back until 10:00 when they are released into the public area.  They come on the run in a big long line for a bucket of grain tossed on the ground.
They really do keep this place clean, raking up everything in the mornings and washing down concrete areas.  Goats and sheep will be goats and sheep however, so watch where you step.  Not that it will help because it's everywhere.  Boot brushes are provided for cleaning.  This happens to be Miss Patty Chance's favorite kitty place too, so I told her I'd gather some in a baggie so she wouldn't feel left out.
Here's Lexi again, just because she's so magnificent!!!  She really likes it here but would give anything for a chance to get one of those goats.  That feather on a stick is fun, but she'd like something she can sink her teeth into.
I talked to the Queen of Beasts who stayed up too late last night.  Although there was a tasty Foster Farms chicken in her enclosure, she was saving it for a mid morning snack.  Along with other things, raw chicken is a staple around here.
You can really get up close and personal with the sheep by buying a few ice cream cones full of grain.  These first time visitors had a blast until one sheep grabbed the entire cone and scarfed it down.  Not that they need more since they are as fat as little piggies, but she bought more anyway, just so she could feed them.  Pretty good fun!!
This huge elk wasn't up and around yet, still snoozing in his paddock.  These brutes lose their horns every year and grow new ones.  I think these are the biggest I've ever seen.
Got grain?  No, but there's a hay rack full of alfalfa behind you, along with a couple of lamas.  All of the critters running around inside as you walk the grounds can be petted.  They are all very good natured and sweet as can be.
Even the donkeys love being petted.  This guy came up and gave me a head butt too.  Being a horse woman, I pretty much know where they like to be scratched the most.  Not on their face, but under their chin and down their neck.  Be ready to get your hands dirty.  I wouldn't tell anyone to try it unless you understand animal language, but they also love to have their ears stripped ... meaning sticking your finger inside their ears and rubbing all the way to the tip.  

Occasionally they don't appreciate that, it just depends on the animal.  Most LOVE it, but you need to be able to read their reaction so you don't get bit.  These guys are just so sweet they even let a tiny little girl kiss them on the face.
You can't pet the Wallabies, but they sure are cute too!!  There's more ... camels, peccaries, capybara ... and a whole pond full of huge geese.
Finally you come to the nursery of babies you can pet.  Although Todd is the King of Foxdom, this new baby is learning the ropes while he gets breakfast.  He loves pieces of apple and carrot, which he eats while you pet him.  They also have a skunk, two ferrets and a baby possum that is the softest ever and loves to snuggle.  Try it ... you'll like it I promise!!
My usual wonderful homecoming has turned rather sour.  I've had a couple of disasters happen immediately ... like four months of my mail and packages disappearing and major repairs to my truck.  It's not been a fun day at all.  That and a very early dentist appointment may make for a late post tomorrow, but I'll get to it because I have to tell you about my latest Indian acquisition from Eureka!!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

That Was NOT My Plan!!

Backing up a tad ... I actually did report the dog owner in Bandon.  She knew exactly who I was talking about, so apparently there have been several occurrences.  Next time I'll be sure to call early and not get stuck with the permanent residents.  It was WAY too close to the road for me to get any sleep ... akin to the trains in Harrisburg.

The views were spectacular along the coast just South of Port Orford.  It's one of the prettiest sections of highway and one of the roughest.  Driving was a breeze however, with only two stop signs the entire route.
Upon arriving in Eureka, I pulled in to the Shoreline RV Park and was given a spot just feet from the freeway.  UGH ... another sleepless night.  The good news is that I was actually in the end of town I usually spend the most time.  First up .... Samoa Cookhouse.  Unfortunately I don't have a lot of information other than it's been in existence for many MANY years as the cookhouse for the lumber companies. 
Still in existence today, they have a set menu you can check out on Facebook.  When I saw BBQ Ribs, I thought OH YEAH!!!  Turned out not so much.  You are first served the biggest slices of bread EVER (homemade every morning), the soup of the day, salad and pickled beans.  The entree comes in a huge plate ... red potatoes, corn and ribs along with a bowl of chili beans ... but the ribs were really rib tips simmered in sauce.  Not at all what I was expecting.  It's all you can eat for $14.50 for lunch.  
As you can see, it's served family style, so to save the waitress a little running, I sat near two other people and made some new friends.  Honestly, I thought they were two women.  Both had long pouffy curly hair.  One just wasn't as pretty as the other, to put it nicely.  When HE finally began to talk, I was shocked.  

I wanted to say what a lovely wig he had on, but I kept my mouth shut.  Really, I wanted to know where "I" could get one!!  Seems he was born and raised in Ferndale and she (who lived in Yuba City) had just bought a house there.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.  FRED apparently lives in a barn and occasionally makes his way to the Moose Lodge for showers.  "See?  He's all clean!"  

We talked for quite awhile about the repairs on her house when out of the blue she invited me to come see it.  Yikes!!  You know me, I'm too suspicious of people to take up an invitation like that.  I'm thinking serial killers!!  Well just come to Papa Joe's for breakfast at 7:00 am ... we'll be there.  I thought about that one for a fraction of a second before declining.  

They went on to tell me about how his children don't want to see him, and vice versa.  He's had enough of those darn kids and never wants to see them again.  Well gee ... you live in a barn and wear a beautiful woman's wig ... I can't imagine why!!  She paid for lunch, so maybe he really DOES live in a barn.

As they left, I wandered through the logging museum INSIDE the cookhouse.  Lots of amazing stuff there you should check out.  Outside is another museum of ship related things.  In years past many ships were built in Eureka and sailed the high seas.
Instead of painting the name on the ship, they made these beautiful signs.  Unfortunately if the sign is here, the boat probably sank.  The waters here are just as bad as they are in Astoria Oregon.
Here's an amazing piece of artwork.  They have three of these boats, handmade with wood and nails.  Exact replicas of the original.
They even have some of the old Navy posters.  Men could make $17-70 a month and you got one whole outfit to wear FREE!!
This is the only one I've ever seen that showed a woman on the poster, least I'm guessing it's a woman.  Come to think of it, that hair does resemble FRED'S doo.  At any rate, it's a very interesting little museum.  They even have a radio room all set up where you can listen to current marine traffic.
So I left lovely Eureka thinking it has gone downhill terribly.  I've never seen so many homeless people camped out everywhere, not to mention people of questionable character roaming the streets.  At one point, I sat in my car and watched two guys hike through the parking lot looking for open car doors.  There was trash on every corner caught up in all the weeds and bushes no one cared to water.  Sad that such a beautiful little town has lost it's vitality.  

If you're up that direction, you will find that the town of Willits has completely been bypassed by the new freeway and there are two of my favorite round-de-rounds in the Clear Lake area, along with two new Indian Casinos.  

When I finally hit I-5 and headed South, my plan was to stop in at Cal Expo in Sacramento for the night.  There was the Hwy 50 sign ... nope.  There was the Hwy 99 sign ... no, not that one.  The next thing I know, I'm halfway to Stockton.  RATS ... I missed my turnoff to Hwy 80.  This was NOT my plan!!  I wanted to give Jonathan a long rest after the 7 hour drive from Eureka.  

Might as well just keep going now.  I went, but not very fast since the traffic was backed up through the entire city of Stockton, all the way through Hwy 120, Manteca and Modesto, clear to Turlock!!  I think I actually got up to 45 mph once ... it was 5-25 most of the very LONG way.  That turned out to be a good thing for Jonathan, but left me aching from the 9-1/2 hour drive in one day.  My bottle of Advil is close at hand.

I still have Bandon pictures ... I'll get those out tomorrow.  For now, it's unloading time.  Oh what fun!!!

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Mysterious Snow Leopard

Meet Yari, a fun bundle of joy just getting to know the world.  Snow leopards are an endangered species, with only about 3500 left in the world.  Due to their shy nature, their numbers have not really been calculated.  Don't you just want to give her a big hug??  This picture is from last year when she was a baby.
Here she is today, all grown up.  They are native to the high mountain ranges of Asia, which means lots of cold and snow.  Their fur is multi-layer and amazing to touch.
Here's that natural instinct to stalk dinner.  Actually, it was a donkey that got a little too close.  The donkey had to go!!
As the clouds came in and out, her color changed from dark grey to lighter grey with a shadowing of yellow.  Even though it was around 60 degrees, you can tell she was panting a little.  This is hot weather for her!!
Would you look at that tail?  It's at least six inches across and used for balance.  Too big to allow petting, she put on a spectacular show for us, chasing one of her toys.  It's a gallon water jug smashed flat by her teeth and attached to a long stick.  
Once he started throwing it around, she began playing like your house kitty would, trying to grab hold.  When he ran it up the wall however, she followed it up and over in a spectacular back flip, catching it before she landed on all fours.  On the second run, she actually chased it around the wall, sprinted up, pushed off the wall and again caught it mid air with a flying leap.  She was WAY too fast to capture with my camera!!  
Once she catches it, she's supposed to let go, but THIS time decided to make sure it didn't get away.  It's firmly planted between her teeth.  When she gets too possessive, it's time to go.  By the way, this is the same caretaker that takes everyone home.  Lexi the lynx was raised with a Caracal cat from Africa ... Yari was raised with Ruckus the bobcat.
Meet baby Ruckus.  When he was little, I got to hold this beauty.  
Meet Ruckus today!  He looks pretty much like your kitty, right?  
One of the first wild animals that ever sat on my lap was a bobcat named Bob.  Bob is still here at the facility.  Ruckus is also too big for the public to pet, so he just strutted around showing off his manly self.
Now that these babies have grown up, new babies will be arriving for the caretakers to take home.  Just like your house kitties, these guys are all litter box trained.  Lucky for them, all of these babies will be staying here.
This is the bobcat that wanders my back yard in Arizona.  A little different color, you can tell she's not as well fed as Ruckus.
The Cookhouse story has to wait until tomorrow.  I'm heading out again, getting ever closer to home. Today will be the longest drive of the trip, so I better get packing!!