Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are facing the culmination of another year. Was it a happy one for you? It was for me. I met some really wonderful people and had some incredible experiences. I'm so grateful for the new friends that I have made, and for the old ones that still put up with me. I got to see places that I had wanted to see for years, and do things that turned out to be even better than I imagined. Some of my favorites: Baja, the Grand Canyon, the Utah national parks, Mesa Verde, Carlsbad Caverns, the New Mexico state parks, the UFO museum in Roswell, northern Minnesota, and seeing the whales and the dolphins. I feel very blessed, fortunate, and downright lucky. 2007 was definitely a good year for me. It was so good, I wish I could do it all over again!

I would like to thank all of you, my readers, for indulging the wanderings of my mind and imagination by reading this blog, and for your comments and emails. I hope that 2008 brings all of you much love, peace and joy. Happy New Year!

Rylie's Notes:

I've got big plans for New Year's Eve. I'm having a party with Max, Sparky, Mai Thai and Patty behind the dumpster, so I'm counting on The Staff pooping out before the stroke of midnight.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Oh, So THAT'S My Problem

Sometimes I get so caught up in the task at hand, or the thoughts that I'm lost in, that I don't pay attention, even to my own body. Yesterday I was focused on driving to meet Julie and Bob. Since I stopped for the night in Bakersfield and they were visiting Bob's family in Van Nuys, we decided to meet for lunch in Palmdale. This would add about 90 miles to my trip, but I really wanted to see them. I got to Palmdale without a hitch and had a nice, although very short, visit with Julie and Bob. It was when I tried to leave Palmdale that I ran into trouble. Palmdale was trying to hold me captive, it seemed.

The traffic was really terrible and I had to sit through each traffic signal three or four times because of the long lines of cars. Although I was parked only a couple of blocks from the highway entrance, I could not seem to get there. When I finally got my turn going through the traffic signals, I couldn't get over to the correct lane in time to get on the highway. So then I had to go find a parking lot large enough for me to turn my big rig around in, and go back the other way. Well, it turned out they didn't have an entrance for the highway going the other direction, so I had to turn around yet again. All the while this meant sitting through traffic signals three or four times before I got my turn. It was one of those times when you want to either laugh, cry, or swear a blue streak. I'm ashamed to say that I chose the latter. It took me an extra half hour to get out of Palmdale.

But I wasn't done yet. I had to miss two more turns and do my little turn around dance before I could get back on track. What was my problem? Well, after I had to make an emergency stop, I figured it out. I was sick. I had felt a little sick after eating breakfast and felt really tired all morning, but hadn't paid much attention to it. Then I realized that my eye sockets were hurting, and that only happens when I'm sick.

So I made it to Barstow, but I wasn't home free yet. The campsite they gave me at the RV park wasn't long enough for me, so I had to turn around to go to another one. The guy who was guiding me to the new site told me to turn to the right, and against my better judgment, I did what he said. I barely made it, and only had an inch to spare before smashing my front bumper. But he got me to the new site where I fit just fine. But I still had to get hooked up, and by this time it was dark.

Using a flashlight, I got my surge protector on and the electrical cord hooked up, and then I started to connect my water hose, filter, and water pressure regulator. After numerous attempts, getting sprayed with cold water, and feeling sicker than a dog, I could not get everything connected without it leaking water. So I said "Screw it" and decided I had enough water in my tank and I could do without the water connection. So I got Rylie outside to relieve himself, dumped some food in his bowl and crawled into bed at 6:00 p.m. I slept for 13 hours. I'm surprised that Rylie let me sleep that long. He must have known I was sick.

It was only this morning that I realized that I had not flipped the switch on for the electric, so I had no electricity. Since I left the furnace on all night, although it was turned down, there is no telling how far I ran my batteries down. The blower on the furnace uses a lot of juice.

Sometimes you can use a little help, and yesterday was definitely one of those days for me. In my compromised state, I'm just lucky I didn't do anything dangerously stupid. Today I'll finish the journey to Pahrump in much better shape, although my stomach still hurts.

Rylie's Notes:

The poor Staff, she was a mess. I decided she needed a little time off to pull herself together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bakersfield, Again?

Is Christmas really over already? Boy this past week just flew by, and here I am on my way back to Pahrump already. I wish I could have stayed in the Bay Area for New Year's, but my bank account is feeling a little thirsty, so I better get back to work. It wasn't quite as sad saying goodbye to Cammie this time, because I know that she and Brian are coming to visit me in Pahrump in a couple of weeks to celebrate my birthday. Yippee!

Here they are by their first little Christmas tree together, with Laila and Rylie.

I'm currently in Bakersfield again, breaking up the return trip. It's cold here today (for California, that is). I heard they were turning people away from the pass near Tehachapi on Highway 58 yesterday because of freezing rain, so I'm hoping I don't run into any of that nonsense tomorrow.

Rylie's Notes:

I would like to know why The Staff gave the pot roast leftovers to the Junior Staff. Was that really necessary? Will the Junior Staff appreciate those leftovers as much as I would have? I don't think so. I might have to put The Staff on probation for that stunt. She is in grave danger of losing her position.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

The above is the extent of the Christmas decorations in my motorhome, just a tiny little tree. Once I piled the presents by the tree, it pretty much disappeared.

I had a great Christmas Eve lunch with my friend Nancy, and Rylie and I had a really fun Christmas celebration with Cammie, Brian, and his family. Cammie spent the night with me on Christmas Eve, then the following morning we opened gifts and I cooked Cammie's requested meal of pot roast. Then we went bowling, played tennis, shot baskets, and played carnival games, all from the comfort of her living room on Brian's Wii system. That sure is fun, but I think my arm will be sore tomorrow.

Rylie had fun playing with his new toy, a little stuffed dog that barks "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." He sure plays rough with those stuffed toys, though.

Rylie's Notes:

I'm going to quiet that little barking dog if it's the last thing I do. Then I'm going to destroy the antlers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Back to California

I hit the road again today to drive back to the Bay Area for Christmas with Cammie. Last night we had a really strong wind and some hail, so I was a bit concerned about the wind giving me some trouble today. I don't like driving the motorhome in strong wind, and there was a wind advisory in place. This morning it was still really windy in Pahrump, but I decided to go for it anyway, since the weather report said it would be windy on Saturday too.

Apparently I was so focused on the wind that I didn't pay close attention to my launch preparations. I drove off with my TV antenna still up, but luckily some kind person at the Escapees park saw me and called the office, so they caught me on the way out. I also left the door to my DVD player and movies open, so they started raining down upon me as I hit the road. Pay attention, Heidi!

The wind turned out to be no problem at all. I got pushed around a bit near Pahrump and again on I-15, but that was it. The rest of the trip was smooth sailing. I stopped for the night in Bakersfield. Next stop, Pleasanton.

Can you believe it, I'm still not done with my Christmas shopping! Eeeeek!!!

Rylie's Notes:

The Junior Staff will be happy to see me, and the Little Squirt too. The Staff shouldn't worry about shopping. She has my present, so she needn't worry. I know, because I peeked.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Las Vegas

Well, I'm not much of a gambler. I have yet to stick a nickel in a slot machine since I've been here in Nevada. However, I do enjoy seeing shows, and I have seen a couple of shows in Las Vegas this time around. I saw The Producers with Tony Danza at the Paris Hotel, and Spamalot at the Wynn. Both were very funny and entertaining shows, although I think I liked The Producers a bit better. Show tickets are pricey, but you can get half price tickets to some shows to ease the pain a bit.

Las Vegas really isn't my kind of place, but there certainly is a lot to see and the people watching is fun. On a previous visit a few years ago I saw Cirque de Soleil's show O, and it remains my all time favorite show. I thought it was pretty spectacular, and Cammie really liked it too.

I took the day off work yesterday to go to Las Vegas to do some Christmas shopping. There really isn't any good shopping in Pahrump. I'm really behind on my Christmas preparations. Normally by now I would have been long done with the shopping, the Christmas cards would be mailed, most of the gifts would be wrapped and the Christmas baking the only thing still to do. I used to really enjoy Christmas, but I think I have lost a bit of my enthusiasm for this hectic holiday. Maybe because I have been focusing on simplifying my life, and Christmas seems to have gotten more and more complicated as the years pass. I know that my motorhome has gotten really messy with all of the gifts, wrapping and whatnot all around. I still enjoy spending time with family and friends, but I just don't like all of the frenzied shoppers and tired, stressed out people. I also don't like being far away from my family, but soon I'll be scooting back to the Bay Area to spend Christmas with Cammie and friends. While I was driving to and from Vegas yesterday I listened to Christmas music, so that got me in the holiday spirit. My current favorite Christmas CD is Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong, but Bing Crosby is always good too.

It's raining tonight, so that means more cement boots for Rylie in the morning. I'm so glad I have that outside shower on the motorhome. I use it nearly every day, since he manages to find the mud from the sprinklers throughout the RV park, in spite of my best efforts to avoid it.

Rylie's Notes:

Obviously The Staff has forgotten how good it feels to walk through the mud and feel it squishing through her toes, or she would be taking off her shoes and joining me in the mud.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hoover Dam

I'm not usually a fan of cement structures, but the Hoover Dam is quite a feat of engineering. I couldn't explore the Las Vegas area and not see the Hoover Dam. They are building a new bridge near the dam, and boy is it impressive. It's a very high bridge. I noticed there are a huge number of electrical towers near Hoover Dam. It would really be a pretty area if it weren't for those spindly towers blemishing the hillsides.

No dogs are allowed on the top of the dam, so Rylie took a nap in the car. It's just as well, because it was extremely windy and cold on top of the dam. I never leave Rylie in the car when it's hot, and even when it's chilly out, I leave all of the windows cracked so he can get some fresh air. He always waits patiently, and never makes a fuss in the car. He's a good little traveler.

Looking Down the Dam

Rylie's Notes:

Of course I'm a good, little traveler. It's my life, what else am I going to do? Besides, Border Collies are good at just about everything, except tolerating loud noises.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Red Rock Canyon

Not far from Pahrump and Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon. Rylie and I had a great hike here, although there was quite a bit of climbing up and down for his short little legs. He needed a little boost now and then. You could see for miles at the top, but unfortunately that included the smog of Las Vegas. As you can see from Rylie's yawn in the photo below, the hike really wore him out. He slept really hard the next day and was probably a little bit sore. He's a good little hiker.

Rylie's Notes:
I wasn't tired and sore from the hike, I was just letting The Staff take it easy after the hike. I figured she was probably tired and sore. I could hike like that every day, no problem.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Death Valley

While I was in Death Valley I peeked into a couple of canyons, one of which was Marble Canyon. This is a beautiful hike squirreling through walls of polished marble. It was late afternoon when I came out of this canyon, and the setting sun was lighting up the mountains on the far side of the valley.

Rylie's Notes:

Did someone say squirrel?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Death Valley

Busy, busy, busy! I haven't even had a chance to do a blog post, sorry folks. I've been able to check out some of the nearby sights, and Death Valley is one of them. I had no idea there is so much interesting scenery to see in Death Valley. I need to go back there, because there are some hikes that I still want to do. But not in the summertime, thank you!

Death Valley Sand Dunes

Badwater Basin

Rylie's Notes:

I wasn't invited.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cement Boots

It rained all day yesterday, so no sales activity for me. I did drive around and locate homes so that work would be faster today. The only thing I don't like about this Escapees park is how muddy it gets when it rains, and it's the sticky kind of mud. When I walked Rylie it looked like he was wearing cement moon boots by the time we were done. The mud just kept building on his furry feet, and then it would collect gravel and twigs that got stuck between the pads of his feet. Naturally this didn't feel so good to walk on, so he didn't want to walk. I had to carry him the rest of the way home, and that guy is a bit porky to be carried. When we got to the motorhome I had to use the outside shower to wash his feet so he didn't drag all of that mud inside. I had to do that TWICE, because even a short potty break brought on another pair of cement boots. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

The rain was transformed into snow in the mountains, and it's cold today!

Rylie's Notes:

I'd like to see The Staff walk with rocks between her toes and under her feet. She would want to be carried too. I'm not porky, I'm stocky.