Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Interesting Week

Well, I have had some interesting activities this week. Tuesday night I played pool with Charlee. We are pretty much equally terrible at pool, although I think I scratched a time or two more than she did, so I may be slightly more terrible.

On Wednesday I went to dinner at Terrible's casino with Lucy and Lee, Sparky's people, and then we played bingo. I did not win anything, but Lucy did, so at least we had one winner. Lucy taught me how to play bingo using one of those machines. It's always interesting to learn something new.

Today a group of us gals from the RV park went to have lunch at Sheri's Ranch, a brothel in Pahrump. Well come on, brothels are a part of the culture in Pahrump, so of course I had to go investigate. Wouldn't you be curious? I must say, it was quite interesting. Pahrump is in Nye county,
where prostitution is legal. The food was actually pretty good, and we got a free tour while we were there. We saw the parade room, the bubble bath room, the private dining room, the jacuzzi room, and the S&M/bachelor/pole dancing party room. I'm sure all of you guys out there would like some photos, but unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside. All that I can provide is a photo of the exterior.

According to the "working girls," this is the best place to work if you are in the business. The place is actually quite nice and they are the only brothel in the world that has a sponsor, Budweiser. I must say, it had more class than I was expecting. The girls were quite candid in answering our questions, and some of them pranced around in their skimpy outfits while we were having our lunch.

After lunch Charlee took me over to Art Bell's compound for a look-see. Art Bell used to be the radio host of Coast to Coast, where they discussed UFO's and other paranormal activity. He used to broadcast from his home, and you can see all of the radio towers on his property. There is also a very large satellite dish.

Art Bell's Compound

From there we went to the tiny town of Blue Diamond to find the wild burros that hang around town, but no Jacks or Jennies were to be found today, so we carried on to Las Vegas. We stopped at the Bass Pro Shop, which reminded me of the Cabella's store in Minnesota. Lots to look at there if you like outdoor activities.

Rylie's Notes:

Score! The Staff stopped at Petco on the way home and brought a bag of goodies for me, and then we saw Sparky at the pet run. Not only that, but then Sparky came over to our place for a bit. I also had several long walks, so it was pretty much a perfect day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Pal

Last night was fun! I had a glass of wine and a long chat with Charlee, a new pal I met here at the park. Charlee is really interesting. She is also single and has been traveling in her motorhome for about three years. She is the author of 25 books and some plays, and also sometimes works as an editor. After Katrina she went to New Orleans and did a lot of volunteer work, and she has met a lot of interesting people. Not only that, but she has been a guest on the Today show, and is a member of the very small group (3%) of authors that can actually make a living from their writing. That tells you she is very talented, but she also seems like a very nice person. I'm looking forward to talking with her some more, and we plan to get together again before I leave. Hopefully we'll meet up on the road somewhere too.

This week I'm giving myself some attention. Today I'm finally getting a haircut. It has been more than three months since I've had one, which is the longest I've gone without a haircut for years. It's hard to find a good hair stylist in an unfamiliar area, but one was recommended to me by a customer. I sold a photo to a woman who is an aesthetician, so on Friday I'm getting a facial too. I have never had a facial, so this should be an interesting experience.

Has anyone out there ever installed a convection oven in their RV? I really hate the oven in mine, and am considering replacing the microwave with a convection oven. I would like to hear from you if you have.

Rylie's Notes:

I need a haircut too. The dreadlocks behind my ears are getting a bit long. A couple of snips is all that I need. The dreadlocks interfere with the behind-the-ear scratches. Can't have that.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Movie Review

I've seen a couple of good movies recently. At home, not at the theater. Pahrump doesn't have a movie theater. The Brave One with Jodie Foster was really good. It reminded me of a short story I wrote in a creative writing class in high school. I think Jodie Foster is really good. American Gangster with Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe was good too. Both are kind of violent though, so be warned. We've had some rainy weather lately, so I stocked up on movies, but it's supposed to get into the 70's this week. I'm looking forward to that.

My friends in Baja tell me that one of my favorite beaches down there on the Sea of Cortez, El Coyote, has been sold. No doubt it will be turned into a fancy resort and we will no longer be able to camp on the beach there. This makes me very sad, especially because I wasn't able to go to Baja this year.

Today was the first time I was concerned about being bit by a dog while working. Actually it was the second time, but the first time it was only a little ankle biter dog that was quickly called off by its owner. Usually I get along really well with dogs, but today was a bit unnerving. I was knocking on a door in a rural part of town when three dogs suddenly charged me from around the corner of the house. I wasn't concerned about two of them, but one was an Australian shepherd that was running around frantically and kept trying to charge me from behind. Maybe he was just trying to herd me away from the house, so I quickly but calmly made my way back to my car. The homeowners never did appear, and I will not be returning to that house. I noticed that they had a lot of dogs kept in small pens. I don't like seeing that -- it's no way to keep dogs. Some people should not have dogs.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff should have me with her when she is working. I could give the proper signals to the dogs so that they wouldn't be aggressive, like sniffing the ground, avoiding eye contact, and making whining sounds. You have to follow the proper protocol, especially when you are in another dog's territory.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Broke a Nail

Not me, Rylie. This morning when we were in the pet run with Sparky, Rylie laid down on the ground a few times and chewed and licked at his foot. I noticed he was walking slowly on the way home but I thought it was just mud and rocks stuck between his pads from the recent rain, so I rinsed his feet off with the outside shower when we got back home. He never cries or yelps when he hurts himself, so sometimes it's hard to tell. Tonight when I got home from work I discovered that he actually cracked a nail close to the base of his foot, so it must have been bothering him. He seemed happy that I finally figured it out.

Today one of my customers had two really cute donkeys. She said that donkeys are great watchdogs, and are often used to protect sheep from coyotes. They are fight animals, rather than flight animals, like horses. She said that she has to watch out for the dogs around the donkeys because the donkeys will kick the dogs if they aren't careful.

Rylie's Notes:

Sometimes The Staff can be a bit slow. I really have to spell things out for her, and do the charades to tell her what's going on. Why can't people communicate with thoughts like dogs do?

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Mother Nature must have decided that I needed another day off, because she brought rain my way yesterday. Actually, she probably decided that I needed to get my tax and business stuff ready for the accountant, because that's what I spent most of the day doing. I also went out and drove around in the rain for a couple of hours locating homes and addresses for my photo sales. This makes the sales part of my job go much faster. Hopefully the accountant will tell me that I don't owe too much in taxes so that I can enjoy some time off in March without feeling like I should be working. It was very windy as I was finishing up my work tonight, so I think another storm is headed this way. Maybe I'll be forced to take another day off and if so, I'm going to play!

I'm starting to get that excited feeling that I get when I am anticipating hitting the road again. I'm ready to move on. I'm thinking about attending a Wandering Individuals Network (WIN) event next month. They sound like a pretty active group and do a lot of the things that I'm interested in like hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.

Have you guys tried the chocolate-covered mint oreo cookies? They taste like the Girl Scout thin mint cookies. Yummy!

Rylie's Notes:

This was a good day. I scored another treat from Sparky's Staff this morning. Who cares about the chocolate-covered oreo cookies? The Staff won't let me have chocolate. She says chocolate is poison for dogs, but I think she just wants more for herself.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Day Off

I decided to take a day off work, except for a small phone order in the morning. I went out for breakfast, caught up on some things at home, and had some nice quiet time for me. I also made arrangements for my work assignment in April and May in the Central Coast area of California. I'll be in the Bay Area for Cammie's birthday in early April, but then I'll scoot down to the Central Coast for a couple of months. I'm really looking forward to being in this beautiful coastal area after being in the high desert of Pahrump for three months. My work will bring me inland a bit, but I'll be staying near the coast. I have friends in this area and there are many activities and beautiful places to keep me occupied, and maybe Julie and Bob will still be around too.

I'm looking forward to getting a decent news channel again, having great hiking trails nearby, walking on the beach, and living in a smoke-free environment, among other things. There are a lot of smokers in Nevada.

One day Rylie and I were out walking and we ran into a guy taking a stroll who stopped to chat for a minute. He wanted to pet Rylie, but he had a cigarette in his hand. Rylie started to go up to him but starting snuffing and backing off as soon as he smelled the smoke. The guy said Rylie must have smelled his cat, but I knew it was the cigarette.

This morning I was chatting with Sparky's owner in the pet run, when I suddenly realized that Rylie was nowhere to be seen. On two previous occasions he has managed to slip under or through the wire fence and so I started walking outside of the pet run to find him. It turned out he had slipped underneath the fence and underneath a shed that is right next to the pet run. I blocked the spot with some rocks, but it reminded me of what we used to call Rylie when he was a puppy, because he could get out of anything: Houdini.

Rylie's Notes:

There are some REALLY interesting things under that shed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Next Moves

My work here in Pahrump will be finishing up in another few weeks. I initially thought that I would have a month or more off before Air Photo has more work for me, but it looks like they are going to start photographing again sooner than planned. My next Air Photo work will be somewhere in California, but the exact location and starting date are yet to be determined. Still, I should have a little bit of a break, and I'm really looking forward to that. I would like to go somewhere warm that isn't too far away. Maybe Arizona. Some R and R is sounding pretty good right now.

It looks like I'm finally going to be paid by the other insurance company to have my car repaired from my fender bender. They sure took their sweet time about it. I'll be glad to be rid of that dent in the hood of my car.

Rylie's Notes:

It has been a long time since I've been for a ride in the car. I haven't felt the wind flowing past my ears for far too long. The Staff always has the car loaded up with frames and photos now, and there is no room for me. What's up with that?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sweethearts Day

Well, did all of you sweethearts out there have a good Valentine's Day? I made a feeble attempt at working but finally got fed up with battling the wind, so I spent the rest of the work day just driving around and locating homes. I had dinner at a local restaurant, Galiano's. The service was slow and the menu and food were unremarkable, but it was still nice to get out for a meal.

What's up with the U.S. postal service? I sent a priority envelope to Washington almost three weeks ago, and it still hasn't arrived. When I was moving out of my house in Concord, I sent some boxes to my parents' house in Minnesota for storage. Some of them were books that I had collected and couldn't part with, so Mom and Dad said they would store them for me. I sent a number of boxes at the same time from the same place. Some of them took two weeks to arrive, and others took two months. All sent at the same time, mind you. What goes on behind those walls? Do they decide to send some mail around the world the long way just for kicks? Maybe they are using carrier pigeons like that commercial on TV.

Rylie's Notes:

Why do you think dogs don't like mail carriers and want to bite them?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I meet some really neat people while I'm working and traveling, and some very interesting animals too. I'm always thrilled when I get to see an animal that I don't usually encounter, like Benny. I sold a photo to a really neat woman named Diane who lives on five acres and has many horses, five dogs, and a Brahma bull named Benny. I asked if I could take a photo of Benny as I was leaving, and Diane insisted on driving me over to Benny in the golf cart and brought him some "cake" to lure him over for photos. What a magnificent animal! His tongue is enormous, and despite his size, he is scared of the horses. When one came over to see us, Benny took off.

Diane Feeding Benny

Diane, Sage and Benny

Benny Licking the "Cake" Can

Today I had to quit work early because a dust storm blew in. I watched it heading my way as I was working. I have never seen anything like it before. It looked like fog rolling into the valley, and the sun looked like it was hiding behind a veil of fog. I could hear the dirt stinging the car as I was driving home.

Rylie's Notes:

Things are getting strange around here. There are cows that look like camels and the ground is flying through the air. I think I'll take a nap. Maybe things will be back to normal when I wake up.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The sisters had fun. Although I'm not usually much of a gambler, I imitated one this weekend. I played for hours on Friday and Saturday and it seemed I couldn't lose. Until Sunday. Amy is usually a pretty lucky gambler, although I don't think the slots in Las Vegas are quite as loose as they are in Minnesota.

Boz Skaggs put on an excellent concert, and played all of my favorites. That guy has a lot of guitars! Amy was in heaven. We also shopped, ate, and had a glass of wine or two. Well, you know how it is in Las Vegas.

I ended up spending two nights in Las Vegas with the motorhome, and the weather was sunny, warm and summer-like. I virtually took the weekend off from work, which felt pretty decadent. Weekends are my best work days, so it's rare for me to take a weekend off. But I wanted to spend as much time as I could with Amy. It was so good to see her.

I'm sure Rylie was missing Sparkytown, but he did play a bit with a Sheltie that looked very much like Laila. The Sheltie was only ten months old, and it's very rare for Rylie to play with a puppy. It's rare for Rylie to play with any dog, but especially a puppy.

Rylie's Notes:

Two days without any intelligent conversation, i.e., Sparky. The young pup was desperate for a playmate, so I obliged. He reminded me of the Little Squirt.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Fun Alert!

Watch out folks, the sisters are hitting Las Vegas! Amy is coming to Las Vegas for a long weekend, and I am really looking forward to her visit. We always have fun when we get together. The weather is supposed to be nice too, in the mid-60's, so it should be a great weekend. We plan to go see Boz Skaggs, whom Amy has wanted to see for a long time. I'm sure there will be some other shenanigans too, but you'll have to wait for my report to find out what they are. Don't worry if I don't have a blog post for a few days, it just means I'm busy having fun.

Rylie's Notes:

Oh, Queenie is coming to town? I better be on my best behavior.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Desperately Seeking Sparky

Yesterday the unthinkable happened: We didn't see Sparky at all. I have never seen Rylie look so concerned and despondent on what is usually his favorite activity, the morning walk. We went past Sparky's place twice on our double circuit around the park, but did not see him either time. Usually he is tied up outside. To make matters worse, we didn't see him during our evening walk either. This made Rylie even more desperate to find him.

This morning Rylie took off so fast I thought he might break the sound barrier. When we still saw no sign of Sparky during our first circuit, Rylie seemed a bit dazed and confused. He kept stopping and staring at Sparky's house, no doubt hoping he might magically appear. I had to coax him to go around a second time, and he would only budge after I told him we would look for Sparky again the next time around. The second time we came around, still no Sparky! We started heading back toward home, but suddenly Rylie stopped dead in his tracks, whipped around, and stared down at the opposite end of the park. Sure enough, there was Sparky on his way to the pet run. What a relief! I thought I was going to have to send Rylie to grief counseling.

I'm including some photos of Rylie's new sun, moon and stars.

Rylie's Notes:

Below is a photo of Sparky's staff, Lee. He is very well-trained. He throws the ball repeatedly and almost always hands out treats. Sparky has trained him well. I let Sparky go after the ball. Did you see how muddy that thing gets? Gross!

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I thought I would be working today, but Mother Nature had other plans. She sent a little storm my way with high winds in its pockets, so I went to the Superbowl party here instead. Now I'm not a football fan, but I did have a wager on this game -- which I lost -- and I did contribute to the football board, so I had a little more interest in it than usual. I enjoy watching the commercials anyway. I didn't see every commercial this time, but the only two that I thought were really good were the Budweiser spoof on the Rocky movies, and the eTrade commercials with the baby. I got a good laugh out of those, especially the Budweiser one. If you didn't see them, apparently they can be viewed at www.myspace.com, although I have not checked that out.

I've been spending a lot of my free time lately on a huge accounting and tax project for my business. It wouldn't be such a huge project if I had been keeping up on it all along, so now I am paying for my procrastination. But once I get everything entered into my new software program, the upkeep should be fairly quick and much more manageable. But that has been keeping my life pretty boring lately. I have had some good chats with some folks here at the park, though. I learned today that Sparky's owners used to live in Silver Bay, Minnesota, which is not far from my home town of Duluth. Small world.

Rylie had fun in the pet run with Sparky this morning. He actually got Sparky to play with him this time, although that came to an abrupt end when the two took a tumble and Sparky ended up on top of Rylie. There was a dazed look on Rylie's face after that.

Rylie's Notes:

I didn't realize how big Sparky is. I thought we were about the same size.

Friday, February 01, 2008

My New Workout

I have a new form of exercise. I called it the Sparkyciser. I do it every time I walk with Rylie now. As soon as we start our walk, Rylie takes off at a brisk pace for the opposite end of the RV park where Sparky lives. We either run or race walk, so not only am I working my lower body, but I'm also getting an aerobic workout. At the same time, Rylie pulls on the leash while I try to hold him back, which acts as a resistance band and also works my upper body. We do this two or three times per day, so I figure by the time I leave here, I should be in pretty good shape. I'm sure Rylie will be lost when he doesn't have Sparky at the center of his universe any longer.

Rylie's Notes:

If The Staff were stuck in a motorhome alone, day after day, while her staff was working, she would be overjoyed to see Sparky too.