Interesting Person, Sylvia Lee

Late afternoon, August 31st, a SUV pulls into the campsite just to the north of us. An older lady gets out and bustles around getting her camp set up. She notices me sitting outside reading while The Chiweenie Brothers play nearby and she walks over.

She very politely asks if I would help her plug her extension cord into the electrical box at her campsite, explaining that her hands are too weak to get the plug pushed in. Of course I’ll help! We walk over to her camp.

Meet Sylvia Lee

Sylvia is from Phoenix and is on her way to Minnesota to visit friends, then she will cross the middle of the US and head eastward to South Carolina to visit family. She travels in her SUV, a Toyota Forerunner she calls 4titude setting up a tent and sleeping on a pad on the ground. Or on a picnic table if conditions aren’t good!

DSC_0084Sylvia Lee, getting ready to leave for MinnesotaShe actually has two tents. A small one for if she gets to her destination too late in the afternoon, and a “mansion” of a tent if she has more time to set up and plans on a longer stay. I begin to ache just thinking about sleeping on the ground, pad or not. I am in awe.

She didn’t even bother with either tent last night, she just slept on the ground. The next day we visit more, and I learn more about this amazing woman.

Sylvia was a nurse. After her children started school she went back to school and got her degree. She is 78 years young (and incredibly tough from my viewpoint!)

She says she has always enjoyed camping and once she retired she began her long trips in earnest. Currently she is cutting back some as she is fostering several cats and must provide care for them while she is gone on her journeys, so she won’t be doing any more long trips. She sounds a bit wistful as she tells me this.

Sylvia is a volunteer at the Boyce-Thompson Aboretum near Superior, Arizona (we toured their beautiful gardens last spring) where she leads a history walk the first weekend of each month. I must say, she is dedicated. That’s a 200 mile round trip … and she’s been doing this since 2005!

DSC_0085Sylvia Lee

Sylvia has her own blog, Lee’s Rambles,  writing about her camping trips, outdoor experiences, tent camping, and light hiking. You can get an invite to her blog by emailing her at sighly@cox.net.

She is also an author having researched and written a book for Boyce-Thompson called The Abundant Arboretum. Talented woman, Sylvia.

I admire this woman so much; she does’t let much of anything slow her down. She is knowledgeable and interesting to talk to. We have tentative plans to do a little camping together next season or maybe sooner. I hope it works out.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs, Shawna

Percha Dam State Park

June 29th. We are again heading north on I-25, destination Percha Dam State Park

. Shade, I need shade and a few days to just lounge around in it. I feel horrible. These past few weeks dealing with ever increasing heat has given me a bit of heat exhaustion I think. I sweat like crazy, can’t drink enough water, and just feel like I am burning up from the inside out.
Prayers are answered with Percha Dam. We find a shady spot down by the Rio Grande River with a view of the small dam. Lots of activity with locals coming and going picnicking, fishing, ect., but although I have to move the van around a couple of times a day to stay in the shade it feels wonderful. DSC_0012 (1)DSC_0013 (1)Looking at Percha Dam From Our Campsite
A little glitch with my solar system and an email to my solar guy (thanks Chuck!!) gets things sorted out and we are back in business churning out power from the sun and the inverter quits overheating because the button on the charge controller got pushed to a different type of battery — or whatever it was causing it to shut down. The fan goes for hours and pulls the cool from a wet sports towel I have wrapped around my neck and shoulders.
INTERESTING PEOPLE: I meet a guy and his wife who are trying out their new-to-them Rialto. He grouses that several things do not work in it, but they’re managing and will get stuff fixed in time. We chat and the usual topics come up: Where you from? Are you full timing? What did you do in working career? He discloses they are from Hawaii and plan on settling in Silver City. WHAT? WHY? Who leaves Hawaii for Silver City?

They were organic farmers on Kuai and according to him the small island has been “discovered” and has over the past few years become a crazy madhouse. Not what they wanted for their golden years so they sold the farm and ended up in New Mexico.

Percha Dam State Park is fairly large. The upper area has the electric sites along with the flush bathrooms and showers. The lower area is along the river and where the primitive sites are located. There are a few shade covers, but most are just a parking spot with a table, bbq, and fire ring. Water spigots are located near the dumpsters and vault toilets. Most spots have decent spacing between sites.

DSC_0016 (2)Mama Squirrel and BabyThis cute guy drove the Wild Wiener Dogs crazy!  Notice the two little ones in the hole in the trunk on the bottom left.  🙂  Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

Current Read: The Grace of Dogs by Andrew Root

It’s Here!

Friday, June 28th. Having gotten almost everything loaded up last night, we are up early. This isn’t unusual but actually it is a bit earlier than our normal routine. The dogs are put out on the lead to do their business while I gather items for a quick shower before leaving City of Rocks for the last time. The generator will be here today!

The shower feels marvelous, but what is going to feel even better is getting up into a higher elevation. This has been a tough few weeks dealing with ever increasing heat, but it is finally going to end, and I am excited.
We head to Deming where we pass the time waiting for FedEx to deliver the goods by checking supplies—we’re okay—getting ice and water, and a session at the dog park.
The boys romp while I visit with an elderly veteran. He and his wife settled in Deming a few years ago. He flew planes in Vietnam and had always wanted to become a commercial pilot after the war, but his eyesight was a smidge off and he was declined. Instead he bought a small plane and learned aerial acrobatics! He no longer has his plane, but keeps busy with his own two rescue dogs as well as volunteering at the local shelter. Another very interesting person.
The call from MotoTech comes in around 12:30. The genny has arrived, and we’re off to pick it up and be on our way to Las Cruces to get another problem solved.
It is very hot and quite humid in Las Cruces. As we are stopped at a red light I hear yelling and warnings to our right. I see a man with a gun. Oh shit. It takes a beat or two and hearing the words GET DOWN ON THE GROUND. DOWN ON THE GROUND NOW!! Before it registers that it is the law that has the gun, and as I am pulling up my camera two more vehicles, unmarked, pull in front of a black SUV with a very damaged front bumper and left fender. I get a nice shot of the unmarked’s. DSC_0005 (2)LEO Take Down in Verizon Parking Lot, Las Cruces
The two gals they had on the ground were in tank tops and shorts. That pavement must have been broiling hot!!
NOTE: Later after getting another SIM card for the Mobely (internet hot spot) and getting it working once again we head over to Wally. I see a piece of a black bumper and a left fender just lying in the parking lot. Looks like this is where the black SUV got into trouble! Wish I knew the “rest of the story.”
Our next stop is Leasburg Dam State Park a bit north from Las Cruces. It’s an okay park and there is a Fort Seldon nearby to see, but one night here is all we do.

In the morning, I reorganize the back between my bed and the back doors to once again accommodate the generator. I’m thinking maybe we will do one more night in the now vacated spot that overlooks the river below, DSC_0008 (2)We Were Going to Stay Here For Night Two, but ...

but go back to Plan A and we head out after spotting this guy crawling around the shade shelter in broad daylight. DSC_0007Bat Closeup

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel!  Hugs, Shawna

Boiler Bay. Depoe Bay. Rocky Creek Viewpoint

August 4, 2018 . We leave Lincoln City behind and continue south. Destination: Boiler Bay.  It’s a beautiful day with a bit of a breeze and the sun playing hide and seek. I thoroughly enjoy the ride even though traffic is heavy; It’s summer and this is Highway 101 …

We pull into the wayside at Boiler Bay and Sandy is right behind us.  I snap the leashes onto the boys’ harnesses and saunter over to the fence at the edge of the parking lot gazing out over the bay, eyes casting about for whales. Nothing.

Sandy shows me the inside of her new Mercedes cargo van. She shares that she came over from an appointment in Portland where she had the inside outfitted to truly make it a home on wheels.  It’s beautiful!!!

We go back to the overlook and chat as we keep an eye on the water so we don’t miss a whale sighting.  Sandy got her master’s degree in age and aging at the age of 60! She is retired now, but likes to keep busy volunteering to help in disaster type situations around the country.  She’s originally from  the east coast, but currently from Austin, Texas where she took care of her mother until her passing.

Someone shouts that they  have spotted a whale, and sure enough a young gray is seen in the water.

After seeing this young whale surface again and again over the course of about a half hour, Sandy leaves for her camp at KOA in preparation for her trip to Lake Tahoe in the morning. I drive back north to Lincoln City for another night at the Chinook Winds Casino.

The next morning the boys and I take in Depoe Bay on our way to Newport.

DSC_0048

This young lady is tracking radio-tagged marbled murrelets for the University of Oregon.

DSC_0047Young Lady working for University of Oregon Tracking Marbled Murrlets  A plaque here on the rock wall honors two men who lost their lives trying to save others.

As our coastal meander continues we take a side road to Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint.  I love this rock house perched on the cliff overlooking the ocean,  and the old bridge over the Creek.

Our day continues . . .

 

The Oregon Coast! Fort Stevens, Fort Clatsop, and Astoria

July 25th.  WE’RE HERE! The Oregon Coast at Seaside!!  AHHH, the cool air feels wonderful! We meet up with a fellow van dweller, Sue. Sue is a born city gal, the daughter of circus performers, who ended up in Oregon around 2004 and stayed. She taught me a few things about van dwelling in the town environment. Being FB friends for a couple of years through a van group, it’s so nice to finally meet face-to-face. Both her sons are currently in Sweden and she is planning her second trip there for visit after her trip to the east coast. She is also throwing a trip to Thailand somewhere there in the mix.  The boys and I spend a lovely day along the boardwalk—The Prom—with Sue, meeting  more interesting people.

We meet two gals from Virginia who BIKED their way to the Pacific Ocean. Seaside, one of their last stops before they are on a plane home. Another gal and her boyfriend, vanners also, are enjoying the ocean beaches. She, a Canadian with an Australian accent (lived quite a while there and was a firefighter) but currently from Virginia is out here on the west coast with her boyfriend, an artist.

Sue heads north, the boys and I hang at the beach.

Next morning we head to Fort Stevens to spend the day.  This is a huge state park and it’s very busy.  We spend time walking along the shore where the wreck of the Peter Iredale rests on the beach, its bottom half entombed in the sand .

DSC_0071 (1)

Read about the sailing ship HERE 

DSC_0044 (1)       The fog does, finally, lift. Wreck of the Peter Iredale, Ft. Stevens northwest Oregon Coast

Once we head out of Fort Stevens I stumble—by pure chance– upon a dog park in Warrenton, and of course we stop.  The boys enjoy some off-leash time, and I enjoy chatting with the locals. In the same area as the dog park is a hiking trail along the Columbia River.

There are homes along this trail, and I spot a particularly pretty yard.  I get a small pang of regret as I gaze at the beautiful flowers.

DSC_0034 (1)Somebodys Garden along carruthers Trail on the Columbia River It doesn’t last long though, as I realize I have no weeding, watering, or dead-heading to do.  I can enjoy without all the work. 🙂

July 26th, after another night of “boondocking” in the city I locate a laundromat and do a load of wash, then head to Fort Clatsop where they have a wonderful replication of the old fort. Read about Fort Clatsop HERE

A cleverly disguised trash can within the park.  DSC_0013 (2)

What I love most about every state park we’ve been in so far–AND most rest areas–are the hiking trails.  A dose of education and some exercise; a great combination.

Not wanting to miss getting to see the first permanent United States settlement on the Pacific Coast, I point Freedom’s nose to the north and we head to Astoria. Read more  HERE .

Whoa.  I LOVE the old buildings here, but the streets are narrow and the traffic is horrific. I grab a shot of Flavel House, even though there isn’t enough room to get the whole of the beautiful old building in the shot. DSC_0018 (1)  In the parking where we are parked is this building, ye old pokey, now a film museum.DSC_0019 (2)Astoria OR

read about Flavel House HERE.     I attempt to find “The Column” but fail.  Hunger pains win out over getting to the column, and I regret not seeing it, but it just gives me a reason to come back someday.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!  Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Shawna

Interesting People

I have met some interesting and fascinating people on this adventure.

Jim Donahue.

Jim D closeup Jim is a retired construction worker from New England. He left the northeast in his Ford van last summer and set out to see the US.  He has walked the entire Appalachian Trail from it’s beginning in Georgia to it’s ending in his home state of Maine.

He survived and thrived after a devastating brain aneurysm that should have killed him, and became a self-taught, accomplished photographer with a unique perspective taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.

Jeannette Johnson.

DSC_0018    Jeannette travels the country in her small SUV pulling a darling teardrop trailer her adorable traveling companion, Snickers, along for the ride. We didn’t get to talk much as she was off on another adventure once she had a vehicle repair done, but I did learn that Jeannette is an avid hiker. She didn’t get into hiking until she was 60 years of age, and has been going strong for the past 10 years.  Keep on keeping on, Jeannette!  You are an inspiration

Mary Vought 

Mary, a retired lab technician from California, travels when she can in her little Prius.  She is the master packer, getting all this stuff in her small environmentally friendly vehicle.  This just blows me away!  Miss our campfire chats, Mary

Peggy        I didn’t get a photo of Peggy, darn it. Well, I did acquire a photo, but her comment left me with the distinct impression she wouldn’t have approved of it’s publication …

Talk about interesting people. Peggy, a hair dresser by trade, worked in that capacity for about 20 years, hair dresser to the stars. She worked for movie studios who came to San Francisco to shoot movie and TV pilots, and has done the hair of major stars. She has some interesting stories and observations!

She also worked for the Closet Factory learning to design not only closets, but offices, and garages. She went on the learn kitchen design and did work for referral clients and a couple of contractors.

Peggy ended up buying a barber shop working that for about 7 years before turning it into a family salon. She sold that but still works there a couple of days a week. She is also into eBay, and taking care of her aging mother. Peggy says she sounds more like a woman with ADD than someone interesting, but I totally disagree.  This woman is a go-getter, and I love her fun sense of humor.

Peggy travels when she can in her 1999 white Chevy Express van that she customized herself, of course, with her dog Dusty Rose (Roads!  haha).  Cheers to a woman of wine and fire!

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.  Who are the interesting people you’ve met along life’s journey?  Hugs, Shawna

Hugs, Shawna