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

Deciding to Leave Parker Boondock


On February 12th I decide it’s time to move on and leave our Parker boondock.  Our last day here it is absolutely delightful. We take a long morning walk and another during the early evening.


And of course Charlie is on lizard patrol ….


Around noon I set up my SunFlair solar oven and put together a Spanish rice mix to which I add onions, olives, and a bit of broccoli, and put it in the oven to cook.  It will take a couple of hours, but the nice thing about cooking with solar is you don’t have to watch it and it won’t burn anything.  It’s very much like a crockpot, but you can also bake in it with an easy adjustment to the front flap to allow moisture to escape.

Sitting back in my chair reading I hear planes, and I look up to see these interesting aircraft ….


During our evening walk we find what is probably a deer bed, although I haven’t seen any deer.  Coyote maybe?  I would think they den up, but who knows.  The boys have to check it out.

I love this barren old ironwood snag ..


The sky above this tree is looking odd. It’s a bit of time before sunset, so I begin looking around.  It’s the sun reflecting through smoke. There is a fire across the highway and over a small ridge.

Creosote bushes are plentiful and they burn hot and fast. No one comes around to roust us out so we stay put.  It is out in the morning, and I begin the morning routine of making coffee and fixing the boys their breakfast.  This morning we will pack up and head out so there’s no going back to bed to read while I enjoy my small pot of coffee.  Bitty Boy Fries isn’t too interested in getting up either. He is enjoying his new bed.


The boys don’t know it, but we are headed to Bouse and an afternoon at the dog park there.  Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Beneath a Scarlett Sky




February 9, 2018. We’ve been camped on BLM land (boondocking)off Hwy 62 west of Parker for a little over a week now.  We’ve made a few trips into town and dropped a bit of cash at Wally to stock up on food items.

Fries also got a doggie bed that he absolutely loves. Charlie is miffed that he didn’t get a bed … yet.  Charlie will not be left out, don’t’ worry. They didn’t have one his size so as soon as they get one that will fit him he, too, will have a nice new bed.  This has been Chiweenie Brother Approved!  Bark, woof, howl.

Our view       DSC_0001

It’s our 9th day here. It is very warm as late afternoon turns to evening, and the windows are open along with the side doors and the back door to cool the van down before we turn in.

I must have dozed off, because it’s dark when I am pulled out of a fitful sleep by the sound of a coyote close by. Really close. I can tell Fries is getting ready to give ’em hell, but I can’t allow that. I am also fearful that Charlie will launch himself out an open window.

Instinct some how kicks in and my gentle pressure on the backs of the boys’ necks keep them quiet and immobile by my side on the bed.  If I get up to close windows/doors there’s the real chance one of them will jump out of the van. Keeping that firm pressure on them and not speaking a word I pray they will continue to just stay immobile and quiet. Thankfully they do.

It’s unnerving, but fascinating to hear the different calls the coyotes make.  Many yips with several different endings to some of them. I wonder what they are saying to each other, and what comes to mind is “Come out, come out wherever you are! I smell chiweenie on the menu.” In my mind I am laughing hysterically. With fear. No, they cannot get inside the van, but a wild wiener dog could get out of the van. After what seems like an eternity, they give up and move on, and I breathe a sigh of profound relief.

The next morning the boys are rewarded with a sniff-fest around camp.  I give thanks that this had a happy ending, and there were no escaping chiweenies to become a coyote’s next meal.

The next night, windows in the “keep that Charles Barkly inside” position, side door curtains adjusted to keep chiweenies from sticking their heads out, but let air in, and the back doors resting against each other with a tarp over that to allow just a bit of air in we settle down for the night. All this done prior to lying down to read lest I unintentionally fall asleep.

The wind kicks up.  The wind gets stronger.  The wind blows the tarps off and the windshield cover goes flying. Well, at least the coyotes won’t be skulking around tonight.

I proceed to get out and rescue it all ending up with the front of the van packed with all the outside stuff:  tarps, windshield cover, my solar oven full of drying broccoli, half of my space blanket that was on the side of the van providing shade.  I say half because the other half has been torn off and blown to who-knows-where. I’ll look tomorrow.

The wind proceeds to howl all night and finally abates mid-morning.  The boys and I take a walk to gather up the things flung here and there. We are fortunate to find a missing window shade and the torn off half of the space blanket.  Now it’s time to dust and sweep and try to rid our vome of the grit and dust. My eyelashes are gritty and I find a few grains of sand irritating my belly button—sands gets everywhere when a wind storm blows through.

The next night we are dazzled with this gorgeous sunset.


Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs Travel! Hugs, Shawna



Joshua Tree N. P.

January 31st, late morning, we say goodbye to the Salton Sea and head toward Joshua Tree National Park.  A stop in Mecca, California for a bit of gas and a bite to eat, then it’s onward on Box Canyon Road.  The scenery is marvelous if you like rock formations (and we do!) and if we could have found a shady spot to camp sans sand we would have spent a night here.  It appeared all spots with a firm foundation were taken so we motored on.

Arriving at the park entrance rather late in the day we camp for the night just outside the south park entrance on BLM land; boondocking.

Joshua Tree NP Sign

Joshua Tree National Park is huge, and half of it is a vast expanse of creosote covered valley with the desert’s bald mountains in the distance. This is desert tortoise territory and it’s heart warming to know they are safe out here to live out their long lives. You can read about the desert tortoise HERE. Oh how I would love to see one!!

Spotted at the Cottonwood trail head near the park entrance is a phainopepla, a small black bird that looks like a tiny black version of a mountain jay, but in fact is part of the waxwing family.Phainopepla

Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails so I wait for Jan to take a short hike back into the palm tree area and was rewarded with a glimpse of this small bird, and enjoy the scenery here at Cottonwood Springs. Box C Rd

Miles and miles into the park we come to the cholla garden and a small patch of ocotillo.

I would guess it’s about 30-35 miles into the park before we begin to see the Joshua trees .  They are so unique and absolutely beautiful.  Now it’s “miles and miles ” of  these beautiful trees and we begin to get into the “big rocks”, too.


We make a quick potty stop at what will be our last stop in the park. As we are pulling out of our parking space and I am in the process of changing from reverse to drive when Charlie begins to bark his head off.  I glance in the mirror to see a guy pulling out of his parking spot. He’s going to ram us, and I honk the horn!  He abruptly stops thank goodness, and we get the heck out of his way.  Thank you Charles Barkly for saving us from being T-boned in the parking lot!  That little boy does NOT like anyone near our home, and today he proves he is serious about his job!

Charlie on PatrolAs all things do, we come to the end —the  north entrance and our exit— of the park. Its been a long, day, but so worth it. The Chiweenie Brothers might not think that, but I certainly do.   Tired and hungry, it’s time to find a spot to park for the night.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs. Hugs, Shawna




Corvina Beach

January 29, 2018, our noses pointing in a westerly direction, we slowly make our way along Hwy 111 to our next destination on the Salton Sea, Corvina Beach.  The water sparkles like diamonds where the morning sun hits it, and there is no where to pull over.

We come to a little oasis along the shore that I thought might be a good place to spend an hour or two amongst the palm trees, but once on the dirt road leading down to the water I spot a no trespassing sign. Private property. Keep out.

DSC_0003I turn around and continue on.

The Salton Sea, largest lake in California, used to be a busy vacation spot. Time has changed all that. The “sea” is slowly decreasing in size,, increasing in pollution, and huge fish kills happen every year.  This body of water is 50% saltier than our oceans! If you care to read of how the Salton Sea came to be, the problems, and the hopes for it you can read this assessment about it Here. While some saltwater species of fish do live in this toxic soup they have huge die-offs each year.

The beach is composed not of sand but of inches deep crushed barnacle shells and dried, petrified fish bones and scales.  It would be brutal to walk on barefoot, but surprisingly it doesn’t bother The Chiweenie Brothers’ paws.

I set up camp and wait for Jan to arrive. I cover the windshield and all the windows on the sunny side of the van  which will help keep us a bit cooler. There is also a wonderful cool breeze coming off the water.  Seagulls are checking out the shore for any bits of food that they might find.

We take walks, but mostly just enjoy the view and the birds. I reflect on the predicament this body of water is in, but have hope that something can and will be done to save it. At this time of the year there is no smell, but in high summer the stench of dying fish can knock you off your feet I am told.

I enjoy our first night’s sunset. DSC_0007

Our second evening stuns with this sunset.  DSC_0052

The next morning, having been awake since 4:00 trying to get a shot of the super blue moon eclipse and failing, I get enough light to catch the setting moon reflecting on the water.  And then Mr. Gull strutting his stuff looking for an easy meal.   The air is cool and refreshing and it’s going to be a stellar day!



Thanks for stopping by.  Hugs, Shawna

CUURRENT READ: Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Water:  Yes                Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms: Vault     Electricity: No
Tables: Yes                Shower: Yes, cold water
Fire Pit:  Yes              BBQ: No
# of Sites:  About 12 Fee: $10 per night, $8 with senior discount
Other:  Nice view of the water.  Near railroad tracks, but honestly the sound is somehow dampened and there are no whistles as the trains pass by.  I didn’t find the trains a bother.



Hi Jolly

From Yuma we traveled 95 north to Quartzsite, “Q” to the locals and most snowbirds, and spent a few nights in the BLM boondocking area called Hi Jolly. I did errands from there: picked up mail, bought supplies, took the boys to the dog park.  Little stinkers can sure figure out where we are headed and they begin play inside the van in prep for the park.  You know, get those muscle warmed up!

Dogs Playing in Van

Once we got all the necessary things taken care of and put in a few days of doing nothing but catching up on rest–not the Chiweenie Brothers, they are always ready to rumble, but I needed it–we went out exploring a bit, taking in some of the sights and places we didn’t get to last year.  Between those excursions and the things I needed to get done for Christmas and the December birthdays for family back in Cali, the month flew by.  And here it is 2018!  Let’s make it a happy one!

The best place to start with sharing our exploration in Q is with where it all started, and with the man who’s nickname lives on in this little town in the Sonoran Desert.  

According to the Quartzsite Visitor’s Guide, the Hi Jolly Pioneer Cemetery is the most visited location in Q. It centers around the man, Hi Jolly, and some camels. Here’s what transpired to give Q some of its unique personality.  It all started with a camel driver.

It began in 1855 when Jefferson Davis, secretary of war and later president of the Confederacy, was sold on the  idea of importing camels to use building the wagon road through the Southwest.  They needed men who spoke camel, and the famed camel driver, Philip Tedro, a Greek born in Syria was contacted. Tedro had made a pilgrimage to Mecca, converted to Islam and his first name became Hadji Ali.

Tedro and another camel driver, Yiorgos Caralambo–he became known as Greek George–were hired to teach the soldiers how to deal with the camels. The soldiers couldn’t pronounce Hadji Ali and he became known as Hi Jolly.

Camels can carry two to three times as much as a mule and can go without water much longer than mules and horses, and they were a great success.

Then the Civil War started, and Jefferson Davis changed jobs; without his support the project was abandoned. Some camels were sold, others had escaped out into the desert.

Hi Jolly bought a couple of them and for two years ran a freight route between the Colorado River and the mining towns in eastern Arizona.

Hi Jolly became a citizen of the United States in 1880, married Gertrudis Serna of Tucson, and when he retired moved to Quartzsite and prospected around the region until he died in 1902. 

The escaped camels thrived for a while, but eventually they died out. However, as late as the 1930s and ’40s  unsubstantiated reports were made of seeing camels in the wild.  One sighting in particular, the story goes, was of the Red Camel, spotted with a headless human skeleton on its back …  

You can visit the cemetery with it’s monument tribute to the camel driver, Hi Jolly, at the Hi Jolly Pioneer Cemetery on the west side of town.  

Hi Jolly overview of Cemetery

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!  Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Hugs, Shawna