Covid-19 and Home Sweet Home

May 2020 for the months of February to May. I am pretty sure somewhere along the line during the trip from AZ to CA and back to say goodbye to my sister I contracted Covid-19. I gassed up 10 different times and there were a lot of people, mostly from out-of-state by the amount of traffic heading south at the end of the day, in the Mammoth Lakes area for the skiing and getting fuel for the return trip.  Or …

Perhaps my sister had it. When I received a copy of her death certificate she had listed what was not a surprise, COPD for “years”. The other three: Acute chronic respiratory failure, bilateral pulmonary emboli (blood clots in her lungs), and unspecified pneumonia, all listed as “days”.  Hmmm.  Just a thought that crossed my mind.  I was at her side holding her hand, stroking her cheek or forehead, leaning over to talk to her for the majority of the ten days I was there.   Anyway, I was sick for three weeks and it seemed like a hybrid of a cold and the flu. Grateful I had gotten back home before it really hit me.

Plans to use up the last months of my New Mexico State Parks pass didn’t come to fruition because of Covid-19 and The Chiweenie Brothers and I settled in on our little piece of Arizona. Once feeling better I got busy with installing snake fencing along the chain link fence on the north side.  Shade cloth was put up along the east side of our cool cover, a cement block wall was put up between the casita and the laundry shed. It works as a chiweenie barrier to keep them in the back and unable to see anyone who happens to pass by, AND it’s snake proof. I planted some rescued cacti out in the front, and  I also had to dig up most of the succulents I planted in the back last fall as the 112 degree heat (triple digits for two weeks beginning in late APRIL!!) was frying them.  Thankfully the evaporative cooler works really well; as long as it’s below about 105 degrees.  Then it is just okay, but certainly better than not having one!

Being an introvert and a homebody the stay-at-home order from Governor Ducey didn’t bother me a bit until I couldn’t get outside. Then I did get a little stir crazy.   For a while it was even too hot/windy in the early mornings to even enjoy my coffee under the patio umbrella. Like the crazy weather a lot of you are having, it has been bouncing back and forth.  Last week we got back down into the 90s, then two days of 80s, and now the temps will begin marching toward triple digits again.

Nothing prettier than cactus flowers

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.  We’re mostly staying put for the summer so I can keep the new transplants watered, but hopefully we can take a couple of short trips. I will definitely be researching places to go for next year, and I may publish a few destinations we are thinking about. Next month I  have an interesting person post to share. Hugs, Shawna

Lots of books were read over the months of winter and during the stay-at-home order.

Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey. Fictional novel inspired by a true event. ****

In an Instatnt by Suzanne Redfearn. ***** five stars.  Written from an interesting perspective, this book tells the story of a horrific accident and its aftermath; how each person’s character is revealed as they make life altering decisions during their struggle for survival.

Thief River Falls by Brian Freeman.  I thought this book was just okay (THIS wouldn’t happen! I kept saying to myself.  How stupid) because of an implausible story line until there very end when the story line is explained.  *****

The Other Wife. Another ***** five star read. Well written with lots of surprises.

The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards. **** Well written thriller that bounces back and forth between 1999 and 2015 with, of course, a surprise ending.  Only four star simply because, I think, it wasn’t quite as good as the others I have read so far this year.

The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent, ****. Full of surprises and a happy ending.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl, A MUST READ!). A who-done-it murder mystery about a dysfunctional family with a surprise ending.  Four stars.

Rain Will Come by Thomas Holgate, ****.  Fast-paced thriller abiut a serial killer, but with a twist. Not for the squeamish although it isn’t TOO bad.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rowls.  Re-read this classic which I both love and hate.

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich.  Another light-hearted Stephanie Plum read.  Grandma Mazur marries into the mob!

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal, ****. Nice coming-of-age story. A nice, but hard to believe, love story. A nice read about forgiveness.

And last-but-not-least Girl Next Door by Willow Rose.  *** three stars.  I found this one just okay.  When the author named a male cat Misty I was instantly put off. The story line about a serial killer and woman who leaves an abusive relationship ending up in the same town with her high school sweetheart who is a detective that speaks like a woman would speak put me off.  Then the cat is miraculously described as a female cat toward the end.  Who edited this???

Holbrook AZ

September 4th. I packed up last night and we’re ready to roll. It’s a lovely morning; a clear sky and air warm enough to make one understand it will heat up fast today. I give The Chiweenie Brothers their breakfast and while they eat I get dressed. A quick walk for their morning business, and we’re on our way. Goodbye Bluewater. We’ll be back!

Once we are back at I-40 we cross the freeway and catch the on ramp heading west, Gallup NM our destination. It’s only about 30 miles away.

I need to find the library, the post office, and a branch of my bank. Gallup is an old town, and to my dismay all the places I need to be are in the old part of town which was built on uneven terrain. We go up and we go down, circle the library a few times and still cannot find a place to park.

We go up and we go down searching for the bank. Geez, one could easily lose a mirror on these narrow streets! Once I locate it I see a couple of parking spots, but the lot is TINY. I pull in and jockey MissAdventure around, finally getting her parked. Being careful not to hit the car next to me with the door I squeeze out and head for the bank’s doors. They aren’t quite open yet. I get in the line waiting.

In just a few minutes the doors are unlocked. In I go and get my business taken care of, trot back out to the van, and decide once I get out of this parking lot that I will forego the post office and will not even try for the library again. We’re outta here.

Back on I-40 we say goodbye to New Mexico and enter Arizona where we stop in Holbrook and 2DogsTravel get a romp at the town’s lovely dog park.

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Several large hunks of petrified wood line the roadway leading into the town of Holbrook.

The Chiweenie Brothers have a great time at this lovely park.


Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

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El Malpais National Monument

August  22, 2019.  There is not a single soul here except The Chiweenie Brothers and me. I park MissAdventure get The Boys leashed and we head out to walk the trail as far out as we can get before this lovely clear blue cloudless day begins to heat up.

 

DSC_0016 (1)Part of the trail at El Malpais

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The lava caves remind me of the areas around Burney CA in Shasta County and Modoc County.  In an effort to keep white nose-syndrome that affects bats from spreading or being introduced into the caves—which are accessible if one wants to enter them—there is a shoe cleaning station at the beginning of the trail.

There are many caves in this area, and The Chiweenie Brothers and I enjoy our early morning walk although we didn’t make the full loop.  I’d say we walked two miles in before it started heating up to a point where I was feeling decidely uncomfortable and we forego seeing the crater that is farther out.

Interesting area to explore!  It’s early enough that we can travel on Hwy 53 to El Morro.  See you there!  Hugs, Shawna

 

Morphy Lake, Mora NM, Coyote Creek

July 14-16th, 2019, Early Sunday morning after breakfast for the Boys and a shower for me, we drive toward Morphy Lake State Park. No camping here, but it’s on our way to Coyote Creek State Park.  It’s only 40 minutes north of our current camp.

An Internet search says Morphy will be closed through Spring of 2019, but once we arrive to the turn off we’re met with this sign. CLOSED

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We just keep rolling along this country road under a brilliant blue sky enjoying the scenery:  Old churches, mountain vistas, horses in fields, and horses or porches.

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As we gain the tiny town of Mora I stop to photograph this old grist mill.

And this old building as we head on north . . .

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We eventually find Coyote Creek State Park and pull in searching for a spot to land for a few days.  There are none available, and I am sorely disappointed as this is a beautiful little park along Coyote Creek and I would have loved spending time here.

We pull back out onto that country road and head north again.  We haven’t gone but a about four miles is my guess and the road narrows.  I mean as in MAYBE a lane a half wide.  God forbid we meet a big ol’ diesel pusher here!  Fortunately we do not, but the storm clouds have gathered and it begins to rain and thunder rolls.

As we creep along the ridge of this paved goat path I see a bolt of lightning to the left and a half beat later the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard.  I am pretty sure I screamed. The Chiweenie Brothers, used to thunderstorms by now, but we’re back to square one after this, are in my lap. “It’s okay, guys, we’ll only hear the thunder AFTER the lignting has struck.  We lived to tell the tale, so calm down,” I tell them.  Thankfully that narrow strip of what they claim to be roadway is only three miles in length.

Thanks for reading our blog!  Hugs, Shawna

 

 

 

Storrie Lake State Park

July 10-13, 2019 Leaving Las Vegas we motor the short three miles to Storrie Lake State Park.  It’s a smallish park that gets lots of use from locals who love water sports from fishing to boating, and everything in between

There isn’t much shade for use by us primitive campers, but we check out several places before settling on one of three shade shelters in a dirt turnout next to the main road.  It turns out to be a spot used by all those parked by the lake that do not want to use the paved road because it has speed bumps.  Busy and dusty, we settle in anyway, because I was fortunate enough to get the one shelter that is on the lake side and has a small shade tree.

DSC_0023The Boys and I enjoy long, leisurely morning and evening walks and in between The Chiweenie Brothers take turns trying to dig out a squirrel.  They were unsuccessful, but had a terrific time in the attempt.

The afternoon breeze keeps things from getting too unbearable.  Without the adobe shade shelter we wouldn’t have been able to stay.DSC_0020

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Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.  Historical novel based on the life of Mary Anning, first woman to be acknowledged as a fossilist and dubbed “The Greatest fossilist the world ever knew. The British Journal for the History of Science, 1995

Our Desert Oasis and Zoo Nebraska

Wow, the weather is really warming up. It is time to button up our little oasis in the desert and head out to somewhere cooler. Little oasis in the desert? What’s this? Welllll. Let me explain.

This past winter was a bit of an eye-opener for me. The wet, the cold (comparatively speaking to the rest of the country), the wind. The boys and I spent a lot of time inside the van. I love to read, but there is only so much one can do before it becomes reading-by-rote and nothing sticks! When I started having to re-read the previous chapter to remember what went before I realized that another winter like this past one would not be good for my mental health, not to mention two rambunctious wild wiener dogs that were mad for exercise.
After much thought and knowing there weren’t too many places that would be warmer than right here in Q, I made the decision to buy a lot and have a permanent place to roost during the winter months.

DSC_0082Charlie.Fries.Listen Fries!

This little oasis in the middle of “civilization” will also allow me to have my crafting stuff and my genealogy paperwork at hand. Perfect time to work on the family history! I am healthier and happier with some kind of project in the works and having a permanent spot to light while waiting for winter to run its course is the answer to several concerns.

Next will be a trip back to Cali to haul my stuff out of storage and get it and my Honda back to AZ where it will all be stashed away until our return in late fall. We are NOT giving up our travels, just facing the reality that there is no place better than  in right here in Quartzsite to spend the winter months. This decision will, no doubt, insure that another winter like the last one is not going to happen. Ha!

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna and The Chiweenie Brothers

CURRENT READ: Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream by Carson Vaughn
Note: While on my way back south from South Dakota after establishing my residency almost two years ago I dropped down into the northeastern part of Nebraska and along the road was a hand painted wooden sign on which was written Zoo Nebraska. I thought it odd. There was no other signage to indicate there was an actual zoo nearby and we traveled on. That sign, as you’ve surely figured out, was for the zoo in the above mentioned book.

Charlie’s Fav is Out and About

It is early morning, and a gorgeous spring day in the Sonoran Desert. The weather is warming up, and the time is right for another trip out along the Bouse Cutoff road to hunt for blooming cacti. I repeat, surely they must be in bloom by now. Nope, the cholla show new growth, but no blooms. Hmmm. Going to have to read up on this prickly situation.
I walk around and enjoy the cool morning air keeping an out for snakes. The rattlers are out, and I certainly do not want to get bit nor do I want The Chiweenie Brothers to tangle with one of these venomous serpents.
The lizards are also out. Charlie is loving this!

DSC_0084Alligator Lizard 2

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As the morning grows warmer we head back to Q. It is time to begin thinking about where we will spend the hot summer months coming up.  I have a few destinations in mind, but haven’t decided which it will be.

Thanks for reading our blog!  Hugs, Shawna

 

The Desert Turns Green

Quartzsite, Arizona, our winter refuge, is cool with lots of moisture; it is turning green.  Lush, spring grasses and plants put on a show that is beautiful in its simplicity.  One would not even notice if you hadn’t spent several winters here, or at least experienced a few of the winter months at some point.  Usually the greening of the desert is so brief it’s hard to imagine it even happens.  This year it happens.

DSC_0132Green Desert Clouds, and Buttermilk Clouds
A Buttermilk Sky

DSC_0139The Desert is Turning Green, Plant with Rock

The spring flowers put on a colorful show and all of it with the “purple mountain majesty and the brilliant blue sky depending on the hour, is breathtaking.

The middle of February brings unusual cold, even frosty temps, lots of cold wind and some rain.  Many hours spent inside reading, planning, writing.

The boys need a little walk a couple of times a day and I bundle up and take them out.  It’s cold enough that my little Fries doesn’t mind at all when we head back to the van.

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They play, nap in the sun if it has made an appearance, and just generally go with flow.  On Occasion there’s a row, but for the most part they get along splendidly.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel! Hugs, Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Mary, Queen of Scots