Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rockslides and Zunis and Cactus Honey

And, so we begin to head south, then east for a few days. The Pacific Ocean is now to our right, and the waves crashing up on the shore are so powerful and incredible that I have trouble keeping the van between the lines. Eventually, I stopped and got out and snapped pictures until Time forced me back inside the vehicle.

I even saw a bicycler when I stopped. This one is for YOU, Rob!!

I drove on thru some magnificent hills and mountains. Okay, so it is Not Safe to snap and drive, but I had to have some shots of this beauty. Here it is to share with all yall.

It wasn't long until I came to the Orange Groves and the Strawberry Fields. LOOK on these trees! You'll see oranges!!!

Well, maybe I need to magnify these just a little...But trust me, they are laden. Look at the mountains, bare and desert-like in the background.

I stopped at a little roadside stand and bought some fresh strawberries. They are as big as my fist, some of them, and as sweet as sugar. I had several little containers of Greek yoghurt, and together, they make a fine evening meal!

This place also had some Cactus Honey for sale. I'd never even heard of that, and so purchased a jar for Rob. He eats honey on his oatmeal every morning. Maybe he'll share it with me.  Well, I gave the man (who spoke only Spanish) my money for the sweet stuff, then asked where the Ladies' Room was....He looked at me curiously, and I then asked, "donde esta el bano?"  It was a portapotty, but, certainly better than the ice cream bucket I have in the van. So I went inside, put my honey on top of the toilet paper holder, emptied my bladder, and headed on down the road.

I got about a mile down the road when I realized that Dang! I'd forgotten Rob's Cactus Honey back at the portajohn....So, I made a u-turn and sped back to retrieve this treasure. Meanwhile my Garmin was going Nutz...."Recal----CUE----lating"

I pulled back in to the fruitstand, and there was a "honey wagon" sucking out the contents of the portapotty...and my honey jar was no longer on top of the toilet paper holder. Dam! Ten dollars of honey gone and gone....But wait! here comes the little Mexican guy running out of the stand with my jar! Sputtering several things in Spanish that I did not understand, but I Did understand that he knew it was mine and I'd left it in the john.....Muchas Gracias, I told him, and hopped back in my van.

We spent the night in Williams, Arizona on Monday. It is very near the Grand Canyon. Got a motel, very clean and very quaint on the Route66 strip down the center of town. This stretch of 66 has one-way sections going east and one-way sections going west for about 20 blocks or so. And every block is filled with very old buildings, still in operation, still feeding travellers, still lodging them for the night. Our motel was built in the 60's but updated a bit and equipped with refrigerator, microwave, and (notsofast) wifi. We were ALL very glad to stop for the night.

I ran the boyz a bowl of water and placed it under the bathroom sink. They drank heartily, and I laid out my clothes for the next day, and set up my computer on the desktop. I went to wash my hands, and noticed that the caulking on the sink was coming loose from the wall, then.....before my very eyes, the whole dang sink just tumbled and slid down to the slow motion.....crushing the waterbowl beneath it and ripping the drain from the wall.

I let the boyz finish their dinner of chicken thighs, then went down to the front desk and told them what happened, and assured them that I had not even touched the sink except to run a bowl of water.

They were willing to find me another room, but I told them I wanted to drive out to a bead shop I'd seen on the strip, and that I'd take the dogs while they tried to fix everything.

Sure enough, when I returned, the sink was back on the wall, caulked again and ready. But just to make sure it did not crush a Collie (or my bare feet!), I stuck the luggage rack under it, and closed the door to the dawgs.

Here's the finished plumbing project. Sorry I didn't think to get a "before" picture....It was sure a mess!

I slept till nearly 7:30 this morning, and then took the boyz for a walk. I went to a local resturant that advertised "Greek breakfast," for only $3.99.  The waitress was very thin and very old and very kind and the coffee was passable. But the Greek breakfast was in name only......I had French toast and 2 eggs. Later, I asked the waitress to snap my picture. Travelling alone (well, without Human companions), it is difficult to get photos of oneself along the journey. 

Then the owner of the resturant came over, and we had a pleasant visit. He IS, in fact Greek, and the resturant does serve Greek Gyros for lunch and supper. He gave me a good recipe for the "sauce" that they put on their gyros....yoghurt, cucumbers (w/the water squeezed out), sour cream, and lots of garlic.

His name is Gregory Paulos. Here's his picture.

I found the bead shop open, and bought strands of moonstones, garnets, and amethyst. Walked the dogs again, and headed out of Williams.

Back on I-40, I come upon a huge traffic jam.  There'd been a wreck up ahead, and the cars and trucks were backed up for miles, inching along, sometimes stopped altogether. Made me think that it was a Good Thang that I had "lingered" over breakfast....

Even further down the road, almost at the New Mexico border, there was a rockslide.  This time, traffic on I-40 was at at Total Standstill. I mean, turn your engine off, take yer dogs out for a potty break, fix yerself some yoghurt and Cheerios......

I studied the map, and decided to get off at the next exit, head south, then east, then back north thru the Zuni Reservation. It took FORever, but the scenery was out of this world! INcredible! 

The Zuni, I later learned, are a small tribe that keep pretty much to themselves. Their reservation is located just south of Gallup, and their main source of income used to be corn, but that has been replaced with arts and crafts that they create, among them being small carvings of animals and beautiful, signature "Zuni" jewelry. I wish now that I had stopped at one of the "trading posts" and bought something....But I felt REEEEALLy out of place there, and opted to stay in the car. I was totally in the middle of Nowhere....

It was late when I got into Santa Rosa. I think Rob was beginning to get a bit worried, maybe even Agitated at me for driving so late. The motels were Full to the brim---snowbirds flying back to their northern homes---and also Easter and Spring Break.  I knew that I did Not want to stay at the same motel I'd stayed in last week, and opted for another "Route66" genre, the La Loma.  Looked nice, had wifi, accepted pets, and only $35.  But when I asked to see the room first, he refused and told me I should "trust" him because he wasn't a (expletive deleted) person from India, but rather a true American. I still asked to see the room first, and he said if I didn't trust him, he would not trust me.  TRUST me, ladies and gentlemen....I have found that one should ALWAYS see the room before one commits to a I am at the Motel 6.  And it's late.  I'm coming up onto Central Time Zone tomorrow.....Need to get in bed. HOME tomorrow!!!!

More from Santa Barbara....and Dear Barbara.....

Here's a few more shots from Santa Barbara. Last night's motel's wifi just could not Cope with downloading these pictures.

These guys went Wild!!!

A little bit of managing the Whippersnapper when he doesn't come back Directly to Mom....

I Love this. It's not even "posed." He just stood there, looking...

THIS scene I shall keep in my heart forever......

And also this one....

Leave your mark on the world, whereever, whenever.....

Picking lemons for ME! In the early morning light....

Saying goodbye to James.....

After I drove away, I kept thinking that I had "forgotten" something.  Couldn't put my brain on top of it----I took "inventory" in my mind, and decided I'd packed up everything and did not, in fact, forget some of my stuff.  It was then that I realized I had actually left a piece of my heart there.....She has taught me so much, and joyously affirmed my acquired knowledge.  I am better because of her......

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Going Home......Going Home.......

I found my camera. It was in the outside pocket of my purse. I loaded the van on Saturday night, and Sunday morning said goodbye to Brenda over a cup of Starbucks. We will see each other in less than 2 months when Camp rolls around. Still, it is difficult to part ways, and I leave hurriedly.

Our next leg of the trip is northwards to Santa Barbara and my friend and animal communicator Barbara Janelle (see Barbara comes to Camp each year, and teaches several classes on Tellington Touch and Interspecies Communication. Being in her presence is a great gift, and she was quite generous in inviting me and the boyz up to her place after the stressful week at the Collie Nationals.

Once again, I found myself driving in L.A. traffic, and once again I was able to do it without even a glitch! L.A. drivers (with the exception of various little sports cars who like to dart in and out) are really very polite and knowledgeable. They do not tailgate, leaving a very comfortable distance between each vehicle, and they actually drive the speed limit.

It took me about 2 hours to get to S.Barbara. Do you KNOW the route I took?!!! Highway 101. If I had gone past the guardrail, I woulda gotten WET!!! The Pacific Ocean is just Right There!

I arrived at Barbara’s around 1 pm. She met me at the door with a glass of fresh lemonade, and had crackers and cheese and olives ready to set out on the patio. Her yard was ablaze with flowers of all colors and textures, and then THERE, right in the middle of one of her flowerbeds was a dwarf lemon tree laden to the ground with fruit! That’s where the lemonade had come from! There were oranges on another tree, and apricots on another.

The boyz were Thrilled to be out of the van, and were welcomed into her yard. They knew the rules about flowerbeds and pretty well stayed on the paths and the lawn grass. Boy, were they glad to be able to run without a leash for a little while!

We bunked in a pretty little room right off the back patio. It even had its own entrance door onto the patio, and I set up the crates right beside it. Later that evening I moved them inside as per Barbara’s advice….It seems that there are some wild critters that come out of the Santa Barbara mountains at night and like to prowl their yard, so, just to make sure no one angers a skunk or a coyote…..

That's "my" door on the left.

Dear Husband, Don, prepared a table of snacks for us out on the back patio. It is a beautiful "scene" in the shady corner of the yard.
Barbara told me that there was a wonderful "dog beach" not too far from her house, and asked me if the boyz and I would like to go romp before the sun went down. We loaded up the dogs in my van and took off for the Pacific Ocean!
Of course, Barbara took James....She's the Founder of his Fan Club.....
I wish I had gotten a picture of Prosper when he first saw the ocean waves! He literally lept UPward in surprise!

Of course, after he watched everything a bit, he was More than willing to run and cavort.

And, it's never an issue to James....

There were dogs of all breeds and varieties. ALL were quite friendly, and most were quite busy chasing tennis balls or each other.

And, then, of course, James smoozes every willing human he can smooze. He smoozed a LOT this day....He will NOT allow folks to ignore him....

Prosper liked meeting dogs and folks, but OH! He did so love to RUNNNN!!! I have seveal pictures like this:

And there were several visits out to the rocks...but they are Slippery! Watch out!!!

There are Lots more pictures to share, but I think that this motel's internet is kinda slow, and bogs down a bit. So, for now, I will post this,go pee the dawgs, and get back on the road. Tonight I stayed in Williams, AZ, only about 1200 miles from home. In a quaint (but clean! And they have Wifi) little motel built in the 60's, here on old Route66.   Rob is in Dallas. Baden is in Little Rock. It will be good to get everyone back together again by the end of the week.

The hotel clerk told me there would be a shoot-out by the old train station behind this motel at 9 o'clock this morning, so I'm gonna go ck that out as well as a bead shop I saw on Main Street.