THE DESERT IS HEATING UP

Featured

Recently, a bunch of people emailed me a link to an article about camping in an RV during this pandemic. A few folks mentioned that they can’t imagine life with a mate in a 15 x 7 foot living space. Terry and I keep congratulating ourselves that we’re mostly having a good time. It’s true that there isn’t much space to maneuver, and patience is required, but we have our routines, and as long as he keeps his stuff in his area and I let him jam the frig with beer (really two bottles!) we are good.

The Joshua tree is actually a succulent that grows only in the Mojave Desert. It completely relies on the female pronuba moth for survival. The moth has specialized organs to help collect and distribute the Joshua tree’s pollen. The female moth lays its eggs in the Joshua tree’s flowers and the hatched larvae eat the seeds.


Joshua trees only flower in years when there is enough rain. This closeup of a Joshua tree flower as well as the photo above were taken last year during what was referred to as the “Super Bloom.” This year we have not seen any flowers on the Joshua trees. The bird is a black-throated sparrow,

To be honest, life in a small trailer does have some stressful moments. Recently, in the middle of the night, I had the most traumatic experience of my RV’ing life when I stepped into four inches of water in our bathroom. The cold water faucet was on — and I realized with horror that water had been running for hours while we slept. However, the rest of the trailer was dry — somehow, after filling the bathroom cubicle, the water was channeled outside, even though, to our knowledge, there is no emergency valve in the bathroom or on our gray tank. When we emailed them, even the trailer manufacturer couldn’t explain why the trailer didn’t flood. And we won’t find out until physical distancing lets up and we can let an RV mechanic into our trailer.

I had PTSD for days afterward, thinking of the damage that could have been done, as well as the wasted water. Needless to say we are paying close attention to our faucets.

The road runners continue to amuse. A few days ago our daughter was serving dinner, when our grandson came running to tell us that two road runners were copulating — and sure enough that was the case. Sadly, Terry didn’t have his camera so you’ll just have to imagine the scene.There has been other wildlife, however. One day a swarm of bees landed in the tree in our daughter’s backyard.

They assumed the shape of a cone.

According to my sources (my son-in-law and daughter) when a hive gets to a certain size, half of them leave. We don’t know where they came from or where they were going, but for some reason they chose our tree for resting, and then, an hour later, flew off together — every single one. We keep wondering how they communicated.
While we’re on the topic of bees, Terry saw this one while he was walking in the neighborhood,
This Red Racer surprised me when I was walking to the trash can, but it slithered quickly away. A few minutes later Terry walked out of the driveway into the street and the Red Racer appeared in front of him. Red Racers can grow to six feet and are the fastest snakes in the desert — they can slither 7 mph. Stay away from them — they’re not poisonous but their bite can tear your flesh. http://digital-desert.com/wildlife/red-racer.html

We think this is a yellow backed spiny lizard. We saw it crawling up the wall behind the freezer our daughter keeps on her patio. Earlier, a road runner had been on top of the freezer. He may have been hunting this lizard.
Desert Iguana

It’s been so hot lately that we’ve stayed close to home. When we leave our daughter’s house we walk past a bunch of barking dogs — and come to acres and acres of open space.
This datura plant also grows back east.
Last fall Terry found a datura plant on the Rutgers campus — The datura is adaptable and can grow where other plants don’t. The flowers are hallucinogenic, but it’s reportedly not an enjoyable experience to get high from them. So unenjoyable that the feds haven’t bothered to outlaw the datura.

The big excitement this week was the discovery of a black widow spider spinning a web on the patio. Our son-in-law got a “Bugzooka,” captured her and released her a distance from the house. Black widows have a scary reputation and you truly don’t want to get bitten — it is said that their venom is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s — but the spiders are not aggressive — National Geographic reports they only bite in self defense –like when a human sits on them. Most people recover from a black widow spider bite — in the U.S. no one has died since 1983. It is the mate of a black widow who is in the most danger — the female black widow tends to kill and eat her partner after mating.

Here you can see the hourglass on her abdomen

She isn’t very large
Freedom

A lenticular cloud. They form downwind when moist air rises over a mountain. And here, that mountain is San Gorgonio (11,500 ft.), about 40 miles away. These clouds can stay motionless for hours.
This is what it looked like a half hour later.

In a couple of weeks we will be heading toward Vashon Island. Until then, Terry joins me in wishing you all good health.

With Love,
Ruth

Some clarification

Featured

Terry and I left New Jersey before social distancing was a familiar term. People were going about their business as usual — buying toilet paper, attending religious services, dancing at weddings, looking forward to baseball’s opening day. The day after we left, the person who lives in the White House told Sean Hannity, “It’s very mild.” On March 7, he said “I’m not concerned at all.” On March 10 he said, “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” By the time the country was starting to be on lockdown, we were halfway to California and so we proceeded with our trip.

April 21, 2020 The Journey Continues, Joshua Tree, Ca.

The big excitement in trailer parks is watching gigantic trailers — like this one our daughter owns — maneuver around corners into tight spaces. We can fit almost anywhere, and our trailer is easy to pull, but there is an obvious trade off — no fake fireplace, no two door frig, no garage for four-wheelers and one of us has to climb over the other to get out of our bed. But we manage 🙂

In late February, when I began packing for a trip that would take us through many weather changes, I heard the words of my late mother, Lillian,

“You’re not going to the ends of the earth,” she intoned. “You can always buy anything you need.”

Bear in mind that she rarely took her own advice. Nevertheless, I heeded her words and packed the absolute minimum amount of clothes and just enough food to last for a few weeks. As Lillian used to point out,

“There are stores all over America.”

Oh, Mom, if you only knew.

Like people all over the world, we are obsessed with Covid 19, but the truth is that Terry and I have nothing serious to complain about. Not only are we — knock on wood — healthy, but we don’t have to worry about food, we have savings, and we are with family.

However, we are aware that in order for us to be comfortable, millions of workers are literally putting their lives on the line. This virus is vividly demonstrating the economic divide that has always been with us.

When we walk in the Mojave Desert Land Trust we see very few people. Everyone keeps a wide berth, so there is no need for masking. However, I’d forgotten my brimmed hat and was afraid of getting my nose sunburned again. No one looked at me askance, but just imagine if I’d appeared in public like this a couple of months ago!

Joshua Tree National Park is closed — barriers everywhere and rangers enforcing the “Keep Out” signs — but people who live here know where there is open space to hike.

When we entered Coyote Hole it seemed so stark —

And then we climbed up and up, and we began to see the flowers all around us.

Last year at this time there was a Super Bloom in Joshua Tree which was due to an inordinate amount of rainfall the previous winter. People said they hadn’t seen anything like it in two decades. This year there were several days of rain in late March, but it came too late to boost this spring’s number of flowers. Nevertheless, we see flowers everywhere when we pay attention.

Flying Cholla — fascinating to look at but so mean — We skirt a wide path around these bushes because it seems to us that the thorns really do fly.
Desert Pincushion
Bluebells — water collects in the crevices of the rocks — allowing the flowers to grow

Beavertail
These flowers would make a lovely ground cover in our daughter’s backyard of sand and scrub except for one thing — as they grow, they produce sharp thorns. If you don’t dig them up in the early stages you end up with a carpet of needles.

This roadrunner visits us every day — Roadrunners are members of the cuckoo family

Roadrunners are actually ground birds that can run up to twenty miles an hour. Up until now the only roadrunner I ever heard of was in a Loony Tune cartoon. As kids, my sister and I would watch Wile E. Coyote chase and try to eat Roadrunner – and every week Roadrunner escaped. Recently, Terry noticed that the same roadrunner (at least Terry thinks it’s the same one) appears in our daughter’s yard at about the same time every day. It comes racing in, catches a lizard and races away.

Male roadrunners dangle food offerings such as lizards or snakes from their beaks to entice females. Terry has seen it carrying a lizard, but hasn’t yet been able to get a clear shot.


Fun Facts from the National Wildlife Federation (which is where I got all my facts): Roadrunners like to sunbathe and they often mate for life.
The crest puffs up when the roadrunner is trying to communicate with other roadrunners.

Even though we’ve done some exploring, the whole physical distancing thing keeps us near our trailer most of the time. However, this week, San Bernardino County is reopening county parks and golf courses and will start allowing other recreational activities — with the caveat that people must maintain physical distancing. On the one hand, it is a relief; on the other hand it is really an experiment to see whether the virus can continue to be contained. As other states begin to relax their lockdowns, our prayer is that the number of cases — and the number of deaths — continues to decrease.

Take Care and Be Well,
With Love,
RUTH

APRIL 4 2020 JOSHUA TREE, CA.

Hiking along the ledge, Catalina State Park, Arizona

When I last wrote we were in Las Cruces, New Mexico at an RV Park. Since then we have arrived in the town of Joshua Tree, California, and are parked in our daughter’s driveway.

Ideally our Escape 19 and Sara’s Momentum would be positioned closer together to give a true comparison of the difference in size.

During our time in Las Cruces we didn’t see a whole lot because state parks and national monuments were shut down. We did manage a couple of walks along the Rio Grande River, but while it was pleasant, it wasn’t the most scenic spot we’ve ever been. The best pictures Terry took were from our campground.

The Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM
The end of the rainbow. In my last post there was a picture of the full rainbow. Because we were so high up it felt like we could really see where the pot of gold was buried.
Here it is — The Rio Grande.

After nearly a week we drove to Catalina State Park in Tucson, Arizona, where we met up with Michael and Christa Lubatkin. Michael and I are friends from way back. We graduated from Spring Valley High School in New York, we both went to Albany State, and in our junior year — 1968-69 — we were part of a large group of Americans who studied at Hebrew U in Jerusalem. (What a year that was! — a topic for another time.) After college we both found ourselves in Boston. Distance and busy lives conspired so that we hadn’t seen each other in 30 years.

Christa and Michael were our tour guides at Catalina State Park. For 13 years they led walk/study tours all over Europe and Israel. In the daytime they hiked, and at night the groups studied with the Rabbi who accompanied them.

When we made our original plans, the covid 19 virus was not an issue, but by the time we reached Tucson, physical distancing was in full force. We debated a bit, but in the end we couldn’t let the opportunity for a reunion pass us by. Michael and Christa came to the campground, and we went on a wonderful hike, doing our best to not breathe in each others’ direction.

Mariposa Poppy
Desert Chicory
Mockingbird
Mockingbird leaving its perch

Hummingbird

We had planned to stay at Catalina State Park for only two nights, but the second evening we strolled through our campground and saw an amazing saguaro. Terry had to run back for his camera, and by the time he fetched it, the light was gone. So there was no choice but to stay another night. 🙂

Usually being a photographer’s wife means nagging the photographer to organize his pictures. This time it meant climbing up a fairly steep embankment in order to demonstrate the height of this saguaro.

We were grateful to Arizona for keeping the state parks open, and so were a lot of other people, because the two parks we visited were full. People had their own routines to avoid touching doorknobs and faucets in the restrooms, and everyone was careful to step to the side on the paths, so we didn’t touch shoulders. With all that, I would say that most who passed us seemed relatively calm and peaceful. Being in such beautiful settings did a lot to lessen the stress, and we thought about possibly staying in Arizona, going from one campground to the next.

But there was too much uncertainty. Would Arizona continue to keep the parks open? Would food be an issue? And overriding all other concerns was the thought — what if one of us gets sick? Living out of a trailer wouldn’t seem so idyllic then. So with mixed feelings we left Tucson and headed toward California. But we made one more stop — Buckskin Mountain State Park on the Colorado River — the border between Arizona and California.

We think this bird was possibly feeding her babies inside a nest in the saguaro. We saw her go in and out. Catalina State Park, Arizona
Our campsite in Buckskin Mountain State Park, Arizona
Whither I goest, so goes my guitar.

You’d think we’d have a picture of the Colorado River, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. People were out in boats and sunning themselves along the shore. I practiced yoga and Tai Chi in a huge grassy area overlooking the beautiful river.

We got to the Amaral Matilsky family’s home in Joshua Tree one week ago, and it looks like we’ll be here for an indefinite period of time. It’s a good place to be. The weather is mostly warm, there are places to walk without running into crowds, and the number of virus cases in San Bernardino County is low. Being with our daughter and son-in-law and the grandchildren is an excellent way to get our minds off what is happening to our country and the world.

I wish you all good health and lots of love,

Ruth

March 18 Las Cruces, NewMexico

Life is pretty strange right now, but campgrounds are functioning normally — maybe a little cleaner than usual. Stores along the way have slightly less food, but mostly it’s been okay. We know that restaurants are not serving but we usually do our own cooking. Normally we stop in libraries for internet but libraries are closed. We are presently in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I’m sitting outside with a view of the mountains, trying to use the spotty internet. We are here for a week in order to clean the trailer, clean ourselves and take stock. This trip is like no other.

“Wildlife” on Assateague. Not for the squeamish.
We earned this rainbow. It came at the end of a long day of trailer chores and hours of rain. It was taken from the KOA campground in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The city of Las Cruces

Terry used to shoot up rockets at nearby White Sands Missile Range. For nearly 50 years I’ve been hearing about La Posta, his favorite Mexican Restaurant tn the world. Our plan was to have a special dinner there, but like most people, we are now staying out of restaurants. As problems go, this is negligible of course, but it’s too bad.

While we are worried about the corona virus, I’m thinking we’re more likely to get malaria.  The South has seen a tremendous amount of rain this winter, and the mosquitoes are so ready to hatch.  Thankfully, however, they’re not quite ready enough.

When we started the trip we had a deadline – we needed to be in Joshua Tree in time to see our daughter and grandchildren perform in “The LIon, the Witch and the Wardrobe,”  Now, like everything else, the play has been cancelled. Theoretically we could take as long as we want to get to Joshua Tree, but our hearts aren’t in it. We’re enjoying the journey but the corona virus hovers over us. Will we get sick? What will we do if we get sick on the road?

I think we really are getting old. I can’t even believe that at one point we took two kids across America in a tent! It’s all we can do now to take care of ourselves. On this day at Medoc State Park in North Carolina we spent the morning doing chores and then were ready for a brisk sit when we decided that we just had to see something! So I promised Terry it would be a short walk, only it turned out to be three miles — short for some, long for us on that particular day. But we saw the local flora and that was important.

From Assateague Island we went to Medoc State Park in North Carolina. We must have looked as tired as we felt because the ranger volunteered to let us stay in the handicapped spot which had FULL HOOKUPS. From there we went to Sesquicentennial Park in South Carolina and from there to John Tanner Park in Georgia.

Our neighbors at John Tanner are full timers for about 8 months of the year, traveling slowly, camping in one place for a week or two or more, exploring everything in a 50 mile radius. They were staying here for two weeks because the wife bought her husband a ride with a race car driver around the track at a nearby speedway.




This waterfall was right around the corner from our campsite, but we would have missed it if our neighbor hadn’t showed us the way.

I couldn’t help but wonder what rights this stone referred to.

We drove straight through Alabama to Toomsuba Mississippi, then to Poverty Point Reservoir State Park in Louisiana If we’d known then that the play was going to be cancelled we would have stayed longer. We missed The Poverty Point National Monument. “The site contains earthen ridges and mounds, built by indigenous people between 1700 and 1100 BC during the Late Archaic period in North America.[4] Archaeologists have proposed a variety of possible functions for the site including as a settlement, a trading center, and/or a ceremonial religious complex.” Who knew? This was our loss.

From there we went to Mineral Wells State Park in Texas — This is known for bottled “Crazy Water.” The legend is that a “crazy” woman drank from the well and got less crazy. Then someone noticed that the well water cured his stomach ailments. In time, thousands of people flocked to the town to drink the water. Then someone bottled it and the water is still being sold as “Crazy Water.”

It was in MIneral Wells that I started to think about malaria. It had been raining a lot and continued to rain while we were there. The mud was so bad that we couldn’t get to our picnic table. But when you are in a tiny trailer, you find ways to get outside.
I wanted to see something different, so I convinced Terry to drive to Monahan Sandhills State Park, west of Dallas. Families come here so their kids can go sledding down the sand dunes. However, at this time you have to bring your own sled, because the office is not renting them. Needless to say, we and the trailer got full of sand.
REST AREA IN TEXAS

And now we have been in Las Cruces for three days but so far we have not seen the sights. We’ve done laundry, cleaned ourselves, cleaned the trailer, fixed the stove (actually Terry fixed the stove) and braved the supermarket this morning. We were in a health food supermarket and there was food, but a lot of shelves were empty. No toilet paper anywhere except at our campground store where we are allowed to buy two rolls at a time. Our daughter sent us an SOS from Joshua Tree where she can’t find any and there are six people in her family. So we are helping out.

A Canadian couple we met tonight has to cut their trip short because the Canadian government has told their citizens to come home. The funny thing is that since they’ve been in the U.S. they will have to self quarantine.

It’s a tense time for all of us, wondering what will happen next. I wish you all good health and the stamina to deal with the new reality that absolutely every one of us is living.

With Love,

Ruth

We May Be Crazy-March 6, 2020

We avoided D.C. by taking the ferry from Cape May to Delaware.

You would think we were complete newbies.  After delaying our trip for two months, we finally pulled out on Super Tuesday, after debating endlessly whether it was smart to start a long trip like this with the corona virus hanging over everybody’s head.  Verdict:  Not smart, but we’re going anyway.  We need to get to Joshua Tree so we can see our daughter and grandkids perform in “The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe” and we don’t want to fly.

The idea was to stop the first night at a place with full hookups so we could work out all the kinks… Well, it is still March, we got to the campground in Delaware and it was totally empty — no water, no electricity, nobody in sight.  It was now 4:00, we didn’t have a campground book or a campground app, and every place we found through our phones was closed.  We finally decided to drive another hour to the National Seashore on Assateague Island in Maryland.

Then Terry announces we will run out of gas in 17 miles and we couldn’t find an open gas station — just mile after mile of closed resorts and closed restaurants. Just before the gas fumes ran out, google maps took us on back roads and found us a station.  Then we realized that we were on our way to a National Park and who knew if there would be water?  Which we didn’t have — so I ran into a Food Lion, got  5 gallons of water and saw the gorgeous sunset below.

Long after dark we pulled into the campground, gratefully entered the trailer and discovered that our trailer battery — which is fed through our solar panel — was not working and we barely had lights and couldn’t use our heater.  We did have propane, so I heated up last night’s leftover Thai food and we went to sleep.

Assateague Island is home to wild horses — they are everywhere. They roam cheerfullly through every campsite

Terry really is a genius, he figured out that there was no water in the battery, added some of our Food Lion water and voila! — lights and heat.  (btw, Terry did know that you are supposed to put distilled water into the battery, but we didn’t have any and he took a chance). Terry was gung ho to be on our way but then we met the only other people in the campground — Mary Ann and Jack.  She convinced us not to miss the beauty of Assateague Island — So we spent the day walking along the bay, admiring the horses and soaking up some sun.  Terry gave Mary Ann some pointers with her camera and she made us dinner!  My poor gluten deprived husband got to eat meat loaf as well as lots of other delicacies.  If I’d made dinner it would have been hot dogs 🙂

Last night and tonight we are camped in Medoc State Park in North Carolina.  We’re presently in the library in Rocky Mount NC — where Jack Kerouac once lived with his sister.  We don’t have a whole lot of time so I’m sending this now, even though Word Press has totally messed me up and I can’t get the photos to go where I want them to be. 

With Love,

Ruth

I saw this sunset in the parking lot of the Food Lion, but credit for this photo goes to Mary Ann Justice who was already camped in Assateague and got to enjoy the sunset on the bay

HOME

AthenaJumping

Wonder Woman Athena — While Terry and I were spending our days scouting out the perfect eclipse viewing spot, our children were doing things like this.  (photo credit: Jem Matilsky)

It’s Sunday of Labor Day Weekend as I start this post — and America is partying — At least in Illinois and Iowa.

moon-after-eclipse

Terry’s mind is still on the moon and how several cosmic coincidences allowed us to see it eclipse the Sun.  This photo was a few days post-eclipse, from Lander, Wyoming.  As we traveled east from the Tetons we were on the eclipse path, and most people we met had seen the eclipse — it was like we had this bond.  Then we veered south and people had seen it partially and then not at all.

The 2017 Solar Eclipse is over.  And so is most of our trip.

Our family reunion was two years in the planning.  A year ago we won the telephone battle for reservations in the Tetons — after three hours on the phone we came away with RV sites and cabins  for 14 people.  We opened four credit card accounts to get the bonus miles so that we could fly out various family members.  Ruth reserved rental cars months in advance (including one in Colorado for the eventuality, just in case, that an  airline connection was missed), before the companies started charging $250/day.  And she figured out how to feed 8 of those family members with only a 6 cubic foot refrigerator in which  to store food.

eagle

I’d never seen an eagle before and s/he was much more beautiful than any picture.   The eagle stayed on the branch for at least five minutes and turned this way and that. It was like s/he was posing for us. (photo credit: Jem Matilsky) It turns out that it is quite difficult to tell male and female eagles apart — there are size differences that I wouldn’t know how to judge.

It was a great reunion and it’s still a great trip.  For awhile there were 14 of us for dinner each night and now there are two.   That’s okay for now.

RuthwithAthenaSara

Me and my girls. I was wondering why the eclipse glasses wouldn’t stay on my head and then Terry figured out that it was my bushy hair. So that is why I’m wearing the tight scarf.

Our first stop after Colter Bay was Lander, Wyoming — one of the towns on the eclipse path.  People there were still talking about the eclipse — and about the traffic. Our friend who saw the eclipse in Casper said she feared that many people in years to come would be talking not so much about the eclipse — but about the hours long gridlock in an area that just does not see traffic jams — ever.

There’s a state park in Lander called Sinks Canyon — where the Popo Agie  (pronounce it “Puh-po’ zha” ) River flows along  into a cave and the water literally sinks into the rock and disappears underground.  A quarter mile later it re-emerges.  To prove that it is the same river water that re-emerges, there has been experimentation with dye, and sure enough — the dye shows up downstream.  But what no one understands is why the amount of water increases at the other end.

sink-cave

Above is the cavern where the river disappears. It is theorized that underneath is a labyrinth of caves — but no spelunkers have been able to explore the caves since they are so small.

Lander Sink Downstream

Popo Agie River Downstream

trout-Sinks

When the Popo Agie River emerges there is this trout pool with the largest trout we’d ever seen — hundreds of them.

From Lander we went to Laramie, Wyoming where we visited friends on their 800 acre horse ranch.   They took us to Vedauwoo, where we hiked the Turtle Rock Trail.  Vedauwoo is an Arapaho word that means “earth born.” According to legend, the rock formations were created by “playful spirits.” The area is still considered a sacred space.  I suggest you click on these pictures to get the full effect.

 

We returned to Illiniwek, Illinois, on Wednesday, August 30, and were lucky to get the next to last spot available for the Labor Day weekend.  We’re enjoying the last days of our trip on the Mississippi River, watching the barges go by.  Democratic Picnic

Illinois Democrats from Moline organized a Labor Day picnic at our campground, and quite a festive event it was! What a relief to be with hundreds of people, not a single one of whom was a Trump supporter.  Illinois has same day voter registration and just passed a law (thanks to people like our son Jake, who worked with local groups and leaders to get it passed) that provides for automatic voter registration. We spoke with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, and met one of the candidates for governor in 2018.  Their message:  Trump won because people who are struggling economically were turned off when Hilary (and Obama) talked about the “great recovery” — because it certainly didn’t reach them. Take heed Democrats: Identity politics has to be coupled with realistic economic plans.

Tugboat on the Mississippi

Have I mentioned that traveling with Terry is educational? He gets such joy out of learning what makes things work. Near our campsite was one of innumerable sets of locks and dams on the Mississippi — this was #14– We spent one evening walking across the dam — and the next day waited for two hours while two tugboats and the barge they were guiding made it through the locks. What a production! I have to admit that it was hot and I might have just trusted that the guys in charge would make it happen without our oversight, but Terry was so involved in the whole thing that I didn’t have the heart to complain –well, I complained, but not too much. And I admit that in the end it was satisfying to see the barges get on their way.

Barge on the Mississippi

This is a picture I posted during our first time in Illiniwek — here you can see the large white tug pushing the barges — the smaller tug in the top picture seems to be used only for guiding in and around the locks. We were told that the barges contained wheat and corn.

We spent several days riding our bicycles along the Great River Trail, and bade goodbye to the west.

. . . . . . . . .

It’s Thursday Sept 7 . . . . . . . and we are in Zanesville, Ohio resting up from two straight days of driving.  We want to be home and we don’t want to be home.  We have things to do in NJ but Terry is retired now and that will change things in ways we don’t yet know about.  Meanwhile, we’re processing the trip.

As we drove through Illinois on the way to Indiana, I noticed a bunch of signs one after the other along the road — They went like this:

I HAVE A GUN

IT’S PRETTY AND PINK

MADE THE BAD GUY

STOP AND THINK

Guns Save Lives

Turns out there is an organization dedicated to spreading this message.  There are a lot of people who really love their guns.  Another reason Trump won.

. . . .. . . .  . . . .

Vintage Car Ruth

This truck was produced the same year I was born — 1948 — The weekend before we returned to New Jersey we camped at a huge campground in Bedford, Pa, where they had on-site activities — like this car show.

Vintage Car Terry

Some of the “vintage” cars were from 1972 — and even 1982 — The ones we liked the best were from before we were born.  THAT is vintage!!

. . . . . . . . .   BACK HOME . . . . . . . September 13 2017

We pulled in Monday morning — amazingly, our normally busy street was practically deserted and we had no trouble backing into our driveway.  (Terry here:  Actually, not so amazing.  Ruth planned our window of arrival:  Monday, when most people would be at work.  From 10 am. to 2 pm.  Just working the odds….  As Pasteur said:  “chance favors the prepared mind”.)  Our heads are still on the trip as we get used to living in our 10 room house — after being in a 15′ x 7′ living space for three months On the trip we had two coffee cups — here we have a cupboard full  —  in the trailer I almost exclusively used my kindle and couldn’t find space for a box of envelopes — here I have shelves and desks and closets and a library.   Too much stuff.

BUT — I do have to admit that I am delighted to be reunited with my wardrobe.

BEFORE WE TAKE YOUR LEAVE — There are some people I don’t want to forget:

Eclipses neighbors

Our “neighbors” during the eclipse party. She took our family picture, for which we are forever indebted — and he recommended the book I’m presently reading — “American Eclipse.” We were ships passing in the night — and also politically sympatico.

 

Then there were:

The artist couple at Wolf Camp who painted their teardrop trailer with polka dots.

Cara — Christian Mom of 4, including two Haitian orphans —  who told me I was “cute” and spoke seriously about bigotry in our country —

The guy with the BERNIE t-shirt in Nebraska who set up his telescope and invited everyone in the campground to look at the Moon and Saturn.

The self named “cat lady” in Wyoming who managed one of our campgrounds and made a birthday party for a long term camper and invited everyone to come. She wouldn’t tell me how many cats she had.

There is a fondness in my heart for 11 year old Simon who heard me playing the guitar in the Badlands and came to sit with me and tell me his life story.

In Casper we met a couple our age who sold everything they owned and bought a van so they can spend the next 18 months traveling throughout all 50 states (although I’m not sure about Hawaii)

I’m wondering whether the young woman I met in the pool at Thermopolos — who also had an August 21st birthday — was able to see the eclipse when she went to Nebraska.

We met so many full timers — Among them were Carina the fiddle player who’s been full timing for 16 years — the man whose birthday we celebrated in Casper who’s been on the road for 5 years with his wife — and the full time couple from Seattle who publish an RV magazine — from their RV.

We were  — and are — truly blessed.

With lots of love, Til Next Time

20170913_082831

Ruth and Terry