Monday, January 26, 2015

Rescued! -- Jan 26, 2015

Hi everyone!

First, thanks for your continued Amazon orders via the link here on my blog!  Every little bit helps! Remember.....Valentine's Day is coming up!  

I hope the first month of 2015 has been good to, wealth and weather!  We've had marvelous weather here at the BLM near Yuma.  70's and sun every day.  EXCEPT's a rainy one -- few and far between, but it really helps keep the dust down and contributes greatly to having beautiful desert flowers in the spring :-)  

I've had a few "pro" golf days...well, that might be a slight exaggeration!  One day I actually made a hole in one.  Whoa!  All the guys I play with were certainly surprised....maybe more surprised than I was!  LOL!  We tried another desert course down the road last Tuesday.  There is NOTHING flat about that course, like our daily course.   This one is full of hills, canyons and big mesquite trees and bushes...can hardly see the flags. And millions of rocks, of course.  It's a par 3/nine holes.  Nine was enough!  At least 1/3 of the time is spent looking for balls out really can't see where they's kind of a shot in the dark.  We divided up into two teams of four each. As usual, I was the only gal playing. Anyway,  it was my first try at that [obstacle] course and I carried my team by somehow making 3 pars....and a birdie on the last hole.  I made the only birdie out of everyone that day!  

So much for my 15 minutes of [ golf ] fame!

Now for the BIG news!  As you might remember, I had adopted Cody before I started on this RV adventure.  Sadly, for several reasons, he just wasn't cut out to be an RV traveler  :-(  so I had to surrender him.   I've been looking for months for a dog that, hopefully, will fit the bill.  

Meet Nikko !

I spotted him on a Phoenix rescue group's website.  He was described as a Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd mix (it's a "designer mix" sometimes called Shepinois or German Malinois), "sweet" and "gets along with other dogs and people". Not much to go on, so I called the shelter.  The owner (Ann - a pilot for JetBlue) said they rescued him from the Phoenix "pound" where he was on the "kill list".  She knew he didn't belong there! He had already been in two other rescue shelters...a Shepherd rescue and an Akita rescue.  He's only about 4 years old...what a miserable life.  Then somehow, he ended up at the "pound".  They had put him on the list because he was so "submissive" they didn't think anyone would adopt him.  Wouldn't you be submissive after such an unsettled life??  Who knows what he's been through....

Once Ann and her volunteer group rescued Nikko, and actually gave him some positive attention, he became everyone's favorite.  But, he still hadn't been adopted after being there for a whole year!  So, I decided to make the 4 hour drive to Phoenix on Saturday to meet him.  The rescue shelter is in downtown PHX and not in the best section of town, but that didn't stop me!  I walked into this very small, hole-in-the-wall place and it was chaotic!  I could hear LOTS of dogs barking in the back and most all of Ann's volunteers are Spanish-speaking, so for me, that just added to the craziness.  And there were other people in there looking to seems they all wanted the small, yapping-type dogs.  UGH...not my type.  

Anyway, they brought Nikko (just one of the 4-5 names he's had over the years) out and understandably, he was a bit reserved.  Nikko is about 54 lbs - truly a medium-sized dog, but a bit on the smaller side for this mixed breed.  (Cody was 80+ lbs). We took a little walk outside and he was pretty good on the leash, but was used to Ray, who walked him every day.  We made a visit inside the RV and he didn't seem to have any problems with it.  Took a few more walks around and then he headed back to the RV door on his own!  Ray said he was very good....always waited to go outside for his "potty break"...would never go in his pen.  And never seemed aggressive or "scary".   

After about 2.5 hours with him, I said, "Yes!"  And off we went.  He was a little excited in the RV at first...couldn't figure out the best way to look out the window(s).  But once he realized the couch was the best vantage point to look out ALL the windows, he was a happy traveler!  I left him in the RV while I ran into PetSmart for food, etc.  He was fine when I got back in about 1/2 hour.    

We had a long drive back to our site and he was just perfect the whole way.  We stopped in Quartzsite for overnight because it was getting late and we were both exhausted from our big day. We only had an hour to go, but I couldn't drive another minute!  We took a little walk and had dinner then lights out about 7:30pm.  He was quiet the whole night sleeping on the rug and/or the couch.  

Up early in the morning, breakfast, walk, and on down to our campsite an hour away.  He was great.

Here are his best characteristics so far, although realistically, any could change as he settles in....

    * He doesn't make a sound!  No barking, whimpering, whining....NOTHING!  I have never had a dog that makes no sounds at all!    
    * Housebroken
    * Calm
    * Does not jump up on me or other people
    * Seems quite attached to me already
    * Rides well in the RV
    * Lives well in the RV
    * Walks well on a leash
    * Knows "sit" and has already learned to "stay" and not bound out of the RV when we're ready for our walks
    * Trusts that I'm his "person".  Found that out when I introduced him to some folks around here.  He was fine with them, but understandably hesitant.  Stayed by me, listened to me and looked to me for directions.

FYI - The Belgian Malinois and/or the "Shepinois" have replaced German Shepherds in many roles, i.e., military maneuvers and as police and border patrol dogs.  They guard the White House (the U.S. Secret Service uses the Shepinois exclusively) and they were utilized in the Bin Laden raid.   Here is a link that describes the mix in detail, if you are interested:  Shepinois

So, all in all, we've had a good first couple of days.  A little at a time, tho',  It will take us both awhile to get acclimated to our new life together and establish routines.  I see a lot of hikes in our future!  

Can't leave you without some recent sunrise/sunset photos!

Visitors to this BLM camping area sometimes drive or walk up to my site to see the view of the reservoir from the very best vantage point :-)

They should visit at sunrise!

Thanks for letting me share Nikko's story with you! 

As one fellow Facebook RVer put it...

"Another human saved by animal adoption!"

Everyone have a great week!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ye Ol' Campground.... Jan 13, 2015

Hello from [now] warmer Arizona!  That cold snap that hit the west coast and came on into Arizona has passed us now.  We're into the more "normal" temps...which are pretty much perfect!  Sunny and 70's most days.  Let's see....that's good for golf, hiking, biking, walking, visiting neighbors, saving on propane for heat, solar power...well, lots of things!  We did have a downpour for quite awhile the other day.  It filled most of the cups on the desert golf course up with water.  Yesterday when anyone made a birdie, it was "KERPLOP"!   This morning, it was just "UGH" as they are now filled with goopy mud!  But, it dries out quickly here!

So, what's been going on?  The night of January 5th, was the full moon [hot]dog burn.  Normally it's quite close to the campgrounds, but this month we went west a good 45 minutes to an area known as The Valley of the Names.  (It is only accessible by 4WD.  Thanks to Brad and Karen for driving!) It's a pretty unique spot on the earth.  For over 60 years people have been bringing rocks (yes, you have to bring your own rocks!) to this desert acreage in order to spell out their names, those of departed friends, and open desert time capsule, of sorts.  It is many acres in size.  No one has disturbed these stone inscriptions for all these years. It would be best viewed from a low flying plane, but here are a few examples of what I'm describing:

For us, this was the "Memorial Dog Burn", which takes place every January.
 With a little wine toast, we paid tribute to a fellow RVer, "Bullshipper", (and others who have departed) who was a friend of many folks who winter here at the BLM.  
A very thoughtful remembrance...

Then...on to the dog burn!

As you can see, it was a virtual inferno!  
But the warmth was welcomed as it was a bit blustery that night.

 Inventive souls come up with barriers (an auto sun screen!) 
to "beat the heat" in order to roast their dogs to perfection.
A good time for everyone!

One morning while we were congregating at the edge of the golf course, getting ready to start the round, there were two adult and a youngster....right next to the camper of a fellow golfer who parks on the edge of the course.  They sometimes wander among the RVs.  I very, very rarely have my cell phone with me for golf, but luckily, I did that day.  (Always have a camera with you!) The start of the golf game was put on hold until I ran over to get some up close and personal shots.  I wasn't going to make any sudden moves, but in a couple of minutes they came over to me and allowed petting. I probably could have stayed there with them for hours. They were very sweet and docile.....but, they don't like dogs!  Probably from fending off coyotes (and maybe loose dogs) in their natural habitat.  

Believe it or not, you're looking at our golf course where the bushes start...

Who could resist those big, brown eyes??  

Of course, we continue to be blessed with beautiful sunrises...

Here's a little story:

Last week sometime, I drove over into the Mittry Lake area, which was on my way back from errands in Yuma.  It's a bumpy, dirt road...surprise!  LOL!   One objective was to check out the possibility of hanging out there for a few days for a change of scenery and the other objective was to take a few photos of the arson fire remains.  There were many, many charred areas.  

I turned around to come back and in a couple of minutes, I habitually looked in my side view mirror eventho' it is fairly desolate around cars/trucks/RVs at all coming or going.  I saw something flapping around at the back of the RV.  I thought it must be something I had on the cargo carrier (although I couldn't imagine what it would be) had come loose.  I stopped, got out and walked toward the back.  

OMG!  One of the two holding straps for the grey water tank had broken.  That end of the tank was now about 2 inches from the ground (normally about 8-9".)  Hmmmm....what to do????  I didn't dare drive any further.  The whole tank could have very easily come off.  I got under the RV and tried to lift the tank up (not that it would have done any good).  Too heavy.  Well, dummy, it was full of water! (My next stop was going to be the dump station).  I slowly pulled over just a little and had no choice but to empty the soap water right on the ground.  (NOT allowed!).  But there really wasn't anything else I could do.  That made the plastic tank quite light.  Now what??  I had some bungee cords so I wrapped those around the tank to hold it up.  But they are "elastic"...not too practical on a bumpy road.  I was still lamenting about what to do when VOILA! A truck came by out of no where!

An older Mexican man stopped and, in broken English, asked if I needed help.  YES!  He surveyed the problem and guess what?  Right on his belt, he had a big role of wire!  I figured out he is a concrete worker and uses rebar and wire a lot on his job.  What luck!  He got under the RV and wrapped the wire around the tank several times.  Perfect!  Ascension saved the day!  We gave each other a big hug and went our opposite ways.  I still have to fix it some way, but the wire will hold for a little while.  It was my lucky day!  

You all may wonder how things work when someone has a true medical emergency out that surpasses calling the paramedics at the Proving Ground Base like I did that night.  Well, on Sunday afternoon, there was one such emergency.  It wasn't too far from where I am parked, but far enough that I don't know the details.  An official SUV, two ambulances and a firetruck responded from Yuma.  From my vantage point and from the time lapse of activity, it must have been something that needed "medical attention", but it wasn't an emergency that had everyone scrambling around and the ambulance racing out of here at top speed and flashing lights, although they did transport the person into Yuma.  Since there hasn't been any talk about it that I've heard, I'm hoping that means the person is basically okay and just needed assistance of some sort that only a medical facility could provide.

This brings us to today.  It started with a few holes of golf, then off to the campground auction.  The auction items are donated by fellow RVers and the proceeds benefit the BLM library (The Liberry) and the new Senator Wash newsletter (which is quite extensive, I might add!)  A lot of work goes into these BLM community activities...all voluntary of course.  As is usually the case in most communities of any kind, a handful of folks do the bulk of the organization, etc.  One of those big contributors was our auctioneer, "Slobberjaws".  He is helpfully involved in just about everything around here, including the emergency response team.

There were all kinds of items in the auction, from pies and pastries, to model cars and trucks (which brought quite a few dollars!) to champagne cork trivets... more practical RV and camping supplies such as a heater, a screen room, propane connectors, etc. I picked up an Olympus digital camera just one model different than my current one.  There is something wrong with the download feature on mine that would be too costly to get repaired, plus, if you recall, the batteries are held in with duct tape! My current lenses fit this new body, so it all worked out...and for a good price, too!  I cannot be without a fully functional camera and/or back up camera.  

And, of was served!

I'm working on a "project" that I need to finish before I leave here in April.  I'll give you some sneak previews in my next post.  For the longest time out here it was too hot to work on it!

I will leave you with a few new sunset photos....  
Have a good week and stay warm in those colder climates!

Au revoir!