Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

settled for awhile

While for some travel means notches on a post where they have one more place they have seen, for me, it's about returning to places I love and want to know more deeply on a soul level. I could spend years on a creek and never truly know it, which is true of a marsh, forest or sandy shore. Nature is always changing and to be somewhere long enough to know it is like being with another person long enough to know them. It doesn't happen quickly. It requires time and being there in seasons.

A couple of years ago I made a video for why I love Tucson. I might choose to do a new one someday. Things change every time I come here-- a fact that I bemoan when it's a lovely stretch of desert being bulldozed flat for housing. But life is that way-- nothing stays as it was no matter how we might sometimes wish it could.


The drive down was stormy with weather more like you expect during the monsoon season. It made it interesting and a constantly changing sky. I kept trying to get a lightning shot, but no luck. Blink and it's gone but we saw some wonderful bolts-- more appreciated when not on the highway and heading straight toward them.

On some stretches of highway, the drivers were crazy as they passed when there was no reason to do it, with a sign telling them the passing lane was within sight. I am not sure what that kind of risk taking is about as they force other cars off the road for some kind of adrenaline rush or is it rage? 

I suspect a lot of people use their vehicles as a way to show their rage. Insane? You bet, but unless there are a lot of police, and on most stretches we never saw a patrol car, some will always push the limits. The trailer tows well but when it's windy, it can't safely go as fast, as a small car.

At night, our Wildcat makes for a cozy secure place to sleep even when the thunder and lightning crash overhead. We appreciate the small cabin feel more than the cats who hate travel with a passion. Never do we start a morning when they aren't hiding to avoid their travel boxes. For safety's sake, they have to ride in the truck with us.

When our kids were small, we pulled a 15' travel trailer on this route. Those days we stayed in places like rest areas even knowing there might be some risk. We were young and strong-- not to mention had less money for the fees at RV parks. Sometimes, it made for interesting overnights. I'd say the most scary was when a Kingman, Arizona service station said we could spend the night at the back of their big lot. We were all settled in when we heard a train coming fast. We knew if we had pulled too far back (we'd had no idea a train track was there), it was too late to change anything. It rumbled past safely beyond us. Those are the moments you know it could be all over in an instant. 

Today, we stay in KOAs, Good Sams, state, or federal parks. I can't imagine sleeping in a rest area and not sure if that's due to us being old folks now or whether it's more predators roaming looking for the easy mark that someone old might appear. With this trailer, we've stayed a few places that seemed less safe (not this trip) but never chosen, only when there was no option, and it was too late to go beyond. We try to plan it so that doesn't happen. 

Whatever we might think about it, cats don't like travel. They don't want a change that they didn't choose. It takes awhile for them and us to relax after a long drive like that. The sunset last night was a help with that-- along with a glass of wine and sitting out on the patio and seeing the cats explore their yard (Ranch Boss got up the extra fencing to keep Raven from flying out). We've had several lightning storms since we arrived and it's humid with the storms coming up from Baja. Definitely a different October.

We are here to do some upgrades on this house, which we call Casa Espiritu. The big question has related to its swimming pool. The pool came with the home when we bought it in 1999. We never wanted it, but we did want this stretch of natural, beautiful desert. This year, with the pool, we either must have its surface restored or it demolished and replaced with a possible meditation garden with hot tub. The thing is it's rented this spring with people where we advertised the swimming pool. The decision on its removal will likely be put off until next year. Having it reconditioned cannot.

The last photo was taken with my new laptop. I almost didn't try its webcam as they are usually horrible. This one has amazing detail and color. I didn't adjust the photo to make the white walls less green mainly because the skin tones are so good. I am standing in front of my desk where I write when here. Soon on the opposite wall will be a big screen TV, which I am much looking forward to as watching movies is one of the things we enjoy in the evenings.


Tabor said...

I see a nice cozy and comfortable way to travel. I do not like the feel of lack of security that you refer to as we age, because it is true and also the wild west seems wilder these days with everyone needed to carry a gun.

Rain Trueax said...

I don't believe everyone has to but we always have. I think equally likely to be helpful would be pepper spray which can be bought at sporting good stores. I have one that fastens to my wrist, tiny, but would be more effective if hiking and attacked.

We've had some weird experiences in hotels in small towns too. I think of one in Oregon and we are awakened to a fight in the parking lot outside our room. We hear one man yell, I'll kill you and the sound of a fist hitting flesh. It turned out the motel shared a parking lot with a 'lounge' and the drunks came out when the doors closed there. Shortly cars screamed out of the lot. In Arizona, we got up one morning, hadn't heard the fight but there was blood on the stairs leading to the second level. We used to go out of our way to not stay in motels that were connected to lounges/bars but frankly sometimes there is no choice. I really feel more secure in the trailer as nobody else has a key to it ;), Of course, in Oregon, we live a long way from police and have had some scary moments there too.

robin andrea said...

Love seeing the desert photos. It is truly stunning there in every way. Those big open skies are beautiful. It really is a shame that we travel with that kind of low-level fear. There's a rest stop on Highway 101 north of Willits, just outside of Laytonville that I won't stop in. It's too far off the lonely highway out there and doesn't ever feel safe to me. Interestingly there's another stop just 20 miles north which is always filled with nice travelers. I wonder what life would feel like if we simply felt safe and not at risk by our fellow humans. Ah, what a world that would be.

Rain Trueax said...

Life for humans has never been that way though, Robin. It seems to go with our DNA with more and less dangerous times. There is a rest stop on the way out of Portland where there have been more than a few murders. I avoid such places. Years back, when we had the little 15' trailer, we were on our way to Tucson and stopped in a rest area on the way into LA. That night I got a very bad feeling about staying there. We bundled the kids up, got back in the vehicle and drove right through LA in the middle of the night. On the side of one slope a home was burning with flames licking high in the sky. The other side of town we felt okay and pulled into yet another rest area and slept the rest of the night. The next day we learned a convict had escaped from one of the work camps or whatever they had in those hills. We also wondered if a truck with lost brakes might've slammed into that first rest area. We will never know if we were wise to leave as we did but I am a big believer in following instincts. If it doesn't feel good, don't ignore it.

Linda Kay said...

Black cats and orange sunsets. I loved visiting in Tuscon and all the area around.

Tara Crowley said...

are you likely to experience any fall out from the hurricane making it's way to western Mexico?

Wonderful photos -- dramatic skies. Glad you made it safely to your southern home. How long does it take the cats to settle in? Hope it's soon!

Rain Trueax said...

The cats are still edgy; so maybe a few weeks but they will immediately settle into the Oregon home, which they prefer. Here at any thought we might be getting out the boxes, they dive under the bed but then they do that there too. We had a cat who didn't mind traveling but it's not either of these.

It looks like the storm is heading for Texas but we wondered about that too. I hope it doesn't lead to a large loss of life in Mexico. Last I read, they surmised that it might remain a hurricane all the way across Mexico and head for the Gulf Coast still one. Scary especially to think we may see more and more of these storms hitting many regions :( And still some deny climate change.

joared said...

Enjoyed your Tucson video with views reminding me of time spent there under the never-ending blue skies, man-of-the-mouintain around us and so much more. I, too, recall life living in a small trailer with my parents, and two dogs -- cozy for the six months we spent in it -- several of those months in Tucson. Twenty years later visiting the area revealed much growth, change and a disappearing desert.

Hurricane arrived in Texas, but had decreased force to Tropical Storm strength which was bad enough with heavy rain. Flight delays but they made it in and out that night as I can attest from personal experience.