Long overdue update!

Well, I thought I wanted to be a blogger, and I thought I wanted to live on the road. And I have found the following to be my reality.

I love ‘living small’ in my 5 window Skoolie. And I don’t love living on the road. And apparently I have not been motivated to blog!

I want and need roots. I want and need to be ‘useful’/to have a purposeful life. And I want community. I think I pretty much knew that when I hit the road. I’ve been a member of The Foundation for Intentional Communities for several years. This reality really sunk in over the last 7-8 months. I’ve been doing house with dog sits as well as helping someone who had a medical issue and needed someone to live with her for a while. So I haven’t really been living in my bus most of the time since April. I do miss ‘living small’ when I’m not staying in the bus.

I’ve been more intensely researching community living in areas where I think I want to live. I really do want to get out of the rain. I’ve come to realize that cohousing is the best solution for me for a variety of reasons. One being that it’s hard to integrate dogs into an existing household if that household would even entertain the idea of adding two dogs with the person. I am committed to keeping my 4 legged family.

I believe I might have found where I’m going to ‘land’ but I’m not saying till I know it’s going to happen. I’m looking at communities that are not yet built, or are in the process of adding a 2nd phase to the existing community. Once I know for sure, I will likely move to the town where the community will be built. There is no existing cohousing community that has for sale a small space that is affordable and that is my criteria. Small and affordable. I’m going to have to do some creative financing but that is also in process and when/if it comes to fruition, I will reveal all.

Assuming this all comes together, my bus ‘E-nuff’ will be for sale as soon as I find a rental in said community. If your interested in seeing my bus, Bob Wells of Cheap RV Living just posted the interview of me that he videoed in February 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTCxyoJknOU At that time I was still in the honeymoon phase of having left the full time + work of running my own business. As stated above, my thinking has obviously changed. The tour however, will give you a good idea of the features of my bus. I will likely offer my ‘toad’ for sale as well if someone wants the whole package that they can hit the road in immediately. So stay tuned and also email me if you think you might be interested. As you can see, it is an aesthetically pleasing interior that is functional and adaptable.

Other things going on with me include re-connecting with my husband who I have been legally separated from for the last 12 or so years. We are actually on vacation together as I type this. 12 days in AZ, a road trip in a rental car, having flown into Phoenix. We are having a great time. We have both changed a lot. Hiked down into the Grand Canyon a couple of miles. Tomorrow we go to Canyon de Chelly and the petrified forest. On to Tucson on Monday. Dog are at my friend Patty’s in Clearview. Having a great time playing with Lulu and running the pasture.

OK, enough for now.

April 4th update – much catching up to do!

When in Parker and according to the “All Trails” app. I went on a 3.8 mile loop trail designated as easy. And it was anything but LOL. I was with 2 women from the Caravan and we were trying to o a hike that would take us down to Lake Havasu. We struggle to find the beginning of the trail off the side of the highway for maybe half an hour. Once we figured it out we walked through an Aroyo for maybe half to 3/4 of a mile. It was beautiful red rock. However there were places where it was so brushy that we really had to bush wack our way through . It reminded me of bushwhacking through the Canadian Rockies back when I used to work in the Sierra Club National Outings program.  We hiked a total of about maybe 3 1/2 hours and it was beautiful and we were along Lake Havasu for part of it and we luckily happened upon a road and found trail markers that lead us back to the highway where the car was . I was very happy that the day was somewhat cool and that I had left the dogs back in the bus. It would have been really tough on them. We logged more then 5 miles. I’m glad I can still do this kind of hiking with my two hip replacements and a sort of bum knee.

Friday morning the 22nd I left the women’s caravan in Parker and joined up with Bob who I met volunteering at the ‘free pile’ during the event I attended in January in Quartzsite.  Nice fella from New York who has been on the road for I think about three years in his pop up  truck camper . We went to Vulture peak BLM land near Wickenburg. The drive there was nice, I think they grow a lot of hay out in the desert where they can get water from a river. That is certainly the case around Parker Arizona.  As far as farm land, I think there should be a law that when you’re growing things along a freeway or highway you have to label what’s growing. I’m always curious what it is growing, and rarely find out.

The desert continues to be in bloom. I’ve seen a lot of California poppies on the sides of the road as well as going up mountain sides in the distance.  

So I spent a week with Bob, moving up to the Sedona area the second day. His Agenda was different then mine however, he is looking for a partner, I am not. We had a good time though. Did a few short hikes, sat through a presentation by Diamond Time shares in order to get a discount on two tickets for a balloon ride which Bob treated me to. It was amazing! Hard to decide which pictures to post! And my computer is not cooperating so they will come in the next post I guess!

When I left Sedona I spent two days getting to ParkSierra about 40 miles SW of the South entrance to Yosemite. It’s a beautiful co-op RV park with dry camping for dirt cheap. It’s run by Escapees RV club. I could and might consider getting on the list to take a lease on a site. The folks are super friendly and they rely on required volunteerism [during times that you are in residence] to get most of the maintenance etc. done. It could be a good location to spend spring and fall, and it’s actually not too cold in the winter most of the time either.

I left on Monday to head to Berkley to spend some time with my friend Anne before starting my wander north. We had wonderful conversations. She is the friend in my life that I have known the longest, since she was 12 and I was 16.

Our visit wasn’t nearly long enough. But she was headed out of town and I need to be moving towards PDX my the 2nd wk of April for Mozarts NW3 trial in Centralia. So now I’m headed to Bend, Sisters, then back “home”. I’ll be staying in La Center when I’m not house sitting, etc.

I am completely frustrated with my inability to get pictures of the balloons and Sedona up. Sorry 😦


LOG 3-19-19:

Lots to discuss in this blog note but it’s not long.

HIKE – Had a great hike in the KOFA national wildlife refuge this week. It was hot and beautiful. California poppies by the acre up the hillsides. Dogs went too, and a friend I’m camping with. Lucky Mozart got carried part way back by Margaret. Hot dog! I thought they would be tired, I was, but back in the bus Split was madly chewing on an old bone before she crashed. I think she was happy even though she had to be on leash for the walk. I’m not letting her off leash in the desert now. Too worried about snakes and scorpions. She did notice the lizards and was trying to chase them like they were squirrels.

NOSE WORK: OK all you folks wanting to do some Nose Work with me when I’m back in town. I’m planning to do some weekend and evening practice matches at Geotk and maybe some drop in classes if there is enough interest. So please email me at joycesdogs@gmail.com or reply to this email if you are getting the posts sent to your email address. I need your name, texting phone, dog name followed by approximate level you’re at [NW 1,2,3, or elite] or ORT’s you are ready for or have passed.  I’ll trade a run for half a day of being a helper: judge, timer, gate keeper, setup. So let me know if you’re interested in a helper position. Still working on which weekends I’ll offer the matches.

HOUSE SITTING: I’ll be returning to the Vancouver area in the middle of April.  I’m hoping to do some house/animal/garden sitting In the Pacific Northwest throughout the spring summer and fall.  With the bus my dogs can remain separate from household animals since I don’t think mingling is generally a good idea.  Your neighborhood has to be accepting of parking my bus [covenants can be an issue] so I’m most interested in being in somewhat rural areas where my bus will not be a problem for the neighborhood.  I’m able and willing to do some gardening, and can take care of small livestock and well-behaved horses as well as dogs and cats.  My base rate is $25 per day.  There is a possibility of some add on’s if I’m doing significant amounts of gardening or farm work or if the location or needs of animals makes it difficult to get away for a few hours most days. So please pass the word and feel free to share my contact info. with your friends and families.

PARKING SPACE WORK TRADES: Another thing I’m looking for is work trade parking spots. I’d like to trade 10 hrs. a week for the ability to park my bus off the street and fill my water tank every few weeks. Gardening, cooking, mowing, cleaning, skills training for your dog, canning, etc. maybe even a little child care!  Pass the word on!

For all of the above, contact me via my email address. joycesdogs@gmail.com On the right side of this page you can sign up to receive an email with my current blog post so you don’t have to go to my website to hunt for it.

TAFN see you in a few short weeks.

From the Desert again

BLOG written 3-14-19

Hi again, 10+ days later and finally sitting down to blog again. I had great training sessions with Glenna in Borrego Springs. She was in a house that we could search in so the first day we set this up:

Interior search of two bedroom size rooms that had doors at 90-degree angles from each other so dogs could search both rooms sort of as one. This was set up for pretty advanced dogs [elite and NW3]. First round: no odor! Watch how the dogs work when there is nothing there and never has been. An observation exercise. Round two had two odors in each room if I remember right: In a drawer, under a lamp on a nightstand. Under a chair and at the back of an open shelf at nearly floor level.

Next set of searches: containers. Same setup = no odor first round, watch how the dogs work. I can’t remember if we had distracters. It would be good to set this up in different ways. No odor no distractors, no odor all distractors, no odor some distractors. But not all in the same training session. Round two was with two odors. Couple of distractors. Again, good exercise for observing behavior of your dog. If you hang in there long enough will it push them to false alert? A good thing to know.

Training the next day at a mall like location. Many hides including ground crack, wall, posts, etc. and another search in an area that sort of formed a bit of a wind tunnel. Observation Observation, Observation! Third training day was just containers at Glenna’s place. And we both got fuchsia pink hair dies! Fun Fun Fun!

My twin Bro came on the weekend and we went flower watching on Saturday and saw amazing colors. Ate Mexican food, hunkered down in the bus in the wind. Sunday we drove over to Ocotillo Wells State Park, which borders to the east of Anza Borrego State Park [Borrego Springs is in the middle of the park, weird! Anyway, we ended up getting a private nature hike with the young naturalist and it was amazing. We saw many many desert lilies and she told us about having, in other years, driven all over for 3 hours to find just one. We saw Blister beetles-they cause your skin to blister if you touch them. There are many versions, the biggest being maybe an inch and a half long with a big red stripe across the back. We also saw Ocotillo cactus. Big ones, maybe 10-12 feet tall all sprouting their arms up from the ground. These are in the age range of 100 – 300 YEARS! old. An interesting piece of info from the Naturalist was that they are not finding small ones. The changes in the weather are not conducive to new ones sprouting. So it’s likely that they are a dying breed of cactus. Sad. But there is no global warming [sic].

Monday morning the 11th I headed out and ran errands in Indio then headed back over to Quartzsite to re-group with the women’s caravan I was enjoying before I left for the coast. There are new faces and some folks have left for other destinations. There are about 25 of us right now. Cars and tents to big C class’s and everything in between. It has been very windy still, and cold but expected to warm up over this weekend. Then we will all be complaining about the heat lol. I plan to be with the caravan till around the 22nd at which time I may head to either Las Vegas area or Sedona with an acquaintance I met at the January RTR event. Today I decided due to the weather and distance to bail from the Deckers CO trial. I want to seek the sun and reasonable temps. This winter has thrown many for a loop what with the cold and wet. I want to try to be a weather hunter for a bit before I return to the PNW, which will be in mid April. If your one of my former students in Nose Work, stay tuned for info about practice matches and maybe even a few classes. I will try to get that info out soon.

Back to the Desert

BLOG DATE: 3-4-19

Holly moley! I can’t believe I haven’t updated my travels for nearly a month. Maybe because I haven’t really been traveling. I’ve been in Arroyo Grande preparing meals for a 97-year-old fellow so his daughter could take a trip to India. Also fed chickens, collected eggs, and got to go to Nose Work class with Teah Anders at Gentle Touch Pet Training.

Gentle Touch was the destination for Martha and my ‘test’ road trip 2 springs ago so it was fun to see again, a few folks that I met on that trip. It was also great to be in class and have someone else setting hides. I got to work on Split’s box behavior [learning not to stand on them]. Rumor or truth has it that NACSW is getting tougher on ‘destruction’ of search areas.  Just standing on containers apparently fits into that category.

I left AG on the 4th of March headed for Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Wild flowers are a-bloom and I’m anxious to get out there and do a bit of hiking and seeing them. Last night I pulled in to a camping spot [casino parking lot lol] in the dark and this morning woke to see gold bloom up high on the hills above Hemet CA. The mountains around here just rise straight up and it’s really something to see.  I think the flowers were California Poppies. On my travels through the high desert on the way here, I found out there is a poppy preserve in the high desert N of LA. It’s going on my research list to maybe check it out next time I’m in the area.

So Tuesday I arrived at the Borrego Springs park visitor center about 230 and as I was looking for parking, my phone rang. It was Glenna, who has been here in Borrego Springs for the last couple of weeks. She suggested a dispersed camping area for boondocking and an hour later as I was setting up my camp, in she rolled with hubby John and Nose Work Partner Bella [who by the way was 1st place at her first Elite trial a few weeks ago in Centralia, with a ‘p’ ribbon too!]. So we will get together tomorrow and hopefully do a bit of training and catching up.

2-5-19 on the road again

WRITTEN 2-4-19

I’ve left Caravan 3, the women’s caravan. They have moved to another site per the 14 day stay limit on BLM land in the area. I’m headed towards the coast.

After hearing about a free campsite on the banks of  Lake Mead, I made the decision to head that direction on my way west. I’m at a lovely spot about 15’ from the water. Under a big tree. Ducks swimming about. And some wind and drizzle on occasion. There are about 15 rigs in the area. And a dumpster and pit toilets. Luxurious LOL.

As I was driving along today I listened to a ‘Women on the Road’ podcast. The young women who was being interviewed had spent a lot of time in Central and South America. She was fluent in Spanish and talked about traveling with her partner who did not speak Spanish. My thoughts went to how I wish I spoke some Spanish. And then I remembered briefly meeting a women at RTR who had a sign on her car door advertising some sort of Spanish language program for kids That had gotten me thinking that trying to learn ‘toddler’ Spanish might be a good way to get started. A few days ago I looked on line hoping that I might recognize her website but to no avail. So today I was wishing that I had taken a picture of her car that displayed the website so I could look it up. Well, I rolled into this camping area, and was driving towards the end looking for a place I wanted to park for the night, and what do I see but her van! So I have snapped a picture, but don’t have Internet tonight so will look it up once I leave this place. Hoping to talk to her tomorrow. Its getting dark, still a bit dizzily and I’m hunkered in for the night.

On another note, as I walked around this place with the dogs [one at a time today] my ‘un-scooped dog poop’ radar went off. There is a lot here and it makes me so irritable.  I think I have decided to channel my anger into a plastic bag and scooper and am hoping the rain will be gone tomorrow and I will walk around and fill a bag and toss it in the dumpster before I leave. So that’s it for now I guess.

This morning, Tuesday, I have decided to head to Death Valley. Need to check the road reports. I think it might be wise to stay east of the Sierra mountains till after Tuesday as I believe it might be snowing there. I don’t need to be in Paso Robles till Friday. I am volunteering 2 days at the trial there that Split and I are way down the wait list on. I got into Denver but decided today not to go. Both the kids are in Deckers CO the following weekend.  I’m pretty sure that snow is still a possibility in March besides which it gives me another week in the desert if I want to connect with Caravan 3 again. I didn’t get into Dana Point either. Disappointing that I can’t get into anything on the coast.

Guess that is all for now. Onward up this hill through some mountains and assuming it will drop down into Death Valley. Maybe I’ll have a signal tonight and can post about the rest of my day.