Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Roadtrip 2019 style

by Rain Trueax

It is in human DNA to travel. While some stay where they were planted ideas and growth as a culture come from moving on and up-- or down. At different times it has been on foot and in search of better hunting grounds or maybe out of fear of what had moved into the area. If they wanted more than what could be carried on their backs, humans have used wagons, carts, travoises, or a pack animal. Heavier items had to be left behind. For Native Americans grinding stones would be stashed to return and use for another season. Most recently, we've seen this happening across the world as people leave regions they find less hospitable and hope for a better life elsewhere.

Not all travel then or now has been permanent. Humans go on vacations, explore new regions, and some take roadtrips. In modern times, innovations have allowed us to take more with us-- in fact, everything. Modern homes on the road can have the same luxuries possible at home-- just less of them. Some are making motor coaches, trailers, etc. into full-time homes as they move around the country for jobs or just exploring. With the use of solar panels, heat, refrigeration, or cooling even in the middle of the wilderness, modernity is possible.

 At the end of May, my husband and I started what has become a 1400 mile annual/biannual road trip between our homes in Tucson Arizona and the Oregon Coast Range. In the 20 years we've owned the Tucson home, we've made this trip assorted ways. Planes are nice as the transition is almost instant, but you do not take four cats on a plane. I can't even imagine putting them in the storage compartment. So it's driving.

If you haven't been on a roadtrip with cats, it has its own set of complications. For one thing, most cats hate travel. For another-- motels don't like them even when they accept dogs. When we only had two cats and did find motels that would take them, the felines would go into the room and hunker down as they smelled and heard what we did not. By morning, they would hide under the bed fearing a new time on the highway in the truck more than staying in an unknown room
A few years ago, we began using our 25' travel trailer to take them with us. First, it was letting them be in the carriers, which they hated and often made them sick, but most recently, it's letting them ride in the trailer, where they spend most of their travel time under the bed-- only on it when we're settled somewhere for the night.

While it's illegal for a human to ride in a travel trailer, it is not for a pet. I vary whether i feel it's safer than the truck, but I know they are happier and healthier, less frightened, when they get where we are going. I also know to have 4 cat carriers does not fit in any backseat-- and they can't tolerate sharing one. The hissing and attacks also aren't healthy.

On May 31st, the six of us began what used to take travelers months. We have tried it different ways but basically have come to believe short travel days are best and settling into quiet RV parks for all the hookups. Besides method of travel, modern travelers have a choice of routes. On this one, we headed from desert, through Central California to Northern California, across the border again into Oregon. We broke it up into 9 days (because we opted to spend three of them in Yreka. .

I took photos of our roadtrip mostly from the moving truck. Unlike early travelers, we take our comforts with us. It's nice when we get to where we'll spend the night to have bathroom, kitchen, table, sofa, cabinets, queen-sized bed, and air conditioning/heat (we used both in different parts of the trip.

This kind of trip has a complication for me as a writer. At home, I use a ergo keyboard, which makes the laptop dicey for hitting the right key. A few years ago we bought an inexpensive lightweight desk for the Wildcat. I set a monitor on it, a split keyboard on its pull out shelf, and the laptop goes below. When not in use, it is stuffed alongside the bed (which we get into by crawling up). Unless we are spending more than a night somewhere, it's proven to be too much work to pull out. 

Some bigger trailers have room for a desk although we don't want too big a trailer because it would limit where we can camp. A lot to consider.

Driving 1400 miles is no vacation. Even by trying to find a good weather window, winds, heavy rains, or even ice can be possible. Traffic cannot be predicted as sometimes it's heavy especially with how much trucks move our goods. I do not deal well with heavy traffic or rough roads. Luckily, Ranch Boss handles it better, but that part isn't a lot of fun. 

On the recent trip, some places the roads were horrible, bouncing the trailer and the cats. One thing pioneers didn't have to cope with was highway construction-- sometimes appearing arbitrary to the layman. That can be mean long delays and even rougher road surfaces. I should have taken pictures of that. I was too busy moaning, lol.

An observation on RV parks, none of them resort types, some of the rigs are for those living in them full-time-- sometimes to travel between jobs. It's a very different life, of which, I think many people don't have much awareness of how mobile Americans can be. RV parks give a view of how some have to make a living. Some living there just like new scenery-- the proverbial rolling stones. Sometimes Ranch Boss walks around and talks to those there to ask about their rigs. Sometimes, he also gets their stories, but mostly they are strangers to us as we are to them.

History is everywhere on a trip like this. Even though we took 9 days to get back to the farm, with 3 nights in Yreka to relax, explore and for some repair work on the rig, there still wasn't as much time as I'd have liked. There were so many stories just waiting-- both historical and contemporary.

The first photo below is in an area I consider belonging to the Earps, as in their old age, Wyatt and Josie, had a cottage in Vidal-- the Happy Days Gold Mine. I don't think it was ever about the gold for either of them but instead an adventurous life where they picked their own path.

Even though my back is killing me right now, I could head out again next week. I won't be asking the cats' opinions on that but haying will prevent it anyway. Time to get the winter's supply in for the cattle and sheep.

a Central California RV Park and the Merced River

Moving north to south of Redding and the Sacramento River




  1. You see some beautiful scenery. I've enjoyed your photos of the wildlife in Arizona and love those you posted of your trip today. You certainly live an interesting life. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. My husband and I traveled across the country from 2001-05 in our truck, pulling our 5th wheel. We saw incredible sights, met new people, laughed and grew our marriage. I journaled and used material in my books. Stimulating and fulfilling. He's gone and so are my traveling days but memories remain. I would encourage others to get out and about!

  3. I like the vlogs where people describe their journey with all kinds of rigs from vans to the big RVs. I don't see that possible for me or even than I'd want it (I am a nervous nelly on the road with fear of accidents etc.) but I sure love listening or reading others describe their stories. I wrote a novella about a woman doing it by herself after an unwanted divorce. Fun book for me to write as it described things I've done. We saw several women on this trip who were doing it on their own. Kudos to them but I don't see myself doing it other than vicariously through YouTube channels :)

    1. I'm too much of a chicken to do it alone, but I want to pull a rig and go.

    2. I think a lot who go it alone do it with rigs where they can drive off if need be; so Class A, B or C as well as a van. Of course, a lot depends on whether you are staying in parks, with security (they mostly all say they need it today) or boon-docking out in the wilderness and on your own.

  4. we ran into many women traveling alone, including women in their 70's and 80's who would rendezvous along the way! I thought we would see more men but perhaps they were sitting beside primitive fishing holes!

    1. I think the men are there. Off and on, I follow a couple of their YouTube vlogs. On this trip, we saw two women alone and I think two men but you never know for sure as often the men go outside to walk around and the women might remain inside (which I tend to do and stay with the cats).

  5. I am pretty well rooted here in North Texas, but I envy you your cross-country trips. Hubby and I used to do long driving vacations, but I don't travel very well anymore. It's the friendly skies for us these days.

    I agree it's a challenge to travel with multiple cats. Years back we moved from Houston up to the DFW metroplex, about a 5-6 hour drive. We had three cats at the time and it was NOT FUN! One of them peed all over my 9-year-old daughter, who wheedled me into letting him out of his carrier, and the back seat of my car. Never did get completely get rid of that smell. Yuck!

    Thanks for sharing your pics, they're great.

    1. Thanks. Our cats had been pretty clean in the car with the exception of one who always threw up and got diarrhea within 10 miles of starting. We finally got the idea of starting with him in the dirt box... I don't want to admit how many years it took to figure that out ;).

      The funniest with him was when we first adopted him. We were heading north and Hubby went into the store to get a newspaper. When he returned, BB was so scared that he pooped all over my favorite pair of jeans. The funny part was me stripping them off using the doors for limited privacy in a McDonald's parking lot. No way could i have walked into the restaurant with that stink all over those jeans lol


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