more photos from our first journey…


the rest of the first drop-off of pets…

…so, as i drove through the pitch black gorge, unable to see, big trucks all around i felt something wet splashing on me. i couldn’t figure out what it was, because i couldn’t see anything. then, came a familiar ammonia smell, cat urine. there was a pissed off puss throwing his pee on me (the owner did not include a litter box.). there was nothing that i could do.

i drove on. next came a god awful smell from the backseat…the cats. and then, as if on cue, all five cats began howling and caterwauling, which in turn got buggs and olivia barking. i was tired and frazzled and went with the first thing that entered my mind. i began singing religious songs from my childhood. mind you, to drown out the cats, i was nearly screaming.

i “sang” for three hours straight. i was a half hour away from spokane, in somewhere called ritzville. i needed gas and i needed to use the restroom. one my way to the cashier, something told me to pick-up some paper towels and i did. i filled the gas tank, opened the car door, and went to get inside.

buggs was rather frantic and i quickly realized why. he had had diarrhea all over my driver seat. i couldn’t and didn’t get mad at buggs. i was mad at myself. i was glad that i picked up the roll of papertowels, cleaned it up the best that i could, and stuck a blanket it on it.

we arrived in spokane at 0600, 24 hours since we began driving the day before. i dropped off 4 cats and 1 dog, received payment, and tried to deliver the “pissy cat,” the one who covered me in urine. however, no one responded. j**s told me to get a room and let the owners come to me to get the cat.

i took a bath and soaked. buggs slept. j**s talked to us through the whole day, making sure that i got sleep, had my feet up, and stayed hydrated. i bid on jobs and looked into having my car detailed. other than taking buggs out to go potty, we never left our room.

tomorrow, i will write about our journey back from our first trip.



…i am feeling really rundown. i am still on the road, but had to alter my original plan. instead of heading to the long beach/ocean shores area to look at houses, buggs and i stayed “at home” for a few more days…drinking in the beauty and lushness.

we then drove over and explored ellensburg, which had really grown and changed. we explored couer d’alene and continued east through yet another area of recent forest fires. the air was thick with ash and soot. the landscape was charred.

i knew that i was fading fast and needed to convalesce, get my feet up, and get some fluids in me. p**l invited us to come and stay with him in laurel, so, we continued on to our sixth state in five days (nevada, california, oregon, washington, idaho, and montana).

the good thing about that is, that i can enjoy some good company and be able to pitch in and help out. it also means that i can go and see a doctor that knows me and will take his time with me, as i feel like perhaps i may have pneumonia or oncoming pneumonia.

i know that i used to talk about how bad the healthcare system and doctors were in montana, but nevada is way, way worse. nevada has the absolute worst of the worst doctors. at least the doctors in montana listen to and spend time with you. they may not get it right the first time, but at least they try.

so, as of last night around 2200, i had been up for forty-eight hours straight, unable to sleep for one reason or another. i was so fucking tired, run down, and very emotional, because when i get overly tired…my emotions take over.

last night, i finally felt “safe enough” to sleep (i’ll explain in my next post.). today, i woke up feeling a bit better. i drank gatorade and had done chicken broth. i was able to go out for a bit and get buggs some dog food. we went to the park on the lake, where i used to go to eat my subway chopped salads.

not much has changed. which was very comforting in a way. however, i do know what’s missing…my mom. she loved this town and state, but now, my dad has sold her impeccably landscaped with love house, to join join my sister and her family in oklahoma. p**l and i miss her and love her. i’m glad that we have each other 😊!!



tuesday is the fifth…

(the conversation that i’ve been having in my head all fucking day long, ever since my seventy-seven year old companion…who can never even remember what day it is and asks me each morning to tell him…told me this morning…in a very unsolicited manner…causing me panic.)

tuesday is the fifth…

no it’s thursday…

oh no, it’s tuesday…

but, it can’t be…

oh, but it is…

yesterday was the second…

today is the third…

tomorrow (monday) will be the fourth…

which makes…drum roll please…

tuesday the fifth…

(why has this caused me panic? because i am still tired…no, exhausted really. buggs is still tired. my eyes feel dry and like they have sand in them. my feet feel like they’re encased in molten lava baths whenever they go near a sock or a shoe. i am looking forward to seeing my friend. i am looking forward to going home and being home!! it’s just the matter of getting there. i love driving, independence, and freedom…but, there are things that i still have to write about that happened that exhausted me and buggs completely…driving for 24 hours straight…white knuckled driving in the dark…loss of reception, navigation, and communication…road construction, one lane of traffic, pilot cars, up to 2 hour waits, 20 mph through the great basin…these are all reasons that instill the panic of not being ready to get behind the wheel and drive. however, this time i will not be saying, “okay google, take me to…” oh google, she’s on my shit list, in fact she is not the girl for me!! i know that for sure now. she took me over and through the longest and slowest and worst routes ever. i’m trying j***y’s waze app this time and printing out my maps and directions in case i lose reception again. keep your fingers, legs, and eyes crossed for us.)

helendale to buttonwillow to fremont…

…we left the helendale desolation and wended our way through the mountains. the landscape shifted slowly before our eyes. flat, dead, and yellow weeds and tumblers became multiple shades of green seas of sagebrush, with a smattering of joshua trees. that scene gave way to scrubs and then wind sheared pines.

we arrived in buttonwillow for gas, a potty walk for buggs, and cheap cheeseburgers at mcdonald’s…which we ate bunless…not the best meal, but cheap and easy road protein for both of us. the 76 station had a nice grassy area for travellers to grab a bite to eat and relax.

buggs headed for that deep, lush, green grass and began rolling around, kicking up his heels. he was suited up in his blue and white, clearance, hanukkah harness from petsmart and he was trying to wiggle out of it. i told him beforehand that there would be, “no funny business” and mean mama put an end to his mirth…of course, not before taking photos and making an animation.

there were short, squat, palm trees and wild daisies growing. there were big rigs coming and going. there were interesting signs and road signs everywhere. the sun was setting and buttonwillow became the perfect setting for some dramatic photos.

as i looked across the freeway onramp, i saw a very familiar sign and place. this wasn’t my first time in buttonwillow and it wasn’t my first time staring up at the big, blue, square sign with the red, number 6 inside of it. we used to stop in buttonwillow on our way up north to washington state, during our family vacations, when i was a kid.

however, i found myself reflecting on the last time that i stayed in that motel 6. it was when me and k***y, m*****a and p**l, and our six cats were moving from san diego to vancouver, washington. my dad drove our enormous u-haul truck and pulled a trailer with my 1993 ford escort wagon (courtney car) on it.

it was february 13, 1996. it was right after the great downpours and flooding along the willamette and columbia. both portland and vancouver were pretty soggy, but we…rather “I” was dead set on starting my new life in my beloved pacific northwest. nothing was going to stop me, come hell or high water. and, we had both.

on february 12, 1996…me, my sister, and my nephew went to pick-up our original hertz truck. it was brand new and never yet used to haul. i drove it off the lot, got to the stop sign and stopped. then, without moving anywhere, we were hit head-on by a drunk driver. my nephew and i both hit our heads and ended up with concussions. my sister hurt her neck. we lost valuable time in the emergency department of grossmont hospital.

we had to rush around and try to finish packing the truck. we left so much behind, because it wouldn’t fit. there was a hole in the wall from when my ugly, old recliner failed and met it with a crash. the drain in the tub was clogged, but we left a bottle of jaegermeister and a bottle of absolut in the freezer…with a note. it was one of the best places that i’ve ever lived, with great landlords and owner. a few weeks later i received my security deposit minus fifty dollars to fix the hole.

we left san diego much later than planned, around 2000. it was dark and k***y and i drove in her car. we followed my dad, my nephew, and my sister in the u-haul truck, which was pulling the trailer with my car…which incidentally, held our six cats, in carriers, in the cargo area.

my last lingering memories of my beloved san diego, were first seeing twelve bright and i’m guessing very pissed off kitty eyes staring out at us. and second, watching the door on the back of the u-haul truck as it danced around and became unlatched when my dad hit a bump. we watched helplessly as the door opened up and rose higher and higher.

k***y flashed her bright lights and my dad pulled over, but watching our vacuum cleaner sway halfway out and then sway back in, made for two anxious people. we knew that at any moment everything that we owned, could become roadside fodder. we were very fortunate that we lost nothing. my dad stopped and we resecured our load.

as we were coming down the grapevine that night, it was pitch black except for the yellow, orange, and red sparks flying off of the u-haul’s brakes. my dad was more and more noticeably having a hard time slowing down. we approached buttonwillow and my dad made a hand signal pointing out the window.

we followed as he exited. the truck came to rest in the motel 6 parking lot. cell phones were not really available at the time, except for those giant, weird looking precursors. hotels and motels didn’t accept pets. those were the days…not really!

we checked in and got two rooms. we had to sneak the six cats in…in the middle of the night. i was in charge of calling u-haul and getting the brakes fixed. k***y was in charge of feeding and watering the cats. and, m*****a was in charge of putting p**l to bed and getting him to sleep.

they came and fixed the brakes on the truck. i went out and oversaw the production. i came back to the room exhausted and needing to sleep, but when i opened the door, displeased kitties tried to escape, p**l was crying, and m*****a yelling. apparently, my cat john rotten, peed on the sleeping duo. nobody got any sleep that night.

it was beautiful and surreal to be back in buttonwillow. i soaked in the memories and then, we pointed the car north toward sacramento and drove on. it was smooth sailing into the sunset.

and then, coming into the san jose area, it was pitch black, with road construction and traffic revision cones. there were winding and twisting roads for about forty miles. it was anxiety inducing, as i really don’t see that well at night. however, we came through it with flying colors and landed safely and soundly in fremont.

when we arrived, i didn’t know exactly where we were, other than fremont. i knew that i needed to use a restroom, as i didn’t use one in buttonwillow. however, i stopped at two different 24 hour gas stations/convenience stores and neither allowed customers inside after 2200. i realized that i was shit out of luck.

we drove to a parking lot that i deemed to be safe. it was a denny’s parking lot. i found a spot next to some lush grass, got buggs out, and began walking him in the grass. we were in the middle of a triangular green, grassy oasis and i heard a sound.

mind you, it was a sound that i’ve heard before, but i couldn’t place it. it began as a low hiss, like a snake. and then, it hit me…quite literally. within seconds, buggs and i, were soaked to the skin. we were being sprayed by sprinklers coming from every direction. neither buggs, nor myself were amused. i’m sure we looked like quite the duo…two drowned rats.

we walked back to the car, both of us soaked, and me with a full bladder. i grabbed a towel and dried buggs, put him in his bed, and secured his leash. i got another towel out and dried myself the best that i could and got into the driver’s seat…well, bed really.

i returned some text messages and set my phone clock for 0600. i tried to play some solitaire to clear my full mind, but then i got warm and cracked the window. i was exhausted and knew that i needed to sleep, as i knew that the next day would be long. i got a light flannel throw and put it over my eyes to block out the light. i must have fallen asleep right

more tomorrow…here are some photos from this leg of our journey:

henderson to helendale…

…buggs and i left at about 1300. it was later than i wanted, but there were things that i needed to take care of before leaving.

for one, the nevada dmv sent me my new license plates, but no paper registration or stickers. i needed to take care of that, which i did quickly.

the nevada dmv allows you to schedule appointments online and i did. i was fortunate enough to get right in, get a nice lady, and get out.

i needed to go to the ninety-nine cent store to get water and snacks for the road. however, i always get sidetracked by things there and it takes me awhile.

part of my problem was that i had no idea what i wanted and of course, you never know what they’re going to have. all told, i was in there for over an hour.

i got whole wheat multi-grain crackers, chunks of cheddar cheese, tuna, instant espresso, peanuts, almonds, and sour patch kids to keep me awake.

i returned to the apartment, took my bags and buggs bed to the car, and then, i arranged the set-up. i put buggs bed in the co-pilot seat with his blanket.

near me, i put water bottles and sour patch kids candy. (i’ve been completely off sugar, but the taste and keeping my tongue busy, keep me awake.)

i went back to the apartment, put buggs in his blue and white hanukkah harness, and took him for a long potty walk. then, we arrived at the car.

once there, my co-pilot jumped into “his throne,” and i strapped him to his seat belt through his harness. i made absolutely sure that my dog was safe.

we started the air conditioning and then took the prerequisite selfies. once done, i said, “okay google, take us to fremont, california.” she got right on that…

…and, we were off like a “turd of hurdles,” as my ex would say. we drove fast and approached the mojave desert and fort irwin in ninety-nine minutes.

which generally takes two and one half hours when going the speed limit. my friend works in the er on base, that’s how i know…nothing but, desolation.

we pulled over close to helendale and the base, right in the middle of the mojave desert. i took photos and then, i took buggs out for a potty walk.

these are our photos from that first leg of our journey. they include our selfies, our welcome to california inspection, and the beautiful, expansive sky.

…more tomorrow, i was exhausted today and didn’t get much written or touched up. i woke up every two hours thinking that i forgot to pick-up a pet.

beck has two turn tables and a microphone…

…i have two spectacular sunrises and a coffee mug…

this is what buggs and i see on most mornings…some kind of spectacular sunrise…all with different colors, shapes, and patterns.

the two good things about the desert are the sunrises and the sunsets…