Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Living the Good Life in Why, Arizona

 Our Christmas tree--a thrift store wooden saguaro cactus that I painted

When I last wrote, I was struggling to get ready to leave Truth or Consequences, NM.  I had to replace all of the batteries in my motorhome, and get some work done on both the Beluga and my new Tracker in order to tow. 

Steve came over from Why, Arizona, via public transportation, helped me get ready to go, and then drove back with me, which made the trip much more pleasant.  We both drove and found that driving a big rig with a car behind it isn't that much different than driving a big rig without towing.  It takes a little longer to stop, you have to consider the added length when you are changing lanes, and you never ever want to put yourself in a situation where you'd have to back up.  But since most of the time, you're just tooling down the highway, it's really not that big of a deal.  

Getting the car unhitched once we got here was a little more of a challenge than I'd realized.  But, like everything else I've learned since taking up RVing several years ago, it's just a matter of getting used to stuff like this.  Eventually hitching and unhitching will become routine.

Baskets that I admired at the Heard Museum in Phoenix

I have had one more hiccup with this Tracker.  Once we got the Beluga to Why, we turned around and drove the Tracker back to Tucson where Steve could pick up his truck at his sister's house and I could get the Tracker retitled and registered in Arizona.  But, after spending several hours at the Motor Vehicles office, it turned out I could not get the Tracker street-legal because there's a restitution lien on the car.  A previous owner had a DWI and owes money to the court.  I had to file a motion with the court, asking that they remove this restitution lien, since the guy who owned it hasn't owned it for several years and there have been several sales of the car since he had it.  We'll see what happens.  In the meantime, I've got a 90-day temporary registration sticker in my back window. 

Oh, and the Tracker has some sort of a short that makes starting it interesting.  If it won't turn over right away, I have to get out and wiggle some wires until it does.  It's better when I have someone with me to act as Wire Wiggler while I stay in the driver's seat.  

My friend Feral Willcox is a great Wire Wiggler, but she's leaving.  I've had a really nice time getting to know Feral, first in Truth or Consequences and now here in Why.  I met her at the TorC Poetry Reading one Sunday this past fall.  We sat next to each other and quietly introduced ourselves.  The following week, I must have seen Feral a half-dozen times at various coffee shops and stores.  Finally, I thought maybe I'd better sit down and talk with her, before I get hit on the head with a 2 x 4 or something.  Well, it turned out we have lots in common--both former pottery, tile, and mosaic artists who are now doing lighter forms of artwork due to health issues and having a mobile lifestyle.  Lots of other commonalities as well.  The type of person I could talk to all day, probably, if I wasn't quite so introverted.  

As a result of our first meeting in TorC, Feral came to Coyote Howls for a month!  She was heading west towards LA, anyway, and wanted to try some inexpensive camping for a while.  She tented and hung out in her pickup truck.  Feral told me yesterday that she's basically treated the front bench seat of her pickup like a couch.  At dusk, she'd sit there and watch nature unfold just outside her truck.  Coyotes would walk into her campsite and she watched lots of birds, rabbits, and ground squirrels.  I had never thought to do that in my several years of coming to Coyote Howls in the wintertime.  I'm usually fussing with making supper about that time of the day, but maybe we'll just have to start eating earlier or later.

Feral has probably already pulled out of camp this morning.  She's heading to LA to stay with friends and get things arranged to leave for India, where she hopes she can live and get needed medical care more cheaply than here in the U.S.  I may be following her sometime in the future--not to live in India for very long, but perhaps to have a knee replacement done there.

My friends Pat and Fred from TorC just pulled in to Coyote Howls on Sunday and plan to spend about a month, maybe more.  They have been full-time RVers for years and usually are either work camping in a park or boondocking in National Forests, and this is their first time to Why.  

Sly on a day trip to the Tohono O'odham museum

We celebrated Christmas with a nice dinner at the Why Senior Center, and we went to a lovely open house on New Year's Day at the new home of Donna and Noel, the managers of Coyote Howls.  Then my son Sly visited for a little over a week.  I went up to Phoenix the last two weekends, first to get him from the airport and then to take him back up to the airport.  It's only a couple of hours to Phoenix, but each time I made a little overnight trip out of it, doing some tourist things and shopping at thrift stores and staying in a motel.  It was nice.  Sly and I especially enjoyed the Heard Museum and a nice dinner out one night at a Thai restaurant.  I hadn't been to a Thai restaurant since my last trip to Seattle over a year-and-a-half ago.  Sly is doing well--he's been on the same job as a barista in a coffee shop for over a year, and he is moving this week from a residence for at-risk youth to an apartment with a friend.  

These two panels provide me with enough power to run my computer or sewing machine in the Beluga, and also run the furnace for a little while in the morning to take the chill off

Today is one of those much-needed days when I don't have anywhere I have to go.  I relish the thought of staying home and getting things in better order and doing some artwork and eBay work.  I've already cleaned the fridge, and Steve threw the uneaten leftovers over the fence for the coyotes, so this evening might be a good one to follow Feral's lead and sit in the driver's seat of the Beluga and look out at the wildlife.  I feel so fortunate to have such a great set-up for my lifestyle here in Why.  Steve is lending me a couple of solar panels until I buy my own to install on the roof of the Beluga, and I can spend time in my own rig doing my art and business, so I don't have to drag everything into Steve's space, which we reserve more for relaxing. 

A God box in the works

Art-wise, I have started on something for my "Faces of God" show that is scheduled out about a year.  As part of that exhibit, I envision having a table full of mixed-media altars, shrines, reliquaries, God boxes, journals, etc.  All of the small places in which we keep God, y'know.  So I'm acquiring boxes and stuff as I browse thrift shops and eBay, and I'm doing a mixture of collage and painting to richly decorate them.  

A small completed God box, formerly an Altoids tin


  1. I really like your new work. Quite lovely.

    1. Thank you! I'm enjoying it. So fun to pull color, texture and shape together. It's like doing a mosaic or a quilt. All fun things that I like to do.

  2. Sounds like a nice settle-in for you and Steve. Went through T or C yesterday, but knew you weren't there, so on we went. About your solar panels: Are they connected to the Beluga's battery or do you have a separate storage battery?

    1. There's a battery for starting the engine, and then in a side compartment we have two "house" batteries. They're 12V deep cycle marine batteries, and that's what the solar is connected to.

      Eventually I will get about three or four panels on the roof and maybe more batteries so we could camp at the cheap no hook-up sites in the NM State Parks. I'm thinking of getting an annual Parks pass when we go back to NM, unless some possible summer plans take us to California instead.