Friday, March 29, 2019

Mojave National Preserve to Lake Havasu

We spent the best part of two weeks camped near Baker, Ca after Hailey’s surgery.  We made one run back into Vegas for some antibiotics that we eventually decided were not worth the fight.
(Saw this unique repeater set up in the back of this truck near the scene of a big off-road race that weekend)

After almost two weeks we had another appointment back in Vegas with the surgeon so she could check on Hailey’s progress. 
She was very pleased and said we no longer had to restrict her movements, no more wearing a cone, and no further visits were required.  The stitches will degrade on their own in time.

So, for the first time in three and a half months, we are free to make plans that do not include the distance to the vet or the next appointment!
She has lost about 4 pounds over the winter, and is pretty thin at present, and is not eating enough yet.  But with the help of appetite medication and a whole assortment of new and exotic foods, she will hopefully be able to put some weight back on.
Being free to travel again was such a ‘new’ concept, we didn’t have a plan in place on where to head next.  So we just moved down to the Kelso Dunes area in Mojave National Preserve.  Clearly the AT&T coverage map needs a bit of work and no decent coverage was found in the area, but at least I got to hike up the dunes after some rain showers had passed through.  There was this one single flower blooming along the trail through the dunes.

 A rather unique European style camper pulled in while we were there.

 Like normal, Hailey still wants to get out hunting at every opportunity.

 We found an overnight spot near an abandoned radio tower.

Even though weather reports from back in Alberta look encouraging and above normal, we are not about to be tricked into heading north just yet!
So we headed back down to Lake Havasu. With Hailey’s care no longer completely dominating all hours of the day, there was finally time to get the new glow plug installed in the big GM, and time to get out for a few hikes.  One of my favourite trails is the one leading up Lizard Peak, or Table Top mountain as it is known, because there is a picnic table at the summit.  At the top there is great views of the surrounding area, including the city and the lake.  Even the table has been upgraded since last year and now sports a new metal top and new wooden seats!

From there it was down to the water – at Mockingbird wash.
Lots of flowers along the way, and some wild life.

Down at the ‘channel’ Spring Break was happening, but not nearly as busy as I’ve seen it in previous years.

Meanwhile, back in camp, Hailey is perfecting new hunting techniques on 3 legs.

She doesn’t seem too concerned about it all, but for some reason she is not yet eating as much as she should.
There’s very few campers right now at the Standard Wash BLM site, but I discovered a lot of rigs on the Arizona State Trust Land between the Walmart and the lake.  I’m sure there was no one camped there back in the days when we used to camp at Craggy Wash.  It’s a long ways from the SARA park and trails, but it looks like the spot might have promise for the future if it doesn’t get too crowded.  Very handy to the north end of town, Walmart etc. and I already have my annual permit.
I’m sure we can keep busy for a few more days around the lake as long as this beautiful weather continues, but come the start of April I guess we’ll have to start moseying a bit northward and try to come up with an interesting route homeward bound!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Blogger Error

Well, I finally completed another update to the blog, but all I get is the dreaded Error 400 Bad Request.  It will not publish, and I refuse to start over.

Hailey is doing well, considering, and we’ll be thinking of heading northward sometime soon.

Way to go useless Blogger!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Can’t catch a break!

While boondocked in the desert of the Mojave National Preserve near Baker, Ca we had some variable weather, including a closure of the nearby I-15 due to snow!  It rained some in camp, but that was the extent of it.  Two groups of friends stopped by while we were here.

Hailey’s leg sore was still not healing, so we made a 4 hr roundtrip visit back to the vet in Ft Mohave, Az for another weekly antibiotic injection.

Managed a few short hikes – down a pipeline r/w to have a look at the facilities.  Some pretty impressive solar systems must be powering some monitoring equipment.


Don & Donna headed off to check out Nevada Telephone Cove on Lake Mohave after a few days camping with us here.

While more or less stuck around camp it was a good time to check the battery water levels, check on some loose caulking, and reinforce a corner of one of the slides.

While on another short hike, I spotted this truck camper hopelessly bogged down in the sand.  While I watched, it appeared that a tow guy showed up to assess the situation.

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Not sure if this old real estate sign indicates some private land within the Preserve, or just an old relic of times past?

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It was nice to finally have some real warm weather to enjoy.

Just north of Baker, on the road up towards Shosone, I found some signs leading in towards Ft Irwin.

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Not being a big fan of death or injuries, or deadly force (plus, the road appeared to be flooded!), I went elsewhere to look for potential camp spots in the area.  Not long after, following a nicely graded, completely unsigned road, I found myself approximately 2 miles directly behind these signs – at an actual gate leading into the range!  It serves to prove my point that signs often don’t really mean what they say.

With another vet appointment in Ft Mohave on Monday morning we took advantage on Sunday to move a little closer and attempt to meet up with Don & Donna again over at NevadaTelephone Cove.  It was a warm and calm evening on the beach, so we enjoyed a nice fire – in my metal fire pan of course.

With the ugly sore on Hailey’s paw now my chief concern – not healing for 6 weeks and counting, we were off to the vet for some answers.  As well as not healing, the ankle now looked like it was dislocated as well, though she would walk around on it apparently unconcerned.  Once again, she was sedated (I think this was 5 and counting) and had x-rays of her leg.  As expected, it was badly dislocated.

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Two options were offered; have the ankle plated and pinned, or – amputation Sad smile

They bandaged it up nicely and we were off.

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We returned to camp, packed it up and moved to Vegas where the vets are capable of such procedures.  It is good to know that these vets are open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week for any emergency treatments. The vets and surgeons there explained the options. Putting a plate in her ankle would be very complicated, would have a very long recovery period, with various screws and things sticking out of the ankle to tangle in furniture, bedding, etc.  It would require numerous more vet visits over the next 8-10 weeks.  But most importantly, if the present wound was not healing without any surgery, there was no assurances that it would heal after even more trauma.  So even after all that time and pain, she may end up losing her leg anyway.  They said that simple amputations tend to heal quickly and that cats are very good at adapting. So with heavy hearts, we bid goodbye to her cute little left front leg – with the ugly open sore and misaligned foot.  They took her right in, but I was able to briefly visit her next morning before surgery.

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The next 24 hours was spent frantically trying to deal with daily/weekly limits while transferring enough cash to cover the procedures, and hanging out at about the only Walmart in Vegas that seems to permit overnight campers.

The day after surgery, the surgeon called to say that everything had gone well, she was up and eating and attacking everyone in sight!  That was good news!  I picked her up as soon as I could make it there.  It took her about 30 seconds in the truck to tear off that cone!  I put it back on and I tried putting her in the carrier that she normally used for helicopter flights, but she flung the cone into the back corner, and seemed content as long as I didn’t try to close the door.

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Needing a quiet place to recuperate, we moved back out to the Mohave National Preserve.

She hated the cone, of course.  I’m sure she could have managed it Ok with four legs, but trying to learn how to walk on 3 legs with that thing hanging around your neck was too much to ask.  I quickly designed a ‘cape’ for her with a wash cloth and a safety pin.  Its not perfect, but seems to work OK.  I did get her an ‘infant’ T-shirt when back in Vegas to pick up some more meds, but she didn’t like it at all.  She’s good about not licking the stitches, and she only wears the cone sometimes at night.  So far it seems to be healing really well, and she is learning to get around fairly well.  Getting her to eat enough is still a challenge, but after not eating at all for two months, every mouthful is a bonus.  Likewise, she did not groom herself for almost 3 months, and now she is making up for lost time.

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Hoping to get her ‘get out of hospital with no cone’ approval this weekend in Vegas if all continues well.  But after all the other setbacks, I will not be surprised if a whole new issue appears out of the blue.  That’s just her luck this winter – ever since November 30th!

But if not, – it might just be that we can plan to go somewhere again that doesn’t involve any vets!

Monday, March 04, 2019

Another challenging month

All kinds of trouble publishing with Open Live Writer, but hopefully this has been solved for the time being?  This post was previously published in parts, without photos.  So here we go again with the same post, but hopefully with photos this time!

Lets see – when we left off at the end of January, we were camped on the east end of Yuma. With Hailey needing to be fed about every two hours through her neck tube, there was not a lot of spare time for anything. Notwithstanding, I did manage to make time to get the truck’s fuel filter changed out, and have a few visits with friends and relatives in the area.  One of the things on the list pending was to get the slide-out adjusted.  So we took a chance one day and made an appointment at AZ RV Experts.  It wasn’t long for Nick to determine that the slide could not be adjusted further – the problem was a BENT FRAME!  Ouch!   He wouldn’t take any payment, and suggested finding a semi-permanent place to park the rig.  That’s not something you want to hear – specially when you are 1600 miles from home.  Dejected, we parked it back in the desert, and spent a couple of days looking at new and used rigs at various dealerships.  Looking underneath the rig, I finally was able to locate the spot where the frame was indeed bent – but not torn.

 IMG-1052IMG-1039 By jacking up the rear corner with my small hydraulic jack, I was able to effectively straighten it out, making the slide work perfectly again.  After a bit more research, I found Dave’s Auto Detailing in Yuma, that also straightened frames on automobiles, but not RV’s.  After a couple of calls and a visit, I convinced him to take on the job, showing him that I could straighten the frame out – if he could weld supports to keep it that way.  So we spent the day there, where his team of welders and mechanics did a great job patching the bent area, and providing new extra supports for the frame. The rig has an enclosed belly, and the cover had to be partially removed to make the repairs, so I got my first ever look inside!


The welder hard at work under the rig.


The finished job!  The other side was also braced in the same manner.


We’ll keep an eye on it of course, but hope this adds another 10 years of life to our home on wheels.


While still in the Yuma area, I took off between cat feedings for a quick look around Mittry Lake, just north of town.


vlcsnap-2019-02-20-10h00m22s894I don’t drink the stuff, but I think this is a new record low price for a 30 pack of beer! Sorry, fellow Canadians!


With Hailey’s care at least becoming a bit predictable, and not requiring multiple vet visits per week, we decided to head out for new parking spots.  I decided to head back up to the Bouse area and check in on Wandering Willy.  Unfortunately, both the Bayfield Bunch and John and his dogs of John & Brenda had just left, so I missed both of them. 


Must be a new sign.  Only two bullet holes so far.IMG_0936

I went for a hike up a nearby small mountain.  Pretty sure it used to have a number of radio towers on it, but only some concrete foundations and old shacks remaining now.


Wandering Willy was starting his eventful trip home the next day, so I pulled up stakes again and headed north. 

We took a few photos along the Parker strip on the way through.


We made a brief stop at the vet in Fort Mohave and picked up some more special cat food that can be fed through a neck tube.  A friend and former colleague had turned up on Lake Mohave camped on the beach, so that’s where we ended up for another few days.


The friends wanted to check out Lake Havasu, so we all moved down there next.  Most of the boondocking areas were very busy – especially the ones near SARA park – where the big fireworks show was scheduled for the weekend.  My ‘usual’ spot up on the ridge at Standard wash BLM was available, so that’s where we ended up. After a couple days there, Hailey again decided to dictate our schedule.  She had been scratching and managed to pull her neck feeding tube most of the way out of her neck.


So, once again we retraced our steps back to the vet in Ft Mohave. The vet managed to remove the tube without even sedating her, (no one was injured either!) and said we should wait a few days to see if she would begin to eat on her own again.

She seems to have survived the earlier attack of the ticks in December, but the suspected spider bite on her front leg was still pretty nasty looking.


Without the tube, she began acting a bit more like herself, but it was stressful again, wondering if she would ever eat or drink on her own again.


As you may recall, this whole epic began November 30th.  Since then she has made countless trips to the vet, and even spent a couple nights in hospital.  She had several blood tests, several urine tests, an ultrasound, an IV, an xray, a biopsy, was sedated at least 4 times, suffered a total tick infestation that was not relieved by medication, had a strange tongue injury, the alleged spider bite, and had a feeding tube inserted.  Add to this a plethora of medications, some of which just caused her to vomit, some which did not work, pills, sprays, injections …  For most of December, January, and the beginning of February, she had little control of her bowels or bladder, in addition to vomiting and regurgitating with regularity.  She was a total mess and I resorted to trying to clean her up in the shower or with a spray bottle with limited success.  Every horizontal surface in the rig had to be covered or cleaned many times a day, or both.  I had tarps on the bed, on the floor and over the seats in the truck.  I bought a whole new supply of towels to help contain the mess, and became one of the best customers of the laundromat in Ft Mohave.  In search of food medications and care, I visited two vets in Ft Mohave, two in Yuma, 5 in Lake Havasu. Picked up prescriptions for her at the vet, at Walmart in Ft. Mohave and Yuma, and had some more medications come by courier from Omaha!  All the floors were scattered with newspapers that would be replaced every time they got soiled.  Food and medications had to be be administered on a strict schedule, sometimes in the middle of the night.  I have recorded virtually every bathroom visit, every meal, every symptom, every medication for 10 weeks straight.  She ate or drank nothing for almost two months – relying on the me injecting semi-liquid food and water through her neck tube.  I offered milk, tuna, water, cat food, and she would just walk away!  Not much time or incentive to blog!

In the middle of February, after about 3 days of the feeding tube being removed, a miraculous thing happened.  Hailey started to EAT, a bit, on her own!  First time in two months!  I bought a whole array of exotic, gourmet cat foods in an attempt to find anything that she would eat. With the resumption of minimal normal feeding routine, the random messes of the last two and a half months were mostly gone, so I was finally able to remove all the tarps, towels and newspaper that covered everything in the rig!

Living on the edge, we decided to move back to California and spend some time in the Mojave National Monument.  It is only a two hour round trip to visit the vet – that we have only done once so far, for a routine weekly antibiotic injection.  Two different  RV friends have stopped by to visit so far.

IMG_1134Hailey is still not eating enough to regain her weight, and the ugly sore on her leg is taking it’s time getting any better, but once again we are hoping for the best.  She has also resumed grooming herself finally, so she is looking a bit better as well.IMG_1181


That’s about it for now.  Not sure how long we’ll be here, but no doubt it will depend on what Ms Hailey dictates.  In the meantime, the weather has finally begun somewhat of a warming trend.  I did a test post a few days ago with Live Writer, so I sure hope it is still working.  There is no way I’m starting over again with the lousy Blogger editor.