Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Traveling with Cats in a Tiny Motorhome

Traveling with Kitties on board in the RoadTrek is always an adventure.  

I have two 'older' kitties who are seasoned travelers.  They first started traveling with me while I still owned my vintage trailer and they adjusted to our new home very well.  When I purchased the Roadtrek I knew they would adapt but new strategies would be necessary to ensure happy cats and happy campers.  Last summer they made an 11,000 miles trip for ten weeks in adverse (read HOT and HUMID) trip like champs.  Having a fantastic fan, generator, electric AND air conditioning available to choose from kept us much more cool and comfortable than traveling with the travel trailer.   We learned lots of  new lessons on the road.

When we are home, the kitties are house kitties.  They do occasionally escape but usually they want right back in the house.  My biggest concern about traveling with kitties is a concern that they would rush to the door and escape when doors are opened.  Actually, when the door opens they usually head to the back of the Trek until they can check out what is going on.    

I like to give them as much variation of experiences with both indoor and outdoor time as possible.  I have a little cat tent that was purchased on Amazon that allows the kitties to be outside with us  and look around at nature.    Check out the tent here. Frontpet Outdoor-Instant-Travel Tent

We are often sharing our camping adventures in areas where there are wild animals so the kitties are never outside unsupervised.  Even in campgrounds I only put the kitties in the tent when we are sitting with them in our chairs.  I am amazed and often horrified at the number of dogs that are off leash roaming the campgrounds and I want the kitties to feel safe.

Now my kitties are not the kitties on a leash....'let's go for a walk kind of kitties.'  It is more like,  'I'm going to fall on the ground and lay here until this leash falls off.'  Sooooo..... I looked at strollers to take the kitties for a walk but did not find anything suitable for two cats. This is what I finally settled on.  A wagon with a light weight kennel inside.  A blanket inside gives the kitties both a comfy place to lay or they will sit up and check out the view.  The wagon pulls easily on uneven terrain and the wire cage provides safety from all kinds of critters.  I also revised the kennel to open from the top to assist getting the cats into the kennel.

Last summer we traveled to the East Coast experiencing the high heat and humidity that is prevalent during the summer months.  I also purchased a Cooling Pet Mat for the kitties to lay on that reacts with the kitties body heat, providing a chemical reaction inside the mat that cools their bodies.  I bought the size that closest matched the kennel but use it in the kennel or also on the bed.  The kitties did seek out that mat to lay on  when it was hot.


Probably the most asked question is, "WHERE is the cat box?"  Usually when someone comes into the the Roadtrek they don't even see it in it's hiding place. But the kitties know where to find it.  I put a litter box in the corner behind the drivers seat.  With the table in place it is not easily seen. 

 By kneeling down I can see the cat litter box beyond the table.
(check out the white and navy blue kitty litter box below the table cloth in pic below)

 New generation litters control orders very well.  People have entered the Roadtrek and were shocked when they discovered the kitties.  I think that says something about finding a good litter that works for you.  We use Scoop Away - Multiple Cat Formula.  We move the table top to scoop the box daily.  A mat covers the carpet to help prevent litter from being scattered, and can be shaken out.

Note in the picture above, a bungee cord holds the dish holder to the table leg to prevent the dish being spilled.   Each bowl can be lifted individually easily for cleaning and filling. By attaching the dish to the pole it is always available for the kitties and does not need to be moved for travel.

Between the two front seats and seen in the photo above you will find A Turbo Cat Scratcher Toy (follow the link to check it out) which allows the kitties a place to scratch keeping the chairs and bedding free from snags.  After a couple nights of interrupted sleep, being awakened by scratching or playing with the ball, I now remember to put the toy away before retiring for the night.  It rides in the seat behind the passenger seat.

My biggest concern when traveling in a small motor home is the worry when a door opens a cat will try to escape.  Mostly when a door starts to open they race to the back bed until every thing is calm.  I have not found it necessary to keep the cats in kennels while traveling.  During the ten weeks there was only one escape at a campground.  I put the remaining cat in the kennel and left the door open and she quickly jumped right back in. 

Occasionally, they move around during travel, but mostly they find a nice place for a nap and stretch out.

One warning when living with a cat in a small space..... Every square inch belongs to the cats.  

If you are lucky they will let you occupy the space with them.

~Happy Kitty Trails~ 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The First Hundred Days

Rarely do I know what the name of a Blog post will be before I actually write it. 

Today's post is different.  When I discovered that the number of days on the road in the Trek since purchasing her last Spring was 100 days since I bought it, I knew a Blog Post was Born.

 I have never done a year in review post as I have found it impossible to cull through all the photos to come up with the best of the best.  We shall see..... if I can summarize our wonderful travels during these 100 days of travel.  Since I didn't blog on all the places that we visited many of the pictures in this blog are not recorded in other blog posts.  So this should help in preserving some of the wonderful memories.

Since my plans to full time changed when my Granddaughter came to live with me, I refer to my self as a some-timer.  It seems never enough time that I am able to be camping. A Hundred days.....nearly 1/3 a year!   I see that I was able to spend far more time doing what I love this year and that does make me happy!!

 I certainly won't repeat all the wonderful pics and stories that I shared thus far on the blog but want only to give some overall impressions of the wonder year we have had a the amazing diversity of  our journeys and experiences during our first 100 days.

We had a lot to learn about the Roadtrek and how to make it work for us so  with plans to take a cross country trip during the summer we decided on a couple of shake down trips to ensure that we had what we needed and we were familiar with all the systems. And we did find some issues to work out. I couldn't get one burner to light which I had the RV folks address and fix....I thought.  It reoccurred on the trip and we traveled most of the trip with one burner.  I also couldn't get the water pump to operate and the RB service department found right away that there was an air bubble in the line so I was able to be present as they problem solved the issues and it was a good learning experience for me.

When traveling on the road we wanted and my back needed to have minimal effort for loading, unloading and setting up each day.  It was important for that we only take what and a place to be located and not require moving to do each activity.


This is how the RT looks when going down the road.  Well sometimes it is messier, but we don't travel with 'stuff' in the center isle on on the seats.  We need to be able to get around in our little when we make stops.

Every one picks their spots to hang out.... the kitties often move around during the trip.

 No visit to Yellowstone Park is complete without seeing Old Faithful....so we did!

Over the years I have taken many pictures of Yellowstone Falls.  Each picture looks like an oil painting.  They need little editing,  the beauty is astounding.  We choose to stay outside the park in a US Forrest campground and drive in each day.  It was a little quieter though it required retracing some of the same roads.

We saw buffalo, elk, deer, moose....but no bears.... not until Shenandoah National Park

 There is so much to see and do near Mt Rushmore.
I need to come back and spend several weeks in the area.

                One of my favorite pictures.  Yes we drove through this tunnel......a bit spooky!!

        Crazy Horse Monument, Sculpture
 As it should look some day. I hope to see it finished but it seems to be a slow process.

Chicago Waterfront

Niagara Falls and a boat trip on our Lady of the Mist
 A spontaneous stop in Seneca Falls, New York introduced us to a hot bed of Women's History when we stumbled upon the  The Women"s Hall of Fame which became the first of many stops celebrating women's history and contributions in US History.

We visited so many places commemorating Women's moments in history.  Starting with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, here in Seneca Falls, Harriet Tubman's home in New York, Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Louisa May  Alcott, author of Little Women.
 We also visited a statue of Sybil Ludington who at age 16, road a night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert rebel forces to the approach of the British regular forces, to later became known as the female Paul Revere.

Each of these stops proved to be empowering moments for both Hailey and I.

Hailey found a tree for Tree sitting along Lake Seneka.  She has an ongoing love affair with trees....

We spent nearly a month visiting in my daughter and her family in Connecticut and helping them move and get settles in a new house.  With side trips to New York,  Boston and Salem Massachusetts and a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine it was a Very Busy Month.

A trip to Connecticut's Brownstone Water Park made for great family memories before heading home and a couple of new Bucket List items.  Whoo Hoo!!

                  Cliff Jumping and Zip Lining

                         New York Skyline from the Ferry

Freedom Tower, World Trade Center


 Jordan's Pond in Acadia National Park

Several days in DC in the worst heat and humidity EVER were memorable just the same.  Smithsonian and Holocaust museums, The monuments, White House, and the National Cathedral

So much to see....so little time!

But....Never again during summer heat!

 A trip through the Foggy Shenandoah produced lots of fog, rain and good times with friends David and Sherry before we headed on to glorious Nashville Tennessee and then Memphis to visit Presley's Graceland.

 Hailey caught up in the Nashville Music scene

    Graceland, Home of Elvis Presley
            We leap - frogged along the Route 66 Highway and made stops at many iconic stops.

Our next stop was one of the most memorable stops of the entire visit.  We have visited many Memorials and Museums, some with very difficult subject matter.  I choose our route partly due to my desire to visit Oklahoma City National Memorial. A very sobering monument to both tradgedy and recovery.

The more tired I got, the less I felt like blogging so the latter part of the trip has not been seen in my blogs.  I would like to finish up the blogs but who knows if it will get done.....the highlights of some of the pics are shown below.  (Boy was it hard to pick the pictures that were the best of the best!!)

Blue Water State Park in New Mexico.....
                            Where horses roam wild and people are a little more civilized.

 It was hot, hot, hot, but lake water, wild horses and electricity for air conditioning provided the needed enticement to rest a while.

Since we were still following Route 66, we made a number of stops along the Highway at landmarks.  Our favorite was the El Rancho Hotel in Gallop New Mexico.   The Hotel was a vacation site of many of the Hollywood greats, including, John Wayne, Doris Day, Kirk Douglas, Kathryn Hepburn,  Gene Autry, Betty Grable, and Ronald Reagan.   Brass markers on the doors marked the location of there rooms.  I swear you could feel them walking around and I expected to find a STAR around every corner.

      Lobby of the El Rancho Hotel
Never having been to Sedona, before we were astounded both by the the red rock beauty, and the horrible traffic. Parking was non existent in the touristy artists retreat in the town of Sedona. So we sought the quite of the red rock landscapes.

The intense heat made it nearly impossible to enjoy the beautiful landscapes....We were only able to take brief outings in the heat before retreating back into the comfort of the air conditioning.  During the extreme heat of August,  the beauty of the Red Rocks are best enjoyed with the air conditioning blasting.

We were definitely ready to head on to the Grand Canyon and decided on the North Entrance where the temperatures were often 10 degrees cooler than the South Rim.  While hot during the day, the evenings were cool in the forest where we boondocked.

Photography at the Grand Canyon was difficult due to the Forest Fires in the Northwest providing smoke that settled into the Canyon.  Additionally, from the north side of the canyon you are staring directly into the sun which adds to the haze.  Clearly it takes an expert photographer with excellent equipment to  get the kind of pictures I was hoping for.   Somehow the vastness of the canyon is lost in my pictures.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is where 1,900 animals call home, many in search of forever homes.

Hailey makes friends where ever she goes.

Lovely Pet cemeteries mark the animals that were able to live out their days here surrounded by love of workers and visitors.

Pink Coral Sand Dunes..... Utah State Park


On to Zion National Park 

Again the heat was stifling but when it is the only time that you have available....you just go.  Finding a place to stay where we could run the air conditioner was imperative.  We found an RV park that was part of a hotel and they had a spot for us....with a pool to cool off in.  Kitties were happy in the air conditioner.

If I had to describe Zion in one word it would be Majestic.

  Cedar Breaks

 At a high altitude it was actually cold at night and there were beautiful wildflowers blooming.  If you can't get away from the heat.....

go... up....up....up!

 Hailey found an amazing1800 year old Bristlecone tree to hug at Cedar Breaks near Bryce Canyon

 Bryce National Park in a word... is Enchanting

It is a magical place full of our cherished memories.

The last major stop on our ten week journey was Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho.

There are many different types of lava flows and cinders cones and caves to discover and explore.

Within the surrounding stark lava fields is also peace full beauty.  

The more tired I got, the less I felt like blogging so the latter part of the trip has not been seen in blogs.
 After ten weeks of travel we were almost home.... but camping was not over yet.

A couple of meet ups with Gal-Pals before the camping session concludes.

First at friend,  Karen's Kamp 

Everything gets decorated at girl campouts!!

The Chicken Mansion  where we had breakfast


Last gathering of the year was a beautiful escape to the Prosser WA Balloon Festival

A little retail therapy and wine tasting in wine country

A tour of a wine making facility in Prosser

Night glow

We were not able to travel full time during this last year BUT
We had amazing travels and many incredible experiences during the last year. 
I think we packed in a huge amount of life in the 100 days of travel.