Thursday, May 31, 2012

People, trash, Memorial Day and more

The only security any of us has is the confidence in our ability to accept and live with whatever challenges life brings.

Memorial Day weekend at the Park
We were nearly full in Primitive B Loop with mostly tent campers. And not just one or two tents to a site! There were several sites with four vehicles and anywhere between five and 10 tents! And as expected these sites had the partiers! And how they did party – loud music, swarms of children and tables laden with foods.
Loop A – with electricity for campers – was full with one RV per site (one exception). Campers were couples and families, and lots of dogs! 
Between these two loops is the restroom building and playground which were always busy.
Based on my experiences on other holiday weekends at parks, I was expecting to be super busy. In reality, I had plenty of time to visit with campers, encouraging (yes, some nagging) them to keep their trash picked up and their dogs on leash. I enjoyed spending time with children. I had plenty of dogs to befriend and got some ‘petting therapy’. My favorite was Penny – a copper colored cocker spaniel.
How come I had so much leisure time? It’s because Shank, the managing ranger, arranged schedules so that we had nearly round-the-clock ranger presence. They, along with the park’s seasonal employees, were continually cruising the park and keeping the restrooms spic and span. It was a pleasant weekend.
Weather wise it was not so wonderful. The wind blew fiercely at times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and most likely was the reason several campers left on Sunday afternoon. Those who stayed were rewarded by a lovely Monday morning.
            And wouldn’t you know, we’ve had calm and perfect weather since Tuesday.

DANGER – Tarantula Crossing
Why did the tarantula cross the road? And shouldn’t he walk faster to avoid being squashed by a vehicle? After all, he has eight legs! As he slowly crossed the park road, I walked behind to keep any traffic from squashing him and also to study how he used his legs with alternating precision.
It is rather unusual to see these large, hairy spiders during the day because they spend most of their life underground in a silk-lined burrow, coming out at night for a meal of insects and other small creatures. When mature, male tarantulas will go over land in search of a willing female.

ANTS – what industrious insects
I’m enjoying a large ant hill in my campsite – large “red” ants that seem to have black heads. Ants are continually taking things out of the hill and other things in. This morning three ants teamed up to drag a bird feather to the hill (momma ant wants a feather bed?).

PEOPLE – it takes all kinds
South African travelers.
A couple and their young daughter from South Africa, traveling in a rented RV, spent the night. They asked about riding bicycles on the lake trail. As I started cautioning them about the thorns, stickers and other desert hazards, the woman said – in her proper British accent – “These are nothing compared to where we live. Our area is known as the ‘thorn tree savanna.’” She went on to say that they live in a huge desert that is not even as green as ours desert is! Imagine that!
“Bird eggs”
Two small boys – probably ages 4 and 5 – proudly told me they found some bird eggs. Then one stuck out a grubby hand to show me. What they had were two well-dried rabbit scat (poops). I gently told them what they had – which did not gross them out and they ran to show parents.
Homemade tortillas
They are on vacation, but nevertheless the mother was busy making tortillas for their breakfast. Good thing I had already eaten or I would have begged for one!
Lots of children here
The park’s playground saw lots of action this past weekend. Three girls (probably ages 5 to 8) took turns using my pick-em-up stick and walked the camping loops with me, picking up trash. A couple boys (8 and 10) and I watched lizards and even got to see another tarantula and a snake shed.
Power outage
It was no surprise on a hot afternoon – about 10 campsites were affected. After notifying the rangers, I went door-to-door to assure folks that someone was working on the power issue. Most folks were sweet and understanding – “well, it IS camping” some remarked. Of course there was one extremely hot-tempered man demanding to know when the power would be back on. Then he said if it wasn’t back on quickly, he wanted a refund of his camping fee. I smiled sweetly – through gritted teeth – and said he should be patient before walking away.
I-40 road survey
Evidently, the Feds and the State want an up-close-and-personal report on the condition of I-40. Two college-age girls camped here are part of a highway survey crew. They are walking east from Santa Rosa to the Texas border, noting cracks and such. They have an official car with a light bar on top. Anyone who drives I-40 knows the road is in poor condition in a lot of areas.

Update to Trash Report
-- It has been a “profitable” week – found a quarter and nickel at one site and another quarter elsewhere, making the total of $1.05. At this rate, maybe I’ll have enough to buy a Dairy Queen ice cream cone when I’m back in Rio Rancho in July.
-- A used condom!
-- A white chess pawn
-- A heavily loaded disposal diaper – ugh! Glad I have my pick-up stick
--And the usual rusty wire, cigarette butts, beer, soda and water bottle caps, and pull-tabs from aluminum cans. What’s the meaning of the pull tabs? Is it “I am strong man, watch me rip this tab off!”?

From time to time I reflect back on my decision to buy a motorhome – what an adventure this has provided. Here’s a good quote from Daniel Schantz in Daily Guideposts.

Decisions. Who could have imagined that a simple ‘yes’ could contain so much adventure. Who knows what lies in store for you and me when we put indecision behind us…