Saturday, March 29, 2014

Getting Away

Sometimes a trip away from home to relax is just that - a trip away for a few days with no cell phone connections to impede upon the peace of a road trip. It seems as though, unlike decades before, people could actually get away and enjoy their self-imposed exile to unwind and be with those or that person they love without the constant desire to check emails, Facebook, or any other interruption from a satellite in the sky.

J and L decided to do just that the last few days taking the faithful RV on a four day hiatus to the Colorado River just north of Earp, California. Yep, the same Wyatt Earp who is famous or infamous depending on your view of history, who, along with his wife Josephine claimed dozens upon dozens of mining claims in this desert community. These were stalwart individuals, not only the Earp's, but those pioneers who ventured across thousands of square miles of some of the most treacherous land in America if not the world.

A land devoid of water, unless they were lucky enough to find a stream not dried up or a low lying water supply which rarely happened. No, these were tough people who found a way to survive.

Hard to think that way sitting in a very comfortable air conditioned RV with plenty of cold refreshments in the refrigerator and looking at the cooling waters of the Colorado River just yards from the campsite.

As a lover of history, both J and L honor those folks long past the trial and tribulations taken to reach this life source of a river. The local Native Americans had always believed the mighty Colorado gave them life and they were correct. That was distinctly apparent as the people from the East came and claimed the land for their own. New comers needed water and the Colorado offered it no matter who had been here previously.

The rest is history.

So, taking a few days off after the final editing J's latest novel, "Soft Target," the team needed to have some decompression time. Emerald Cove Resort was just the right spot. On the river, a great atmosphere, and very friendly staff gave the couple the time needed to think about nothing but the near future.

Okay, so this little spot is not actually in our backyard but within four hours of it was all J and L needed for a few days of R&R and isn't that what most hard working people need once in awhile?

Besides, it turned out to be an easy place to make a couple of new friends.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty!
 On a beautiful sunny Saturday morning J and L, along with their friends Richard and Marla Nye, paid a short visit to the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary. This High Desert safe haven for injured and abused animals is a marvelous addition to this part of Southern California and the town of Phelan, where the sanctuary is located could not be better suited. Large open acres surrounded by gorgeous desert with the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains due west makes this location nothing but breathtaking.

Shadow and Richard Nye
The Sanctuary, operated by Joel and Chemaine Almquist, has a long history of protecting some of the most exotic and endangered animals. From tigers, to llamas, to alligators, to tiny furry little marmosets, this place has such a variety it takes hours to experience the wildlife being protected by this family and their host of employees and volunteers. It's no easy matter feeding, caring for and otherwise being mommy and daddy to such a variety of animals but the Almquist's do it for the love of the animals they have in their hearts.

To see animals, no matter the size, purposely injured and abused usually makes ones blood boil but the cooling we felt while walking about the large compound allowed us the chance to feel so much better knowing these animals, who would otherwise most likely be dead, being so well taken care of was amazing.

Laureen and her new friend, Buster

It seemed L's favorite was a little red tailed deer (with the unlikely name of Buster) who was very much interested in trying to 'eat' the shirt right off of L's back while being petted over and over again.

Zorro, patient and stealthy
A large sleek black puma eyed J a few times and then leapt onto the side of it's cage while being fed without making a sound. The image of being the hunted came immediately to mind if one were in the jungle and this cat wanted to get up close and personal. It was a majestic animal but one a wise person would stay away from in the wild.

We were taken on a tour of the enclosures by a very knowledgeable young woman by the name of Megan who joked and spoke about each animal we passed as though they were more like family than a wild species.

Valerie, the young woman who greeted us in the foyer of the sanctuary was friendly, again knowledgeable and told us the history and the planned future of Forever Wild. Plans are in the works to expand the facility and animal enclosures, and there is plenty room for that. The issue is the need for donations since this sanctuary is a non-profit business. The donations they receive often come in the form of cash and anything else which it takes to run such a place, such as bottles of cleansers, bales of hay, etc. In fact, in 2009 the Almquist's were the recipients of an Extreme Makeover Home Edition which eased a lot of concern about upgrading not only their home but the main building to the sanctuary.

As with all non-profits they survive with the shared goodness of other peoples' hearts, but in this case the largest hearts belong with all those who live and work at the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary and we the people must thank them with the support they need to forever keep these beautiful animals safe.If you find yourself in the Los Angeles area (and parts east), stop by and say hello to the kitties -- and remember that your donations help save lives.

For more information, or to make a donation, visit Forever Wild at  8545 Buttemere Road, Phelan, California 92371. Or visit their website at:

Ava wasn't talking

A final thought: If you are looking for answers to mystical questions, like our place in this world, and our responsibilities to living creatures, you may just find your answer here. But Ava wasn't talking, so we still do not know the answer to the question, "What does the fox say?" Perhaps she'll enlighten us on our next visit.