Spiders and Snakes and Goats
Besides the spiders and snakes and goats, there were also birds and bunnies. Black Canyon City was quite a change from Las Vegas.
We left Vegas at 8:30 am on October 17th. Heading southeast, we watched in awe as the landscape changed constantly. The soil got darker, different types of cactus popped up, there were large rocks stacked on top of each other in natural formations, and the hillsides seemed to drop away out of sight.
Our outdoor shower door, a small compartment on the driver’s side of the trailer, opened as we were taking an exit to another highway. The shower head danced all over the road. Jamie pulled off the freeway to put things right and close the compartment door. With large semis passing us at speed, it wasn’t a fun task to get the hose wrapped back inside and get the door to stay locked.
We arrived at 2 pm in Black Canyon to find three goats at the office door of the RV park. Inside the office, in a glass house, there were pet snakes. We were warned about the rattlesnakes outside and what to do if we did see one.
Neighbours also warned us about the snakes; they said if we wanted to hike, a big stick was needed. The next day these same neighbours called us over to see the tarantula that had crawled up to their motorhome. Jamie was thrilled to get pictures of it.
It wasn't as dry in Arizona as it had been in Nevada. We welcomed this change in climate. The water didn’t smell, and the RV park was much quieter simply because the town was tiny. We still heard noise from the freeway, but we found it easy to settle in and make ourselves at home.
We made sure to watch the sunsets, and although I found myself thinking about bears and deer that populate Vancouver Island, and preferring them to spiders and snakes and goats, I did come to appreciate the beauty of the desert, creatures and all.
There was a solution to keeping the goats from climbing on our picnic table to reach the greenery of the olive tree on our site. They would climb on vehicles, on trailers, anything to get a nibble of the bushes and trees around us. We kept a glass of water on our table ready to throw at the goats. They learned quickly that they’d get a soaking and stayed away. I saw the biggest of the goats headbutt a small child, knocking the little one flat on the ground. I didn’t think they were cute to have around. The goats were a nuisance. So were the flies.
By the end of the week, I knew I had to suck it up and do our laundry in the communal laundry room, but I had plans to get a portable washing machine. We went to Camping World and picked up a Homebase Portable Washer. I never thought through where it would go in our trailer. There wasn’t space in the truck. Since the end of October, I’ve shared my meals in our dinette with the washer beside me, and Jamie across from me.
I certainly wished we were with more snowbirds, or more people wintering in Arizona. I felt like an outsider because many of our neighbours were there full-time. This wasn’t what I expected RV life to be. We did look into adult 55+ parks, but they have strict rules and enforce the 55 age requirement. If we go next year, this won’t be a problem.
What we did have was lots of time to figure out our next move. We had booked ourselves in for a month. I had time to read and write every day. There was time to appreciate the cardinals that flew in for bird seed under a neighbour’s cactus, time for activities that now weren’t as automated, like washing our dishes, our clothes, even connecting to WiFi. At times, our life felt restrictive, but the weeks ahead would help us to think about what we wanted in 2019.
I like many things about our life, but the constant change is the biggest challenge I’ve had. Accepting that I need a few days, even a week sometimes to adjust to a new location, has made our life less burdened.
Having more time doesn’t make us more productive. We have to build good habits and practice them. The easier we make those habits we wish for, the easier the practice is.