The Catt Box

'Cool Adventures On The Way Back Home'


We were going home...and still had a long way to go. We enjoy traveling and every day brought about brand new adventures. Never knowing what the day held for us kept things interesting. 

palm_springs.jpg (17964 bytes)hotel_california.jpg (20846 bytes)One interesting place was Palm Springs, California. This is another place I heard about all my life, and it was every bit as beautiful as I had imagined. We also got a picture of Hotel California. The weather was perfect, though the sun was hot....and we were on a mission. What started out to be more of a joke, turned into a 'must do' brain-storm. "Let's get tattoos!"....the ultimate souvenir to take home. I didn't think Les would really agree to do it...but he did. I already knew that I wanted a little black kitty on my right shoulder. Les didn't have a clue as to what he wanted. 

So, it was about noon time...and we were hungry. Being the "white trash" that we are, we just pulled off on the shoulder of the road and climbed into the back of our camper and ate our proverbial turkey sandwiches. Here we are in classy Palm Springs, California, and we were eating sandwiches in a camper. It was fast and easy and we were going to try to find a tattoo artist there. 

I know, I wouldn't think that a place like this would have a tattoo artist. That is something that you would expect more out of john_chance_card.jpg (18329 bytes)Hollywood....but not Palm Springs. Well, here's the best kept secret of Palm Springs....and his name is John Chance...."Artist To The Stars". Les found him in the phone book. We did good finding him...and finding him open, especially. Most tattoo artists don't open their shops till the afternoon. Les called John from a pay phone and he said, "come on". So we did. His studio is called 'Dr. Skinz'.

I was so excited. We found his shop with no trouble. And John is a handsome man...I wish I would have taken his picture....maybe I'll write to him and ask for one and I'll post it if he sends it to me. Anyway...what a small world this is after all....come to find out, we have mutual friends from our past. It was fun to talk of folks I hadn't thought of in a long time. And how entertaining....we enjoyed listening to him and sharing our lives back and forth. 

catt_kitty_tattoo.jpg (16344 bytes)less_tiger_tattoo.jpg (12995 bytes)I immediately found exactly what I wanted....I knew the second I saw it that the kitty was 'me'....John showed me a few I could be sure of what I wanted...but I kept going back to that little kitty. It was perfect. Les was still undecided as to what he les_the_rebel.jpg (13820 bytes)wanted. So, as I was getting 'done' Les was still looking over the tattoo options. He finally decided on a little tiger head...and he had it put on his upper right arm. Keep in mind that when these pictures were taken the tattoos were only about five hours old, so, we were a little swollen and reddish, which is normal. They have 'healed' now and look absolutely beautiful. John did a great job on them. 

cropped_tattoo.jpg (6533 bytes)Here is a picture of my first tattoo....I got it when I was about 29 years old. I have a large mole on the left side of my chest and I had legs tattooed around it to resemble a spider. I love this little primitive tattoo! These are the only two tattoos I ever want. My husband is already toying with the idea of having another one.

All together, we were in Palm Springs, California for about three hours...very worthwhile hours. How entertaining and surprising this day was turning out. We were so thrilled with our tattoos. Thank you, John, for giving us a great memory of a great trip. 

We were now on our way out of California. We were in Blythe, California and was low on we gassed $1.99 a gallon. Three miles or so up the road we were in Arizona...and we saw that gas was 30 cents cheaper on the gallon. It figures. We drove and stayed the night in Arizona. 

Early the next morning, September 30, 2000, we got back on the road. And, as usual, the head winds were fighting us all the way. Then we reached the New Mexico state line and had to move our clocks up an hour....that was no fun. It was better when we were going out west and setting the clocks we had to go forward. We began to see signs that warned of severe dust storms. Great. We didn't see any...but the head winds were bad enough.

tiger_truck_stop.jpg (46989 bytes)catt_and_tiger_1.jpg (31778 bytes)We arrived in Texas and were driving along and happened onto a truck stop with a road-side attraction...they had tigers! So, we stopped to see them. When we got into the place we discovered that the tigers were baby Bengal tigers and they were between 3 and 4 months old. If you gave them  a $10.00 donation they would let you get into the penned area with them and take a picture for you. Cool. You know I couldn't get in there fast enough. My regular visitors to this site knows of my life-long wish to pet a tiger...and now my wish was going to come true. The first person I thought of was Whisper, my friend...she knows more than anyone how much this would mean to me and I couldn't wait to tell her.

catt_and_tiger_3.jpg (23596 bytes)catt_and_tiger_2.jpg (35281 bytes)I didn't think about it until I saw the pictures of my experience with the cubs, but I still had on my fanny pack...and I wear mine under my clothes and when I looked at one of the pictures I looked you know I'm not. So, if you see that I look out of proportion there, you know why. I hate to carry a purse and when I use a fanny pack instead, I like to wear mine under my clothes... I always have.

I am very paranoid about my purse and my fanny pack. Anyway....that look of surprise you see on my face is totally genuine...I could not have posed that good. The cub was chewing all over my legs and worked his way up until he found 'flesh' didn't hurt a bit, but it did surprise me. The owners of the cub had no idea that I had two artificial legs and thought it was hurting me. By the time I told them that I couldn't feel a thing it found my butt. 

I never entertained the idea of owning a tiger....I don't want the enormous responsibility or the food bill....but I did see that the owners would have sold these two for a cool $65,000.00 each. Can you imagine? 

Oh, and before I forget, when we first came into Texas we were able to look right across the field and see the Rio Grande and the country of Mexico. 

Anyway....we drove some more and at nearly 9:00 pm we called it a night, found our trusty KOA, and pulled in for the night registration. Well, we had a moment right out of the 'Twilight Zone' soon as Les got out of the van he noticed all the bats flying around. They were huge....I mean, we know that everything is big in Texas...but 'come on....Then we remembered that we weren't that far off from Carlsbad Caverns. Plus, as Les reached the night registration area a really friendly black kitty came up to him and rubbed all over his legs. What a weird moment that was...bats, cats....

On October 1, 2000 we spent the entire day driving across Texas. It took us xstandard1.jpg (5671 bytes) about 14 hours of straight driving...and the night before we had already driven into Texas about 100 miles. Texas is a big state...with big bats and big steaks. Oh, and along the way we saw some strange looking things...'tornado shelters'....made of metal, that you can buy. I had never seen anything like that before. But, what a brilliant idea. We saw several places along the way that had these things. 

We were pretty tired at the end of this day....we didn't get to a campground until about 10:40 pm. We were close to Shreveport, Louisiana

Early the next morning we were back at it again. We were going to do all that we could to get home. We had to drive through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and then reach South Carolina. Whew! 

But you know what, we did it! And at around 1:35 in the morning we were in our driveway. It took about 15 and a half hours of driving to do it, but we did it! All total, we drove 5,325 miles during this vacation.

And we were not prepared for our reaction to being looked huge to us....our house is not a small one, as it is...but it looked downright huge. We hadn't realized that staying in a little camper and a van for 11 days would make everything else seem so big. We kept going room to room in disbelief at how large our home seemed. I ran into the bathroom and was thrilled to learn that I finally had a huge bathroom. You saw the pictures of our camper bathroom....need I say more? 

spoon_destruction.jpg (10297 bytes)

All in all the house and everything in it was in tact....I missed Cecil and Simon. And apparently Simon missed me a little more than he should have. I was stunned to see what he did in my kitchen. And I know it was Simon....Cecil does not do this sort of thing....but he chewed up and ate my wooden spoon...and did it have to be one of my favorite wooden spoons? You can see the spoon in the bucket...he never took it out, just ate it where it stood. 

We were home and we loved the trip. It was even better than we had ever imagined it would be. We got along really well together. We didn't listen to music, except for one tape in Oklahoma....after nearly 15 years together, we still had much to talk about. After a while we were just lying to each other...inventing stories and experiences that never took place. We had a great time laughing at them and inventing them. 

We would tell of the time we were on the Hoover Dam and it broke....carrying us right into Vegas...and that the water didn't destroy the city, but spared it. Then we won $50,000.00 and did not do the things with it that we planned to do. But, we did do some good things....adopting five Native American children and re-forming 15 hookers, finding them decent jobs and housing, and the rest went to charity......NOT....

What great fun we had!

And we'd do it again. Well, if we were still together. Almost three years after this awesome trip, Les walked out on me. He hit mid-life crisis and left me for a woman he met at work. 

Unfortunately, the man I'm with now doesn't like to travel and I no longer have my cute camper. It was repossessed during the divorce. So, my traveling days are over. It makes me sad to think about it, but I guess there's always a trade off, huh?


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