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.
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....you wouldn't think that a place like this would have a tattoo
artist. That is something that you would expect more out of 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.
immediately found exactly what I wanted....I knew the second I saw it that the
kitty was 'me'....John showed me a few more...so 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 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.
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 gas...so we gassed up...at $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 back....now 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.
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.
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 pregnant...lol...but 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'...lol...it 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'....as 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
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,
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
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 home...it 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?
in all the house and everything in it was in tact....I missed Cecil
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
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?