Tag Archives: cats

Five Days on the Sonoma Coast

Here’s some pics and video from our longest run yet with the cats in the Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle – five days on the Sonoma coast from Bodega Bay to Fort Ross, coming back home on New Year’s Day.

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After another rough start with the cats (they still aren’t too keen on being trapped in the big, noisy moving house) and after cleaning up a messy episode with Pan, they eventually settled down for the journey.  We spent a couple of nights at the Bodega Dunes campground exploring the area on foot and finding a few geocaches by day.  On the following day we only ventured up the coast a few more miles and overnighted in an overflow area at Wright’s Beach.  We then continued on to visit Goat Rock to watch the crazy surf, check out the harbor seals at the mouth of the Russian River and hike out to the mammoth rubbing rocks.  We got to Fort Ross just before closing on New Year’s Eve and slipped in the exit gate to run around and check it out before they kicked us out.  On New Year’s Day, we started making our way back, watching for whales far off-shore as we made leisurely progress heading home via the Russian River valley.

The cats seemed to be doing well with slow speed travel and frequent stops and they definitely enjoyed a nice, extended lunch stop off-leash on some empty, grassy school grounds in Santa Rosa.  After five days in the traveling cat adventure vehicle, it was really going well and seeming like this was ready to work for extended trips.  Unfortunately, we had a bit of mishap just before getting home.  One of the solar panels came loose and started smacking around on the roof before we realized what was happening.  It broke free before I could get off the freeway and we ended up pulling over to assess the damage.  Before I knew it, Darlene was off running across the freeway to retrieve the lost panel and then we attracted a highway patrolmen who came over to scold us (and see if we needed assistance).  The noise and drama was all quite traumatic for Pan and a lousy ending to an otherwise promising start to future extended traveling cat adventures.  (And of course now I need to redo the solar panel installation.)

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The Mighty Roar of Pan

 

Beware the mighty roar of Pan!

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Seven Years of Pan’s Antics

I’ve finally edited together numerous videos of Pan’s antics, dating back to June of 2009.  Enjoy!

Pan’s Antics (3.7 minutes, 75 MB)

If you need to see more of Pan (and who could blame you?), here’s some early photos and video of him from his first few months with me.

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The Tower of Frustration

Hera experiences The Tower of Frustration (90-second video, 36 MB)

Heard of the Tower of Terror?  How about The Tower of Frustration?  (Otherwise known as the CatIt Senses Food Tree 2.0.)  Seemed like a cool idea since Hera is constantly bugging me for food or treats.  Not surprisingly, Pan wasn’t interested in it all but then he doesn’t really care about food or treats.  Hera, on the other hand, went at it with gusto and almost immediately knocked it over – and scored some treats!

I then braced it while continuing to film her initial efforts and added some weights afterward so I could leave it unattended.  It was clear she had great difficulty with “paw to eye” coordination, looking at one level of the puzzle and reaching blindly elsewhere. After her initial 30 minutes of frustrated efforts she completely gave up on it and I couldn’t get her interested any more.  Over the subsequent weeks, she would still cry for treats as usual but would never make any more effort to extract them from The Tower of Frustration, despite any prodding or just leaving them out, tempting her 24/7.

I eventually gave up as well and gave it away to Kathie and Dave.  Looks like their Penny has absolutely no trouble with it!

Penny’s got this down! (40-second video, 15 MB)

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Pan and Hera

It’s been quite a while since I’ve put up a gallery of Pan and Hera pictures, so…

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Little Cat House on the Coast

After Thanksgiving day, Darlene and I loaded up the Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle and headed down the coast south of Monterey.  My intention was for us to stay a couple of nights at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park campground, but I forgot it was still closed from the impact of the Soberanes fire earlier this year.  D’oh!  So we kept heading south as the sun set (there’s no overnight parking allowed along the highway here), passing several alternate, full campgrounds until we found space at the San Simeon State Park campground.  We walked to the beach in the rain the next morning before heading out, stopped to let the cats out for a scary adventure when the rain let up later, caught a tour of “Nitt Witt Ridge” in Cambria and made it to Morro Bay by nightfall.  On Saturday night, the campgrounds were full so we found a nice out-of-the-way spot to boondock for the night. On Sunday, we visited the bay, the rock, the natural history museum and the Monarch butterflies before heading home in the evening up 101.

      

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Little Cat House in the Forest

Just some pictures from another little overnight excursion with Pan and Hera in the Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle, this time in the redwoods of Butano State Park.

 

We’re slowly building up to longer outings with them and they do seem to be adapting to it as a second home.  They’re also learning to go out for a little exploration in their harnesses.  Hera’s become quite the little explorer while Pan is still pretty nervous and reluctant.   Neither of them are happy about being in the vehicle while it’s in motion though.

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Little Cat House on the Beach

Just some pictures from our first real excursion with Pan and Hera in the Mobile Cat House (aka, Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle).  To the beach (Waddell Beach) for Sunday afternoon and evening:

 

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Mobile Cat House

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Holy cat snacks!  I bought an RV!!  To be otherwise known as the Mobile Cat House, Traveling Cat Camper, Cat-Assisted Adventure Van, Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle?  The idea here is to be able to take extended road trips and bring the cats along so that I don’t always have to make arrangements for a cat sitter.

I wanted something small enough to be able to take most anywhere (cities, state/national parks, even dirt roads) and yet large enough that the cats won’t go stir crazy and hate it.  Darlene and I intend to use it mostly, if not always, “dry camping” (or “boondocking” without hookups for water or electricity); in other words, our intention isn’t to travel to RV “resorts” or campgrounds.  We’ll prefer being able to camp out on open national park, forest service or BLM lands.

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Now if this wasn’t mostly about being able to bring the cats along, I’d definitely go for a compact 4×4 Sprinter van conversion that would allow us to go anywhere we would have previously gone and still easily fit in city parking spaces. However, to better accommodate the cats (it is the Traveling Cat Adventure Vehicle after all), I eventually settled on the somewhat wider and longer Leisure Travel Vans “Unity 24TB” (Twin Bed) model, built on the Mercedes Sprinter diesel-powered chassis.  It’s a little wider and longer than a normal Sprinter van and thus a “class B+ or C” but it should still be reasonably manageable both in the city and in the wild.  Unfortunately, there aren’t yet options for electric drivetrains on campervans and motorhomes, but they’re coming.  Mercedes-Benz may well have an all-electric option for its Sprinter chassis in a few more years.

While the Leisure Travel Vans build lacks somewhat in some of the technical features I wanted, many of those aspects can be upgraded after the fact.  The rest of the craftsmanship, aesthetics and build quality are fantastic.  (I’ve posted my shopping/comparison notes here from my RV/campervan selection process as a sort of a review of what’s available that might be helpful to others.)

Anyway, I found and bought this only very slightly used 2016 Unity from a previous owner in Montana, with just 3100 miles on it, before I drove it the 1250 miles back home.  It was great to find a relatively new used one, to avoid the immediate depreciation hit of buying new and also to skip the 6-8 month long backlog for new orders.  Leisure Travel Vans are hard to come by and dealer’s orders seem to sell immediately.  I wasn’t even able to look at one in person anywhere in California.

It remains to be seen if Pan and Hera will adapt to taking extended road trips in their new Traveling Cat House.  If it doesn’t work out with the cats, I’m sure it’ll still be a fun adventure and it should be easy enough to sell again if I find it’s not something I want to keep.  In the meantime, there’s a number of changes and upgrades I’ll be making to the Traveling Cat House which I’ll document here, RV Tips, Upgrades and Customizations, to hopefully help out others like myself.

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Cat Boxing Demonstration

Pan and Hera Demonstrate Cat Boxing

Cat Boxing Demonstration by Hera and Pan

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