Cold Islands Off California and a Cold RV at an Animal Sanctuary

Books make adventuring comfortable. They take their readers to wild places, throw them into tumultuous situations, and put them in confusing predicaments ... while yet leaving them in [ostensibly] comfy reading chairs. RVs can make adventuring comfortable, too: they allow one to take a fully appointed home on the road. But RVs, especially when one “dry camps” (simply parks—with no services like water or electricity), still involve camping, paring life down. And there’s value in such paring. At least for me. Paring is part of the point of RVing.

Boat Dog and I pared it down just a little when we hit the road yesterday. Leaving the Bosun on the boat, we pointed Traveler north, headed to a Harvest Hosts stop: an animal sanctuary and rescue in East Texas. At Tiger Creek, I met many large cats, rescued foxes and pigs, and feathered friends who needed (and found!) a home at the sanctuary. Some of these animals had had a rough go of it until they found respite at this pretty, wooded reserve.

After the tour of the sanctuary, I settled into camp in an open field. Without running the generator, I didn’t have heat, so it got a little chilly as I opened T.C. Boyle’s When the Killing’s Done for a bookish trip to the windswept Channel Islands off the California coast. In the morning, Boat Dog gave me a look. When I checked, the temperature sat at 34 degrees. Boat Dog seemed to wonder why we’d camp in a place that required him to wear his coat indoors.

The chill made Boyle’s story of the rugged islands come to life. It also made me feel just a tad more grounded in the natural world. Sometimes, I think, I need that quite non-bookish zing of life in full, unfiltered, unedited “color.”

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