A journey home and univited guests

When I accepted my current volunteer position, I included plans to travel home for the holidays. Mid December came and I set about getting the RV closed up for the few weeks I wouldn’t be living in it. Basically this entailed eating the remaining food in the refrigerator/freezer along with giving the insides a thorough cleaning. With the refrigerator empty, the water disconnected, the battery disconnected and the slides brought in, Aria and I set off on our 1,754 mile journey home.

Driving in a car for three days with only a dog to talk with, gives one plenty of time to contemplate things. I enjoy driving at my pace though the country. This trip I thought about the many Indian reservations I drove through. I have always wondered what the thought process was of the United States government when it decided to allot land for the reservations to the various tribes. I know some were pushed westward during the Trail of Tears, while others had the boundaries of their lands reduced as a means to confine the Native American population. Each reservation’s land has a beauty all its own. In my opinion, the San Carlos Apache Reservation and the White Mountain Apache Reservation have the prettiest land with spectacular views. I love the soaring pine trees and rolling meadows of gold. While just to their north the Navajo and Hopi tribes have lands that appear to be mostly dust and buttes. The tribes in southwest Oklahoma have rolling plains while the Cherokee Reservation in northeast Oklahoma has rolling hills and dense forests. It seems to me that the tribes located in areas between the Apache and Cherokee would have a rough time existing on the lands they have.

Another realization came to me during this trip, I have driven the route multiple times and didn’t realize until this trip that I drive through a lava field that rival those black fields on the Big Island of Hawaii. You will find this along I-40, about 80 miles east of Gallup, NM. I think these lava fields may be older than those of the Big Island, because prairie grasses and other plants have taken root and hide the lava field from the casual viewer. The Forest Service maintains the El Malpais National Monument, which covers this area. This may be a destination for a future trip.

Three weeks later I returned to the RV to find the batteries dead and uninvited guests. I expected to come back to dead batteries as they have been losing power gradually. I was surprised to find that a mouse had decided to set up residence under the kitchen sink. I did not see the mouse, but determined he had a liking for my paper towels and food with peanut butter. He ate my last Little Debbie Nutty Buddy and got into a new bag of Aria’s peanut butter & blueberry treats. I cleaned the RV of his droppings and where it looked like he was building a nest with the paper towels. I put the food in spots I was sure he couldn’t get to, like the microwave. The next morning he had again chewed up the paper towels, so I took a trip to the store to get groceries and mouse traps. I put peanut butter on three traps and set them in areas I was sure he would find them.

I didn’t hear anything that night and decided to check the traps in the morning. Two of the three traps appeared to be untouched, while the third it appeared that he had licked the peanut butter off the trap. Great, I have a smart mouse! I put on more peanut butter and set the trap again. Before bed, I could hear the mouse, I just couldn’t catch sight of him. I went to bed.

In order to get the gate open before sunrise, I set my alarm for 6 am. It went off, I turned it off and rolled over to snooze a little more. I heard a sound and thought maybe somebody was knocking on my door for me to open the gate. I looked out the window but didn’t see anybody. Then I heard THWACK! I knew one of the traps just went off. I caught my mouse. After disposing of him, I decided to check the other two traps. The one that had been licked clean was again licked clean. The trap had been triggered but the trap part had gotten stuck on the cabinet framing under the sink. This must have given my smart mouse over confidence when he approached the other trap. I was surprised to see the third trap had also gotten a mouse.

I searched under the RV for possible entry points. I found two spots where the protective flexible tubing for wires had split open. I sealed the openings with duct taped. I think one of these openings was the way that the mice got in. Both sets of tubing terminated at locations under my kitchen sink area. I set traps again, in case there are more. I am hoping that there were only these two.

What have I learned? Mice can get into an RV. My phone is very handy to see in spots I cannot see. I reach in and take photos and then look at those. I think I need to find one of those wireless endoscopeĀ like in this YouTube review on Road Gear Reviews. The trip home was good, but cold. I guess these past months have turned me into a weather wimp.

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