Two years ago when we travelled, we were ariving home on this day, but this year we’re roaming further east, into New Mexico. It’s cooler here, which is easier for a black dog to take, but damn it if there aren’t a bunch of vicious little star-shaped pods on the ground nearly everywhere we go.
And at the last stop, City of Rocks, another snake in the trail, and this time not the harmless variety but a Mojave Rattlesnake! That put a bit of a crimp on the hiking I tell you. Teresa and Nollind don’t have to worry about me (even though snakes are a new thing I’m pretty tuned into any creature’s “leave me alone” vibe) but they worry about Chico, and rightly so. He’s as liable to grab a rattlesnake as a ground squirrel, anything that moves he tries to put between his teeth to see if he can either kill it or eat it or both. He’s the kind of dog who gets the rest of us labelled as animals.
Okay, so I admit I’m getting a bit homesick, and road weary, but I try to show enthusiasm for new things. In Las Cruces we’re camped in an RV park that’s within walking distance of the town of Mesilla, an historic Mexican town that was part of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 making it part of the United States (or so the sign said). Chico and I don’t usually go along on shopping or dining excursions but Mesilla promotes itself as dog-friendly so along we went.
The shopping wasn’t bad, mostly wandering the narrow sidewalks past a bunch of very old buildings, but many other dogs walking the same route did make for a pretty interesting olfactory experience. We were only tied up twice (which I despise) outside a gallery and then a bookstore, and each time in the shade and for only a short time. Tolerable. When we walked into the front courtyard of Andele’s Dog House Restaurant I thought, good grief, we’ll be tied to these cement benches for hours while they eat and drink inside. Nollind went in while we waited outside with Teresa—odd—and when he came back out we took the walkway around the side, through the back drive and onto the rear patio of the restaurant. There we were—dogs—in amongst the Friday afternoon drinkers and diners. I think my jaw may have dropped a little…but only for a second.
Novelty aside, I wasn’t as enthused with the experience as Chico. People are so noisy when they gather in groups, especially when you put food and alcohol in front of them. Chico was enthralled and kept trying to venture to other tables to meet the neighbours and check for any dropped food. Of course, he never got further than the end of his six foot leash so Teresa and Nollind generously shared their basket of corn chips and plate of Mexican food (at least the parts that weren’t spicy) with us. I mostly hung out under the table, the same thing I do when we have people dining with us at home. There’s something oddly comforting about a low roof and human feet.
Two days ago they took us walking to a trail along the Rio Grande. My Spanish isn’t great, but I thought rio meant river. Apparently in these parts, rio means wide, sandy wash where dogs can run off-leash. Fine by me.