I’d like to tell you Chico was wrong and I’m doing just fine, but I can’t. I’m just not sure the world explorer shtick is for me. I like being in the truck with my people and new places to walk are fun, but I just can’t stop shaking and panting when we start to roll down the highway. The panting makes me thirsty, the shaking turns my breakfast into purée and I don’t sleep for hours on end. By the time we get to our destination I’m dehydrated, exhausted and I have the runs. You can see why I might be questioning my aptitude for travel.
Las Vegas is a pretty good place for me. We go to the dog park every day which is only a five minute drive away. I barely get up to full panting speed and we’re there. But this year, on one of our last visits, I gave in to my urges and grabbed another dog’s tennis ball that had been rolling around on the ground. It didn’t taste like anything was amiss but it sent my digestive system into turmoil and now I’m getting some kind of white powder added to my daily meal. At home I drink from murky puddles in the paddock and chew on bones that have been rotting in the dirt for a month, but it’s a different deal down here, a whole new world of flora and fauna.
While waiting for the trailer to be repaired in Vegas, we went on a day trip over to Oatman, Arizona. It’s an old gold mining town up in the hills not far from Laughlin, Nevada, known for its eclectic nature and, oddly enough, its wild donkeys. Now the donkeys aren’t technically wild, since they were released by the miners when the mines closed in 1941, and they’re definitely not wild now as you can see in the photo, but they are free roaming and spend their nights out in the desert after a day of mooching alfalfa cubes in the streets of Oatman. Now although I’ve never actually met a donkey, I have heard about their aversion to canines, but this was all new for Chico. I think he figured they were just small horses with big ears and, before he had a chance to read the warning sign, he had two of them come over to check him out — closely. Hackles up, he shot out from under their curious noses, probably just in the nick of time, and kept his distance after that.
We’ve been out in the Arizona desert at Quartzsite since last Friday. Now this I like — quiet, some off-leash freedom around camp, daily walks that don’t involve trucks and busses roaring by like they’re bound for Indy, and day trips that include some kind of hike, like Wednesday’s walk up Q Mountain in Quartzsite or yesterday’s trip to Buckskin Mountain. We were at Buckskin Mtn State Park last year, and we hiked further, but I don’t recall the uphill feeling quite so steep or the day feeling so hot and thirsty. Probably just the current state of my bowels, nothing to do with my 11 years of age.
We spent time with some RVing friends on Sunday, Sue and Leon from Sacramento. We met them three years ago when they camped beside us at Fortuna Pond near Yuma. We spent about a week there together, sitting around the fire, playing ladder ball (the people, not the dogs, although I’m sure I could have managed what looked like a dirt simple game) and I liked hanging out under their motorhome. This year they were camped at Scaddan Wash just east of Quartzsite so we drove out for an afternoon of visiting with them and their friends Jim and Kitty.
While we were there I got an idea for a book I want to write: “1,000,000 Ways to Die on the Road”. Catchy don’t you think? I’ve always known about the dangers of simply riding in one of these machines humans have invented for getting around, but last year I found out that trailers can get blown over in a strong wind (not that it actually happened to us), and on Sunday at Sue and Leon’s I learned that propane tanks blow up. Seriously? We sit outside right next to the tank that powers the gas campfire, and two larger ones are housed inside a door at the front of the fifth wheel, and they could just blow up? And just what does that look like? I found out what it sounds like and I certainly didn’t enjoy that. There we were, enjoying the Arizona sun when KABOOM from some distant campsite. They thought it was probably someone’s propane tank exploding because, you know, that happens. Again…seriously?! Okay, so it’s extremely rare, but it makes me wonder what else they’re not telling me.
For now, things are all quiet in the desert, nothing exploding, nothing popping, banging, beeping or chirping, and so…I sleep.