WWLD – A Tribute

We’ve crossed paths with a lot of great peeps in our travels, and our California friend Leon is right up there at the top of the list. Partly because he brought Sue and her endless supply of treats, but also because he was just one of those kind and gentle human beings that we dogs are drawn to.

Hangin’ at “The Pond”

We first met Leon back in 2012 on our first big RV adventure in the desert. We were boondocking at a little lake called Fortuna Pond near Yuma, Arizona. “The Pond” is a popular spot for snowbirds because you can park right beside the water … and it’s free!

That cowboy hat in the background would become very familiar.

Fortuna was pretty crowded when we arrived but, after consulting a Washington couple on how comfortable they were with us parked off the nose of their rig, we pulled in close to them, leaving enough room for maybe one small trailer between us and the next camp.

A couple of days later, we were off exploring the area and, when we returned, there was not one, but two good-sized motorhomes squeezed into the space we thought barely big enough for one. As it turned out, it was lucky for us these particular Californians were handy at fitting into small spaces because one of those motorhomes belonged to Sue & Leon and the other to their friend Rick.

There goes the neighbourhood!

That week at Fortuna was filled with many games of ladder ball, a few alcoholic beverages (the peeps not us), and many a campfire tale with our new friends (along with a few unsanctioned visits to Sue’s place for snacks). It was tough to say goodbye when it came time for the next leg of our journey, but we drove off confident we’d see our friends again.

Saying goodbye … or rather, “See you again soon!”

And we did, a few years later in Quartzsite when we visited their camp at Scaddan Wash. And then again the following year, when they invited us to camp with them at Ogilby Road near Yuma. We had such a good time those ten days and the fun continued when they joined our camp a few weeks later at Wickenburg.

The camp on Ogilby Road.
No doubt imparting some wisdom as Nollind hitches up Sid.

You may be wondering about the title of this blog, WWLD. You see, Leon was like an RV sage, all knowing, ever wise. He’d been RVing for years, had spent a lot of time off the grid, and there wasn’t a trick he hadn’t picked up, a shortcut he didn’t know about. So, when T and Nollind are stuck, they always ask, “What would Leon do?” At Ogilby, my peeps were ready to start adding to the propane tank system on Sid until Leon wandered over to have a look and ask a few important questions. Turned out the system already had the thing they were going to install!

Leon taking his girl for a spin in Fang.
A fond farewell at Ogilby … but not for long as it turned out.

From my perspective, the answer to WWLD is put a beer in your hand, a smile on your face, and wander from camp to camp getting to know the neighbours. Leon would know a little about everybody within an easy sauntering radius, always having time to listen to a story or tell one. He loved campfire time like no one I’ve ever met, and even built a cozy surround for the sometimes windy desert evenings.

Campfire time at Vulture Peak near Wickenburg, AZ.
The campfire surround set up at Ogilby Road.

We saw Leon the winter before last when we joined their camp at Scaddan Wash in early February. He seemed to be slowing down a little but still had that same sparkle in his eye, that same love of a good story.

Another winter, another gathering at Quartzsite.
A couple of old boys sharing a drink at Scaddan Wash in 2018.

Leon lost his battle with cancer a week ago and the celebration of his life is tomorrow. If Sacramento weren’t so far away, we’d be there to tell our Leon stories. I have no idea how his friends and family will possibly fit all those tall tales into one short afternoon.

Always time for one more story…
And one last goodbye.

As for us, I’m pretty sure the next time we travel south the desert will feel a little emptier. But, we’ll enjoy a campfire, take a walk, get to know a neighbour … because that’s what Leon would do.

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Flashback Fur-iday – RV Time

One of the things I didn’t mention in my Cypress Hills blog post was how it felt to be RV camping without Logan for the first time. It was the first time for me and for T & Nollind. Logan joined the family in 2005 and Larry, the first RV, didn’t arrive on the scene until 2011, the same year I was adopted. So trailer time has always been a four-of-us activity.

This magnet lives on the front of the oven in Sid.

So, how did it feel? Well, like something was missing. Sure, it meant I could have the couch all to myself but I didn’t really want it. I like my “Dixie” bed (it was a gift from an old friend) and the couch just felt lonely, and cold. And I had to manage campground surveillance without my fearless leader!

Keeping an eye on things.

… trailers and motor homes mean vehicles driving by, people walking and, worst of all, other dogs! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like (well, until yesterday, which I’ll tell you about in a minute), but when they’re walking anywhere in the vicinity of my trailer, my people, or my campsite, I can get a little growly. I’m just reminding them to respect the boundaries I’ve set.

January 2017 – Head of Security

Logan’s surveillance photo of above-mentioned dog.

Logan was kind of a home-body, a topic for a future post, so he wasn’t entirely clear on the concept of driving an hour or two from home to camp.

It seems an odd thing humans do. They leave behind a perfectly good house with food and beds and a fully functioning bathroom to go and stay in a much smaller, less comfortable accommodation with more limited amenities. They call it camping.

June 2017 – Camping with Humans

What’s with this camping stuff?

But he did have a way of making the best of any situation, and discovering the joys in each place or activity.

Here I discovered the marvels of a pine forest and the enormous dog bed it creates. The prairie grass is nice but doesn’t have the pillow-top mattress feel of a forest floor with its many layers of detritus. Heaven. I used my man-made bed under the trailer at first but, once I discovered the giant mountain-made dog bed all around me, there was no going back. If only I could have brought some of it home to line my nests.

June 2017 – Camping with Humans

Discovering the joys…

We’d only stayed in Larry the RV for a few nights at T’s annual horse sale gig before we set out on our first big winter adventure. Living in a 25-foot trailer was an adjustment for all of us but Logan adapted quite quickly.

Below is where I live now and the yard changes every few days. It’s a nice little place, where the rules seem much more lax on where I can sleep, so I move between the couch and the bed when I’m home.

November 2011 – Hi, My Name is Logan

Learning to love RV travel.

RV living and being on the road have their challenges, and Logan was always quick to point them out.

Coming from a farm on the big flat of Alberta, it’s tough to be sandwiched into an RV park and restricted to peeing on one small patch of earth designated for that purpose. The plethora of canine odour that rises out of the sand is pretty enticing, at first, but even I have to admit the place rather stinks. That was life in Las Vegas.

February 2014 – Into the Desert

What we called the “pee park” wasn’t great but the dog park just down the road was a real hit with Logan.

But he also appreciated the good stuff and regularly commented on it.

We did 12 days in the desert near Quartzsite and then Bouse, boondocking, as they call it down here. It’s basically camping outside of an RV park or campground for no charge. Chico and I love boondocking — not enough water for baths, a lot more off-leash time, no being cabled to the RV whenever we’re outside, and lots of walking. You’d think it would be lonely but we actually seem to meet more people and dogs out in the desert than we do in the parks!

February 2012 – How do Dogs Live Down Here?

Our first experience of boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona.

Camping and RVing will never be quite the same without Logan, but I like to think that his spirit is there with us on the road, whether we’re camping a few hours or a few days from home. He wasn’t a great traveller, which I may write about another First Fur-iday, but he was a happy camper.

On the couch in Sid, one of his favourite spots.

Arizona Dreamin’

I was totally on board with T and Nollind’s staying-home-for-the-winter adventure.  Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter camping, making snow angels, and a healthy dose of cozy, indoor cuddle time all sounded like a good winter to me, but then the weather turned frigid. I enjoy snoozing in my dog bed as much as the next 10-year-old pooch but, two weeks later, cabin fever is setting in.

The good old days of December … snow + mild = fun.

When I enjoy this weather least is during my first-thing-in-the-morning constitutional, when I’m all warm and sleepy from bed and hit that minus-a-billion air that freezes my nostrils shut and makes me wonder how long I can hold it if I turn around and run back inside. The cats used to have an indoor bathroom but the peeps have never installed one for me. Pretty sure I’d figure out how to use it when the weather is cold like this.

So, I’ve been dreaming … about the desert, about long walks on bare earth, about lying in the Arizona sun, about Sid time. I didn’t think I’d miss it so much but I’ve realized that being outdoors is crucial to my feeling-goodness and there’s not nearly the outdoor time here in winter that we have when we’re snowbirding.

The picture of outdoor feeling-goodness.

That old expression, “There’s no bad weather just inappropriate clothing” has some truth to it, but the theory doesn’t really work for a dog who dislikes wearing clothing. My replacement would be something like, “There’s no bad weather just inappropriate planning.” In other words, there’s no winter weather two or three days of driving can’t fix.

Warmer … but I still hate clothes.

In case you’ve never been to Arizona in winter, and are wondering what I’m talking about, here is a little side-by-side photo comparison…

Below left: Feb 2018 = Sleeping just outside the door, luxuriating in the sun.
Below right: Feb 2019 = Sleeping just inside the door, sulking because it’s cold.

Below left: Feb 2018 = Where are we going today?!
Below right: Feb 2019 = Can I just stay in bed?

Below left: Feb 2018 = A hug because she loves me.
Below right: Feb 2019 = A hug because I was shivering and lifting my paws.

Below left: Feb 2018 = Appropriate clothing and looking happy.
Below right: Feb 2019 = Appropriate clothing and … well … apparently, clothing isn’t everything.

I’m going to hang onto this last pair of pics and start posting them around the house in the fall, just in case they get any crazy ideas about not going to the desert next winter!