Gone Camping!

I apologize if I scared anyone with my blog absence last Fur-iday. People do wonder about a guy my age when they don’t hear from me. It’s understandable. But … still here!

On Fur-iday last week I was in the land of no cell phones or internet. I was, get this, camping! None of us thought I was up for any camping this season. From my perspective, it seemed like a whole lot of effort just to be cold. From my peoples’ point of view, a few days in the hills wasn’t worth putting up with a pacing, pooping pooch in a small space.

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Who me? Camping?

The first change that made it possible was something we’ve all been waiting for for a dozen years. I have no explanation as to why but car/truck travel is seeming a lot less of a big deal recently. It’s still not my favourite activity, but no more morphing into a panting, pacing maniac that nobody wants to travel with. I’ve learned to ride it out.

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Drug-free travel.

The other thing is that I’ve been sleeping better at night, even in the house sometimes. Again, not sure how it’s come about but it’s such a relief for all of us. They still keep a light on for me and I appreciate it, but the night terrors have faded.

So, back to the camping trip. Our friends G and S were headed to Kananaskis Country and, in light of my recent normalness, Teresa and Nollind decided to hitch up Sid and join them. I can’t say I was thrilled initially. I’ve become quite comfy in my new dog yard. I’m working on my twentieth (or is it twenty-first?) den, I have the full spectrum of sunny versus shady places to nap, there’s a resident prairie dog to keep in check, and so much to observe in my half-acre paradise. But I try to be a team player, so did my best to look enthused about the journey and not get bogged down in the worries.

Worry #1, Travel Anxiety – Even though I’ve been travelling better recently, I’ve only been on short drives, so I wasn’t sure how a three-hour journey would be. But, I started the camping adventure off strong with the most relaxing drug-free vehicle travel I’ve ever experienced. So much for Worry #1.

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Matching Chico’s cool. Panting only because it was a hot day.

Worry #2, Being Cold – The first evening at dinner, I was treated to a padded bed, a pillow, and an afghan. This good fortune and pampering continued through the weekend. Nix Worry #2.

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Afghan hound.

Worry #3, Being Trapped in Sid All Night – I had my couch, I had a jacket, the light was on. What more could an old dog want? Forget Worry #3.

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Tucked into my couch for the night.

Worry #4, Missing Out on the Hiking – Okay, this one actually happened, and it was a bit of a drag. Chico came back to camp telling stories of his lake walks and, although I’d enjoyed my nap time, I did feel left out. Worry #4 realized.

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Hiking without me. Smiling through their pain.

But, one out of four is not bad on the worry metre. I was a pretty contented canine … until Saturday night.

They thought it was Saturday morning’s pancake breakfast, but I knew different. I am just not a food sensitive kind of guy and I wasn’t going to be taken out by a flapjack. It was something else, something evil, that sent my digestive system into chaos. We’re just not sure what it was yet, or is. We’re still working it out.

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Yum yum. Pancakes!

So my camping adventure didn’t end as strong as it started, but I have no regrets. Mountain air, campfire time, pancakes with a little butter and syrup, and good friends. A word from the wise … when every thing and every time could be your last, savour every bite.

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They Call Me “Buzz”

Buzz … this seems to be my new nickname. I don’t entirely understand it but it seems to have something to do with the pills I was on during Wednesday’s drive from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. I felt great from start to finish. No shaking, no drooling, no racing heart. Cool as a cucumber for 420 miles. Teresa and Nollind found me incredibly amusing, and I wasn’t sure why until I re-read this start to my blog post that I wrote while travelling.

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Watching the world go by.

It’s a bit embarrassing but here goes …

Heeeyyyyy ….. duuuuudes. I’m writing to you from the road as it flashes by my window. Whoa! What was that? S’okay. It’s all good. Just a semi (that’s pronounced semm-eye in these parts) going past us. Man, those things clip along and you would be amazed at how many of them are on the road down here. Hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions! They usually scare the bejeezus out of me, but today, for some reason, they just look kooool as they stream past us. Whoa … there goes a red one! Niiiiice.

We’re on the road to Salt Lake City today, left sin city this morning because another high wind advisory was in the forecast. The peeps wanted to get on outta there and a bit further up the road toward home. I’m down with that. I’m cool—is that sausages I smell? Sausages … I would love, love, love some sausages.

See what I mean? This gives me a clue as to why I was a source of amusement for the humans. I think they expected the drugs to make me groggy, but it was more like the pills erased my fears and inhibitions. The truck travel was fun, the leash-less jog around the rest area with Nollind in hot pursuit was definitely a highlight, and food never tasted so good. I even put a carrot in my mouth (drugs or no, still not sure why Chico considers them food). The corn chips, cheese, and salmon, however, which were also part of lunch, were the best ever, and I’m not normally a fan of corn chips unless they’re doused in sour cream, and any kind of fish sits firmly in the “it’s okay sometimes” category.

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Morning walk near the Vegas RV park (before the drugs kicked in).

The pills are the same ones I took on the way south in December, the pharmaceuticals from my friend Dixie, but Teresa doled them out a bit differently on Wednesday. Instead of giving me the first one about an hour before setting out and letting the effects slowly wear off before giving me another, she kept feeding me half a pill every couple of hours (vet said I could have 2 ½ every 8 hours). Rather than getting sleepy and then back into full-on travel anxiety mode as they wore off, I just stayed in my happy place and was, apparently, quite funny.

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Thursday morning coming down.

We had a sunny walk along the Jordan River parkway yesterday morning, but then the rain began. The rain turned to snow further up the highway into Idaho and Montana so we’re here at the KOA in Salt Lake until tomorrow, waiting for the storm to clear out, before making a push for Canada.

Normally my anxiety would be building already with the idea of two more days of driving ahead of me, but Dixie’s little pill bottle still has a pretty good supply (thanks, Dix!). I think I’m good, almost looking forward to it.

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Courage in a bottle.

 

Having a Hi Jolly Christmas

It’s raining in the desert. It’s not that it’s never rained before when we’re here, but it’s a very rare thing. And when it does rain, it’s often just enough to wet the stones and make the creosote bushes smell a little. This rain was all night long and heavy. I know because you can hear it in the trailer much more than you can in the house. And this morning the smell from the creosotes was strong enough to knock out just about everything else, even for a sensitive nose like mine. Logan likes the rain, and the cool that comes with it. I’m more of a sun lover.

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The view out the living room window this morning.

We moved a couple of days ago, to another BLM 14-day camping area near Quartzsite. For those not familiar, BLM stand for the Bureau of Land Management. They’re the ones who manage the public/government owned lands here in the western United States. Back home in Canada we’d call it crown land.

This camping area is called Hi Jolly, after one of the early settlers. Apparently, his real name was Hadji Ali but the English-speaking folk of the area couldn’t quite wrap their tongues around it and it morphed into Hi Jolly. I can understand that. Every time I try to say anything in human it comes out the same—“woof!” My tongue and lips just won’t form words. So frustrating.

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Checking in at the Hi Jolly host site.

Hi Jolly was hired by the US Army as a camel driver. Yup, you read that right, a camel driver in the United States. It was part of an experiment in using imported camels to transport cargo across the American desert. The experiment was a failure partly because the army’s burros, horses, and mules were terrified of the camels and would panic. Equines are such skittish beasts.

Anyway, old Hi Jolly settled here at Quartzsite, and died here in 1902. And the camels? Many were sold but a few wily critters escaped into the Arizona desert and survived here until the 1930s. I wish they were still around. I’d love to see a camel. Unless it was the Red Ghost!

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Hi Jolly Monument at the Quartzsite Cemetery

In other news, my foot is healing well. This is terrific because it means I can soon lose the dreaded sock when we go out walking. At least Logan’s toddler socks are hidden inside his rather cool-looking doggie hikers. My stupid sock with the little football on the side is exposed for all to see, and here at Hi Jolly there are a lot more people around to see it.

Thankfully, during a walk in Quartzsite a couple of days ago, they left the sock behind, thinking the concrete sidewalks were unlikely to tear the new toenail. What a relief that was. I do love going to town and being amongst the humans and I don’t want to look like some bumpkin that forgot to put on the rest of his footwear.

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On this particular town outing, we got to go along for lunch at a restaurant. I love restaurants. I didn’t get a plate or a chair but there was shade and water and a few tidbits from T’s plate of fish tacos, beans and rice. It’s very common here to allow dogs in outdoor eating areas. One of the many things I love about travelling south in the winters. If I could just get them to order me my own plate of food. I like everything, so it’s not like I’d be hard to please.

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Lunch at Taco Mio. If you look closely you can see Logan off to the left. He has a weird thing about nesting under bushes.

It’s Christmas in a few days and T & Nollind have decided to stay here in Quartzsite. Apparently there’s a potluck they’re planning to attend at some outdoor pub. I sure hope I get to go along. Since it’s an outdoor place, I just might. Cross your fingers for me! In the meanwhile, I heard something about a Christmas movie or two, and, as you can see in the photo below, I do love movie nights.

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Logan and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! And don’t forget your dog this Christmas (if you have one). We love nothing more than being included in the festivities, especially when it involves turkey, or ham, or mashed potatoes with gravy, or pumpkin pie … oops, I’m drooling on the computer. Need a towel—gotta go—