Final Days on the Road

Another RV snowbird trip, my sixth, has come to an end. And it finished on a definite high note.

When last I wrote, we’d just moved from the dispersed camping area near Valley of Fire north of Las Vegas, and that spot made fourteen and a half straight weeks of boondocking. The reason this is significant is that boondocking means water rationing, rocky campsites, monitoring battery levels, finding places to drop off garbage, and other such off-grid camping necessities. Don’t get me wrong, we all love being “out there” but the humans do miss the luxuries of home after a time, like non-military-style showers, and we usually break up the winter with short stints in RV parks or campgrounds.

Looking down into the gorge from up top. Nope. I didn’t hike those stairs.

Nevada state parks are all first come, first served, and when we reached Cathedral Gorge State Park at around eleven in the morning, the sites were all full, other than two tiny, van-sized spots we had no hope of getting into. After our second time around the loop, just to make sure, we crossed paths with the ranger coming in to do his rounds. A lucky break, as it turned out. He directed us to a large pull-through site that was one of two sites set up for disabled campers. Paved, level, garbage disposal right in camp, and showers just steps away (on a paved path) from the trailer. The peeps were pretty excited, especially when the ranger told us we could stay in the site as long as we wanted. And we did. A full week! (That’s our camp in the banner image.)

Happy campers.

I didn’t try the showers, but apparently they were well worth the one- or two-quarter cost. And the scenery and hiking were worth the nightly fee. I tend to be more of a scents than views guy, but Cathedral Gorge is a spectacular little corner of Nevada. And in addition to its cathedral-like spires and slot canyons, there are three very cool communities nearby and three more state parks, all of which we explored during our week in the area.

I’d noticed T was sometimes homesick after we left Lake Havasu, but that disappeared when we got to Cathedral Gorge. It breathed a whole new life into her and we were constantly out walking around the campground or exploring the caves and canyons. At least we were until … the WINDSTORM.

Happy travellers.

It was a windy winter in general, with at least one wind advisory in every place we stayed, and many other windy days that didn’t quite reach advisory strength. But the wind at Cathedral Gorge was on a whole new level, especially in the blowing dust category. Holy sandstorm! The canyon looks like it does because of all the sandstone cliffs, which means there’s a lot of loose sand everywhere, and it was everywhere, a bunch of it inside the trailer after two days.

See all that sand just waiting to be relocated?

But we endured and got in one more hike around Juniper Draw on our last day. Between the hill climbing at Valley of Fire dispersed and the many walks at Cathedral Gorge, I was feeling pretty fit by the end of the trip, so much so that I passed Nollind and my chariot at one point on the trail. If it hadn’t been sunny and warm, I probably wouldn’t have needed a ride at all and it’s a 5+ kilometre loop!

On your left!

We spent two nights in Cedar City getting Sid ready to store for the summer, and the temperatures at 5,800 feet were a bit of a shock to all of us. My ramp became a slide after some overnight rain! Last Fur-iday morning, we dropped Sid at a storage place north of Cedar City and were on our way, homeward bound. It was a good thing I’d gotten used to riding in the front seat because there was no room in the backseat for me. We were filled to the roof with everything that needed to travel home with us.

One final night around the fire at Cathedral Gorge SP.

After two days of driving and one night in a motel in Idaho Falls, we were across the Canada/US border and home. I didn’t leap out and zoom around as I’ve done on other arrivals home, but I was pretty excited in my old-dog way. There is truly no place like home, especially when you’ve spent some time wondering if you’re ever going to see it again, like I did when I was so ill back in December/January.

Hitting the road.

I am confused about one thing, though. How did our floors get so slippery while I was gone? Did someone polish them? But, more about that next time.

Valley of Fire, the Sequel

During our first trip south in 2011/12, we moved to a new location every three to five days, which means we visited a bunch of places. The stops I remember well typically involved something delicious to eat or some other doggy favourite thing. So when T and Nollind mentioned a return trip to a state park with red rocks that we visited on that first trip, well, it could have been any number of places.

Three young men out for a hike.

And then she showed me the photos, and it all came back to me. You see, most of the red-rock places we visited that trip were in Utah’s national parks and therefore the trails were off limits to canines. Sad, right? But in Nevada, just north of Las Vegas, we visited a state park called Valley of Fire where dogs were welcome to hike the trails (on a leash, of course). So we got a bunch of great photos of us dogs on the red rocks.

T was wondering how to get us up onto this ledge for a photo. Uh, no problem, we said.

My plan was to show you side-by-side images of us then and now, sans Logan, but there was only one spot where this was possible, at a roadside stop called “The Beehives” near the entrance to the park.

The other main activity of that day back in 2011 was walking a loop trail called White Domes. What none of us remembered, because it wasn’t important at the time, was how steep the trail is near the start and how deep the sand. This year I walked the first part of the trail until we got to the downhill over lumpy boulders into the canyon. I probably could have made it with some help from my peeps, but then I’d have had to climb up somewhere along the trail and the day was heating up, especially sandwiched as we were between the red cliffs on each side of the trail.

Anybody else finding it a little warm today?

So, we returned to the parking lot and walked the last part of the loop until we reached a tricky rock to climb down right next to a nice shady spot to rest. Shady rest stop it was.

My kind of hike these days.

There is nothing quite like returning to something you once did to make a guy realize just how much older he is and how much less he’s capable of. I’ve actually been doing really well lately. At our last camp, I hiked to the top of a steep little hill for the sunset view every evening and felt quite proud of myself. But that steep little hill would be nothing for the young dog who hiked in the Valley of Fire in 2011.

We’re in the last week of our journey now, camping in another of Nevada’s state parks. The desert is heating up, so my peeps brought me to a higher elevation where it’s cooler. The few days of hot weather back in Lake Havasu had me feeling pretty melty and caused my digestive system to start rebelling again. Since I know they enjoy warm evenings in flip-flops and shorts, I feel bad that it’s too cool up here at night for that kind of attire, but I appreciate how good they are to me.

Always in my corner.

If all goes as planned, barring snowstorms on our route, we should be homeward bound next Fur-iday. I’ll try to check in from the road!

Just Another Day on the Prairie

Back in 2011, when Logan and I started the Chico’s & Logan’s Great Adventures blog, we were just setting out on a five-month trip with our peeps, travelling by truck and fifth wheel trailer. It was all so exciting. Keep in mind I was just two with a fairly narrow life experience to that point. That trip opened my eyes to what a big and wondrous place is the world.

From enormous sand dunes to rolling blue water that went farther than my eye could see. From palm trees to giant cactuses. From the noise and lights of Las Vegas to the quiet, starlit nights in the Arizona desert. It was a journey of contrasts, new experiences, and adventures. We never lacked for stories or fun photographs to share.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and sleep more these days, or it could be the pandemic that’s kept us home a lot and other people away, but life is just not feeling very blog-worthy lately. How is an old dog living on a farm in Alberta the stuff of exciting stories?

T tells me not to worry, that all writers go through periods of low inspiration, that I still have stories to tell. I sure hope so, because I’ve so enjoyed my life as a blogger, sharing my adventures with all of you. And I hope that it doesn’t come down to sleeping, eating, barking, walking, and pooping! Although, now that I consider this list, I think I’ve blogged about all of those things. :o)

The planned adventure to celebrate a big anniversary I mentioned in my blog post two weeks ago didn’t happen. So, when last Fur-iday came along and I was still just hanging out at home, I couldn’t muster up the energy to blog about anything. Why no anniversary adventure you might ask? Well, it snowed. In fact, April generally seemed to want to be winter this year, which is usually March’s gig.

I tried to get Storm to write something this week, but he’s spending all his time seeking out blades of green grass. The horses are a little crazy for the stuff at this point in the season after eating dehydrated food all winter. But he did send along this photo, since he promised a coat update when he blogged back in March and he’s committed to an update from the field next Fur-iday.

Storm’s end-of-April look. Tune in next month …

From what I hear, I’m not alone in my current lack of general enthusiasm. Between the pandemic and the weather, many are feeling weighed down. But I am ever optimistic that spring is here to stay, that the next adventure planned for just over a week from now will go ahead, and that very soon things will turn a corner on this pandemic. We all just need to hang in there a little longer.

In the meanwhile, on this Fur-iday morning on the last day of April, I think I’ll take a nap in that sunbeam over there.