Home for the Holidays

It will be a different kind of Christmas this year … no desert … no Logan. The four of us spent the past two Christmases in and around Quartzsite, Arizona—exploring the desert, lying in the sun, lounging by the Little Red Fireplace. This year we’ll be here in Alberta, and just three of us, unless you count the horses and cats who bring our number up to ten.

Christmas Day last year at Dome Rock BLM (Logan in his favourite spot).

Logan was always the ringleader when it came to opening gifts, being a greater lover of toys than I am. Last year it was a little candy cane squeaky thing. Silly, but he loved it. No matter his age, he never lost the enjoyment of something that squeaked or grunted or otherwise made a sound between his teeth. I inherited a whole basket of the goofy things. I hope T and Nollind give me a bone for Christmas this year. I prefer quiet deliciousness to noisy tastelessness.

Logan with his Christmas toy.

We’ve been out walking in our winter wonderland every day since the snow came. T started out in boots when the snow cover was light, moved up to snowshoes after a dump, and now she’s back to just boots with all the Chinook melting that’s happened this past week or so. For me, it’s four paws all the time, although I wished I had some doggie snowshoes on those deep-snow days. On the plus side, I’m looking svelte, fitting up my near-ten-year-old body for the winter adventures to come.

I keep up just fine on the hard pack.

And by winter adventures I mean Canadian winter adventures, the kind with snow and sunshine and, yes, sometimes cold. T and Nollind had been planning to take us south in early December, then mid-December, then just after Christmas, and then early January, but they’ve decided we’re staying home entirely this year. Sounds like there are a few reasons why, not the least of which is the old horse, Nevada. He’s had some health issues since the end of summer and T wants to be here to care for him on a daily basis. She thinks he needs her right now, and she might be right. I see the way he looks at her every afternoon when she goes out to give him his extra feed and supplements, like she’s just saved his life yet again.

Home on the range

Logan almost kept us home last year but Nollind built him a ten-foot ramp and we were off to the south. Maybe he could do the same for Nevada? Instead of the Fang trailer behind Sid we could haul a horse trailer.

The ramp that made it all possible last winter.

But, since I don’t think that will happen, I’m settling in for a Canadian winter—putting energy into growing an extra layer of fur. I’ll be fine. I actually like snow, as you might remember from my I Love Snow post this spring. And, as much as I miss Logan, there are more frequent adventures and long walks in my days as a solo, easy-travelling dog. Life is good.

Making my version of a snow angel.

I’ve heard talk around the house that we might even head out for some winter camping to places like the Cypress Hills and Kananaskis. In our first trip south in 2011, we spent some time camping in the snow in Utah and northern Arizona. Playing in the snow during the day and tucking into a warm trailer at night? Sign me up!

Snow at Bryce Canyon in 2011

From my home to yours, or wherever you may be this holiday season, wishing you and your furry (and non-furry) family a very Merry Christmas!

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Meanwhile Three Months Later…

By Chico

It’s been three months to the day that we set out from the farm in Alberta bound for the Arizona desert. And where do we find ourselves on this monthiversary? On that same road, but headed in the opposite direction.

Yesterday, we were walking through Cottonwood Canyon in Las Vegas, T talking about how she wished she’d worn her shorts. Today I’m rolling in snow.

We left Arizona Charlie’s RV park at 8 o’clock this morning and at our lunch stop at Parowan, Utah, I had a snow bath in a patch of clean stuff behind the restaurant / gas station. What a difference 5 hours and 5,000 feet makes!

You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t it a little early for snowbirds to be heading north? Isn’t there still a lot of snow back home?” Well, yeah, it is and there is, but we have a family member back home that we heard needed some canine cuddle time. So, off we go to the snow!

As you can see, I kinda like the stuff anyway.

We’ll be sending more updates from the road so stay tuned!

Home on the Range

We’re home! Got here last Sunday after what seemed like weeks on the road. I’m usually a pretty keen traveller but even I didn’t want to get back in the truck the last couple of mornings. It wasn’t really weeks long, just five days with one day of rest in the middle at Salt Lake City. We just didn’t have any of our signature long stops toward the end of the trip and I think we were all getting tired of moving camp.

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Jordan River Parkway near the Salt Lake City KOA.

Logan told you we were going to spend two days in Salt Lake City but it ended up being just one…and a half. With our campsite at the KOA backing onto the Jordan River pathway which led to an off-leash park, I would have been happy to stay for a week. However, on Fur-iday afternoon we set out for Idaho Falls, just a few hours up the road. It was an easy drive but a tough night. We parked at a Walmart and it was the noisiest place we’ve ever camped, and we’ve camped at Walmarts and truck stops before. Even with the little orange things stuffed in her ears, I don’t think T got much sleep that night.

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Jordan River Parkway off-leash and a flying dog!

Early Saturday, groggy from lack of sleep, we were on the road again, through the Rockies, to Great Falls for a shopping stop. There’s a store called North 40 where T likes to shop for the horses on her way home. This year it was temporary posts for the electric fence and dewormer. I think they may have preferred a bag of those apple wafers, but she knows them better than I do.

Less than an hour north of Great Falls we stopped for the night at the Teton River rest area. Terrific spot, lots of space for walking, not too close to the highway. We were the first ones there in the early evening but, by sunset, we had a bunch of RVing neighbours, mostly Albertans headed home from their snowbirding winter.

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Teton River rest area for the night.

I think I was still half asleep when Nollind boosted me into the truck the next morning, the sun barely a glow off to the east. Lucky for me, I can go right back to sleep on my bed in the truck. Logan had been given his pill about an hour before so he was also ready for a nap. It is such a treat to have him sleeping next to me rather than pacing around, sitting on me, and covering me in drool. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the guy when he’s like that, but after six years of being his travelling companion, I`m ready for something different.04-Chico-range-truck-sleeping-1

I wouldn’t mind trying one of Logan`s little travel-better pills, just to see what it feels like. T and Nollind think I’d turn into a puddle, but I`ve got a pretty sturdy constitution. I bet I could pill old Logan right under the table!

It always feels good to come home after months away, especially when the snow is gone and the day is warm. We rolled in around two o’clock and Logan and I immediately went to work chasing the gophers who’ve set up house in our yard. I seem to have picked up a few extra pounds over the winter so I didn’t get any the first day, but by Tuesday I was back on my game and grabbed a big one in the barnyard.04-Chico-range-gopher-1

What do I like best about home? Might be time for another Chico’s Top 10, but I’ll save that for next time and leave you with this song by Alberta’s own Ian Tyson. We travel to a lot of awesome places, but there’s nothing quite like an Alberta sky.