On the Road Again

Since Logan was more focused on how he handled the trip south (he knocked it out of the park!) than the actual journey, I thought I’d share a little from my point of view.

He mentioned it was good weather on the way down but, oh my, was it ever. We left home on Saturday around noon and it was probably at least 13 degrees Celsius. Now, you might think that would make us more inclined to stay home but, on the contrary, it is the perfect weather for loading up and heading out. Warm, dry, non-snowy weather makes things so much easier. And, even though I’m not really a big part of the packing up process, happy people means a happier me.

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Heading out at the crack of noon!

We got to Great Falls the first day and the good weather continued. It was warm all evening and through the night, meaning we could push out the big slide in the trailer, and Logan could have his couch. Even though having the couch doesn’t affect me directly, since he doesn’t usually share, a happier Logan means, well … you know the rest.

The good roads continued, but things got colder after Great Falls and T and Nollind just weren’t prepared to travel as far as was needed to get to somewhere warm. We drove to a little place just south of Salt Lake City, American Fork, on day two, and although the temperature wasn’t the -13 we’d driven through in central Montana, it did drop to -8 overnight and we had a very frosty walk on Sunday morning. It also meant that the big slide stayed in and my bed had to be moved to a new location. I was tired and, as you can see in the photo, climbed in before they had things arranged for the night.

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I consider myself a master at making do.

Las Vegas, as always, felt like we’d driven into another season. When you drop down out of the high country of Utah, the temperature increases as the elevation decreases, and by Vegas, it’s t-shirt weather (although I don’t wear t-shirts). We stayed at the Las Vegas RV Resort for five nights and spent a bunch of time in their little dog park. It’s pretty small for mid-sized dogs like us, but probably four times the size it was the last time we stayed there, and a great place for sniffing around and meeting the other RV dogs.

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Dog area at the Las Vegas RV Park.

When we left Las Vegas, I knew where we were headed. I could feel it. T and Nollind get a certain excited energy to them when we’re headed for … the desert. They love nothing more when we’re down here than parking out in what many people would consider “the middle of nowhere”. They filled the water tanks in Las Vegas, emptied the waste tanks, cleaned off the solar panels, and we were all set for a couple of weeks of boondocking.

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More desert prep. Long toenails are vulnerable on rock and hard ground.

It was late when we reached Quartzsite so there wasn’t time to find a proper campsite. Unlike an RV park, the BLM camping areas don’t have lights, individual campsites, or even proper roads, so it’s pretty hard to find a spot after dark.

Last year when we first arrived, we stayed at an area called Dome Rock and loved it, so Nollind rolled right through Quartzsite when we got there and continued west. After some discussion as to which “road” was best to leave the pavement via, we rolled into an open area and parked for the night, leaving everything hitched up so that we could move to a more permanent camp spot the next day.

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Heading out to move camp after our scouting walk.

There are three different parts to the Dome Rock BLM area and, in the morning, we walked the southernmost area, scouting for a good spot. In December, things aren’t very busy at Quartzsite so there were plenty to choose from.

We’ve been here since Monday morning in a camp spot near the end of the road and are settling into life in the desert. In case you’re wondering what that looks like, desert life is generally a happy mix of this …12-chico-memories-running

And this …12-chico-memories-chair

Until next time, Merry Christmas from the desert!

 

 

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Time to Go!

We dogs thought our departure for the south was scheduled for December 15 so I’ve been pretty relaxed about getting ready. Plenty of time. But the past couple of days there have been signs around the house and the farm that our departure is imminent. Horse sitters and house sitters coming by for their instructions, final visits with friends, boxes and bins appearing in every room.

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Farewell dinner with G and S.

With this terrific weather we’ve been having, the snow has all melted, we’ve been out walking in the fields to the west, and I thought the peeps might want to stick around for awhile.  But, not so much. I think they’re seeing it as a good weather window to get south, before the snow and cold returns. I heard T say that the roads are clear all the way to Arizona!

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Winter is taking a break.

Yesterday afternoon was the biggest sign yet, Sid got hitched to the truck and pulled closer to the house. Yikes!

So, last night, I quickly packed everything crucial.

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Priorities packed.

It’s Friday now and we don’t seem to be going anywhere just yet so I think there’s time to pull out my take-along list from last year. I was so much more organized. I guess that’s what happens when the date gets moved up by a week.

Anyway, best get to it. When T and Nollind are on a roll, things happen quickly, especially when the weather is cooperating. Talk to you from the road!

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Full moon on the prairie.

Winter Fun

Winter’s come early this year, and I’ve heard quite a bit of griping about it from the humans … it’s cold … it’s snowy … it’s slippery.  I say, it’s winter! It comes every year so I’m really not sure why they’re surprised or upset by it. Living where we do, it’s inevitable that it’s going to turn cold and snowy. Winter will arrive. No question. It’s just the when and how.

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A snowy start to November. This was on the 2nd.

In my opinion, just between you and me, my humans have gotten soft from their winters in the south. The first few inches of snow, the first day the thermometer drops to -10C (14F), they’re ready to head for the deserts of Arizona. They used to be a pretty hardy pair—skating in twenty below weather, skiing into backcountry huts, attending outdoor New Year’s Eve parties, rolling in the snow when hot-tubbing—all kinds of winter adventures. They’re still adventurous, just less so if it involves getting cold.

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One of many winter adventures.

And I hate to say it but my old pal Logan is getting that way too. Well, you read his blog last week, Point Me South. He’s gotten soft in his old age. We went out for a short walk today and he was trying to pull all four feet off the ground at once. It didn’t work, in case you’re wondering. I have to confess that I also pulled a paw out of snow today when it was hurting, but just for a few seconds, and just the one. I hope T didn’t see or she might put me in the dreaded boots. I hate those things.

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Look ma, all four feet on the ground.

I’m usually pretty much a “live life to the fullest” kind of guy, and winter is no exception. In fact, I find snow kind of magical. One day there’s dirt and rocks and grass, the next they’ve all disappeared and there’s this wonderful fluffy stuff to run and roll and play in. What’s not to like?

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Enjoying a winter walk.

 

And early snow means we’ve had a couple of ski days already. I don’t ski, of course, but T does and it means we go farther and faster and it’s all off-leash time for me. She tried the leash thing once but it was a bit of a disaster. I kept pulling her over. T’s been suffering with a nasty cold, but as soon as she’s better, we’ll be back out in the fields with the skis. Sadly, Logan can’t join us this year. The deep snow is just too hard for him.

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Skiing west of the farm.

That’s the part of winter I’m not liking, watching my buddy struggle. We went out with T and Nollind to take down the horses’ temporary fall pasture fence. I went off exploring the south end of the pasture into the deep snow and Logan followed me. It was tough going because there was soft snow covered with a crust with more soft snow on top of that. He actually got stuck, marooned in this big expanse of deep snow. They had to go and rescue him with the Kubota. I’ll be more careful where I lead him next time.

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Staying on the path made by the Kubota.

Merriam-Webster defines winter as three things:

  1. The season between autumn and spring comprising in the northern hemisphere usually the months of December, January, and February or as reckoned astronomically extending from the December solstice to the March equinox.
  2. The colder half of the year.
  3. A period of inactivity or decay.

Number 1 is technically correct, Number 2 is closer to the truth in Canada, but Number 3 makes no sense at all. Inactivity? Winter is definitely not a period of inactivity, or it certainly doesn’t have to be. Let’s go play in the snow!11-chico-winterfun-chico