Wickenburg … Wow!

It was an eventful eighteen days in Wickenburg, even for us dogs who stayed home for the local dining, art shows, and horse events that T and Nollind enjoyed.

This was our fourth time visiting Wickenburg, and our third time camping in the area. I think it was love at first sight for T—the cactus, the mountains, the horses. It’s only an hour and a half from Quartzsite but the 1200 feet of elevation gain makes a big difference to what grows. This means lots of Saguaro and other types of cactus, more trees, and even grass sometimes, although this year it was very dry.

02-chico-wickenburg-desert

The desert near Vulture Peak.

 

And then there’s that horse thing of T’s. She enjoys being away from the seven-day-a-week responsibility of the horses, but I know she misses them, and Wickenburg is chock full of horses and horse people, most of them snowbirds just like us.

02-chico-wickenburg-onmatThis year, we were there for a horse-oriented purpose too, but without the actual horses. T’s new book, all about a Vancouver journalist who inherits her grandfather’s horse ranch in Alberta, has a major horse focus so she thought Wickenburg would be the perfect place to finish the first draft of the book. Turns out, she was right! She wrapped that up last Sunday.

The walking was fantastic, even the short Logie walks. After eighteen days, we were still finding new trails to explore from camp, most of them sandy and easy walking for my old friend. He loved it. And built himself this great den that he’ll probably tell you about at some point. I have to say, it was one of his best.

02-chico-wickenburg-loganden

Den under construction.

We had a huge amount of freedom around camp. In fact, Logan stayed outside most of the morning, and sometimes all afternoon, just hanging out in the sun, under the trailer, or in his den. He was one happy camper.

Nollind spent a bunch of time at the Starbucks in the Safeway about four miles from camp. You see, as great a place as it was for T to write her novel, it wasn’t so great for Nollind’s work that required internet. Cell reception, at least for T and Nollind’s service provider, is terrible at the Vulture Peak camping area. He tried a few in-camp solutions but finally gave in and drove to the Safeway every morning.

02-chico-wickenburg-cellservice

Looking for a cell signal.

Evenings were sunset and campfire time almost every day, even when it was chilly for a few days. I’ve really come to appreciate a good sunset, especially from the comfort (and warmth) of my camp chair and serape.

02-chico-wickenburg-chairtime

Sunset time.

There was, however, a bit of a hitch in our Wickenburg glory. I got sick. They think I might have picked up something at the dog wash place we went to in Surprise because I was sick a few days later. Monday was bath day, Wednesday I was feeling a bit off, and Thursday I was so hot I didn’t want to get off the floor and was barely able to eat my breakfast. Yes, of course, I still ate it. I wasn’t dead!

02-chico-wickenburg-sick

Thursday morning with T’s bean bag from the freezer.

When they took me to the vet in Wickenburg I just lay on the floor in the waiting area until it was my turn. I think I really worried T and Nollind when a woman came in carrying a tray of food and I didn’t get up. That cool floor just felt too good.

Not a big surprise, I had a fever, but the x-rays and blood tests didn’t show up anything else of concern, like a foreign object lodged somewhere, or a life-threatening disease, so they pumped me full of fluids and sent me home with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Not sure just what worked but I was feeling somewhat better after only a day and, a week later, I am feeling 100% … other than this itchy skin. They think I also had a reaction to the shampoo at the dog bath place. I don’t think we’ll be going back there.

The good news is that I recovered in time for one last Wickenburg adventure. On Tuesday, I got my first big ride in Fang! I’ve ridden in Fang a few times but just to scout a campsite or shuttle Fang in or out of a camping area. But this was a real ride, for miles into the hills near Vulture Peak, destination, a trailhead and a one-hour hike up to a viewpoint.

02-chico-wickenburg-fang

I don’t get a seat but my spot on the floor is pretty comfy with a great view out the side.

I was still a little draggy and the heat of the late morning was a challenge, but I wasn’t giving in and missing my big chance. I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure I scored myself a spot on future rides.

02-chico-wickenburg-ontop

View from the top.

We moved back to Quartzsite on Wednesday and are camping with our friends Sue and Leon until Sunday. Looks like it will be a few days of wieners, carrots, and hugs!

Advertisements

Two Minus One (Sometimes)

I knew it would come to this eventually. There have been hints for months now. A trip to the Strathmore Dog Park without Logan, an extra walk for just me here and there, but now it’s becoming the norm, doing things without my long-time buddy.

I don’t mind being an only dog on outings, I even got to sit in the front seat on one trip into Quartzsite, but I miss my wingman.  He’s been a good friend these past seven years, best dog friend I’ve ever had, maybe ever will.

01-chico-justme-threeofus

Heading into Quartzsite.

 

The first solo adventure was just over to Q Mountain in Quartzsite. It’s not a long hike, but it gets pretty steep, much tougher than Logan’s legs could manage. We were there together a few years ago and there was a 13-year-old dog doing the climb that we were all impressed with. At the time, I figured Logan would be matching that, and probably beating it! But I was wrong. His mountain climbing days are all but over.

01-chico-justme-qmtn

On top of Q Mountain.

 

The second solo outing was to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. There’s a rock spiral that someone has created in the desert, what’s considered by some to be “desert graffiti”. I thought T and I were going to have to walk the entire labyrinth to get to the centre, but it had rained the day before so, when we got to the rings with mud, we cut across to the middle. If he’d been there, Logan wouldn’t have waited for the muddy part, he would have cut right to the centre with Nollind.

 

A little further up the same road is the trailhead for Palm Canyon. From the parking lot, it’s about a half mile uphill walk into the canyon where you can see the palms growing. Fan palms are the only palm tree variety that is native to Arizona and you don’t see them growing naturally in a lot of places. This was another hike we did a few years ago when Logan was just eleven. He aced it back then, was hardly tired by the end. A lot has changed in three years.

01-chico-justme-trail

Water stop on the Palm Canyon Trail.

 

Here at Wickenburg, there is a bunch of great hiking right from camp and in all directions. With Logan’s weakened condition, I was a little worried I wouldn’t get out to do much exploring but, every second day, after the morning’s half-hour walk with Logan, we drop him off at the trailer and continue on in another direction. The first day it was just a long walk through some washes. The second was a trip across the road to the gun range and up over the hill that’s there. And yesterday was the best yet. We climbed the hills to the east of us and could see the whole Wickenburg valley down below. Can’t wait to see where we might go tomorrow.

01-chico-justme-viewpoint

Looking toward Wickenburg.

 

What’s good is that Logan doesn’t seem to mind too much. He’s tired by the time we get back from our first walk, ready for some couch time. He’s probably doing a little inner dance of joy when the trailer door closes with him on the comfortable side of it.

But it won’t be the same. T and Nollind are great but they miss the best part of our excursions … the smells! I’ll look up at them like, “Hey, check this out!” but they just carry on up the trail without even a making an effort to pick up the scent. Logan would have had his nose pushed right in there beside mine.

01-chico-justme-nose

The humans miss so much.

 

Back at the trailer, things are a lot like they always have been. Me and Loges, barking at intruders (like the two dogs that showed up in camp this morning), playing with squeaky toys, doing tricks for treats, hanging by the evening campfire, and napping on the floor.  And for that, I’m grateful. I see what’s happening, and I know I can’t stop it, so I’ll just savour every moment, every day, that we get to walk, or nap, side by side.

01-chico-justme-twoboys

Shared nap space.

 

A Good Kind of Different

This winter makes five that we’ve loaded up truck and trailer and headed south to the desert. The first was supposed to be a one and only, but it was just so much fun that we did it another four times and there seems to be no plan to stop anytime soon.

Works for this dog. I love the sun, I get cold when the temperatures drop much below freezing, and I hate wearing coats and boots. Being a snowbird suits me like spots.01-chico-different-spots

Every year is quite similar. We spend a few days getting out of winter, hang out in Las Vegas for anywhere from four to fourteen days, and then head into the deserts of Arizona and California. The first year we moved every three to five days but, in the trips since, it’s more like ten to fourteen, with a few shorter stays in RV parks or places that T and Nollind don’t take a shine to (like last year’s noisy Ocotillo Wells visit).

01-chico-different-traderjoes

One of the stops T & Nollind like to make in Las Vegas.

 

Our longest stay before this year’s trip was sixteen days at a place called Saddle Mountain a few trips ago. Since then the long stays have been in places like Borrego Springs, Wickenburg, Quartzsite, and Tucson. These seem to be the perennial favourites.

Tomorrow will be three weeks here in Quartzsite, a new record. We had to up anchor and go into town to dump the holding tanks and get more fresh water a week ago, but otherwise, Sid has been parked here in the same place since we arrived on December 16.

01-chico-different-camp

Home sweet home for the past three weeks.

 

It was part of the plan before we left home, to move less and make things easier for Logan. I’m pretty easy about new places but it’s hard for him, the travelling itself and the settling into a new spot. For example, he’s made himself a den under a shrub and he’d have to start all over again at a new location.

01-chico-different-loganden

Logan’s den in the current camp.

 

It also means he can go to the same vet every two weeks for his Legend injections. New vets aren’t necessarily bad, but he prefers familiar places and people. They give him a bit of comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

So T and Nollind looked at all of the places they like to go and chose Quartzsite as a good place to hang out a bunch of this winter.  Why?

  1. We can camp close to town. There are a lot of dispersed camping (boondocking) areas in these parts, but very few that are this close to a town.
  2. There’s a strong music community here and T & Nollind love live music and like to play music with other people.

    01-chico-different-music

    Bluegrass jam at an RV park in Ehrenberg (another nearby community).

  3. Blythe, California is just twenty-five minutes away for the vet and for any shopping the stores of Quartzsite can’t accommodate. (Blythe also has a very good Mexican restaurant. At least it smelled good when they brought the go-box back to the truck.)
  4. There are tons of trails for walking and/or riding in Fang. (I’m still hanging out to get my turn. They’re worried I’ll be scared or uncomfortable but I’m pretty sure I won’t.) And the walking around our camp area is fairly old-dog friendly (although Logan would deny this being a required element).

    01-chico-different-loganwalk

    Logan-friendly walk in the wash next to camp.

  5. Quartzsite has a place where T & Nollind can go dancing (the Quartzsite Yacht Club), a library with free wifi, more markets than you can shake a stick at, and an outdoor pub that YOU CAN TAKE A DOG TO. (I haven’t been there yet as you might have guessed.)

    01-chico-different-beerbellys

    The outdoor pub I haven’t actually seen.

  6. And, last but not least, the camping is terrific. Quiet, privacy, starry nights, and off-leash time. It doesn’t get better than that.

    01-chico-different-offleash

    Off-leash time!

So it will be a different kind of winter, spending most of our time in one area but, from this dog’s perspective, a good kind of different.

01-chico-different-flatout

Me, experiencing a good kind of different.