First Fur-iday

It’s the first Fur-iday of December and it’s got me thinking about how this blog got started. In one word … Logan. It was his idea. He wrote the first post, gave the site its name, and signed me up to write every second post. It was tough for me because Logan had a sort of cynical way of seeing the world that made people laugh. I’m a bit of a clown in person, but in writing, I had a hard time living up to the standard he set. However, once we began posting weekly and wanted a regular day, I was the one who came up with Fur-iday. :o)

I miss Logan. And not just his physical presence in my days as a friend to explore the world of scents with, but his storytelling, his sense of humour, his every-second-week posts in the blog. I considered ending Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures when he died. How could it possibly go on without him? And then I hoped he’d find some way to send his stories from wherever it is he’s gone. But, so far, no word from beyond. Now that he’s left behind that old wreck of a body, he’s probably too busy doing this…

or this…

or maybe this…

This morning I took a tour through the early days of our blog and reread some of my favourite Logan moments. And then I thought of a way to include him in the blog and keep his spirit alive. On the first Fur-iday of each month (Fur-st Fur-iday?), I will dig back into the archives for Logan’s wisdom and humour, combine it with some previously-unpublished photos, and add in a little of my own commentary.

Welcome to the first First Fur-iday!

Me in November of 2011

On the 11th of November of 2011 (11-11-11), it all began with…

Hi, My Name is Logan. I’m probably not your typical blogger; although, admittedly, I haven’t read a lot of blogs. I’m a 7-year-old Border Collie/Lab cross. Yes…a dog.

Logan, November 11, 2011

The dog blog was born! We were just setting out on a big adventure, a 5-month RV tour in the United States, and Logan thought it would be a fun way to chronicle the journey and share our stories with friends and family. Just as T and Nollind had no idea that our original trip would turn into another four winters of travelling, Logan and I didn’t know the blog would become a weekly event over the next seven years (and counting).

Arriving at our first mini destination in Coldstream, BC.

In that very first Logan post, we got a taste of a subject that would come up again and again in our adventures, his travel anxiety. Me, I never understood it. A dog bed in the truck doesn’t feel a lot different than a dog bed in the house other than the gentle motion and noise that lulls me to sleep. But Logan didn’t see it that way …

The stops are filled with new sights, sounds and, most importantly and best of all…smells! It’s an absolute scent-fest every time we stop in a new place. Travelling between stops is a lot less appealing, or let’s make that more terrifying — hurtling down the highway at great speed with others doing the same thing in the other direction. Does no one else see the danger we’re in? Have they not read the newspapers or watched the nightly news? My people sit blissfully naive in front, seemingly enjoying the ride, regularly trying to reassure me of the safety and okay-ness of it all. But I’m not falling for it. I’m a Border Collie and we’re known for our intelligence. Some might say we’re obsessive…I prefer to think of it as focused.

Logan, November 11, 2011

Our first RV park dog run.

It would also be the beginning of Logan’s experimentation with various kinds of recreational herbs and medications…

The morning we left Canada, they slipped something into my food. It made me feel a bit sleepy, but I fought it and remained ever awake and vigilant all the way to Spokane. Somebody has to watch the road and remind them of the dangers.

Logan, November 2011

For all his wonderful qualities, and there were many, Logan was a terrible travelling companion, for humans and dogs alike. If he hadn’t been so easy and happy once we arrived somewhere (see earlier comments about sights and sounds) I’m sure T and Nollind would have left him in the care of someone at home and we probably wouldn’t have stayed away as long without him.

Our five trips south wouldn’t have been the same without Logie.

Luckily for me, Logan was a trooper, T and Nollind were patient, and we were able to tell many stories in the pages of Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures over the next seven years.

Check back on the first Fur-iday of January for more from the Logan archives!

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Location, Location, Location

It’s the realtor’s mantra, and it’s true. The right spot makes for great camping, the wrong one, not so much.

I settle in easily anywhere we camp, but there are some elements that make a good campsite for this particular foursome of RV travellers. And, when we rolled in here to Craggy Wash BLM near Lake Havasu, the site they chose just didn’t have enough of the boxes checked on the good campsite list.

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The original campsite at Craggy Wash

Our first mistake was arriving on the Sunday of the Presidents’ Day weekend. The place was packed with campers enjoying a long weekend in Lake Havasu City. T and Nollind keep an eye on the calendar for such things but they were keen to get out of Phoenix and decided to chance it.

One of the items high up on the good campsite checklist is privacy, which was sadly lacking in the main part of Craggy Wash. T and Nollind referred to it as the “fish bowl”, which I came to understand was not a compliment. We parked near the host site, Fang was unloaded, and off they went in search of a spot outside the fish bowl to park the rig. Back before we had Fang, we’d just drive on in with the trailer but there was always the risk of getting into a place where it was difficult to turn around.

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The “fish bowl” at Craggy Wash

When they returned, Nollind drove the truck with trailers and T lead on the Wolverine, on up into the wash. A mile in, after driving past motorhomes, trailers, and campers tucked into various spots on each side of the road, we pulled off into an open area on the left. Seemed alright.

But before I was even out of the truck I saw the first flaw in the campsite choice … close to and facing the road. They rationalized that it wasn’t going to be a busy road so would be fine, but it had more traffic than you’d expect two miles up a sandy wash with only a few campers beyond us.

The second flaw in the campsite choice … it was well-used and had numerous fire pits to work around, a pet peeve of T and Nollind’s. They couldn’t position the trailer where they wanted without driving over a couple of nail-filled fire pits.

The third flaw … one of the closest neighbours liked to start and run his truck very early in the morning and late at night, maybe charging his batteries?

The fourth and fatal flaw of the campsite … the cell phone reception was terrible. With T and Nollind still running a business and responsible for a farm full of animals while we’re away, cell service is pretty important.

They lasted one day.

Tuesday morning, long weekend over, we were out scouting in Fang. Yes, you read that right—we! I rode along, keeping my eyes peeled for the perfect spot, checklist at the forefront of my mind. We’d drive into each potential location, check for ease of in and out for the rig, proximity of other campers, view from the “front yard”, and cell reception. There were more options than when we’d arrived on Sunday, but nothing that felt just right.

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Looking for a new campsite

And then we drove around the side of the fish bowl and found a road we hadn’t known was there, a road into a smaller wash. A short distance past the fish bowl, an open area large enough to accommodate us with enough room to get in and out—check. Only one other camp in sight and an acceptable distance away—check. It was still on a road, more of a wide trail really, but a road that didn’t go anywhere but to a few camp spots—check. There were great views of the craggy hills all around—check. And, the clincher, five bars on the cell phones—check!

It was perfect.

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The new site I helped find

They dropped a chair in the site to hold it and drove back to camp to pack up and move. An hour later, it was all done and that afternoon we were relaxing in front of the trailer, soaking up the solitude and the view, T and Nollind enjoying celebratory margaritas.

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Happy humans, happy life

As for me and Logan, we like it better too. Happy humans, happy life (it doesn’t rhyme but it’s the truth). And when we’re away from other camps and on a quiet road, the cables don’t come out. We have our freedom. Logan’s even started on a nest, but I’ll let him tell you about that next week, once it’s finished and fluffed.

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Fireside, first night in the new camp

Busy Times on the Road

As you might have gathered from our blog posts, we don’t up anchor and move very frequently. Most of our stops are at least a week, often ten days, and sometimes two weeks or better. So, when I have three stops to talk about in one post, we’ve been busy.

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Home for the first half of February

Okay, you got me there, if I’d written my post on Fur-iday as scheduled, there would have been only two stops. Or, if I’d written my post the next day, Saturday, like I said I would, there still would have been two stops. But, here it is Monday and we’re on stop number three since our last post.

Wickenburg. Wow. That pretty much sums it up from my perspective. Logan told you all about our Majestic Trail hike, the one where we all thought he was going to expire? Well, that was only a sample of our time at Vulture Peak.

Logan told you about the horse camp, but he didn’t tell you about the herd of mules that lined up right outside our trailer window to have their photo taken before heading off down the road. I’d never seen a mule before!

He didn’t tell you that our RVing friends Sue & Leon joined our camp at the 9-day mark and we spent many evenings hanging out around the fire together. We were so lucky to spend nearly three weeks with them this trip. We even helped them celebrate their 55th anniversary!

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Hanging out in camp with Sue & Leon.

He didn’t tell you that we were included in two trips to Wickenburg. The first, for a coffee shop stop and a walk around the downtown, and the second for a wander across the Hassayampa Bridge and east toward the rodeo grounds.

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Bridge across the Hassayampa River

And … this is an exciting one … he didn’t tell you how I rode shotgun when we were leaving the Vulture Peak camp. Yup, helped T navigate the side-by-side back to the main road where they loaded it onto the trailer. Now that I’ve been in it a couple of times I’m pretty sure I could handle a longer ride. There must be so many great things to see and smell when they head out on the trails. Toes crossed for next time.

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Riding shotgun!

After fifteen days at Vulture Peak, we headed for the big city of Phoenix. We’ve stayed there only once before—on our first trip south when we camped at the race track. Now that the trailer is completely solar powered, we don’t need to plug in anywhere, so this time we stayed at the Desert Diamond Casino where they allow camping in their overflow parking lot. The casino camping is okay, but city stays usually involve quite a lot of waiting in the trailer for T and Nollind to come back, and this one wasn’t any different.

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Morning walk at the Desert Diamond

The Phoenix list included a couple of visits with Alberta friends, doing the laundry, bathing us, and provisioning the trailer for our next desert stay. We dogs did get to go along on Friday, since it was bath day, but weren’t included in the other activities. By the way, the car wash had converted one of its bays to a proper dog wash so it wasn’t like we had to go through the spinning brushes or get sprayed with a high-pressure hose. Logan was definitely relieved. He hates car washes.

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He almost looks relaxed!

With us bathed and the trailer stocked up with people and dog food, we headed west again yesterday, back toward Quartzsite. But this time we turned off before Q and came up here to Lake Havasu City. I’m excited. We haven’t spent much time here and I’m always game for a fresh adventure. We’re staying at a BLM 14-day area called Craggy Wash, a new one for us, and from our first walk this morning, it looks very promising.

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Morning walk at Craggy Wash