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!

Advertisements

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!

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.

12-chico-memories-leavinghome

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.

12-chico-memories-sidewaysbed

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.

12-chico-memories-peepark

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.

12-chico-memories-toetrim

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.

12-chico-memories-fang

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!