Right before sunset the intrepid canine crew traverse a rocky trail in search of A Great View.
I follow their lead.
I’m toting a bag of water bottles, a water dish, camera, and crackers. Hey, wait a minute! Why do I get to be the pack mule?
The trail makes a gradual descent, winding through slabs of layered rocks and strange desert shrubs. We stop often for respite, seeing as Bridget is panting like a steam engine and occasionally whining, “I wanna go baaaak!”
Whatever. It’s time to learn how to be a dog.
The trail turns treacherous.
Spike jumps down from a rock about a foot high. Bridget stops and waits to be lifted down. I oblige. We timidly pass an unbarricaded, dangerous drop-off, tiptoeing as if the cliff will hear us and yank us, sending us crashing down over the sharp rocks where we will lie motionless for the buzzards to tear our flesh. Not a good idea to think bad thoughts at a time like this. Keep moving.
Bridget walks like a girl, still panting. Once past the cliff, I offer water which is refused. We round the next bend in the trail.
At last, we see the lake!
A few more turns in the trail and we settle down on a rock to gaze at A Great View. I take a few photos.
Spike sees people way down below on the other side of the lake, playing at the water’s edge, which, in his book, is a crime and must be stopped. He simultaneously barks and lunges forward toward the precipice. “Geez, Spike! Give me a heart attack, WILL YA!”
The shadows are lengthening. It’ll be sunset soon.
The crew and I drink our water. At last Bridget sits down and rests. Eventually she stops panting. I attempt to ponder the beauty before us.
Spike continues to fixate on the people no bigger than no-seeums on the opposite side of the lake. I can’t relax thinking he’s going to lunge again, rip the leash out of my fist, and plunge over the edge as Bridget and I scream in absolute horror.
Oh-kay. We’re going back.
I honestly believe I hear Bridget sigh with relief when she sees the paved road up ahead.
We made it! We’re alive!
Spike pees on a rock for the fifteenth time and we go home.
As we cross the campground, I think . . . I’ll give them their supper and they’re sure to sleep well tonight!
The plan this morning is to go grocery shopping.
We’re awake before sun-up. Out the door for a drive-by potty break and back in so I can make a cup of tea.
Then we head out again to find the perfect picnic table from which to watch the sunrise. (We have our pick . . . hardly anybody’s here!) It’s wonderfully cool and quiet. I grab a jacket out of the back of the PTV, we find our table, and I drink my tea watching nature’s picture show.
It’s going to be a beautiful day here at Santa Rosa campground.
Back at the Casita, I remove the fire alarm so I can make toast. I check the blog and emails, and do some text messaging. Suddenly the crew goes berserk. A truck with fifth wheel is backing into the site next to us. A zillion sites and they park right next to us! And they have a dog! The very idea! Hmmph!
I give them some time to set up.
I put the crew back into their black suits and we go next door to say hello. Actually our mission is to meet their big blond dog. My thinking is this will cut down on the barking. I say hello to the two men and a teenage boy, quickly explain my purpose, the crew sniffs big Jake (their aging lab), big Jake sniffs them, I toss out a “Nice ta meet ya, Good luck fishin’!” and we retreat to the Casita.
Time’s a-wastin’ and I want to be at the supermarket before the sun gets too high.
The crew doesn’t want to go inside. Can’t blame them. It’s a glorious morning. So I decide to get out the exercise pen.
To heck with groceries!
We won’t starve. This is too good a morning to waste schlepping around in a store while Bridget and Spike have conniptions in the PTV.
An elderly gentleman, probably in his eighties, walks into the view of the crew. He’s got a picker-upper gadget in his hand. I guess he’s picking up trash, although I’ve never seen any around here. Because he’s a bit stooped and walks very slowly, the crew thinks he’s . . . oh no . . . he’s creeping!
Creeping, to the crew, is a very bad thing.
Anything that creeps must be dealt with. Cats that creep. Salamanders. Sunbeams. A plastic bag tossed by the breeze. A kindly-looking gentleman in a long-sleeved plaid shirt and neat slacks, minding his own business. Doesn’t matter, he’s creeping! Got to do something about that! Which is, of course, bark and jump around. I settle them down so I can read and relax.
Eventually the gentleman comes over and we chat about the coolness of the morning and what a beautiful day it’s going to be.
As he walks away . . . “No, he’s NOT creeping, so don’t even THINK about barking.”. . . I open my kindle and start to read. The crew lie down. The sun peeks through our little tree. It’s going to be a beautiful day indeed.
” A zillion sites and they park right next to us! And they have a dog! The very idea! Hmmph! ”
Seems to be one of the Cardinal Rules of picking a spot…..don’t take one way away from that one other person in the place….park right next to them !!! Kinda like the guy who takes a seat in an empty theater right behind or right in front of you……creepy…..no you guys I said creepy NOT creeping !!!
LOLOLOL!!! Now it’s my turn to laugh!
Poetry, pure poetry!
I never did understand why people always choose to camp next to someone instead of alone. Maybe it’s just silly for me to think that getting away means getting away.
Oh that reminds me. So if/when you are close to civilization anytime soon, stop by an REI. I highly recommend investing in backpacks for your pups. I make Bridgette pack in all her own stuff on our hikes.
Yes, those are doggles and hiking booties she’s wearing.
Steve! What a photo!!!! Your Bridgette looks like a pro! She’s all geared up and ready to go! I love it! Everybody . . . click on Steve’s link…. priceless!
I thought about paw-wear when the crew walked on the pavement when it was hot. They didn’t seem to mind . . .but I got them off it right away.
Forgot to say. Those packs can expand or zip smaller to carry more or less as needed. She’s carried in a weeks worth of food, snacks, and chew toys with her.
I agree with you on the boots, but they have come in handy in a few instances. Thorny stickers are a pain to pull out of small paws. Snowy or icy winters and extremely hot summers also. I made the mistake of walking her on hot pavement when she didn’t complain and we burned the skin on her pads. The tread on them helps her cross rocky streams too.
We’re talkin’ eight paws here . . . I bet those booties aren’t cheap. They look better quality than what I wear.
I don’t know what was paid for the ones I got because they were a gift from my lil sister. I went and looked and REI is selling them for $65 for a set of 4, so it would be pretty pricey. The upside is that they don’t wear out like expensive sneakers do. We’ve had ours for 7 years and they’re dirty but still going strong.
Great to see you’re getting into that “what the heck” mindset. Plans are made to be broken, especially when we’re retired, on the road, and enjoying the moment. That store, or most whatever, will still be there tomorrow, but the joys we sometimes find ourselves immersed in cannot be duplcated.
It’s getting so the day never turns out like I plan… guess I’ll have to stop planning. Follow the whim!
Except if I don’t get to a grocery soon, I’ll be eating lima beans for breakfast.
Yep now you are getting it perfect!
A lot of the time if the campsites are vacant, I grab the choice spot. That nearly alaways guarantees a close neighbor in the second choicest spot. For no neighbors get set up to boondock in the nether reaches of an area.
The funny thing is . .. this is not a choice spot. I think it’s the same syndrome that makes people put down their beach blanket right next to you on a nearly empty beach. Used to happen to me all the time when I lived in Florida.
I’m not a boondocker yet, but give me time, I’ll get there!
Steve, your backpacking dog will keep me smiling all day.
Thanks Sheila. I’ll pass that onto her. She makes me smile every day 🙂
Wow Sue, you are really evolving so quickly! I know from experience that it would take me weeks to get into the rhythms of time and place like you have. I’d probably be obessively racking up the miles and tourist stops until I realized there is a smarter way.
I’ve never met Bridget but I can’t see her sporting a backpack. Not unless they make a model for big babies. (No offense). However, I can see her spending a day at the mall.
Boy, you pegged her right. At the mall (in the food court) or at the daycare center.
Great blog and wonderful descriptions. Before you head to the store, make a list of some stuff that you can keep as “backup food” for those times when you don’t want to go to the store and purchase that IN ADDITION to what you plan to buy. Even though we don’t fulltime, we normally keep at least enough no perishable food for three days more that we think we need. This lets us change our minds and definitely helped out when the bear got into our cooler when we were out hiking (yes, we SHOULD have put it in the van and not on the picnic table) several years ago.
Good advice. I know I want a few packs of English muffins for the freezer. I’ve got to have some toasted carbs in the morning!
I’m with you on the English Muffins. I don’t leave home without them in my freezer.
When you use up the last slice of bread . . . “Darnnit! . . . Oh wait! I’ve got English muffins in the freezer!”
They make great burger buns in a pinch, too.
Thanks for your blog! You are doing what I want to do (touring New Mexico) when I sell my house. I have a 33′ older Class A and a ’73 VW as my toad. Have you considered buying a out-of-state resident New Mexico Camping Annual Permit for $225? I don’t think I would get tired of all their wonderful State Parks in only a year so I intend to try that. Seems pretty cheap for a year of camping.
I did buy the annual permit! That’s how I’m paying only $4 a day for water and electric. Once I wean myself off the A/C, I’ll be able to camp in NM parks for free. Or out of parks, for that matter. I’m pretty sure I’ll get my money’s worth during the next year.
I think NM is pretty smart for offering the parks pass. A lot of people probably stay here, not only for the magnificent landscapes, interesting cultures, and variety of weather, but also for their very hospitable attitude toward campers.
I high-tailed it out of Texas to get away from the higher park fees. (and, I thought, the heat).
Best of luck to you selling your house . . .
I was amused to see that Bridgette and Spike enjoy a good “conniption” or as my mother used to say, “conniption fit”. Haven’t heard that expression in a while, but it is definitely apropos.
Hello, m . . .
My mother and father used to say “conniption fit,” too. They were from northern NY . . I don’t know if it’s an expression from the Northeast, or just an old-timey one. They had a lot of great words like that which linger in my vocabulary. Let me know when I write another one we share!
Sometimes I think I should call Bridget and Spike the conniption crew.
While you’re probably already aware of it’s many features, I find Google maps very useful. By activating the options for both terrain and weather I am able to see where the mountains are (I try to avoid them…) and the temperature variance. A quick glance will alert you to elevation and temperature changes within your planned driving distance and may cause you look more closely at an alternate destination. (Just in case you didn’t know)
You read my mind, Barrie. Yesterday afternoon I Googled Storrie Lake and was surprised to see it is not really in the mountains. It is in the high plains so the area is flat with mountains in view.
Isn’t it amazing the resources we have availlable to us? Especially when making adventurous road trips or fulltiming it.
Cheers to you, too. I enjoy your comments.
AHHHH the good life. Itsn’t it great. I love your little set up under the tree. Hope the day stayed cool enough to enjoy out there with your book and fur babies.
Steve’s dog is a riot.
Our little playground we set up is only good until about 11 in the morning. Later, after 6 or 7 in the evening we can use it again.
I’m glad I’m a morning person. I get to enjoy the best part of the day. Bridget and Spike are morning dogs, too. We’re out the door before sunrise most days for the first walk.
That’s how I know when my energy level isn’t right . . . when I sleep late!
Steve’s dog is so funny in that get-up. I’ve never met a beagle I didn’t like.