Happy Birthday Baby Boy! and many, many, many, many, many more....
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
So, I've been jonesing for more time in the desert lately, 1.) because it's winter and, thus, slightly less hazardous for the dogs and 2.) winter light in the desert makes for some rockin photos. THUS - I decided yesterday morning that I would pack up the kids for a 2 day trip down to the Mojave (the hurricane, after all, has never seen the desert). So Zig is a seasoned traveler/overnight camper/road warrior and I'm not too worried about him, but the girls have only overnight camped in the backyard, never out under a very large sky with weird noises. So I pack lots of 'comfort' stuff for them - more treats, soft padding for the tent, etc. And we are ready to depart Fresno by 1:30ish.
Mistake #1 - leaving late in the day, knowing full well that we will cut it close for getting to our campsite (red rock canyon) before the sun sets. I reason that, had a been a little smarter, I would have made sure we were there well before sundown so the girls could get the 'lay of the land' and it wouldn't have been so scary for them.
We head out and the dogs settle in to their typical spots. I decide to take slightly longer cut-off road to the east side of the Sierra (mainly because I had never been on that road and wanted to explore). Plus it went by Lake Isabella and I hoped the dogs could have a break and swim.
Mistake #2 - taking an unknown road on a tight timeline. Turns out that particular cutoff, although beautiful, is ridiculously winding and chaotic. Rosie starts to get a little car sick, which makes me feel awful and we have to stop for several breaks to let her regain her equilibrium. This kills my timeline completely.
We eventually make it up and over the pass, Rosie riding shotgun, as the sun is going down.
We turn south for red rock canyon, which is still half an hour away in the dark. The campground is thankfully almost deserted (1 RV-er all the way on the other side of the CG). We find my favorite site and I let everyone out. The girls are put on long lines to prevent them wandering off in the dark and I'm keeping an eye on the zig as I set up the tent. Everyone gets fed and walked around a bit. The moon is already up and it's bright enough to read a book by. Which is awesome. Here are some pics taken long after sundown (10pm?) - creepy, eh?
Sadie is a bit nervous and growls everytime a nearby owl calls out. I call back a few times (flirting) and Sadie gets the message and settles down. Rosie is amazing. She crawls right in the tent, finds the warmest sleeping bag and lays down to sleep.
Meanwhile. The zig suddenly appears with this in his mouth and I freak out until I realize it was roadkill he picked up somewhere on the dirt road nearby. I make him drop it and then chuck it up on top a big rock for the owl. (PS: it's fricken winter, wtf is a snake doing out at 50 degrees?)
As I turn back from chuckin the snake, I hear Zig's 'OMG OMG OMG' yip and locate him trying to 'herd' something small down the road. I catch a glimpse of white stripe and practically scream "LEAVE IT'!!!! Zig stops and looks directly at me. I call 'good boy and come'. He takes a few steps my way. the skunk is holding it's ground and watching us both.
Mistake #3 - I turn my back to grab the camera.
No sooner do I break eye contact than I hear the yip again and whip around to find zig mid air on a pounce. The skunk lets it rip. Right in his face and chest. Zig starts yowling like a scalded cat and crying hysterically. The girls, with impeccable timing, leap up and begin barking at the unknown threat. I am chasing ziggy, trying to simultaneously grab him and stiff arm him at the same time. My eyes are immediately watering when I'm within 10 feet of him and I have a brief urge to dry heave. Zig is still bucking up and down like a brahma bull and I finally make the executive decision to tackle him. Down we both go - arms and legs flailing and redolent of skunk. The skunk, by now, is looooong gone. I grab our water supply and use 2 gallons (half my stash) to dilute his face and head. He stops the frantic freak out once it's out of his eyes and (I spit you not) the little arse starts looking around and wagging his tail. I wanted to club him like a baby seal.
So. There we were. both soaking wet in 45 degree temps. stinking so badly my eyes won't stop watering and the girls are both sneezing continuously despite being 15 ft away. Did I mention - we were at least an hour from the nearest town. No water supply except what I brought in (4 gal, of which we have 1.25 left). No instant skunk odor remover/tomato paste/ etc. And, oh yeah, it's now midnight. I had budgeted enough water/supplies to get us through the night and was planning on stocking up in barstow, but that is a moot point now.
In my panicky, eye watering, nose running, dry heaving wisdom, I grab the only thing with an odor available in hopes of reducing the potency of the skunkness. It happened to be a guava flavored rockstar energy drink. I realize that the whole mission is going to have to be aborted in light of the skunk, but I can't imagine letting Zig in the car ever again. I pop the top on the rockstar and rub it all over his face and neck (PS: it actually seemed to help a tiny bit) I then swaddle zig (soaked in rockstar) in the 'dog comforter' and then buckle his harness over the top of the whole mess so he is partially immobilized. I set a speed record packing the car and breaking down camp. Zig is still lying there, whimpering softly and staring at me. We are 3 hours from home if I go 'the fast way' and drive like a banshee. I still have the powerful urge to retch. I start the car - turn the cold fan on high and roll down all the windows. I strip to my undies and pack the skunk clothes in a garbage bag. I then put on every piece of clothing available including 2 beanies and 3 pairs of socks. I heave zig into the very back of the car and clip a short lead from him to the rear door handle so he can't come up front. I settle him as best I can then load the girls who are still trying to figure out what the heck happened. I drive out, heading for home and breathing as shallowly as possible through my nose. It is loud, cold and windy and I contemplate strapping zig to the roof rack. I have to pull over twice in the first hour to dry heave and chew some gum trying to get the chemical smell out of my sinus. The zig is asleep in the back. Git.
We finally make it home around 4:30 in the morning. I take care of the girls, then strip the blanket off Zig and make him get in the tub.
I rinse out the rockstar and use up 3 cans of tomato paste on him. He still smells, but it's tolerable if you stand at least 10 feet away. Worse - the little bugger is back to his cheerful self after the bath and wants to play and romp. I contemplate throttling him slowly. I am exhausted/still damp/and reeking to high heaven. I put zig in 'the dog room' by himself for the night. The girls are already on the couch, sound asleep. I take a long scalding shower and use up an entire bottle of technu (poison oak remover) which does a pretty good job of removing most of the smell. I sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag for fear of contaminating anything else since the cleanup is already going to be horrendous.
So there you have it. Adventure is not always bright and fun and happy times. Sometimes it goes horribly horribly wrong. The zig is now on bath 8 or 9 and is tolerable, although his head still has a faint odor. His spirits, alas, are undiminished, although the whole debacle has aged me 5 years. learn from my fail. Til next time.......
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I love being able to wear a tee shirt in the snow. I probably should have worked on my tan since I'm veering toward 'fishbelly white' as my dominant color. But anyway. The snow was deep and the dogs were ecstatic, so what more can you ask from life?
Friday, January 14, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Took the Zig along for a side project. Couldn't be more different than spending last thurs/fri in a very snowy Yosemite. So, here is red rock canyon state park. It's on the east side of the Sierra, just off the 14. It's about 3-4 hours from Fresno, depending on which way you go, so we made a daytrip of it. Definite plans to go back and overnight sometime. Would love to see some of those walls in the morning light!