Nothing To Do

Hello. It’s me!

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Well, I’m no longer trapped in a tin can, driving 6,200 miles in 33 days. Our typical Summer trip historically spanned about 5,000 miles, so we really tacked-on the distance for this trip. But now I have nothing to do. I think it is more fun to have nothing to do while riding in a tin can.

And lemme tell ya, on the final day of the trip, we traversed the most desolate area of our Country imaginable. The locals call it “US-160”.

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I’m told that the worker with the stop sign drives 133 miles each way to work each day.

Heck, I began to yearn for the good ‘ole times when we’d stop for diesel.

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Mom spent a bit of time at Mesa Verde … next time, if we ever take that God-Forsaken US-160 again, Mom wants to actually go visit the cliff dwellings. In lieu of that on this trip, she was banned to the Visitor’s Center.

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Speaking of banned, we arrived at the FOUR CORNERS … the place where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado all meet at one point. I wasn’t allowed in (#again). I was not aware how “pet-ist” our country truly is.

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We’re told to love our neighbors and to love our enemies, so if somebody wants to keep me out, I’ll send ’em love, #amirite?

That’s our trip, right there, in a nutshell. Thirty-three days away from home. Dear family, dear friends, and an orgy of food enjoyed by Mom and Dad. Dad said he lost 4 pounds on the trip, so take THAT Mediterranean Diet purveyors!

Mom and Dad were so happy with the performance of the RV that they promised me there would be new adventures in the short-term. And that’s a good thing, because it was 111 degrees on Friday and 109 degrees yesterday. Today it was a chilly 103 degrees, cool enough that I could even spend a lot of time outside this morning. For the rest of the day, I really had nothing to do. I’m looking forward to the next trip, truly I am.

Thank you for following along for the past five weeks. It was a wild “ride”, was it not?

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End of the Line

Hello. It’s me.

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We’re home. And honestly, I’m not terribly happy. It was 109 degrees when we landed and I didn’t find my neighbor, the lovable “Ligen” who lives next door.

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No more journeys. No more odd campgrounds. No more 300 mile boredom-fests across an unforgiving desert landscape with temperatures well over 100 degrees. No more following “wide loads” on two-lane highways for 40 miles at 40mph, #amirite?

I’ll update you about the final day of our trip and provide a general overview of the most enjoyable trip of my life in a few days. Until then, just look at the napkins at a chain-style eatery in the middle of the desert …

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We Go To The 9th …

Hello. It’s me!

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Baseball is played in nine innings … sometimes more if the score is tied after nine. But there are games where the home team is in total command … leading 11-3 or 7-0 … and the TV announcer says “We Go To The 9th” … and s/he says it with an attitude like “CAN WE JUST GET THREE OUTS AND GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE?”

Our trip heads to the 9th inning, and we’re ahead something like 33-2. Oh sure, the evil doers tried to muck up the trip by tying the game at 2-2 by harming our air conditioner, but ever since then we routed the competition and it wasn’t even close.

So we entered the 9th inning today by enjoying a couple of hours at a NEW NATIONAL PARK.

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This place had it all … SAND!

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Yes, those are PEOPLE walking out to the giant dunes … just to give you some perspective on what’s goin’ on there.

When we got to the dunes, I asked around … “What’s it like out there?”

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Chet here tells me that it was “sandy” out there.

Thanks. Chet.

Once again, I wasn’t allowed to enter the Visitors Center. Chet wasn’t allowed in either.

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Dad says, “Why don’t we just go back to the RV and I channeled my inner Amy Winehouse saying “NO, NO, NO”.

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So I waited for Mom to come out.

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Moments later, we were off to the dunes. Oh, the excitement, the anticipation … and then … “THE HEAT, THE HEAT, IT’S TOO HOT ON MY PADS, #OMFG (oh my furry God) MY PADS ARE BURNING, I’M OUT, GET ME OUT OF HERE, GET ME OUT OF HERE, SHADE, SHADE!”

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So that was that. Forty steps (ten per foot) and I was outta there, #amirite?

I sat in the RV for an hour while Mom and Dad enjoyed lunch and discussed some of the odd sightings at the National Park.

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Then we got in the rig and decided to cross the Continental Divide. I kept my thoughts to myself.

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Why keep my thoughts to myself? Well, I’m not a fan of ups and downs, lefts and rights, and bumpy roads. I like a well-manicured Interstate Highway, thank you very much. But Mom said the only way we¬†were getting home from where we were was US-160 through Southern Colorado. Turns out it was a scenic route.

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We didn’t tip over, FYI.

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Oh.

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We continued on that road down the hill on the left …

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We landed tonight, outside of Durango, CO … Dad picked a KOA where they promised him a good start to the day tomorrow (and a hand-delivered pizza after we arrived).

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Dad will need a good start to the day tomorrow. We’ve got one out in the 9th inning, and we’re just 440 miles from closing out a big win. If all goes well, we’ll be home tomorrow evening, where I’m told that temperatures are hovering around 110 degrees. Sounds lovely!

 

Day 31

Hello! It’s me.

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Yes, that’s me, leading Ranger Programs for the Federal Government. No benefits, it’s a volunteer position, but whatevs, I’m not in it for the money.

We started our day in Western Kansas. Uphill. Lacking contour. Oil being drilled.

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We ended the day in the Rockies west of Colorado Springs. Rugged. Abundant contour. No oil being drilled. Get in the zone!

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Oh, I got in the zone, given that we traveled just shy of 465 miles today.

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From time to time, storms threatened, but they didn’t interfere with our day.

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Earlier today, Mom visited Nicodemus.

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This was a place where African-Americans were promised a Kansas community after being freed from slavery. Of course, they were “overpromised” resources, resulting in great hardship and frustration. The town swelled in the 1870s, then began a slow decline thereafter. Fewer than three dozen hardy souls are left – though the community gave us former Green Bay Packer player Veryl Switzer.

The visit was followed by more than 350 miles of virtually unimpeded travel across desolate terrain that would have shocked even the residents of Nicodemus.

Finally, we approached something interesting.

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I was so excited to get out of the RV … I finally had my chance to soak in the local environment.

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We approached the front door … it was at this point in the story where my efforts to enter the establishment were rebuffed … with extreme prejudice.

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I was forced to sit in the RV while Mom and Dad toured fossilized redwood trees.

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Apparently the fossils had been previously ravaged by tourists and other “unscrupables” … go figure that people might behave unethically. Fortunately, unethical behavior has been largely eradicated from modern society. You won’t see me behave unethically.

We’re just 13 hours from home now, and the siren call of our own homestead grows louder. We still have a couple of National Parks we plan on visiting. After that, we’ll be within six hours of home, and the close distance will be very hard to resist. We just completed Day 31 of our trip. That’s a full month for those of you keeping score in the studio audience. I can count the remaining days of our trip on one paw. Soon I’ll firmly resent 110 degree heat. Until then, I’m soaking in every moment I can, like the moment earlier today when I rolled my back over deer poo. That’s the magic of “Day 31”! That, and Ranger Programs.

Sunflower State of Mind

Hello! It’s me.

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We’re in Western Kansas. A place where virtually nobody is … except us … and the RVers … and the truck drivers. All of us were treated to some “whoppers” today.

A line of storms (spanning Central Texas to Toronto in length) pummeled our route down US-81.

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Not surprisingly, the storms cleaned up the windshield quite nicely.

But I’m speaking out of chronological order. And I shouldn’t do that, because this isn’t an episode of “Lost”, now is it?

Our day started in Eastern Nebraska.

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Those eight flags represented the eight teams who descended upon Omaha for the College World Series. Their campers populated area campgrounds, limiting reservation space in ways Western Kansas could only dream of.

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An hour later, we landed west of Beatrice, home of this …

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Of course, pups weren’t allowed inside … I had to stand outside in sweltering 90 degree heat and 72 degree dew points while Mom and Dad alternated visits inside. Still, it’s better than being separated from both parents, #amirite?

At one point, Mom showed me what one of the homestead homes might have looked like. Pretty comfy quarters.

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The Homestead Act opened up the West to millions of aspiring pioneers. Somewhere around 40% succeeded in establishing a homestead. Those are better odds than the Phoenix Suns winning a basketball game.

Of course, folks were kicked out … gains for some result in losses for others.

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I’ll tell you this much … if somebody decided to take my RV and claim it as their own homestead, they would be a lot of growling, especially if the interloper took my crunchables!

Mom finished off the tour with a quilt exhibition (of all things) at the National Monument.

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Next, we headed to Kansas.

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Kansas might be known as the sunflower state … but it could also be known as New Orleans North.

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Oh, did I tell you that Dad tried to fix his tire problem? He visited a handful of Ford Dealerships looking for lug nuts, only to drive a few hours out-of-the-way to Salina where he was promised that Ford had lug nuts … only to learn that all his lug nuts were intact and a faux lug on the outside of the decorative wheel cover was missing. Three years were shaved off of his life … for nothing. Nothing but a lot of grumpy energy expended over three days. Thanks, Dad.

From Salina, we drove west and found our campground. I wasn’t prepared for the quiz offered by the campground.

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I couldn’t find the “Exurban Dog” sign that aptly describes my lot in life. Oh well.

After meeting fellow campers …

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… and touring the facilities …

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… Mom and Dad ditched me for dinner … they visited this outstanding establishment a few blocks away.

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After an onion ring tour and a pork schnitzel sammie, Dad returned to the rig where I terrorized Dad and Mom for an hour, behaving poorly. That’s when Dad laid down the law … he brought the thunder down with him, in the only way that is known to subdue me.

He used this hand motion.

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When he point his hand in that specific motion directly at me and stares at me and doesn’t break the stare until I break it first, the game is over, the jig is up. I submit.

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And to be honest, it’s better to submit, to put yourself in a Sunflower State of Mind. Being grumpy is hard work, just ask Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Anderson

Hello! It’s me.

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That’s me, hanging out along what Mom calls “The Big Muddy” … the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, MN. That’s where Mom took home a third place prize in the BIG SHOW!

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Obviously, we had to cross over into Minnesota to attend.

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Then today we spent time in three additional states.

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We’re just outside of Lincoln, NE tonight … look who we ended up parked next to?

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By the way, zoom in on the right front tire … tell me if you see anything unusual? Methinks we’re stopping at a Ford Dealership tomorrow, #amirite?

But that wasn’t the featured event of the day, not by a long shot.

Do you remember the movie trilogy called “The Matrix”? Neo, better known by some as “Mr. Anderson”, is involved in one of those classic “good guy must save the world from something battles“. Kinda like me with rusted metals.

At times in the series, Mr. Anderson speaks with THE ORACLE, a mysterious character who is occasionally able to predict the future.

Well, Mom told me this morning that we were going on a quest … we were going to go seek wisdom from THE ORACLE.

I said, I’m in … I think.

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So we began our quest here.

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This was a neutral place where all Native American Tribes could come to quarry stone for ceremonial pipes. After the site was ravaged by folks (#america), the location was protected as a National Monument.

Of course, I’m thinkin’ that we’re gonna quarry ourselves a pipe. But then we start getting clues that tell us what our mission is.

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I’m thinking to myself, “is this one of those faith leaps that you take at a corporate event with nine of your co-workers?” I look down.

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No, no, it’s a lot more dangerous than what I was thinking about.

We continue.

I’m faced with an uphill climb.

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I go halfway up … and then … I turn back.

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I seek a path to THE ORACLE, but doors and the opportunities that lie behind them are blocked.

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Regardless, I persist in my quest to find THE ORACLE.

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“Seek and ye shall find” I’ve been told. But I kept running into dead ends.

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I look for a sign … any sign.

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But the sign simply leads to cascading waters … refreshing of course, but not quite what I was looking for.

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I needed to rest … refresh … regroup.

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I prayed for a sign.

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My prayers were answered … I got two signs!

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I said … “COME ON, ENOUGH WITH THE REDUNDANCY, GIVE ME A REAL SIGN”.

And then … my prayers were really, honestly answered.

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Now THAT’S a sign!!

I asked Dad to hold me up … and with paws trembling … I looked through the hole. Here is what I saw.

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#OMFG (Oh My Furry God) … THE ORACLE was predicting a severe thunderstorm with something that might be a tornado but was much more likely to be scud (aka a “Pannus Cloud”).

We fled for the car, with thunder booming in the distance.

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Seconds later, the prophesy of THE ORACLE came true (visit the website to see the video … https://dashthedachshund.com).

THE ORACLE was right!

In much the same way that “Mr. Anderson” was potentially given assistance by THE ORACLE, I was given a vision of the future. The threat wasn’t rusted metals. The threat was severe weather, and we got back into our rig just in the nick of time.

Naturally, I was stunned by what had just happened.

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But that’s what happens when you have a little bit of faith … I was blocked at all turns on my quest, but in the end I learned just what I needed to learn.

I learned that, in many ways, I’m a lot like “Mr. Anderson” in The Matrix. Cuter, sure. But a lot like him. Able to see the future. Ready to fight evil. Hungry for knowledge (or treats).

Happy travels, mere mortals. And take the red pill, wait, I mean red dog treat.

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Peaceful, Easy Feeling

Hello. It’s me!

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So Dad tells me we’re not going anywhere today … we’re gonna relax and Mom’s gonna do some laundry and that’s that.

Ok by me!

Dad sets me up for the afternoon.

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From here, I can see EVERYTHING.

If somebody with an existing reservation pulls up, I can bark at ’em.

If somebody is walking their dog, I can bark at ’em.

If somebody is cookin’ up SPAM acquired in Southern Minnesota several weeks ago??

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Well then count me IN!!!

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It’s this “peaceful, easy feeling” that I enjoy when we take a day off.

Mom did laundry. I frolicked in the park.

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Heck, I even got to pose for a picture!

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And as usual, I assessed threats.

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Methinks they painted over the rusted metals, #amirite?

Mom and Dad strolled up to the Campground Cantina for Pizza Nite, $2 off if you “dine in”, which they happily did. By the way, that’s “Wisconsin Style” crispy thin crust pizza. In fact, almost nobody makes a crispy thin crust pie like this one (out West you just can’t find ’em).

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We topped the evening off with a campfire … until the gnats invaded from the river and we were driven inside. Maybe gnats should be classified as a threat? They sure put a damper on the peaceful, easy feeling we were having tonight.