Social Distancing

Hello. It’s me.

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All. By. Myself. Don’t wanna be. All. By. Myself.

I don’t get it. This used to be a vibrant community. But lately there’s nobody to be seen.

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Mom and Dad are home all the time. I like that, but what I also like is people who want to spend time with me. People love me, #amirite?

So here I sit.

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In these times, we have to be neighborly to each other. We can’t discriminate against our neighbors.

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Dad says we need to employ “Social Distancing”. We need to not see people, maybe for months. I think the world loses out when the world doesn’t get to see me growl at the big poodle that waltzes by every day.

Stay safe … you’ll be able to pet me again around July 4.

Next Time, I’m Gonna ……..

Hello, it’s me!!

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That’s me (and Mom’s scar from her broken wrist from September) … and a nommed-on crunchable … waiting to get a crack at today’s renewal of the Barn Hunt tradition. For just $25 you get two minutes (that’s 120 full seconds) in the ring to test your mettle.

I’m now down 2.5 pounds from my peak weight (that would be comparable to a 180 pound person losing 18 pounds), slender enough to navigate the twists and turns offered by a pen of straw, ramps, tunnels, and … wait for it … wait for it … a RAT IN A TUBE HIDDEN BY STRAW!!!

All I had to do was climb the ramp, fully navigate the tunnel, and identify where the rat was hiding.

Of course, they let the experienced pups in the “Open” division go first. Frank and I waited, and waited, and waited for our turn.

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I like to chat with fellow competitors. You know, obtain tips, compare pee mail, that kind of thing.  You talk to the corgis and assorted breeds because of the TENSION. This competition is so important, so filled with pressure, that you have to do something to take your mind off of the task at hand.

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And then … and then … they make an announcement.

  • “YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE … WOULD NOVICE COMPETITORS IN FLIGHT ONE PLEASE REPORT TO THE STAGING AREA … THANK YOU.”

The crowd literally rises to their feet (seriously), in large part because our “handlers” have to walk us over to this area where we cannot see the pen where we will compete. We can have no advanced knowledge of where the RAT is hidden, none.

There are (of course) a series of restrictive rules designed to enhance the competition.

  • No smart phone for Dad.
  • No watch for Dad
  • Aside – it was at this point that Dad nearly passed out from not being plugged into the Matrix for a few minutes.
  • Dad could not touch me.
  • Dad could not touch the bales of hay.
  • Dad could not get on his hands/knees and encourage me.
  • Dad could not nudge me into the tunnel.
  • Dad could not block exit from the tunnel.
  • Dad could not order a delivery pizza while I was in the tunnel.

I was scheduled to go out fourth in the first flight. One by one, they called us out. At about 3:00pm in the afternoon, it was my turn to delight the crowd.

Now, if you are reading this via email, I beg you to watch the video on the website … just visit https://dashthedachshund.com/ and check out my full two-minute experience.

RIVETING … #amirite??

It took nearly five hours from leaving the house to getting into the ring … and it was all over in two minutes.

Ok, let’s clear up the controversy, because you likely saw that I spent a considerable amount of time gazing at the official in the ring. This didn’t happen because I was stupid, it happened because she must have had something in her pockets that I wanted to eat. I don’t think I’d just flush 40 seconds down the tubes for no good reason.

I nailed the tunnel.

I nailed the ramp.

This is where there was a difference in opinion.

Dad said I (again) did not show sufficient knowledge of the location of the RAT. I most certainly did show sufficient knowledge of the location of the RAT. I’m a dog, after all, and I’m under no obligation to point at the RAT or paw at the RAT or anything else. I simply walked past it, silently acknowledged presence of the RAT, and moved on.

Because Dad didn’t call out RAT (“again” … mind you, he did this to me back in December), I was notified that I FLUNKED the test.

From what I understand, the judges (the Russian judge in particular) demand that I pass the test THREE TIMES before I move on to Open Competition.

I’m 0 for 2.

But I don’t feel bad about that. In the staging area, a woman told my Dad that her dog was 0 for 20 (yes, 0 for 20).

So I’m ok. I don’t get a participation trophy, but I do get the satisfaction of being two-thirds of the way through the Novice level, a full third of the distance more than I achieved back in December.

Before leaving, I received something better than a participation trophy … I received “CONGRATULATIONS”.

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We packed up the car, and we headed for home.

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In the late 1970s, the Houston Oilers (or so I’m told) advanced to the AFC Championship Game two times, both times losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The head coach at the time had this to say about his team:

  • “One year ago, we knocked on the door. This year, we beat on the door. Next year, we’re going to kick the son of a b*$#? in.”

In December, I knocked on the door.

In February, I beat on the door.

Next time, I’m going to …………

 

P.S.: The head coach of the Houston Oilers never kicked the you-know-what in. He was fired a year later.

 

The Rose Bowl!

Hello. It’s me!!

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It was December 31, and I look outside and notice that Dad was loading the RV.

Oooooooooohhhhhh Boy! We’re going somewhere.

The first stop didn’t seem all that exciting … chicken sandwiches at Popeye’s in Blythe???

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I mean, I can get a chicken sandwich by asking Dad to open the freezer, so this didn’t seem worthy of a two-hour drive into California.

We drove another three hours, and next thing you know we’re in Pasadena. To me, there can only be two possible reasons we’re in Pasadena.

  1. To see the cast of the Big Bang Theory at their television home.
  2. To attend the Rose Bowl.

Given that the Big Bang Theory ended nearly a year ago, I was increasingly convinced that we were attending the Rose Bowl!! Signage proved me right.

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We arrived!

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Our spot in the RV lot was not available, which was disappointing given that Dad paid a lot of money for it. Rose Bowl staff parked us across from the Rose Bowl, next to a parking lot with a visual array of port-o-potties.

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We slept among a sord of Ducks fans also camping in RVs next to the array of port-o-potties. Well, we slept until 4:00am. At that time, Rose Bowl staff decided to light up the portable LEDs you see in the image above. Being in the RV was not altogether different than the experience of being in Kramer’s apartment when a Kenny Rodgers Roasters opened across the street.

My rods and cones were all messed up!!

 

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By 8:30am we were ready to tailgate!

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The tailgating is fun, of course. But then it was time to enter the stadium. This is where things got ugly, in my opinion.

Mom and Dad didn’t buy me a ticket.

Apparently only “service dogs” are allowed to attend the game. What a kick in the nuggets, #amirite? To come all this way and not be able to see the game, geez.

So while Mom and Dad enjoyed the game, I had to listen to the pageantry from the RV. The top yellow arrow is where I sat, in the RV. The bottom yellow arrow is where Mom and Dad sat.

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They call this game the “GrandDaddy of ’em All”, and for good reason. The stadium is set in the ground, with trees lining one side of the stadium, mountains in the background, and all of the colors afforded by an amazing sunset and two enthusiastic fan bases.

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Of course, Mom/Dad’s beloved Badgers fell short, losing to the Oregon Ducks 28-27. Regardless, the setting for a football game is second-to-none. The colors, the mountains, the bands, the noise, the changing light as you go from afternoon to evening, all contribute to an amazing environment for a football game.

Mom and Dad has a great time!

 

And I had fun as well when I was allowed to participate. Let’s hope the Badgers make this an annual event.

 

P.S.: Mom and Dad were particularly thrilled to learn that a Woman was flying the B2 Stealth Bomber over the stadium in the pre-game fly-over, a first! Now THAT’S the sight of freedom right there.

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Pre-Game Flyover

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The Goodyear Blimp!!

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Aw, how nice.

 

 

 

 

Barn Hunt!!

Hello. It’s me!

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Dad packed the car, so I knew something was up. Then he said the words that mattered most … “do you wanna go for a ride?”

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Just like that Dad gave us the green light to advance toward Coolidge, AZ.

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What was in Coolidge, Arizona?

It was an event of unprecedented emotions, instincts, and pursuit. It was called, “Barn Hunt”!!!

Here’s the 411. You are plopped into the middle of a straw-filled maze, and you are given two minutes to crawl through a tunnel, climb a ramp, and decipher the difference between an empty container, a rat-smelling container, and a container “containing” an actual rat.

I can find a rat.

My cousin Frank was up first, and he blistered the course in record time.

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Meanwhile, I waited in the staging area (aka the backseat of the car).

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From there, I moved to the “blind” … an area where Dad and I were hidden from the competition area so that we would not have any advantages … we couldn’t see anything!

Dad had to give up his phone and Fitbit because some person in California received texts on her Fitbit telling her where all the rats were … now, I’m no expert on morals, but come on, if you’re gonna cheat at this what does that say about what else you’d cheat at??

Then it was time to compete, and I was kinda hoping somebody would give me a hint where the rat was!!!!

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Dad could point and he could encourage me. He couldn’t touch the hay. Maybe he’d get hay fever, maybe he’d break a rule, regardless, he implored me to look in that specific spot. And I strongly obliged.

Not everybody found the entertainment as enthralling as I.

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By the way, what is going on with Dad’s slacks?

Clearly, I found the rat …. but Dad failed to call out the fact that I found the rat, so I was not credited with finding the rat. After two minutes elapsed, Dad was allowed to pick me up and put me next to the rat. I promptly swept away the hay with my paws and clawed at the cylinder where the rat resided. Obviously, I possess an innate talent that will carry me far in future Barn Hunt competitions!!

Mom thought you should get to see the entire video … including where I earned a point for climbing the ramp, and where I did not earn a point because I failed to run all the way through the tunnel. Please visit the website to view the video (https://dashthedachshund.com)

Be honest … that’s a display of raw athleticism, #amirite?

I failed Barn Hunt, but Dad says my natural instincts warrant additional competitions. I’m all in, much in the way Dad is currently all in on pickleball. We all have our passions, don’t we?

Speaking of passions, after the event Mom stopped at the Casa Grande National Monument. It’s a place where Native Americans built a four story condo a thousand years ago. You can see it in the background … now protected from heavy monsoon rains.

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For me, enough was enough. When you have a day that stimulating, a day where you identify a rouge murine hiding in a plastic cylinder, you need rest. The ride home offered me such an opportunity.

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I anxiously await my next opportunity to score one out of three or two out of three on a novice barn hunt event. In time, I won’t be a novice. This is something that I can excel in, something I can really sink my teeth into. The competition, that is … not the rat.

Research Doxie

Hello, it’s me!

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Here’s something for you to chew on. All too often us pups are depicted in unacceptable situations, #amirite?

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But Geico flipped the script, so to speak, with their new marketing campaign.

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Yup, us doxies finally get our due, and we’re portrayed as research-centric pups who care about improving civilization.

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Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not all that into spending an hour on a treadmill while a researcher taps data into a touch-screen monitor.

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But if we’re talking about studying whether ping pong balls adhere to a blueberry-colored sark, well sure, I’ll co-sign for that one. And what in the name of all that is holy is attached to the head of the co-worker in this image?

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All good things must come to an end … and this doxie offers no exception as he belly-aches about the length of this filming session.

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Regardless, Geico captures the essence of the “Research Doxie” … I encourage you to immediately give up your long-established relationship with your current insurance provider and instead consider working with a forward thinking brand like Geico.

 

Just Waiting on a Friend

Hello. It’s me!

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Waiting. That’s what I’m doing these days.

Waiting for Mom’s wrist to heal so that we can do stuff.

Sometimes her wrist hurts, and I feel bad for Mom.

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I try to do something to get the time to go by faster.

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I get so bored waiting for a normal environment that I just ask Dad if I can sit outside in glorious 80 degree temperatures.

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Maybe … just maybe … my best friend will show up!

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Therapy-wise, Mom goes twice a week to get her range of motion back in her wrist. Once that returns, she’ll work on restoring strength. She can already grasp a big beverage with my likeness …

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Mom and Dad also participate in other forms of therapy …

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So that’s the way things are going here during the past month … quite honestly like the Rolling Stones, I’m just waiting on a friend.

Progress Update

Hello. It’s me!

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These are odd times. The weather has cooled, so we should be enjoying a lot of outdoor activity. Instead, Mom is on the mend, and we’re looking forward to Thanksgiving when Mom is ready to emerge from her “situation”.

She had a good checkup last Friday! Her splint/cast came off, and she now has a brace.

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I help out wherever and whenever I can.

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And Mom waits … mostly patiently … until she can play pickleball again. Today her bandages came off … she’s maybe 7 weeks away from taking charge with her paddle!

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Her wrist is looking pretty good, #amirite?

Under the skin, things look … well … interesting!

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That’s what a plate and eight screws look like! And take a look at the little floater of a bone on the right-hand side of the image … that’s break #2 and that one won’t be repaired.

Next checkup is in 13 days. Mom’s fingers are starting to work a lot better. She’s making progress. And I must say, the support I give to the process is helping, no doubt about it!!

Breaking News

Hello. It’s me!

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I play many roles in our home … consumer of crunchables, diagnosing threats, and provider of comfort.

Last Wednesday Mom was playing pickleball. The ball lofted over her head. She backpedaled, stumbled, and used her right wrist to break the fall. She broke the fall … and she broke her wrist.

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A trip to the ER proved there was a problem … but it took six days to get to see a specialist. The specialist said surgery was necessary. He showed Mom the break.

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There were two breaks … you can see the floating bone on the right side of the image. That injury is going to be left alone, no harm. The left side of the right side of the image shows an up-down break and a left-right break … and her hand was shifted about 35 degrees as a consequence.

That’s gotta hurt, #amirite?

So yesterday Mom had surgery … they put one plate and eight screws in her wrist. Today I’m comforting Mom as she recovers. She’ll have a splint on the arm for two weeks, and then she’ll have a brace on her hand until the bone is healed.

I imagine Mom will be able to hand me crunchables by mid-October. Now that we’re past surgery, the storm clouds are clearing and better times are ahead.

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Abiding Until The Cool Air Arrives

Hello. It’s me!

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I’m just waiting for temperatures to cool down. Heck, this week we’re supposed to dip all the way down into the mid-upper 90s for three days, so that should feel like a refreshingly cool breeze, #amirite?

Last weekend my friend Frank visited for a few days. At first I thought this was a pretty good deal.

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Then I got crabby and spent a few days hiding under the bed. I’m sure you’ve all just wanted to hide under the bed from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit (or two days) of personal time.

Dad keeps driving me to grass for bathroom duties. In the blast furnace of an Arizona summer, one needs to find interesting activities to remain stimulated.

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For those of you in the studio audience who were wondering, that’s called a “perceived threat”.

Otherwise I’m stimulated by food-related items. Every day Mom sits down in her chair in her office. This gives me a golden opportunity to attack a large-sized crunchable on her lap.

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Get me on her lap, Dad!!!

This morning I received my twice-a-week veggie bone. Ohhhhh, you can’t imagine the excitement. I signal to Dad that I’m ready to commence the activities. Notice the corner of the bone just barely sticking out of my mouth.

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Next, I tease a potential hiding location.

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Then I point to the specific location where I hid the veggie bone. This prompts Dad to get up and investigate with me.

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Once Dad joins the fray, I show him where he should look.

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Then Dad finishes the job for me!

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Do you see it in there? I put the veggie bone there!

I know, I’m talented.

This is what I do. I abide, waiting for the blast furnace to shut down for the season.

Raw, Unadulterated Boredom

Hello. It’s me.

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Have you ever been bored?

I have been bored.

In fact, I can clearly define for you what boredom is. Boredom is the state of having nearly six weeks of fun followed by several days of seemingly unending travel through the Intermountain West.

Now, what I’m about to say is not intended to be offensive to the Great residents of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. At all. I’m asking you to view the splendor and beauty of the Intermountain West from the perspective of a small dog trapped inside a bouncy tin can careening from north to south at sub-sonic speeds approaching eighty miles per hour.

Here’s how this works. They put mile markers along the road. Sometimes the miles count up, and that’s a highly unfortunate situation. Why? Because you have no idea how long you’re gonna be stuck on the highway. For instance, is this MILE 39 of 72, or is this MILE 39 of 472? There’s a difference, #amirite?

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When you are traveling WEST to EAST, the mile markers count up. You wouldn’t think that I-84 in Oregon would just keep counting up and up and up until you hit 376 or whatever the final mile marker is. But you keep counting up. It takes forever. Then all of a sudden you enter a new state … a brief moment of sheer excitement!!

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The excitement is short-lived, of course … because then you are back at MILE 1 and you have no idea how many miles you have to drive across Idaho (hint … the answer is 276 … and at 80mph that is only 3.5 hours … but nevertheless it’s a long haul).

You drive mile after mile after mile, looking at the same moonscape.

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Eventually you arrive in Utah … and the miles begin counting up again. How many times does this happen? Well, I was in for a shocking surprise. We eventually hit I-15 in Utah, and the miles began to … are you ready for this … the miles began to count DOWN.

That’s right.

All of a sudden you are at mile marker 372 and you realize that you have 372 flippin’ miles to go before you get to the southern border of Utah.

Well, I was fed up … fed … up. So I demanded that Mom and Dad stop. I told them, “THIS IS THE PLACE …  where we need to stop.”

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Dad decided to eat at a God-awful Wendy’s restaurant north of Salt Lake City. Why was it God-awful? Two reasons. First, don’t ever order a salad at Wendy’s. Ever. Especially after eating a Seafood Louie at a reputable establishment just 48 hours earlier. If you like the taste of avocado that appeared blacker than the color the iceberg lettuce turned, then by all means, partake in a five-hundred-calorie menu item that retails for about six dollars.

Second, the parking lot was riddled with myriad drug deals. Turns out there might be a meth problem in this country. Who knew?

So we bolted from the Wendy’s north of Salt Lake City and traversed to mile marker 261, where we stayed the night at a KOA.

The next morning brought more suffering. When you begin at mile marker 261, you have 261 miles to go to get to the southern border of Utah. Do the math … if you average 75 miles per hour it means you are going to sit motionless in the RV for just under four hours. Which I exactly what I did.

You can only sleep for so many hours before you lose your mind. Mindful of my deteriorating condition, Mom and Dad let my evacuate my bladder on a small patch of grass outside of 102 degree St. George.

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Yeah, I look really thrilled about that.

Eventually we cross into … ARIZONA!!!! We’re home!!!!

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One problem. Mom tells me that Mile Marker 29 means we’re going to spend 29 miles in Arizona and then we go into Nevada where we have to drive for several hours before we get to … wait for it … wait for it … Arizona.

Worse, it looks like somebody stacked the mountains in Arizona incorrectly. Look at the angles the sediment sits at. Morons.

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A half-hour later we’re in Nevada.

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Once again we’re counting the miles down from the mid-one-hundred range down to about mile 41 in Las Vegas.

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See the sign … Exit 75B? Yup, once we got to Las Vegas the miles reset as we hit US-93, which is also called I-515, which then becomes I-11 while also being US-93 (and US-95).

Seriously, who names these highways?

We thundered past the Hoover Dam area along the Colorado River.

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And then we finally saw the sign we waited and waited and waited for.

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Ok, we’re finally in Arizona. We’ll be home in five minutes, right?

Wrong.

Miles begin counting up. We’re trying to get to Kingman now, and Kingman is at Mile Marker 71. Another hour. Yeeesh.

When we finally arrive in Kingman, we fill up with diesel for the final time. Dad starts the RV up, and guess what?

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Yup, it’s 104 degrees out and we peg ourselves a Check Engine Light. Mom reviews the manual and sees that a check engine light is only for emissions problems. Dad says “we don’t care about emissions problems, we’re heading home.”

I admire his judgment.

The miles are still counting up, and I learn that we’ve got 100 miles before we re-enter civilization at Wickenburg. Are you kidding me?

So I begin to revolt … sitting on Mom’s lap … licking my feet (which is my way of saying ENOUGH already). Mile 94 becomes Mile 95 becomes Mile 96 becomes insufferable and unending as we thunder toward Mile 199 (Wickenburg).

But we eventually get to Wickenburg, and now we’ve only got 45 minutes of feet licking and general discontentment to go.

In case you are wondering, yes, we eventually made it home. A thousand miles of raw, unadulterated boredom finally came to an end on a 113 degree afternoon west of Phoenix.

When Dad took the RV to the storage lot the following day, temperatures climbed considerably.

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Yeah, 120 degrees sure makes you feel like dancing.

Mom & Dad spent the next several hours putting the house back together.

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Heck, I’m old enough to remember when you turned the TV on and it just worked … now you get a nasty blue screen and the experts tell you that you own a “Smart TV” … really? Really?

Last night I was on the bed, and I asked Dad if I could jump under the covers? He obliged. Maybe I was bored out of my gourd for a thousand miles, but it turns out that the payoff for all of that boredom was worth it … I’ve been rewarded with significant cuddle time in a house that is not moving or bouncing. RV trips are a lot of fun when you are seeing old friends and scenic vistas. RV trips are less fun when you are thundering down the highway at 80mph.

We’re home. What a blast our time in the West was!!!! Now we prepare for falling temperatures and unending crunchables!!!