Wednesday, August 20
The day begins as usual. I have no idea what a special day it will become. Light through the windows awakens us. Spike stirs. I lift up the covers and Bridget squints at me with sleepy eyes. Spike jumps off the bed and goes to the door. I lift Bridget down and she joins him.
I open the door and the three of us step outside to greet another day.
After coffee and breakfast we walk around the broad, open area that is our new home on Horse Creek Road in Shoshone National Forest, north of Dubois, Wyoming. Bridget and Spike familiarize themselves with the smells of our campsite. They didn’t have a chance to do so yesterday, due to rain soon after we arrived.
“Let’s see what’s up this road.”
A two-track trail leads into the forest from behind the Best Little Trailer. It’s actually a road made by people driving pick-ups into the forest in search of wood to cut. Flowers — purple and yellow — peek out from decaying logs and woodland plants. Gee, Spike is doing great. This road is all uphill . . . .
The road forks and we bear to the right.
We arrive at a grassy place where sunbeams shine through the pine boughs and the twinkling leaves of aspens. Squirrels announce our presence. A few minutes of exploration and the crew happily joins me on the downhill trek toward home.
We relax for a few minutes, me in my camp chair in the sun, the crew underneath the BLT, bellies on the cool earth.
Now that we’re closer to Dubois, I need to get some things done!
I go inside and open up the closet door where a laundry basket is piled high with dirty laundry. I toss it all out the door onto the mat. Out go the towels. I strip the bed and throw the bed covers out the door, too. Once everything is sorted, I load it into the Perfect Tow Vehicle along with my laptop and air card, toss in the crew, and we head into town.
It’s about ten scenic miles.
The laundromat is empty. While the machines do the work, I sit in the PTV with Bridget and Spike, laptop open and air card on. I read and answer emails, pay my Chase Amazon bill, and place an Amazon order for a new camera, three filters for its lens, a new laptop, and a memory card (More about this stuff when it arrives).
I try to write a blog post but the words don’t come.
When that happens I know it’s no use forcing it. I close up the laptop and turn to the crew.
“You two are being so good. As soon as the laundry is done, I’ll take you on a little adventure, okay?”
The laundry folded and loaded, I drive to the outskirts of Dubois.
I pull into a large, vacant lot that is part of a storage unit facility. This will do fine. It’s a weedy, ol’ vacant lot to me. To them it’s an adventure!
The two nutcakes scramble out of the PTV and proceed to inventory every message left by previous visitors and follow up with messages of their own. Our next stop is the gas station for a fill-up ($3.84 a gallon). Then we go over to Super Foods where I purchase a fat rotisserie chicken ($7.99) and a few other items.
Of course, the first thing we do upon our return to camp is tear into that chicken!
I sit at the table at the back of the BLT, while Bridget and Spike sit on the floor with big eyes riveted on the chicken. I get a bite, Spike gets a bite, Bridget gets a bite, and so it goes around. At one point, Spike is overcome with desire for the next bite of chicken that he opens his mouth to grab it, then realizes the morsel belongs to Bridget, and restrains himself. He’s such a good boy. Gosh, I love him so. He sure does love this chicken!
Naturally Bridget sits calmly waiting her turns.
She would never think of grabbing a bite meant for Spike. Well, there was that incident when she pulled Spike’s breakfast plate out from under his nose. Everyone has lapses now and then.
Later, I’m outside with the crew when Spike decides to investigate the area around our campsite. He’s going here. He’s going there. I’m impressed by his vigor, so much so that I say out loud to the Bridge, “Boy, Spike is energetic today!”
In the late afternoon, we take our last walk of the day.
We follow the pole fence that marks the boundary between national forest land and private ranch land. The air is brisk and invigorating. On the way home, Bridget runs ahead, as usual, while Spike and I walk side-by-side between the fence and an aspen grove.
On impulse I pick him up and carry him like a baby for the final part of our walk, holding him close and singing into his ear a silly, made-up ditty about what a great guy he is and how much I love him.
Dear readers . . . .
You may be wondering why I’m going into so much detail about this ordinary day. It may seem like an ordinary RVSue-and-crew day as I’ve related it to you. However, it turned out to be a very special day. I don’t know how to tell you this. I’ve run it through my mind, over and over, during the days since then. There’s no gentle way to say it.
It was a special day because it was wonderful for the three of us.
It was also a special day because it was Spike’s last. I’m sad to report that Spike left us before daybreak, August 21st. He went gently and peacefully with his head on my pillow.
I’m writing this five days later.
Why the delay? I couldn’t bring myself to write this post. Also, due to my recent episode of depression (which was probably foreboding) and the break I took from blogging, posts were way behind real time. I didn’t want to interrupt the progression of days with the sad news, and then go back and try to fill in what I had skipped over. I wanted this blog to record, in the correct order, the happy, last days that Bridget and I shared with Spike.
Writing the posts about our Absaroka Camp where Spike went into the little stream up to his shoulders and jumped out, about that splendid morning at the river where Spike took his last soak . . . .
As for Bridget, she’s okay. She’s grieving, too.
In the next post I’ll tell you about Spike’s passing and his final resting place. I want Spike’s story told to its very end. I also hope the details will aid those who loved him to process that he really is gone.
I’m sorry to write this sad post. I’ve always tried to make my blog a sincere and happy place.
NOTE: I won’t be replying to comments. Please save any questions for another time. Thank you.