Oh no, not again . . . another close call.

Walking the road in the morning light with Bridget and Spike, I decide to call this camp “Ash Fork Fields.”

I look for flowers and find none.  Unlike previous camps, the rocks here are uninteresting, dark and dull.  Soft, gray-brown soil lies exposed in large patches in the fields of grass.  Some sections of the road are reddish and tire tracks reveal the clay composition.

As is my custom when walking with the crew, I look for signs of animal life.

Burrows and underground tunnels of nocturnal animals are plentiful.  So are animal tracks.  The crew and I come upon several tracks across the road. The tracks reveal the pointed “toes” of cloven hooves, narrower than those of cattle.

Before long I see on a distant slope a small herd of seven or eight deer, running across the field of grass.  Since the only reference for size are the scattered juniper trees which look the same whether short or tall, I can’t determine the size of the animals. Could they possibly be elk?  Watching them bound across the grass is a pleasant sight.  Probably not so pleasant for them if they’re running for their lives.

The crew and I come to a cluster of junipers where there’s a small corral. 

The grass changes from long and dry to short sprigs of green.  I notice a few signs of horses and cattle.  Continuing on past the corral, the road merges into another dirt road which cuts through the terrain in a perfectly straight line.  I see a sign: “Warning:  Gas Pipeline.”  It looks like an uninspiring walk.

“C’mon, guys.  Let’s go back.  We’ve gone far enough.”

I’ve seen deep, doglike tracks in several places while walking on this road.

Maybe someone was out here on a hike with their dog.  Or maybe it’s a coyote . . . or a mountain lion!  No, that’s silly.  Mountain lions don’t trot along out in the open on a road. These are tracks in a trot.

Before long the mystery reveals itself.

The coyote comes into view ahead of us, trotting out of a low area, moving toward the road.  Unlike the skinny, scraggly, desperate coyote that pursued us back in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, this animal is large with a thick, healthy coat of golden-tan fur.   He doesn’t slink about.  He moves confidently across the grass.  This guy hasn’t missed any meals lately.

The coyote stops in the road and turns his head to look at us.

What a beautiful animal.  Spike lowers his head, eyes riveted on the coyote, and turns on a low growl.  Bridget circles my ankles making me high-step out of the leash.   We continue moving forward toward the coyote.  I’m glad I have this walking stick.  I slam the tip of the metal stick into the hard-packed road with each step, giving the sound and appearance of determination and lack of fear.   The crew keeps pace alongside me.  The coyote’s glance at us is quick.  He turns and trots back in the direction he came.  Good!  I guess we look like too much trouble to bother with . . . or he just ate. 

Up ahead is an interesting camp.

Tucked into the junipers and overlooking the dirt road sits a very unusual camper.  Someone took an old truck, and, as best I can tell, built a living space behind the cab.  It has a peaked roof with a vertical pipe where smoke escapes (I noticed that yesterday morning.).  A solar panel sits angled on the roof — I guess about 100 watts.   How does he drive to get supplies? That doesn’t look like it goes out on the road. Maybe he has a motorcycle out of sight. If so, I haven’t heard it.  Everything is painted green camouflage, successfully hiding the camp from distant view.

I first saw this camp when looking for a place to make my own camp. 

I’ve made an effort to avoid disturbing this person’s solitude.  As we walk along on the open road below the camo camp, I pretend it’s not there.  Once we are well past, however, something causes me to turn around.

I look up the hill and see a man standing next to the truck, looking at us.

He raises his arm, and sends us a wide wave.  I raise my arm and make a big, slow wave in return.  Am I feeling the camaraderie of like minds?   Then we both turn toward our homes.  I wonder if he saw us walking up the road and waited for our return.  I bet he’s an interesting fellow.  This thought sends me on a reverie of why people make the choices they do.

Spike and Bridget are tired and happy to approach home.

Thank God Spikey’s back to his normal self.  Yesterday Spike didn’t want to get out of bed.  I had to carry him outside to urge him to relieve himself.  Nothing.  He didn’t eat or drink a thing all day.  His gut made loud, gurgling noises as he lay on the bed, head on the pillow.  I let him sleep most of the day, while I worried and fought the inclination to expect the worst.  I also resisted blogging about the situation, not wanting to spread my worry around like I did the last time Spike wasn’t acting himself.

Last night I sleep with my arms around him. 

At one point I could feel him shivering.  This really scares me and I have to fight off middle-of-the-night terror at losing my sweet pal.  I lie in the dark holding Spike’s warm body and my heart aches, thinking what Al and Kelly are going through, grieving for their little Cora.  Oh please, please, not yet . . .

This morning Spike wakes up with bright eyes!

He jumps out the door, does his business and sniffs the premises.   Hallelujah!   Back in the door, he chows down on his breakfast with gusto and follows it up with a long drink.  Yay!  Spikey’s back!  I shower him with kisses and snuggle my face into his neck, softly asking the oft-repeated question, “Do you know you’re the cutest, little boy in the whole world?”

Bridget and I play with him on the bed, rolling him on his back, one of his favorite antics.  He kicks his legs in the air and wiggles himself, side-to-side.  I laugh as I try to keep his squirmy body from falling off the bed. Bridget is jumping around on the wadded-up quilt.  She looks as relieved as I am.

“You sure do know how to give us a scare, Spikey, you little devil!”[slideshow]

rvsue

P.S.  Previously on rvsue and her canine crew, the Perfect Tow Vehicle and the Best Little Trailer suffered a break-away cable mishap.  The situation looks better now that I’ve ordered a new, coiled cable (See Resources Page).  It’s being mailed General Delivery to the Ash Fork P.O. and is expected to arrive by the end of the week.  Once I’ve clipped on that cable, the PTV can tow again!

4/1/12 . . . $7.00 Burro Creek Campground fee
4/2/12 . . . $7.00 camground fee
4/3/12 . . . $10.87 lunch with pie, $4.99 gal. of milk
4/4/12 . . . $0
4/5/12 . . . $0
4/6/12 . . . $32.00 for gas @ $3.99 a gal, $4.50 lunch at A&W
4/7/12 . . . $87.36 groceries, $13.99 dog food
4/8/12 . . . $17.45 for break-away cable plus shipping
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30 Responses to Oh no, not again . . . another close call.

  1. Pauline says:

    So glad that Spike is okay. I pray for him and Bridget every night…oh yes, and you too. I really don’t know how you do what you do. I would have been scared to death at coming upon a camouflage truck in the middle of no where. You are amazing, dear Sister. Love following you around Arizona.

  2. So glad Spikey is up to his old self again. Wheewwwwwww

  3. Geri says:

    We all have our Yuckky days… Spikey is not exempt just because he is Spikey! 🙂 Really, we are glad he is feeling better and glad to know the coyote around you was well fed! There were flowers all over the place at Lee’s Ferry! A new bird too… orange head, black body with 2 white stripes on the wings…beautiful. Gotta get my bird book out! Weather is very warm here… 88 today!
    Stay safe Sue! Geri

    • Geri says:

      We just found him in the Audobon Field Guide to North American birds… he was a Yellow Headed Blackbird! I sure hope winter is gone, only patches of snow left on the road to the North Rim of Grand Canyon! But park was still closed for winter ! You must have fixed my name… it’s back to normal!

  4. Kevin says:

    Glad to hear that Spike is fine again…I agree with you, your current surroudings are not up to your past standards, maybe time to move?

  5. geogypsy2u says:

    You never know who or what you might find out in the middle of nowhere. Glad all is well and that Spikey is feeling better today.

  6. cathieok says:

    Sounds like Spike found something interesting to munch on outside when you weren’t looking! Little stinker.

  7. Chuck says:

    You were making snide remarks about him the other day and Spike responded…you gotta’ quit apickin’ on him…you hurthis feelins’……….

  8. So glad Spike is ok now. what a scare! The coyote would have scared me to death. You are so brave. I think the green camouflage truck with the man would have scared me more..lol
    I don’t want to feel that way but in this world you have to be so careful. He could be hiding out.
    thats my imagination working over time. When you get your part,,,, maybe you should move on and find another place. Pictures were great. Love seeing the crew… they are precious. I can see having a dog with you is a good idea… Sharon

  9. Teri says:

    So happy that Spike is better…boy they certainly play with our emotions. I see beauty in every place you’ve been, this latest area is no exception.

  10. Sherry says:

    You do manage to turn even a little morning walk into an adventure wherever you are. A trait I envy.

    I think inspite of the tight rein you keep on them that Spikey has eaten something that didn’t agree with him. Glad he didn’t leave the remains in the BLT. 🙂

    • Cynthia says:

      Sue, sometimes my rattie, Scout, has a case of the “squirty tummies” (bad indigestion for the rest of us). My vet told me I could give him a Tums. Of course, he won’t just go ahead and eat one, so I crush it, mix it with a wee bit of something soft & tasty (he likes hummus) and put fingerfuls under his lip til he’s taken it all. Shortly after, he feels better.
      Worth a try!

  11. Reine says:

    HI Sue, How about posting expenses for April so I can get the spreadsheet caught up? Doesn’t sound like you’ve spent very much.
    Glad you ordered the coiled breakaway cable. It definitely solves the problem of the dragging cable.

  12. Elizabeth in NC says:

    Wow, 2 worries in one day and then Spike gets sick!! I would be scared too!! Just be sure you take that stick with you when you are outside!! Heh…maybe a cattle prod might not be too bad of an idea either!! Coyotes USUALLY leave people alone. Hope you can post every day a little bit just to let us know you are OK!! Or at least email a few friends or kin…

    • Elizabeth in NC says:

      Well, as dogs age, like us, they have times they do not feel like eating. Not drinking is what worried me with my dogs. The ones who lived to be 14+ and 16+ had a lot of days those last few years that they worried us…cannot be helped. I do feel your angst with dogs illnesses…the very best of companions…that do not live near long enough, no matter how well we take care of them. But you surely have to keep an eye on them, as you say, dogs will be dogs and eat nasty stuff sometimes…

      I do hope however that there is at least one person or 2 that you keep daily contact with and who would know where to send someone to check on you, if needed.

      • hobopals says:

        Sue, I always save my coordinates in my GPS as soon as I’m stopped in the spot I’m going to camp. That way, if you ever need help of any kind–even for the pups, you don’t have to give a blow by blow description. Whoever you notify can just enter the coordinates in their GPS and it brings them right to your door.

        I had a taser gun mostly for the northwest when I hiked with Jack. I figured it would give us a fighting chance if we ran across an unexpected bear or whatever.

        I took my personal locator with me in case I fell, I’d be able to get help not only for myself but for Jack.

        Probably sounds like an arsenal to you, but I never worried a moment no matter how isolated I was. They were light and fit in my pockets. I have a friend who is scared to death to camp by herself–even in a campground. So, there are some people who couldn’t travel solo for any length of time and enjoy it.

        Glad you’re enjoying it and hope I can get back to it though time is running out for me. At least I have memories.

  13. Bob (aka stude53) says:

    Hi, Sue and crew!

    As others have said, we all have a bad day once in a while. I know, because of my two, that doggy companions are sometimes a cause of worry when they obviously don’t feel good.

    It seems to happen here when they have been foraging in the yard, perhaps eating a system-upsetting bug or plant. I wait a day , giving them a bland diet like rice, to see if they perk up. If not its a trip to the vet.

    Once your new cable arrives, I hope you find your next campsite more pleasing. Thanks for the pics of the area, and of Spike and Bridget.

    Bob

  14. Pat Gabriel says:

    Spike is too funny. Your dogs must love this new life.
    One question keeps coming up…do you think your solar panels will give you enough juice to run your AC?
    Thanks for sharing
    Pat

  15. Bill says:

    Hi Sue- Oh boy, doggie down days…We are so spoiled because they usually pick us up when we feel puny! Our neighbor in CO. (retired Large Animal Vet) told me once that if you suspect a dog has ingested something, feel around the stomach area for sensitivity or hardened areas. Animals can pass many foreign proteins…the problems which cause the greatest concern are NOT passing ingested material or outright poisonous substances! The latter are rare in your environment. Dogs even have special ways of dealing with venomous reps and snakes! Their metabolism varies much like a human beings temp when coping with invasive situations. If his mood doesn’t change or worsens, carefully compare his tongue to Brigettes as to moisture and take a light and see if his eyes respond like his sister’s. If his vitals compare well to sis’s, it’s a doggie down day and relax! (ps-a sprinkle of water on the nose and/or tongue usually gets a response…take a deep breathe) BR and kids have you all in a thoughts and p…

  16. Lisa says:

    Thanks for your blog – I enjoy following along with you. And so glad your little boy is feeling better!

    Sending good wishes –

    Lisa and Trotters

  17. Chuck says:

    Glad Spike is OK. Our mini Australian Shepard that we lost a couple of years ago(B4 Doogie) used to eat horse poop all the time no problem but old cow poop, coyote poop, road kill were also on his menu and not such good results. Finally had to long leash him. Give the crew an etra hug!!

    • Elizabeth in NC says:

      We have had dogs who did not eat the cow pies…but they wanted to roll in it and smell themselves all up. My dad pretty well broke one dog by making it get in the nearby stream and stand with the current pushing the hair forward (to get it out)…that dog was not overly fond of baths, so it eventually “caught on”. Obviously, their nose does not work quite like ours does!! That dog was so smart otherwise…go figure!!

  18. FreeSpirit says:

    Good morning! I was thinking, that man in camoflouge might have had a little Vespa scooter tucked away. (Or not!) They are really neat little scooters that you can tool around in. Mostly boater’s have them to drive around the marina’s in getting light supplies. Of course, they may not fair too well in sand.

    http://www.vespa.com/

    I Love your photos of the land and your tucked in Spikey! (So cute) I can hardly wait to do the same. I’ve already taken some photos of where I’m at to send to my cousin, Realtor friend, my old high school girlfriend and her family who now lives in Seattle Washington, as well as to some old friends in Nevada. Some ‘get it, ‘ some don’t. Oh well!

    I’m in my new ‘rig’ getting used to everything and I just Love it. I feel very privileged to be able to have the experience of traveling and being completely happy with the choices I’ve made for my personal endeavor. I’ve never seen so many visible stars in the sky, then again I’ve never been so far out in the desert before either.

    The people at the Park where I’m staying, for now, are so friendly and nice. I’ve met and talked with more folks here in one week than I ever did when I owned a home for almost 3 years. I never experienced such commoradary in a suburban neighborhood. “Never.” I’m sure those neighborhoods are out there, but not quite like this.

    Now that I’ve gotten used to all the gadgets in my new trailer, I’m going to unplug from the power source next week, after I get my cooler in the mail that is, and see what the solar panels can do. I know they will be fine. I just want to get to know them first! Then, I will be heading out shortly after that to get my feet wet boon docking somewhere cooler!

    Each day, as you had mentioned before, really is a new adventure. Ready to be opened and enjoyed like a nice big beautifully wrapped package that you received in the mail!

    ‘Happy Trailers.”

    Corinne.

    • FreeSpirit says:

      “How quiet is it in the desert?” It’s so quiet you can hear the Stars shining! 🙂

  19. FreeSpirit says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqWsg076bqs&feature=related Please indulge me while I share a beautiful song with everyone.

    “These are the days.”

  20. Ron says:

    Sue
    That could have been a mountain lion tracks ,wild animals are just like people they like to walk on the easiest trails,tracks can tell you a whole story of what happened that day before you showed up . Coyote or dog tracks will have claw marks the cats wont unless they are running or in mud…
    There are some good books on animal tracks and a lot of info on the net ,might be something to look at.
    Enjoyed it as always
    Ron

  21. Ron says:

    Got to remember critters are running around barefoot.lol
    Ron

  22. carol says:

    I can identify with your Just atad off of norm,and we wonder.My youngest Aussie,Indy, has siezures,and Ireactevery Tim shhe goes after an itch.?You are braver thhn I am.Year ago, when I would go riding by myself in the boonies,I noticed every thing ,or one, out of placeI always carried a little pistol.It would have been more harm to me, to fire off th back of my horse, than any stranger would do.I never quit riding, tho.happy.Happy trails, Sue

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