I wrote this post just after I returned from Tucson (and Phoenix.)  I’ve been a little suspicious about completing it due to counting the long months since Olympia’s failed AI (artificial insemination) where she went into a false pregnancy. It’s been tough to wait the 8 months but this time…..  this time…..  well, we’ll see, I’m not saying anything; meanwhile here’s the story. She’s been an 8 month cycler for all of her nearly 4 years but nevertheless she was a bit early, I suspected such but with the pressures of day-to-day life and the usual emergencies and ‘must do now’ drills I was still surprised.

Sunset on the way to Phoenix

Sunset on the way to Phoenix

First thing I did was call off all social engagements, oh yeah, I overreacted.  She came in on Thursday, blood droplets in the kitchen which I noticed as I was putting dinner on the stove;  the next day I rescheduled her pre-breeding check that I’d scheduled for later that week.  There was no sign of that nasty stricture.  I’m going to call it a mythical Warner Clinic stricture  since we’ve been to 3 other veterinary specialists, none of whom could find any evidence of this inoperable, uncorrectable vaginal stricture….  Sure, that makes sense you can’t correct something that doesn’t exist.  Frustrating and expensive yet good to discover such fiction.

Sunset in on the way to Phoenix

Sunset on the way to Phoenix 2

Then around day 7 it was time to go. Driving always takes longer than my GPS would have me believe especially though the morass of Los Angeles. On 11-11-11 I’d reconnected with my high school friend Lindsey on her marriage to her hubby Bruce; they offered their Phoenix home as a wayport, which I gratefully accepted.

Lindsey and Bruce invited me and the dogs to their Saturday Corvettes and Caffeine event  at their Corvette Performance shop   Lots of hospitality and lots of gorgeous cars! If you’re in Phoenix take a look! If you need anything for a Corvette and/or just curious give them a call. It was such a nice event and they are excellent hosts.

The stunning AZ sky

The stunning AZ sky

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Mason was terror stuck by their African Gray, I’d forgotten this from the 11-11 visit; the African Gray pipes up with explosive and piercing sounds not unlike the signal that the world is about to end.  I didn’t bother showing Mason the bird, how could he understand such a feathered creature is so capable?  There is a plethora of animals here, cats, birds, dogs, puppies, it brings back memories of being a kid and having such a lively houseful of species.  Olympia was having none of it, she made it clear that the enthusiastic welcome was not even remotely acceptable so we did the shuttle system. . . . the household dogs in, mine out and vise versa which worked perfectly except for the mornings when Olympia did a dive bomb into my bed landing on top of me on holding on for dear life, little paws grabbing on for comfort; she convinced that monsters were coming … bird crashing and screeching and the household pups clawing, snuffling and scratching at the guest bedroom door. ….  Ah such bravery!

As much as I love Lindsey and the delight of visiting with her we could all tell Olympia was ready, especially Duke, the King Cavalier stud!  Mason told me too in his sweet, look mom gentle way of his.  We were to meet Cubby In Tuscon at 1 pm. It was going to go well, everything orderly and calm….  I was telling myself this battling the heavy wind on the freeway….  this year was going to be  a good year, things were going to go right for a change! Cubby welcomed me with a sandwich and ice water, I was starving! She invited my two to relax in the backyard and then the big moment. . . . .  OUCH! Olympia took one look at Terzo and screamed like a demon.  What was she saying. . .  Hell no you!  Mason is my stud so don’t even think it!  Stop looking at me right now!  Good old Sweetie dog of mine kept up her screaming no matter what we tried.  We put the dogs together on leash . . . we walked them around the yard.. we gave them breaks.  … kenneled them next to each other…. I even brought out the Tennis Ball which Olympia happily chased… all sorts of things but it turned out to be the kitchen that did the trick.  I put a muzzle on Olympia, my vet at home had suggested I bring one just in case she freaked.  What actually worked was not letting Olympia see Terzo and giving her a little help by holding her in the corner between the wall and the refrigerator! If she didn’t look at him, she wasn’t exactly happy but at least more or less tolerant.  Anytime she could turn around, out would come her opinion of where Tero’s real place should be in her world.  She seemed quite proud of herself, bouncy and cheerful when he was done which surprised me. Oh, she still would have liked to take a bite out of him, if she could!

As the sun was lowering I set off for the ½ hour drive to my RV camp.  I’d picked Desert Trails  from on-line reviews.  I liked that it was a natural and quiet setting, that’s what I wanted and it was $23.  I was eager for calm after the noise my dog had made.  The Park was crammed, I was in the last available space which I couldn’t find until someone took pity on me and led the way….  way over on the outskirts of the Park up against a noisy and busy road, (it’s right behind that fence that you can’t see for the bit of greenery,) there in a massive offering of gravel, the kind the Mason won’t walk on, was my spot crammed in between  vacant RVs with lights left ablaze.

Desert Trails RV Park, my spot

Desert Trails RV Park, my spot

I tried to settle after a stumbling walk avoiding the sharpest of the rocks; cars and trucks a few feet away whizzing their songs, not the vision I had in mind of peaceful and serene, but okay this was Arizona where smokers were still allowed in public and firearms are the norm, also the place were sunshine truly reigns and the cost of living is closer to livable.   The morning was better, the Park was not as advertised, yet not different from what was advertised….  the photos glorified it.  Yes it had a dog run with a few pieces of ‘imaginative’ agility equipment (it was touted as having a full agility course) yes it had an observation deck “of sorts” and a pool and hot tub of sorts….

Desert Trails, Sea of RVs Desert Trails, Sea of RVs[/caption] Desert Trails...  Sea of RVs Desert Trails… Sea of RVs[/caption] Desert Trails Sea of RVs at Desert Trails

I didn’t go in.  I caught the end of a meeting, hundreds of gray and dyed heads absorbing the schedule for the week… daytrips, jeep trips, nature walks, bike tours, hikes, photo classes, arts and crafts, singing classes, cooking, movies, entertainment, wow!  Really?  Folks were busy.  There were  men out walking dogs, not just women, friendly seniors with big dogs. I’d step back out of the way and they’d take this as a sign to come forward, I’d move further back they’d give their dog full leash stretching their arms in my direction saying, oh don’t worry, my dog’s friendly!  OK what part of me and my dogs retreating didn’t register?  Well, I’d tell them, my dogs are vicious…yeah really. Those big dogs were in real trouble from my little ones.

I finished my exportation walking the trail towards Saguaro National Park.

The Trail

I didn’t have a map or water so I didn’t go too far instead I departed, heading up the road towards the Desert Museum at the entrance to the National Park.  I opted to spend time at one of the outlying picnic areas, only one or two other vehicles and no people! Was gorgeous and relaxing, I sat still with the dogs by my side listening to the birds enjoying the delight of the scene.

.Picnic Area




I was looking forward to the next breeding… okay I was being hopeful….  Adrienne suggested we breed every day rather than every other day and that she would be available, but instead Adrienne wanted to be sure about the timing given Olympia’s less than stellar demeanor so we did a progesterone and vaginal slide. I spent 3 or 4 hours waiting in the parking lot at Four Paws, the vet where Adrienne works (except she wasn’t there that day.)  I had lots of time to explore the Trader Joes and the Pet Smart.  The vet clinic could not squeeze me in earlier than our appointed time.  $200 later (the next day) I’d learn that Olympia was indeed ready.  I’d been calling RV Park after RV Park trying to discover why they were all filled!  Turned out that a city wide Gem and Mineral Show had begun; the largest such show in the US!  Alongside there were 30 other shows spread throughout the city.  Given different circumstances it might have been a blast to explore but all I wanted was an inexpensive, quiet, safe place to spend the night.  Apparently it was fortunate I brought my RV, hotel rooms within a 30 or 40 miles radius were non-existent.  At least someone warned me that parking at Wal Mart and such during the gem show would be severely ticketed, could you just see them towing away the RV with Olympia and Mason barking and barking at the tow truck!  After what become the usual 3 hour search, I was directed by a Park that had filled it’s quota of dogs (yes they have a quota!) to the Voyager.  The Voyager is a village.

On the Streets of Voyager RV Park

On the Streets of Voyager RV Park

It cost $40 for the “economy” spaces.  The dogs liked it as there was not too much gravel and lots of streets to walk; other dogs we meet were well behaved and didn’t approach us and even better it had restaurant for tired Mom so I could eat!  Around the back of the park is a green area with a long dog run perfect for tossing tennis balls and it was empty!  The rain started, not a downpour but cold and refreshing for this rain starved Californian.  I was sure tomorrow would be my last day in Tucson so I checked out in the morning. We met Adrienne early, with her it was straight to business.  Olympia’s numbers were good but she still wasn’t going for any lovey-dovey.  We bred them in the kitchen, I had her muzzle off but it was evident she still didn’t like Terzo yet Olympia showed the same happy tail, head up into the house and frisky playful when it was over.  Maybe all she wanted was put Terzo in his place, but I’m sure if given a chance she would have chased him off. Must be tough to be an almost 4-year old maiden bitch.  Next time….  breeding should be done in the 2nd year or else with a stud she already likes. When Olympia was 2 she loved other dogs, by 3 she began to be picky and by 4 she’s definitely established herself as the queen.  Terzo, looking adorable was trying his darndest to be a good suitor.  

I missed the offering of Fennel-Chamomile tea Cubby (Adrienne’s wife) had made me after the first time when Terzo had adorned his “smoking jacket” and we’d relaxed a bit in the “afterglow” . .. today was a rush.  It seemed to me Olympia was done and we could head home.  Adrienne suggested we go for two more times, Wed and Thur.  I said OK for Wed but declined for Thur.  I sensed she was passing out of standing heat and I wanted to be home Fri besides I couldn’t stand that screaming of hers. 

I’d found a place to stay early while waiting for Wed’s 6 pm meeting (yep the very last space in the park!) at the KOA Lazydays.

KOA Lasydays...  the parking lot Park

KOA Lasydays… the parking lot Park

Nothing but a big parking lot. I don’t really understand the glowing reviews but for a parking lot, sure it was nice….  pool and hot tub did not look inviting so I avoided them.  Luckily my spot was on the border and there was no light which I appreciated except when I returned after the breeding it was dark and I had to ask the gate guard to send someone over with a flashlight.  The back-in space had a water spigot sticking out close to the ground…. impossible to see.  Two golf carts showed up, with two guys happy with something to do as they guided me in. Walking around and around was boring….  we’d done that earlier but we did it again for the dogs staying out of the dog play area, too many dogs were in there and now that Olympia had been bred I wanted to keep her away from where other dogs gathered. There wasn’t much to do but it was surprisingly quiet so I slept.  I slept in a little in the morning too not having anywhere I needed to be until breeding time and then the drive back to Phoenix.  I decided to head to a local grassy park and wait the hours there but just around the corner as I was leaving, what did I see! Two!!!  Strangely looking familiar shaped and colored dogs…. I told the woman sitting in front of her Airstream, hey…  you won’t believe what I have in here!  We spent an hour or so chatting about our darling Lagottos. She was from Washington, her dogs from Brigit in Vancouver. One of her girls was very very shy, I hope she contacts me.

I headed to Beyond Bread which Adrienne had mentioned as a good place to eat and ordered up at tasty chicken curry salad with bread to go, hit the grassy park for a quick 20 min visit and then was standing in the kitchen with Adrienne, Terzo and Olympia. Terzo was as revved and hot to go as ever but there was a problem!  A new problem!  Try as he would he couldn’t quite make the connection. Adrienne was helping and Terzo was exerting himself but it just didn’t work.  Poor Olympia was as tolerant as possible given how she felt about him.  After a ½ hour of him on her back she let out a low growl.  Adrienne tried digging a ditch in the in the yard so she would be lower…  that didn’t work!  Poor stud, the look on his face was too much…..  I want her but I just can’t. Terzo needed a rest without Olympia to distract him so we retreated to another park. I didn’t even get out of the van but I sat and thought. . . . It was starting to get late and would be later still after we tried again….  What was I gonna do?  The KOA was filled.  I’d need time to find a place.  Terzo would need time before he was ready to try again.

I called Adrienne and postponed until Thurs, I’d come all this way I could give up going home by Fri.  So for the next 3 hours I searched; actually  found a place that offered a $24 rate in their overflow as all their regular spaces were filled but my GPS took me on a wild goose chase over torn up roads packed with traffic and great views of the air museum and then up into beautiful canyon across town, but no RV park….  As it was now after 6pm I gave up and headed back to the Voyager.  The clerk was someone new and he wasn’t agreeable to giving me a space, saying they were full except, oh maybe he’d have a $55 space available…  so I was getting directions to another park when the kindly host who’d shown me to my space a few days ago appeared…   well, whaddya know, suddenly there was a space for me, a $45 dollar rate which quickly dropped back to $40 when I whipped out my Good Sam card.  I was led to a quiet area around the corner from my previous space, oddly no one came in the night to claim any of the spaces around me or behind me, I didn’t mind but for a full park there was a lot of empty.

hmmmm....  full, really?

hmmmm…. full, really?

After walking the dogs, I explored.  Voyager has a hotel, park models with little RVs like mine in their car port, mobile homes, cabins, 500 spaces for RVs, restaurant, bar, min-store, several pools, an array of Jacuzzis, tennis courts, an exercise room and lots and lots of classrooms and meeting halls.  I was beginning to get the picture, this was retirement and Tuscon was Mecca.  Recreation bonanza!  I popped open the ballroom door a crack and was greeted by ticket takers…  the concert tonight was Simon and Garfunkel.  Even a medical office and help with finances.

Voyager 20140205_201828 20140205_201901 20140205_201915 20140205_202130 20140205_202218

The Thurs breeding was to be at 8 am. I woke at 6 am (5am, in my CA time), walked the dogs, fed the dogs, cleaned up the RV, took a nice long shower, oh and I lost my bathing suit, you know, the one that fits nice and is flattering and cute…. that was a bummer.  This time it was Cubby and both my dogs got to run around in the yard, then we tried socialization with Olympia and Terzo in adjacent outside kennels while she offered me breakfast!!!  I was happy since I’ll always feed and take care of the dogs but frequently don’t bother for myself.  Cubby said we’d do the breeding just like we did the first time since that was successful.  I was hopeful, I didn’t believe Adrienne that the reason Terzo failed was that he couldn’t kiss Olympia…  you know flirt and play with her….  come on I’ve read lots of virgin bitches are not all that gung-ho….  or is it just Olympia??? No.  I wasn’t sure what was going on but my suspicion was that she was going out of heat and while some bitches may bred as long as possible that certainly wasn’t going to be Olympia’s style.

Terzo couldn’t do it, he gave up earlier this time even with Cubby helping.  The owner of the stud handles the stud and the back end, while the owner of the bitch handles the front end. I know, I know, why do we have to help them….  well because we do.  Olympia kept putting her tail down….  if there weren’t two of us helping I don’t think she would have been bred at all. We would have been off to the reproduction vet for a side-by-side. I didn’t feel bad for her as she was so darn cheerful, she’d stopped the plaintive yelping and replaced it with a low rumbling growl…  no doubt Terzo was not her choice, maybe if he’d succumbed to her authority she might have allowed it, in time, maybe?  Naturally Olympia has to pull out all the roadblocks and challenges….  With two failures and two successes and the packed conditions in Tucson I’d had enough.

This was not a pleasure trip or a chance to explore, this was for one purpose only….  to bring my recalcitrant 4 year old virgin bitch to her stud, nevertheless as I left town I took a detour to the Biosphere.  It was an enjoyable drive, scenic with snowy mountains in the vista.

On The Road

When I arrived there was a line and about a ½ hour wait until the next tour which would last an hour.  Outside temperature was 35 degs, yet I knew if the sun came out the LT would heat quickly.  What to do?  Leave the window vents and fan on and risk it getting colder or close them so the dogs would stay warm hoping the sun wouldn’t break through? The more I thought about it the less appealing the $19 tour seemed.  I continued to the little town of Florence and McFarland State Historic Park.  The town goes back to 1866 and while quiet boasts attractions. After a tour and history lesson, I bought some mint and root-beer fudge at the fudge shop and talked to a transplant from Oregon who was about to open a pet rescue store on main street. The building had been trashed and the woman responsible had just walked by. . . interesting small town.

Florence, AZ 20140206_132525 20140206_132529 20140206_134408 20140206_134436 20140206_134451 20140206_135732

Headed Back To Phoenix

Headed Back To Phoenix

Back in Phoenix, I arrived early, Lindsey and Bruce wouldn’t be home until 5:30 so I headed to Camelback Mountain trail area.  I’d forgotten that I’d tried that in 11-11 and dogs are not allowed….  I tired to remember the other place where dogs were allowed but it was rush hour so I opted for a rest at the Barry Goldwater Park where I read the mosaic and snapped photos of Arizona’s really cool looking plants.

Barry Goldwater Park, Phoenix ...  and the beautiful flora of Arizona

Barry Goldwater Park, Phoenix … and the beautiful flora of Arizona

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Lindsey made dinner, thank you sweetie!  And Bruce showed some of the great links and videos he’s put together for the Corvette shop.  Their pups mauled me, I thought they would have been able to tell the difference between human me and Olympia but I guess smell like her.  All was good, my adventure almost over.  I carried Mason across the kitchen past the birds to bed.  I slept well. I woke early to Daisy (the Cavalier mom with 3 puppies)  telling the world it was time to get up.  Once the household dogs were up I snuck Olympia and Mason out to the van…. we went for a neighborhood walk in the dark morning.  Lindsey and Bruce work hard long hours, here’s to wishing them happiness.  Maybe some day they’ll come to Santa Barbara.

On the way home I stopped in Quartzsite, the dogs liked that.  I was planning to pick up another basket but to my surprise my $4 basket increased to $10, I still could have bought it but on principle I didn’t.  Many vendors had packed up and left for their next venue ….  still so much shopping going on, it clouds the beauty of the desert and the desert is lovely. So cool and vast in February.

20140207_11353020140207_11362920140207_113837Quartzsite, AZ Rest Stop20140207_094603

Attempted lunch at the Chiriaco Summit Café outside of Indio but I lost my appetite as the wait staff twice looked right past me with blank glazed frazzled eyes….  my presence didn’t register.  A shame, it’s a great location, I wondered how the place must be managed; instead I opted for a yummy Garden Burger and date shake at Hadley’s after completely ignoring those blinking yellow lights on the sign coming over the San Gorgonio Pass that clearly says high wind, dust storm warning when lights are flashing!  Whoops, it was an interesting ride…. only one of the windiest places in the U.S…  sure no problem there.

Now the wait begins….  is she or isn’t she? I missed friends I wanted to connect with in Tucson, it wasn’t the time.  Baby Girl, aka Olympia was the star of this trip.  She was messy, almost the messiest she’s ever been…  good cover for NOT looking as special as she is.  I didn’t want anyone fussing over her or anyone knowing she was in HEAT.  Normally when she’s in season we stay home. She is to be pampered and stress free, plenty of time for exploring later.

Oh…  one last comment on Arizona….  gas prices!!!!!!  When I arrived back in Santa Barbara gas was around $3.70 a gal! The lowest price I saw in AZ was $3.09 and the highest $3.46.

Gas in arizona!

Gas in Arizona!