Archive for May, 2018


 

It is not easy to travel a la solo with pets, esp not 2 or 3 high energy sporting dogs and 1 senior not high energy, doesn’t like to get his feet wet or walk on oh, so many different surfaces, dog. Two of my “tough” pawslinger gang are ball crazy and will do anything to get me to throw for them long and often. One dog likes to pull the lead to see if that shoulder of mine will dislocate, another likes to tangle everyone, one wants to be carried, another is fond of 2 am potty walks, none of them wash their feet and oh, they all agree rolling and rubbing their coats thoroughly in un-nameable gunk is heaven. Sure I could stuff them all into crates and only let them out when I spot a clean perfect romping spot with no stickers, no bugs, no mud, no cars or trucks, no other dogs and none of those ‘no dogs allowed’ signs…  or better, I could uncover a fortune tucked under my mattress and  afford a nice new climate controlled, generator free motorhome that keeps the interior temperature perfect all on its own and that is easy-peasy to drive. Maybe one of those driverless ones so I could take a break once in a while and relax like my canines do.  Can you imagine getting up hills without fretting that everything’s going blow, not cringing at every dip and scrape,  jarring and banging, scarring the dogs, scaring me.  The dogs give me bad looks when the road gets rough, they can tremble and shake.

And what gives with the lack of shade in parking lots!  Really steams me that the little, if  any, shade that there might be is commandeered by luxury sedans or convertibles, anything but a pet car. Don’t those motorists know our pets are not permitted to come inside like the rest of us are? Those left behind NEED SHADE!  The non inhabited empty car does not need shade, cars don’t overheat with the engine off but I guess most motorists have yet to discover this amazing fact?  I’ve been known to troll a parking lot up to 1/2 hr trying to vie a shady spot to run in and get a meal or some groceries, let alone a museum, at least I have my own on-board toilet, an amazing blessing as you often can’t take your dogs to a restroom, not to mention even walking on the grass at a reststop.

Yes, I know there are plenty of awful dog-people who don’t clean up and let their pets engage in all the annoying and obnoxious behaviors that I’m guessing they’d really like to do themselves if they could get away with it. It’s a dog, PEOPLE, a dog, not a wild beast that cannot learn to fit in. Don’t know how to teach anything to a dog?  No Problem, get yourself a stuffed one. Don’t know or care about camping ethics, not sure how to use a trash can, too difficult to figure out how a leash works (and no it’s not a pull rope,)  get yourself a nice dog app on the playstore. And for goodness sake my dogs are not lonely and have no interest in your “friendly” scoundrel racing towards us at top speed, esp one off-leash or on a 20 foot retractable (trip) line to say, Hello?”Really? Invest in a text on dog-to-dog communication and what is a normal (non predatory) way to say hello, and if you can’t read or comprehend all that the very least have your dog go to school with a professional trainer. Mandatory schooling for dogs, not a bad idea, including potty and social manners. Oh I get it, they are dogs, they love to run and tear about, chase things, bring things back, bark, etc…  mine are nowhere near perfect but that’s my job to help them, to remind them, to keep them in line. It’s not easy to travel with your pets. It takes diligence.

A younger shot of the gang before a previous trip.

Here’s a few general guidelines for RVing with one or with multiple dogs…  kinda off the top of my head so not inclusive, just what comes to mind. .

  1. Bring water from home or provide bottled water. The water at location may be perfect for you but differing mineral contents can easily give your dog the runs.
  2. Don’t forget the canine first aid kit, including a cold pack, stuff for disinfecting and bandaging, tick puller, itch lotion, flea comb, meds, nail trimmers, bathing items, warming blanket, cooling pad, hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, hydrocortosone, I like TZON pet skin care. I always carry stomach pills like Pepcid AC (Famotidine) , Pepto Bismal, Tums or Kaopectate, Pedialyte, saline eye wash, Benadryl, vet wrap, activated charcoal, Vit C (I also keep Colloid Silver,) ginger for travel sickness, Swimmer Ear, deodorizing shampoo, a muzzle, some paw balm, a little oil like olive oil for getting out fox tails, scissors and wraps and whatever else your pet needs.  A hair dryer is a good idea for warming up a cold pet or drying out a soggy one and whatever you use for parasite control and on this trip am bringing apple cider vinegar and cedarwood oil to help make my dogs (and me) unappetizing to ticks.
  3. Teach your pet to come when you call, to stay and to wait. Also teach quiet, leave it, instruct on where to potty and no your dogs do not need to sniff and poop and pee on everything,
  4. Carry pooper bags and clean up. Leave every place cleaner than you found it.  I also bring a rake for those camp sites that are too dirty for my dogs and I clean before I let my dogs out.
  5. Monitor the temperature in your camper…  not too hot, not too cold.
  6. Always provide water and make sure they are drinking enough.
  7. Don’t leave your dogs sitting around barking and howling all day.
  8. Maintain a respectful distance from other pets, children or really anyone unless they specifically ask to pet your dog or if their dog can meet yours and you like the way their dog is behaving.
  9. Nope, they don’t get to chase wildlife, there are lots of other ways to have fun.
  10. Don’t leave your dogs in your camper, tied to a stake or in your hotel room to bark and bark and bark, get a pet sitter. You can train them to wait more or less quietly as long as you don’t abandon them while you’re out having fun.
  11. Keep them on a SHORT leash when in crowded places, A 3 or 4 foot leash is ideal. teach them to sit or lay down when you stop somewhere. Under the table is a great place when you stop for a meal.
  12. Be mindful of things that scare your dog. a calm dog is a happy dog and a happy camper.
  13. Make sure they do have fun. Take them swimming, for a run, let them explore, take a long walk or a hike with them everyday. Establish a routine that everyone likes including a way to keep your space clean and comfortable.

Revving up to GO

It’s early May and the LT Daisy is getting a fiberglass waxing. My neighbors don’t see me out front that often, especially not sitting on the ground, on the curb laboring.  The house I live in has an unusable driveway, so my camper is parked on the street.  It’s not so comfortable and with too fast drivers not my favorite place to spend an afternoon but other than residual fatigue from short-sleep nights am relatively content.

More Room For the Dogs! Seen from the outside door, looking in towards the back of the van.

Seen from the inside, looking at the back. plenty of room for the dogs to sleep under the bed instead of in the walkway where there’s a constant scramble for space.

I hope to do that video walk-though I never accomplished the last time I mentioned it. Everything in my RV has a place. Am trying a few things different having decided to eliminate crates and exercise pen which were stored under the bed/couch and instead make that area available for my dogs. It’s an experiment. All the little things that start to encode on my patience as I travel I’m attempting to change. Like the frigid air purring past the door seals; sometime soon will replace them, for now I bought a can of slide seal and applied the lubricant to every door and window, something I should have done sooner as they all have tiny cracks. Then I applied sound proofing closed cell foam tape weather stripping wherever I could.

Covering the dash has been an issue as Mason as well as Jeana insist on climbing up there when I’m away from the van. I tried using Clawguard  Protection Tape – Ultimate Pet Shield but found it did not work. The material is difficult to apply and once applied is highly reflective, not so great when one is driving, and it’s slippery, not so great for the safely of my dogs. (For a different application likely useful.) Instead I taped a piece of thick cardboard to the dash panel where they climb up, it’s taped into the glove box…  you just have to image the layout, but it works; have covered this with decorative paper so it looks a bit less bohemian, this provides a nice protection from thick canine nails. I really don’t mind if they want to be up there, esp Mason cannot see where it is I’ve gone. They are less likely to bark or to be stressed if they can stare out in the direction I’ve disappeared. It comforts them and I’m a softy, what makes my dogs happy, makes me happy as long as they are safe and well-behaved. Looks so funny to see 2 of my dogs squished up there flat as they can get…  oh, I see them scrambling down as quick as they can when they see me approaching! Silly dogs. Somewhere I have a camera that links to my cell phone, need find that and see if I can set it up in the camper.

For the first time I have a kitchen trash bag that does not need to sit on the rather limited counter: Attach-A-Trash The Hanging Trash Bag Holder. A simple idea, it holds the trash bag to the counter. Who knows if it will work and I see there are cheaper ones. I think it will be great, I don’t generate a lot of trash so I splurged and bought compostable trash bags, ( Unni ASTM6400 Certified 100 Percent Compostable Bags.)  I don’t want plastic everything. I’m tired of plastic even if my grandfather found his fortunes in plastic. Plastic in the ocean, in the stomachs of creatures that starve with full bellies, haven’t you noticed how much comes wrapped in plastic! Stores no longer give these out for free so purchasing some makes sense, about $9 for 100 bags.  I’d like to banish throw away plastic from my life but it’s not easy unless I request never wrapped packages and bulk products in biodegradable boxes.

No one but me or another RVer would get excited about this next item: Camco RhinoFLEX 5 ft RV Sewer Hose Extension Kit with Swivel Fitting and 2 end caps! This little hose will save me having to drag out the big guy and wrestle with it, and like a slinky toy it collapses with fun crinkly noise into a much smaller length for storage.  Am very happy I now have this.

My van will be stocked with my travel watercolor painting system. I’ll talk about that later and how it works out.

I’ve cleaned and uncluttered the van, the serpentine belt has been replaced along with a motor mount, oil changed, lubed, brakes checked, air-conditioning checked, tires rotated, propane tank filled; I applied some chalkboard like contact paper to the refrigerator so I can make notes or draw pictures on it. I have not fixed the generator problem nor the power to the refrigerator problem which means I’ll still be running the propane 24/7 except on a Ferry, to keep food cold. My mechanic, Bruce and his son Bruce of Bruce’s Auto in Goleta, (who gets to write Bruce three times!) checked and the frig is getting current but nothing is happening so likely I can replace the board, but hasn’t happened (yet.)

I’ve used Velcro to repair the broken hinge to the freezer compartment and will add some duct tape to get a good seal so I can carry ice cream! There are scores of little things, upkeep things I’ve done the best I can with while limiting expenses. I found I had 2, yep 2! super large umbrellas, so extra stuff like that has been bunted out to find itself a place somewhere in the house or one of the storage sheds.

Have trimmed Lagotti coats short, given pedicures to all 4 dogs and we all know how much dogs love having their nails done…  (baths to come) paid upcoming bills, told my bank I would be traveling, registered for summer classes, renewed credit cards, applied for Amazon 5% discount card, renewed camping memberships, picked up paper maps, signed up for medicare and supplemental insurance, made arrangements with my volunteer jobs and Board responsibilities, puppy people, made arrangements to start re- teaching Nose Work when I return, working on organizing a committee for the Lagotto Club, taught my dogs something about real truffles, fought viciously with a little laptop that would not comply…  am now back to my old one which badly needs to be updated but it works!  Still struggling to update my very annoying Garmin GPS. . . Jeana managed to come into Heat and that came with its own long list. Had my teeth cleaned, hair trimmed, still need to pick up a pair of jeans, vet visit coming up, eye exam will have to wait until my return,but dogs need theirs so I can fulfill new breeder requirements, cleaned the house, the yard, replanted anything I don’t think will make it until summer without help…  you get the idea, the list gets e n o r m o u s l y long somehow.  Will see what day I actually leave… towards the end of this coming week??? Am short on sleep, did I mention that already! The power was off yesterday again but it’s all good!

What’s so great about the Great Lakes?