Tag Archive: Dogs

Tow Trucks, the big kind: AAA

No dog show today  Even with Olympia looking super, or she was, right now she has grease on her rear but we’re back home. Today was the AKC SLO dog show in Paso Robles; we were the only Lagotto Romagnolo entered so easy win to get Breed (Best In Category) and likely we would have won Miscellaneous (our Class) to earn a few points for her Certificate of Merit (COM) which in dog show speak, is the title you can earn when your breed is new to the American Kennel Club.  Little Curl Puff, had two baths this week and a carefully managed coat, not so easy in a breed that naturally felts and particularly not when it’s Olympia who loves LOVES dirt and cannot resist a good roll and waggle in piles of sticky leaves, debris, mud, fertilizer, sidewalk scum  . . whatever comes her way.  We had the trot thing rehearsed and unlike the disastrous last time at the Santa Barbara show when Olympia was coming out of her false pregnancy / hormone high she was all happy girl excited , . . . she was gonna show me how it was done, strutting her stuff for the judge, it was a done deal.

I left a little later than planned but plenty of time. Decided not to enter the printmaking show in spite of urging by the show committee so I could concentrate on Olympia, decided not to do this and that, and the other things…  all for my pup. Olympia deserves titles, the only thing holding her back is me, I find dog shows stressful and her pacing drives me nuts, but when she trots that goofy waddle turns into smooth movement.

Half way up the Cuesta Grade, it happened, the big kahuna (this video is going the other way…  I was heading North, but I liked the whirl of the road:   At first the Ford slowed a little, no problem, I turned the air off and eased up on the accelerator, no point pushing, we were almost there, just a few more miles. My mind was already working though our perfect trot, doing a little vendor browsing, chatting with some friends….  it’s been a stressful week, my heartache flaring along with a sinus trouble, but so what, life goes on and the road ahead will have new joys; yet when the Ford died my heart was pounding.  Stuck on the shoulder with semis whipping by, the heat cresting and worst of all the clock ticking.  Where was the background music and the fade to panorama?

AAA sent someone out within 20 mins, I told them it was an emergency, the operator was from LA she had no idea what the Cuesta Grade is, she wanted an off ramp to pinpoint my location…. hmmmmm…  if there was an off-ramp don’t ya think I could have taken it and removed myself from one of the most dangerous sections of the hwy?  This is a scary place to be stuck!!!! Oh yeah, never mind in LA traffic moves at 17 mph.

I got to test out my improved jerk handling skills with tow driver #1. He was a younger sort and a bully. I could put up with his ordering me around and getting me to go sit in the cab of his air condition truck, it was hot.  He didn’t offer any water or anything like that and apparently the AAA rescue squad does not carry items like antifreeze, way too advanced for them. We got into it about my dog….  he didn’t even notice the dog. “Dog can’t ride in the cab, lady, you see I’ve got to watch out for customers that are allergic to dogs.”   I’m probably being too nice with my quote, as I told him 1) my dog wasn’t the kind people were allergic to, 2) she is valuable, 3) she is extremely important  4) if he insisted I would put her in her crate (there was no place inside the cab for her crate) or I’d carry her and hold her in my arms.  The guy was a….  XXXXXX moron, control type . . . you get it? Is this really AAA policy, even with a window cracked open I don’t want to think about the outcome of a living creature alone in a box on a hot day.

It takes only minutes to cook up in a car, easily can rise to 160 deg or more even if with windows cracked down a bit. It was easily 90 deg out, so how long would Olympia have before her tongue started to hang out, then curl and darken with heavy panting, her eyes would bulge and glaze over, then her heart would start to beat too fast . Parked cars are deathtrap for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

He ignored me, repeating his manifesto with his dictate to remain seated. I didn’t, I got out and let Olympia out of the backseat of the Ford, walked her around, gave her some water, then I picked her up and somehow, no help from Mr Jerk, clambered up into cab without letting her beautiful paws touch anything other than me.   I announced to the driver that if he didn’t allow her he could just leave and I’d stay there on the dangerous hwy with my dog. He had my keys and had already chained up the Ford.  I felt like I did when my Mom dumped me on the street in Europe with no wallet, no pocket change, no sweater, no name of hotel, nothing and drove away. She came back while I still figuring out what to do but really I would have managed.

As soon as we were underway he got on the radio, “I’m only taking you down the hill,” he told me, “another truck will pick you up from there.”  I was relieved, he was stony and I didn’t have a chisel. I was supposed to wait in the lot for 1/2 hour and use the hotter than hell outhouse around back over the slightly less hotter than hell blacktop.  I could hear him tell the other driver about my evil dog.

Driver #2 had a flatbed truck, I liked that, rather than having the Ford dragged like a child by its hair and even before he got out I saw him smile at Olympia. Oh wow! I was happier. We stopped for gas, we stopped and got some drinks, we got water for Olympia and a little walk, we stopped because I needed the rest stop. He even washed his hands so he could pet and play with her although she’d already gotten the grease on her by then.

I thought we would need to have the big flatbed tow truck towed, it sputtered, the air conditioner kept cutting out so we had the window wind blasting us, he gave me his book of maps to cover my legs which were burning. The tow truck groaned and made noises that it shouldn’t have made as we chatted, little Olympia in-between us on the front seat. We were talking about trips and GPS systems so you could travel alone as I do and still find your way but he reminded me how much fun it is to get lost, to discover places because you didn’t know you’d be there.  He made the day kinda fun, a temporary find, a friendly hand….  we talked about the attitude of offering cheer when things go wrong, He’s a dog lover, a good kind of people. So thank you AAA Premier for the tow.

towed home

Got home in time to pick up Mason and take them both for a romp at sunset. Time and Money of course down the drain . . . lost on the highway . . . when will the winds blow the other way?  So many troubled years, cursed bad luck. Which direction should we head? Maybe it’s time for getting lost.

Here’s a shot of Olympia showing us that her favorite thing in life is round.

Olympia and her ball

Sorry readers!!!  Just got a notice about ads being added to wordpress.com  unless I pay, I don’t want that for you or for me so I’ll move these blogs as soon as I’m able . . .  until then please use an adblock program!!!!

Traveling with dogs can be a blast, they have a great time, they’re wonderful sentries and companions, fun loving, eager, joyful…. but it’s hard on the human. For the first time ever I didn’t stop at Harbin Hot Springs or Sierraville or any of the hotsprings that I love. A few days soaking would have been bliss. No dogs is the standard policy. No dogs may be left in one’s vehicle, no dogs unattended, no dogs on trails, no dogs in parks, no dogs in buildings, no dogs…… No on-location (safe and clean) kenneling, dog sitting, pet area, etc, etc, is offered and to make it worse dog napping is on the rise. California used to be a friendly place. I remember friendly dogs at Harbin, cute mutts on hiking trails, well behaved dogs in stores sheltered from heat exhaustion welcomed with a pat and a biscuit. Having once been a public sector servant I know that these policies are passed to provide the same requirement to all. They can’t say, no bad dogs, they can’t ask for self-enforcement of common courtesy instead they levy fines, restrictions, they mar the scenery with dozens of sings that must be paid for and maintained. Nature must be pristine, sculpted and controlled, unchanging so everyone gets to see the same thing.

It’s doubtful all this regulation will curtail the flippancy of non-caring humans, and even though dogs can read simple signs and words most don’t know how. The non-caring, non-stewarding human doesn’t give a holler about the results of their passage. Where’s the sign that says, no cigarette butts on this trail, you will be fined $100 for each butt, DNA testing enforced. How about no radios and TVs at campgrounds? No smoke plume campfires? No yelling and screaming, no cigar toking, no trash and plastic left in the fire pit, no revving super-sized trucks with all the lights blazing especially at 3 am, no unsupervised kids pawing everything in sight, no gunshots, no human waste piles, trash piles…. you get the idea. Most folks and their dogs are great. Isn’t it time we collectively ask the troublemakers to get with program and respect the land! Aren’t you tired of all the trash, violence, pillage and disregard for one another and for our environs? What happened to the Litter Bug, kindness towards strangers and leave a place better than you found it? Why pick on dogs, especially weary travelers, visitors and tourists with dogs? It’s time to be respectful, teach your dog good manners, teach each other and have them yourself or soon the next sign I expect to see is NO HUMANS.

Ah California – update

Welcome to California

I posted this for the irony. Shot it at the first rest stop on Hwy 5 entering CA. The large lush grassy areas were devoid of human (or canine) occupancy. It was hot, 100° or over. Where were all the people? There were lots of cars and RVs… The people were carefully avoiding the perfect grass–don’t step on the grass might get cooties! Oh the people were with their dogs! Some braved the stickery hot “dog area” others simply walked cautiously on the cement pathways. Was the most ridiculous sight. All for fear that someone might not clean up (and I know some people do not clean up for their pets – never mind that no scoopers were provided.)

….. here in Santa Barbara now, much more to tell and I will… tomorrow. Have been doing laundry and missing the Oregon and Washington coast!!!

It’s A Dogs World

Traveling alone I can do what I want even if I don’t know what that is. Of course the dogs have an opinion but I can veto their choice. We have a system. What’s really cute is how excited they get when I stop and give them the, “let’s go”  signal. Heck It’s probably a roadside viewpoint, where they stand around while I gawk at something far over their head or on the other side of a wall, but they don’t care. When they’re not going they take turns in the driver’s seat guarding the LT till I get back. When I pull into a campsite or a nice RV park (and it has to be a nice one, Mason knows the difference,) it’s like a big jackpot for the day, tails a wagging, heads at the window, shinning happy eyes–makes me feel special–like I did something wonderful. Then we go for our walkabout and I just know those two are telling everyone how they get to go everywhere and are treated like royalty along the way. Today, though, they had a fight, their first one. It was over two big milk bones I had broken into four pieces that someone had given me for the dogs when I was lost. She was giving me directions. The dogs don’t usually like milk bones and I don’t blame ’em. I thought they’d probably let them sit there. Instead I heard extreme growing, snarling, my darlings were looking like they wanted to kill each other. I was furious. There will be peace in our little home. I scared them both (and me) telling them quite loudly that in actuality I was the one who makes all the decisions including who should eat what. The two of them were shocked to see me so riled up. They were both shaking but I ignored it. A half-hour later we were all friends again. Hope they remember who’s boss.

An hour or so ago the dogs were romping, chasing each other in happiness on the shoreline of the Columbia River… but wait…. first I need to catch up.

Dog Heaven

Therese and her husband Dan welcomed me, weary and disheveled to their home in Ferndale Washington. Was heaven for visiting humans and canines alike. They love guests. It was the first time we’d met although Therese’s voice is familiar from our Skype meetings-—she is the president of the Lagotto Club of America. We meet monthly via the Internet although I cannot always make those meetings, and sometimes feel I am too quiet when I do, we have a great club. I could see Therese truly loves dogs! These are very special people. A busy productive houseful filled with contented woofers… 2 grown Lagotti, one puppy Lagotto, a lab, a cute little Schipperke and a cat! (whoa did I miss any?) They romp in the grassy yard, bounce on the outside deck and lounge complacently, cuddled or alone on the couches and chairs. . . But Guido is special! Guido talks; he owns chairs and couches, he scuffles and masterfully flips himself in every direction at once while telling everyone his fanciful stories. He’’s a truly adorable wild-eye Lagotto boy, not to say that the rest of the crew are any less endearing. Check out Therese’s website.


Their hospitality was superb, I feel lucky and fortunate to have been their guest. A warm comfy king sized bed and bath, delicious meals, wine and tea, help with my ailing RV, laundry, a ride with top down in the Thunderbird… …just perfect.. Someday, when I find my own place I hope they will come stay with me and all the dogs too! Little Miss Olympia was not such a good house guest, oh no, she wanted to be the only dog that I would pet. Her voracious disapproval (i.e. jealousy) was way too much…. we’ll be working on her manners till she gets it right.

Dig that tail! Guido the Lagotto

Warning sign at the park in Bellingham near the Ferry Building

I stayed for two nights, my wanderlust overcoming me I headed for the delectable Larrabee State Park on Highway 11, but first I went to Al’s RV to pick up 2 new door latches and then to an astounding hardware complex—many shops all in one (I’m easily impressed but this place was huge.. if I’d had the time I could have lingered all day. The LT would have been chock full of my discoveries.) The clerk was gracious, walking the block or so to see my trouble– the bathroom door and closet were suffering. The closet was popping out of it’s screws allowing the hinge to displace and therefore the entire set of doors were continually swinging open as I drove. This rightfully scared the dogs, the closet door could easy fly off; with the privacy slider attached it’s particularly heavy, nevermind I cant’s see behind me when they pop. Dan had driven me all around Ferndale looking for a latch; alas Sunday is not a good day for that! The clerk at the hardware shop suggested fatter screws. Cost, $1.08! I replaced the falling out screws with the fatter ones—easy. Not so easy to install the new hinges. They looked the same but were longer and would not fit without drilling new holes. Back to Al’s, sure they could do it for me but with a min ½ hour, $48 labor charge. No thanks. A drill is now on my “to buy” list, meanwhile a bungee cord tied around the two door handles is keeping them from opening. This idea came from my hostess’s handyman; he cut me a piece of wood to put in the handles, but it kept sliding out, the bungee cord works better.

I did some sightseeing in Bellingham–yes the shops including TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) then the Alaska Ferry Building—it was deserted but fun to look around. This must have been the place where we caught the ferry back in the late ‘60s. Didn’t look familiar. Yes, I did think about going to Alaska!!! I spent the night at what has become my favorite beach on this trip, Larrabee State Park. The photos here don’t invoke the endorphin rush of pleasure this place brings. Ah my sweet Paradise! Except for one thing, alas, of course…pollution! Such a shame. I remember the case study of the Puget Sound area we did in my Master’s of Public Administration program, how corruption continues to denude the political agenda. Pollution is such a waste.

Walking to the beach at Larrabee

My best shots are on my cell phone and inside my head, so you may need to trek to the coast of Washington to see this park for yourself!