Friday, February 10, 2006

Phoenix or Bust!

Well, Emily and I left town about midnight last Sunday night. But first, I have to back up.

Leaving work Sunday afternoon, I got a call from Emily, very frantic, that the trip just might be off.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because the dog got out of the backyard and I don't know where it is!"

Ah, man. Crap. Yeah, the wolfie leapt the 6-foot back fence with ease. We should have seen it coming. My x-wife's boyfriend was a real hero, and was following the dog pretty much all day, from about 9am till 3:30pm when I was able to hook up with Emily and help look for the dog. Emily and I called our contacts at animal control, and were able to keep tabs on where the dog was by the calls they were getting about "a huge wolf" wandering the neighborhood! The x's boyfriend chased the dog all over the golf course that runs about a block from their house, until Emily showed up and just yelled at the dog to come!

It did. Stupid dog.

So, Emily took the dog back to the SPCA offices, and that's where we picked him up at 11:30pm and took off for Phoenix. The dog hated the car, it didn't like me, and I since knew it could swallow my head in 2-3 bites, I wasn't all that fond of it, either, at first.

I took the first driving shift, and let Emily get some much needed sleep. The dog refused to stay in the tailgate area of the car (my Dodge Magnum), and preferred the back seat. So, when Emily finally got into the back seat with the dog, he settled down, and long about sunrise finally went to sleep. I think he was spooked by the dark, and all the headlights outside. As soon as he could see what was outside, he was much calmer.

We stopped at Needles, on the California/Arizona border for breakfast. Emily took the dog for a walk.

There was no way the dog would let me walk him. He was scared to death of me outside of the car. In the car he'd lick my ear, my cheek, my arm... whatever. Outside, he crouched, pulled at the leash, and generally did everything he could short of bolting to stay as far away from me as he could. So, Emily did all the potty walking, which was fine by me.

Getting back on the road, we arrived in Surprise, Arizona (just northwest of Phoenix about 10 miles) at the home of a very interesting lady who runs the wolf-rescue, named Danya. She was very talkative, but boy did she know her dogs. Emily introduced herself and the dog (that we were now calling Lycos, because Emily had no idea what his name was, but calling him "wolfie" all the time just didn't seem right).

Lycos was a little leary at first, but after a few minutes of quiet coaxing with a juicy piece of ham, he warmed up to Danya just fine,

and when Danya brought out a pretty female to meet Lycos, well, it was love at first sight!

The dogs got along great, and we left Lycos with Danya, hopefully to enjoy a long, healthy life.

After we were done, it was about 1pm Monday in Phoenix, and Emily and I were both dead tired, so we got a motel and a meal. We thought, we'd driven all the way to Phoenix in 12 hours, and had accomplished our mission. We're in freakin' Phoenix!! Now what?

Wait, the Grand Canyon is in Arizona, isn't it? Hmmmmmm....

So we hatched a plan to hit the Grand Canyon before heading home on Tuesday. We got to sleep in the afternoon (Emily around 3pm, myself just a little later) and slept till about 2:30 in the morning. We left Phoenix about 3:30am, enroute to Flagstaff for some breakfast, and then the Grand Canyon!

Oh, did I mention that neither Emily or I brought jackets? I mean, Phoenix and home was the original plan. Well, it seems that Flagstaff is in the mountains, about the 7,000 foot level, and being winter, we discovered it's quite cold in Flagstaff during the winter.

Try 12 degrees cold. Without jackets. So, Emily made a stop at the local Wal-Mart (yes, there truly is a Wal-Mart just about everywhere) and found a quality jacket for just $19. Me, I'm tough, so I just toughed it out. The sun was shining, and I was fine.

So, of we went to the Grand Canyon, where we arrived about 9am. The weather just absolutely freakin' gorgeous!! Sunny, clear, light breeze, and not all that cold. This was Emily's first visit, and she was understandably and rightly impressed.

Now, I know the Grand Canyon has been photographed literally billions of times, but my photos are special, so please appreciate them for what they are. ;-)

After we visited the Canyon for several hours, and hit a souvenir shop, we got some lunch at Fred Flintstones's place at Hwy 108 & Hwy 64. Yes, Yabba-Dabba-Doo, baby, and 5-cent coffee.

From Fred's place to home took us a little over 10 hours. 10 hours for just over 800 miles driving. You do the math for our average speed. We made good time to say the least. Emily admits to driving at least 95mph most of the way across the desert, while I slept, although I suspect she was doing a tad more at times.

We pulled into Sacramento about 10:30 Tuesday night. 46 hours, 26 hours driving, 2 states, the Mojave Desert, and the Grand Canyon.

It's amazing how fast you can get places when you.... faster!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Road Trip!

So my daughter, Emily, calls me yesterday (yes, yesterday) asking for some help.

Being a dad, I listen, say a few appropriate "hmmmm"s and "uh huh"s, and ask "are you serious about this?" several times, before agreeing to help her. She says, almost in tears, many many thank you's, we make our plans, and are off to prepare for our trip.

Oh, sorry. Emily and I are driving a dog to Phoenix, AZ. Yeah, from Sacramento to Phoenix. Tonight. Leaving at midnight.

Ok, the details this: Emily works for the local SPCA. They got in a gorgeous dog, a Husky/Akita/Some-Arctic-Type-Dog & Wolf mix. Beautiful animal. Bright blue eyes. Paws nearly the size of my hands. Teeth the size of, well.... wolf's teeth.

But the dog was a stray when animal control brought it in. The local SPCA does not, by policy, adopt out wolf-hybrids (I'm not sure why, they just don't), so wolf-hybrids have to get taken in by a wolf-rescue/sanctuary group, or they get put down.

Yeah, it's a tough policy, but with limited funds, choices have to be made.

So, Emily has taken it upon herself to try to rescue this animal. He's on his final day as of tonight, and Emily was able to find a rescue down in Sun City West, AZ, just outside Phoenix. If Emily can get the dog down there, she was told, they'll release the dog for the trip.

That's where the phone call to me comes in. I mean, I think Emily would take the trip by herself if she needed to, but I wouldn't want her do that kind of trip alone. 15 hours one way from Sacramento is my guess. 800 miles one way. She's just 19, and I don't want her in the middle of the desert by herself.

Plus, the perfect change to take my new Dodge Magnum for a road test!

So, Emily and I leave tonight at midnight, and should be back sometime Tuesday afternoon. Just a quick-shot to Phoenix, grab a motel for a nights-worth of sleep, and head on back. Both of us have to be back to work by Wednesday.

I'll have some good photos, I'm sure. We should be heading out across the Mojave Desert from Barstow by dawn, and I'm sure the desert will be gorgeous!

But this dog better cure cancer or something, cuz it's sure been a pain in the butt!