October 24, 2019

The Hounds Go On A Road Trip

I knew on Wednesday night what I planned on doing today. I just didn't know if the hounds were going with me or not. I am sure they enjoy being around me and probably like smelling all the new scents with the windows partially down ... but long narrow gravel mountain roads sometimes isn't the best thing for them. Add on 20+ miles of narrow asphalt road that is hilly and curvy and it makes you stop and think if this was the best trip for them.

We were back to the normal routine though of two months ago with the hounds fed first, I get a cup of coffee and even in 52° weather Stella and I headed out for her daily morning walk a little before 7:00am. We had missed both school buses by then and traffic wasn't bad yet. We have to cross one street to get to the main part of our walk.

Once we cross the street at the end of our block we can see the sunrise and have a paved alley to walk in. We will circle Stella's vet at the halfway point of this section but not the total walk.

If I didn't know better I think she enjoys this walk more than the field back in 'the tropics'. She has enough things to sniff and identify, a paved surface that she likes to trot on and 25' of freedom taking her walk in town.

As we got closer to the turn up ahead she started to realize where she was. She had walked this same area directly behind that building before her surgery August 25th.

Yes Stella that is the same parking lot that you have walked three different times before entering the vet office. You never had to pee.

When we walked earlier in the summer she would have the whole street to walk in but at that time we were walking an hour or more earlier than now. I needed to make sure I could keep her out of the way of the two cars that passed us.

For a longer walk we have taken that dirt path to the right but with my new hip getting in shape and only her second day of walking we took our normal way and curved to the left on the paved surface. The walk totals about .67 of a mile.

When we returned Heidi acted as if she had missed out and was looking to walk. Under my current condition I want to walk just one hound at a time, so I grabbed Heidi's leash left Stella in the house and took off. We cut Heidi's walk short through the parking lot before getting to the vet's building. By the time she gets back home she has had enough and is dragging those last few steps.

Yes, I've been there before but at the time I didn't have the time to take the photos I wanted to at the top of the pass. I had to leave earlier than planned that day. I also didn't get a photo of the Visitors Center or the sign at the entry of the Coronado National Forest.

The plan was to go to the top, get my photos and then come back down the same way. That is the more exciting way with narrow gravel switchbacks. Plus it would be the shortest way back home.

While I was out preparing the back and passenger seat for the hounds to occupy, Stella evidently thought she wasn't going and would be staying in the backyard while I was gone. She is smart enough to lay in the shade at least.

Little did she know that I had placed a tarp over the back seats that was folded down, then a thick layer of multiple Mexican blankets. All Heidi needed was her Mexican blanket on the passenger seat to ride.

She was also preparing for me to leave by myself. She had already found her morning sleeping spot in the computer room and was a little disturbed that I woke her up to let her know she was going with me.

Of course Stella is always ready to go for a ride. She is hopping up and down at the sight of her 6' red leash. She seemed pretty happy with the backseat and the windows rolled down enough to let her move her head but not open wide enough for her to jump or fall out.

Heidi will ride okay but I cannot really say she enjoys these mini road trips.

It is rare, very rare to have someone around to take a photo with me in it. I was shocked how fat I look after I downloaded the photo. This morning the scales showed I had gained only 1 pound since I wrecked my bicycle, at 187 pounds. I am wanting to get around 170 pounds and with another surgery in the future I might just reach that goal without working out. I'd rather workout though.

When I pulled in to take a photo of the sign a Forest Ranger was parked there. He asked if wanted him to take a photo with me in it. We had a nice talk about the area, very informative.

You can barely see what looks like a train track running horizontal across the middle of the photo but that is actually the border wall between the USA and Mexico. The ranger did tell me that I can hike the train tracks that parallel the San Pedro River so I might have to put that on my list of hikes to do when my hip is a little older than 46 days.

Stella was positive there was food inside that visitor center just for her and was a little disappointed she had to stay in the truck while I took a couple of photos that I didn't take last June.

Coronado NF Visitor Center.

There are some very narrow parts of this road and that is why I don't have any photos of them to post. It was unsafe to stop the car just to take photos from the drivers seat. I did meet a couple of large trucks coming down the pass and one truck was taking up most the road as to Forest NP employees were doing some road work.

Some of the switchbacks were just as bad as Carr Canyon Rd but not as high. I guess it wouldn't make much difference if you fell 500' or a 1000' if you drove over the side of the road.

I made it to the top and unlike last time I had the place to myself and I could spend all the time I wanted taking photos. There was a car with New Mexico plates but most likely they were hiking the trail, where there was a "no dogs" sign at the start of the trail.

It is beautiful up here, quiet, clean air and not a sound anywhere.

This is the road we drove to get to the top.

I'll come back sometime without the hounds but at this time I don't think climbing a lot of steps is a good thing for my healing hip.

Going down the 'backside' or west side of the pass, there are not only a lot of pullouts to take photos or turn around but there are a zillion dirt roads turning off on each side of the road. Again, without the hounds there are a lot more roads to explore.

It wasn't that deep and it had not rained in a while so I decided to pass the sign behind me that warned me not to enter this area in flooding conditions.

Around 22 miles straight of gravel dirt road, with a lot of rutty, rocky bouncing with 15 mph speed limits. I met my second border patrol up ahead and we both drove this road 10-15mph due to the surface.

Yes a familiar sign for those that read about this trip in June.

Parker Canyon Lake ... I swear the sign said 1/2 mile to the left when we are at the T for Hwy 83. It seemed like we drove forever to get to it.

With the hounds in the truck I moved down the sidewalk to get a better look at the lake but when I saw this many stairs I wasn't sure I'd make it back up ... funny, the doctor told me I could do all normal stuff and walk a lot if I was not swinging my bad leg out to the right a million times per day. But a little voice inside my head told me that it wasn't time to attempt that many steps. I turned and headed to the truck.

There are those words, truck, car, FJ, Mini ... what can I say. I like cars and trucks. I have had a ton of them since 2000 or the past 20 years. Always before I had no more than two and most of the time only one. So for those readers that pay real good attention to what I say and what is in my photos will realize we are driving a truck today .. a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro .. and no, it's not new ... I wouldn't spend that much for a pickup truck.

You would not have read about it on the blog back in May but on the 4Runner Forum and the Tacoma Forum you would have seen I was trying hard in May before my move to AZ, deciding between the two. Both were TRD Off-Road models. I'll not go into the reasons why I chose the 4Runner over the Tacoma in May nor why I bought this a few days ago at the local Toyota dealership. Yes ... I still have the white FJ, I am never getting rid of that nor am I getting rid of the Mini Cooper either.

Before you think that is too many cars just remember how many friends do you know that have a car, a truck, an RV or a couple of ATVs and the trailers or toyhaulers to carry them. Or if they only have a couple of nice cars but travel throughout Europe or the USA ... we all like our own toys. Personally I like having different vehicles to choose from.

There are days I want to take it slow so the FJ it is or even this Tacoma. There will be as in the past, days I need a truck to haul landscaping stuff, stone, mulch, or dirt .. the Tacoma is good for that. There are days I want to take chances and drive fast as hell willing to accept and pay for a speeding ticket if caught ... different vehicles for different moods.  Ha Ha

I'm tried today ... baseball is on in an hour ... I need food, I've done all the walking I need to do today and I am thinking of taking a "day off" tomorrow and give my hip a rest day.

A GREAT day in the Wild West.

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