The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Aftermath

The Sheepdog Bronze in downtown Meeker

I feel like a dry leaf, curled up, brown and crackly, that's been blown for miles by the wind. In the last 2 weeks, I've spent most of my time outside in the hot sun, driving rain, more hot sun, and finally, punishing wind. My skin feels like sandpaper and I'm tired. I lingered. Chris Jobe and I stayed an extra day in Meeker to keep Amanda company while she waited on replacement parts for her trailer. Well, that sounded good anyway.  Truthfully, neither of us was ready to go home, so we found a good excuse not to.  I left this morning after breakfast, and am now sitting in my favorite KOA campground (favorite in Cedar City, UT anyway) leaving for home tomorrow.

Amanda working dogs on the Strang Ranch

There were probably a half dozen or so holdovers from Meeker still in the hand's camp Monday morning. Most were on their way to the finals, others, like me, were killing time. One unfortunate, Amanda, was waiting for open heart surgery...on her RV trailer. Friday is my drop dead date for arrival home, so the thought occurred to me to stay an extra day and see if Bridget would have us up to work dogs on the Strang Ranch. I called, and her wonderful mother, Kit, said "why not?" Why not indeed. So Amanda, Chris and I loaded up a dozen or so dogs in 2 trucks and made the hour and half trip to the ranch where those 2 had never been.  

Bridget Strang putting up with us

In gratitude, we took Bridget to lunch in hippiesque Carbondale at a place called the Village Smithy. Bridget says of her hometown, "we're pretty groovy," because of the medical marijuana shops, health food stores, holistic medicine practices, yoga studios, etc. It's a very old town that has become quite trendy over the years without losing all of it's original style and feel. Afterward, we headed back to Meeker, where we were the only die-hards left, and looked for some trouble to get into. Didn't have to look far. Wonderful Bernie (sorry, no last name) stopped by the trial field to check on us, and invited us to come up and join he and his wife for a beer. Bernie, has a job at the sheepdog trial that is quite frankly very tough, and absolutely thankless, except for the appreciative hands, and the committee that puts on the trial. Bernie is in charge of the parking, and volunteers his time to do a bang up job year after year. In real life he works for the BLM.

Amanda with the dogs

Next, we had a visit from Greg, who is Mary's husband. Mary is Ellen Neislanik's sister, and the new director fo the sheepdog trial. We forced a beer down him, and he suggested that we drive out a few miles past the Meeker golf course where we would see some 700 elk grazing, and listen to them bugle. To us, that sounded like a fitting end to a good day, and we made plans. While walking the dogs, Bruce Clatterbaugh also stopped by to check on us and pick up some livestock panels lent to the dog trial. We thanked him again for all his hard work and bid him farewell until next year, then off to the bugling. As it turned out, we didn't pay good attention during the elk bugling directions, and took a wrong turn. It was fortuitous, though, because it took us on a back road of Meeker that was absolutely gorgeous, and led us straight past Bernie and Ann's house. After stopping in for a glass of grape, we called it a night and headed to our deserted homestead.  

Entering Utah

Chris Jobe is a early riser, and she was long gone for home by the time I got up. I walked the dogs, then Amanda and I went to empty our trailers, and get breakfast at the Meeker Cafe. Her trailer parts were being tracked, but it was still too early for drop off at the GM dealership for repairs. I left her on Main Street headed for the laundrymat, and at some point, the National Finals. I hit the highway headed South. I don't know what time I left, or the mileage from Meeker to Cedar City, but it was a long, hot drive. I kept going up and down and crossed 4 summits on I-70 after Green River, UT between 6,000 and 7,000 feet elevation. I also hit a strong head wind after Green River, which made the peaks seem higher, and turned into a strong cross-wind once on I-15.  I was glad I wasn't towing a bumper pull. My gooseneck trailer is anchored to the bed of my truck, and I really didn't feel it all that much back there. At Richfield, I was completely engulfed in smoke from a month-old forest fire in the Fishlake National Forest. The town was blanketed, but afterward, it blotted out the hot sun for a while as we drove in shadow.

A forest fire in Fishlake National Park

My poor dogs only had 3 brief stops today to empty and have a drink. Jed rode like the road warrior he's become, and Dexter slept the entire time. I never hear from the big dogs. They never complain, they never even wiggle. I have put them in a small dog yard at the campground outside my trailer window, and they've been there for a couple hours now. Last time I checked, Jed
was trying to rouse Star, and the others were sacked out. Time to feed 'em, then me. Tomorrow it's all over...until next time.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your great comments and beautiful photographs. Save travels.