by Phyllis McCrossin
Greetings from the road:
As I write this King and I are taking a driving break at one of our favorite “on the road stops” – Elk City Lake campground in Elk City, Okla.
We discovered this little gem on our way to San Diego five years ago. At that time we were traveling in December. It was bitter, bitter cold (nine degrees) and our water in the trailer froze; fortunately we were able to thaw the plumbing before anything burst. The young couple parked next to us was not as lucky as their plumbing burst.
I found the campsite in my “free campsites” atlas (which I no longer use). The campground boasts five campsites on the shores of a small reservoir in western Oklahoma. Since that first camping experience in 2016, Elk City has added water, a dump station, a bathhouse … and $15. It’s still a bargain for $15.
After leaving Santa Rosa State Park in eastern New Mexico this morning, we decided to make a short day of it and stop here – a five hour drive. I’m sitting in my “living room” with the front door propped open and can watch some kids fishing on the shore. King is watching the Master’s golf and DK (our rescue dog) is passed out on his bed in the corner. It is 80 degrees. Tomorrow, if my weather app is to be believed, the temperature will reach 58.
DK does not travel well. As soon as he realizes I’m going to place him in the back seat of the truck he tries to make a run for it. Given his abnormalities, he can’t run. I scoop him up and gently place him in the backseat. He tries to wiggle past me while I take off his leash, but, again, he’s not quick enough.
I’m pretty sure he would do some major damage to himself if he were to try to jump out of the back seat.
In an attempt to make things more comfortable for him, I purchased a seat cover that not only covers the back seat but also forms a hammock of sorts between the backs of the front seats and the bench seat in back. He’d often roll off the back seat and had a horrible time trying to climb back up so we thought this might give him more security. Regardless, he rides with his head crammed into the corner of the backseat and doesn’t move until nature calls.
I’m beginning to suspect that besides being lame and deaf he also has some sight problems. When we stop we always offer him some water. He can’t figure out where the water is until I actually place some in my hands and wet his muzzle. Then it’s as if a light bulb goes on, “Ah haaa! Water.”
Before we left California my daughter pointed out to me that he was the first dog she’d ever come across with no personality. I’d have to agree. We get excited when he wags his tail. You have to figure the old man has been through a lot and is simply tired… and probably not completely sure he can trust us… and probably just a little confused. That’s OK. I’m pretty sure King and I have more time than he does and in the meantime we will just love on him as much as possible.
Anyway, we’ve had two seven-hour travel days. I’d be more inclined to stop and smell a few more roses along the way, but so far, for the most part, the trailer brakes (which we have been fighting since we left Michigan in November) seem to be working. We really want to get home ASAP to have them looked at by mechanics we know. And yes, we have had them looked at numerous times while on the road. The good news is we now have a Michigan mechanic and a California mechanic for our truck.
Though we have not made many stops, it has been an interesting trip.
Yesterday as we were traveling from Benson, Ariz., to Santa Rose, New Mexico we opted for a road less traveled and took Highway 54 from Las Cruces to Santa Rosa. It was two lanes most of the way, skirting the mountains to our west. We passed through many little towns with boarded up store fronts and a few hardy souls still trying to make a go of it.
It’s a sad fact, people miss a lot of the country by taking the interstates and the interstates take a lot from people.