Our Trip Home- And Sad News Concerning Our Little, Little Boy

December 23, 2019

It’s two days before Christmas and it’s snowing- again. Thanksgiving week was a duzy as snow fell every day for an entire week. Our snow is often called “Sierra Cement” as it’s water content makes it very heavy- and hard to shovel…..ugh…….

Grandson Jackson visiting from SoCal enjoying the snow

Before you rant about how late this post is let me tell you something Mister! OK, you’re right, we’ve been home since late October but I have an excuse…… I didn’t feel like writing, OK? Had nothing to do with brain cramps nor writer’s block. For various reasons, one of which I’ll get to a little later, I’d chosen to take a little hiatus. So now I’ll punish you with an exceptionally long post- here goes (someone once said be careful what you ask for!).

The weather has not been kind during our two months volunteering at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery as Fall rains had come early. It even snowed on the 3000′ bluffs that abut the Columbia Gorge. Even so we had a great time with our volunteer buddies Connie and Jim as well as Hugh (our Boss), Dan, Alex, Patrick, Kelly, Ann, Scott, Deanne, Trent, Dave and the rest of the hatchery team. As Jim would say “It was a Hoot!” Jil and I decided to leave before the end of the month. We had completed our obligation for the week and had no reason to stick around. We hitched up, picked up, packed up, fired up, slides in, jacks up and said Adios to our friends at the Hatchery. We’ve got all that hitching and pick and packing stuff down pat so it really doesn’t take too long, maybe an hour, to get the wheels rolling.

Our path home will take us through the lower elevations of Oregon, not because of the fall weather trying to sneak into winter so much as there are many more places to rest our weary heads on the I-5 corridor than on the alternate route, The Dalles-California Highway- Oregon 97. We are in no hurry but yearn for home if you know what I mean. Its 619 miles to home and we’ll take a minimum of three days to travel the distance. The I-5 corridor in Oregon also has a whole passel of rest stops and we’ll take advantage of those to stretch and walk our mutzos. The first 150 miles we’ll travel through the Willamette Valley. The next day we’ll transition into hill country, then the Rogue Valley eventually ejecting into the Shasta Valley. After an overnight on the western shoulder of Mt. Shasta we will head for the barn.

Our first stop is the Hi-Way Haven RV Park in Sutherlin, Oregon. The park is unusual as it is built on an old drive-in theater lot. The current owner used to come to the drive-in as a kid, fell in love with drive-ins, eventually purchasing this one. He plays a movie every night on the big screen with sound being piped in through your vehicle’s radio.

We headed south the next morning. It’s cold, like 22 degrees cold, so picking up the hoses is akin to wrestling a frozen snake. We are on our way at 0830- late for us. Our concern are the passes in higher elevations. Most of the passes through the hills south of Eugene and the Willamette Valley are no higher than 2000′. We’ll be cresting the highest point on I-5 just south of Ashland, 4300′ Siskiyou Summit. We are fortunate as the weather holds- no snow……

After the summit we drop down into volcano country. It’s quite a sight coming off the summit, crossing the Kali-Fornia state line and seeing the majestic Mount Shasta in the distance as well as some smaller volcanic cinder cones that dot the golden grassland of the Shasta Valley. In comparison to that majestic peak the cinder cones remind one of gopher mounds…….

Our second night is spent at Abrams Lake Mobile Home and RV Park near the town of Mt. Shasta. The RV portion of the park is small yet offers all the amenities including internet access and cable TV. During the low season it’s first come, first served. Its quiet, well away from major thoroughfares and the nearby pine woods are enjoyed by the furry ones.

The next morning we are on the road at the usual time. It’s in the 20’s again. Brrr….. We’re back on I-5 for a short distance and then jog over on to Highway 89. Passing the quaint town of McCloud we head off through the woods. The drive is beautiful as we pass Burney Falls State Park, head towards Hat Creek and turn on to Highway 44. Highway 44 takes us to Susanville and the 395- US395 takes us to Reno and home.

The Captain- always vigilant………….

We always adopt adult mutzos so one never really knows how old the new addition is nor the history of their health, heck not even who the previous owner was. Adopting a pet is somewhat of a crapshoot, so to speak. That said, this concerns our little, little boy as Jil calls Doyle. He’s really not that little as far as dogs go. He’s just the smallest dog that we’ve ever had. Shortly before our trip Doyle had been diagnosed with diabetes. We started him on insulin injections twice a day and his blood glucose dropped from 380 to 88- normal. Yes! He and Megan had a ball on the trip and especially at the hatchery where they were allowed to run free before our visitors arrived and anytime in areas where the public is not allowed.

Shortly before we came home Doyle became blind. I think he could see well enough not to bump into objects, still running around a little with Megan and had no trouble negotiating the stairs into the RV. He was still happy. When we got home we called the Vet- his blood glucose had gone from the normal 88 to over 500 even on insulin. He had become insulin intolerant. Time is no longer on his side.

Doyle loved snow- but it didn’t love him- at all!

Just a few days after the Vet visit he was still doing well negotiating the back yard and the house as if he could see. Then it happened- he became very confused and couldn’t find his way around the house any longer. I touched his side attempting to guide him through a doorway and he yipped. Oh Lordy…..We sadly said goodbye to our loyal friend on November 6.

So this is a tribute to our Little, Little Boy. He was a little boy with a giant personality. Doyle had more than a little larceny in his soul. He was half the size of our Lab, Megan, but would harass her, ripping stuffed babies out of her mouth and proudly prancing away with his prize.

When Megan would run in the field Doyle would herd her like an Aussie is bred to do. At night he’d join Jil in bed, bury his face in MY pillow and grunt with pleasure, then roll on his back, thrash around and grunt some more- then let out a big sigh as he settled in. He didn’t mind barging in on you at all- bump, bump, push, tug. However, once he claimed his spot and given the lightest of touches- grrrrr. He was a one way type of guy…..

And yes, he was a noisy little guy. His internal clock that’s accuracy is to be admired by the finest watchmakers. He had dinner and snack time down to the second and would let you know it’s time to EAT- yap Yap! He’d bark to be let out, he’d yap when he wanted to go for a walk, he’d yap about most everything. I had wished that he could speak English for I knew he had a thousand stories he’d like to share. Yap, yap, YAP. We miss you buddy.

We have always traveled with our dogs. We’ve had seven in total. We’ll be traveling again, blogging again and when the time comes, bring home another furry friend. But for now our Lab Megan will be the queen of the household.

As I write Jil is already planning a couple of trips for next year. So until our next adventure, Via Con Dios my friends. From Jil and I a Merry Christmas to all!

2 thoughts on “Our Trip Home- And Sad News Concerning Our Little, Little Boy”

  1. Merry Christmas Mike and Jil,
    This was something that was plesurable to read but yet hard to read (Sad).
    We Miss Mr. Doyle, Just when he started to warm up to us. He was gone.
    I talked to Ray about this, We said that he found a new Family that showed
    him what true Love was about, And that was you both! That is what he will
    Always remember! Thank You For your blog, We always love reading it!

    Ron & Chris


    1. Hi Ron and Chris,

      A Merry Christmas to you also! Thank you for your kind thoughts concerning Mr. D. He was quite the character. We miss him so very much.

      Jil and Mike


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