Position: 47°50’54.1″N 120°46’40.8″W

We left Albuquerque and Carol’s Dad Bob in the capable hands of her older brother, Chris. Our departure met with a little trepidation on all sides, but we were confident that Bob would train Chris quickly and by the time we reached Utah our concerns focused more on the icy highways ahead of us.

Our route to the Pacific Northwest stretched 1,200 miles diagonally across the country and took us through some of the best vistas the west has to offer. The last time we passed this way we took a different route, and it was nice to keep the view fresh. As fresh as millions of acres of sagebrush and buttes can keep. Rather than beat our brains out and overdoing the driving, we stopped overnight twice, once in Moab and again in Boise. That gave us enough time for Bodhi to stretch his paws and for us to visit Bill, an old family friend living in Salt Lake City. It also meant the dullest part of the drive, from Twin Falls to Boise, was taken in the dark. A word of caution for visitors, Idaho rolls up its streets early in the evening. If you want more than a packet of cheese puffs from a vending machine, don’t pitch up after 7:00PM.

Chew

Being February hotel rates were half off. Even then further discounts or upgrades weren’t hard to find. With petrol hovering around $2.50 per gallon, we thought we’d stepped back 15 years in time. My travel advice, at the risk of repeating myself, go places in the off season whenever you can. Even if you’re not a cheapskate you’ll have a far better chance of meeting locals and swapping dog stories over your brew. Oh, and bring a handsome pup: such great ice breakers. At the Moab Brewery (the friendliest doggo hangout in town), Bodhi charmed everyone. He was especially cute when he broke free and wandered off in search of floor food. Our neighbours helpfully said, “Oh, we were watching him chew on his lead for the past five minutes.” Thanks, we thought, you might have said something earlier. A quick reef knot soon had our errant beast under control.

In Boise we discovered hotel rates had increased significantly. On checking in the concierge asked if we knew about the $150 non-refundable pet deposit? We did not. And, we said, it seems a bit steep for one night’s stay, don’t you think? This particular hotel was more of a long-stay place. I guess if we stayed an entire month $150 wouldn’t seem so usurious. But at that price Bodhi should have had his own room and a masseuse. The very nice lady took pity on us, and made the surcharge disappear.

Imprimatura

By 10:00AM the following morning we had crossed the border into Oregon. The instant we did gas prices jumped by a dollar a gallon and every intersection sported a marijuana dispensary. Not needing gas or weed, we made our way directly to the Inland Café for a hugely yummy breakfast, half of which we shared the next morning. Snow dusted the hilltops as we dropped into the Columbia River Gorge two hours later. The snow’s imprimatura made stark the mountain’s bare, burnt tree trunks. The full extent of 2017’s Eagle Creek Fires came into sharp relief when we crossed over to the north side of the river. Low clouds and mist clung to the river’s contours. That and my faith in the regenerative power of Mother Nature turned the charred, funereal landscape into something quite beautiful.

As quick as we could, we took Bodhi to meet Marlon and Spencer at Tai and Ava’s pad. When Carol complained that Marlon wasn’t his usual affectionate self, Tai pointed out that she had walked in with another dog and perhaps he didn’t want to share his fish toy with yet another competitor for her attention. Carol conceded the point. Marlon then surprised everyone by being completely chill with Bodhi. Spencer – aka. The Dude – is always chill and the three of them formed a nascent bond. Even in Vancouver, Nessa – aka. Cujo – finally backed off when Bodhi proved just as chill with them. Nessa’s brother Woody – aka. The Gladiator – took an immediate liking to his furry house guest and attempted to roger Bodhi as often as he could. Woody’s tenacity was exhausting for everyone.

Motive

In truth we had an ulterior motive for this trip. Carol wanted to introduce Bodhi to as many people as possible in the hope someone would volunteer to keep him for the summer while we move Aleta from Sweden to the Canary Islands. And we made some progress. At Carol’s book group retreat in Lake Wenatchee everyone took a shine to the pup. Like a kid with newly divorced parents, there’s a good chance Bodhi will be shuttled between different houses over the summer and come out all the stronger for his experiences. Fingers crossed!

Photos

Note: This week’s banner image was AI generated and Dall-e’s response to the prompt: “an image that is respectful of Native American culture and represents the phrase “Westward Ho!” You be the judge…


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2 Comments

  1. Glad your trip is going well. We left Bob in the capable hands of Cyndy and Jim on Wednesday. Bob had an event filled time, at least while I was there. Thank you for the picture of Bill. If you stop again on your way back, please give him Chris and my regards.

    Mary

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