We made it to Colorado in time to spend an evening with my sister and her new dog and meet her new boyfriend. They had been dating long enough that it was about the right time to do family introductions, and that all went quite well.
Meeting the new dog didn’t go as well. Chewie made friends immediately, but Courage showed every sign of wanting to eat the dog–a cute, fluffy, American Eskimo. The problem was that the new dog is a shy, fearful dog, much like Courage himself. He normally does ok with strange dogs, but having the little white fluffy dog show fear of him brought out the worst in Courage. I’m not sure what his intentions were, but we had to restrain him numerous times from chasing her. Ugh.
We camped in the boyfriend’s driveway, which was a nice change from campgrounds all the time. Unfortunately, we were in a heavy cattle ranching area of the state, and the occasional clouds of eye-watering manure odor that wafted through were overwhelming to me. When I was awakened in the morning by one such cloud, I knew we had to go. Maggie was heading back to her home to prepare for work, anyway. So we said our goodbyes and hit the road again.
We finally had a good day of driving. Usually some crisis or recurring problem prevents us from covering a decent amount of miles. But with mechanical problems resolved, humans settling into an efficient routine, and troublesome canines drugged out the wazoo, we covered more than 500 miles and camped near Des Moines.
Sadly, we missed out on eating at a restaurant in Omaha that my dad recommended. It’s called Anthony’s steakhouse, and he said he had the best steak of his life, there. However, when we arrived, the restaurant was closed, apparently because it was Sunday. Because why would you want to make thousands of dollars from people eating out after church when you could be at home watering the lawn or something, eh?
The next day, Monday, was more driving driving driving. That was a work day for me, once again. I sorted of dreaded doing the mobile office thing once more, after a solid week of vacation, but once I got started it was quite pleasant. I keep forgetting–I have a great job that I love! And fortunately, I have not been troubled by motion sickness as I feared.
We listened to an audiobook–Watership Down–and the miles passed quickly. WD is such a beautifully written book that we all quickly became engrossed in the fluffy adventures of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, and the other tough bunnies of the Down.
We made good progress, but there was one hiccup in our day. We stopped at a rest station in Illinois. While Brent was walking the dogs, he suddenly called out to me. I ran over, anticipating some kind of injury. Instead, the problem was the Courage had caught a mole and wouldn’t give it up. He has a habit of digging at holes he finds in the ground, and this time he was rewarded with a really huge, fat mole.
The effect was made more horrifying by the cute mole paws hanging out of his mouth. The big paddly feet were the size of a silver dollar with long claws. The whole animal was the size of a soft ball. And Courage was not going to let us have it. We tried offering him tasty tidbits in exchange, but it didn’t work.
See, getting a dog to “give” or “drop” something is mostly a matter of convincing them they’ll get something better in exchange. But there’s nothing better in the whole world than a dead mole. We failed at prying his mouth open. Mastiff jaw pressure is over 500 psi, so if they don’t want to open it, they really don’t have to. We finally gave up and threw him in the back of the Suburban, with his mole.
We hadn’t had lunch, but we were all feeling kind of sick at this point. Courage was happily sucking on his mole as we drove to a gas station. I bought a stick of beef jerky, which Courage loves. But when I offered it to him in exchange for the mole, he started growling at me. Not his cute, playful growl, but a real, serious coyote-crazy growl. Chewie was right next to him, and when he heard this, he went, “Oh hell, no! You don’t growl at humans!” and attacked Courage. A dog fight ensued. In the back of my Suburban as we were parked at the gas pump.
My first priority was to get Glen out of the way. Glen was trying to break things up, and I wanted him safe. Brent, however, had the presence of mind to GRAB THE MOLE and get rid of it while the dogs were fighting.
Fortunately, our dogs don’t bite to draw blood, so no dog as injured. When it was over, Courage looked around desperately for his mole. I really felt sorry for him. He would not accept any jerky, either. The rest of the day, there were many mole jokes. Glen, particularly, got a lot of mileage out of it. We soon found we were hungry after all. We threw the dogs in the trailer and had a leisurely dinner at Red Lobster before hitting the road again.
By 10 PM, we reached Brent’s mother’s house in Battle Creek. When we took the dogs out of the car, they were overjoyed to be back in home territory. They frolicked around the yard and property, returning to us frequently in tail-waggy happiness, as if to say, “Hey, did you know we’re at Gramma’s house?” By then, Courage had forgotten and forgiven the whole mole thing. Thank goodness for short memories.
Although I do believe the trailer and the trip was a success, it was a great relief to sleep in a real bed and have some semblance of privacy for the first time in 3.5 weeks. Phew!