Postcards from the Perimeter
Heavy winds, torrential downpours, snow showers, flash floods … checking weather.com every evening and morning of this journey has become a necessity. We’ve changed plans a number of times due to weather, and stayed in less than picturesque, but safe, places to avoid potentially tricky situations.
After leaving Louisiana, we bee-lined to my very good friend’s home just north of Dallas, TX. Mary Ellen is a strong instigator to my taking this Perimeter trip and I was looking forward to seeing her. We had a great time catching up and picnicking in Betty lakeside. Luckily, the weather was kind to us (which seems to be a rarity in Texas these last few months!)
Zack, Zoe and I zoomed across the rest of Texas (we saw mostly cotton fields and oil fiends and abandoned buildings) into New Mexico.
I adore the Southwest, I really do. I’ve enjoyed a half-dozen road trips and vacations throughout this vast part of the country, but never with dogs.
With dogs I discovered burs! Everywhere. And little cacti and other thorny plants that loooooove Zoe’s furry paws and gracious tail.
We tracked many white-tailed rabbits and listened captivated to coyotes and ferrel cats in New Mexico. Zack enjoyed eating large quantities of rabbit poo pellets.
After several nights in remote and lovely but prickly New Mexico State campgrounds, we started looking for RV parks that boasted real grass and pet runs with shade. The dogs really appreciate it.
By seeking the luxury of grass, I also got to experience the decadence of having key lime pie delivered to me at Betty’s door. Sweet!
There seems to be more RV parks with fenced dog runs in the southwest than in the north and east.
However, paw and pie luxury sometimes has its price. For the joys of running free in an excellent park, we’ve sometimes spent the night on little more than a parking spot in a crowded lot. But it’s all good, especially since we’re on the move most days.
Another Excellent Visit
Our favorite parking spot for the night was in the driveway of very good friends near Phoenix, AZ. Thank you Ron and Greg for sharing your home and family and back yard!
Seriously, visiting family and friends along the way has been the best parts of our Perimeter Trip.
Planning Stop Options
It’s difficult to be spontaneous while driving when you’re the solo human on a big-ass RV road trip.
In order to avoid having to take our breaks in dull, awkward spots, I now google rest stop options ahead of time, as part of my mapping routine in the morning. This little added step helps tremendously. Now I can anticipate rest stops and parks ahead of time. Which means we actually stop more often. Making everyone a little more relaxed and comfortable.
Many of the rest stops we found in the southwest desert regions are certainly dry and rocky and come with scary warnings.
But offer pleasant and picturesque shelters.
And historic tidbits.
Even with planned stops, we were still often surprised.
After New Mexico and Arizona we entered California.
Suddenly after long days of desert wilderness …
… we suddenly find ourselves in “civilization”.
Finding a Veterinarian
Here in California we stopped few days to rest, eat sushi, and make a visit to the vet.
I was apprehensive. How do I find a good and trustworthy vet in a strange land?
A call-out to my pet blogging support group helped. We found several in the immediate area that have AAHA accreditation. I ended up calling an AAHA accredited veterinarian emergency hospital and asking their desk clerk for a recommendation to a non-emergency vet. This turned out to be a fantastic method for finding a great vet.
We were able to get an appointment the same morning we called, and Zack trusted the recommended vet right away. And I trust Zack’s opinion so it’s all good.
(Oh, and they were really appreciative I had rall of Zack’s records organized in a folder. I’m so glad I prepared that folder for each dog when I packed for this trip.)
Why a Vet?
Somewhere between Tucson and Phoenix, the left side of Zack’s face went slack. Like it’s paralyzed. His eye still blinks sometimes, but 1/2 his nose no longer twitches and he slobbers, and shuffles baked dog treats from one side of his mouth to the other like he’s trying to find his teeth.
It’s very worrisome. The vet ruled out ear infection and said it was safe to just head home and have the cause investigated there. It may be neurological or we may never know the cause.
Final Pivot Point
So we’re headed home.
Today we make our third and final right hand turn on this our Perimeter trip.