Thanksgiving Tales, Part Two

My own tale of Thanksgiving starts on Saturday. Lisa and I compared schedules, lives, and various other things and realized that we would be best-served for her to fly down to San Francisco on Monday evening. That’s fine, and it made a lot of sense (I won’t bore you with the details), but it left me with a very interesting adventure – two full days of driving with El Poocho. Everybody knows that Sasha is a Good Dog, but we were about to find out if she was Amazing.

Sunday morning, I get up with Sasha and take her to a field where we can run and play for 45 minutes or so – a good long game of Chuck-It, catch, and so on. I bring her home, and while her heart rate returns to normal I finish off some packing. She eats, and then we’re off! Getting her in the car is no problem; like all dogs everywhere (as far as I know) the words “go for a ride?” are pure magic. We drive up the hill and come to the I-5 interchange, where the same feeling always comes over me. I hit this interchange several times a week (it used to be essentially daily, for a couple years). I go North greater than 99% of the time – basically, I go South once a year, to go on vacation to Ashland. I figure that’s why going South that day gave me the same weird sense of calm and relaxation even though I wasn’t technically going to the Festival.

Our destination for the day is Medford, Oregon, just a dozen or so miles north of the oft-mentioned Ashland, and 25 miles from the CA border. Sasha has been on roadtrips before, if not this long, and she quickly gets the hint that we’re not stopping any time soon; down she goes for a snooze in the backseat. I wish I had taken a picture, but: what we do is bungie-cord her crate to the front seats, making a fence that she can’t easily move across to come bother me/us. The back seats have individual buckets (as opposed to a bench style), so those get filled in with towels and then a couple more towels get laid across the whole thing. It’s a little cramped, front to back, but she can lay out comfortably and on a relatively flat surface. Anyway, we go for about 2 hours with no difficulty, then I pull into a rest area to take her on a 10-minute walk and stretch us both out.

Back in the car and we go all the way to Portland (another 90 minutes or so). I pull off and drive into the city, so that a) she can get another 10-minute walk, and b) I can make a quick strike into Powell’s for a couple books on tape I wanted to pass the time. (I was in and out in about 10 minutes, there was no puppy abuse.) Then it was back on the road for another 2-hour stretch, a longer stretch-and-play since the sun would be down by the time we got to Medford, and then back for the final drive. As you can see, an 8-hour trip turned into a 10-hour trip pretty easily.

We got to the (pet-friendly) hotel, settled in for a bit, then went for a nice long walk. After that, I wanted to scavenge some grub, so I took Sasha to the car – and that’s when it happened. I opened the back seat and said, cheerfully, “go for a ride?” She took one look at the car, looked me in the eye clearly as if to say “go screw yourself, daddy,” and wandered off into the bushes! Fortuntately, she’s still a Good Dog and, with a stern reminder from me, back in she went. The rest of the evening was uneventful, except for the fact that we were in a fairly noisy wing of the hotel and she felt compelled to defend our lair until 3 in the morning. Good times.

The second day went much like the first, plus I’m getting pretty tired of typing. ;) Sasha forgot the horrors of the day before and jumped happily into the car. The only drama was that I got incredibly lost, multiple times, when I reached San Francisco, so much that I lost an hour or more before finally reaching Pat & Corynne’s place. Still, I got a little settled in and unpacked the car before Sasha and I went to pick Lisa up at the airport. That went smoothly enough, Sasha was thuh-RILLED to see Mommy again, and the holiday could proceed without any other complications.

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