Thursday, June 26, 2008

Arrived safely in Illinois, but then got rolled in the mud...

Today was a short day driving. I only had to go 365 miles, compared to around 600 Day 2 and Day 3, so I tried to sleep in an extra hour. But poor Slade's bladder wasn't having any of it, so I was up at 6:30 a.m., anyway, taking him out.

We left Springfield, Missouri around 9 a.m., after I had a very tasty breakfast at the local Waffle House. Ahh, one of the simple pleasures of life you just can't get in California! Ran into another Boxer owner at a rest stop between Springfield and St. Louis and chatted about the dogs for a moment.

I would usually drive from St. Louis, along the Mississippi River on the Missouri side, but the Midwestern flooding closed the Louisiana, MO, bridge I would usually cross to get to Pike County, Illinois. If you have seen CNN or read the USA Today lately, the towns of Clarksville, MO, and Grafton, IL, may sound familiar. These are two towns that are now flooded and the nearby highways I would usually travel on are closed. So, I had to take a longer way around, through Alton, Illinois, whose local casino overflow parking lot was under water.

By seeing the highway closures and the depth of the Illinois River as I crossed it, the flood news I had been reading about and watching on TV truly came to life for me. Corn, soy bean and wheat fields are flooded, ruined. Local Pike County farmers have not had an easy year, with bad ice storms this winter breaking limbs off trees, so they had to be cleared from fields before they could be planted; the flooding, and then, to add insult to injury, a hail storm with quarter-sized hail hit Sunday, beating the ready-to-be harvested winter wheat and shredding young corn plants' leaves into ribbons. That will delay the corn harvest this fall by about two weeks. So, aside from fuel prices, there may be other reasons why food prices rise this fall.

Once I arrived at my in-laws' comfortable, rural house, I unloaded the car, taking small breaks in the air-conditioned house to get out of the humidity and wipe the sweat off my face - yuck! Where is that dry heat of Arizona!? It was only 86 but felt SO much warmer! After making the dogs comfortable in outdoor dog runs (which Ripley is STILL protesting at 11:30 p.m. at night with barks and howls ... not that I blame him. I would prefer a fluffy dog bed in an air-conditioned hotel room, too, but this IS farm country and dogs don't live indoors here ... or at least that what I've been told. Slade's run was outfitted with a breezy fan and lots of straw ... he was sound asleep when I checked in on him a few hours ago, not waking up until I called his name twice. I keep trying to reassure myself this is OK .. I can be such a wuss when it comes to my dogs.

My MiL Peggy made me my favorite dish of hers for supper, roast beef with all the trimmings. Yum! Then she took me out on her new "toy," a four-wheeler, ATV, whatever you want to call it. We headed out to Grandpa's creek property down the road to see if a certain cow had calved yet. Couldn't find the cow, but Peggy did manage to roll the ATV over on a steep, muddy hill, dumping us into a small muddy ditch. Fortunately, we were just fine, except for Peggy's pride. She told me not to tell anyone - I told her I was taking photos and blogging about it.

Personally, I thought the whole thing was funny. Within a few hours of arriving in farm country, I am sweating profusely and covered in mud. Who-hoo! Aunt Sam and Uncle John then stopped by to show of Aunt Sam's new toy, a Gator, and she drove Peggy and I over to Grandma and Grandpa's house (about a mile down the road, int he opposite direction from the muddy fild we rolled over in) so I could chat with them. Overall, it's been a good day!

Even better was that there was a package waiting for me when I arrived this afternoon. I didn't get around to opening it until tonight. My Creative Escape Paint Can Secret Sister had sent me my paint can here, Oh, it was SO much fun opening the package!

Emily Barklage did an fabulous job, outfitting my paint can in soothing shades of green and blue.

And inside, WOW! Tons of embellies from Tim Holtz, Heidi Swapp, Heidi Grace and more, clear stamps, popcorn, Goldfish crackers, and, proving she is super thoughtful, a goodie for each of my boys! They arrive with my DH and family tomorrow - I am sure they will love the Play-Doh and bouncy balls! Y'know what else is a coincidence? I drove right past her town when I drove in to St. Louis today! I wish I had known, I might have stopped by to say hi! Thank you, Emily for such a fabulous paint can - can't wait to meet you at CE!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Today's Travels...

I saw fireflies tonight! We're spending the night in Springfield, Missouri, and I had forgotten about this simple summer pleasure of the Midwest. It was hilarious watching Ripley go after the floating light and then search for it frantically when the bug's butt light went out. I am looking forward to enjoying watching the fireflies at night when I get to Illinois - and burning off Rip's extra energy!

Today's trip was UNEVENTFUL, thank goodness. I can use a day with no events! We left Amarillo at about 8:30 a.m., but not before poor Slade had a pee accident on the floor of the hotel room. Dang. The Plavix makes him drink and pee constantly and I must have been sound asleep still at 6 a.m., when I thought I heard a waterfall in my dream. To his credit, he was sheepishly mortified until I reassured him I knew it wasn't his fault. He did pee in the bathroom, which he has done on a few occasions throughout his life when it is an "emergency" and he does not have access to the outdoors. It's like he knows that's the room to potty in, but he can't figure out how to get his rear end up on to the toilet. I alerted the hotel to the "oops," expressing my own sheepish mortification and apologies. No wonder not too many hotels accept pets! Ugh, sorry!

About an hour East of Amarillo is Shamrock, Texas, where I was sure to stop and pay my respects. With 1,000 miles still to go before I get to Illinois and a frail dog in my charge, I need as much good luck as I can get!

I hit Oklahoma not long after I stopped in Shamrock. In Oklahoma City I got on what must be the longest toll road in the country, the John Kirkpatrick Turnpike. I spent about $15 in tolls to travel about 125 miles, through Tulsa, to the Missouri border. There is a huge McDonald's restaurant that spans across the entire four-lane tollway. Trust me, there is no way you can miss it if you happen to travel that way.

Apparently my stop in Shamrock paid off. Slade looks to be feeling much better this evening. He ate a whole can of dog food for dinner, his first meal since Sunday morning, and he kept it down. Yay! He's still weak and tired, much like someone who has suffered a heart attack, and he has clearly lost weight he can't really afford to lose. I need to fatten him up ASAP. Hopefully we will all get a good night's sleep, as I have not slept more than four hours on either of the two nights we've traveled. Only one more day left - on to Pike County, Illinois!

Sidenote: Now that I'm pulling one myself, I have been noticing cargo trailers of all kinds. One thing I have noticed are the names of them - they all have some clever take on some other brand name or phrase. I'm pulling a Load-Runner (roadrunner), and I have seen a Wells Cargo (Wells Fargo) and a Haulmark (Hallmark). Interesting.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts this month ...

... but as most of you know, it has been quite a busy month for The Guthrie's especially me, who will have travelled more than 4,000 miles back and forth across the country (From Ca to TX and back, from CA to AZ and back, from CA to IL and NOT back...) so the family blog has been a little neglected! So, here are some photos of what has been going on with the Gang...

Eating our last bits of Golden Spoon frozen yogurt! There is no GS in Pensacola, yikes! I'll miss my cake batter!

A peek around the house before the movers come ...

The last night in the house was interesting. We didn't want to get any dishes dirty since they would be back the next day (Wednesday June 18), so we ate pizza and tried not to disturb the piles of pictures, dishes and other stuff that was going to be moved. The boys took it all in stride.

Packing up the entire house (and garage!) was a chore I was glad I did not have, but there was still plenty of work to do, like bathing the dogs, cleaning up the yards and separating stuff that was being moved by the movers from the stuff I was taking in the trainer with me and stuff that was staying in our storage unit in California.

Before we headed off to the going away party Peter and Nan Paturzo had for us Saturday afternoon, I insisted we get a quick photo of the three Ford Explorer owners. Dad gave up his Hummer for a more affordable 1999 4WD sport model; Mom has had her 2001 since she ordered it, and my "black sheep" 2007 model.

The boys sleeping at Grandma and Grandpa's house ... soundly if not a little oddly...

On the road...
I left California Sunday morning, with my first leg of the cross-country trip ending in Flagstaff, Arizona, the city of my alma mater, Northern Arizona University. I was going to call my college friend Keli, but I am glad I didn't as Slade had to be taken to the vet that night with what turned out to be congenital heart failure. I had been told three days earier when he had his annual exam that he had a slight heart murmur. Apparently, the high altitude aggravated his condition, reducing thr amount of oxygen his heart could pump to his organs and they started to shut down. After two hours and $290 later, he is perkier and will hopefully make as full a recovery as an 11-year-old boxer can. Here he is recovering last night:
Today was the drive from Flagstaff to Amarillo, Texas. I really had wanted to take a quick cruise around the NAU campus so I could see how much it has changed since I went to school there, but since Slade's condition was kicked off by the high altitude, I wanted to get him "off the mountain" as quickly as possible. We were on the road by 8 a.m.
I was surrounded in both New Mexico and Texas with thunderstorms, complete with lightning. Fortunately, it only rained lightly on me as I drove.

Tonight I had some time to play with the dogs, not something I get to do as often as I'd like. Marble ate a full dinner tonight (she's got a nervous stomach, so she won't eat if she is out of routine) so she was quite playful and frisky. I think traveling agrees with her. Ripley thinks he is a lap dog, but at 70 pounds, he just doesn't fit. During this quick photo session, Ripley was more interested in curling up in my lap than anything else. I did get a few with the exhausted Slade, he liked butting the side of his head against mine.

Off to Missouri tomorrow. I'll try to add more photos soon!