Our boy turns seven today. Seven years of love and snuggles and play and joy and laughter and smiles and exasperation and sweetness and tail wagging and pawing and cuddle-time and barks and bullies and deep soulful looks. Happy birthday little man, we love you so.
I wake up, suddenly. I feel like someone is staring at me. I turn over slowly and there he is, a small furry little fella with big brown eyes sitting over me looking down. His eyes say everything he can’t speak. I’m half awake and tell him no. Gently at first… no buddy, lay down, lay down now. He doesn’t take no for an answer and leans down and gives me a kiss on the cheek. Again I say, no buddy, lay down. He’s relentless. I try to go a bit more firm with him, NO, Weston, lay down. He ignores me. We’re having a battle of wills.
I tell him I didn’t get to sleep until really late last night and in fact have only slept for about four or five hours. He doesn’t seem to care. I change tactics. I ask if he needs to go outside. Maybe that’s it. I get up, he follows, and I think, OK, this is it. I open the doggie door and he sticks his head out, then pulls it back in. He sticks it out one more time, looks around, and again pulls it back in. I don’t have time for these shenanigans. I open the door, telling him it’s OK and that a little rain/freezing rain won’t hurt him and that I’ll stand right there in the door, in t-shirt and shorts, waiting for him. It’s freezing cold outside and I’m cold waiting in the doorway. He ventures out tentatively, makes it to the bottom of the steps, and immediately turns around and comes back in. I shake my head and pad back toward the bedroom. I need more sleep.
Of course, he follows me. I get back in bed and look down. He’s sitting on the floor next to the bed looking up at me, those big eyes doing their magic trick on me again. Practically programmed I scoot back, making room for him. I open up the covers and he jumps up effortlessly, laying down up against me with his head on my arm. He demands to be petted for a while, continually nudging me with his nose until I get just the right spot on his tummy. It’s nearly 8:00 AM now. I still want to go back to sleep.
We stay in that place for what seems like a long while, me petting his tummy, him enjoying what we have come to call his morning cuddle time. This is not the first time this scenario has happened. He’s trained me well.
Finally, finally, I hear him snore. This little sign tells me I can stop petting him and try to go to sleep. I do.
We both wake up. Him still up against me, head on my arm. I just spent over an hour spooning our boy. I vow, as I get up, and he gets up reluctantly, that this won’t happen again. It’s a vow I’ve made many times. His soul filled eyes melt my heart, even when I’m irritated by him. I remind myself he’s just a dog, but I love him so.
He jumps up on the sofa next to me, stares at me with those eyes, and paws my hand.
Ah road trips, how I love them. The sights, the experience, the music played along the way. They are glorious things.
When I was a kid our family did road trips all the time. It was sort of our thing. We mostly stayed in Oregon for these, though we did venture out to Arizona once, exploring different parts of the state. We always stayed in Mom and Pop motels, which don’t exist as much today. I loved those. One time we stayed in a motel with a pool shaped like an airplane. Very cool. There were always things to see, places to stop along the way, new adventures to be had. I grew up taking road trips and they got into my blood.
Luckily I met someone who loves to road trip as much as I do. When K was young her family hit the road every year from California to Oklahoma. During our drive out this past week she called her parents to confirm that their main route was route 66. There wasn’t an interstate the majority of the time her family was doing these trips so route 66 was the main route between Los Angeles and Oklahoma. Awesome. As we drove out this last week we basically followed what was the old route 66 highway. Now not even commissioned as a highway, there are still signs along the way indicting where route 66 was and there are long stretches of road you can still drive. Those stretches take you past, as we saw, old gas stations and motels and diners that have fallen into disrepair long ago, though there are still some establishments up and running today. It’s a bygone era, but along that route the feel is still there in some places. It’s pretty cool.
I digress though and will get back to it by saying that we both love a good road trip. It’s why we’ve decided on this trip every year. It serves two purposes… we get to drive back out to Oregon and see everyone we love who lives there and who we miss, and we get to have the experience of traveling different routes out with the pups. It’s tiring, but oh so much fun.
We finally arrived, day seven, after starting in Burns and driving highway 20 through Bend and Sisters, then highway 22 to Salem and the farm. It was nice to get here. Another great thing about road trips is the getting to your destination and getting up the next morning not having to drive anywhere. It’s a good feeling.
We spent yesterday, our first non-driving day, doing some chores like taking our Toyota Tacoma in for servicing so we can put it up for sale, and helping Mom work on the garage at the farm. She’s wanted to clean it out, reorganize, and paint for some time so we cleared that puppy out yesterday and went in and got the paint for it. Today, we paint.
The pups adore Mom and my brother, Kevin. They were very happy to see them and they also love the farm. What dog wouldn’t. They’ve been here many times and they basically get to roam pretty free while they’re here. They were exhausted last night when we went to bed. It’s nice for them.
It’s so good to be here and we’re looking forward to seeing friends and family while we’re here. We love this place and the people in it, and we loved the getting here as well.
Pretty soon we’re going to have to start planning our trip back out to Illinois… wonder which route we’ll decide to take this time?
Today we moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado. It wasn’t a bad day of driving really, about 6 and a half hours on the road after we checked out and then drove to not one, not two, but three coffee spots in Santa Fe before getting a cup. Our first choice ended up being downtown, where a huge art festival had streets closed. We would’ve loved checking it out actually, from what we could see as we drove past a closed off street the art was pretty awesome, but we had places to be and two dogs who don’t love crowds. We might have braved the crowds with the pups, but time was not on our side. So, on to the stop two. We went for the next place on the list, which ended up not being in the downtown area, but was apparently so popular the entire parking lot was full. On to spot three, which ended up being great. If we lived in Santa Fe, and after visiting we kinda wish we did, we would go to the Santa Fe Baking Company often for both the coffee and the breakfasts. The coffee was great and the breakfasts looked amazing as we passed tables of people with spectacular looking plates. We did manage to get a couple of pastries to go along with the coffees. Both were wonderful.
We decided we love both New Mexico and Southern Colorado. We recommend Colorado highway 114 if you ever get the chance to drive it. It’s not big, and it doesn’t really connect any bigs towns, but it’s worth it for the scenery. It was amazing. The photos we took don’t even do it justice. Just some gorgeous landscape.
Another highlight was the second spot for coffee today, the Milagros Coffeehouse in Alamosa, Colorado. A spur of the moment second cup craving led us to this cool local spot. Yes, they had a Starbucks in town, but if you haven’t guessed by now, we prefer to go local and funky if we can. Milagros was both. Another place we would totally hang out if we spent any time at all in that town. The brew from there was the best of the day. Smooth, strong, and oh so tasty.
The pups are doing so well on this trip. What great little travelers they are. Weston gets his herbal car sick meds in the morning before we leave and they pretty much hang out in their area right behind us, what we like to call the pup lounge, while we’re on the road. They have been rockstars so far. Right now, after getting to play in the huge lawn at this motel (we brought the chuck it and played catch and chase with them for awhile), they are both crashed out in their little beds. They’ve had dinner and their leashes are hanging on leash hooks by the door.
Tomorrow is a long one, probably eight hours on the road. Eight hours with the dogs pushes it, and us, to the limit. It will be tiring, but it will also be beautiful. Colorado is a beautiful place.
Today was a long day on the road. By choice we went an extra bit today so we could have a short day tomorrow. More time in Santa Fe when we get there. Because today was so long we didn’t do much stopping. Gas, food, rest stops, and just two extra little stops. One at the World’s Largest Fork in Springfield, MO and the other to photograph the Coleman Theater in Miami, OK where Don Hale used to go as a young gent.
Impressions from the day:
Great coffee this morning from Mudhouse Coffee in Springfield, MO. I regret not buying a t-shirt. There was great art on the walls… many black and white photographs of people in white who had mud on them. Loved it. Also a great dinner tonight from Tyler’s Barbeque in Amarillo, TX. The barbecue was Texas sized. Sadly I think we threw away nearly as much as we ate. Our room still smells of barbecue. I think it was the best barbecue I’ve ever had. All in all a very successful food and beverage day.
Today was a scorcher … the thermostat in the rig topped out at 106. It was so hot that when we stopped for our second cup of coffee in Oklahoma City the little girlie started hyperventilating and had to be carried back to the car. She is a tad bit of a drama queen, but it was also hot hot hot. A dry heat.
We are now fugitives in Oklahoma. A tip for anyone driving on the Oklahoma Turnpike… there are not always attendants at the toll plazas meaning you have to have exact change. We made it all the way to our last booth and then only had a $20. There was a change machine, but it only took $1 and $5. We looked at each other, saw the cars behind us lining up, looked at the red light which told us we couldn’t go unless we threw in the change we didn’t have, and we went on through anyway. As we did the alarms went off at the booth. I’m sure, if they took our photo as this happened, the people reviewing it will be cracking up. Our facial expressions were a combo of amusement, consternation, shock, horror, and guilt. Very funny. I think we were both gesturing…. arms up in the air as if to say… what are we supposed to do in this situation?
In two days we’ve seen two enormous crosses. One in Effingham, Illinois, and the other in some un-named little Texas town we passed. They were pretty much equal in size.
It rained on us today for awhile. It was nice and decently cool while it was raining. Then it got hot (see above).
We waved at Mangum, OK and Pryor, OK as we passed the exits with those names and then chatted about K’s childhood a bit. She spent a lot of time in Oklahoma as a kid and it’s always fun talking about that. Someday we need to do more than just drive through. I’d love to see where she was born and some of the places she’s told me stories about.
We started this morning at 10:00… after getting coffee and photographing the fork, which I know sounds late, and got to Amarillo at 7:30. Nine and a half hours on the road. Tomorrow we have a short day, only four hours of driving. Who knows what adventure we’ll find. I love road trips.
Weston is a guy of deep thoughts and feelings. He has soul.
I looked up a moment ago and there he was sitting on the chair in the corner looking out the window. He looked like a person, deep in thought, contemplating all of life’s ups and downs. He looked introspective and philosophical. He looked like Weston usually looks.
Six years ago we decided we wanted to get a dog and we decided on a Schnoodle because Karen’s daughter, Mary, had one and we loved him. So cute, great personality, small, and to top it off they don’t shed and they have hair akin to human hair so they don’t have dander and don’t smell like a dog. Ever. In fact they sort of have a smell all their own, each in their own way, like humans do. But I digress.
We went and looked at some dogs in East/Central Oregon and when one of the little guys came over and licked my toe it was all over. He was the one. Six weeks later, in April of 2007, we went and picked him up in Portland where we met with the woman who raised him. We’d had a name picked out for him already, but when we saw him, looked in his eyes, we knew instantly the name didn’t work. He looked too smart for the name. Too studious. Too deep. So on the drive back home, with the little guy sitting on Karen’s lap in the brand new bed we’d gotten for him, we threw names around. None fit until somehow one of us, I think it was Karen, mentioned the town of his birth, Weston. Yes, he was born in Weston, Oregon in the Blue Mountains. We looked at each other and that was it. Somehow, some way, Weston seemed right. It suited him. The him of major thought and intense looks.
Now, nearly six years later, he still has that same look. That deep look. He looks at you and into you at the same time. He is a guy of passionate feelings and sincere real love. He is incredibly smart, cunning, and curious. He is our little man.
Riley is girl of deep feelings, but of a different sort. She’s a little spitfire.
A year after we were lucky enough to get Weston we decided he needed a companion for those times we had to leave him at home. We didn’t want him to be alone. We wanted him to have a little pal, a buddy. He got a sister, not a natural born sister, but a sister none the less, and they have a love hate relationship. We had a name picked out for her too, and that one ended up sticking. Somehow Riley fits her. She’s full of energy, very vocal, and loves to put her head up against our heads and have a little pet. She gets so excited she can hardly contain herself, and is a tad quirky, but we adore her.
This morning when I looked over at Weston looking out the window a wave of love came over me, as it does so often with both of our little furry babes. Karen and/or I say, at least once a day I think, “I love them”. One of us always says it and the other one then always says, “I do too”. And we do. We love them. We love how they love us. How Weston always welcomes us home with a whole body wiggle and Riley always wants to lay in a lap. We love Weston’s kisses and the little girlie’s insistent pawing for a pet. We even love their more annoying habits, as you do with little beings you cherish. We love the schnoods. Like I loved how he was looking out the window this morning like a little person. Just as I love how, right now, he’s laying in my lap snuggling, looking back at me with those eyes with those deep deep feelings, and Riley is all curled up in Karen’s lap snuggling in close to her. We love them.
We love them.