Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Homeward bound

All good things must end and so it was, on Tuesday, that Janet and I pointed the car south and thus began our journey home. We bid adieu to our Canadian brethrens and other friends and slowly made out way out of town. We took a different route since our destination was Nine Mile Falls, WA. We would be staying at Ron and Vic Green’s place for the night. We passed the lush rolling fields and soon our remarks were about “How long of any outrun would it be to the top of the hill? Wow, wouldn’t that gully be a tricky draw?” I am sure many of you have had the same conversation.

Janet spied a Tim Horton’s and we just had to stop. She is getting quite good at spotting them, well before me, and I am quite impressed. We took a breakfast break and were trying to figure out how much longer it was to the border. Then a couple of bikers sat next to us. One got up and left so then I asked the solo biker how far it was to the border. He replied about 15 minutes and we thanked him. Janet leaned over to me and whispered, “I think he thought you meant the BC border”

I asked him again about the US and his reply was about 1 hr and half. Then I noticed how cute he was. Kinda like a younger Marlboro man in biker’s gear. Too bad I couldn’t think of anymore questions to ask him. Of course, there was serious eye candy Cowboys at the Calgary Stampede! So, I wandered outside to take the dogs out and ran into the other biker that was in earlier. She had a beautiful Harley with a picture of her son on the side. Her friend joined us (another woman biker)  and soon Roo and Scoot were schmoozing with them. The dogs had them under their spell. She had an Aussie named Rocket and we talked dogs for a bit. It was enjoyable talking to them and hearing about their journeys.

We hit the road again and passed Sparwood, the home of the “Largest Truck in the world.” Apparently, it is not the largest truck anymore since we were informed at the Stampede (and I can’t remember who told me) that another truck was bigger but it was not on display. If you were the person, drop me a line and tell me where this other truck is located, and so forth.

I have no idea why we decided to stop at the infamous Starbuck in Bonners ferry. You remember it was the Starbucks that didn’t know what a decaf frap was and couldn’t make our two drinks correctly? Across from the Bate’s Motel? In the area of the weirdness bubble? I think I will blame this on Janet!

So, we ordered drinks and thankfully, they got them right. The dogs needed to be walked so we wandered about when this strange person approached us. He saw Janet’s University Of Washington Alumni license plate cover on her car and followed us. He just had to chat us up about it and other stuff. The weird radar was going full force now and even red-lined a few times. We finally got him to leave and then raced to our car and burned rubber getting out of town.

We made it to Nine Mile Falls and relaxed at some friends.  It was good to put our feet up and just relax. That is when we learned that  Roo was taught to bark when he was told to “sit”. We also learned he was taught to “speak” as well. Roo was happy to be back at his old stomping ground and played ball for hours. Scott was happy to chase Roo and soon the dogs we exhausted but happy!

We had  grilled tuna that had caught from a fishing trip to the coast. We got to catch up on life and tell tale stories. The evening was a good way to end a long day. We had made plans for the next morning to work cattle and sheep.
Our friend took us to work cattle and sheep. It has been a while since Roo has worked cattle and he remembered it just fine. The last cowdog trial, I ran Roo in was over 3.5 years ago and he tied for second in Open on Sat and Sunday. I have worked him at home on my cattle but I haven’t had any cattle since last fall. Roo ran out tight and he was scolded so he decided to smarten up and work the cattle right. He really enjoyed it, especially the low heeling part. The cattle thought they were going to run to the barn but he convinced them it was not in their best interest. We worked for a bit then my friend worked Kiki. She is an upcoming cattle and sheepdog and great-granddaughter of Tess. She is going to be a nice dog when she grows up.

 Photos: Janet Thorpe (it was windy and raining so the camera had a hard time focusing)

Then it was off to work sheep. It decided to rain. Isn’t eastern Washington supposed to be hot and dry? Instead it was wet and soggy! We arrived at Hope’s place and sorted out some nice Dorpers for us. The field we were working in has a huge gully in the middle where you lose sight of your dog for about 7-10 seconds. The grass was wet so it deadened the whistles and the sheep were light. We set for each other and it was about 450-500 yards or more. Roo was tight at the top, maybe since I just got done working him on cattle but we resolved that issue. Roo saw that it would be in his best interest to go wide and be a good boy. I had fun working him and by the end, he was more than happy to listen, as he was tired. Kiki ran well but then cut in when she saw the setout person (me). She was nervous about picking the sheep off me but crossed over and slowly got them. This was new to her and that was his homework. He did work on it and fixed it the next day. Janet, being the smart one, stayed in the truck where it was dry.

After we got done, we sent shopping at the Big R. I managed to find a cute purple sweater and jacket. So not western but cute. I was surprised that I didn’t get anything at the Stampede and equally surprised that I found these items in a feed store. I also got nice hoof trimmers which I desperately needed. The hoof trimmers are for the sheep and not me, by the way!

Soon, we had to head back to the house so away we went. Our friend did show us a scenic way back and we saw craggy hills, numerous deer and chipmunks. The chipmunks tried to play “chicken” with the cars on the road but luckily decided at the last minute to leap out of the way. It was a nice drive, filled with laughter and enjoyment.

Early afternoon, we headed over the mountains to home. It was a nice ride and not much traffic and we got to Janet’s place at a decent hour. I got home about an hour later and was greeted, or I should rather say was about knocked down, by Tess, Nan and Rainey. Rainey apparently really missed me as she kept wrapping her front paws around my leg and wouldn’t let go and kept doing deep sighs. It was the end of a long journey that was filled with good times, good friends, good runs and good memories. I hope to do it again next year.

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