Monday, November 23, 2020

The Electric Mud And The Stinkeye Pinto

It's the first Perkins brothers camping trip of 2020, and someday somebody will ask how we let that happen? They will have forgotten all about the virus, and wiping down our groceries and figuring out what to use instead of toilet paper. Yeah, it's pretty easy right now to believe that we will never forget this, but history tells a different story. The stage must be set with 3 brothers of differing political beliefs, the most contentious election in our lifetime...see? we already forgot all about Nixon...nobody remembers that one.

The virus is raging through the world, and someday a vaccine is coming to save us..or will it be like the lifeboats on the Titanic? You can imagine that we had some lively conversations around the campfire, but that is part of the story. Right off, I declared 'no politics' to which Paul replied, 'I agree to disagree'....not sure what that meant, but we did switch to wondering about if we had enough supplies when civilization came crumbling down. Steve was wondering what route to take if he had to shoot his way out of Orlando, while Paul pondered if his business could pivot somehow in a positive manner while zombies were shuffling down the street. Me, I was fantasizing about band gigs in a Thunderdome-like setting. I did always like Steampunk stuff. And pretty much everybody looked old in those Mad Max movies...I'd fit right in.

We camped in the most beautiful, primitive place in Florida, Princess Place Preserve and as long as you don't need fresh water or electricity, you'd be fine. The weather was something special. I've seen a lot of wind coming off that salt marsh in the past but this trip was a true test for my tent. Nothing would stay on the picnic table without something heavy anchoring it down. And rain...did I mention the rain? Well, it didn't rain all the time, it just came and went without warning, just like hurricane times.

What turned out to be the best fun of the weekend, was a daylong trip on mountain bikes through the miles and miles of horse trails throughout the park. I am absolutely certain that you could be lost out there for days WITH a GPS. This time Steve brought his two electric bikes, one of which I rode, while Paul went old-school on his expensive pro bike. Steve and I had a blast, while Paul got the real workout. I know, you're thinking, why would we want electric bikes for riding along a horse trail. This is because you are not familiar with the term 'sugar sand'. Let's just say a long time ago, I rode with a serious group of mountain bikers that got stuck in a large patch of it, and we did the walk of shame...and it's not much of a problem on an E-bike...

Hardly anybody was in the park besides us, and we had this long spooky walk to the only functioning bathroom in the park. It turned out that there were a couple of neighbors right next to the bathroom and they were camping in horse trailers while the horses hung around in small portable fences. There was one old grey-white horse that looked like nobody had asked him if he wanted to go camping in this weather. There was another brown and white horse that was quite different. I'm not much into that 'how smart are horses' stuff. I'm still trying to figure out how smart are people..but that horse. Every time we would walk by, that horse would stick his head around the back of the trailer, like he was sneaky or something. He'd then turn away, and suddenly look back to see if we were still there...then he'd come around the other side of the trailer, with this look, staring straight at me. I wasn't sure if he was saying, 'This guy looks like somebody I want to hang out with' or 'I'm gonna stomp that guy until he stops moving!'

Eventually, Paul got the owner into a conversation where she told us this beautiful animal was a Pinto with some Arabian in him. I'm not sure if that explained anything, but I did ask her why he was staring at me. She said 'Oh no! He's very friendly, he's just wary about bears.....'.....yeah, right....I know better, that horse was making plans..




Monday, November 2, 2020

The Quest For The Wire Fox: Part 6


Life was suddenly very different. We were driving up the road to Ft. Mountain State Park in northern Georgia and there was a new dimension to everything we did. Pam's planning about training the dog to ride in a crate and respond to clicker commands flew right out the window in the first 15 minutes of the drive and the only worry on my mind was, would Ollie get carsick?

Either those young folks that raised this litter of puppies did a great job, or we got another really smart dog. He did everything you could want from a new member of the family, even treating Pam and I equally...well, almost equally. We pulled into the campground on a nice cool afternoon, and right away I saw that we were never going to use those coats we brought along. 55 degrees, is just nice for shorts and t-shirts. You can walk for 10 minutes without sweating. In Florida, it sounds cold, because we are lucky when we get that kind of weather. Unfortunately, Ollie still needed another round of shots before he could walk on the ground anywhere..something I didn't know about getting disease from where other animals have walked. We put up a playpen with a tarp and blanket on the ground and he was excited. He loved his crate filled with a blanket and toys. He made a regular habit of sleeping in it with just his head hanging out.

In just two days, we had a routine. I'd wake up around 5:30am and sit on the floor of the camper and hang out with Ollie until 7 and then toss him in bed with Pam and wait for the scream. He was like a little barracuda in that confined searching for the first aid kit more than once after I unsuccessfully fended off attacks of the puppy razor teeth.

It was like heaven for us, and we hadn't even gone to look at the pre-historic wall that is the main attraction, plus I had my mountain bike to explore while Pam would teach Ollie to chew on toys rather than people.

The second morning was when Pam turned on the news and saw, guess what...Hurricane headed our way. There is something about us and hurricanes and Pam wondered aloud about our relative safety. This was while I pondered driving down I-75 to Florida in pouring rain, following a mass exodus from Georgia to the Sunshine State. In the end, we left before the storm and made it home just in time for Mandy, who had been calling us every few hours, asking when she could meet the puppy.

He is now spoiled rotten, and the only grumpy person in the house is the cat, who seems to be saying "Nobody asked me if I wanted a puppy!" Ollie is trying hard to make friends and the cat is becoming a little bit more tolerant as the days roll on. The cat has this look, "Hey, just because I'm not hissing and I let that little furball be in the same room, doesn't mean I'm happy about all this!"