The Black dogs hit the Road!

By Aspen ~

We were thrilled to FINALLY be back on the road for more camping adventures! Mom and dad sent us to doggie camp at Critter Nanny recently while they ran off to some place called Mexico. Apparently they’ve been there before and really love it. It sounds like a place Porter and I would like and mom & dad promise that the next time they go there we get to go with them! I can’t wait.

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But in the meantime, we headed to Oregon’s newest state park, Cottonwood Canyon. We had wanted to go last year but after daddy and uncle Ken checked it out in the spring and compared it to a dust bowl. That didn’t sound so appealing so we decided to wait a bit. Although there is still some vegetation needing to grow up, we had the most marvelous time, not least of which because we were finally on the road again with our pack.

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Mom and dad had to go to work, that thing they regularly curse about, the day we left so we didn’t end up leaving for camp until nearly dinnertime! I wasn’t too sure about getting in the truck without my kibble, but Porter hopped right in, always afraid he’ll be left behind. The true disaster was that mom and dad were in such a hurry to get on the road they didn’t even give us our daily “we’re home” cookie. I could feel my stomach rumbling before we even left the driveway!

We drove out that very pretty road mom and dad call “The Gorge” and for a little bit we thought we were heading to LePage, a common camp spot. But no, before we got to LePage we turned off on a small, winding road heading South. Not sure what this was all about I went back to sleep, sure I was going to pass out from hunger at any minute. After about 25 minutes we pulled into camp in the dark. We quickly backed into a camp spot and, thank goodness, mommy got us our dinner first thing. Whew, that was a close one ­čÖé

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We headed to bed shortly after since it was already past bedtime by that point. I could tell it was going to be a cold night because of the chill in the air and because Porter got to wear his camper pajamas to bed so he wouldn’t get chilled. We woke up bright and early the next morning ready for a pee, some breakfast, and a day of adventure. As usual, dad grumbled that it was too early as I attempted to climb into their bed for my morning cuddle time. That is my only complaint about life in the camper. At home I wake mommy with my nose and she scoots over so I can jump up for some serious cuddle time before breakfast. In the camper their bed is WAY up there and I can’t get up on my own. But, luckily for me, mom is a morning person too so she gets up and takes Porter and I out, feeds us, and makes coffee before dad even rolls out of bed!

We had THE most marvelous day. Cottonwood is just my kind of place. The John Day River flows right past the camp for swimming, and there is a nice, long trail that goes along the river for several miles. We did need to watch out for rock slides and rattlesnakes but I didn’t pay too much attention, knowing mom and dad were on the alert. There were some pesky weeds called puncture vines that Porter and I kept getting in our paws. Each time we did we’d simply stop and hold up a paw and mom and dad would dutifully remove them for us. They’re so well trained.

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We napped in the shade in the afternoon for a bit before some more play time. ┬áSince it was a very quiet, remote camp, mom and dad let me go to the river and back and for short walks OFF LEASH. It was super fun and I came back most of the time right when they called. I really know I should every time but truly, how can they expect a dog to leave such amazing smelling things just to run back for pets when I know it’s just all about keeping me in control. Porter had to stay on his leash, of course, just like at the beach because you just never know if he’ll hang around or not. I don’t quite understand why he feels the need to run off if there isn’t something super exciting to go and see but I guess thats just his way.

Dad tried to do more fishing before dinner but I suddenly realized he was making a motion like he was throwing something.. well, certainly that must have meant he was throwing something for me to retrieve!!! Well, apparently not. After a few attempts to keep me from swimming out to retrieve his line he just gave up on the activity. That evening Porter and I were simply exhausted and were tucked snugly into bed pretty early. Mom and dad stayed up and had a campfire and drank this stuff called whiskey. Now THAT I really don’t understand. Mom always lets me have a taste of her beer and I like most cocktails, especially this new thing they’ve been drinking that they call a Moscow Mule, what a dumb name. But whiskey, yuk, no thanks! I was happy to just go to bed and help keep Porter warm.

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The next morning was a little warmer because it was cloudy, but we still went for a shorter walk and enjoyed running about the campground. Too early we packed up and headed back home. Mom and dad had that stupid work thing again the next day. We did stop on the way home for french fries and Porter and I each got to have two. I would have been happy with more but hey, a dog can’t complain right?

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I hope we get to go back to that place. In spite of the stickers we got in our paws and the late dinner that first night, it was so very wonderful to be back in nature and living in the camper with my family.