Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Easy it is to Fall in Love!

We had a surprise visitor come into our lives on April 6.  And talk about love at almost first sight!

We were sitting at our forest campsite when we spotted a black dog close by with no human companion and no collar and ID tags.  Because our awesome cat, Nevelle, was out on his tie-out, I panicked and called out "dog!", so Michael could scoop up the cat.  The dog disappeared for a second or two, and then came back.  I slowly approached it and this dog had one happy tail wagging!  He came to me and allowed me to pet it.  He had a precious face, ears that looked like wings, and sadly, a malnourished looking body.  His coat was blackish-brown and in really nice condition.  He had a few scrapes on his legs and belly.

We fed him some cat food which he scarfed down and gave him water and he wasn't leaving!  We half expected someone to come by to claim him, but no one did.  Our supposition was that an owner ditched the poor thing in the forest.  

We had him sleep outside Michael's door on a blanket, but it was chilly and damp and we felt so badly for him.  Subsequent nights he slept in our car.  Each night he whimpered less and less once we left him to sleep.

So the next day we took him to a vet at Petsmart who checked Jet, as we now called him, and all looked good.  He had his rabies shots and core vaccines.  A food high in protein was suggested so he'd gain weight, which he did.  It was gratifying to see him come around so well.

At this point, he became very attached to us, and constantly showed his love with lots of sloppy kisses.  One thing that endeared him to us was his tendency to nestle with you and lay his head on your chest or arm.  His face was sweet and he just watched us with big brown eyes.

Jet, who was very responsive to this name, had lots of energy to burn.  He loved to run while being walked, would only walk with me, and whimpered any time I'd walk away, even if just several feet.

As you might guess, we were thinking about him becoming a permanent part of our family.  We really fell for him.  Our cat reached out to him with tender pats and going nose to nose with Jet.  But, after a few days, Jet became agressive toward Nevelle, and of course, this worried us.  When we scolded Jet, he reacted with obedience.  But, he just didn't warm up to Nevelle.

We began to be concerned about this plus our limited space with the teardrop and car, and the irregularity of our travels.  Would he adjust to long rides and different locales on a regular basis?  Nevelle did right away, but would this work for this high energy dog?

So in our second week, we decided that we should find him a forever home.  Long story short, we found a young man in Houston and today was transition day from us to Kevin.  It went rather smoothly and Kevin has texted pictures and questions all day.  Once Jet settles in with Kevin, we are hopeful that he has a well cared for life.  Kevin seemed to fall for Jet quickly, as well.

So our lives have resumed Odyssey normalness.  I have to admit I shed a few tears, but all in all, we are so gratified to have rescued this sweet dog.

On another note, the birding is picking up.  We saw indigo bunting today, a pair of Mississippi kites flying, and a huge juvenile golden eagle in flight.  We also have now seen two scissored-tailed flycatchers, a beautiful bird, and continue to hear the whip-poor-will call each evening.  

So, that's the news from Sam Houston National Forest!  Next Friday, we'll head to the local Escapees campground for a few nights, to get an electric hook-up for the first time in over a month.  The solar, and charging by running the car, has worked pretty well, but the teardrop needs a good boost in charging.  Then we're on our way to New Mexico!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

To Plan or Not to Plan. That is the question!

We often think that because we are on the road traveling full-time, that we should have a plan, and head from point A to point B non-stop.  But as we celebrate the one year anniversary of our "odyssey travels of the USA", we realize we can comfortably combine both planning and footloose as our mode of operation.

Here we are in Sam Houston National Forest for a month already!  We didn't plan for this, but it has worked out beautifully.  It's been a nice break from the steady driving, and almost feels like a vacation from our vacation!

The fact we have found the spot we are in has worked out well, due to some medical issues, like that "heart attack" scare.  As far as that goes, I had a stress test yesterday, and am awaiting results.  So far no call, so maybe no news is good news.  A follow up appointment is scheduled for the end of the month.  Then we expect to be heading out.

The birding is very good.  Lots of expected birds, but other nice surprises like a whip-por-will who calls every night.  A blue-headed vireo, hermit thrush, scarlet tanager, and a pileated woodpecker are our favorite special birds of the moment.  We have found a nesting spot for red-cockaded woodpeckers that we'll keep checking for birds.

So, we have a plan now following our departure at the end of the month!  We will head toward northern New Mexico and visit Sante Fe. We'll continue northwest to Washington state.  Then we'll head into Canada and head east for awhile.  Ultimately, we will end up in Wisconsin by late July, first to Eau-Claire for the World Flute Society convention, and then to Necedah to get some work done on the teardrop and add a propane tank to the tongue.  After that we will head south back to Texas for an appointment and then back up to Iowa for a flute festival.  Then east to Cape Cod and a visit there for a week or so.  Following the Cape, our plan is to head to NJ to visit family and friends, and then to Florida for November and December.  We are planning (see how planning comes up in our adventure!) to visit Key West and then west again toward Texas for late winter.

So yes, we sometimes plan, and sometimes fly by the seat of our pants!  It has made our adventure a true adventure, full of surprises and beauty!  

We'll be in touch soon!

Red clover flowers.

Nevelle climbing trees!