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Folks…

I have had quite a time since we last spoke…

It is good to be alive…

I’m no spring chicken, for sure…and I can’t believe I’m still here and can share my stories…

Let us refresh…

I last signed off with only 15 minutes left before relaxing in North Carolina…having driven from Effingham. But no…nope…things can’t be that easy for old Ward…

Let me tell you about THE LANDFILL INCIDENT-

With 15 minutes to our destination at Nate, Amelia and Daniel’s home, we anxiously drove through the dark forest on a twisty, turning road. No streetlights, no much of anything…but June’s big, bright eyes led us over this hill, around this curve…you get the idea.

Unfortunately for June, she is dependent on our owners to decide when to slow down, when to turn…so there we went, right past the street we were to turn on. My frustrated owners panicked and took the first right in the dark…you know…the one that said “sanitary landfill.” But that wasn’t bad enough…we were also met by an ominous sign that read “dead end.” Dead end to a 30 foot travel trailer doesn’t have the same meaning as it does to humans…it is a warning that the end of old Ward was near.

Had we immediately stopped there and backed out, I wouldn’t have had the nightmares that now plague me every night. But no…my brilliant owners were just CERTAIN there would be some place to turn around on this deserted road, in the dark, that says dead end, en route to a closed sanitary landfill…SO THEY KEPT DRIVING…they are UNBELIEVABLE.

About halfway in, Amelia called my owners to say “stop! No!” but it was too late. June’s big eyes illuminated a closed gate…I was doomed. Amelia drove out so she could shine her headlights on the whole scenario, because it was pitch dark and June could only face forward.

After backing up for awhile, my owner finally did a 287 point turn into one level, sandy area that held the most promise. Because the road was “conveniently” edged on both sides with drop-offs, June was scared as well. She could only go inches at a time while I ate sand in my tail end, which kept going down. At times I was leaning one way, then the other…at least I got even with my owners because the contents inside me were all shifted around.

In the end…we finally got out after a long, long time.

About five days later, the winds came…and nearly did me in for good.

My owners were eating breakfast at my table, and it was a rainy day. Suddenly, a huge wind came and shook me all around, ripping my awning off and yanking the metal bolt frame from my sides….it hurt! You can see the damage in the photo:

I Look Like Crap

We later found bolts on the OTHER side of me! I swear it felt like a tornado…my owners were very unhappy and still talk about the sound of the metal tearing from my sides. A nice insurance guy came out to visit me…he asked me if I was ok and gave me some money…my owners think THEY get the money…but I don’t THINK SO…if their arms were torn off in the wind as well, I would reconsider…but it is MINE and after all they’ve put June and I through, we’re going out to a real nice dinner!

So that has been my time in North Carolina…

I’ll fill you in on what else has been going on but I really think my stories are hard to beat, don’t you?

I am staying at Amelia, Nate and Daniel’s backyard. You can see me in the background, in the next photo:

I Look Cute

It is the hugest yard I’ve ever seen and it is surrounded by enclosed fence so the crazy dogs have some room to stretch their legs. It is a beautiful home and we are lucky to be invited to visit here. June gets an actual driveway to rest her weary feet.

Though I’ve lost parts of me on this journey and am not as handsome as usual, June has received TLC from Nate…he gave her a tune-up, a new air filter, a battery cleaning…she looks so cute it makes me blush!

My owners and all of the family have had a nice time visiting. That Daniel is SUCH a character! He plays instruments, turns on the charm at every store to get a new Transformer and is just 100% adorable, silly and smart. Check out these photos:

Grandma Robin Walked Out Of Dollar Tree Wearing These

Daniel The Rockstar

Daniel The Cutie

He is always on the move…honest…he never gets sleepy/cranky…just goes and goes and goes! He plays with nearly every toy he has plus has written a song he likes to play on the guitar that Aunt Cheyenne gave him last year…it is called “Froggie Goes Ribbit” and is sung like Cookie Monster goes Heavy Metal.

Nate

Nate, stationed at Fort Bragg, is very busy (we admire his hard work so much!) but my owners, Amelia and Daniel got to go to many a toy aisle during their visit, including a visit to the Natural Science Museum in Raleigh.

Jim, Amelia and Daniel

Just Kind Of A Creepy Photo

Everyone participated in the Christmas decorating festivities. Daniel loved looking at all the ornaments (that Amelia is so organized…they are all in their original boxes!) and Nate…well…June says she watched Nate, night after night, hanging Christmas lights on every edge of the house…until it was lit up like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation house (one of my favorite movies, by the way)…but that makes us the crazy visiting relatives in the RV, I guess? Hmmm….maybe not the best comparison?

Trimming The Tree

So what is next?

Well…I had to say goodbye to June yesterday. My owners and June are driving to Illinois without me. They are picking up Cheyenne and then going to George and Holly’s house. I talked to June yesterday and she said the drive was fine but there was a lot of snow across the Appalachians from the big storm a few days earlier.

June Emailed Me This Photo Yesterday From A Gas Station

They stayed in Columbus, Indiana last night, having driven all the way from Lillington, NC (damn! They sure go a lot more miles without me being dragged along). They say the drive was beautiful and, for once, uneventful!

Nate and Amelia are caring for the cats and old Ward here while my owners and June are gone. I could certainly use the rest. I hope Santa leaves a present for me on Christmas Eve like, um, a bright new canopy…but I’d settle for a bottle of Kessler and some egg nog!

Talk to you in 2010!

Happy Holidays from Ward, June, Clementine, Hannah, Spot, Toto, My Owners and the ladybugs (yes, they still appear at about one per day)

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Hello To All My Friends…It Is Ward!

It has been weeks since I’ve written…I know, I know…much too long for all of you as you anxiously await hearing from me. As I write, I am being pulled by June (the hottie red pickup truck that tows me around…she can lead me ANYWHERE…this is the life!) through NORTH CAROLINA. I will tell you about all of our adventures since leaving Illinois on December 2nd but first let me catch you up on all that has been going on!

NOVEMBER 20-29

Most of this time I sat alone in a cold field, with only the cats to keep me company (sigh). My owners and the dogs spent most of this time at George and Holly’s house.

I really, really wanted Thanksgiving to be held in Ward this year, but my owners said we could never fit the family inside of me and my oven wouldn’t hold much more than a cornish hen and one sweet potato…not enough for a Thanksgiving meal…so off they went…

Let me tell you…WHEN THE OWNERS ARE AWAY, THE CATS DO PLAY…boy did the cats enjoy having me all to themselves! Luckily, Ron and Julie Layton would come to visit me during these times…it was nice to have guests.

When my owners returned, they shared photos with me from their getaway. They were at George and Holly’s most of the time, with a nice visit to see Orion, Ellen and Beatrice. Bea is as cute as ever, giving many hugs and playing the whole time…a little energy ball on wheels, I hear…

This 1st batch of photos was Robin and Jim’s first night with Holly and George, en route to a restaurant…Robin was bored in the car so started taking pictures of everyone:

Holly

George

Jim

Robin Taking Photo Of Self Because Everyone Was Annoyed With Her

The holidays went well, according to Jim and Robin. Lots of tryptophan-induced naps via the turkey…lots of happy dogs enjoying a holiday meal…especially the two bozos that travel with me (photos below):

Clementine Sporting Her Pink Harness

Hannah Sporting Gray Whiskers

Then, of course, I had to listen to Jim and Robin “ooh” and “ahh” over Beatrice and her cuteness (she is a cutie!):

Beatrice & The Old Geezer Take 1

Beatrice & The Old Geezer Take 2

Beatrice & A Pair Of Geezers

Hope you enjoyed the photos…now lets move on…

NOVEMBER 30 AND DECEMBER 1

Time to clean up the old Ward, the property we resided on for 2 months…even the pets got groomed…all ready to begin our trek to see Nate, Amelia and Daniel in Lillington, North Carolina. Ahhhh, what a fun-filled two days it was…listening to my owners say “how did that canopy on Ward go up again?? how do we get it to go back??”

As is usually the case, my owners leave town right when the snow is coming…so time was of the essence. I enjoyed watching them try to find where to stuff this, where to stuff that in all of my compartments. They got everything inside of me just in time because the next morning it was pouring rain…POURING, CAN’T SEE THE ROAD type of rain.

Before moving on, I will interject that Jim and Robin made peace with the Walmart liquor store CZARETTE. Robin said she thought they were actually all going to hug at one point. When the CZARETTE saw them coming, her eyes got rather big…probably thinking they had returned to heckle her once again. But Jim and Robin walked right up to her with a smile and said “remember us?” She smiled and said “sure do.” Robin boasted “we’ve both got our ID’s and we’re ready to buy some liquor.” CZARETTE took both driver’s licenses and asked “when do you go back to Montana?” She seemed interested but I hate to tell my owners I think she was excited for them to leave town.

DECEMBER 2ND

Left Effingham, Illinois in a complete rainstorm. It poured the entire time. A rather uneventful drive…I was excited to see downtown Nashville and got to see it a LOT because my owners hit Nashville right during rush hour traffic…so it took forever to get through the city. People drive like maniacs out here and I was worried for June and myself.

We spent the night at the only campground we could find, in Manchester, Tennessee. Though it had a few trees, it was so close to the interstate I had bad dreams of semis running me over all night. Luckily June was pulling me the next day…I was just too tired. Here is a nice photo of June and I at the campground:

June & I In Manchester, Tennessee

DECEMBER 3RD

The next morning, my owners got up and prepared for another day on the road. The rain had stopped, though it was freezing out! They got off to a slow start…one of the main reasons is, as Robin was cleaning out the back of June to fluff up the dog beds for the trip, Robin let out a “Jim! Jim!” Now I know when the only word spoken is Jim, it is not good. Apparently one of the dogs, they believe Hannah, got sick in the back of the truck, which they did not notice in the dark that evening. So into the garbage went the dog sheets, etc. and new, clean ones were pulled out for a new day. Both dogs acted completely fine, by the way…

So off we went (finally, I might add)…hoping to land at a campground in Anderson, South Carolina by nightfall.

My owners (I love them, I really do, but they are such idiots at times) planned their journey so perfectly…landing in Atlanta, Georgia RIGHT AT RUSH HOUR. It made Nashville’s rush hour the night before seem like nothing. I got to see more of Atlanta than I ever dreamed of…

Nightfall brought us to our next campground, Tiger Cove, in Anderson, SC. Owner Jim had found this on a website…(uh, oh)…right on the lake, in the deep woods…beautiful! They pulled into their site in the dark and were met at the entrance by the owner’s son because “no one is in the office.” Our leafy, muddy site felt good on my warm tires, but my owners didn’t think it was so nice…every muddy dog print might explain this. Anyway, as they settled in, they felt like they might be in a housing area…it didn’t show signs of campers walking their dogs, having a campfire. By morning light, they finally could see that many of the campers there were PERMANENT….you know, storage sheds, boats, cute little hot pepper lights trimming their canopies. They were right on the lake, however…and did find it quite beautiful. Here are the pics…

June & I In What Could Have Been The Setting From "Deliverance"

June & My Romantic View Of The Lake

DECEMBER 4TH

And here we are…Only 15 minutes away from Lillington, NC…Can’t wait to visit Nate, Amelia and Daniel…so I have to sign off…but I have to mention two other things before I go…

First, ladybugs…obviously they decide to hibernate in me because once a day (minimum) there is one on the ceiling inside of me…can you believe it? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Second, CHEYENNE GOT HER BRACES OFF. See a photo below…aren’t her teeth beautiful? Almost as straight as my axles!

Look At Those Teethers!

Love to all of you readers out there…will write after I have North Carolina news to tell…

All my best, Ward (and June)

Greetings Again Dear Friends From Ward!

I just emailed a few days ago…but it was a busy weekend. Also, today is a rainy and cold day, so no better time for a travel trailer to write in its diary…

On Saturday, November 14th, recently escaped Walmart liquor store convicts, Jim and Robin, performed again at Joe Sippers. They tell me it was a nice crowd that evening…a fun time was had by all:

 

One Less Karen Singing A Tune

Then, on Sunday, my owners left me once again (I’m getting abandonment issues!) to go celebrate CHEYENNE’S 15TH BIRTHDAY! I’m kinda glad they left me because I couldn’t stand to hear owner Robin say AGAIN “oh wow, 15 years ago today, I was in labor…15 years ago today, Cheyenne was born…15 years ago today, I hurt!” I love owner Robin but you can only listen to that so much!!

So I hear they hit on the two most favorite things a teenager desires…the mall and food. Birthday dinner was at the Outback Steak House. It’s a good thing they put some food into Cheyenne…just look at the photo below and see how BONY HER ARMS ARE!!

Bony Armed Birthday Girl, Cheyenne...and Robin

And Finally, I have to mention the cats and their cuteness…

When owner Jim and Robin recognized they’d be traveling with all of these pets, they knew they needed a plan. Lots of dog beds, blankets, screen tent, tie-outs, etc. For kitties, they had custom made harnesses, tie-outs and a ridiculously costly, leopard printed “pop up house” for cats as well. To this day, when they put the cats in there, they act like they are being punished…they whine and whine…big waste of money!

However, the other day, Jim and Robin bought a $4.00 “pop up play cube” as a little treat. Well, you’d think you bought these cats a house made of catnip! They love it…BOTH OF THEM…as you will see from the photo below:

Spot and Toto Enjoying THE CUBE

Well that is all for today. Hope you are all enjoying yourselves…adios! Ward the Travel Trailer

 

Greetings to all, from yours truly…Ward Layton.

Well it has been quite a time here in Central Illinois, as always…

First and foremost, Robin’s dad and Pat have adopted a new member into their family…Snowbelle! She is 80 pounds, loves to lay on beds, couches and chairs…and is a real lovebug! We are so happy for them! She is a Great Pyrenees, five years old, liked to hang with sheep more than dogs and was in need of a loving home…little does she know she just hit the lottery…what may have been a “Motel 6” type of life has just now advanced to the Hilton!

snowbelle2

Snowbelle - Settling In Just Fine!

Last weekend, Robin and Jim left me alone for a visit to the Cahokia mounds, near St. Louis. I hear they had a wonderful time and learned a lot…I would have liked to have gone to Cahokia as well, but they convinced me I’d just be stuck in the parking lot…so I stayed home. You can learn much more about this ancient civilization by searching the internet yourself (better photos and info then you’ll get at a blog maintained by a travel trailer!). But I can tell you it is a World Heritage Site and existed between 700AD and 1400AD, at one time had 10-20,000 people living there and had 120 mounds! Here are some pics:

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Where The Big Dude Lived - Monk's Mound

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Jim Contemplating The Long Trek To The Top

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Can't Really Define What Robin Is Doing Here

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The View From The Top Of Monk's Mound

I will interject here that Robin and Jim mentioned they could see St. Louis and the Arch from the top…however, it was directly west, into the sunlight, so the camera wouldn’t pick it up. Use your imagination and picture half of a McDonald’s “golden arches” with any city, let’s say Des Moines, as the background. There…got the image in your head? Good!

Moving on…now once in awhile, I like to educate the readers of my blog. This is one fine example and I feel like a better trailer for sharing these tips with you. I will give you a little history, first…

Last weekend, Jim and Robin went to Walmart. They don’t really like Walmart nor do they like to give Walmart business most of the time. But stores in Effingham are limited and so Walmart it is, quite frequently. Anyway, on many of their visits, they noted that the greeters really don’t greet…Jim and Robin initiate “hello” to the greeters with, most often, scowls on their faces. In fact, they often feel THEY should ask THEM “can I help you?” Montana is truly a different planet…from restaurants to stores, it is a rare day that you aren’t greeted with a smile wherever you go…people actually still stop on the road to let someone cross the street…even if it isn’t an intersection! Jim and Robin struggle with this and come close to getting run over quite frequently…”assuming” someone might stop to let them cross the parking lot…but I digress…

Anyway, after shopping, Jim decided he would like a little bottle of Kessler from the Walmart liquor store. The Walmart liquor store was in its own room…apart from the “normal” Walmart and its warm, warehouse feel. One chosen leader, we will call her the WALMART LIQUOR CZARETTE  stood proud and strong behind the cash register, carefully scrutinizing those of us who would dare enter into “the room away from the rooms.” The following story is not exaggerated in any way…this is truly what happened once they entered..

Robin picks up said bottle of Kessler.

Robin walks with Jim to cash register.

CZARETTE asks Robin for driver’s license while standing next to Jim.

Robin replies “damn…my purse is in the car.”

Jim, without hesitation, gets wallet out to pay for Kessler, informing CZARETTE that he will be buying Kessler.

CZARETTE coldly and intimidatingly replies “not without her ID.”

Jim and Robin look at one another in confusion, then at CZARETTE (non-animated and not sure if she had a pulse at this point) and Jim says “it’s ok, I will buy it.”

CZARETTE says “no, not without her ID you won’t…you could be buying it for her.”

Robin is at first flattered that this woman apparently might think Robin is under 21!!! Yippeeee!!! But that enthusiasm quickly fades as CZARETTE points to the signs on the walls and says just this nicely (she must have been a greeter before her big promotion to liquor) “DON’T YOU SEE THE SIGNS? WE CARD EVERYONE WHO LOOKS UNDER 40.” Bummer for Robin…being 41 she is stating she might look just a year younger…

Jim and Robin are now laughing because they feel like criminals and cannot believe they are in the USA at this exact point in time. Robin is gesturing she’ll just go get her wallet…but Jim, completely amused, has to question more…

Jim says “so, if I put the bottle back, Robin and I leave the store and I come back, can I buy it then?” “NO” says CZARETTE. Jim is now having fun and asks “when exactly does this end in time? Can I come back tomorrow? Can I ever buy liquor at Walmart again?” Jim and Robin were truly laughing and chuckling at this point, finding this all too funny. CZARETTE, by the look on her face, did NOT find them funny.

Robin decides to just go out to the parking lot to get her wallet, to end this scene, which was losing its humor. When she returned, and showed the ID, CZARETTE turns to Jim and, I kid you not….she states “I NEED TO SEE YOUR ID NOW.” That was it. They had it. CZARETTE was having fun now in her little, dark way. Jim had already showed his ID anyway and, in addition, neither Jim or Robin look like they just passed their teenage years. Yep, CZARETTE was having some Walmart fun.

That concludes the story. In sum, if anyone looks under 40 and they are in a Walmart liquor store together, everyone must have their ID in the group or no one gets the liquor…at least at the Effingham Walmart. I will interject that Jim and Robin spoke of getting her gluten free beer at the Mattoon Walmart without incident.

Jim and Robin are having a good time, enjoying the simple life…but it isn’t as simple in the Midwest as they’re used to in Montana’s Big Sky Country. Just the other day, they were chuckling driving down the interstate because someone who looked just like Erik Estrada from CHIPS (you had to be out of diapers by the 70s to remember this show) was actually laying fully back on his police motorcycle, whipping a radar gun back and forth, back and forth, at both sides of traffic. It did look really funny, but it is a sight you see a lot around here. There is law enforcement everywhere, constantly pulling people over. Now, Robin’s father was a police officer and homicide detective all of his working life, so she has the utmost respect for the difficult and dangerous job all law enforcement officers endure…but things are definitely different these days. Speed traps, police barricades on weekends stopping ALL traffic to see if you MIGHT have been drinking, pulling you over for a few miles over speed limits, hidden cameras at intersections…you don’t feel very free in the “land of the free” here…as if you constantly need to be protected from yourself…Montana definitely supports more “live and let live” and neighbors still care for/help each other with minimal intervention from the outside. So there is adjusting to be done for Jim and Robin…but they are so happy to see everyone, it is worth the culture shock!

Ward, signing off…

11/3/09

Greetings, Friends!

I haven’t posted in awhile…after losing our dear Shelby…but thought it was time to get you up to date on how Robin and Jim are doing.

I HAD MANY VISITORS…AND PRESENTS…the weekend of October 23-25!!!!!

Holly and George were dying to meet me…I am serious…they checked into their hotel and were ready to drive out and “experience Ward.” They brought me a card and presents!!

 

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Holly, George and THE PRESENTS!!

Wanna see what I got??? It was so moving, it made me fog up a bit…it reminded me of my grandparents, from way back when…it was a birdhouse, carefully crafted to look my grandmother Lucille!

 

 

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Looks Just Like Grandma Lucille

 

I was so surprised and excited…I love Holly and George so much!

That evening, they left me to watch Jim perform at The Orchard Inn, with his brother’s band, Friction. The place (I hear all of this when they come home, of course) was PACKED wall to wall, with lots of wild and crazy people, who all spoke so loud it was impossible to talk to someone sitting right next to you! The band rocked, of course…Holly, George and Robin all danced…and George got asked to dance by a young blonde woman…after the dance George said “can we come here tomorrow!?!” Needless to say, by the next morning, George couldn’t be dragged anywhere after whooping it up that night…Here are some pics of the band:

 

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Ron & Jim Layton

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Jeff & Tony of Friction

 

So Friday was quite a nonstop Party…everyone had a fun time…

But there were MORE SPECIAL VISITORS!! I got to meet Jim’s son Orion…and Baby B (mom Ellen couldn’t come but I hope to meet her, too)!!!!!! They came to visit me and Beatrice loved me…I’m just her size and fun to explore! She is sooooo cute and sooooo smart and sooooo lovable (Orion, you are too…but once you have a child I hear all eyes are on the baby…it was nice to meet you, though!).

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Orion, Beatrice & Jim

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Grandpa & B

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Grandma & B

A cute Beatrice story…

When we went out to eat, Beatrice was amazed at all of the Halloween decorations. Apparently, the decor reminded her of birthday decorations…so she broke out into song and kept singing: Happy Birthday to PUMPKINS, Happy Birthday to PUMPKINS. She is so cute…quite the conversationalist. When you’d ask “where is Holly” she would point and reply “right there” as if worried you actually didn’t know where Holly was in the small motel room. She talks and talks…and tells you everything she likes “I like pasta” and “I like ants.” Adorable!!

After the visitors left, Jim and Robin had a quiet week at me (at home). They still fight ladybugs and it is quite funny because now they get sad when the forecast is for warm temperatures and sun!! See…when it rains, they can’t do much outside…but now, when it is sunny and over 55 degrees, they are attacked by swarms of the ladybugs…so now they just hope for cold, sunny days!

Hope all who are reading are doing ok out there…wishing you all the best…Ward Layton

Last weekend, Robin’s dad and wife Pat, tragically and unexpectedly lost their beautiful dog “Miss Shelby Montana.”

Shelby

Though we all love our pets, Shelby was not your “average dog.” Shelby came into Jon and Pat’s life while they were grieving the loss of their other dog, Tasha, a few years ago. Tasha had been in their lives since she was a puppy and lived a long, full life into her teens…the grief of having to put Tasha to rest was overwhelming. Knowing no pet could replace their Tasha and not ready to start again with a puppy, Jon and Pat browsed animal shelters, to see if there might be a dog in need of a home that would help fill the void they were feeling over their recent loss of  Tasha. Suddenly, there she was…a beautiful dog named “Shelby.”

Shelby was a “senior citizen” (I believe they thought she was 13 at the time but no one could ever confirm her age). She was in a nice, small animal shelter and was loved by everyone there…but it was still a shelter and Shelby’s life was spent in a kennel. No one at the shelter ever thought Shelby would be adopted because of her age. Jon and Pat arranged a time to meet Shelby and it didn’t take long to see she would be coming home with them, up into the mountains, overlooking Glacier Park Montana.

jon, pat & shelby

This was the miracle of their mutual relationship and why Shelby was much different than “your average dog.” With her warm spirit and new found freedom in the open air (no more cages!!), Shelby acted like a puppy. Jon and Pat gave Shelby a new lease on life – a beautiful home in the mountains, freedom in the open air and constant pampering and attention. In return, Shelby gave them the gift of helping them through their loss of Tasha, making them smile again. Shelby was the most gentle, loving girl you could ever meet. She actually had a basket of “babies” (stuffed animal toys) and would take a different one to bed with her each night. You couldn’t look at Shelby without smiling…it was impossible.

So, Shelby…thank you for giving us so much hope and happiness…you were truly an angel and a gift to us all.

Dad and Pat…you extended Shelby’s life by years, taking her from that shelter. We all were amazed how young and spunky Shelby acted, once out of a kennel…you even had to put fencing up on the porch so she wouldn’t  jump down (thanks to our dog, Hannah, for teaching her that trick)!! The magical “North Fork of Montana air” up there on your property, coupled with your love and devotion to Shelby, gave her happiness she had never experienced…and would never had experienced…

For all of us out there with a lump in our throats, this is a reminder that our pets, that we too often quickly pass by on our way out the door each day, are the only pure source of unconditional love you can find in today’s fast-paced, materialistic and often, cold world. There is a little Shelby in all of them, waiting for your love and attention so they can return the gift and bring you joy and happiness. Thanks for reminding us, Shelby.

10/22/09

FOREIGN LADYBUGS, BLACK WASPS AND BLACK WATER TANKS

Yep…it has been a fun week in Wardville…

Now my owners say they wouldn’t trade these experiences at the cost of losing freedom on the open road…but it takes time to adjust to this new life. What used to be “normal stressors” of conventional life…has now been traded for freaky stressors of the outdoor life. My owners are still having fun and actually have really figured me out quite well now…no major problems like showers, toilets, electricity…I think some of their laughter might be MANIACAL laughter, but they do seem to be truly enjoying themselves…though every day is a new adventure and they keep wondering when the time will come when they can read those books they insisted on loading me down with! Owner Robin brought every grizzly bear book she has collected (about 14 in all) with her, determined that she will read each one on this journey…but so far she is about halfway through the Timothy Treadwell story, “Death in the Grizzly Maze.” Owner Jim, as is typical, is reading about three books at the same time…Kurt Cobain biography, Rolling Stones inside story and some other biography…I don’t know the guy…along with our latest edition of  “Trailer Life” magazine, a gift from Orion, Ellen and baby Beatrice.

So let me tell you about my week…

Monday, owner Robin was stung in the hand by a black wasp. Robin was bummed and, yes…said more curse words…but figured it would pass in time. Within two days, her hand swelled up like a balloon and she thought she might have to have her ring cut off! Even today, her hand looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s hand, but she has five fingers, of course.

That was Monday…Tuesday and Wednesday were the SCARIEST days in my life…I would rather be covered in honey and huckleberries, placed in the middle of Glacier National Park, Montana, than to live through what I have. I’ll sum it up in one or two words: ladybugs or lady bugs? I don’t know which is proper but it doesn’t matter because they are FREAKY LITTLE CREATURES! Oh…they’re so CUUUUTTTTTEEEE , people say. Oh, they’re “good luck” other uninformed people say. Bull. They are freaky little creatures.

Let me clarify…first, these bugs look JUST LIKE ladybugs but are paler in color. Up until Tuesday, we always called them ladybugs but, after they overtook our home and swarmed our village, research turned up that normal USA ladybugs don’t do this…these are Multi-colored lady asian beetles. Now, if you do an image search, you will see they are exactly like ladybugs. I think they are tiny aliens in ladybug suits…but who am I to say…I’m just a travel trailer.

Anyway…we noticed them flying around…not just in the woodsy area where I am parked…but in town, too. Just seemed to be a damn awful lot of them around…I thought, if they bring good luck, we’re in great shape…but then, back at our home base, they stopped being so “cute.” There were more and more and more and more of them…all over me! All through the air! My owners would step outside and come in with a dozen on their clothes in a matter of seconds…we were being invaded by aliens in ladybug suits! They COVERED me on the outside and my owner would have got a photo except she was so freaked out by the whole thing she was afraid to go outside.

My owners decided to just “get outta here” and left me all alone…for hours!!!! Now I don’t know if my owners expected to return to them being gone…but it was WORSE…poor me…I looked like a polka-dotted trailer…like some circus act reject. They ran inside of me for protection, covered in these creatures just from running from the truck to the door, only to open it and find about 100 INSIDE OF ME! My owners lost it…there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. They looked so funny because they were half laughing, half losing it. Owner Jim, the creative one, developed a paper cup system. Nothing like the satisfying “click” of hearing their little shells hit the inside of a styrofoam cup with one little flick from the ceiling. What took owner Jim sometime to figure out was that when he’d open the door to toss it out, more would come in…so they had to take action and fight the little aliens…so in came the dishpan and soapy water…which was grotesquely filled by the end of the four hour battle. By nightfall, they all just “disappeared” and a deafening silence came over our home. I was once again white…there were no more inside of me…so my owners did research on how to prepare for tomorrow’s battle.

They learned they don’t like temperatures under 55 degrees…tomorrow was to be sunny and 70! They had little time to prepare! They sprayed my shell in pesticide used for livestock/horses…supposedly safe and recommended, though I worried they’d discolor my outsides! The other trick was the almighty vacuum hose…now WHY didn’t they think of this in the first place? So the next day, when the battle resumed (and it is creepy…there are none in the morning…then a few…then a dozen…then 50….) they were prepared to fight…sucked those little critters right up! Of course, they still clung to me outside…

In between the two ladybug days, while owner Robin’s hand continued to grow to grotesque proportions, the black water tank informed us it was “full.” So we had known that they did not plan to drag me to a dump station and got ideas from the local RV guy on how you can move black water in a portable form. We are fortunate there is a septic tank on this land, next to the old house…just had to get it from me to it…while being eaten alive by little ladybugs.

This challenge was no match for owner Jim…he could FINALLY put that PhD to use! He designed a high tech plan that involved a large bucket, a snap on lid and a gigantic plastic, orange traffic cone, cut precisely to size to fit down the septic spout…I’ll just let you use your imagination from there.

Actually, my owners felt victorious when the black water tank was completely emptied without incident…

So friends…it has been quite a week.

I am looking forward to this weekend because owner Robin’s mom and George are coming to visit this weekend along with Orion and baby Beatrice. Jim is performing in his brother’s band Friday night…and everyone is going to the show….everyone except me and baby Bea…maybe they’ll let me babysit her while they go out?

Hope your life is as interesting as mine has been this week…and remember, when you see a cute ladybug, it is an alien in a ladybug suit…grab your vacuum!!