Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crossing the Columbia

Today was a driving day. We plan to drive over the Columbia River, which is the border between Washington and Oregon. It would mark River's very first time in the state of Oregon, so it was quite an auspicious occasion.

We got up early so we could take our time on the road and get to our destination before dark. I also got my free cup of Motel 6 coffee on our morning walk.

River was excited because a gorgeous golden was checking in as I was getting my coffee in the lobby. It seems the word is out about Motel 6 being the dog friendly motel. There were dogs everywhere. It wasn't the first dog he met in the lobby. But with this Golden, River made fast friends.

And it turns out, they were checking into the room two doors down from ours, so while we were loading out, taking trips from the room to the car, they were loading in. River was loving it.
It took me about an hour to get everything packed and out of the room, into the car. And it was about noon when we finally pushed off. (Whew. checkout time is at noon; we just made it!)

We took I-5 the whole way. River started out shaky, but eventually settled down and slept. I stopped at every Rest Area along the way. It was actually a lot of fun. They're like little parks. One of them had a trail with 52 trees, one for each state (including a tree for Guam and Puerto Rico). Another was right up next to a river so we ran along the shore for a bit of exercise. It was good for both of us to stop so often, even though if it were just me, I'd have gone straight through. It was only supposed to be three hours, but it ended up being more like five.

Each time we stopped, we'd get out and run and play and then get back in and start driving again. And each time we did, he relaxed sooner and sooner. By the end, he was sitting up right in the seat and looking out the windshield like a human passenger. And then he'd curl up on the seat and I'd throw a blanket over him and he slept.

He was so konked out that I decided to skip the last Rest Area. It was only 20 minutes from Eugene and he was dead asleep. But still, after all the fun we'd been having at Rest Areas, I found it almost reflexive to veer off the highway when I saw that blue sign. But we made it to the motel with no issues.

The first thing I noticed about this room is that I can hear the traffic on I-5 like they're right in the room with me. I was tempted to go back to the office and ask for another room, but seeing as how I had asked for such a specific room (non-smoking, pet-friendly, with a refrigerator, downstairs) I figured she probably put me in the only one they could. Especially considering it was the only room with a handicapped placard on the door; I think they'd probably typically not use this room unless they needed to. And I'm a sound sleeper, so I don't think it'll be an issue.  I guess we'll find out tonight.

Once we got settled into the room and I ate my dinner, we took one more little trip. My friend, Katie Strong, who lives in Eugene, said we could come over and River could visit while I cooked up the meat I had gotten the night before. It was great to catch up and see Katie again. And it was amazing to see her son, Ethan. There's such a huge change that happens in a man between the age of 16 and 18.

It has been a long time since River had done this, but he reacted to Ethan. Upon seeing him, he immediately growled and his hackles fluffed up. He was not comfortable around him at all. And Ethan is such a calm, loving energy, I can't imagine why River would decide not to trust him. The only thing that I see happening, that I could call a common thread between all of the people he doesn't allow to get near him, is that they all have 'ginger' hair. And Ethan has a bright, glorious head of red hair. Katie also thought that his imposing 6'4" might have something to do with it.

We all sat on the floor and tried for a few minutes to re-assure River that Ethan was no threat to him, but he was determined to go with his instincts. We thought that perhaps the person who owned him before I found him had ginger hair, and obviously wasn't very nice to him.

Tomorrow, we're planning a short day trip to Umpqua National Forest. We love the national forests!

And then, in the evening, we're back in town so I can teach Rockin Nia to Janet Hollander's group at Willamalane Adult Activity Center in Springfield. I'm so excited, I finally get to say,


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