Relocate! Relocate!

Allayne came out of the office to pet sweet Dawny who, once I had opened the door, was doing her best to barge headlong into the place.  We had arrived at this small campground in eastern Louisiana (Lake Bruin State Park) earlier in the day and came by the office after settling into our campsite to tell Allayne, who had checked us in, what a pretty park it was.

“Yes, most of the people who work here have been around at least ten years. It’s such a beautiful place.”  The peaceful look on Allayne’s face told all there was to tell.

Dawny found her beautiful place by Allayne’s knee so she could scratch behind her ears while we chatted.

Whenever we walk by any building:  shed, restroom, office, cabin, outhouse… it doesn’t matter… if it has a door, Dawny wants to go inside.  If I give her enough leash, she approaches the door, sniffs, and waits, anticipation tugging each wag of her tail.  Dawny can’t read, so all she knows is that, if it has a door, there might be someone inside who will give her love and/or cookies. Preferably both.  This day she lucked out with the lovin’.

How nice a life my girl has had that closed doors hold such sweet promise.

I asked Allayne about the local wildlife, especially the creepy-crawly kind, which I am increasingly beware of the further south we travel.

“Oh, yes, we get some action here.  We had an alligator get into the swimming area–”

“There’s a swim beach here… with alligators in the lake?” I asked, my wide eyes betraying any semblance of the cool, seasoned, old-lady traveler that I may have constructed up to that point.

“Sure.  And snakes.  I was out here on my cell phone one day and right over there,” Allayne pointed to a small gully that ran under the sidewalk leading to the campground office, “I saw something slither out.  It was slithering and squirming… totally creepy.  It must have just shed its skin and stuff was stuck to it all over.  It looked awful!  I quickly called the ranger:  ‘Relocate! Relocate!'”

My politically incorrect and fearful mind silently screamed:  Oh my God!  Relocate?  What if it came back??  Did they relocate it far enough away???  Kill it!  Just kill it!!  At least blindfold it, pick it up by the tail, spin it around until it’s good and dizzy, then toss it somewhere over there by Arizona!!!

“Relocate!  Relocate!” Allayne interrupted my neurotic thoughts, recalling her call for help.  I recognized a kindred spirit looking out from her wide eyes as she continued the story.  Help arrived.  It was a water moccasin.  They relocated it.  All was well with the world and this was once again a peaceful place.

Leaving Allayne to get back to her job, Dawny and I continued our walk around the campground, including wooden docks and platforms that stretched from safe, solid ground through the dark, moss-draped shoreline into the blue of the lake.  Absolutely beautiful.  Albeit not free of alligators, snakes, or bears…  A fellow camper reminded me that the namesake of the lake was, indeed, “Bruin” for a reason.  Bears used to be quite plentiful in the area.  Sheesh, I thought I had at least left the threat of bears behind me in the Appalachians.  Apparently not.

Unlike my dear traveling companion, closed doors signify something very different to me.  They make me nervous, hiding the unknown.  Turns out it’s mostly just local life living out its local life.  The nice part is that the more familiar it becomes–by staying a while, taking time to chat, or through repeat visits–the less scary it becomes.

So, Dawny and I pick up our tails and continue with our own version of ‘Relocate,’ in this case joining the snowbird ranks migrating south for the winter.  Our current journey will cover about 2,000 miles from northern Virginia to east Texas, with a stop to visit friends near Dallas.  By the time we reach Dallas, we will have visited nine campgrounds, all of them new to us.  Our route is a new one, too.  I am proud to say that we survived the tangle that is Atlanta for the first time.

It is a good life.  Each door opens to another beautiful place, filled with lovely views, friendly faces, and kindred hearts.  We need only to open our own hearts, to recognize and relax, to give and receive.  Dawny, for all of her simple brilliance, has that part down pat.

* * * * * *

Short review of Lake Bruin State Park’s campground:  Five out of five stars.  Please keep in mind that this is from the perspective of someone traveling in a 25 foot motor home with no tow vehicle and who does not need sewer hookups.  Although not very convenient to I-20 (the park is over 35 miles south of exit 171), it was well worth the trip.

Lake Bruin is an oxbow lake formed from an old loop of the Mississippi River that was cut off from the main river channel ages ago.  It used to be a fishery and was donated to the state park system in 1958.  Fish, turtles, and alligators were raised in basins that now cradle the park grounds and some of the camp sites.

The campground road and the sites are paved.  Most are pretty level and fairly spacious.  Each has 30-amp and water hookups and there is a decent dump station available.  There is a nice mix of sun and shade.  It is a good idea to scope out the sites before picking the one that best fits your needs.  I was able to get a good Verizon signal and several over-the-air TV stations.  The restrooms are modern and immaculate, and there is a laundry room on site.

Park staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, matching the charm of their surroundings with the best of southern hospitality.

Un-looped

Just a quick post to let anyone who tries to contact me (email, phone, text, blog comment, nominating committee for a presidential appointment to the Bipartisan Commission on Examination of Belly-Button Lint, etc.) that I will be out of the loop for a week.  Dawny and I will be visiting a park that has little to no Verizon signal and no internet.  No over-the-air TV reception, either.  Might as well be on the dark side of the moon.  Wish us luck!

A Note to My Fans

Hello Friends and Fans!

I hear that Mom has told you that I am not feeling so hot.  Well, just look at this picture of me.  It is a picture of health, beauty, fitness, and happiness if I ever saw one.  Mom, however, says it looks like I have a unicorn horn growing out of my head.  Sheesh.  Okay, then.  I will own it.  Better yet, I will go beyond.  My new nickname shall be Midnight Unicorn.  My real name has gotten to be so long that I think I deserve a hot little nickname, and that one really suits me.  It conveys a certain magical flair with a hint of danger.  Yup, that’s me in a nutty shell.

That picture was taken in the back yard of a friend that we visited on our way up north.  She has a huge fenced-in back yard, and I got to have hours and hours of off-leash time while Mom relaxed, chatting with her friend in the shade.  Such freedom!  Room to gallop without an impatient loved one tugging on the other end of a leash.  Leisure time to dig a frantic hole without getting yanked back and scolded.  Doggy heaven!

Mom’s friend has two huge dogs (Chesapeake Bay Retrievers) and every evening of our visit we leash-walked through the neighborhood with the one named Jill.  The other dog is named Bug.  Mom and her friend said Bug and me were too much alike to risk walking together.  You know the type:  high-strung geniuses.

 

Jill is really smart, too.  And she is a professional athlete.  Her Mom takes her to Agility competitions and she has won many ribbons and awards for her athletic prowess.  She is famous and has had her picture in some doggy magazines which, I have to admit, is pretty darned cool.  That is why, once I met her, I didn’t mind walking down the street with her one little bit.

Jill and Bug’s back yard is full of agility equipment that they use to practice and keep in shape.  They have fences to jump over and tunnels to run through, narrow bridges to cross and even a see-saw to run up and down.  They also have a swimming pool that gives them more exercise and play time.  The first pool picture is of Jill pretending to be a flying mermaid.  Then there are a couple of pictures of Bug.  While she is not quite as graceful and powerful as Jill (and me), she got the job done.

What a life!

Back to my life.  Rest assured, I will be here watching over Mom and our little corner of the world to the best of my ability for as long as the cosmos lets me.  For that is my job.  My role.  My purpose.  Mom says I win the prize for Best Road Doggie in the World.  Well, don’t tell her, but I think she is the best road mommy in the world, despite all the leash tugs.  I know she means well.  I know she loves me.  Besides, I give as good as I get.

Just remember this:  Beloved dogs never die.  They play on your heartstrings forever.

With loads of love and doggy kisses,

Dawny Virgil Prewash Sassy Generous … (a.k.a. Midnight Unicorn)

(This post is dedicated to Ann and Pan.)