Week 12 (Somewhere in the mountains)

This picture represents what we have been experiencing here this past week. Strong, sustained winds at 30 mph with gust up to 60 mph. That is sand in the picture and probably the reason that the air quality has been rated as poor. There is no escape from it, inside or outside. It makes me think of The Dust Bowl that we learned about in history. The wind literally drove people to insanity. I can see how that could happen. The roar has not stopped in days. The sand gets in my mouth, eyes, and nose. It is painful to the skin. Everything is blowing away, even heavy duty barbecue grills. Wookie looks like he is walking in a blizzard, fighting the wind and trying not to blow away, too. I can’t imagine enduring this for a decade. The wind has caused power outages everywhere, but thankfully not for us. The last time that we lost power, it was cold but we managed. Now the temperatures are in the 80’s and 90’s. Without power, the camper would easily get too hot to survive.

We experienced a little emergency of sorts this week that required a veterinarian. I had to Google to find a local one and thankfully they were able to fit Wookie in on the same day. This opportunity gave us the pleasure of meeting the local veterinarian with his humble clinic in the basement under his weather-worn farmhouse. An obvious pillar of the little community based on the wall decorations of 4-H ribbons and stock show purchases since 1978. They assured me that the weather is not always this crazy and invited me back to the county fair in August.

I took Wookie the very next day and had him shaved with a short/summer cut to prevent any further issues with the native “foxtails”. I tried to warn everyone ahead of time that his long cut hides a lot of ugly (he is very scrawny and has chicken legs). No one believed me until he showed up at work after his hair cut. He is enjoying the sympathetic response based on his appearance and soaks up all the attention. I am just hoping that it all grows back before the next destination because first impressions are everything. Right now he looks like Falkor from “The Never Ending Story”.

I am fighting a range of emotions. This week I have spent more time saddened by the thought of leaving than excited about the next adventure. The people here have become my close family over the past 12 weeks, a substitute for mine back home. I became emotionally attached to everyone out of necessity, so to speak. I absolutely dread the final day when I walk through the parking lot to my car for the last time. I am just so darn proud of all of them and everything that they have accomplished while I was here. I have high expectations of all of them in my absence and I have shared that with them. They have the skills, ability, strength, and confidence to continue what we have started. They always had the skills and ability, they just didn’t know how to combine them for the greater good. Now they have found a way to bring their strengths and weaknesses together in a symbiotic manner. As long as they continue to paddle together in the same direction and support each other, I have faith that they will accomplish great things. My hope is that they will stay in contact and find time to share them with me after I am gone.

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