Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Best Laid Plans

June didn't exactly go as planned.

For the past few years, we have enjoyed kicking our summer off with a road trip to CPE agility nationals, combined with some camping along the way.  This year, early on it looked like our annual trip might not happen when we didn't make it in the initial draw due to the large number of entries.  This should have been our first sign.

Happily, the host club added additional rings and accepted more entries, which this time included Django and Maebe.  So we began planning a trip to Altamont, New York for June.  We would take days on either end to visit first Niagara Falls and then Letchworth State Park.  As the days approached, we made sure we were prepared - checking the trailer and vehicle, making sure everything was in running order, that we had all the supplies we needed, our hook-ups all were functioning, etc.

But sometimes all the planning in the world doesn't help.  Here is the short version.  As we were about to pack up, we noticed Tristan squinting his eye shut.  An emergency vet visit later, he had a foreign body removed from the cornea, and had meds to treat the minor ulcer that resulted, so we were still ready to go.  We hooked up the trailer, and the lights and electric brakes went completely crazy.  A very accommodating trailer service place was able to prioritize us and get us functioning again by late afternoon, so we decided to cut out the Niagara Falls leg of the trip, and leave early the next morning around 4 AM.

We made it about 30 miles when dashboard lights began flashing and smoke began pouring from under the hood of our not-very-old vehicle.  We found ourselves on the side of the expressway.  Thankfully, we were at the exit of a good friend who came to get our dogs and me, while a tow truck had Lowell, the vehicle, and the trailer en route to Ann Arbor again before too long.

So, we spent a quiet week at home with all of the dogs - swimming, hiking, mountain and road biking, volunteering, playing "backyard agility," floating on the river, reading, and enjoying the things we often find ourselves too rushed to do.

If I wanted to feel sorry for myself, I could lament the lost money on the entry fees and reservations, and what I predict will still be a costly repair to our vehicle which is still sitting in the shop.  I could feel bad that Django may be too old to go to Nationals next year, or that we might not make the draw next year, or that other circumstances will prevent us getting there.  But, it's just money, and the dogs don't care if they are playing at a big league event or in our back yard - they have fun just the same.

Also in this month, I watched the story unfold as a national agility competitor lost two of her dogs in a terrible car crash.  A fellow triathlete and classmate in our weekly open water swim class was killed by a car while cycling on roads we have ridden on.  People I know dealt with health crises and deaths of beloved pets and family members.

For us, on the other hand, Tristan's eye healed rapidly.  The car (presumably) will be fixed.  We'll camp plenty more this year.  So I can't complain.

Of course, our next major trip planned for this fall is in Colorado.  Sorry, Colorado.  I hope our travel curse of 2012 isn't responsible for your current condition.

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