We are a two-legger and a four-legger on a three-legged journey.
Leg two, as of this week, is complete. Leg three begins with sitting still for awhile.
Ace and I, as of yesterday, have moved into Petite Acres (partly because we loved the name so much), a trailer park in the otherwise upscale — but not pretentiously so — town of Cave Creek, about a half hour north of Phoenix.
Here — in what appears at first glance to be colorful, not overly crowded, dog-friendly territory — we will spend December, or most of it anyway, resting some, gathering our thoughts and catching up on some things we have let lag, like cleaning the car, emailing friends, eating vegetables and personal grooming.
After six months on the road we felt the need to slow down, not that we were moving that fast.
We left Baltimore in May, traveling through Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennesee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah and back. That — with all our stops along the way, the people we met and the stories we told — took three months.
Then, we spent another three months on the move, leaving John Steinbeck’s former home the same day he did 50 years ago and roughly following the route he and his poodle took for “Travels with Charley” — up to Maine’s northernmost tip, then west to Seattle, and down through California.
Unlike Steinbeck, who gave short shrift to Arizona on his way back east, we’re going to give it long shrift. We will linger for nearly a month before returning to the east coast. Step one, though, was getting the car unpacked, which took two days.
Ace’s crate, which has ridden folded up and unused for six months, is back in business, though he uses it more as security nook than anything else. I set it up on my cement patio that abuts my trailer. The rooftop carrier is off my car (though not unpacked), and the car will get washed, and more importantly vacuumed.
In cleaning out the car, I found Ace’s toy, and my other travel companion — bobble-head Jesus, who started the trip off in my cupholder, but ended up buried beneath shoes and garbage behind my car seat. No disprespect intended. I still have not found my missing dental cap.
I hope to be entirely unpacked, and have everything squirreled away in the various nooks of my trailer by the time it’s time to start packing again.
Shortly after Christmas, we’ll head back east to an undisclosed location — undisclosed only because I haven’t figured it out yet — in time to meet my obligations for promoting my new book, “Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” coming out at the end of this month.
Until then, we’ll continue blogging, having some new adventures and writing about life in Petite Acres and Cave Creek — a town I’m eager to explore.
Ace will be learning more about cacti, for sure. He’s already started showing them some respect. He’ll likely learn too about javelina, a wild, pig-like creature — though some contend its actually a monstrously big rodent — that one living in more remote parts of the desert confronts fairly regularly, I’m told. You don’t want your dog messing with them, especially the males, which have tusks.
There are also supposed to be mountain lions, bobcats and rattlesnakes in my new neighborhood, as the trailer park backs up to a wash — or dry, usually, river bed — and is situated in what’s still mostly semi-wilderness.
I’ll introduce you next week to my temporary home, which will be providing me with the first RV experience — although a stationary one — of our trip.
Why, after nearly 20,000 miles, did we stop? Mainly to get organized, and for a dose of stability, but also to get caught up on the various components of my multi-hundred dollar Internet empire — ohmidog.com, Travelswithace.com, Dogincthebook.com and Johnwoestendiek.com.
Why stop here? Mainly, because it’s where, on Craigslist, I found a one-month, dog-friendly lease. It’s also near where my father and brother live. And I love the desert — particularly those parts of it man hasn’t mucked up yet.
Then, too, there’s this: Today’s high was 70 degrees. Tomorrow’s high will be 70 degrees. The day after that, I think predictions call for a high of 70 degrees.