Pet Tales and Wildlife

Shortly after entering Zion National Park, we were driving slowly behind a few other cars on a switchback going up the mountain road, when a small deer jumped out from behind a rock on my left and danced across the road just 15 feet in front of my car.  As quickly as he appeared, he (she?) disappeared down the slope. 

(I remembered a famous PR moment on Hilton Head, when some travel writers were about to tee off at Moss Creek early one morning.  As we chatted on the first teebox, a family of deer appeared in the mist in the middle of the fairway, just looking back at us.  Someone said, “Look at that!” and they sprinted away.  It was a perfect “cue the deer” ploy by the PR goddesses who graced us in those days.)

Later on the Zion drive, I stopped at a viewpoint and left the car to take in the scene for a few minutes.  As I returned to the car, I could hear Katie crying – very agitated – in her carrier.  I thought she might need to do her business, so I put on her leash and carried her out to the giant litterbox just outside the door.  Worse!  She wailed and turned her head looking anxiously in every direction.  I think she sensed coyote or other wildlife nearby. So I grabbed her up, returned her to the carrier, and drove away.  In a minute, she was relaxed and quiet again.

No doubt Katie is winning the “Best Pet Traveller” trophy so far.  What an upset!  She sits quietly, sleeps, and seems to enjoy the days. At night she does the litter business and eats right away, then explores every cranny in these motel rooms.  She could probably write reviews for AAA guidebooks. Teddy and his sensitive tummy are still unnerved by travel and unfamiliar schedules, and during the day he struggles against his aggressively large brother Joey for pillow space and water access.  But he is adjusting and improving.  Joey is his usual dopey self, apparently unfazed by this cross country tour … except when we go over one of those “rumble strip” grates they have on the roads here.  He thinks it’s an earthquake and tries to jump into my lap, where he thinks he’ll be safe.  I’ve learned to prepare a high elbow to block his leap.

We had another wildlife incident Friday night, not far from Tropic, Utah.  We hit a deer.  He rolled up to the windshield, over the roof and off the back.  I saw him get up and run, but I don’t know how hurt he was.  We were shaken by the noise, the sudden stop, and the whole thought, but the car appeared fine and on we drove.  What else could we do?  In the morning light I saw some hefty dents in the right front side panel and on the hood — not surprising, but pretty minor compared to what might have been.

And then there were all the cattle — cows standing or lying on the grass right at the road’s edge, just watching our cars drive by.  Great colors, too. 

It’s amazing what you see when you’re off the interstate path.  Photos of the kids in the car are attached.  Teddy is just not photogenic, is he?

By the way … we are well west of the big hailstorms that hit eastern Colorado yesterday.  Storms are headed further east, and beautiful weather is forecast for the northern states I am headed toward. 



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