By 8:00 a.m. we’re ready to hit the road. A quick stop at the Sand Dunes picnic area for some morning photos of the dunes and we’ll be back on the road heading west. I really would’ve liked more time here at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, but Mother Nature has her own plans.
We continue west on Colorado Highway 160. The scenery does not disappoint. Around each bend and over each hill is a vision to behold. We take our time crossing the Continental Divide and imagine the thrill a trucker must feel when his brakes fail and he/she must utilize one of those ‘run away truck ramps’. Certainly not a thrill I need to experience.
This area of Colorado, between the towns of South Fork and Pagosa Springs, are very popular with folks from Phoenix, Arizona. Funny, as Coloradoans we head to Arizona in the winter and Arizonans head to Colorado in the summer. There are plenty of RV Parks in this area and more public land to explore than one can see in a lifetime.
Al and I are enjoying this slow meandering type of travel. We take in the beauty of our surroundings. Out of the blue, Al swerves quickly to the right then quickly to the left, all the while maintaining total calm and control. All I can say is, “OMG, no”. The vision of blood, guts, and body damage…..damage to the truck AND the deer…..swirl in my mind. I thought for sure one of the females would put her head through the side of the RV. It was not my plan to have a deer head hanging on the interior wall of my RV. We just got the RV repaired from the blown tire and now deer damage?
The actions of my man were quick and appropriate. He missed hitting a Buck or one of his three wives by inches…..no exaggeration. As the male started crossing the road first, Al swerved to the right, then to the left going in between the group of deer. One of the females fell backwards to avoid running head first into the side of the RV. She slowly got back up looking stunned, but ok.
With hearts pounding, Al pulls into a gas station a mere 1/2 mile after the near fatal incident. I’m shaking, my heart is pounding and all I keep saying is, “OMG, you are such a stud. There is no way I could have reacted so well. What a man”. Al is laughing but a little shaken as well.
We fill up with gas and grab a bite to eat in Pagosa Springs. Al comments, “Ah, now that makes sense. It must be hunting season and thus the deer are moving around”. Normally it’s around dusk and dawn when the deer are on the move and the concern for deer in the headlights increases. Middle of the day encounters are much less common.
With nerves back in check, we continue on our journey. The road twists and turns – normal Colorado road conditions. Al is driving conservatively. Somehow during one of these turns, Bear slides head first off the rear seat. His back-end remains on the seat while his head slides under the driver’s seat. Bear makes no attempt to right himself. He does not move. Al finally finds a spot to pull over on this two lane twisty, curvy highway. The guy behind us didn’t like this and let us know by laying on his horn. I politely gave him a one finger wave…..I said politely 🙂
Safely parked on the side of the road, Al opens the rear passenger door and struggles to lift Bear’s 45 pounds out of the awkward position. Why wasn’t Bear moving? Why didn’t he struggle to right himself? OMG, what’s wrong with him? ………. He was sound asleep. Deep in sleep in this contortionist position, Bear was rudely awakened by Al’s struggles to lift him. Still groggy and disoriented, Bear looked at Al with surprise, “Hey, dad….why’d ya wake me? I was dreaming about a French Poodle.”
After getting Bear settled, Al returns to the driver’s seat. He and I look at one another with concern. Bear is over 14 years old (98 in dog years) and takes medication for a heart condition. We both initially thought the dog was dead….he had the big one….the heart attack. We acknowledge each day he’s with us is a gift. All kinds of unpleasant and sad thoughts run through our heads. Thoughts we hesitate to talk about but do, and that’s when I started laughing. Al turns his head and looks out the window to see what I’m laughing about. Out of all the places to pull over, we pull over across the street from a taxidermist.
On that note it’s time to move on….please Lord, no more excitement for today!