My husband, Joe, Ralphie, and I had a memorable weekend in Carmel, CA. At home, Ralphie is accustomed to riding on the tractor seat with Joe and in our vehicles, but this was his first trip, and our first one with a pet. We packed half of the backseat to the gills with bags, pillows, and doggie gear, and arranged the other half with Ralphie’s bed from home. As you can see in the photo, Ralphie preferred the front console.
We stopped a couple of times and Ralphie was content all the way, even though the three-hour drive took six hours, thanks to Google’s directions. What should have read 40 miles to one of the exits read 0.4 miles. We thought we missed it, and hightailed back then turned around and retraced the route. By then we were in commute traffic. Once we got out of that mess, figured out the error, and found the exit the same thing happened with the next—and last—turn.
Somehow, we managed to stay calm, and even looked at each other and laughed at our long journey.
Finally at our destination, Ralphie was first to test the mattress but not before he ran past me through the open hotel door into the parking lot. Panic-stricken, I chased after him yelling stop-Ralphie-stop. Ralphie! T-R-E-A-T! Who wouldn’t stop for a treat? Ralphie immediately kneeled down and waited for me to pick him up. With Ralphie in my arms, I turned toward our room and saw Joe step outside to help, then closed the door. Joe looked at me with relief which quickly turned into a sheepish grin, as if to say, “- – - -, I just locked us out of the room.” While Joe went to the hotel office for a key, I waited on the stairs with Ralphie on my lap laughing so hard I must have looked like an anguished mental case. It’s a miracle that I didn’t pee my pants.
After the chaos passed and we had a good night’s sleep, the next morning we headed for the beach where the city allows unleashed dogs. Ralphie loved the sand, the breeze carrying scents of salt water and seaweed. Most of the dogs were busy chasing balls and retrieving sticks tossed into the sea. We walked for a long ways before one doggie ran up to Ralphie demanding playtime. With no playtime experience with other dogs, Ralphie was so scared he couldn’t relax and we had to leave the beach.
Nevertheless, Ralphie calmed down enough to check out a local gal at Diggidy Dog Boutique. Carmel residents love dogs so much that the merchants put water dishes on the sidewalk outside their shops, some offering treats inside the store. There are dogs in stores, cafes, hotels. Carmel is a dog’s paradise and a pet owner’s sigh of relief.
The next day, we took Ralphie to Valley Hills Nursery in Carmel Valley. He loved the nursery employee. I loved the flowers, especially the primroses. Like most of the flowers growing in Carmel, the primroses are outstanding. They don’t look like this in our nurseries.
We made it home in three hours, flowers on the backseat in place of Ralphie’s bed. Even though chaos and mishaps accompanied us to the sea, we returned to the country relaxed, humored, and filled with laughable memories.
Note: When buying plants outside your vicinity or through catalogs, look for those within your zone, but do experiment with inexpensive purchases. Primroses will grow in my zone but I don’t have the right microclimate for them to do well, so I chose two six-pack pansies and a plant that’s new to me in a one-inch pot. Not a big loss if they die.