Well, maybe I need to pay more attention to maps and spelling! My friend Brian send me a couple links to the Widstoe Ghost Town and I realized that we missed it by a hundred feet!!!… as we did see the Cemetery but did not go any further. One of the links is actually written by a gentleman who’s Family lived there, map of the town and all. We are definitely going back, a good excuse, I can’t take this kind of failure!!!
Since we had time left that day, free time from not seeing the Ghost Town, I decided to go on and close the loop back to Escalante, however with a little side trip to the Grosvernor Arch, passing by the entrance of Kodachrome State Park which I knew we would not have time to see that day. The pictures are in chronological order, the road passed the State park is not suitable for a street bike, would have not been suitable for us neither if we did not have a knobby in the rear due to some fairly deep sand. Much washboard, and the combination was a bit bouncy as the speed was needed or… slow and sink in! The knobby is almost worn out, again, but it did the job.
Of course no pictures of the deep sand!… take my word for it. It is actually "Cottonwood Rd" which will take you south to Highway #89 and into Page, we would had only 30 miles to go to #89 if we had not stopped at the Grosverner Arch. There was not a soul on that road, maybe because it was late in the day but with daylight till close to 10pm it would be a shame not to enjoy the coming sunset.
In places the road turned white and the contrast with the red rock at the distance was awesome and so unusual. Going in is always more a bit concerning than coming back! The return always seems easier because of knowing the condition of the road, of course the U-turn option is always there, but being at the rig’s limitation we obviously made it both ways.
A reader reminded me that I had never written about how Spirit and I got together. How true. Here it is. When I returned to Georgia and rented a house on 16 acres, (including mowing a 5 acre lawn…) I really longed for having the company of another dog, company period. Tascha, "Lady Tascha" as everyone called her, was my previous one, a black Lab that was my shadow wherever I was, a gentle Lab that loved living on a sailboat… and also dive off of it! I had met someone at the time with a gentle Pit Bull and loved their temperament, even if a "public and media stigma" was so attached to them. I had learned a lot about the breed from my Friend. Not far from the house at the time was the County shelter and decided to go and visit.
I like to rescue dogs and I will leave it at that regarding my opinion about spending thousands of dollars on one when so many need a Home! I am sure you understand. At the same time, as most people are, I am such a softie when going to a shelter! I can only rescue one… I would like to rescue them all. It is not like you go to a store… a shop… what size and color… does it fit or not… You just have to go in without any thoughts of a choice and let Karma do its thing. Of course I will never forget that day and I don’t think Spirit has neither. 40, maybe 50 dogs that day?… left alone to walk in between their stalls, you guessed it, everyone in unison started barking. Ah! all those characters talking out loud wanting so desperately a home to go to, some jumping, some going around and around in circles, some extending their arms as to grab me and never let go, if only I could take them all I was thinking!
Close to the end of the alley, I call it, unfortunately "death row", in the corner, right far corner, a bit in the shadows I remember, as standing myself kind of stupefied, was this brown ball all curled up, his head between his rear legs, nose buried, ears down, immobile without a bark as suddenly those eyes in unison with mine made contact… That was the moment, my hair still stand up and my eyes still get watery thinking about "that" moment. There was no sound, there was no movement, there only was that look, that sad look, the look when one is resigned that Life is over as myself I had seen it not too long ago. At the same time I saw a spark of hope in those eyes, a dim light of thought that maybe, just maybe… "I can be saved".
I went to the office to talk to the manager, there was no thinking about it, he/she was going home with me! Well, rolled up in his corner, "he" was in bad shape… very bad shape. Physically bruised, emotionally freshly scarred and it just happened that the manager did not like Pit Bulls and "it was not the right dog for me", she could not let anyone have him. He had a week to live, 6 days exactly as their "deed" is done on Mondays when closed. I was not going to give up that easily, I was not working at the time, only painting the inside of the house to make it habitable and give a try to live like everyone else. She allowed me to take him for a walk, as a volunteer worker, which I did… painfully, him with a limp and no soul or physical contact, just going through the "nervous" motions of being out, just being out! I could not approach him, pet him as he would walk away and I did not want to force myself on him either. He was not just lost in this surrounding, he was totally lost within his Life.
Wednesday, Thursday went on… I came back every day to walk him, I was on pins and needles, I was not happy, choked up every time the manager would suggest another dog for me. I tried to reason, to joke, to make sense of it all, with no avail. There was no story on him even though they knew his previous owner, no one would tell me what had happened, only that he was about one year old. The assistant manager, on the other hand, raised Pit Bulls! She was a volunteer, her husband owned a dozen fast food restaurants, she only worked there a few days a week for her love for animals. Friday came around and as I was getting ready to get on with my daily visit, around 11am, (amazing how one can remember certain days!), the phone rang, it was the assistant manager telling me that if I wanted him I better come right now as the manager was out for the day. I really don’t remember driving there, signing the papers, but I do remember telling her that his name will be "Spirit"… I had no leash, no food… she gave me everything that I needed… and we went "HOME"!!! He was shaking in the truck, shaking like a leaf, I could already just imagine his past… the shaking took a long time for it to go… you know? He sure does not shake anymore!!!
What a day that was! I asked her if she had any fear about loosing her job?… she did not care… We never went back, I have e mailed her a couple times and when we went back to the East Coast a little while ago, I was going to take a ride back to the shelter with him, but decided against it. What for? Why maybe awaken his bad memories? From day one I let him be, we live together, we respect each other and have built up a mutual understanding. The first few weeks where tough, many visits to the Vet, and as slowly he physically healed up, he also realized that him and I were going to be together for long long time. I started working after a while, there was a laundry room with a separate entrance up on the rear patio and that became his room while I was gone for the day, with queen size futon mattress and pillows mind you! Door open, long 50′ line and slowly, as every night I came back I saw the change, I saw the silhouette of this dancing dog from my headlights when he would hear me come up the long driveway… We would play regardless it was midnight or two in the morning as I worked late! We would then go in, and the first thing that he would do is put his head under my arm and I could hear a big sigh of relief! We had bonded…
I had to leave him behind when going to work, but I could not or wanted to live him behind when I took off riding! The sidecar came into our Life, I took a chance… Putting it together is a totally different story, but the moment it was ready and I had practiced going into the ditch by myself a couple times on the property, I cannot remember forcing Spirit to get in and ride with me… He figured it out instantly… "Cool… I get to go with him now wherever he goes… this is my car now!" and jumped in right away. I wish we could relive those moments, they were something else! And you know the rest of the story… the goggles, the helmet, same thing… even though I know he does not care for the helmet too much but needed when going long ways. Sometimes now I will leave him behind a few minutes! Kind of a hide and seek game… just so he can get excited about seeing me again! After all, we are together 24/7. What can I say… we should all be so lucky as we both are.
I have another story that I will post next time, we are living it "now"… I cannot ruin the element of surprise! But I know that I will title it "When one door closes another one opens". Life seems to have leveled off here, all is calm, at Peace, many places to go… and the first monsoons!!! We did manage that day to take a peak at Kodachrome Park, they let us in for free for just a few minutes as we were loosing the sun and the rocks were already half shaded. It is an unbelievable place where we will go and camp for sure and yes, it is that "red" at sunset.
It turned out to be a long day! From the unfound Ghost Town, to Gosverner Arch, a brief entrance to the Park and a great ride back in the dark with a tail wind… no deer but many rabbits and no warning from Spirit either. He just does not have that one down yet!
As always, you be well…
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Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples, Fl 34108
Ara & Spirit