Spirit goes to School! Texas

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Quite a couple days lately, isn’t it always? But before I go any further, as I do go back and generally read my own Blog’s back entries, sometimes I feel some clarification is necessary. This one is about writing the fact that I have such a hard time around the Holidays. Plain and simple as I did not give a reason previously, for those not aware of it, I miss my son Lance… no need to say more. So yes, it has been a couple busy days, filled with some nice riding, even if yesterday saw me wear every gear I owned and install the cover for Spirit’s sidecar to give him some protection. We had, I did really, as Spirit waited outside, my reason for rushing the visit a bit, a private tour of the Mc Donald Observatory. I was trusted operating the most expensive machinery I ever laid my hands on… a 21 million dollar Telescope. I did not damage it… for those who know me… they will understand as I am sometimes a total lets say "non mechanically inclined individual". The fog was gone today, so was the rain, still a bit chilly… all blown away by the storm that made its presence overnight.

But somehow I prefer to start with today because I am so proud of Spirit. Brenda, Bob’s wife who if you remember chased us down the road to Ft Davis, Bob being the Telescope’s site Manager, is a teacher at the smallest Texas School in Valentine. This little town of 252 is the one with a busy Post Office on February 14th every year, where Valentines cards are mailed to them, and in turn stamped with the name of the town redirected to the recipients. Must be quite a busy time for them. We stopped by to find out some numbers, but they were closed. Both Brenda and I thought when we stopped to chat, that it would be a great idea for us to visit the school. From pre-K to 12th grade… 53 students! 2 seniors… only.

Situated right in between Marfa and Van Horn, this is the only great choice for them to go to School, from Ranches and homes near by. So we arrived around 11am, Brenda came out to meet us and so did the Mayor… who is also a Teacher! Slowly all the students came out, actually it seemed a bit sudden thinking back… we had this crowd in front of us and I am suppose to talk about our life… Changing gear, and thinking quickly, I started from the beginning, a run down of our route these past 14 months, a nice speech about Spirit being a Pit Bull and the misconception of the breed as I was watching the Mayor standing in the back nodding his head in agreement.

This is Country, this is where dogs are part of life and the family. Spirit, wherever we go, whatever road we take, puts a smile on people. It never fails… I am used to it, he is too actually and most likely knows it as he will pose for the cameras, but the feeling is always great as if it was new. I think even someone having a bad day will not resist that smile when he or she sees my buddy with his helmet and Doggles on, seating with his head up proud in his sidecar!


It was then time to get him out of his "home"… I had some Spirited Doggie Treats with us (plug!!!), as there was also another dog named Daisy which comes to School with a student, I gave them to the students to feed both Daisy and Spirit. And they just did that! Late dinner for him tonight… I know he is full and content. Spirit is totally socialized, much more so then when we left, and as much as we have spend time camping by ourselves, this past couple months being around people has been great for him.

He loves kids! He rubbed against them, he tried to push them down with his back against their short legs, he let them all scratch his head with their little hands, and of course as he loves jumping, quite often a few feet up in the air and do a somersault, he also played with Daisy. It was the best day we have had and the best time. Then came the questions… What have you done to the bike?… How much stuff can you carry?… How do you survive on the road?… First time for everything, this was our first in front of an audience, a great audience that truly seemed interested in this duo that we are and the Old Faithful machine, which by the way has just turned 180,000 miles!

Lunch time came up, some students are bused home for it, others eat in classes… suddenly our audience was gone, it was time to say our good byes to Brenda, thank Bob again for yesterday’s Telescope tour, which you will read about it next time… promise! As we are leaving, a young boy approached us and said "this is for you to write on"! A little calendar note book, I know this was not planned, how thoughtful of him as I know it was his own… he had written in it, torn some pages of it, but forgotten to tear up a couple… I will cherish it. Touched. We wandered through town a bit, a couple dirt roads which was the main street with some abandoned stores and the Community Church with its bright red roof. I was told that the Pravda store was only half a mile away. It is not a real store but built as an Artifact, we had to go and see it.



Nice… strange… in the middle of nowhere… no price tags! As I saw a mirror on the back wall, mirror which was reflecting what was behind me, I could not help playing again with the camera as I did at the Mc Donald Observatory when we where up the first time. I think this turned out better, a full reflection… Peace to you all… and a half reflection!

Great ride back with the wind right on our tail pushing us, contrary to the fight we had with the steering going west, and as hunger set in we stopped in Marfa. Everything is closed on Tuesdays it seems like as I was going to try the Pizza Connection again. Well I was glad all were closed except for the mobile Food Shark! Sheltered under a new cover which I witnessed being build the weekend of the Marfa Open House, I discovered today, the best Falafel I have had in centuries! Excellent Tahini sauce, with humus, vegetables, on a tortilla however as Pita bread has not been available in Marfa I was told. Never mind the Pita! Flour tortilla worked just fine… Too bad I did not discover this earlier, it is now on my list of favorites. Telescope next time…

Don’t forget his "Spirited Doggie Treats" and "Postcards"…. Dogs cannot live of Love and food alone… they need treats, they like treats… we know!

We are always under deep appreciation toward the readers that have send in a contribution helping this website’s expenditures. For those who have not, continue enjoying the site, pictures, recipes, and if you feel it’s worth $1 a month, the contribution button is above, snail mail is below…

Ara Gureghian   853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245   Naples, Fl 34108

Always, be well…    Ara & Spirit

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6 Responses to “Spirit goes to School! Texas”

  1. misha Says:

    Hey Ara!

    I’ve been lurking on your site and thread on ADVRiders for a long time. Today’s story about your visit to the school really struck me in a good way. The magic that a dog can create in breaking down barriers between people is amazing! My dog, Zoë, has spent a lot of time visiting people in nursing homes and hospitals. A lot of magic moments there. Here’s Zoë’s Smugmug site: http://www.mishak.smugmug.com/gallery/931931#42648846

    My wife and I spent January 1992 in Big Bend, Terlingua, Ft. Davis, Alpine, etc. Great memories.

    I’m going to get some of your dog biscuits for Zoë for Christmas!


  2. Froggi Donna Says:

    I really loved today’s blog….although I have yet to hear your voice, I swear I could hear you talking to the children, them listening intently and asking questions. Thrilling day!!! Thank you for sharing….as always.

  3. Jerry Says:

    I want to wish you and Spirit a very Merry Christmas.
    Also thank you for allowing all of us to go along with
    ya’ll on your journey.Your blog is great! Fantastic photo’s too
    be safe

  4. Ginny Says:

    What a rich life you lead Ara. The pics are fantastic as always and I’m enjoying hearing all about your journey. I hope to one day make it to Big Bend and thanks to your site, when I get there I’m sure it will feel familiar. You and Spirit are starting to become Icons in that area! 🙂

  5. Wade Jensen Says:

    Thought I would let you know the “Food Shark” was mentioned in an article in the January issue of Food & Wine magazine. What a small world it truely is. After reading this blog I did a double take when I saw the photo of the Shark. Wade

  6. Debra Says:

    Greetings Ara and Spirit! You are missed at Baeza’s in Alpine. I tried to order some postcards and wasn’t able to complete transaction. I’ll try again this weekend. I love your website. How is Del Rio? We do get to see you again don’t we?

    *There is always tomorrow*

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