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Monday’s Updates Will Return as Normal


Well, this past week got away from me. So what happened?


Betty Page (right), Zollie (middle), and Lizzy (lower right) makes three …

We have an 11 year old Shitzu-Pomeranian mix (aka Sheranians) named Zollie who is my wife’s service-PTSD dog, one she got when she lived in Nebraska. He’s been a great, well-behaved, obedient small dog, but has heart issues and appears to be pretty close to the end. In our search last winter for a replacement PTSD dog, we learned that finding another Sheranian in the Western US is very difficult. But. thanks to a Sheranian Facebook page, we located one in Minneapolis. You might remember that last March we made a quick trip to Minneapolis to pick up Ms. Betty Page.

That’s when things went a bit awry, as Page ended up bonding to ME rather than my wife. Moreover, as Zollie’s health worsened, Page’s enthusiasm to play grew. Unfortunately, Zollie had been unable to keep up (his heart wants to play, but his heart just can’t do it). Page also seems to be much more needful of canine social interaction than Zollie ever was, as he is pretty independent.

Late last week the person from whom we got Page had another litter of pups. After considering the situation (the coming winter, the widening pandemic, Ann’s mother’s health, and Ann’s health), we decided that getting a full-sister for Page was a good idea. The problem was that a cold front had descended across the northern plains, making a ‘quick’ trip to Minneapolis across the northern route unpractical. But, there appeared to be a 5-day window of opportunity to make it taking the I-80 route (2000 miles almost exactly one way), which added a minimum of 6 hours (28 hours one way instead of 22 hours along the northern route) to the trip.

Additionally, Ann’s mother had been doing a little better (though still tethered to oxygen), at least well enough to allow us to make the trip. So, on Monday afternoon, we planned to begin our trek.

But, it being 2020, nothing could go as planned. For example, just a few hours before we were supposed to leave, Ann’s mother had to go back to the hospital for breathing issues (COPD, not COVID or Pneumonia related).

That meant I had to go on my own, along with Page, whom I hoped would help sooth the puppy on the way home. Now Page, who hasn’t travel too much with us yet, but is closely bonded to me, wasn’t altogether to happy about being in the Jeep after a couple hours of driving. Worse, she was never very settled at night in the motel rooms. We eventually concluded that disrupting “her pack”, meaning she missed Zollie and Ann, was more difficult for her than we expected. So, throughout the journey I was having to stop every hour and a half for potty breaks, food breaks, and general play. Worse, Page wasn’t settling or sleeping well in the jeep.


Betty Page and I early in the trip. You might notice my hair and beard are longer. With our lives pretty much shut down for the foreseeable future, I want to see if I can grow my hair long enough to donate it for a child’s wig. Why? Just for something different.

Meanwhile, after I left Tuesday, Ann’s mother’s doctor prescribed a 5-day stay at the hospital in hopes of getting Rose’s breathing under control. So, at the start of day three, Ann could hear the exhaustion in my voice and decided to fly to Minneapolis (one upside of the pandemic is cheap flights!). So, she got a same-day flight that landed just after I was expected to arrive in Minneapolis on Wednesday night.

Just minutes before Ann was supposed to fly out of Pasco, Ann learned the docs were releasing her mother. We believe they needed hospital beds for incoming COVID patients and, given Rose’s stage of life, they made the decision that she should just go home with meds and God speed to her (basically, that she’s expendable over younger patients at this point — I don’t envy the decisions that hospitals have and will be making over the coming months). So, our neighbor was drafted to pick up Rose at the hospital and bring her home.

Ann’s flight landed without a hitch. When she got into the jeep she still had on her mask and goggles (there’s evidence to suggest that the virus can be picked up through the eyes, though no studies have confirmed it).

We returned to our Minneapolis hotel room on Wed night around 10:00 pm, only to learn from the breeder that a big storm was expected to arrive Thursday morning. Crap! So, at 10:30pm, after I’d been driving since 3am, we made a mad dash north to go pick up the puppy. Thankfully, at that point, it was only raining.

We made it back to our hotel at 1am.

We knew we had to leave early Thursday morning to avoid the advancing storm (cold front coming from the north, wet and snow from the West, and rain from the south were all converging to dump nasty weather on Southern Minnesota). Despite grogginess, no food, and no coffee, we left Minneapolis at 8am just as freezing rain was dropping around us. That first hour driving south was a mix of freezing rain, snow, and vehicles. There were enough wrecks along the highway to keep driving speeds slow, so that was very much a relief. The snow finally shifted fully to rain an hour later at about Albert Pea, Minnesota.

Perhaps the best news is that Page and her sister, named “Lizzy” (Betty Paige had a younger sister named Elizabeth, hence “Lizzy”), bonded instantly and played/slept next to one another. That made the drive home much better.


Betty Page and Lizzy

For the most part, the weather was good. The drive out of Cheyenne on I-80 was a little dicey, as there was fog, ice, snow, and 10 degree temps. Also, our drive over Oregon’s Blue Mountains was full of blowing snow, but there was no ice and was sticking just yet. Given we did 4000 miles in 6 days with two dogs under the age of 1 year, the actual driving went pretty smoothly.

And, a tip. If you have a dog and need to stop near Rock Springs, Wyoming, check out their dog park (search Rock Springs dog park). It’s a nice, two paddock park.

2020-10-24-trip-to-minneapolis-Lizzy5 copy-lores

Me on the motel floor. These two Sheranians aren’t much help with the computer …

I’d hoped to do posts after returning home last night, but I was too exhausted to formulate sentences very well (not that any of my posts are Pulitzer Prize entries anyway).  This morning, I’ve already started on posts for Monday morning, so some sense of normality should resume (like anything has been normal in 2020 …).

Stay safe out there!


14 Comments on “Monday’s Updates Will Return as Normal

  1. Brad

    Dogs make everything better. As for not being computer literate, that’s just one more plus for the dogs. Welcome home.

  2. Mike W

    Epic Journey,glad the end result was a safe trip and a super cute puppy. I was also driving through Wyoming on Thursday during that storm. I had ice so thick on my truck that it blocked the intake to the airbox and set MAF codes. Wednesday in Dubois was really nice woke up Thursday to snow and freezing rain. Made the trip from Dubois to Moab UT much slower and stressful for a AZ boy not used to snow…. Glad to be home to 1200 feet elevation and 80 degrees in Gilbert, AZ…

  3. David Eilers Post author

    Mike, I’m glad you made it home safely. As a teen and young adult, snow and bad weather was something that didn’t bother me all that much. These days, perhaps because I’ve seen enough bad weather-related accidents (or maybe because I have more responsibilities), driving in bad weather is much more stressful for this 55 year old.

    Brad, you may have a point; I think dogs might be smarter to remain computer illiterate.

    Roger, Thanks!

  4. JohnfromSC

    Dave, I’m waiting for the technology that would enable me to give you a distant “man-hug”. What a tough trip.

    I lived in Minnesota for five years early in my career and experienced true blizzards. The weather this time of year is so volatile there. Glad you were able to dodge a proverbial bullet. BTW, I think your longer beard looks good! Hope that you and Ann stay well and that her mom can be at least comfortable.

  5. David Eilers Post author

    Thanks Dan

    John, I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, for two years back in the early 90s. I then moved to Salt Lake City, thinking the winters would be worse there. Instead, they were much more mild (less wind and less cold) than Wisconsin. I’m sure Minnesota is even colder.

    – Dave

  6. Stephen Lee Adams

    Hi Anne & David,

    Well, looks like you made it. Amazing. Through the Lord and those dogs, all seems to work out. Anne’s mother is another story. I hope she is doing okay. I remember Dave’s Father’s passing. None of it is easy. I pray you all can now settle in a bit and have a good Thanksgiving. Dave, I have passed two of your books on to friends and am still waiting for their comments. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for keeping ewillys going. I am addicted to it, no less. S.

    Stephen Lee Adams

  7. Doug in Ohio

    Glad you both made it home safely.Quite an ordeal without Covid going on.And congrats. on your new addition!Best wishes for you and Ann!

  8. David Eilers Post author

    Thanks all. It’s probably safe to say that the idea of the adventure appealed to us as much as getting the puppy. We’ve been boxed up most of the summer and have been unable to even go camping.

    The Virus was certainly in our minds as we traveled. Ann still has effects from having Covid in July (she says her brain still feels a little foggy), so we were as careful as we could be. We packed food and a cooler to limit interactions and brought lysol and bleach wipes for the hotel stays. Our hotel in Minneapolis Lysoled the rooms then sealed them shut with tape. I avoided rest stop bathrooms in favor of grocery store (mens’ restrooms tend to be lightly used) or Starbucks (which has been following covid procedures for months). We wiped our hands with wipes whenever we returned to the jeep. Our feeling is that it’s less of a hassle to be overly-cautious than it is to catch the virus.

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