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August 26, 2013, Driggs Idaho Rodeo Grounds

So Here I am, at the Driggs Rodeo Grounds. I’m sitting in one of our two chairs, in the shade of the trailer. Pete has taken the truck and gone to town to stock up on food and purchase a dog collar, leash, ad bowl.

Rodeo grounds. We’ve seen our share of them this summer. They’re all the same metal panel fencing, an area, cow and horse manure in great abundance, rocks, weeds, and if you are lucky, an unlocked bathroom with showers. This one has a small airport nearby. There’s a Super Eight motel within hailing distance. Last night I nearly spoke up and said we should go there, but then I realized it would be best if we stayed near the animals. So, as usual, we slept in the

back of the truck. The dogs slept in the front of the truck.

The Coyote Meadows ultra-light expedition was a success. Three nights out. We easily found campsites near creeks with places to highline, flat tent sites and bear boxes. The high point of horseback travel was an area called Hidden Corral, a site where outlaws used to hide horses that they stole. It was meadow in a canyon, with rock walls on three sides. Before and after we cantered and trotted the horses on winding trails. The low point was when Raudi kicked Signy. Signy jumped, unseating Pete, who was okay. Regrouping was fortuitous – we dove into the woods, ate lunch and waited out a thunderstorm.

When on evening three we returned to camp, there were a handful of trailers at the trailhead. We tied up the horses, unpacked, and went to get water. Shortly thereafter we met Peter Linn who is an outfitter. He was preparing to take three clients out on a four day trip. His well-mannered horses were grazing in the nearby meadow.

As we were talking, a child raced passed, she was chasing three border collies, one of whom was quite young. I paid the sight little mind. About fifteen minutes later a stock trailer pulled out, leaving one of the dogs behind. It was friendly enough – ran over to everyone and said hello. No one was inclined to want to touch it because it was covered from head to toe with horse and cow shit.

Peter speculated that the dog had jumped out of the back of the stock truck. Either that or the owners had left it behind. Earlier, he said, that they’d half-jokingly asked him if he wanted a dog. What to do? I grabbed some shampoo, took her down to the creek, and washed her off.

Several individuals, including Peter, expressed an interest in taking her. This included me. At the time, I had no reason other than I’d always wanted to own a border collie. Most amazingly, Pete didn’t offer much resistance when I suggested that we be her owners. I was actually half hoping he would, because I was dubious about border collie ownership. I have read many if not all border collie memoir narratives, and for this reason I have a fairly good sense of what owning one entails. These dogs are smart, obsessive, high energy.

Peter asked me what her name might be, and I immediately said Ryder since I know you Rider has always been one of my favorite songs. Thus named, she was ours. Others did lobby for ownership, but I repeatedly said no. Peter, who is a man of considerable integrity, said he’d go up the road and call Tyson, his ranch hand and have Tyson call the ranch. I agreed this was for the best though I hoped that Tyson would not be able to get a hold of them. And, he was not.

Ryder is not all that obsessive. However, she is a very industrious little dog. She likes to be where the action is. This was maybe why she stuck so close on day four, when we rode eight or so miles to Hidden Lake. There we had a swim. She waded into the water, but decided swimming was not for her.

So we now have another traveling companion. Blanca, who we met at the Rider endurance ride remarked after hearing about Siggi that when you lose an animal, another takes its place. I don’t fully believe this, but maybe there is some truth to what she said. I miss Mr. Siggi something awful. But the dog does lift my spirits some.

A very practical question remains: Will this dog be able to travel with us back to Alaska in the truck? I don’t think that either Pete or I will be able to deal with a puking carsick dog. So far so good. She was quiet on the drive here to Driggs. And she spent the night in the front seat of the car, Rainbow being in the rear seat. Rainbow has had no problem with her – in fact she’s sort of taken on a mentorship role.

So there you have it. The mobile ark continues its rather zig zag journey. Tonight we are planning on camping in Tetonia, at Sarah’s place. With two dogs and two horses. I hope that the Gods continue to smile down on us. Otherwise we will be in deep doggie do do.

Next: 162: 8/29/13: Tetonia: Sarah’s Place