Epic Road Trip Summer 2017 is finally over and i find myself back at home, with a thousand-plus more miles on the car, some fantastic not-to-be-forgotten-in-this-lifetime memories, and one broken dog.

For one of us – the furrier and more legged one – the trip was a bit less epic. Or more. Depends on how you look at it.

Whilst i managed to not only avoid injury but FINALLY conquer the virus that has plagued me for months, my sweet, arthritic, senior cattledog lost her mind at the parents’ ranch over their horses and tore her ACL. Mom witnessed the whole thing and as she told me the story – i filled in what i imagined what went through that herding-breed dog brain of hers.

It went something like this:

“WWWWWWHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTT?? Are those….four legged herding animals?? RIGHT! I’m SO ON IT!”

(Insert sounds of tires peeling out here)

“I’m running I’m running I’m running I’m running – NO – I’m stopping I’m stopping I’m stopping!!!!!”



No more ACL.

Dr. Brian vet-splaining how my wallet and Annie’s knee are both sad. Annie scarfing a treat like she don’t care

Or meniscus for that matter. Which was described to me as the soft cushiony thing in the knee joint that keeps walking from becoming an intensely painful act of endurance.

Annie’s knee basically fell down and went boom.

This ultimately extended my vacation both in time and dollars. My wallet cried.

But i found myself with several extra unscheduled days which i turned into massively productive days of napping, resting, playing games on my iPad, and napping some more.

All of which probably explains why i finally lost my cough and fatigue and came back to a state of normalcy (for me). i had to stay another week and a half to get Annie in to surgery, and she couldn’t really be left alone, so that forced me to stay home and chillax.

But before i earn too much of your sympathy, perhaps you should see where i was actually “forced” to hang out for 2.5 weeks.


Feel sorry for me yet?


Yeah. Waah. i hear you.

And before you feel too sorry for Annie……..


Annie’s main gig

She didn’t suffer too terribly much, either.


It was stunningly, eye-achingly, beautiful. As most of Oregon is.

i travel a lot and don’t think i’ve ever seen any place as beautiful as Oregon in the summertime. Which is depressingly short. Weather there is like…rain, rain, rain, rain, OMGISTHATSUN??? rain, rain, rain.

To be fair, that’s just in the Willamette Valley (pronounced will-A-muht. The “a” sounds like the “a” in “lamb”. Yeah, i know it’s not spelled that way. It’s hard for the descendants of trappers and loggers to get those frenchy names right). The rest of Oregon is either coastal, mountain forest or high desert. Yep! There’s desert in Oregon! Lot’s of it! Complete with rattlesnakes, scorpions and cowboy ghost towns named after gulches or crossroads.


Pollard Gulch – THE place for corn grits and crocheted cozies


Speaking of gulches, in my travels on this Epic Road Trip, i came across a real, bonafide gulch complete with the requisite truck stop/gas station/crocheted toilet paper cozies. We pulled off the freeway because i was playing “we can make it” with the gas tank and lost. We weren’t going to “make it” to the next big town and needed gas, like, 5 miles ago. So when i saw a “GAS” sign, i exited, and we found ourselves in Pollard Gulch.

Now, i’ve driven up and down I-5 from Cali to Oregon dozens of times and i have never seen Pollard Gulch before. i’m not sure how i missed it. And i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t a little nervous driving up to the one building that appeared to be the totality of Pollard Gulch.

Because i’ve seen the movies.

i know what happens in Deliverance. And this here gulch? Looks a LOT like Deliverance.

That’s my friend Greg. He has a purty mouth…

So, what did i do? What any normal adult would do in such a circumstance – i sent my friend in to pay for the gas while i waited in the car.

With the doors locked.

As it turns out, Deliverance Gulch not only boasts TWO gas pumps and a tiny store where one can buy Doritos, fish bait and hand crocheted toilet paper cozies, one can also carefully pick one’s way through the packed aisles and around and somehow, BEHIND the cash register, shimmy through a narrow doorway and find themselves in a cafe.

A cafe, i hear, that is actually VERY good and the reason all those semi’s are parked in the gravel lot. (And NOT to pick up hookers, like i originally thought. Okay, i kinda still do.) The food’s good! Or at least i hear, because neither of us thought that wiggling around that front counter and through that skinny rabbit hole in the middle of banjo-country would be a very smart idea.

So, instead, my friend handed over his credit card to the obligatory cranky cashier lady who said “she would hold on to that for now”, and hustled back outside to the light of day to pump our gas. Because THAT made a whole lot more sense.

i don’t know what to do with this…

And then we saw the pump.

And promptly forgot about the endangered credit card.

It looks like it had been built in the seventies and hadn’t been touched since.

…except break it.

Until we touched it. And immediately broke it.

Or…to be fair…when i touched it and i broke it. Greg just took the blame.

Because he’s a GOOD friend.

And hadn’t realized yet that i was willing to drive off and leave him to Deliverance if things went all banjoe-y.

So, like the good friend that he is, Greg went inside to tell cranky cashier lady that somehow the entire face of the pump fell off and her response was, “Yeah. That happens every few months. Just leave it.”

Which i believe happens to coincide with the only times people pull in here for gas because the inside of that pump was full of spiderwebs.

Finally, carefully, we finished filling up the tank with what i hoped was gasoline, and went inside to pay and retrieve Greg’s card which i hoped wasn’t currently being used to buy online hookers and blow. Not sure if you can buy hookers and blow with a credit card online but there had been plenty of time to get busy with the internets while we were distracted trying to operate the trick pump. And now that i think of it…that may be exactly why the pump hadn’t been fixed! The booby-trapped pump outside is to buy time so cranky-pants can go crazy with the online shopping. Those toilet paper cozies aren’t made of air ya know!

This time, i opted to go in with Greg, since he already had been in twice and survived. Although the place was dark and cramped and oh-so-spooky, i shouldn’t have been worried about any errant online shopping. There was nothing wired to anything in the entire place. No tv, camera, computer…nothing except an older credit card machine with this message prominently displayed:

There’s really nothing more to say here..


Eco-friendly or preppers? i leave you to decide..

We left before my nervous giggling could get us into any more trouble, and skippity-skipped as fast as we could back to the car and headed out of Dodge.

Or Pollard Gulch, as the case may be.

But not before stopping to take one last picture. i couldn’t resist!

It appears that Pollard Gulch is attempting to go eco-friendly (or completely off the grid. Like Deliverance. i’d bet on option two) and here is the one and only solar panel for the entire town (of one building).  The fact that it is completely fenced and equipped with a security camera/”cctv video surveillance” is both admirable in the seriousness of which the gulchpeople have for alternative sources of electricity and side-splitting hysterical in that i am pretty sure that lonely solar panel isn’t capable of supplying all the electricity for the one multi-faceted business there, and if it is, cannot possibly be hooked up to it since the building was half a mile down the dead end road and didn’t even have fully functioning gas pumps.

Or computers.

Or cell signal.

And how was that security camera working? It was all mind-baffling funny and in a state of nervous hilarity, i briefly thought about stopping and climbing on to the fence to get a better look and make faces in the camera, but with my luck the dang fence would turn out to be wired and i would electrocute myself and then Greg would have to somehow fireman carry/drag my ass back into the car to get us the h-e-double hockey sticks out of Dodge/Pollard Gulch before the banjoes came.

Because that boy DOES have a purty mouth…..

You, too, can own a genuine Pollard Gulch homemade toilet paper cozy!








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