One of My Knight’s selling points for Harvey the RV was that we could take the dogs with us. We have four, and it’s always sad to leave them behind when we travel. So I have to say that once we got Harvey on the road and actually camping, one of the things I have enjoyed about camping is having the dogs with us. (I still can’t believe I just put the words “enjoyed” and “camping” in the same sentence.)
The weekend before Christmas may make me change my mind about camping with dogs.
We set out for a state park known for its hiking and biking trails. We had also planned a trip to the Giraffe Ranch for one day while we were there, so we took my car for transportation. (Another Groupon. We hoped for no animal funerals this time!)
It was almost dark when we arrived at the park, and already getting very cold with a predicted low that night of 37 degrees. And I was camping. (Have I mentioned to you how much I
hate love camping?)
So we shivered around a campfire long enough to make marshmallows and then moved inside to play a few games. We took the dogs out for a frigid walk before bungeeing ourselves in for the night. (Harvey’s door is warped and won’t stay closed so we have to use a bungee cord to hold it shut. Claaassssyyy.)
I was looking forward to sleeping in the next morning, but instead of casually awaking from my slumber deeply burrowed beneath a stack of blankets, I was sprung to upright seated attention at approximately 6am with a loud “MOM!!!!!!!”
I struggled to figure out where I was and who I was and why I was suddenly freezing. “WHAT??”
Dr. Smooth: “There’s dog poop on the floor, and I stepped in it!”
Me: “Why are you up?” was my first response, quickly followed by: “Dog poop?? Inside???”
The two small dogs were in bed with us, and the big dog was up against Dr. Smooth’s bed looking at me like, “It wasn’t me, Mom, wasn’t me.”Cowering in the middle of the floor and shivering slightly was our oldest, most psycho dog, Lulu. My Knight rescued Lulu from a roadside about 13 years ago, and to say she has a few issues is like saying Lindsay Lohan may have a troubled life.While she is fully housetrained, occasionally Lulu will make a statement if she doesn’t like something you did. Now, I’m not sure if she didn’t like camping, or if she didn’t like what she had for dinner, or if she didn’t like the cold, but Lulu had definitely made a statement.
And Dr. Smooth had stepped in it.
I sent him outside (in 37 degree weather barefoot) to wash the statement off his foot while I tried to wrap my brain around the situation and the smell.
We had no carpet cleaner with us. (Somehow I missed that on the list of 9 bajillion things that have to be packed to go on “vacation” camping.) I had spray Fantastik, liquid Lysol, and a container of Wet Ones. So we scrubbed carpet through half the container of Wet Ones and some lemony-fresh Lysol. Nothing like lemon and dog poop to whet your appetite right before breakfast!
After we ate, I remembered to tell My Knight about a small problem Harvey seemed to be having. As Dr. Smooth and I had passed Harvey on the interstate in my car, it appeared that the right back tire was about to bounce off the camper. It was bumping up and down like crazy. So we got plenty ahead of Harvey on the interstate and I made a mental note to tell My Knight about it when we got to the campground, but I had forgotten until breakfast.
(He has since requested that any time I feel a tire is about to fly off the vehicle he is driving, I should perhaps call him right away to let him know. I fear I may have become immune to Harvey’s ailments and I no longer take them too seriously.)
After talking about it, he decided to take Harvey in to get the wheel checked while a mechanic was still open before Christmas. This would mean a 5-6 hour trip and him pretty much missing the entire first day of camping and bike trails. He wanted to leave the dogs with me. I protested.
He was already leaving me with two 14-year-old boys for 5-6 hours with no camper and no shelter. What was I supposed to do to occupy four dogs for that amount of time? Were the boys and I going to sit at the campsite (freezing) for hours holding four leashes? No, we were not. He had to take the dogs with him.
(Even without the dogs we got several strange looks as people passed our campsite to
see us sitting there with four chairs, four bikes, a cooler, a refrigerator and a crockpot. No tent. No camper. No place to sleep. One of the coldest nights of the year. We either looked completely clueless or we looked like the most modern primitive campers ever . . . sleeping on the ground in the cold next to our refrigerator and crockpot. Even the park ranger told us she called the main office when she passed to find out about the crazy lady who was camping with no tent and two kids.)
Late that afternoon, My Knight and Harvey came galloping back into the campsite. I ran to greet My Knight and I was greeted back with “Get these damned dogs away from me. I need a bike ride. I need peace and quiet. Take the dogs.”
It appears that while My Knight was inside the mechanic’s office filling out paperwork, the dogs in their excitement jumped on the driver’s door and locked him out of the camper. I would love to see the surveillance camera footage of him running around the RV looking for an unlocked window and then him being licked in the face exuberantly as he hefted himself through the window and onto the dining table.
The mechanic first told My Knight he was not allowed inside the camper while it was in the work area, but after one look inside at the canine cargo they had him drive it in himself. The trip was a frustrating bust without any definitive answer for why the tire was bouncing other than maybe it was old and had a flat spot. And then on the way back to the campground, someone (Lulu) threw up in the camper. So My Knight was done camping with dogs for the moment.
That night we took Lulu out as late as possible and made sure she did not eat anything before bed. Around 2am, I was dreaming that My Knight and I had opened a cheeseburger stand. We served cheeseburgers out the window of this little building, and customers sat at picnic tables under a covered area and ate them. One customer came up to the window to tell me they were the best cheeseburgers she had ever eaten, but she couldn’t stand the smell of the dog poop.
Dismayed, I walked out to the picnic tables and saw customers gagging and getting up to leave with their food uneaten. The smell of dog poop was overwhelming, and I was gagging and holding my shirt over my face while I searched for the culprit pile.
I awoke then and realized I was in the camper. But I was still gagging. And the smell of dog poop was still overwhelming.
The two little dogs were sleeping next to us, the big dog was pressed up against my
bed as tightly as possible, and at the other end of the camper I could just make out the white image of Lulu.I tried to find a flashlight, but didn’t dare step off the bed to look for one. I finally turned my Ipad on upside down for light. And there were piles. Multiple piles. And the smell. Oh my Heavens, the smell.I carefully navigated with the Ipad to where I could turn on the light over the stove, and it was worse than I thought. Someone had left Lulu’s leash on and she had drug the leash through the piles. There was poop EVERYWHERE. My Knight will tell you that is an exaggeration, but I am telling you that at 2am in a small confined space with carpet from 1986, it doesn’t take a whole lot of poop for it to be EVERYWHERE.
My Knight sat up and loudly asked what was going on. I sounded like four leaky tires hissing as I shushed him, indicating the sleeping children and the plethora of poop.
He saw the carpet and cursed loudly. I exploded in air pressure shushing him and pointing to the kids.
We gagged through the remainder of the Wet Ones. We gagged through an entire roll of paper towels and what was left of the liquid Lysol. I was working one section of carpet with Fantastik and a flashlight. My Knight was doing a yoga Striking Cobra searching for any sign of the foul remnants on another section.
By 3:30am or so, we had just about finished the job, and suddenly Josey, one of the smaller dogs who had been watching this entire process, leapt off the bed and sniffed the carpet. Evidently we had missed a spot, because she proceeded to squat and pee right in front of our unbelieving eyes.
My Knight went into a fit that would have impressed the Tasmanian Devil as I shushed him with enough air pressure to blow leaves off a driveway. He swung and punched the air, he twisted his face into contortions, he mouthed cursed words that would make sailors blush. But to his credit, he never made a sound and the kids stayed asleep.
I burst out laughing. What else could I do? I’m camping. It’s 37 degrees. I’ve been cleaning up dog poop for more than an hour in the middle of the night, and now another dog has just added her statement to the chaos?
We used the last of the paper towels and Fantastik to clean that spot, and then I just laid a sheet down over the entire floor area so no one would be walking on the carpet until we could rent a shampooer/cleaner back home.
We laid back down around 4am exhausted and questioning our sanity.
At 6am, someone texted me. I heard it from far off, like a really bad alarm sounding. They texted me again right away, and I started to rouse with the fear that it meant someone had died. (I hope no one would actually text me in the event of a death, but I was delirious and not thinking straight.)
By the time I dug out from under the blankets to find the phone, it had beeped again. I glanced up to see Dr. Smooth sitting at the other end of the camper staring at me and holding his phone in his hands. I decided right then and there that if that kid was texting me to ask “When’s breakfast?” I was putting him out of the camper into the cold.
I read the text. “Stupid Lulu.” And then a picture of Dr. Smooth’s flip-flops with a big ole pile of poop sitting on top of them.
It made no sense to go home without visiting the Giraffe Ranch so we stayed it out. We made it through the Giraffe Ranch with no funerals, and we were able to stop by Publix to pick up more paper towels and industrial strength cleaners to bring back to the camper, just in case the last night of the trip proved to be the grand finale.
When bedtime came, we confined Lulu to the front floorboard, barricading her in for preventative damage control. (My Knight says she is lucky it was near freezing outside or she would have been put out for the night.)
I was reading a book in bed when the smell hit me. I sniffed the air. “I think I smell dog poop.”
My Knight did not even open his eyes. “You’re just paranoid because of the last two nights.”
I sniffed again. “No, I definitely smell dog poop.”
He sat up and sniffed. “What the hell?”
He ripped off the covers and grabbed the paper towels and cleaner. She had at least confined this pile to the corner of the front floorboard. Her last statement about camping in the cold was an easy clean-up.
Boy, I love me some camping. With dogs.
Oh, and as we were preparing to go home that next morning, I watched the camper pull through the loop by the dump station, and I noticed the tire bouncing. So I offered to drive Harvey around the loop so My Knight could see what it was doing. Great news folks! It seems the hubcap was off center, and evidently that can make a tire look like it’s bouncing up and down when it’s really not. So My Knight never even needed to drive over an hour to the mechanics and spend the whole day there. We straightened up the hubcap and the problem was solved! Let me tell you, that man was thrilled when he found that out!