Make no mistake: this was four days of living hell. First the van’s transmission blew out while Tina and I were driving over the Sierras. I had it towed into the tiny town of Donner Summit, where we checked into a hotel and had dinner. Let me be a bit more specific: we dropped off the van to the same
mechanic, at the same
restaurant, and checked into the same
hotel that I have checked into five times
over the last five years: once for a break down, three times for snowstorms, and once because of a forest fire. When I die I half expect to get stuck in Donner Summit betwixt this life and the next, eating ghostly pancakes and getting screwed by ghostly hotel managers while I wait for some angelic (or perhaps demonic) CHP officer to reopen the River Styx.
So, anyhow, the next morning the mechanic told us what we already knew (the transmission was blown) just like we already knew he would. So we had the van towed to Arrow Transmission in Reno, rented a car, and drove out to Midian. Total cost of tow #1 + mechanic + hotel + food + tow #2 + rental, about a grand. Yippee! So much for repairing my Moto Guzzi. Anyhow, we got out to the Ranch about a day later and a lot poorer than we expected. To be honest things went pretty well once we got out there. Tina and I cleared some undergrowth away from the sides of the buildings out to a distance of about five feet as a fire control measure; not a lot of fun, but it needed to be done. Ron, the new owner of the Dog Ranch, felt bad when he heard our tale and gave us (no joke) a running 1975 Dodge Ram! It’s in pretty good shape mechanically, and it’s my firm belief that with a little TLC and a lot of paperwork I can make it into my “Big Truck” for the desert. I have also worked out a deal with Ron to trade labor for some shelving and a huge supply of deep cycle batteries, possibly enough to set me up for the next decade!
The girls (Jasmine and Laura) showed up on Sunday. They brought about fifty dogs with them (ok, three) including a Chihuahua puppy that Jasmine carries around in one of those baby papooses (brand name: Pupoose). It was kind of cute, it was kind of strange, and we were all kind of horrified when Snap decided to bite the little thing in the face, nearly blinding it. A great deal of yipping, scolding, cursing, bleeding, and defecation ensued, putting a damper on the hike we were on. Later Ron came over and we did a lot of shooting, which cheered everybody up.... except the dogs, who hid in the house.