The squirrels simply snickered at their first sighting of this diminutive canine but soon learned that he meant business.  In no time at all “Shorty” was scampering about on lightning-quick legs up the sides of the barn and through the trees in pursuit of an adversary that had seriously underestimated his determination and cunning.  In a matter of days there was a nary a rodent to be found anywhere on the estate.

One would think that with the salvaging of the remains of his barn, Jerry would take a little time out to simply relax and reflect on his good fortune; however that was just not in the cards.  The departure of the squirrels heralded the arrival of the Vineyard Moth…

 On The Road Again                                                        June 10, 2011

Let me be the first to mention that laying face down on a bronze plaque in 95-degree weather in a t-shirt and shorts was not the best idea I’ve ever had.  I knew it was time to evacuate when my arms and legs began to sizzle!  Fortunately I travel with someone who is “almost” a doctor.  See y’all next time.  Hugs!  Pan Fried Chucky and Dr. Zook

After our two week whirlwind tour of the San Francisco Bay Area, we were ready for a little “down time” some place where the pace of life was a bit less frenetic.  The brother-in-law’s man cave at Happy Bottom Estates seemed like a perfect choice…

Having successfully completed the California leg of our 2011 West Coast Tour, we headed east through the Nevada wasteland along a dusty and particularly windy section of Highway 95.  We were suddenly broadsided by a gust of wind that ripped our patio awning off the side of the RV and unfurled it onto the roof, both shredding the fabric and destroying the awning supports, a bathroom vent and an air conditioner cover in the process…

Four Corners was our next way point so we took a short detour from the main highway to check out the Four Corners Monument…

My bride is standing in both Utah and Arizona whilst I have my brogans firmly planted in Colorado and New Mexico.  Although most folks are content with the dignity or silliness afforded by the above photo, others march to the beat of a different drummer and insist on something a bit more prone to calamity…

After removing the remains of the awning and securing what was left of the supports to the RV, we limped into Hawthorne, parked at the Elks Lodge and I set about removing the last vestige of what had once been a 19 foot patio awning.

A visit to any Elks Lodge usually requires a trip to the bar to let them know you are there and to pay whatever “donation” they are requesting for the parking privilege (ranges from free to $25 per night).  While swapping tales with a few of the locals, we discovered that two of our friends from San Carlos, Mexico lived just down the road so we called to let them know we were in town for the night. Smokey and Gerri hopped on their camel and galloped on down to the lodge for a visit…

My bride, having been born and raised in North Dakota farm country, is naturally proficient in the operation of all vehicles manufactured by either International Harvester or John Deere and the “mini” Deere was soon blasting through the vineyard with her at the helm and Jerry, armed with a sprayer full of moth eradicator, struggling to keep pace.

Having dealt with all of the various forms of both rodent and insectile pestilence that had pervaded the land, Jerry was now available to tackle a “real” problem…

A visit from The Duck is always cause to crack open a bottle of Patron Tequila in celebration of the event.  This time was no different!  I left him asleep on the airbed in our living room that night and somehow managed to crawl into my own.  When we awoke the next morning at 7am, The Duck was gone!  He e-mailed us that evening from his son’s home in Haley, Idaho…nearly 800 miles away!!  For a large flightless bird, he sure moves fast.

As our time at Happy Bottom Estate was drawing to a close, we decided to pay a visit to Jim and Lynda Taylor at Mount Vernon Winery in Auburn and send a couple of bottles of their latest BCR (Breast Cancer Research) wines to my bride’s breast surgeon in LA…

Get-togethers of this nature are always celebrated with a few libations and we tossed in a bottle of Zimmerman’s finest just for good measure.

Our final stop in Nevada was on highway 375, also known as The Extraterrestrial Highway, at the Little Ale-Inn…

Located across the road from the infamous Area 51 in Rachel, this place is adorned with all matter of outer space paraphernalia and stories of alien sightings and fly-overs of strange aircraft.  I’m beginning to think that our awning difficulties may have been caused by the jet wash of one of these UFOs.  Kinda spooky!

After leaving Nevada, we spent a few days among the red rock, red dirt, and red dust of St George, Utah where I replaced the bathroom vent that had been destroyed by our wandering awning…

In addition to the natural majesty of the canyon, there is a herd of designer bovine, beefalo (a cross between bison and domestic cattle), which were turned loose in the early 1900s and now call the Park their home…

The plastic skylight above our RV shower had become brittle and cracked after 9 years of UV exposure and I shanghaied Jerry to “help” me replace it.  I soon discovered that his awe at being so high off the ground and so “close to the sky” had become somewhat of a handicap.  He spent the day staring at the clouds and wandering aimlessly about on the roof of the RV which resulted in a couple of tumbles to the ground below.  After retrieving him for the third time, I tied a rope to his waist and the other end to a tree limb so that when he fell again he merely dangled in the mid-air and I could simply pull him back up without additional runs up and down the ladder.  Somehow, in the midst of all this mayhem, the skylight got replaced.

Our buddy, The Duck, a cruise ship acupuncturist, managed a short visit over Memorial Day weekend and we hauled him off to a terrific barbecue at a neighbor’s house…

In previous years, Jerry has been engaged in a running battle with a flock of red headed woodpeckers using his barn as a storage facility for the various nuts they were socking away for the winter.  The squirrels had apparently been tracking this activity and waiting for the appropriate time to swoop in and separate the birds from their booty.  The accumulating carnage and pernicious nature of these bushy beasties resulted in Jerry and Sandy standing 12-hour shifts in a lawn chair in front of the barn screaming into the trees, “SHOO, SQUIRREL, SHOO!!!!”.

The squirrels soon adapted to all the hollering and arm flapping and simply ignored them.  The Zimmermans were left with little choice but to engage the services of a professional squirrel chaser to deal with this maniacal menace once and for all.  Thus appeared Short George…

WHEW!!  That was close.

Our path took us near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and, having never been there, we decided to spend a couple of nights in a Forest Service campground at Jacob Lake while exploring the area…

The normally tranquil surroundings, save for the continuous circling of the resident flock of vultures, was interrupted on this visit by the appearance of a couple of interlopers intent on dismantling the barn one board at a time…

Utah is loaded with both BLM land as well as several National Parks which we always enjoy seeing when we are in the area.  Our eastward trek took us through Zion National Park en-route to Arizona.  Taking this road in a large RV requires either nerves of steel or the suicidal nature of a Kamikaze…