July 31, 2001
White Dog oversaw the loading of Steve bike on the new roof rack as Puff and Nuka put on their travel harnesses. Quinn waited by dad's camelback and bike helmet knowing that he was guaranteed not to be left behind if he stayed close to this vital gear. YoYoMa paced in circles around me trying to hurry me along but not quite sure where we were headed.
Once in Pumpkin we drove over and added Gregg and Candace's bikes to the rack and the humans along with Dragon and Sen-gi to the interior. We were off to the Nature Center, starting point of the bike ride and favorite haunt of White Dog's for chasing roadrunners and rabbits while we await the riders return (and ultimately brunch). It was a beautiful cloudy early morning and the Trail head was nearly deserted.
But when we pulled up, Quinn woofed in surprise...and the rest of us were a bit startled as well. The Open Lands Department had built a huge shady pavillion that was handicap accessible under the cottonwoods where we previously had just sat in the dirt. The WDA was thrilled...plenty of space to explore and then cool concrete and LOTS of shade to rest on.
The ride, we were told later, was grand but it made all three bicyclists realize how long it had been since they had pushed their pedals. Dragon got to ride along with them in his special basket. The rest of us? We managed to take a more zen approach.
After pre-ride walks and runs to flush roadrunners, Nuka settled under a picnic table where she could watch the traffic and the bike path. YoYoMa was fascinated by the sounds from the eco-garden with its wind machines and swaying corn stalks, families walking through; he took up a position where he could sit at the edge of the concrete and tilt his head this way and that to catch the sounds. Quinn wasn't sure he liked the new pavillion but he was less fond of the ants swarming the cottonwood trunks (droughts always bring ant infestations to all parts of Albuquerque). TOWD paced and then stood with Sen-gi at his side staring down the trail where the riders had gone. Sen-gi was nervous with his family gone and appreciated having someone to partner with. Puff was less nervous than she usually is in new situations but still sought the comfort of lying between my feet as we listened to the breeze together.
White Dog moved about as though she owned the place (which I think she truly believes)! But in typical WD style once she has had her fill, she heads over and sits by the car. It took the "stern in charge" voice we learned when she was a pup to bring her back to the rest of us and I clipped on a leash just to make sure there would be no more wandering in the parking lot.
As usual, the WDA got many compliments from passersby and drew much attention. When they saw Steve coming around the bend all got to their feet to greet the riding team! Candace, Gregg and Steve thought the licking enthusiasm was over their return, but I suspect their sweaty saltiness had a special appeal. That and all knew it was now time for brunch!
Hope your weekend was as joyful...and filled with friends, outdoor time, and yummies.