I get up bright and early on a Saturday morning, like I’ve done a thousand times before, and before I do anything else, I check the messenger chat on my I-phone to see if we are on schedule, or if anything has changed. It appears we are right on schedule. I pad across the floor to the kitchen, seeking out that life-giving machine, universally known as the coffee pot, and flip the switch. I let my dogs out of the back door, and while I am outside with them, I also fill the birdfeeder. I enjoy watching the little finches who come to visit my pomegranate tree and make themselves at home, happily flitting about and greeting the morning. We have a deal, I feed them bird seed and they feed my soul with birdsong. Clearly I am the winner in this deal. My dogs are at my feet, demanding their breakfast too, so I take a deep breath, I look at the rising sun with gratitude, and I head back into the kitchen to feed them. As I do this, I am greeted by the bold, fresh smell of coffee, and after the feeding frenzy of my four-legged friends, I pour the black gold into my travel mug and get ready to head out.
Before I get into my car, I do a mental checklist of the necessities and load up:
coffee-check, water-check, extra water-check, snacks-check. Gas? Check!
Grateful that I had the foresight to fill up on the way home from work yesterday!
And now, most importantly, Music!
I plug the old I-phone into my car dash and choose a playlist for today’s road trip. Hair Bands? Classic rock? Deep tracks? Yacht rock radio? LOL, nahhh, I always save the Yacht Rock for the way home. Hairbands it is! I press play and I am greeted by Motley Crue’s “Too Fast For Love!” Heck yeah. NOW, I am ready to roll! Down the driveway and off into the horizon I go, as I’ve done a thousand times before.
Cruising down 95 South with the windows down and the Crue blasting, the early morning traffic isn’t too bad, since it’s the weekend. Of course that changes once I veer onto the I-15 South, the fun stops here. This area isn’t called “The Spaghetti Bowl” for nothing! It’s a bit of stop and go until it gets rolling. My city of Las Vegas has grown so much, once upon a time it was mostly desert on the way out of town once you pass what’s known as the “Resort Corridor” (aka the strip hotels and casinos) but now town just keeps going as you head toward Primm, Nevada. It makes the drive a little more interesting, seeing all of the new buildings pop up on the sidelines, most recently is the brand new, shiny Allegiant Stadium, for our brand new, shiny football team the Raiders! Never thought I would see the day Las Vegas would get a football team! Sorry Raiders, but I’ll always be a New England Patriots fan first, second is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, only because they have my quarterback Tom Brady now!
I know this stretch of I-15 very well. I pass through Primm, pass the giant solar panels out in the middle of the desert that is the Ivanpah Solar Facility, pass all of the familiar billboards enticing drivers to eat at Peggy Sue’s 50s diner or the Mad Greek Cafe, and don’t forget the best Alien Jerky on the highway! It’s a very long and lonely stretch of desert between Primm, Nevada and Baker, California, which is my destination. I pass all of the familiar road exit signs: Yates Well Road, Nipton Road, Cima Road, Halloran Summit Road and finally Halloran Springs Road, which tells me I am almost to Baker! Then I see the Baker Road exit, FINALLY, and I cruise down the two lane road to the famous World’s Tallest Thermometer, as I've done a thousand times before.
But I am not here for the tourist attraction, I have a far more important job to do. I pull into the parking lot and wait for my fellow transport driver to pull in. Once they are here, we get out and stretch a bit, say our hellos and give each other hugs, and then we get down to business. That business is the transporting and rescue of shelter dogs from the overflowing California animal shelters to rescues in other states who will find these well deserving souls a good home. Sometimes the dogs are crated, and other times they might be “tethered”, which just means they are leashed. This time I have the pleasure of transporting two bully type dogs, one female (Dorothea) and one male (Nugget) and they are both riding tethered. I put Dorothea in the front seat with me, and Nugget in the back. Nugget seems very determined to ride up front with Dorothea and me, so I am thankful for the leash! Once we get all of the paperwork and dogs transferred over, it is time for me and my passengers to head back to Las Vegas, Nevada. Back down that same stretch of long and lonely highway known as the I-15. Except this time I have some four-legged company. This is when I put on the mellow sounds of the “Yacht Rock” radio for the dogs. It helps to calm them.
Once again, I head for the highway, like I’ve done a thousand times before. I pass the same familiar exit signs, the same familiar billboards, the same stretch of desert and mountains. The solar plant, Primm, Nevada, and finally to my usual exit, Windmill Road. I exit and right off the highway is an RV Park with a fenced off dog area, like I've done a thousand times before. That is where I will meet the next transport driver, who will take Dorothea and Nugget to the next stop, and so on, until they make it all the way across the United States to a rescue in Nebraska. Sometimes my passengers go to a rescue in Colorado or Utah.
There are so many good people involved in this process, from the ones who get the dogs out of the shelter, the temporary fosters along the way, the transport drivers, the rescues who house and find all of these dogs loving homes. Each of us volunteering our time, gas and money to save these deserving, scared, forgotten, loving souls. No matter how often I make this drive, knowing that I am saving lives, knowing that I am just one link in a long chain of love that saves innocent lives, knowing keeps me driving this long stretch of lonely highway, like I’ve done a thousand times before. Happy Tails babies.