Monday, October 28, 2013

We Know You're Not From Here

I turned off the blacktop and onto my gravel road around noon yesterday, and was slowed by dog walkers.

That's right. Five miles from town. Out in the sticks. On a road that's not even a blue highway on a state road map. Dog walkers. I immediately sensed their foreignness. Definitely not Backroads dwellers. They had to be city folks, out for a Sunday drive in no-man's land. Roughing it. On an adventure with their four-legged friends. The signs were all there.

First was the big sign. The sign nailed up on a tree ten feet into our gravel road. "Private Property. No Trespassing." Parking one's truck on the edge of the gravel road past that sign kind of counts as trespassing, you know. That's why we used to have a big metal gate with a chain and a padlock, until too many people actually built homes on their property and didn't want to get out and unlock it. The free part of the road is the blacktop, by the bridge, by the creek. Nobody can own a creek. Your dogs can pee to their heart's content in the creek, or along the blacktop right-of-way.

The second sign was the truck. It almost fooled me. A pickup truck, by cracky! Then I noticed the color-coordinated, locking bed cover. No. We don't normally have those. They don't fit right with a toolbox mounted against the cab. And it's hard to haul stuff under a cover.

The coats on the man and woman were a clue. Coats! At only 54 degrees! Who wears a coat in such balmy weather? Not Backroadsians. And not in such bright neon green. That color is for road workers. Besides, a Backroadsian will still be wearing his wife-beater sleeveless ribbed white t-shirt at 54 degrees. If the temperature drops below freezing, he might throw a flannel shirt over it. Below zero, it's a sandstone-colored Carhartt cotton-duck jacket.

And another thing. Backroadsians do not run around with their women. Guys hang out with other guys in their pickup trucks. The gals stay at home. Man and woman together in the woods on a Sunday afternoon? Not in these parts.

The dogs themselves were out of their element. So excited! Two big black ones, and a brown one. I didn't get a good look at the breed, though I'm sure they were not simply mutts. They were so hyped up that two tried to run out in front of me. Perhaps to shove their snouts in my mouth for a good chewing, or because they were so over-stimulated by the country aromas wafting on the wind. Thank goodness the doggies were safe, because they were on leashes!

Major clue! Backroadsians don't take their dogs anywhere on leashes. And they most certainly don't have the leashes hooked to nice harnesses that fit each dog like a tailor-made suit. Backroadsians lower the tailgate of the coverless pickup bed of their truck, give a whistle, and Fido and Rover hop in for a ride. They pace side to side, sniffing the air as they fly down the highway. If the Backroadsian makes a stop at a gas station or Walmart, the dog stays with the truck. It would never enter Fido's mind to hop out and run off after a scent. He jumps up on the metal toolbox and barks as people walk by. He's protecting his truck.

I didn't witness it from this particular couple, but I've seen it at the front-lawn dog toilet that locals call The Dairy Queen. The method of rehydrating the canines. Nobody around here carries a collapsible water bowl, into which they pour bottled water. Backroadsians motion for the dog to jump down from the truck, where it will drink from a muddy puddle.

Yeah. We know you're not from here. But for the sake of the dogs, we look the other way.


  1. Maybe they were looking for Val--the famous writer from that part of the world...

  2. City slicker intruders should just go back to where they came from. Oh my you can spot them a mile away. That close to aNo Trespassing sign? Daredevils too? Hick load up his buckshot? That's no joking matter in some parts.

  3. At least they're not the Californians who come all the way to Idaho just to shoot birds--with all their gear and their bazillion dollar dogs ( the Californians, not the birds). Yeah, the ones who didn't know the difference between a cow and a pheasant. Who ignore any sign that says, "No Trespassing" or at least "Please Close the Gate."

    I've got a lot of respect for newbies who do what they can to learn the importance of when to put their Carharts over their wifeb--er tee shirts, but the ones who just show up long enough to blow a bird out of the sky or catch a fish in some gravel pit; they can just stay away.

  4. I'm glad you aren't punishing the dogs for the sad behavior of their owners.

  5. Makes me wonder what they were doing there.

  6. And then they came to my kampground and asked me if I was sure their rig would fit ...........

  7. Sioux,
    I'm sure that was it. Or else they were scoping out the mailbox for an upcoming theft.

    Hick is always on the other end of the buckshot. In one week, he was threatened to be shot once, and actually shot at twice. Good thing the first would-be shooter ex-city-slicker also threatened to shoot the deputy who came to investigate, and saw the error of his ways with a hefty lawyer fee. And the actual shooters who were teenagers were confronted by one angry Hick who put the fear of a crazed hillbilly into them for not paying attention to their background while shooting unsupervised into the woods and peppering Hick's cabin roof while he was inside.

    Thanks for feeling my pain. We are not one great big dog toilet outside the city limits.

    Those dogs need a chance to be DOGS, by cracky! Not pampered pooches. I wouldn't be surprised if those folks didn't use baby wipes to clean the dogs' butts.

    Assuming the woods were their oyster, leaving pearls for us swine, by way of their dogs' butts.

    Do I get a kickback for the referral?