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Stopping

“Stop,” a little voice screamed from behind me.

I turned around, pulling our lovable Labrador, Luna, with me.

There, was little four-year-old Wyatt huffing toward me, as fast as his little legs could pedal his bike with training wheels. I’d met Wyatt, his little sister, Ava, and his parents just moments before while taking Luna on her evening walk. Luna tugged on the leash as we chatted, and I gave in, knowing she wanted some privacy to do her business.

Wyatt loved Luna and wanted more face time with her, apparently.

“I told you to stop, but you didn’t stop,” he wailed.

I walked back to Wyatt, Luna gave him a big wet one on the face and I said, “I’m sorry, sweetie. I didn’t know you were trying to catch up with us.”

“I was, and I couldn’t,” he said, his voice quivering.

I know the feeling. I felt like I was having problems catching up with myself since taking off on our journey a week before. From driving like crazy people from Toledo to San Antonio in two days, then touching down in San Antonio for two days, dropping into the land of snow (as I now call El Paso), and then on to Phoenix in no time flat, I simply needed to stop.

Our campground, Wild West Ranch, is located in the Sonoran Desert. The ground consists of dust and dirt, evolved from stone and rock. The first night we arrived, under cover of cold, starry skies without a lick of light pollution, we struggled to find the spot we were to camp at. I got out of the motor home and walked cluelessly with my flashlight in hand, trying to avoid flashing neighbors. Using the rudimentary map I had, I found our spot, thinking Nancy Drew would be proud. Luna continued to circle away, trying her best to find any bit of vegetation to relieve herself on. Proud momma moment: this old dog can pee on any natural surface now. Luna…not me. I’m still working on it.

The Wild West Ranch is way south of Phoenix, about 45 minutes from our friends, Tom and Margo, with who we had intentions of getting together as much as possible. It’s surrounded by the Ak-Chin reservation. Ak-Chin translates into the “mouth of the wash.” As we drove up to Phoenix that week, I was amazed at the cotton fields and the irrigation system in place for what I learned to be 15,000 acres of farmland. The United States “gave” the tribe 47,000 acres in 1912. That was reduced to less than half that the following year. But the Native Americans gained water rights to the Colorado River in 1984 and have been successfully farming ever since.

So, in the midst of this dust and dirt, lived Ava, Wyatt, and their parents, in their travel trailer. Dad worked at the Intel chip manufacturing plant way being built in Phoenix. The new plant will support over 3,000 new jobs. I have a feeling that the Wild West Ranch won’t feel so wild the next we come this way.

For the moment though, Luna was licking Wyatt and Ava, giggles erupting from their sweet little faces, and I was stopped.

Blissfully stopped.