Travels with Charlize, in search of living alone

David Gross

Publisher’s note: After his losing his wife of 52 years to cancer, Dr. David Gross has embarked on an extended road trip with his new dog, Charlize, and is writing about his experiences. We will continue to update the links below as we post his stories.

Part 1: The Start

I was holding her close, cradling her head in my arms when she died. As I write this, it was 30 days, three hours and 36 minutes ago. April 23, we would have celebrated 53 years of marriage. I’m coping, sort of…

Part 2: On the Road

The frustrations of the last four days before my obsessively determined departure date are over. Who would believe that a newly single adult male and his dog could experience so many problems trying to get out of town…

Part 3: The Kalaloch Campground

Saturday at 6 a.m., Charlize and I walked the Kalaloch campground in the dark…

Part 4: Musings

I’ve decided to change my eating habits, at least while on this adventure. We’ll see how that plays out once I’m home…

Part 5: Lewis and Clark

True to my obsessive, head-down and push-until-the-task-is-complete nature I sat at my computer and printed out Google maps for nine days of travel…

Part 6: Ahead of schedule, are we having fun yet?

We stayed in a KOA campground in Lincoln City, OR. The people were nice, the place average…

Part 7: Named vehicles

The first automobile I had the use of was a 1940 Chevy two-door sedan…

Part 8: Redwoods and more

Stayed in a fancy RV park in Fortuna, Calif. the night of Feb. 5…

Part 9: Old friends are the best

We stopped in Salinas and spent the afternoon and evening with a veterinary school classmate and his significant other…

Part 10: Frog is wounded

The friends I visited with in Salinas have three dogs…

Part 11: Shake down cruise

The true shake-down cruise for Frog started after leaving Oregon…

Part 12: Charlize is a bully

I would never have anticipated it…

Part 13: Yet another side of Charlize’s personality

We arrived in Phoenix but left Frog in San Diego…

Part 14: Changes, people and places

The longer I live the more apparent it is to me that people change…

Part 15: First trip to San Diego

On the way over from San Diego to Phoenix, I remembered the first time I made the journey…

Part 16: More musings

I’ve been re-reading John Steinbeck, returning to his books after a 30- to 40-year hiatus…

Part 17: The Mohave Desert

For two days, Charlize and I drove through the Mohave Desert…

Part: 18: Zion, Bryce and awesome back roads

Growing up in Arizona and spending significant time camping at and in both the Grand Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon…

Part 19: The Fruita Campground

We traveled through yet another red rock canyon…

Part 20: The future of the Colorado River dams

Our journey from the Fruita Campground to the San Luis Valley took us over the upper reaches of Lake Powell…

Part 21: Denver, then and now

While driving in San Diego, Phoenix, and now in Denver I can hear my own voice speaking aloud…

Part 22: Home

Charlize doesn’t know we’re home. For over a month, at 6:30 or so each morning, she pressed her cold nose on my cheek…

Part 23: Dogs and Porcupines

Screaming at a toddler not to touch something hot can be effective, sometimes…

Part 24: On the Road

As we pulled out of my driveway I caught a glimpse of the sound and the sun glistening off the brilliant white snow topping off the Olympics…

Part 25: Fly fishing the Madison River

Matt called as promised, about 6 p.m. I had half-a-day of his time reserved for the next day and we agreed we would go out when…

Part 26: Yellowstone Park

It never occurred to me that it would be so difficult…

Part 27: First full working day on Pass Ranch

Last year only a little over seven inches of rain fell on the ranch…

Part 28: Moving dirt

The Sandhills are just that, hills of sand and valleys of sand and hollows of sand held in place by a sod formed by the roots and stems…

Part 29:  A Mile High

My friends Don and Susie were in Phoenix to attend the high school graduation of one of their grandsons, a life cycle event not to be missed…

Part 30: The Branding

It’s a culture of community building. There are, no doubt, more efficient ways of handling cows and separating them from their calves…

Part 31: Vulnerability

I was educated about food-borne diseases and public health in veterinary school…

Part 32: Return to Denver

Seems I can’t stay away. I’m back in Denver visiting old friends who have made a special effort to welcome and include me in their lives…

Part 33: Great Falls of the Missouri

I am an addict of all descriptions of the Lewis and Clark expedition…

Part 34: Charlize, Chloe and Grieving

Charlize has a new buddy, Chloe…

 Part 35: The Headstone

Wednesday was not a good day. It was time to do something about arrangements for a headstone for Rosalie…

Part 36: The road home

Charlize and I are on the road again…

Part 37: Elephant seals and amazing scenery

Charlize and I stopped at yet another vista, this one full of cars, trucks, campers, RVs and a lot of folks…

Part 38: Eureka

The Whale Watch Inn doesn’t have a breakfast room..

Part 39: Unintended consequences

Lately, I am beginning to think that Charlize is upset with me…

Part 40: Stuck in the house

One aspect of growing old, for animals and us humans, is that joints wear out…

Part 41: Seaman

Confinement while my surgically fused ankle heals provides time for reading,..

Part 42: The End, The Beginning

My travels with Charlize will continue. She is, after all, a great travel companion and provider of comfort and attention…

Part 43: Searching for a meaningful life

So—phase I is completed and I’m ready for phase II…

Part 44: What does the future hold?

Charlize is on the floor at my feet…

Part 45: Homeless

Charlize decided I need to get mad and motivated about something, then work to change it…

Part 46: Lobbying

In my last column, I described some of the major issues involved in the Homelessness Advocacy Day…

Part 47: On the road again

On Sunday, Feb. 9 the family and I ended the official mourning period, according to our traditional upbringing…

Part 48:  Oregon and beyond

Charlize and I are driving through southeastern Oregon and into California…

Part 49: Old stomping grounds

It is after dark and we finally arrive in Las Vegas. We enter town on a freeway I know nothing about…

Part 50: Old stomping grounds — continued

After eating overpriced Mexican food — fancy presentation, ordinary taste — in Sedona, Charlize and I braved the traffic to Cottonwood…

4 Comments

  1. Hi David,
    Are you driving an RV or are you tenting? It’s pretty austere to tent, especially this time of year; only the extra hardy love it. We are in Tucson but heading back to Edmonds via Calif Sat, March 2nd. I enjoy following you.

    Janice

  2. I have a new camper trailer. It’s only 17 feet long, but fully loaded and self-contained. Everything but the microwave and the TV works, even if I’m not hooked up to to an electrical service at an RV park. I enjoy the federal and state campgrounds most, but many of them do not provide electrical, water or sewer hookups.

  3. Hey David,
    I just finished the same journey. I left Edmonds November to Colorado, Cleveland Oh, back to Colorado…then to the Coast up 101. With my best friend Ceasar (Standard Poodle… Like John Steinbeck’s Charley) Of course stopped be to pay our respects to cannery row, John S and his center in Salinas. I too lost my dear husband but I only had his 31 years. My best to you and your journey. Make sure to talk to strangers listen to their stories and listen to the ocean & birds. My best to you Becky

  4. Hi Rebecca:
    Traveling the Pacific Coast Highway was one of many great experiences. Charlize and I will be off again next month, going to spend time with very dear and old friends who operate a large ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Will be posting about that experience next.
    Dave

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