Day Two on LoA Trip (Part One) – Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

There is a battle of two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. The wolf that wins? The one you feed. – Cherokee Proverb

Leaving the Hotel  

Leaving LaQuinta in Colorado Springs, Colorado was far less dramatic. Just merely packed up our goods and took off. Though the one thing different was a destination at a particular time. Being in a larger college town, helped, as there was coffee to get. I found I cannot trust any hotel’s free house coffee from Sterling, Colorado.   

Did get some more fresh ice from this hotel, in much the same fashion. Empty one cooler, fill it up with ice and spread it amongst the three coolers. I did have to empty the thawed-out ice water before adding the new ice this time. I didn’t feel a need to take a shower on this day, as yesterday was low impact.   

I followed my traditional protocol once the belongings had been loaded into the vehicle, of checking the room for any overlooked items. As I had done a fantastic job of keeping all of our belongings together, I then moved to my next protocol while in a hotel room. I am very anal retentive about making sure that the sheets, covers, and pillowcases are ripped off the bed. I keep like things with similar things.   

I adopted that behavior when I heard of a few instances of hotels/motels just tucking sheets from previous tenants. I am cognizant of future patrons and want the housekeeping staff to always do their job. I ripped off the sheets from both beds, placed all like things, sheets – in one pile, pillowcases in another pile, and the blankets in a different pile. I even made a pile of the used towels/washcloths.   

I do my due diligence to keep people honest. It’s weird where it manifests itself. I expect and almost demand people operate with integrity and help ‘guide’ them to follow suit. This is where big-picture thinking applies its own set of mantras. Some graduated OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) level shit.  

Plasma donation   

Once the vehicle was loaded up, with Ellie being accounted for, I set the GPS for the local Plasma donation center. I arrived, and parked like an asshole, taking up three parking spots. Hard to fit into one spot with a trailer. I made sure to provide space in front of the vehicle, to prevent someone from trying to park directly in front of me, while making sure the trailer was out of the thoroughfare.   

I went to log into my account with the touch screen. I kept getting an error message that I wasn’t recognized. It befuddled me. I tried again, received the same error. I waited at the front, but the front desk phlebotomists were all busy intaking donators. I wandered the halls and found a live body in a small office. I inquired if I was doing something wrong.   

This person looked at my account and couldn’t figure out what happened. They brought me back out to the front desk and interrupted one of the intake phlebotomists, who would take care of me when they finished up. I waited patiently. While waiting, I saw that I could park closer and use more shade, while Ellie would sit in the car. I informed the staff member that I would be right back.   

Once the vehicle was moved, under shade, and closer to the building, the staff member worked with me. They figured that because I was visiting from out of state, I had to activate my account at that location for my account to work. Once that snafu was figured out, I was able to log into the touchscreen kiosk and get ready to donate.   

I stood in line for the intake, who just so happened to be the staff member who helped me with my account. I answered the second set of questions and agreed to their demands and protein and plasma level checks from a finger prick. All of my stats passed. I signed my name on the little touch screen with an upside-down swab, and off I went to the line to get connected.   

While I was hooked up, I watched a well-built male who followed me into his chaise lounger, as one of the phlebotomists was flirting with him. They talked about dogs, schedules, what he did for work, and how long she had been employed with the Plasma Center. Normally, when I am donating plasma, I use my amazing noise-canceling headphones to shut the world out of my aural space. These headphones have been the subject of a few name-brand drops with my therapist. I suspect highly that I deal with Misophonia, which causes me to lose focus and become so myopically connected to whatever distracting noises are around me.   

Since I didn’t have my headphones to protect me from distractions, I was stuck on an island with all these people. The gal who inserted the needle did a fantastic job. I barely felt it. She recently lost one of her cats, so she commented on my tattoos with intrigue. The flagrant flirting was an interesting scenario to watch unfold. At first, I thought these two people knew each other from outside the place. The more I gauged the scenario, the more I realized the woman was hitting on this good-looking guy.   

Thankfully, I had hydrated the day before and that morning, so my time was shorter than average with my donation. The person who helped get me bandaged up was efficient. I was able to get out of there before I had to endure any more of the open cat-calling session, with this giddy woman and the man donating.   

Destination: Coffee  

I quickly stopped in the bathroom to relieve myself from all the hydrating. Once that was completed, washed my hands and left abruptly. I opened the back door to make sure Ellie was ok, which she was as content as a clam in cool water. Once that was done, it was time to grab some coffee.   

I opened the map app on my phone and found the nearest independent coffee shop. Once I found one, on our way out of town, I clicked on it to get directed to it. Thankfully, it was a wrap-around parking lot, so I was able to park against the curb in a non-traditional parking spot. I walked in and observed all the local art. There were a couple of people in front of me in line.   

By the time the woman in front of me got to the counter, she seemed confused. The transaction seemed to take far longer than normal. While waiting for her to complete her order, another patron walked in. He didn’t keep the 6’ social distancing directive. He confused the barista, who informed both of us, she would be with US very shortly. I was by myself, there was NO US.   

The barista had delivered the order to the woman who was just before me, then addressed the dude after me and me again, like we were together. I bluntly informed her there was NO US, I was by myself. I didn’t know this clown. Why the fuck would he stand so close to me to cause that kind of confusion?   

Oh well! I ordered my drink of choice and then inquired about the pastries in the display. I asked for my drink and a pastry. She took my money for the order and informed me she would bring it to me, once she had completed it. She finally addresses the clown behind me, takes his order, of which another person did go with him after I stepped away from the line.   

As my order was to go, and this place did offer inside seating, I stepped far away. I perused the local art hanging on the walls that were not near people. Some of the stuff was pretty neat but seemed to be anime-inspired. The whole theme seemed caricature and anime’esque. Eventually, the barista was able to complete the difficult task of compiling my coffee drink. She sought me out, but I met her halfway. I thanked her and exited the building without further ado.   

Downtime before Wolves!  

Being still in Colorado Springs, I needed to destine myself 45 miles or so out of town. I set the GPS for the area I needed to head to. Along the way, I noticed some cheap fuel. I pulled off, and a state patrol pulled in behind me to fuel up too. I emptied accumulated garbage inside the vehicle while fueling up. I cleaned off the windows, front, side, and rear. I hate dirty windows. I am almost neurotic about clean windows.   

Once the fueling, cleaning out the garbage and then squeegeeing the shit out the windshield, headlights, and other windows, have completed, it’s onto another destination. I look at the map, and we are close to the entrance to Pike’s Peak Park. It becomes a destination. GPS is set, off we go. We get to the park entrance and Ellie, and I are waiting patiently as many cars are in front of us.   

Waiting for about 10 minutes, slowly progressing forward, a park ranger comes walking out. I thought he was heading to break, but he was coming out to talk to me. I roll the window down, whilst shushing the fuck out of Ellie, who deemed this ranger as being too close to our vehicle. He informed me that no vehicles hauling trailers were allowed into the park. He did offer the opportunity to park the trailer in a parking spot near the visitor’s center entrance.   

The time frame which I had, didn’t allow for this kind of deviation. I informed him that I would need to stop by another time. I did ask him if Pike’s Peak was part of the National Park Services system, and he informed me that it was a city park. That information helped me realize that I would still need to buy my NP (National Park) annual pass from the proper source. He directed me to complete a U-turn out of line.   

We passed the North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop. It seemed like a big deal for how large the warehouse and shopping area were. It seemed quaint, but I wasn’t interested in taking some mundane pictures of the place. Just didn’t fit the criteria for something that needed to be captured. We passed it by without a second thought. I had about an hour I could kill, which explained why I wasn’t going to pursue Pike’s Peak Park.   

Wolf Center, Here We Come!  

I set the GPS in Google Maps, as it had listed the wolf habitat there. The estimated arrival time would be about 75 minutes ahead of schedule. I figured Ellie and I could walk around if they were not accessible until the actual time for the tour. I took my time driving out there, to help kill a few moments. We arrived at the time the estimation was. I pulled up onto the property and saw a small dog relief area, picnic tables, and a large enough area for us to park.  

Once I was satisfied with the park job, that I wasn’t going to impede anyone else’s ability to park, I pulled Ellie out of her taco. I clipped the leash onto her – grabbed her pickle and we waddled over to the dog relief area. I unlocked the gate, took Ellie’s leash off, and let her sniff around for a few minutes. Once she was happy, she got the bulk of smells, she was ready to play.   

Ellie and her pickle in the dog relief area

I started to throw the pickle. She enthusiastically retrieved it and dropped it at my feet. After about 5 throws, she decides it’s a good time for a bowel movement. Who was I to tell her otherwise? I picked up after her and went back to throwing her pickle. I had also brought her collapsible water bowl, with plenty of water in it.   

We played hard for a good 15 minutes. I helped release all that pent-up energy in her small taut body. She seemed temporarily exhausted. We exited the dog relief area. I locked up behind us. Carrying her pickle, as she is completely unreliable to keep it, I brought it to the vehicle and threw it on her comfy taco. I locked Ellie up to the trailer, while I took a few minutes gathering some pictures of the area. I saw an arctic wolf keenly aware of Ellie’s presence. This wolf was alert. I captured a ton of pictures of this guy.   

Interested in Ellie as prey or playmate?

I made lip-smacking noises and spoke quietly to the wolf. Its pen-mate was also interested in whatever it was aware of. I suspect the scent of Ellie, along with her walking to the dog relief area played directly into their myopia. I was intrigued by their intrigue with Ellie. One of the groundskeepers was walking past me. She commented on how I met some of the wolves.   

Once Ellie seemed energetic enough, I grabbed her from the trailer, and we walked down the long driveway. I captured some pics of wolf wood carvings, iron cutouts, and the sign on the road. Ellie enjoyed all of the attention, and my excitement, though muted to a casual observer, was heightened.   

One of the few wolf sculptures around the grounds
Ellie and the steel cutouts
Ellie and the street sign

Due to how exciting this day was to me, I am going to cut this part of the chronicle short. I will plan on adding part two to the blog tomorrow. If I continue with all the nuances of the Wolf Center visit, this will become a novella, in and of itself. Thanks for your patience.   

As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the ’90s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as a marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or email, like posts or even comment on posts. Immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane! 

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