Well, plans have a way of changing when things don't go the way you figured. We were awakened by the gentle rocking of the RV as we were in the middle of a High Wind Warning, with sustained winds of 40+ mph and gusts up to 60! Well, guess we will get to check out Spotted Dog after all, because there was no way we were going to chance driving to Arizona in those conditions. We found out later in the day that Interstate 10 was closed at the New Mexico/Arizona state line because of the winds. So, with that information we were satisfied in our decision to stay in Las Cruces for another day, and get to sample the fare at Spotted Dog.
Spotted Dog is one of those places that you can tell is a labor of love. Only open since 2014, owner Jerry Grandle and his wife Susan have created an oasis for the thirst craft beer lover. I spoke with Jerry briefly; he was in the middle of a brew, and couldn't leave it unattended for long. They have no distribution except on premise, but I wouldn't call it a brewpub. Other than Jerry's brews, there are no other alcoholic beverages offered. I asked Jerry if he planned on any growth. "Nope," he said, "I am happy with doing this." And he does it well.
The first thing you notice is that Jerry's not messing around. He likes high ABV brews, and he has a policy that no brewpub owner would EVER consider implementing: only 4 drinks per person per visit. His reasoning is simple. "Our beers have more alcohol than what most are used to," he said, (I think in reference to the students of New Mexico State University just down the street) "and the last thing we want is for something terrible to happen... also we don't need any drunken idiots around here." Marilee fell in love with a chocolate ale, which was peculiarly golden in color, but full of chocolate aromas and flavor. I enjoyed the Hefeweizen and 7.8% abv Brown Ale, which was exceptional! (Side note: I find most brown ales to be boring- not all, but most. Jerry's was rich, malty, mildly hopped, with caramel and lightly roasted flavors, delicious!) Kódí thought the water was exceptional, as well!
Another night in Las Cruces with gusty winds gently rocking the RV reminded me of my days on the river and the moving of the towboat while in my bunk. Woke up the next day, the winds were still howling, however the forecast called for them lessening by mid-day. Looking out the port window of the cabin, in the small tree next to our site, a mourning dove hunkered down in its nest in the crook of the tree. I had noticed her the evening before, not more than ten feet from the window. She sat there, as she probably had been all night, keeping her eggs warm, patiently waiting for the wind to die down so she might be able to go feed. Even when we broke camp, and I pulled the slideout in, and I walked right past her in the nest she did not move, a testament to the instinctual love of a mother to firstly and foremost protect her offspring. I did not much think on it while we were there; my mind was preoccupied with the thought of driving into a 25 mph head wind, but once we were on the road and I had adjusted to rocking and shifting of the RV in the wind, I began to think about the dove, hunkered down, protecting her eggs in the gale, and I wished then that I had taken a photo of her devotion.
The drive from Las Cruces to Tucson wasn't extremely dangerous, but it was incredibly nerve racking. It required that I pay attention to what I was doing at all times, both hands on the wheel, ready to correct when a gust came up, but not overcorrect, which could be just as dangerous as doing nothing. And had it not been necessary, we would have stayed another day in Las Cruces. By the time we reached Tucson the gusts had died down, and then as we headed northwest towards Phoenix the constant speed lessened yet, and by the time we were beyond Phoenix following following US 60 through the Saguaro covered desert of the Hassayampa River valley toward Wickenburg, I had nearly forgotten about the winds all together. And why were we going to Wickenburg? I had an appointment to preform a ceremony to marry these two wonderful people.
The Desert Cyprus Campground in Wickenburg was a great place. Two nights there; arriving late for the rehearsal dinner, and then the day of the wedding. I wish we would have had some more time to explore the town, but we had places to go and beers to drink. And Kódí was ready to roll!