October Update – P1 – Arizona + “the shittiest night ever”.

When I think “October”, I think yellow leaves, orange pumpkins, and red hot mochas (with marshmallows). That’s not what this one looked like…. this one looked like – well, keep reading to check it out!

The slogan at Hotel McCoy – “Travel for All” 

Tell ya the truth, the first week of October was actually a mess. We drove all the way from the Eastern side of Canada to Arizona, barely stopping along the way. As we were sleeping in the vehicle, it was WAY TOO HOT to stick around. I’m talking mid 20s (celsius) throughout the night. It was unbearable, especially in the more humid states. I would sweat through my clothes – day and night.

The only thing that got me through way going to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sprouts all in the same week. I’m envious of my American friends because you guys have so many more options, especially when it comes to health food and healthy treats!

For example here if you want dairy free yogurt you pretty much have two options: the small greek-style Daiya brand ones, and the Silk Coconut Yogurt in vanilla or unflavoured. I actually enjoy the both, but I love variety. There were so many dairy free options for things like yogurt and cheese I was blown away! I hope they make their way to Canada eventually.

The first place we took a breather was Hotel McCoy in Tucson. What a lifesaver. I say with confidence that it is the coolest place I’ve ever stayed. There are several reasons why I feel this way.

Our first impression of Hotel McCoy was over the phone. We were desperate for a break and looking for affordable dog friendly accommodation. For the most part it seems those are mutually exclusive, as many places want half your life savings to let you bring your dog. And we have two of them. So yeah, you get my point!

But back to McCoy – over the phone they were so kind, accommodating, and made bringing our dogs effortless. We booked the room before we arrived in Tuscon, not knowing what to expect. We happened upon a really pleasant surprise: an older motel completely redone in a beautiful modern meets vintage vibe. And it’s not just the decor: it’s the flooring, the mirrors …. everything is redone.

They support local artists by having them contribute to the artwork all around the property. They even brew local coffee. They are all about showing appreciation for their city and it’s warming to see.

And the staff – don’t get me started on the staff! Each and every one of them were a pleasure to meet and get to know. No matter how beautiful the space is, the customer service is what really tops it off. They go beyond great customer service by just being really great people to talk to in general. Absolute gems.

Lastly, instead of one of those run-of-the-mill warm milk and crappy cereal continental breakfasts, they go ALL OUT and do the most amazing oatmeal bar you’ve ever seen! There’s no topping they don’t have to add to your healthy and FREE oatmeal breakfast.

Sigh. I would love to go back one day.

If we didn’t have places to be, we would have stayed longer. Onward we went, stopping the morning after about an hour outside of Tucson at a naked hot springs.

If by “naked hot springs” you’re picturing a beautiful watering hole in the dessert in which to take a nude dip… well… not quite. It was a hidden area behind a highway gas station that you might never venture into unless you were really up for an adventure.

Not much to look at but worth taking the chance, the El Dorado Hot Springs are actually a collection of bath tubs and bathing areas (different sizes and temperatures) enclosed in metal barricades for privacy. It looks like the place is made entirely from scrap metals and materials. This might be off-putting for some people, but I think you could more accurately describe Matthew and I as utterly amused. We got down to our birthday suits and checked it out. There were only two other people there. It was a beautiful day and we felt totally comfortable there. We didn’t stay for long, as the pups were waiting for us.

I really loved Arizona, and the dessert. It’s everything I hoped it would be. The sunshine and the relief from the stubborn humidity of the southeastern states brought me back to life.

And then there was California. On our way to San Diego, we stopped in the San Bernardino forest for a night. And for reasons I’m about to spill, it’s now known as the “shittiest night ever”. 

Pictured above is our cute little camping area. Priority #1 is always to get all set up, so that we have time to enjoy our surroundings after without worrying that nightfall will creep up on us. So that’s exactly what we did.

We’re nearing the end of our tasks when we call on the dogs to check that they are still around and doing okay. When we see Athena, our normally white coloured dog, we were immediately alarmed. Her face was covered in brown stuff. Was it mud?

Nope. Not mud.

She had managed to roll her entire face in poop. Dogs are weird… I mean, what about that could possibly be appealing?? Where did she find the poop? We had to wipe off her face, but with our leftover water and a couple of baby wipes, I couldn’t do my best work.

But you know what? These things happen when you travel with dogs. So no problem. We ate dinner and shortly afterward settled in our tent for the evening.

At around midnight, I awaken to the sound of something splashing inside the tent. I am at this point still half asleep and unsure of what is going on, and Matthew nudges me to check what it is. My first thought was that it’s puke, as our older dog has a sensitive stomach and I thought that was the most likely scenario. Before I can even open my flashlight to check the front of the tent, my senses are accosted with the smell of poop.

Inside I’m like, no not poop again.

I shine the light. I see dog diarrhea all over the front of the tent. Matthew and I look at each other helplessly (without actually, because it’s pitch dark) and ask “what should we do??”.  I’m thinking we have got to abort mission here and go sleep in the truck. We grabbed our blankets and got into the truck. I’m feeling a little upset at this point because it was a pretty stressful moment, but I was ready to move past it and deal with the tent in the morning.

I was slowly drifting off to sleep, until we hear another splash about an hour later. I didn’t have to look – this time I knew. Matthew rushes the dogs out of the truck, and we are absolutely scrambling to clean up dog shit out of the back seat in the pitch dark and cold mountain air. By the way, I have a weak stomach so I was just beyond myself at this point! Shout out to Matthew for taking the reigns on this one.

That’s when we heard the coyotes closing in. One minute they sound like they are a bit further away, but with the commotion and the scent of the dogs attracting them we heard them inching forward.

We got back into the truck as quickly as we could. It was cold, I was exhausted (and grossed out) and it still smelled like poop in there. At the time, I had a moment of asking myself: what the HELL am I doing. I actually teared up with frustration. Matthew starts laughing (he is a psychopath am I right??).

The calm before the storm

The next morning, after some serious (I mean SERIOUS) clean up, everything was right as rain again.

Now I look back and I laugh at that story. I tell Matthew that if we could survive that night, we could survive anything.

We left the next day for San Diego, which I will tell you all about in the OCTOBER UPDATE PART 2, coming soon.

I have more interesting stories to tell you, so I hope you’ll come back when part 2 is published and check it out!

Let me know if anything gross/frustrating/traumatizing has ever happened to you that you are able to laugh about now!


Posted by

Welcome to Standing Strong Wellness, where we embrace how much a strong body supports a strong mind! I'm Jen Standing - Certified Nutrition Consultant, Blogger, Food Lover, and CEO behind SSW. I'm a wellness-nerd who loves sharing my knowledge with others on all things food, fitness, nutrition, and mental health - stick around for tips on all of those topics!

One thought on “October Update – P1 – Arizona + “the shittiest night ever”.

Leave a Reply