What could possibly go wrong on a short 2-hour trip to Idaho?

By Jay Stoeckl, Aug. 2, 2023
Vlad -2
Vlad running through the forest

This past sunny Monday afternoon Jennifer and I embarked on a two-hour trip to Idaho with our beautiful American Dirus dog, Vlad, by our side.

Our mission?

To pick up a half cow's worth of beef from a local meat processing plant.

I know… I know… what the heck?

Did he just say 1/2 a cow??

Yep… I really did.

Jennifer and I felt if we bought our meat in bulk from a local grass-fed, no hormones, no vax farmer, we could save money and beat future inflation.

It was our first time purchasing so much meat, so we had to make sure we were well-prepared to house that amount of beef.

Before setting off, we bought a spacious freezer to store the meat properly. We found a 15 cu. ft. propane freezer, double the space needed, on Craig’s List the week before.

With everything in place, Vlad eagerly hopped into our Chrysler Pacifica van, excited for the adventure ahead. As we hit the road, his sparkling eyes and wagging tail assured us he was a willing and excellent companion for this journey.

The day was cool.

The clouds were white and fluffy.

Our spirits were high.

Vlad smiled his toothy grin.

What could possibly go wrong?

Driving through the picturesque mountain passes, Vlad seemed thrilled by the ever-changing scenery. Although he panted a bit during the twists and turns, his enthusiasm never waned. As we talked and laughed, he occasionally rested his head on Jennifer's shoulder, savoring the closeness.

Upon arriving at the meat processing plant, we were astounded by the half cow's quantity.

The neatly packaged beef sat behind a secure wire mesh wall in the back of our van, covered by a cozy wool blanket to preserve its chill. It was an impressive sight, and we knew it was a good thing we invested in the spacious propane freezer.

With the beef loaded and our faithful companion settled comfortably, we set off on the return journey. However, as time ticked by, I began to grow unsure if we were going the right way. I turned to Jennifer for reassurance, and she confidently affirmed that we were still on highway 95 and heading in the correct direction.

Minutes turned into an anxious hour, and we realized that the turn we were supposed to take was nowhere in sight. My phone suddenly lit up with a text message, interrupting our worried thoughts.

Jennifer's eyes widened as she read the message…

Welcome to Canada!

"We must’ve missed the turn a while back," she admitted sheepishly, her navigational skills momentarily failing us.

Luckily, we didn’t actually cross the border yet, although we were close enough for the phone to think we did!

But we took a deep breath and decided not to let this hiccup dampen our spirits.

Turning around, we eventually found the right path and reached our destination with a mix of relief and laughter. Vlad, ever the patient companion, had been content and blissfully unaware of our brief detour.

In the end, the adventure had been filled with laughter, memories, and the occasional misstep.

But the sight of the half cow's worth of beef in our van, ready to be preserved in the freezer, made it all worth it. As we unloaded the meat, Vlad watched curiously, seemingly proud of our successful mission.

Our trip to Idaho had been an unforgettable experience, made even more memorable by our trusty companion, Vlad.

With hearts full of joy and a freezer full of beef, we cherish the time spent together as a family on this delightful journey.

What would we be without our precious companion dogs at our side when crazy unexpected adventures happen?

I am so grateful for their comforting hugs and sparkling positive disposition whenever times get tough.

We have quite a few retired sweethearts looking for new homes, so if you have been hoping for a devoted dog to share in the wonderful moments of your life, check out the link below. Your happiness awaits:


Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.