Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Journey Home – a new frontier (3 weeks late)

October 29th – (Friday) back in Vancouver!  The flight was mostly uneventful, except for the little boy named Spencer that screamed for the entire 5 hours from Philly How did I know his name you ask?  Because the guy sitting behind Spencer and his parents, the Snow Boarded Dude, kept trying to make friends with him to get him to stop crying.  For most of this, I put my head phones and watched a movie.  I then turned on my IPod and listened to music for the next 2 ½ hours.  With about 15 minutes until touchdown in Utah, Snow Boarder Dude seemed to reach his limit. He leaned over the seat and said to Spencer…  “Little Dude, do you know what they do with crying kids?  They throw them off the plane.  I don’t want to see them open that door and throw you out, so you need to make all these nice people happy and stop screaming.”  Spencer kept screaming – Snow Boarder = 0 / Spencer = 1 (epic fail).  15 minutes later when we landed in Utah, I was one of the last people to get off the plane.  As I walked through the door of the plane, there was a crowd gathered and things were starting to back up.  I realized that the commotion was the 10 police officers handcuffing Snow Boarder Dude for threatening Spencer.  The last thing I heard him say was that Spencer’s parents took it all out of context and that he really didn’t mean that he was going to throw their kid off the plane.  Man, some people are just so sensitive.

The flight from Utah to Portland was great!  Bad Dog picked me up at the airport with the Little Squirt in tow.  I was happy to see them both!  We headed to the Doggie Dude Ranch (aka Kimi K’s place). As usual, Lucy rolled the Little Squirt when she walked in the door.  Lucy doesn’t like being left home.

October 30th – (Saturday) – Today we went to the Multnomah Falls.  It was pouring rain the entire day so Bad Dog said that I was truly getting to experience Washington at its finest……  Even in the rain, it was fantastic.  Not a good hair day, but I’m not sure there is no such a thing as a good hair day in Washington.  Saturday night we met a bunch of Bad Dog’s friends at a local pub.  The beer was great and the meeting up with friends was great too.  As usual it was raining………  As we were leaving the bar and being the East coast pup that I am, I decided that I really didn’t want to get rained on again so I dashed across the parking lot to the car.  As my feet left the ground to jump up on a curb, I realized that the curb was painted for “no parking” and it was slick with rain.  Did you ever have that moment in time when you know something is a bad idea, but that thought comes a little too late……  This was one of those moments!  As I expected my boot to grip the sidewalk, it didn’t and I slid across the sidewalk spinning out of control and landed on my back in a collection of rain water.  So much for not getting wet!  And as usual when I fall down, which is turning out to be more frequent as of late, I knew I hurt my knee, butI jumped up in hopes that no one saw it.  Wrong……Glen and Daphne caught the performance as quick as it was.  It was during the time when I was laying on the ground in the puddle, that I realized once again that my 48 year old body doesn’t respond like the 18 year old body I used to have.  When we got back to the RV, I could tell that my knee took some of the impact as it was starting to swell and bruise.  I also have this lovely little pea sized nugget that is sliding around on my knee cap.  I guess I should call the Dr. so I can go in to see her when I get home…. At this point, it’s not time for an ER visit, but that will be re-evaluated at a later date. (update – you know it’s not a good sign when the Dr. touches the nugget on your knee and jumps back and and says – ewweeee.  SHe said it just surprised her that it moved.)  X-rays to come later.

Oh and by the way Daphne and Melissa – People’s sexiest man for 2010 – RYAN REYNOLDS – was #1 on my alternative  (sounds like) bucket list.

October 31st – (Sunday – Happy Halloween)  This morning when we woke up, it was just a little chilly willy in the RV.  Our propane had run out during the night and the heat went off.  It wasn’t a big deal as we were pulling out today and would stop to empty tanks and fill up on propane and gas.  As Bad Dog and I were making the last minute checks to make sure that the overhead bins were closed and that the tray tables were securely fastened, the Crew went outside for the last time.  I asked Bad Dog if it was ok that they were out front and he growled that they had been here for 2 weeks and it wasn’t a problem…. Just askin!

Everything was ready to go and I went outside to feed the Crew before takeoff.  I couldn’t find the Little Squirt or the Psycho anywhere.  The Beast was hanging out on the runway.  I walked around the front a rear yards and still couldn’t find the Crew.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a white truck with vented sides pull into the driveway next to the Doggie Dude Ranch.  I thought, hmmm that looks a lot like an animal control truck.  I then looked through the fence and saw the Psycho running rampant through the neighbor’s yard, with the Doggie Law Lady chasing her!  The Little Squirt, pink fur jacket and all, was in the animal control lady’s arms.  As I ran up to the fence to the Psycho, the animal control lady yells, “Is that your dog”.  Sheepishly I said yes.  She asked, “is this yours too?” as she held up the Little Squirt in her pink fur coat.  “Ummm, yes”, I replied.  She then said, “well I can’t catch that one”, pointing to the Psycho, “But I will bring this cute little one back to you”.

As I hustled the Beast back into the RV, thinking that an encounter with the Beast was the last thing we needed to make a good impression with the law.  The Doggie Law Lady drove up with the Little Squirt in her lap as Bad Dog was trying to coax the Psycho through the fence.  The animal control lady said that since the Little Squirt looked so cute in her pink fur coat, she wouldn’t give us a ticket.  As she looked as the RV and saw the BAD DOG ROAD TRIP vinyl on the back, she asked “you’ all are not from around here huh?”   “I’m not going to give you a ticket because this little thing in the pink coat is so cute.”  She handed the Little Squirt to me and just laughed and shook her head and got back into her truck.  I thought it might be pressing our luck to ask for her to hold the Little Squirt and the Psycho in back of the RV so we could get her picture.  I wished I would have asked.  We placed the CONVICTS in the RV and headed out to meet Mama Wanna and Kimi K for breakfast.

After breakfast we headed out by way of Mt. Hood and the Oregon Trail.  The mountain was amazing, the snow was like nothing I have felt on the east coast, and the air felt healing to breathe!  Any thoughts as to if I would move here?

We spent the night in Bend, Oregon in an amazing little town!  We ate pizza at Cibilli’s Pizza while we did laundry because the Little Squirt once again earned her name.  I think we need to take her back –she’s broken – she leaks………  We then parked for the night at Ana’s Reservoir RV Park, another great place.  When we pulled in for the night it was dark.  We drove down this little back road in the complete darkness and found this RV Park.  It looked desolate and there was only one other coach in the park.  At 6:00 am, when the rooster from the farm next door woke me up, I took the convicts and the Beast outside.  There were cows mooing up a storm next door and the rooster was in full cock-a-doodle-doo mode.  Bad Dog slept through it.

I made coffee, went and grabbed a shower in this a great little bath-house.  A long hot shower was in dire need.  As I went back to the RV and opened the front door, the Psycho bounded out and headed for the cattle farm!  Needless to say, I was in slippers and I still had a towel on my head.  Bad Dog came out and tried to help wrangle her, but I told him to go grab a shower (since he had not had a real shower with unlimited hot water for over 3 weeks) and I would get her.  30 agonizing minutes later I caught her.  The Psycho had squeezed through the farmers fence and she was trying to make friends with the cows, the sheep and the rooster!  Needless to say, she was not on the favorites list….. Mine or the farmers. I swear she must think her name is “Lucy NO!”

November 1st (Monday) – Today we finished off Oregon, California and entered Nevada.  We were on the road most of the day.  We stopped in Fallon, just south of Reno Nevada at an RV Park before heading to Las Vegas in the AM.

November 2nd (Tuesday).  We got up this morning and headed to Vegas.   We pulled into Vegas and I was amazed. Vegas had been on my bucket list for so long.  Just looking at the lights brought a smile to my face.  We stayed at Circus Circus KOA Park.  We settled in and took the crew out for a walk and then hit the strip.  We walked down Las Vegas Blvd. to Treasure Island, the Palazzo, the Mirage, the Encore and the Wynn.  All were amazing.  I thought it was hysterical that there were guys standing on the street corners wearing shirts that said, “If you want a girl, I can have one here in less than 40 minutes!, any kind you like!”  I guess the big thing in Vegas is baseball card hookers.  They were everywhere – like business cards.  You know, name, number stats, activities etc.

We walked back to Circus Circus so I could gamble a little.  Bad Dog isn’t a gambler so this was all me!  We bought $30 in chips and I decided to play blackjack.  I won about $45 and decided to walk away a winner when the guy next to me fired up a cigarette.  Being an ex-smoker – the part of Vegas that was totally disgusting was the amount of smoke in the casinos.  I wanted to play roulette but the only open spots were in between two people smoking and that wasn’t happening.  How can people sit there and play with a two inch ash hanging off a cigarette and a cloud of smoke surrounding their heads?  How can people sit next to that?  Without any non smoking options, I found a craps table where no one was smoking!  Woot Woot!

Playing at that table proved to be my downfall.  I gave it all back in under 10 minutes.  I only wanted to play long enough to roll the dice.  As I got the dice in my hand and I was ready to throw, a Drunk British Guy asks me, “How do you play this game?”  Really?  Drunk British Guy, I have freaking dice in my hand and money on the table and you think that I want to take the time to tutor you on the basics of craps?  F’ing Really?  He then proceeded to say, “This looks really hard to play, how does it work?”  AGAIN, F’ing Really?  I looked at him and said, “Dude, I’m losing money, I’m the last person you should ask.”  At that point I threw the dice and started to win.  It didn’t last long………… Bad Dog growled that I should have walked away a winner, but I didn’t listen.  Go figure? But seriously, it didn’t matter if I won or lost, I just wanted to play game.  Yeah, right……I wanted to WIN!  All in all, we spent $30 and I got to check Las Vegas off my bucket list.

In the morning, we took the crew out for daily business.  I was freaking out telling Bad Dog not to let the crew eat the Deer scat on the ground because we had a bad experience with that on the trip out.  Deer poop + Doggie Digestion = messy clean up – nuff said….  No need for details.  Anyway, he looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Have you seen a deer in Vegas?”  Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen a single deer.  So what were all of these little black nuggets on the ground?  It took me a while to figure it out….all I had to do was look up at the trees in the park.  The RV Park was an olive grove.  Doh!

November 3rd (Wednesday) This morning we left Vegas in search of the Hoover Dam. I now realize the Hoover Dam isn’t that easy to find.  We missed the turn, went over the dam and had toturn around.  Bad Dog pulled off the road and thought that this little gravel road may be a throughway to the parking lot.  IT WASN’T.  It was a little single lane gravel road that went up and down and left and right and into the valley of the dam.  Just as Bad Dog decided that this may not be such a good idea, we stopped the RV and he turned it around.  The off road thing in an RV that is 29 foot long was fun.  Not that I want to do it again, but it is something we can laugh about now.  After the Dam, we finished up the day in Flaggstaff Arizona and called it a night at the Flinstones RV Park.

November 4th (Thursday) – Grand Canyon Day!  What an amazing day!  We were complete tourists today and took hundreds of pictures.  The Little Squirt got to sit on the wall of the Grand Canyon.  We actually climbed down a few of the picture stops and as usual, I did some pretty stupid things, which I would do all over again.  The one thing that sticks out in my mind is Bad Dog’s words of wisdom…….. “It’s much easier to climb up than it is to climb down.”  True Dat.  The Grand Canyon couldn’t possibly be captured in my words, so take a look at the pics.  We ended the day at the Grand Canyon Outpost.  We gather a bunch of beer. Beer named Chicken Killer, Asylum, some Arrogant Bastard, and a few others.  It was a good night.

November 5th (Friday) – 607 miles today.  We stopped in Amarillo at an Iron Skillet to see if we could find a “Texas” sticker.  Negative.  Since it was 9:30 – oh wait it was 11:30 since we lost 2 hours from west coast time to central time we decided to spend the night there.  Bad Dog parked the RV in the trucker lot.  We stuck out like a sore thumb…….we were the only RV in sight.  In fact we were the only RV in the entire place.

November 6th (Saturday)  We left Amarillo and we were hoping to get at least 700 miles for the day.  Hope was good.  Bad Dog drove us through Texas, Oklahoma and we landed in Arkansas.  Late Saturday night we pulled into a Flying J to fill up the tank and Bad Dog kept going.  He drove through the night and I slept in the bed.  We finally pulled over and Bad Dog hit the sack and I took over driving.

November 7th (Sunday)  We arrived home safe and sound.  Once again, I apologize for not finishing this when we got home.  Next time I will be more diligent.

Off Road to Hoover Dam

After leaving Las Vegas Candace and I were headed to the Hoover Dam.

The road markers where so freaking bad going out of Nevada that we missed the off ramp so I took the next one.
The only road headed for Hoover Dam was an old wash board fire road so I thought WTF.  I grew up in Washington State and have been off road many times.  I have to say this was the first time in a 28ft RV.
After driving this road for about 25 minutes I decided to take the first chance I could to turn around because the road wasn’t getting any better.  As a matter of fact it was getting way worse.  Here’s a video and shots of the road.

Navigator’s Log – only three weeks late

Day one, captain’s log………..the journey to Washington……………..(time warp – to three weeks ago)

So, the number one thing I figured out about blogging is that it’s really hard to do while you’re doing all the stuff that you want to blog about.  When you finish doing all that stuff, your too damn tired to write about it.  So I will try to catch you up on some of the things that happened on the way to the west coast, then I flew home for two weeks, and then back to Portland to begin the journey home.  I’m sure that I have forgotten some of the truly funny things, but I’m sure I can make up for it on the way home….  I promise to be more diligent.

To any of my friends that think the RV’ing across the country is easy – guess again.  I know, you’re thinking…how hard could it be to sit in a comfy leather chair and watch the scenery go by?  That’s not how it happens!

It seems that once you reach the cruising speed or the appropriate velocity for travel and the captain has turned off the seatbelt sign, its game on!  And by the way, the dogs know this too!  It went a little something like this……  The captain has now turned off the seatbelt sign and passengers are free to move about the cabin.  No worries about the turbulence or cornering

Bad Dog – “Next time you’re up, can you get me a coffee?  I’m getting a little tired.
Me – with a book in my hands reading “Did I look like I was about to get up? But since you’re getting tired, I guess I’m getting up”
The Crew – “mom’s up” time to play and bite her feet to see if she can walk with us hanging on her pant leg”  and by the way, a bone or treat would be appreciated.”
Me – “who farted?”  as all three dogs lay back down……

So, as we started our journey, we thought it would be cool it get pictures of the “Welcome to the state of….” as we crossed each border.  We planned our route to be….Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and finally arriving in Washington.  Well, honestly, we really didn’t think of this until we were coming up to the Ohio line and I had the camera in my hands…..  As we came up to the sign, I took my first state sign shot and thought I was pretty damn cool and then it all went downhill from there.

1.      It took me 119 miles to get a good shot of the W70 interstate sign.

2.      I missed the Indiana sign because I was downloading a book on my iPad.

3.      I missed the Illinois sign because I was in the bathroom

4.      I missed the. Minnesota sign because I was getting my laptop

Come to think of it, I missed most of the signs until Bad Dog took over as the official road trip photographer.  Good thing because I suck at picture taking.

Since Bad Dog posted pictures along the way, I figured I would just talk about some of the things that didn’t make the pictures……

Day 1  – (Saturday) Driving…………We slept at the The Flying J in Columbus Ohio.  Not a lot to say about a truck stop or day 1…..

Day 2 (Sunday) – Driving……We pulled in to Camp Clear Lake in Iowa because I was tired and I wanted to sleep in someplace other than a truck stop.  I asked Bad Dog to find a place to pull over so we could get some rest.  Obviously at 11:30 at night, we had few options.  As we pulled into Clear Lake we could see the water (hence the name) but couldn’t find an RV park.  Finally we found this little place tucked into the woods, but it looked closed.  As I jumped out of the RV in complete darkness in the woods, it felt a little like Camp Crystal Lake.  I was waiting for Jason Voorhees to come out of the woods.  As I was reading the instructions for after hours check in (something I never knew existed until that moment) this little old lady came speeding up to me on a golf cart kicking up dust.  As I choked my way out of the cloud, I paid our money and she escorted us to our spot.  Golf Cart Lady kinda took a liking to Bag Dog because she was very pleasant to him.  On the other hand, she wouldn’t give me the time of day and proceeded to cover me with dust as she took off into the night on her golf cart.  The next morning when we woke up, we noticed that there was a very large church in the RV Park.  Bad Dog swears that it was a meth lab and that we interrupted their cooking the night before.  He said it smelled like cookies!

Day 3 – (Monday) Driving……We left Iowa and headed towards South Dakota.  We knew it would be a long driving day, but we wanted to try and make it to Rapid City SD so that we could spend some time at Mt Rushmore and Crazy horse on Tuesday.  After driving way to many miles in one day I was becoming rather antsy – or should I just say bitchy?  At 10:00 pm I announced that I was going to sleep on the couch if we were not stopping right now!  Bad Dog said he just wanted to make it to Rapid City and we would stop.  FINE….to the couch I went.  When I woke up we were pulling into a Travelodge.  It was pouring rain.  I mean torrential rain. Since I was still in my “I want to stop right now” funk, I told Bad Dog that he could do the hook up outside himself and he would walk the dogs too.  He did…….  I felt really bad because when he came back in he was totally soaked.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it rain that hard.  As fate would have it, the minute Bad Dog walked back into the RV with the soaking wet dogs, it stopped raining.  The next morning I walked up to the only breakfast spot in this Podunk town to get a bagel and it was closed.  WHAT?  Really?  I then walked over to the Travelodge to see if I could get a bagel.  The woman looked at me like I was crazy.  Apparently they don’t know what a bagel is in South Dakota. Note to self – pick up bagels at the next Walmart stop.   Still in my funk I walked back to the RV and Bad Dog was standing outside the RV.  He asked if I had walked up to the lodge yet.  I told him not to bother since they didn’t serve normal breakfast…..  He told me to turn around and look up.  As I did, I realized that we were parked right underneath Mount Rushmore.  My funk left right about that time…….. I doubt that there are words that could describe the awe of the moment.  Bad Dog planned this the whole time……  What a great surprise!

We spent the day at Rushmore and Crazy Horse and then we were heading to Hill City SD to roam around the town where Bad Dog grew up with his grandfather, the town Sheriff, Frenchy Tyler.

Day 4 – (Tuesday) We played in Hill City all day and visited all the places Bad Dog played when he was little.  Things had changed a lot.  We had breakfast at the Hill City Café.  The owner, Mike, who was 83 years old, actually knew the Grand Dog Sheriff, as did all the friends he was sitting with in the diner.  He sat down with us and told stories that Bad Dog had heard when he was a little pup.  He told us about the Lion that Grand Dog Sheriff shot to save a man in town.  He told us so many great stories that I could just see Bad Dog swell with pride and great memories.  When he went back to his table after sitting with us, Mike and his friends continued to tell stories about Grand Dog Sheriff.  I would like to think that the best part of the visit to Hill City was the next morning when everyone at the diner was told that Grand Dog Sheriff’s grandson ate breakfast there the previous morning

We walked around town most of the day and had a great time.  We had dinner at the Chute Rooster.  The restaurant is named for all the cowboys that are getting ready to ride the bull and think that they know everything.  I’m pretty sure it’s a derogatory term to describe them…… Anyway, since it was late, the waitress was nice enough to ask the owner if we could overnight in the parking lot.  The owner was nice enough to say yes and the provided us with electric for the night as well.

Day 5 – (Wednesday) We spent most of the day driving through Montana.  Bad Dog came up a little lame since we walked around so much the day before.  Along this part of the drive, I wish I would have seen a park ranger along the way because we would have had a nice chat….

Me:  Excuse me Park Ranger I need to report a theft.

Mr Ranger:  A theft – well Bad Pup, what was stolen?

Me:  Your buffalo……………… we only saw two in the whole state.

What’s up with that?   We saw lots of deer.  In fact, we saw more deer than people, but damn buffalo!

We made it to Devil’s tower at sunset and it was amazing!  We have some great pictures.  We stopped at the little convenience store by the tower and Bad Dog had to purchase a six pack of Devil’s Tower beer.  He said it was pretty darn good.

I was getting a little bitchy again and asked that we find the next place on the planet to pull off for the night.  Bad Dog obliged and we pulled off into this DARK place in the middle of Montana.  We took the dogs out to take care of business and I remember thinking, this is a nice little place and that it must be a post office because there was NOTHING else around and it had a little picket fence and flowers…..  The Crew, Bad and I crashed for the night…..

Early the next morning Bad Dog came back in the RV after taking out the crew. He woke me up slightly and told me that we were leaving NOW.  We had parked at Custer’s national monument!  The nice little yard where the crew left their business the night before was a historical marker!  Awesome, The Crew had defiled a national monument!  The Crew – (3) / National Monument (0).  Signs that we did not see the night before stated that there would be a $1,000 fine for overnight parking and $1,000 for animals on the premises.  I wonder if they have parking lot video and if we are going to get a picture in the mail asking that we pay the fine?

Day 6 – (Thursday) Driving………..  We spent most of the day driving through Montana.   Stopped at Thunderbolt Harley Davidson to pick up a shirt or two and then back on the road.  Since I did most of the driving today, I decided that it was time to pull off at a reasonable hour and wind down with a few beers and a nice home cooked meal.  We stopped at Jellystone RV Park in Montana – complete with a big Yogi Bear at the entrance.  We cooked steaks, booted the crew outside in the play yard and relaxed for the evening.  I’m looking forward to more days like this, rather than hauling ass all day and crashing at midnight.  In the morning we headed out to have lunch with Kent’s Aunt Penny in Idaho.

Day 7 – (Friday) Driving……..  We stopped in Coeur d’ Alene Idaho to have lunch with Aunt Penny and George.  Damn, that woman can cook.  We also met her HUGE bulldog, Gus.  He was like a freaking fire plug.  He was the biggest bulldog I have ever seen.  The Crew played in the yard while we had lunch and then it was off to Vancouver.

We pulled into Vancouver around 10:30 pm on Friday night.  We were exhausted.  We spent a little time with Mama Wanna and then decided to spend the night at a RV park nearby in Orchards, WA.

Day 8 (Saturday) – We went to see the Honeybees play soccer and had dinner with Daphne and Glenn.

Day 9 (Sunday) – We went to Xander’s football game and froze our butts off in the stands.  Kane made a new friend at the game.  A friend of Kent’s played dog whisperer and tamed the beast.  I was AMAZED!!!!!  It’s never happened before. Usually when someone wants to make friends with The Beast, it’s an epic failure.  Steve walked up, took The Beast’s leash and walked him around the field.  When Steve stopped walking, The Beast lay down at his feet.  Dog whisperer Steve scored many points that day.  Sunday evening, Bad Dog took me around Vancouver and through Portland to show me the sights before driving me to the airport for my flight back to Philly……

I spent two weeks back in Delaware before flying back to Portland on the 29th.  I missed The Crew and was happy to be back in the Northwest!

Over and out!