Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ten Ten in Penn

Pennsylvania Oct 2010

Autumn is upon us! I do love this time of year; the cool mornings and just the way the air smells. I've never been a big fan of summer.  Being of questionable breeding, I tend to perspire more than the average person and it's, well, just unbecoming.  So while families are taking off on road trips to roast in the unforgiving summer heat, I prefer to hold out until October. Leaf peepin' is my thing.

Yep, it's time to pack up gear into the RV and hit the road. RV you say?  Nice.  Yeah, hold onto that jealous thought just a sec. Speaking of unbecoming, I've christened the thing as The SWRCT. That awkward acronym stands for the "six-wheeled-rolling-cat-turd," excuse my French. It moves when you hit the gas, it stops when you brake. And it holds all our stuff and the dogs. And that's good enough for me and my value system.

We bought this rattle trap a few years ago so we could take our dogs along on our travel adventures. It puts a whole new edge to vacations, having dogs with you. The kid used to be part of all this, but now he's all grown up and everything and off to college. We do miss having him on our road travels. So this trip, there was nothing to do about it, except borrow a friend's dog to take with us. We hooked up with the sweet Fergo, a nine year old CCI COC.

So we're off in the RV to Pennsylvania with three dogs, a fridge full of food and enough dog kibble to feed a sled dog team. Micron was thrilled to have Fergo with us. He would cram a toy in Fergo's face and was all hey fergo be my friend let's play fergo hey fergo where ya going be my friend fergo. But the old man just wanted some quiet time that didn't involve yellow puppies in his face.

They finally reached a compromise of sorts.
Be my friend, Fergo
 As CCI puppy raisers, we look for opportunities to expose the pup to different environments.Socialization is one of the most critical tasks we have. Consider this - someday this dog will go wherever his person will want to go. It really helps if the dog has an attitude of been-there, done-that and can focus on his job, not a new experience.

Cabela's was a good stop for Micron. We walked through the dark tunnel aquarium complete with monstrous catfish looking at him with their hungry little beady eyes, followed by a casual stroll around the taxidermied critters. Micron gave a sniff-sniff into the air and was able to move on. Well done, yellow dog.

Hey, hand me that little stuffed rabbit, will ya?
Off to Hershey for some huge antique car show thingy. Otherwise known as long walks with the dogs and a trip to the outlet mall for me. We set up camp in a field near Hershey Park, which the powers-that-be have cruelly closed for the season. But no matter, we take pictures of it anyway.

No fun for you today
  

Saying cheese for the food lady.
We don't tow a car for this trip, so gotta hoof it if I want to go anywhere. The more benevolent Hershey powers-that-be have placed an outlet mall about a half mile from where we park the SWRCT.  Micron and I are off to go shopping. We hit the very excellent Times to Remember scrapbook store where Micron is treated like a rock star by the staff.
Where else can you find Hershey Kiss stickers?
After Husband finds some rusty antique car parts, we're off again for a day tour of Lancaster County. We choose a nice little campground for an overnighter. Roamers' Retreat is just outside Bird-in-Hand and is nestled next to some gorgeous farmland. 

The boys loved it.




I love dogs. So I would never say traveling with three dogs would drive you to drink. But we did still drive to get some drink. We stopped at Adams County Winery last year on our road trip to buy rusty car parts, so wanted to make sure we fit time in this year's schedule as well. Micron met the resident winery golden retriever, Rusty, and made a new friend. Well, kind of. Not sure how old Rusty is, but guessing around the same era as Fergo. The whole hey rusty be my friend let's play rusty, went over as well as it had with Fergo. 

They should name a yellow wine after me.

Rusty won't play with me.

Rusty has his own wine named after him, Rusty's Red. How cool is that?  We didn't sample that one, though. We did grab a couple of bottles of Stray Cat Strut, a very nice dry white wine. And a bottle of Scrapple, a rather odd name for a sweetly spiced wine.

This place is great. Friendly staff and affordable prices. And they have a golden retriever to greet you at the door. Pretty cool, I think.

Time to wrap up the trip. Final stop is Gettysburg and an overnighter at the KOA. In our road travels in the SWRCT, I've really come to appreciate KOA's. They're by design very well run; both kid and dog friendly. It's usually a KOA that has the enclosed dog run so they can do their duty off leash. The Gettysburg KOA actually had a Camp K9 with agility equipment and plenty of space to run off some energy. Which the dogs would have done if they could have ever reached their personal goal of sniffing each little rock and pebble in the place.

M-o-o-o-o-m!  Fergo won't let me in the cabin!
Good trip with good dogs. Time to head out for the long drive back home where the boys will continue to leave their mark along the I-70 rest stops. For myself, I'm looking forward to a meal that doesn't have dog hair as a condiment.






Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's not even Halloween yet and you're talking about Christmas?

Did you know that you could subscribe to e-news from Canine Companions for Independence? You can have the latest Super Dog derring-do sent directly to your email. Being a rabid CCI supporter, of course I had signed up for this some time ago. Maybe rabid supporter is a poor choice of words being dog related and all; we'll just say that I feel pretty passionate about CCI's mission.

So I get the latest e-newsletter, an email titled A Pup for All Seasons. Ooh, the 2011 Calendar is out. Gotta order that. And the 2010 Holiday Cards.  I'm all over that one, too.  Let's go shopping! 

And . . . what's this?

I holler over to my office cube mate, "Mary Ann do you have a sec to look at something?"  Of course she does.  I keep chocolate at my desk.  I point a hesitant finger to the laptop screen and say, "I think that's Micron." 



https://cci-store.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=127#
 
I'll admit, I do love CCI, but it's not my only passion. I take hundreds of photos - of anything and everything whether it moves or not. And yeah, I take a lot of shots of the dogs. Would I recognize one of my own photos if I saw it?  Well, you would think so.  But self doubt has hit.  How could it be possible in my humble little world that my shot of Micron is one of three shots selected for the 2010 CCI Holiday Cards? 

Sup?
Good Lord. It's true. It's Micron at four months old. We got this shot of his adorable mug last February when we had a huge snowfall and let the boys run wild in the backyard.

Here's some other digital memories of that virginal white afternoon.

Little dog in a big snow

Be careful what you chase

Jager heard that snakes can unhinge their jaws
to swallow things bigger than their head.
 

Shouldn't have licked that flagpole
 
Frosty nose
  
Jager?  Where'd ja go buddy?
  
I'm at a loss for words. Can you imagine? How can I express how this feels? I am thrilled. Excited. Over the moon.

I am honored.


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