by Lisa Brown
1:48 pm | No Comments » |
So, we’re still trying to decide where we should go for this year’s RoadDog adventures.
About a month ago, Steve and I started chatting about upcoming road trips, particularly our big summer extravaganza. We’re still chatting and I’m not sure we’re any closer to a decision.
As always, it got me thinking about how much I love New Hampshire and the White Mountains. It really is a fantastic place for us, not only for the riding and the sightseeing, but also because there’s just something about being there that makes me happy. We just always seem to have fun there. We have every time we’ve visited. There’s that saying about how if momma isn’t happy, no one is happy … well, I guess maybe the flip side is true too, if momma is happy, everyone else is too.
Take last summer, for example. Having spent a couple of days in North Conway with our friends Dennis and Heather at the start of our trip, Steve and I decided to return to the mountains and stay in Lincoln as we later made our way back towards Canada from Vermont. We had stayed in Lincoln the first time we went to New Hampshire when all three of us were still on one bike and we’d had a blast. We decided we wanted to try it again.
I’m certain I’ve already written about the wonderful place we stayed our first night there. It was a fabulous but reasonable resort just outside town called Woodward’s. Then we moved into Lincoln to hotel where we’d stayed before which is across the road from a great miniature golf course. (Steve had long wanted a rematch from his previous trouncing and I was getting tired of the smack talk. Yes dear, gasp, you read that right.)
We had so much fun in Lincoln, it was just phenomenal. We played miniature golf — twice. (I don’t remember who won, which probably means I didn’t.) We walked along the street popping in shops and eating on outdoor patios. A very nice man who booked moose tours let the three of us dine on our takeout at his picnic table, even insisting on giving us an extra bottle of water for Jake just in case we needed it.
We didn’t take a moose tour, but one of these days we just might. This time, I had another priority, convincing Steve that we should go ziplining. It was so much fun, so completely amazing, that I couldn’t even begin to explain. The only downside was that Jake couldn’t go with us. He spent the afternoon having a much-needed rest while Steve and I swung from the trees.
As long as you follow the guides’ directions, it really isn’t very dangerous. I’m sure we could gear up a harness so Jake could ride strapped to the front of one of us, but the doggie hardhat might be a problem, particularly with his pointy ears. I’m still thinking about that and I may have to try to find a doggie bike helmet because I’m sure our RoadDog would love the rush and the wind in his face. It’s kind of like riding in that way.
And he does love trees, although I’m thinking all that stopping and sniffing and snuffling might slow down the tour a bit.
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March 4, 2013
2:39 pm | No Comments » |
RoadDog isn’t very happy.
The photo kind of says it all when it comes to Jake’s attitude this weekend. While our Cairn terrier loves to play in the snow, loves to rub his face through it doing what we call snowplowing, loves to chase after snowballs and loves to just romp through the white stuff, I believe he’s had enough for awhile. Friday’s giant dumping seems to have been too much for him.
Jake got up Friday morning and discovered right off the bat that he couldn’t get through the snow to do his business. The snow was higher than his belly and continued to get deeper for several more hours. He was not impressed. And even after Steve cleared the driveway and diligently made lots of the usual paths for our boy to get around the yard, our RoadDog was still not happy.
Part of the problem, I suspect, was the nature of the snow itself. It was light enough that he sunk in almost to his ears whenever he tried to walk on it, but it was heavy enough that he couldn’t just plow through it. He kept getting kind of stuck. That did not impress him. I’m not sure if he panics a bit or just gets really annoyed, but he thrashes around until he escapes then turns and glares at the offending spot in the snow. He gives a good shake and trots away, clearly in a bit of a huff.
There are a number of large holes in the snow off those paths in our yard to prove this point.
Because of the snow and ice, we didn’t try to take our boy for a walk this weekend, fearing it would be snowy and icy at the park and the town’s sidewalks would all be covered in salt. Since the snow had annoyed him so much on Friday, Jake really didn’t even seem interested in playing in the yard very much. He wandered around a lot, but was just kind of in a funk.
Mostly, he just slept. Maybe, like Steve and I, he was dreaming about riding.
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February 25, 2013
12:27 pm | No Comments » |
There’s a saying about a location being “a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Well, I don’t think I would say that about Pugwash.
Steve and I had travelled through Pugwash a few years ago, basically stopping only long enough to buy gas. So when we were planning our trip along the Northumberland Shore last June, I announced that I would like to spend a couple of hours having a closer look. Hubby agreed, whether because he wanted a chance to explore the little town as well or just to humour me, I didn’t ask.
We weren’t disappointed. Pugwash is a great little town.
Admittedly, we still didn’t spend a whole lot of time there, just a few hours, but it was long enough to get a vibe of the place and we liked what we saw.
Steve, Jake and I pulled in around lunch time on a Saturday looking for a place to eat. We had a café in mind, but didn’t know which way to turn at an intersection and ended up going in the opposite direction from our target. But that was okay. In fact, it was better than okay. We came across a farmers’ market and ended up eating the best barbecued hot dogs. I know, not the healthiest fare, but a girl was raising money for a class trip to Europe, so we felt like we were helping a good cause.
Steve had headed back to the bikes to get Jake’s water, while I zeroed in on a picnic table across the parking lot, kind of juggling Jake’s leash, two cold cans of pop and hot dogs slathered with mustard, when a woman suddenly stopped me and passed me something. It turned out to be a Canada Day bandana for Jake. She said something along the lines of, “He’s so cute. He can wear this tomorrow,” and I thanked her profusely while doing my best to keep it away from the mustard with Jake tugging on his leash. What a lovely gesture and Jake did proudly sport his new bandana on Canada Day.
The farmers’ market seemed to be bustling even though it was almost over when we arrived. We explored the area around the old train station, now a library, found a map of the town and discovered it boasts a waterfront park. We rode there (passing the café we’d initially been looking for), parked the bikes and ambled about there for half an hour. Workers were setting up benches, kiddie rides were going in place in a nearby parking lot and a stage was obviously being set for some sort of Canada Day event. It just felt like it was going to be a fun, family day.
And next time we visit, and we will, we know where that café is.
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February 18, 2013
6:59 pm | No Comments » |
Things have been a little dull for our RoadDog lately.
Steve and I have had a lot going on in recent days so our poor Jake has been left largely to his own devices. There was a walk in the park on Saturday and there have been countless trips outside to play in the snow but otherwise, I’m afraid, we’ve been rather preoccupied.
That’s left Jake to make his own fun and, I have to say, he’s been a very good boy. He’s spent some time amusing himself with his newest game of “empty the toy basket,” which has also turned into “watch Mom put everything back in the basket and then make her turn it on its side so I can empty it again.” He seems very fond of that amusement.
To his credit, he does play with some of the toys he takes out of the basket. I caught these photos when he was doing that and wore himself out.
Seriously, how could I be mad at the pickup game when he is just so cute. It’s wintertime … RoadDog has to do something for fun.
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February 11, 2013
12:49 pm | No Comments » |
It’s that time of year when Steve and I start to seriously ponder our upcoming motorcycle adventures.
We talk about places we’ve been and places we’d like to go back to again. We talk about places we haven’t been, but would like to see and explore.
That, in a nutshell, is our dilemma. It’s one we face every single year. It’s one we struggle with every single year. It seems to be a conundrum without a real solution.
Here’s where the music should start to play for that Cloud 649 ad on television. If we were retired and if we had a money tree growing in our backyard (we don’t so don’t come looking because you’ll only startle Jake), we might be able to visit a lot of the places we’d like to see. But we aren’t and we don’t (we really don’t so don’t upset Jake by snooping around), so we have to make difficult choices.
On the one hand, we’ve been going to New England for a number of years now. Each year we say we’re going somewhere else, but then can’t give up our beloved White Mountains and end up returning to New Hampshire. Now it seems like we’ve been going for so long it would be odd, somehow wrong, not to go back there.
However, with only so many days of vacation, there are lots of other places we’d like to visit and explore. I really want to get back to Cape Breton this year. We’ve been talking about going to the Gaspe Peninsula for a few years now, as well as the Magdalen Islands. Those are just a few of the places near the top of a very, and I mean very, long list.
Our RoadDog is easy. That’s one great thing about Jake, he can and does have fun absolutely anywhere. As long as there are paths for him to walk on, grass for him to roll in, bushes and trees for him to sniff, and roads for him to travel, he is a happy dog. If there are streams or ponds for him to wade in and rocks to scramble over, that’s even better. (And he does like a nice hotel, but will make due with what’s available.)
Basically, our RoadDog is so easy to please that he’s no help at all with the decision making. Unless, of course, we just put the maps in front of him and let him put his paw on one of them. Sometimes I think that’s the easiest way to choose.
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February 4, 2013
3:34 pm | No Comments » |
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from riding around on a motorcycle, it’s that sometimes you should just pull over.
Funny, I just realized that has at least two applications. I’ll deal with the easiest one first, although it occurs to me they are somewhat related.
A lot of drivers are in a hurry. I get that because sometimes I am too. But when Steve and I are travelling on the bikes, we’re often sightseeing, taking our time, relaxing, feeling the wind in our faces and exploring new places. So when someone who is in a hurry decides to tailgate me (I usually ride behind Steve – he says it’s to keep me below the speed limit but I think it’s secretly because he likes to ride in the inner lane), we just pull over and let them pass. They’re happier. We’re happier. It’s better for everyone if the guy who wants to speed is in front of us.
Which brings me to the point I was initially going for — sometimes you should just pull over to see what there is to see. Pretty well everywhere we’ve ever gone, Steve and I and our RoadDog have found interesting and often beautiful things to see. Sometimes we’re tipped off by travel guides or advice from other people. Lots of times, however, we just see a sign or a view and decide to see where it leads. We’ve made some absolutely wonderful discoveries that way.
Case in point, last summer while travelling in Vermont with our friends Heather and Dennis. Steve was leading us on a route through the Green Mountains one day when he spotted a sign for Texas Falls. He had no idea what exactly we’d find, but he turned off and we made one of those discoveries.
It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was most definitely a place worth visiting.
Apparently, Texas Falls is one of the most popular and famous waterfalls in Vermont, with images often featured on postcards and in travel guides. Who knew? I’m not sure how, but in my pre-trip perusals, I’d somehow missed it.
Wooden fencing and a nature trail take visitors along Texas Brook. Apparently, there was once a favourite swimming hole there, but it’s now off-limits after a a few injuries. The only one who took a dip, in fact several, that day was our RoadDog. Jake waded and paddled about in the pools and had a lovely, refreshing time.
The rest of us just meandered along the trail and enjoyed the fantastic views of the ravine and falls. I’ve since read that the elevation change on the rather short trail is about 70 feet. The falls themselves drop 35 feet. As I said, it was all quite spectacular.
Not bad for an unexpected left turn. More people really need to find time to take more of those, to just stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Or in Jake’s case, take time to cool off their paws.
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January 28, 2013
12:00 pm | No Comments » |
I reached an interesting conclusion this weekend that may not be news to a lot of people, but bikers are a different breed of people.
I knew before that most people don’t understand the thrill of riding down the highway with the wind in your face (and occasionally the less enjoyable bugs in your teeth). They don’t realize the excitement and serenity of the perfect lean into a corner almost as if you and the bike become one. They don’t get why we want to wear jeans and leather in the heat rather than sit on a beach in a swimsuit. They don’t understand that, while it’s more pleasant to ride in the sunshine, riding in the rain is still better than not riding at all.
I realize they just don’t get it and that’s absolutely fine — to each their own. The world would be odd and life would be very flat if we all liked the same things.
But this weekend I realized it goes a step deeper than that.
In recent weeks, I’ve watched on Facebook as friends excitedly wrote about trips they’ve booked to go south. I’ve listened as family and friends and coworkers talked enthusiastically about the places they’re going to visit, the hot sand and warm water, the all-inclusive food and drinks. And I’ve been happy for them. It’s great, especially this time of year, to have something to really look forward to doing.
But the penny sort of dropped for me yesterday when I started doing the same kind of thing in a different way. After pondering on my own for 10 or 15 minutes, I called to Steve and asked him where we should go this year on the Canada Day weekend. I even had three options I’d already considered and asked him what he thought. We then started discussing those options relative to our summer vacation and where we might like to go for a longer trip this summer. Hmmm, and how do those possibilities fit with other weekends and long weekends, and when might we squeeze in a few days here and maybe a day or two there.
I realized, while most people are planning their winter getaways, I’d rather begin pondering our summer escapes. Luckily, Steve and Jake are perfectly okay with that.
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January 22, 2013
12:09 pm | No Comments » |
RoadDog does not like the cold.
While our boy may love to play in the snow, plowing his face through the white stuff, chasing snowballs or his tennis balls, romping about and generally having a pretty great time, he does not like frigid temperatures. And some of the temperatures lately have been pretty darn cold.
It’s both funny and sad to watch Jake on those days. He goes out and runs about doing his thing, what I call “snowplowing” his face along through the drifts. He wanders and sniffs everything — he always sniffs everything — and doesn’t seem to realize that it’s cold.
Then, quite suddenly, you can tell that his paws are cold and he knows it. He walks a little slower and a little stiffer. He looks unhappy and his eyes get a tad worried. Steve and I then rush him through whatever business may be remaining and get him inside as quickly as we can.
One night last week, when it was really cold, I felt so bad for Jake that I met my boys at the door, scooped him up (he did not like that) and sat down with him in front of the wood stove. (He liked that a lot). We sat there for the longest time, with me holding Jake up so his legs and belly got toasty warm. I wiped the snowballs off his legs as they melted and within a few minutes he was dry and content.
Our RoadDog was quite happy again, at least until Steve took a photo of us relaxing by the fire. That part seemed to hurt his dignity a bit.
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January 14, 2013
5:07 pm | No Comments » |
The title kind of says it all, but I’ll explain.
Our RoadDog received a few new toys for Christmas, as usual. Now it’s possible, just possible, that our boy has rather a lot of toys. We do spoil him, we admit that, but there is a method to our madness, as the saying goes.
Cairns, like a lot of terriers, need to be kept busy. Our boy can get himself into quite a lot of mischief when he gets bored. He’s home alone when we’re at work and I can only imagine and cringe thinking about how much destruction he could do in a couple of hours if that mischievous side took over while we were gone. Not that our beloved angel would do that (cough! cough!), but I’d rather not risk it. In other words, giving him lots of toys is good for my peace of mind.
We have two baskets filled with Jake’s toys in our living room. I know that’s not everyone’s thing, some people might be horrified reading that, but our house is for living in and our boy lives there too. After Christmas, I noticed they were overflowing. Okay, they were beyond overflowing, so I decided to move a few of them to the basket upstairs. That one is in our bedroom next to Jake’s upstairs bed, not ours, but the floor model he naps in by day. Jake doesn’t often play with his upstairs toys. Don’t tell him, but I might have even thrown a few of those ones away while he was outside with Steve that day when I was sorting. So far, so good, he hasn’t missed them and I don’t think he will.
Not so the downstairs toys that I moved upstairs. I did that last Sunday and for three nights in a row last week Jake went to his baskets and started digging through them. He poked his head about, pulled out various toys, then popped his head back into the baskets. It was obvious that he was looking for something.
I’ve said before that Jake knows every toy he has. There have been times in the past when I’ve thought of getting rid of some of them only to have him decide to play with something that he hadn’t gone near in months.
That first evening, we let him search. He eventually gave up, although he threw us a few puzzled looks that left us wondering what he might be doing. The second evening, after watching him dig through his toys for 10 or 15 minutes and acknowledging that he was definitely looking for something, we tried to help him find whatever that was. That proved difficult and we ended up dumping both baskets of toys out on the living room floor. (If I wasn’t convinced before that he has a lot of toys, I certainly was after that.) We tried to interest him in several toys. At one point, I was convinced it was his tennis ball he’d been looking for since that tends to sink to the bottom of the basket, but Jake just turned away with a look of disappointment. Or maybe it was disgust.
Evening number three rolled around and Jake went back to his baskets. I gave up. I went upstairs, searched through the upstairs basket of toys trying to figure out which toy he was most likely missing and headed back downstairs with a squeaky alligator.
I don’t know if that was the specific one or if our RoadDog was just trying to make a point that I shouldn’t mess around with his toys. He grabbed it and headed under the dining room table squeaking it all the way. Clearly, it was a newfound treasure.
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January 7, 2013
11:06 am | No Comments » |
Jake was an unhappy RoadDog this weekend.
Our Christmas-loving Cairn watched with big, sad eyes and slightly woebegone ears on Saturday as Steve and I took down the Christmas tree and packed all the holiday decorations back into boxes.
It was actually funny in a sad sort of way at first. When I told Jake we were going to take down the tree, he looked at me, got up, walked over and sat down about two feet in front of the tree. I’m sure in his mind he was saying, “Oh no you don’t. I’m guarding it.”
But as the empty containers came down from the attic and we started to put things away, our RoadDog moved to the side and just watched. And watched. And watched. His eyes got sadder and sadder and sadder. He eventually laid down, so low that he looked more like a fox-skin rug than our RoadDog.
It was so bad that when I found the box for the stockings I looked at Steve and said, “I’m not doing it.” At that point, Jake was lying in his bed so I think hubby thought he could sneak over to the stairs and quietly remove those most treasured of Christmas decorations. Not! Jake was there in a flash, as he always is whenever anyone goes near his stocking just in case some sort of goodies might emerge.
Instead, he followed Steve over to where I was with the carton and watched as I packed the stockings away. He was so sad that I tried to explain to him that Christmas wouldn’t be special if it happened all year long and that we’d hang his stocking up again when December rolls around. I can’t believe I tried that and I don’t think he got it. He just went over and crawled back into his bed and continued to mope.
It wasn’t all bad. Jake did come around a bit when we played ball with him outside. Then he came back inside, remembered we’d put Christmas away and went back to moping. We’d hoped to take him to the park yesterday to perk him up, but the snowy weather interfered with that plan so Steve made a Tim’s run to get him a Timbit. That always helps.
Now we just have to come up with some sort of a plan or celebration or something to make our boy happy again. Otherwise, it’s going to be a very long winter.
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