I always travel with my companions, Georgia and Michael. They prepare my meals, take me for walks and most importantly, play with me. I am always glad to get to Rest Stops so I can meet new people to play with.
Although I had been to Houston, Livingston and Tyler in early May, We began our extended travels from Dallas, Texas in late May. Our first destination was Las Vegas, Nevada. This was my first experience leaving Texas. We drove north on IH 35 to Oklahoma City, OK, then took IH 40 west across Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, and briefly into California (following the old Route 66 where possible). We then took US 95 (another portion of the old Route 66) north into Nevada. We stayed at Destiny's Oasis RV Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada for a couple of weeks. There were lots of dogs and children to play with. The little dogs don't want to play. I don't understand since I am so much younger than they are. Fortunately, there were some larger dogs to play with. They were nice enough to even provide two dog runs where I could get rid of that sissy leash.
Then we went to Southern California and visited Michael's family. They have a nice big yard with a pool. I try to keep a good distance between myself and the pool. That thing scares me. I love to roll in the wet grass and play with the palm trees fronds. The weather is cool and it isn't so dry here. On the way to Newport Beach, we stopped at the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans museum in Victorville, CA. Michael and Georgia seem to like them. All I know is that Roy had a neat dog named Bullet. He was pretty but he doesn't want to play either.
We spent a week at the Newport Dunes RV Resort in Newport Beach, CA. I got to go to the Huntington Dog Beach and play with a Doberman named Blade. The Pacific Ocean looks neat but the water comes rushing up on the beach and tries to get you. After going to the ocean, we went to Central Dog Park in Huntington Beach. This is a great park. Most of the park is fenced in for dogs to run around without a leash. Boy was I surprised. There were four big Irish Wolfhounds there. They were BIG but we got along well. They knew I was a little Irish Wolfhound and made sure I didn't get into too much trouble. I liked the park so well, I convinced Michael and Georgia to take me back the next two mornings. I found a Beagle that would run and jump and play. We had a great time. I really hated to leave but there are so many other things to see that we left Southern California on June 30.
We traveled up I-5 through the California's Central Valley. Lots of almonds, cherries, cotton, grapes, corn and other neat things grow there thanks to water from the aqueduct.
Michael tells me that the Hensley Arrow hitch has really made an improvement in the way that the trailer tows. It has eliminated the sway and most of the effect of trucks passing, cross-winds and uneven roads. Lining the truck up with the trailer to hook up was a challenge at first but is getting easier with practice. Putting teflon lubricant on the hitch bar has helped it slide in and out without the effort it took at first. He recommends the Hensley. If you want to read some boring stuff that Michael wrote about the Hensley Arrow and other stuff he is interested in, you can visit his web site at www.NewellOwner.com/hensley.html.
We left northern California and I got to see my seventh state, Oregon. We saw Mt. Shasta, Lake Shasta, the wooden covered bridges of Lane County, the Heceta Lighthouse, and Sea Lion Cave. Georgia liked Sea Lion Cave the best. I liked barking at a gardener in Florence best.
In Portland, Oregon, Georgia said that Jake's Famous Crawfish is one of the best seafood places she has ever eaten in. They didn't take me so I give it no personal recommendation. They did take me to Ft. Vancouver in Vancouver, Washington. I liked the parade grounds. Lot's of dogs get walked on the parade grounds and I got to meet a 3 month old Lab named Molly. She was little and scared of me. I just wanted to play.
The trip from Portland, Oregon to Moscow, Idaho was neat. There were waterfalls and dams and a BIG river (the Columbia) that we drove beside for miles and miles as we traveled IH 84. We drove into Washington State and spent the night in Pasco, Washington. They have big farms in southeastern Washington. We spent a week in Moscow, Idaho. I slept while Michael and Georgia went to classes on RV's. They don't agree but I think I won. There were lots of dogs at the conference and I tried to play with almost all of them. We went to Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington named after Lewis and Clark. Hell's Canyon begins just south of Clarkston. Hell's Canyon claims to be the deepest canyon in the United States. After the conference, we drove up to Coeur D'Alene, Washington. Lake Coeur D'Alene is really pretty. We stopped beside a Gully Plug on Highway 95 (see Idaho Travel Photos). I bet you were about to ask "What is a Gully Plug." Well, it seems they contour the land so that rain collects behind a small dam and an underground drain lets it run off without washing the top soil away and creating a large gully. Aren't you glad you know that now.
We spent a week in Cheney, WA just south of Spokane. Spokane has a very active downtown area with major shopping and residential units but I thought it was boring. Cheney is the home of Eastern Washington University. From Cheney, we drove through lots of agricultural areas. The fields had lots of corn, alfalfa, hay, wheat, onions, potatoes and peas. We stopped at Wild Horses Lookout on the Columbia River to look at the large gorge created by the river. Then we drove up into the mountains and saw lots of vineyards near Yakima. We stayed in Toppenish, WA at the Yakama Nation RV Park on the Yakama Indian Reservation. They even have teepees for rent at the campgrounds. Toppenish is famous for its murals. There are over 60 murals painted on the outside of buildings all over town. They were really pretty. Michael and Georgia left me so they could eat at El Ranchito in Zillah. They said it was excellent but all I got was my regular dog food. Life isn't fair, is it? The 25th, Michael gave me a bath. Yuck. Then, they left me to go visit wineries and have dinner in Prosser. What did I get? More of the same dumb dog food.
After leaving Toppenish, we were off to see Mt. Rainier, the highest point in Washington (14,410 ft). We visited Paradise in the Mount Rainier National Park and I got to play in white stuff they call snow. It was crunchy to walk and fun to lick. There were lots of tall trees and I got to see most of Mount Rainier, the top of the mountain was covered with clouds. Then it was off to Mount St. Helens. We stopped to see a distant view of the north side of Mount St. Helens. Michael said this was the side of the mountain that was destroyed May 18, 1980 when an earthquake triggered one of the world's largest recorded landslides and the eruption of the volcano. During this avalanche, more than 1,300 feet of the mountain's top cascaded into the Toutle River Valley below. Then we traveled up the Spirit Lake Highway (504) to get a closer look. We went to the Johnston Ridge Observatory built on a ridge that is 5 miles from the mountain. The ridge was covered with 3 feet of rock from the blast that destroyed 235 square miles of mountains, forests and valleys, killing every living thing above ground. All of the trees were blown down and burned white. Then ash which continued to bellow from the volcano for weeks settled over everything. It was awesome even 20 years later.
After all the mountains, Georgia decided that it was time to head for the ocean so we packed up and headed for Newport, Oregon. On the way, we crossed the Columbia River at Astoria, Oregon. The bridge across the river is 3.2 miles long. Boy, that's a lot of water. I had never seen such a big river. Then we traveled down the coast on Hwy. 101. I saw low clouds which Michael said was fog. We stayed in the Marina & RV Park in the Port of Newport with all the boats. Those boats honk at each other. We visited two lighthouses, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Boy was it windy. I thought I was going to be blown away. Have you ever thought about how hard it is to go to the bathroom in a high wind. NOT fun.
After the beach, it was back to civilization. We spent a week in Tualatin, OR. There were lots of big dogs there. I wish they had an enclosed area so I could play with them without my stupid leash. Now we are on the road again (I'm beginning to sound like Willie Nelson). We are touring the Olympic Peninsula. Michael said he was getting some performance improvements made to the van (Banks Power Pac and ipd suspension modifications) in Sequim, WA. All I know is that it is louder goes up hills faster. Georgia and Michael once again left me home to go to dinner. They went to 3 Crabs (Dungeness Bay) one night and The Crab House (harbor at Port Angeles) the next. They said the food was excellent. I just hoped it didn't make them crabby. Now we are in the forest across from Lake Sutherland. There are lots of trees but not any big dogs to play with.
I got some special doggie treats for my 6 month birthday (in addition to my own website of course). Since they remembered my birthday, I guess I'll keep Michael and Georgia around. We spent several days touring the Olympic Peninsula, then headed to the Long Beach Peninsula in southwest Washington. Long Beach is the longest beach in the continental United States. The third week of August is the annual Washington State International Kite Festival. We stayed at the Andersen's RV Park in Long Beach, WA. Andersen's has nice people. They liked to play with me and gave me treats. Nick Carter even took my picture (see Photo Gallery to see my portrait). We went to the beach several times (I still don't like water that chases you). We went to Fort Canby. Michael and Georgia saw the North Head Lighthouse, the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center. I waited patiently in the van. Boring. At least the weather was nice. Highs were in the 60's but that wind was strong. It almost sand blasted me on the beach. Michael spent half an hour brushing sand out of my fur.
Now we are back in Tualatin, OR until after the Labor Day holiday. Michael and Georgia like Oregon because there is no sales tax and, by law, attendants must pump your gas (and it is the same price or lower than the neighboring states). Georgia loves the beach, so she already wants to go back to Long Beach. I like Tualatin because Michael and Georgia found me a leash-free dog park (FINALLY). I like the one in Huntington Beach better because there are other Irish Wolfhounds, but this one is pretty good. Someone built a silly little four foot fence around Gabriel Park. I'm not going to let Michael and Georgia know that I could jump it if I wanted to because they might not bring me back. I even found a Beagle to play with. They have promised me that we could go back to the park. I hope so even though the weather forecast indicates that it is going to get cooler (high around 60) and may rain. I even let them take a picture of me with both of them. Boy am I considerate.
I got Michael and Georgia to take me back to Gabriel Park to play. There were two Greyhounds but they ran too fast so I decided to play with the little dogs (don't I always?). There was a little white dog that played with me for a long time. I really enjoyed playing with her. Michael and Georgia finally found a place that sells Diamond Dog Food. Foster Feed and Garden in Portland is the first place they have found that has my food since we left Dallas. They bought another 80 pounds of food for me. That should last me a couple of months. On September 3, it rained. I don't mean sprinkle, it rained. It not only rained, hard little white things started falling. Michael said it was hail and I believe it. After it was over, I got to eat the white stuff that was on the ground. It tasted like ice to me. Then I got in trouble just because I started digging in the wet grass. I thought it was lots of fun. What did I get for having a little fun? Another bath. That stinks. Then Georgia used a hair dryer on me. I acted like I was ignoring it out of disgust but I really enjoyed the rubbing and attention that goes along with getting your hair blow dried.
We then headed to central Oregon. We drove through the mountains (Deschutes National Forest) and visited Sisters, Oregon. Michael and Georgia thought this was a nice little town with lots of new stores and galleries. I liked it because the RV park had trees that dropped pine cones on the ground for me to play with. Then we visited Crater Lake. That was neat. It is a big, beautiful blue lake up inside the crater of Mt. Mazama that blew off 6,800 years ago (so the "experts" say, but what do they know). Crater Lake is 6 miles wide and 1,932 feet deep. It is the deepest freshwater lake in the U.S. The water all comes from snow. You know, that fluffy white stuff I talked about earlier (you were paying attention weren't you?). They get 44 feet of snow a year. That's even taller than I am. The lake is at an elevation of 6,176 ft. The highest point on the rim of the volcano is 8,151 feet. It is a pretty lake. It is dark blue when the sky is clear and silver/gray when it is cloudy. It was windy and cold up there. I got out and looked at the lake several times from outlooks on Rim Drive then decided it was better to stay in the van where it was warm and out of the wind. One of the neatest things about Crater Lake was the Airedale, named Jasper, that I meet just outside the park. He was playful and almost as big as me. I liked him.
We then traveled across the high desert in eastern Oregon to Boise, Idaho. Eastern Oregon is pretty desolate. Not many people (much less dogs) live there. Few things grow taller than me so I can see a long way. Close to Idaho they irrigate the land so they can grow Alfalfa. They feed that to those big things that they call cows. Then I saw southern Idaho. Idaho is supposed to be known for potatoes but I have seen more onions growing than potatoes.
Then we visited Utah, my tenth state (10 down, 39 to go since I don't think the Airstream will float to Hawaii). We saw the State Capitol, the Mormon Temple and the Great Salt Lake. Then we went way up into the mountains to the Utah Winter Sports Complex. This is being constructed for the 2002 Winter Olympics which will be held in Salt Lake City. I was the only dog up there (I told you I was special).
Then we visited Wyoming, my eleventh state. On the way to Teton Village, Wyoming we visited Salt River Pass near Afton. There is a periodic spring located here that stops flowing every 3-30 minutes from August - May. It is the largest of three natural springs in the world that naturally turn off and on. Then we moved on to Teton Village near Jackson, WY (Jackson Hole is the valley not the town). We visited the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone was having their first snow of the season so I got to play in the snow. We saw geysers and canyons and rivers and mountains and antelope and Bison. I boofed at a Bison that was walking along the side of the road eating grass but he didn't seem intimidated. (Even I know enough not to do a full bark at something that big). Then it snowed on us in Teton Village. It was cold but I liked running in the snow, especially if I have a stick to play with. Unfortunately, it warmed up during the day and most of the snow melted. Darn! Then we headed for Casper, WY (and you thought Casper was a ghost). We crossed the Continental Divide at Togwotee Pass at an elevation of 9,658 feet. There was lots of snow on the ground and I played and played in the snow. Then we stopped at the Diversion Dam Rest Stop on Hwy. 26. Can you believe it? They had two large fenced in pet walks. So I got to explore the area without a leash. I liked that. Then on to Casper.
We visited Fort Caspar in Casper, WY. It looked like old buildings to me. They locked them up so I couldn't get in. Michael and Georgia toured the Teton Homes factory where they build Teton 5th wheel RV's. They said that it was neat but I enjoyed sleeping since the tour started at 10:30 am (my prime time for sleeping). Then we head north. We traveled through Buffalo, WY. That is a neat little town. Nice view of the Rockies and a nicely restored downtown area. Next stop was Devil's Tower National Monument. Devil's Tower is the mountain that was used as a landing strip for spaceships in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". (Yes, I do watch movies, or at least parts of movies that have dogs barking.)
Then we traveled to South Dakota, state number twelve. We stopped in Sturgis. Each August, this little town of 6,700 people becomes the center of the motorcycle universe when 300,000 Harley Davidson riders arrive for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Races. Then we visited Mount Rushmore National Memorial and I got my picture taken with 4 US Presidents. Then we saw the Crazy Horse Monument. It is much bigger than Mount Rushmore but you can't get as close since they are still working on it. When it is completed it will be the largest rock sculpture in the world. We saw deer and Big Horn Sheep in Custer State Park. The Black Hills National Forest is really pretty, lots of weird shaped rocks still up out of the trees.
We then returned to Wyoming to visit Cheyenne. I saw the State Capitol in Cheyenne. Then I visited the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie. That was neat. The prison has been restored to the way it looked in the late 1800's. I also saw the Broken Bow National Forest. It has weird rock formations. Most of the major highways in Wyoming have miles of snow fences beside them. We left Wyoming a day early since the forecast was calling for snow. Then we headed for Colorado Springs, Colorado, state number thirteen. I got to meet Rachel. Georgia and Michael have known Rachel for many years and now Rachel was getting married. Georgia and Michael went to a wedding but didn't take me. Life is NOT fair. Finally, the weather cleared up and they took me to Pikes Peak. I may be the only Irish Wolfhound that has ever stood on the summit of Pikes Peak (14,110 feet). They have built a U.S. Olympics Memorial at the summit. It has the name of the members of the U.S. Olympic teams that have won medals for the past 70+ years. Even though the memorial and the view was great, it was still COLD up there. After I looked around for a few minutes, I decided that it was much warmer in the van. Then Michael and Georgia visited the U.S. Olympic Training Complex. This is the headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee and serves as a year round home for many of the U.S. Olympic Athletes. Rulon Gardner, who brought home the Gold Medal in Greco Wrestling in Sydney, is a resident here. The U.S. athletes that compete in swimming, diving, gymnastics, shooting, wrestling, weightlifting, and several other sports train here. Then Michael and Georgia went to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame to see famous Rodeo cowboys (and cowgirls).
Then we headed south to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe is a neat town. It has the Dale Terbush Gallery. He does neat paintings. It also has neat old chapels and cathedrals. Then we went to Los Alamos. We got into a hail storm in Los Alamos. This was my second hail storm. I didn't like it much better than the first one. It was really noisy hitting the van. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is also neat. High winds and rain this year canceled or delayed some of the activities early in the week but the weather improved. The mass ascension is great with balloons of all colors and shapes. I liked Snoopy (surprised?). Then we said good-bye to New Mexico and headed for Arizona.
In Arizona, we traveled down the Historic Route 66 through Ashford, Seligman, Truxton, Hackberry and Kingman. I got to stop at Hackberry to visit the Hackberry General Store (or it is now called the International Bioregional Old Route 66 Visitor Center and Preservation Foundation). It is filled with old stuff related to Route 66. I liked the red and white 1957 Corvette parked in front. Don't you think I would look good in a Corvette convertible? Then we visited Lake Havasu City, AZ. It is the home of the real London Bridge. It was disassembled in England, shipped stone by stone to the Arizona desert and reassembled between 1967 and 1971. Neato! Then we followed the Colorado River south. Lot's of development has taken place along the river in the middle of the desert. We stopped in Quartzsite, AZ before heading to California. Quartzsite is a little town of about 2,000 which grows to over 40,000 during the winter as the RV'ers arrive to escape the cold.
Then we traveled across California, past Palm Springs and its miles of windmill farms. Michael says these windmills generate electricity to supply power to this desert area. Boy were there a lot of windmills! Then I met a German Shepherd named Cassie. He didn't want to jump and play like I do but I still like him and hope to see him again. Michael has promised me that he will take me to the Huntington Beach Dog Park again so I can see the other Irish Wolfhounds. Boy will they be surprised at how much I have grown. When they last saw me I weighed less than 50 pounds and now I weigh over 100.
Then tragedy struck (or at least I thought so.) I was trotting along having a good time on a walk with Michael and Georgia and my foot started hurting really bad. As you may know, Irish Wolfhounds are long suffering and don't show pain. Bad on that! I let EVERYONE know that my foot hurt. Michael looked at it and didn't see any stickers in my paw or anything else unusual so they took me to the vet. Guess what!! I somehow managed to fracture the inside bone on my left front foot. I don't mean a little fracture, I mean a big fracture (lets call a spade a spade, I broke it). The doctor put a BIG splint on my leg (which I don't like) and said that the bone will heal in about six weeks. Six weeks! That almost a lifetime. BUMMER!! In the meantime, I am not supposed to get my foot or leg wet and I am supposed to take it easy. What do you mean take it easy? I always take it easy. Living with that splint is not going to be easy. I don't like walking in it. Come to think of it, I don't even like the thought of it. The vet said I would get used to it in a couple of days. I'd like to see the vet get used to it instead of me! All of that for stepping on a rock or in a small hole (as usual, I really wasn't paying that much attention to where I was going.)
I am sleeping more after I broke my foot. I guess I will get used to this stupid bandage and splint but I sure don't want to. Georgia put a goose down comforter in the van for me to lay on. I like that even better than my sheepskin rug. Sympathy is good! Anyway, we drove down to San Diego. I saw the nuclear power plant at San Onofre, Camp Pendleton, and the harbor at San Diego with all the big ships. Then the BIG day arrived. On October 22, the Southern California Irish Wolfhound Fanciers Association had its picnic at the Huntington Beach Dog Park. I arrived (splint and all) to find about twenty Irish Wolfhounds already there. What a fun time, sniffing and playing. I found a little girl that I liked named Twix. She is 6 months old and couple of inches shorter than I am. I even met another Irish Wolfhound named Patrick (although he spells his name differently, "Padraic" I think). They even had a lure course set up. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me try it since my foot is broken. Darn! They got me a rubber boot to wear when I am outside to keep the bandages dry and clean. To add insult to injury, the boot is made for a small horse. Now that's not funny.
We headed back to Texas, broken foot and all. We spent the night in Quartzsite, AZ. My foot and leg started hurting so Michael and Georgia took me to a great vet in Phoenix (Santis Pet Clinic). He found that I had an infection on two toes and on my leg where the splint was rubbing on me. I got a shot (BOO!) and pills to take (OK, since I get them with meat or yogurt) for the infection. He got rid of that silly splint for the time (I told you he was a great vet). Now Michael won't let me walk fast or anything. We stayed at the Midessa Oil Patch RV Park in Odessa, TX. They have a wonderful dog park. It is large and has swings for people and has the thickest, greenest grass around. Now that's my idea of a dog walk. None of this dirt and scrub brush for me. Then we visited with Ron Perkins, a long time friend of Michael and Georgia, in Abilene. The KOA in Abilene has lots of dogs including a Doberman and a St. Bernard. Unfortunately, Michael wouldn't let me play with them because of my foot. This foot thing is really starting to interfere with my life.
After our return to Dallas, I went back to see Dr. Beckwith. The infections were better after being out of the splint for a week and taking the pills. But Dr. Beckwith x-rayed my foot and said it had not healed enough and I had to go back into a splint. This time they put lots of padding between me and the splint. I looked stupid with one leg 3 times the size of the other one. Boy, did I hate that splint. Michael and Georgia gave me more pills for the infection and a little pill that I hated. It made me sleepy all the time. The vet says I needed to slow down. Why is that a doctor's solution to everything? I want to play. Michael took me back to Dallas City Hall so I could see old friends (when you are only 9 months friends become old friends in a hurry). Finally after 4 1/2 weeks, the x-rays showed that my foot had healed enough that I could get rid of that stupid splint again. My foot still hurt some but at least I didn't have to wrap it in plastic (to keep the bandages dry) before I could go outside.
States Visited During the First 6 Months - 13