"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." Art Wolf

Thursday, July 10, 2014

West Virginia, It's not all Mountains

So the last post was March 17th!  That is what happens when one is working instead of exploring.  But my work season has ended.  Audrey has seen fit to let me drive her to several other dog shows in spite of work. It is a useful excuse to explore a few more areas and try out the new rig.  But now we can take in dog shows and adventures!

The week of the 4th, after Audrey's show outside of Pittsburgh I headed over to West Virginia for a week to visit with a bunch of my cousins.  They were staying at Stonewall Jackson Resort in cabins. The dogs and I stayed at a Corp of Engineer campground a few miles down the road.   I got to kayak a few times, the dogs got to take long walks around the campground and then I would head over to visit with the family for a few hours while the dogs held down the rig by themselves.  

"Look, I like kayaking now, as long as I don't have to get wet," say Remi.

 West Virginia isn't all mountains.  The lake in long and not to wide.  It makes for nice paddling.

Quiet coves. Good for fishing.

Several areas along the shore have barriers to protect them from...?   Maybe the wakes of the boats or high water during spring rains?

You know there are fish here.

"I know you brought me some water to drink but I could use a tree break," explains my passenger.

So we head back towards the campground for today.

Bulltown Campground gets its name from a Civil War battle on the ground next door to us.

A small church near the grounds. Love those longs. 

These were where the lower trenches were.  The camp was near property that was being farmed so it may have actually been a pasture of cornfield.

Up the trail to the top of the hill you can see what remains of the trenches that ring the hill.  

The top of the hill provided space for the buildings for the troops and the horses, etc.

This is the farm house that suddenly had soldiers come in 1861 and tell them that they are taking over the hill next door to protect the toll road.    Confederates over run the hill twice but the Union always won it back and was able to keep the supply road open until the end of the war.  You read about the big battlefields but Bulltown reminded me that the Civil War had many small outposts that were each important in their own way.  In this case they had to keep the supply routes open. If they hadn't been successful who knows what would have happened in other areas of Virginia.

Can you hear the horses coming up to the house?

Another day another chance to paddle.  The campground was full of families enjoying their holiday.  Lots of boat, bikes and kayaks...also large inflatable swimming docks.  I so could have played with one of those in my childhood.  But then my childhood was before the world of plastic explored. (Reminds me of the movie, The Graduate.)


Today we head up the other direction and hope that the cloud cover stays to help keep us cool but not drop rain on us.

We get to see wildlife as we float quietly by.

And then we get to see why momma is watching us so closely.  Notice the little head directly to her left?

Really, it isn't even that warm today? Someone must have stayed up to late last night.

Like found poetry, logs wait to be discovered.

Some wait longer than others.

Another thirsty visitor to the shore.  When I was cropping the pictures I could see what looks like ticks all over the deer.  Made my skin itch just to see them.

Not everyone likes wind chimes anyway, but nobody needs to run out and make me one of these.  This might be a West Virginia wind chime.

Here we are on our corner lot. I was amazed that with all the children and large families camping throughout the campground it was never noisy in the evening.  The dogs and I just needed to dodge bikes and trucks as we took some of our walks.....

And, hey, I finally took time to wash the Baja saltwater scum from the sides of the kayak.  I also left a little Mexican sand in West Virginia.

And there were the afternoons with the cousins.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Audrey does Louisville

Audrey here.....

The Grey Haired Lady said that I needed to share my AKC debut with a few folks. Especially those of you that have watched me grow from that "shark teethed" girl that traveled to Michigan last August and at ten weeks old tried to dig a hole to China.  I have gotten over most of that. Well except that tempting sand on the beach in Santispac, MX, I did sort of leave a few holes there. 

I tried to get Remi to be my "ghost" writer but since he and Stuart didn't get to go to the shows with me, they both refused to help. Remi said, "If you are old enough to go have adventures without us, then you are old enough to write your own story."

I traveled to Louisville area and got to stay with my sister, Daisy and my mom, Izzy and their big buddy, Goofy.  

No, I didn't grow a trail but Goofy let us chase his occasionally.  He is a big guy but very sweet. My sister Daisy said that he is her training partner and how she is staying in shape.  He was fun.

That is me looking in the door with Daisy off to the left. Her nose is "roaned" more like Stuart's.  And don't bother asking because we have no idea whose muddy paws left those prints on the glass.

This is sister Daisy.  The GHL did a little clipping and grooming to find out what was lurking under some of her remaining puppy fuzz.  There were oohs and aaahs afterwards.  

Too bad that the GHL hasn't learned to tilt our heads towards the camera better when she tries to stack us.  Maybe this series of pictures will be a lesson to her. These pictures do not show off the proportions and angles of Daisy's pretty head as well as they could.

While we played, Izzy, Daisy's and my Mom, had to work watching her "hooman" Bill prepare dinner.  She is dedicated to keeping an eyes on her Bill just encase he might need some help.

Izzy has Bill trained to carefully walk around her and her supervisory spot.

Then my first hooman Momma, Lyn, took a couple of pictures of me on Sunday.  Here I am letting another nice judge who I have never met, check me out. I hardly wiggled, really!  Boy, do they touch you all over, or what?

Then the GHL has me trot up and down this mat, away from and back towards the judge but doesn't even let me sniff the mat once.  "Look, ma! Look!  See I know how to stop with my feet squared up! That's good right? I won't even mention that my feet look better than the yours."  The GHL really isn't that graceful but I won't hurt her feelings so don't tell her, okay?

(For the record, the GHL did seem very proud of herself, that she got up from knelling on the mats with me in a stack.  She did it without holding on to anything.)

For those of you caught a couple of my travel pictures from this winter, stripping my undercoat and puppy hair out, some judicious trimming and a good shampoo does wonders.  Now, only time will grow out those feathers and adult belly hair.  Woof, Woof.

The best part of the show was the morning I had to get up really, really early.  But it was all worth it. Apparently they needed help singing the National Anthem so they made sure we got the 8:00 am ring time so I would be there and help them open the show.  I was so happy to sing along with both My Old Kentucky Home and the Star Spangled Banner.  The long high notes were my best.   I have Remi waiting by the phone encase I get any calls for more work or special auditions.  When you are a singer, it is important to have "people" to take care of the details.....

I haven't checked my calendar to see where I get to go next.  But I had lots of fun and the big Louisville Expo Center didn't phase me a bit.  Well, I am an experienced Mexico street walking dog so I have been around and seen strange things in my other traveling adventures. Remember those carefree puppy days?  The GHL kept telling my that I would be a real dog someday.

The GHL did explain that all dog shows did not include long romps with my sister and Goofy, so I might have a different opinion after I attend a few more.

Wiggles, Wags and a Woo Woo...

Audrey...   also known by the folks in the AKC catalog as Kathben's Summertime Downonda Farm

Sunday, March 2, 2014

On to San Antonio

This winter's trip is winding down but my visit in San Antonio was a nice finishing touch to balance all the scenic deserts and mountains.  

Yesterday the temperatures were up in the 80's and today's temperatures have continued to fall since morning. That weather map showing all that cold north air blowing south shows it aiming for Texas, too.   I told the dogs they were just trying to get us used to grey overcast skies and cold so that we wouldn't be too shocked when we headed north the end of this week.   For now we are hoping to continue heading east and catch a few more days of more moderate weather.

Driving across highway 90 on the way to San Antonio it was a quick side trip to visit the Historic remains of Judge Roy Bean's empire.   It wasn't much of an empire but it was all his and he got to rule it as he liked.   

The Opera House was really his home but it made it sound so much more exciting as he kept inviting his Miss Lilly to come visit his town.    

And further down the road we crossed the Pecos River.  People didn't get across this river without some work.  Judge Roy Bean got to take care of the folks that made it across and tried to travel west....

The puppers and I made it to Nikki's driveway, or in this case in front of her house. (Her neighbors are very accepting)  The next morning was the beginning of the San Antonio tour.  Tours here start with breakfast from a small home town place that has now gathered national recognition from foodies.   Yes, the breakfast tacos were that good.....

And we stopped to walk through the fairly new San Antonio Library......(I thought of you, Lyn.)   Peak up the stairs and you find out one of the reasons we stopped.


I found the base interesting....how the glass curve around the bases.

The library also has gallery shows in its art section.

This is for a look at the ceiling.  These were all just neat spaces that made you want to grab a book and sit awhile over in a nook.

This was a "happy place."  Right as you walked in the door are the shelves with "freebies."  Find a book you like and yo can have it.  Even visitors from Ohio.  The rest of the store has used books and books withdrawn from the library collection for sale.  They also had used books on tape and CD for sale.   It was probably a good thing that we didn't stay too long.....it was a very dangerous room. 

Nikki left her car parked at the Library garage and we walked through the beautiful grounds of the Southwest  School or Art.  The school lives in what was once a monastery.  Wonderful stone, trees and lines.   Nikki leading the way....

Nikki went in to find out where the gift shop might have been moved to only to find out the gift shop had disappeared to make room for some student lounge area since they have added undergraduate programing.  It appeared to be administrative offices and cubicals in the area behind Nikki, but who cares....just look at that rock archway and the size of the doors

Walking through a northern section of the San Antonio River Walk.

We walked down to the main section of the walk to pick up one of the boat tours.  The city has apparently continued to develop and take advantage of the attraction the water front provides for tourist and local live. More and more restaurants have been opened and old buildings have been repurposed to take advantage of income potential.

Nikki and I enjoyed watching all the young recent air force graduates walking around town in their uniforms with their proud parents, girl friends, little brothers, etc.  The airmen (and women) looked so young, so full of promise, so sharp in their uniforms....ready to head of to their next assignment.

We walked over to the Alamo and explored the grounds and used my imagination to consider how bare these lands were and what this area looked like back in the day.   It isn't as if I hadn't driven across miles of Texas frontier the day before.

Not a cowboy but a Texas Ranger.... Somehow it just isn't that same.

Inside the larger grounds of the Alamo.....

Yes, Ohio, it really is spring here in Texas.....

Mountain Laural......

The next day Nikki and I head out to a near by Farmer's market......Beautiful fresh produce. Not thinking I will see any of that in Ohio for awhile either.   This guy was just taking a break in the back of the truck.

From the Farmer's market it was back on the road to explore more of the Hill Country and the art galleries and antique shops that exist out there.  We found more than our energy would allow us to explore.  But I saw a good representation of Texas art.

Gruene is a town with a strong German heritage.

 Not a bad look for a Pottery Studio....

Cactus Jacks did have quite a collection of local artist's work.  I really like their steps .

We stopped in Blanco for lunch and on the way to the restroom I found this sign and watched a short video of the 3D pottery printer in action.  I don't think Dennis is in danger of loosing his plate and bowl customers....

Looking across the front lawn of the courthouse towards the store fronts.  The buildings were original stone and had been there awhile.  

Driving back towards home we made a pass through Wimberley....and more artsy shops and ...wait for it....a pie shop.  It was time to stop for desert.

Today I tried to buy some new tires at Costco only to find out that similarly to Liz's discovery in Stockton, the tires for a Honda Sport Fit are not always carried on the shelves.  Guessing I will be ordering them when I get back to Ohio. They are all still holding air I just know that they don't have enough tread left to make it over snowy Ohio roads.  

We were both running out of steam but we did make it to a Thrift Store and on to lunch.

If San Antonio is going to start getting cold on me, I will at least continue to enjoy it's food!  Everything was so fresh and the sauces were everything Nikki said they would be. Delicious!

My grilled fish with shrimp and spaghetti squash....

Nikki's Shrimp and Lobster salad .....

Pups are ready to head east tomorrow is the wind allows it.  I will drive in rain and cold and even in snow but excessive wind...not so much.

Big thank you to Nikki and her sweet Olive for inviting us to San Antonio and introducing us to her city and the beautiful scenic views out in the surrounding Hill Country.