Why We Have Wheels . . .

Dawny and I had a great Christmas Explore this year.  This is our new holiday tradition, started last year when we were away from family for the holidays for the first time ever.  Apparently, two years a tradition makes.

We stayed a few nights at Otter Springs Park & Campground near Trenton in north Florida (www.ottersprings.com).  It’s a large campground with lots of space for dog walking, both in the campground and on nature trails.  Perfectly lovely and well-shaded by live oaks, it also boasts a small spring and a heated swimming pool for those who don’t object to the sight of everything above their kneecaps in a bathing suit.  The price was a tad above our budget, but hey, it was Christmas, so we slightly splurged.

A surprise gift arrived via text on the morning after Christmas, as we were preparing to head back south to our winter campground.  My little brother (a term of endearment, not of measurement) was heading to north Florida to visit an old family friend.  So we switched gears and trucked on over to Ocean Pond Campground just east of Lake City, where we all met up and had a great visit over lunch and, of course, a dog walk or two.

What a wonderful thing to be able to quickly shift gears and change directions,  all while carting your kitchen and mess hall, bedroom and den, dog house and bath house along on wheels.  What a wonderful thing to share memories with people we love.  What a wonderful thing to simply hug a loved one, a friend.  Makes me feel all bouncy inside.

Heavens to Betsy!

… Who the Hell is Betsy?

Sorry!  I couldn’t resist.  Mom has been waiting to use that line for ages and can never find a place to put it, so I am taking care of it for her.  Aren’t I nice?  I think so.

Oh boy oh boy oh.  We got to see our family in Pennsylvania again.  Great walks, yummy food, and lots of lovin’.  We parked our little house at the same campground we stayed at before and I got to see my old horse buddy who lives down the road a ways.  We got some good walking in, including all around a farmer’s cornfield… until he put down some wonderfully stinky fertilizer and Mom refused to walk close to there again.  She can be very picky about some things.  Oh well, her loss.

Our best walks–on miles of wooded trails loaded with great, Mom-approved smells–were in a couple of really big parks with my Aunt and Uncle.  They are so cool, mostly because they are happy to be directly related to a sweet doggie like me.  They made a point of noticing what a model citizen I have become.  We passed lots of other doggies, and I behaved way better than 90 percent of them!  I reserve the right to “behave” any way I want to with the last 10 percent.

Then we had another road-trip day and today…  Well, today we made it back to my boy!  He’s actually a man now, but he’ll always be my boy.  Just like I’ll always be his pup.  He is handsome and tall and sweet.  And he says I don’t stink this time like I used to.  Stink… ha!  As if that’s something bad!  Ah well, I’ll let that slide.  I am nothing if not generous.

Anyhow, Mom says we’ll be here for a good spell and we’ll see lots of our old friends.  OH!  I DO hope Xolani and Arabia come to play!  I love my Mom and my boy, but they don’t get me like those poodles get me.  They think I am magnificent and glorious.  A doggy of the world.  Road-doggie.  Horse-friend.  Full of romance, mystery, and edge!  And they adore my smell.

The Art of Standing Still

Well, we’re not exactly standing still, but after zooming through 7,500 miles in three months, it’s pretty close to it!  It has been lovely to slow down and enjoy our old home turf in Virginia.

Tonight my son came to the campground with Dawny and me.  He really likes our little house on wheels, and amazingly, it doesn’t feel cramped with someone else rambling around inside.  He is all set up with his computer, Kindle, and phone on the corner bed in the rear of the house and I am in my usual spot at the dinette.  The TV is on up front, above and between the driver’s and passenger’s seats, providing easy viewing for both of us.

I’ve had a chance to convert the dinette into a bed and try it out, now that we have a guest.  It sleeps quite comfortably.  I am really happy that I got a floor plan that has a permanent bed in it, since I would not enjoy breaking down and setting up a bed on a daily basis.  For the occasional guest, this works great and offers some very handy flexibility.

Dawny is relaxing in her comfy bed behind the passenger seat and across from the dinette, after having announced some critter was apparently rummaging around outside.  She sure takes her job seriously, much to the distress of my ears.  Everyone who knew her before we left has commented on how great she looks.  Not an ounce of fat on her and as strong as steel.  Not bad for a 10+ year old doggie.  Today we had a wonderful walk with an old friend and her sweet, little poodle.  This is actually great progress for Dawny and our goal of socializing her more easily with her fellow canines.  Next time we get together, my friend is upping the ante to two poodles!

The campground is located conveniently close to my son’s neighborhood.  Many nights we just stay parked in front of his house (I checked with the neighbors first), saving some money in campground fees.  I have been welcome to use the shower there, too, which conserves my fresh water supply so I can be lazy and not fill up as often.  I really like being back in the campground tonight, though.  It is lovely, quiet, heavily treed, and has great space for terrific walks.  And it’s extra special tonight since we have special company.

I am learning to drive my house more like a car, putting a lot of local, stop-and-go, heavy-traffic miles on it.  I had been wary of navigating tight-fitting lane changes, as this area (not unlike many others) is notorious for people speeding up to cut you off if you put your blinker on for a lane change.  Amazingly, most people slow down and give me the space to move over.  I suppose they don’t realize I am a weeny, so they are cautious about my girth and heft.  Please don’t laugh, but I had been very nervous about night driving, and in all of those 7,500 miles I had only driven at twilight once.  Now I am (almost) comfortable driving at night!

I will take advantage of the extra time we are here to take care of paperwork, banking, and medical appointments, including taking Dawny back to her old vet.  I am also looking forward to learning how to use the crock pot I bought while visiting my friend in South Dakota (it is bright red!).  I have become way too reliant upon cans, so real food will be a treat.

“Standing still” grants space to ponder, appreciate, absorb, reflect.  Time to dote on loved ones and friends.  Energy to stretch, and to take care of necessary tasks.  Here’s hoping Father Winter takes his sweet time getting here and we can enjoy a long, colorful autumn!