Season II – Coach Goes West


Although we departed Annapolis on July 2, my editor is such a slacker that he is just now (late August) getting around to posting my 2017 blog entries.  He has no job, no house chores, no volunteer work and no one to ask him to do favors except when Joyce joins us, and it still took him 6+ weeks to organize this blog.  I’m just lucky he remembers to feed me twice a day.

Just a reminder to all of you grammar, spelling and punctuation nerds reading this blog – I am a dog and my editor was a geology major.

Sincerely, Coach


I’m so excited to be on the road again

7/2 – Annapolis – Motel 6, somewhere in Conn

Motel 6! WTF are we doing in this fleabag place?  When we parked by the room here were two police cars with flashers blasting in the parking lot with officers banging on doors, probably looking for a serial killer or worse. On top of this, we were rudely awaken at 4am by the lady next door yelling to her drunken husband “leave this GD room or I’ll call the cops”. Needless to say we hit the road early that morning.

The need to stay in a Motel 6 arose from the refusal of the local Walmart to allow RV parking, we were not sure why but any Walmart lot would have preferable to M-6 experience.

7/3 – Motel 6 – Bailey’s Biker Bar & Campground, south of Portland, ME


He actually rode his mountain bike through this parking lot (without a helmet) – needless to say it was an embarrassing moment for me

Go figure…after an icky night in a Motel 6 room he books us into a biker RV campground complete with a very popular (among the Harley crowd anyway) bar, restaurant and music venue. There were non-stop bands all day and night not to mention the athletic looking biker lady who banged on his camper door wanting to borrow a hair dryer! I almost fell over laughing but since I was in my usual sacked out position there was no damage. Here is exactly how he answered the request:

First, he removed his hat to demonstrate his lack of need for a hair dryer and said, “I haven’t needed one of those since the 70’s but my girlfriend arrives tomorrow, maybe she will have one”. She flexed her tatted-up biceps and gave him a nice simile before retiring to her camper.

She and her friend (also an athletic looking female with several tats) had just ridden their bikes from Indiana to this campground in Maine. This is clearly a destination resort for Harley enthusiasts, most of whom were very friendly and having a great time dancing, eating, drinking and talking about their “rides” (when he mentioned that his Jeep had a V-8 Hemi under the hood, I quickly wandered off in embarrassment to visit the biker chicks for some good petting).

All the biker ladies were in the bar so this guy had to do
He leashes me to the parking lot barricades while he mingles with the biker people in the bar

7/4 – Wild Duck Campground, Portland ME – Joyce arrives

 His mission for the day was to pick up Joyce at the Portland airport around mid-day. In order to accomplish this important task he had to break camp at the biker place; figure out where the next campground was located; drive there; check in; set up the trailer and drive to the airport (a very stressful morning but one that he actually pulled off without a problem).

7/5 – Wild Duck Campground

So glad Joyce is here, now I can get the attention I deserve
Exploring the marshes of Maine

Hanging out in the greater Portland area, doing lot’s of tourist stuff, all very down east and nautical. I was fairly bored (I kind of missed the biker chicks) although it was really great to see Joyce (my favorite person), I feel so much safer when she is around.

7/6 – Wild Duck – Boothbay Harbor, ME

Joyce and Julie in Boothbay, they feasted on lobster and there were no leftovers for me

7/7 – Boothbay, ME

7/8 –Boothbay – St. John, NB Canada, Walmart Parking Lot

He tried to bribe me with massive amounts of salmon if I would ignore the most dramatic portion of this day which included crossing into Canada. I reminded him that when I agreed to write this blog I would not tolerate censorship; I refused the salmon, and now for today’s big adventure: “THE REMAINDER OF THIS STORY HAS BEEN REDACTED BY GOVERNMENT CENSORS”

7/9 – St. John – Annapolis Royal, NS, via ferry to Digby NS


They opted to take the St Johns – Digby ferry to Nova Scotia…what a crappy picture

7/10 – Annapolis Royal, NS

This town also named for Queen Anne, although she was only a princess when it was founded.  They ate dinner by the banks of the Annapolis River two nights in a row while I was banished to the TT with my dry dog food.

7/11 – Annapolis Royal

Lot’s of cool stuff in this place
Joyce loves the lighthouses – the tides on the Annapolis River are in the 30′ range.  The Bay of Fundy has tides as much as 50′ in range (they seem to think this is cool, it doesn’t impress me much)
The Hair and the Lighthouse

7/12 – Annapolis Royal – Kedgie National Park, NS

 Deep in the woods of Nova Scotia. Big events of the day include a canoe ride and supping with my person.

Not a very good photo but trust me, this place is very very nice

7/13 – Kedgie

 Same as yesterday

7/14 – Kedgie

I always manage to attract a crowd
Some very nice lake in Kedgie NP

7/15 – Kedgie – Lunenburg, NS

This was his favorite sight in the very picturesque fishing village of Lunenburg, NS – He’s so excited because the two seasons of Faulty Towers is now available on Netflix, he seems to laugh a lot when he watches the show
He sent this pic out to a small group of friends and the overwhelming response was…..YES

We are camped in an in-town RV Park operated by the town of Lunenburg, nice for J&J but no chance that I can go without a leash so I’m not so excited about this place. They get all excited about these scenic spots, not me unless there is wildlife to stalk.

7/16 – Lunenburg, NS

The local fisherman have a great sense of color:

7/17 – Lunenburg – Peggy’s Cove, NS

She takes much better photos than the old man

7/18 – Peggy’s Cove (Joyce departs for Annapolis via Toronto and Cincinnati)

I’m not very happy, Joyce left today and I’m stuck with him alone for at least a month….yikes
One of my favorite pastimes, sniffing on a beach…almost as much fun as sniffing dog butt
Scenic Peggy’s Cove, a wonderful place but the West beckons; after all this blog is named Coach Goes West


7/19 – Peggy’s Cove – Augusta, ME Walmart (Olive Garden for dinner)

We are off to Wyoming, 2,600 miles to the west and I make him do all the driving.

Heading west

7/20 – Augusta – Buffalo, NY (State Park just outside Buffalo)

 Spent the night is some NY State Park, lot’s of rules, left early.

7/21 – Buffalo – Elkhart, IN

This town is home to the RV Hall of Fame, I’m not kidding.

7/22 – Elkhart – Independence, IA (Amish country)

Our campground was in Amish country. We did an early morning hike along the dirt roads to see Amish horses and dogs. We had fun.

Our campground in Amish country.
The pool at our campground – everyone was having fun but of course I wasn’t welcome in the pool.
Amish horses – they do most of the work but seem very happy.
Amish barn with up-to-date Amish equipment.
My new Amish dog friend, notice I am on a leash but he gets to roam free, life is not always fair.
Sunset in Amish country
Sunrise in Amish country
He insisted we take a side trip to the “Ash Fall Fossil Beds” in nowhere Nebraska. He gets all excited about this geology stuff and I sort of enjoyed it as I could walk through most of the park looking a animals that died from a massive volcanic explosion 14 million year ago. The volcano was in Idaho and was so powerful that it killed these large animals in Nebraska. The same volcano is now located under Yellowstone National Park so watch out, it blows about every 600,000 years and it’s due to go off anytime. This baby could get us long before global warming has a chance.
The hot spot that may kill us all

7/23 – Independence – Lewis and Clark Lake Campground, NB

The following over-exposed photos were all taken in Nebraska – a lighthouse, a marina with a substantial sailing fleet, cheap beer and a 9 hole golf course – go figure.

You would have to be a really bad navigator to find yourself in Nebraska looking for a lighthouse.
A Nebraska marina, nice sailboat.
Of course we shopped here.
He played alone and I’m sure he broke most of the rules of golf in the process.

7/24-7/25 – L&C Campground

 7/26 – L&C – Ollie’s Town, NB (Day’s Inn RV place)

This place is just off I-80 in western Nebraska – it’s founder hunted big game in the 1930’s and 40’s. His collection is displayed in the bar and restaurant. I wasn’t able to go in which is good because as an animal I would have been freaked out.
African game in a Nebraska bar
This guy is a Jets fan but they wouldn’t turn him around so he could watch the game, that’s usually a good thing if you’re a Jets fan.

7/27 – Ollie’s – Yellow Pine Campground, Medicine Bow National Forest, WY

Finally, we are officially in the west, and I’m a happy camper.

We stopped at a Wyoming Information center off of I-80 (as my best friend Joyce often says, “information is important” – epically when the old man is leading the way). This led us to Yellow Pine Campground about three miles from I-80 but light years away from civilization.

Being a Forest Service campground the fee is $10/night however with his “geezer pass” we paid only $5. With the solar panel and plenty of fresh water in the tank we can survive in relative comfort for at least a week. A local person told us that there are at least 56 miles of hiking and biking trails within easy reach of our campsite.


On the lookout for small game, my favorite pastime
56 miles of hiking trails in the Medicine Bow National Forest, near Laramie, WY
Laramie is the a big hub for the Southern Pacific RR. They even sell funky clothing on the pedestrian overpass, I guess shop space is limited
Downtown Laramie
Stuff along the many miles of hiking trails
Stuff along the many miles of hiking trails
The old man wanted to dance but the little kids were frightened when he busted a few moves so he backed off
They are big on dead animal heads in the bars out here, I’m a little concerned that I’ll see a dog’s head and so I don’t go inside
Got me a chipmunk cornered
I like getting wet and muddy (don’t I have a cute tail?)

7/28 – Yellow Pine Campground

Hiking and biking most all day.

7/29 – Yellow Pine Campground

We hiked on virtually empty trails for at least 6-10 miles each day, 3 of 4 days were cool, sunny and clear, one day of much needed rain, was spent reading (him) and sleeping (me).

After three days of relative isolation (no cell or internet service – yikes!) and camper-cooked meals (which featured Wyoming steak and Chinook Salmon – yum) the old man was getting antsy for some western cultural so we piled into the Jeep and headed eight miles west to Laramie to view the obligatory tourist sights (he was basically interested in two things: 1) the geology museum and, 2) bars with outdoor dog-friendly seating).

Since the museum was closed, we found a brewpub with a patio, complete with a guy drinking red wine with his Brittany at his feet. We immediately became good friends, the Brittany (I’m bad with remembering dog names, but what dog isn’t?) was two years old and Ron (the guy) had previously had two Brits that both lived to be 15; this fact brightened my day considerably. The old man might be slowing down but I’ve got another 35 human years to chase squirrels and birds.

Ron was born in Laramie but moved to New Jersey and was employed in a gun manufacturing plant. He learned his trade and moved back to Laramie and set up shop making custom guns. He hunts with his dogs and when I heard his stories I was hoping to get invited on his next adventure. That didn’t happen but I am allowed to run free on many of our hikes and that is just as much fun and without the loud gun noise.

After one or two wines we said good by to Ron and his dog and headed for the local farmers market. I’m happy to report that the only thing he purchased was a bag of homemade doggy treats (apparently there were no wine or beer vendors at the market). For dinner we ordered a pizza to go and dined at the campground. He only ate half, which is unusual for him, another sign of his advancing years.

7/30 – Yellow Pine

7/31 – Yellow Pine – Brooklyn Lake Campground, Medicine Bow National Forest, WY

We shopped at the Laramie Walmart (WM’s are great for one stop shopping) at noon and arrive at the Brooklyn Lake Campground by 1:30 pm. This place is in the Snowy Mountain Range of southern Wyoming, elevation 10,200’. Just a scenic as the more famous Colorado Rockies but far less crowded.

After he set camp the old man left me in the trailer so he could ride his stupid mountain bike (he prefers flat dirt roads to mountain trails, a wimp for sure) – I don’t like the bike because sometimes he locks me in the trailer when he rides; I hate being alone in the trailer.

He’s off riding his stupid bike while I’m cooped up in the trailer

I pulled him along with me on an afternoon hike to Glacier Lake, just over a mile from our campground, the photos tell the story better than a dog can.

Here is proof that we actually did some hiking
Orange lichens, his favorite color
Notice I’m still on the leash – he’s deadly afraid I will get lost and he will have to explain to Joyce how it happened
Snowy Mountain Range, WY
The Opera House in Encampment, WY
Trail side mushrooms after a rain
Notice the U shaped valley, a classic sign that glaciers were responsible for it’s creation
Green quartzite, over 2.4 billion years old
We climbed 2,600′ on our hike today but failed to make the summit as I didn’t like walking on sharp boulders and the old man was really gassed
View from the top (almost)
He likes these rocks, I have no idea why
Chilling by the lake
I was gassed too

It’s 7:30 pm and we are both in bed; I had dinner but he was too tired to cook. The reason for this lethargy is our hike to the summit of Brown’s Peak, Elev. 12,013’, the highest peak in the Snowy Range (at least that’s what he tells me).

The hike started at 9,500’ Elev. that explains why we are so wiped out. The “trail” for the final 500’ climb consisted of large angular boulders with nasty gaps between them; I managed to get my leg stuck in such a gap, which freaked us both out (his main concern was that he would have to carry me three miles to the Jeep). No worries however, I was fine but he used this as an excuse to turn around just shy of the summit (he tried to blame me but he was happy to head down).

8/1 – 8/3 – Brooklyn Lake Campground

As you can tell by our length of stay this is a spectacular spot to camp, a glacial lake on one side and a view of Brown’s Peak to the west, Elev. 11,722’.

8/4 – Brooklyn Lake – Saratoga, WY

The Woof Hotel and Bar, Saratoga,WY – just what the doc ordered after 4 days of mountain living

8/5 – Saratoga Lake Campground

So Noah Charles Watkins was born 34 years ago today in Boulder, CO, roughly 150 miles southeast of Saratoga. We met our next-door camper neighbors this morning and they are from Boulder (nice touch Noah).


Where the hell did this animal come from?

Another day of adventure drove – 20 miles south to hike the Encampment Trial with follows the Encampment River for 15 miles upstream. We were limited to 3.5 miles each way due to the old man’s inability to keep pace with me (I was ready to go much further).

This is a great town for hanging out due, in part, to a natural hot spring which is nicely maintained by the city and it’s free to all (except dogs of course). I get to watch my guy luxuriate in the 104-degree pools, a nice way to end a hike. For the macho people, there is a pool known as the Lobster Pot, legend has it that at least one over-served college student never got a chance to graduate after visiting the “Pot”.

8/6 – Saratoga Lake Campground

Hanging out in Saratoga. He Purchased a Wyoming fishing license at Hack’s. He must be getting bored just hiking with me; I like fish so I hope he’s good at it.

Our campground on Saratoga Lake

8/7 – Saratoga Lake Campground – Silver Lake Campground, Snowy Range, WY

 He’s not.

8/8 – Silver Lake Campground

My person (aka the old man) is trying his best to become a passionate fisherman, let’s just say it’s not going too well. With $106 invested in an out-of-state license, he has accumulated enough ammo to utilize three different techniques to convince a trout to swallow his hook: 1) live/dead/manufactured bait, 2) artificial lures and 3) artificial insects i.e. fly-fishing. So far he’s landed two trout (using worms), he kept the small one and released the bigger one; he has a logical explanation for this behavior but basically he’s an idiot.

It’s raining now and my paws are covered with mud as a result of running free while he was “fishing”. We are riding out the thunderstorm in the comfort of his trailer; I’m a happy dog.

8/9 – Silver Lake Campground

We met the camp host Kim and her Australian sheep dog Bell when we checked in yesterday. She is a recent retiree from a very small town in western Kansas, so small that the old man didn’t recognize any of the three larger towns in its vicinity. She is camping in a small converted horse trailer with just enough room for a cook stove and her bedding and supplies. Since she has no heat and the temperature routinely drops into the low 40’s at night she informed the Forest Service that a transfer to a lower altitude is necessary for her to remain a FS camp host.

When we saw her last she was all packed up and heading for the visitors center for her next assignment. We toughed it out another night but an intense thunder storm with pea-size hail was enough to drive us back to Saratoga and it’s magical hot springs.

 8/10 – Silver Lake Campground – Saratoga Lake Campground

We are back in our favorite town. Dinner again at the Wolf Hotel bar where he met a couple from Ft. Worth, TX. The wife (Jenny Pace Dupree) was from Wyoming and inherited (along with her siblings and cousins) a working cattle ranch in the area. She offered to sponsor my person if he wanted to join the “Old Baldy Club”, a golf and trout fishing club on the edge of town which is somewhat exclusive so he may be making up the sponsorship offer (I of course wasn’t allowed in the bar so I can’t verify the conversation although he showed me her business card as proof of the offer). His lack of hair would make him a perfect fit at Old Baldy for sure.

8/11 – Saratoga Lake Campground – Granby, Colorado

After 40 nights sleeping in the trailer he finally springs for a hotel room in Granby, CO, just a few miles from Rocky Mountain National Park. I cost him an additional $35 to sleep in the room; he considered letting me sleep in the Jeep, however if Joyce found out he would have suffered considerable chastisement. Needless to say he paid the 35 bucks.


More on this in my next post (hopefully sometime this year)