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.
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
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).
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
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
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
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
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.
7/13 – Kedgie
Same as yesterday
7/14 – Kedgie
7/15 – Kedgie – Lunenburg, NS
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
7/18 – Peggy’s Cove (Joyce departs for Annapolis via Toronto and Cincinnati)
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.
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
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.
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.
7/24-7/25 – L&C Campground
7/26 – L&C – Ollie’s Town, NB (Day’s Inn RV place)
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
8/7 – Saratoga Lake Campground – Silver Lake Campground, Snowy Range, WY
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.
NOTE: IN THE INTEREST OF GETTING THIS BLOG UPLOADED WHILE WE HAVE INTERNET THE STORY WILL CONTINUE SOON – WE ARE HEADED TO SEE THE ECLIPSE TOMORROW IN SHOSHONIE, WY