Me and Spanks got up at 5 am this morning just so we could make it to Dog Beach in time to catch the sunrise and get some exercise for Spanky before the temperature got up to 180. Dog Beach is just what it sounds like. Fort DeSoto Park has about a quarter mile section of beach officially dedicated to pooches – and they are allowed off leash! It is dog paradise! Our canine friends get to run around, socialize, swim, play fetch, pretty much any and all fun dog stuff that exists. Meanwhile, dog owners tell each other (sometimes embellished, I suspect) dog war stories, compare dog products, and brag about how wonderful their dogs are.
The Sun Popping Up Over The Horizon
Now for the ongoing saga….. We started this whole thing at the end of January. I’m pretty pleased with our progress – in six months we’ve made it to the top of 24 states. I know, I know, the easy ones! I’m sick of hearing that. You think it’s so easy, go out and do it. Seriously, I honestly realize that to say we are halfway done is just a blatant lie. The western states are gonna be tough. It will require a whole bunch more time and effort. But……..I’m happy. I honestly had no idea when we started this madness that we’d make it this far! A middle age lunatic, a beat up old pick up truck, a utility trailer, and a dog – who’d a thunk it?
And…………….I must point out that we would have had 25 states if it wasn’t for the anti dog Nazis in Maine! Mount Katahdin, highest point in Maine, lies within Baxter State Park which categorically, unequivocally, absolutely not, no way, allows dogs. The solution? Don’t really have one at the moment. However, Spanky and I did exercise our rights as citizens of this fair nation and drove across the New Hampshire/Maine border whereupon I photographed the unjustifiably discriminated against canine (Spanky) under the “Maine State Line” sign. A worthless, meaningless, who gives a crap gesture? Yeah probably, but we did it anyway.
Spanky Stealthily Sneaks Into Maine
If you check out the maps in the Maps and Other Fun Stuff section of our web site, you’ll notice that we’ve logged some major league mileage crisscrossing all over the eastern states. In total, all our trips thus far add up to close to 18,000 miles. I hate to think about it - my truck, at an avg of 10 miles to the gallon, so…….1,800 gallons of gas at an avg of just under $3/gallon. Yikes! I am so tempted to go into a raging rant about gas prices and what actually fuels (no pun intended) them but I’ll resist for the moment.
Was it worth the effort? You bet! Me and Spankster had the time of our lives. We got to see all kinds of sights, meet all kinds of people, and get together with tons of friends and family (many got to meet Spanky for the first time). Most important to me, at least as far as I could tell, is that Spanky loved the whole thing, camping, hiking, swimming, playing with new dog buddies, climbing up and down rocks, getting caught in thunderstorms, eating beef jerky, running around highway rest stops, chasing chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and deer, sleeping in the truck, you name it – the boy rose to the occasion. And………..Spanky can now boast that he has marked more than half the states in America! You just can’t buy that kind of notoriety!
I sincerely want to thank all of you that read this stuff! Especially the poor innocent victims that through some stroke of bad luck ended up on our email distribution. Your feedback via emails, comments on the blog, and phone calls have been a tremendous boost to us. I must admit that I periodically have had my doubts about this endeavor. The brain starts with, “You’re nuts, this will never work, what the hell are you doing?” And then…..almost invariably a friend or an anonymous Spanky and Rein reader will brighten up the day with some form of positive feedback. So, once again, a sincere thank you from me and Spanky for your support.
Speaking of readers, gonna brag a little here……….to date we’ve had readers from 34 different countries visit the site. Top ten being the US, Canada, Estonia, China, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, and Brazil. We’ve even gotten hits from places like Bosnia, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates! Pretty cool!
Finally, me and Spanks are deeply indebted to our friends that provided us with food and lodging along the way. Thanks for inviting us (we may have invited ourselves???) and offering the wayward wanderers a brief respite from the trials and tribulations of the open road. We love camping and living in the woods but……………there is something to be said about a warm bed and a home cooked meal.
The only regret I have is not being able to visit more. So……….to all my friends across the US, there is always next time……….for now at least, you can breath a sigh of relief.
What’s next? Well, me and Spanky have to spend some time at home. We have mucho house and yard maintenance to catch up on. And……..there is the unfortunate reality of figuring out how the hell we are going to finance more summits – especially considering that now we have to head out west for a really extended period of time. But we must go on. We’ll figure it out.
Thanks for stopping by!