Thursday, June 23, 2011

doggie wilderness adventures that are actually kind of adventure-y

memorial day weekend has come and gone, i know, but my only speeds around here are slow and slower. hopefully, you don't mind taking a little trip back a few weeks with us to read all about desmond's second attempt at becoming a gilboa faithful like his mom and dad.

now, i'm sure you don't remember what the weather was like around that time (seeing as how it was approximately 49857438967 years ago), but i do. it was horrible. i know this because the horrible weather had a big effect on our trip. there had been a series of storms passing through the NY area, the most severe of them upstate. these little acts of nature actually knocked out the power to the campground. we knew about this before getting in the car and heading north, but we also knew the utility company was working on it and that the owners of the campground would be doing everything they could to salvage their memorial day reservations. and off we went...

oh, i'm sorry, desmond. is this car ride boring you?
we got as far as east fishkill and stopped to grab some sandwiches and walk desmond. that's when we got the call: the power may not be back on until monday. it was friday afternoon. that meant we'd have at least two nights ahead of us with no power, and we needed to make a decision about whether or not we were going to continue on our trip or turn around and go home.

you may be wondering why in the world having no power during a camping trip would be such a problem. well, it's not, really. we used to camp with no power back in the day when we rented sites and slept in tents. but now we have the refrigerator and a bunch of christmas lights hanging from our camper awning. can't use those things without power. can't plug in your radio or cell phone either. eh, still not that big of a deal, right? we knew we'd make it there before dark, so we could set up the camper and our site in daylight and then run out to get batteries for our lantern and flashlights. we'd just keep all the food and beer in the cooler. it would be almost like real camping! almost.

we decided to carry on after our little pit stop. that's when we got the second call: it was confirmed that the campground's plumbing runs on a well with a pump. a pump that needs electricity to work.

so...go to a campground with no electricity AND no working bathrooms??? you must be crazy if you think we're getting on board with that. well, i'm sure joey wouldn't care at all, but there is no way i'd ever even consider that an option. not to mention the fact that there was another severe storm in the forecast for later that day. the whole area was under a tornado watch, in fact. we considered going up for just friday night, since we were already so far along the drive, but joey's sister & her fiance are wonderful people and they offered to let us come stay at their house for the night. they live not too far from where we happened to be, and they were planning on heading up to the campground the next morning if the power wound up being fixed by then anyway. as you can imagine, i jumped all over that offer, and then we got on our way over to goshen. but not before stopping to pick up some beer & wine for our gracious hosts!

"i hear you think you're taking me to nala's house. well, i suggest you reconsider. i will turn this car around, right now!"


besides hanging out with jen & brian, this also gave us the opportunity to have desmond & nala hang out again! and hang out they did! nala was her usual crazy self, jumping on/around/over desmond, begging him to play, while he gave it his all for a good ten minutes before calling it a night. what an old man! but even after desmond decided it was nap time, nala kept us well entertained by practically climbing up the side of their house to capture & eat moths. i'd like to hire nala to work my backyard parties. does she do mosquitoes?

nala humoring desmond with a moment of calm. oh, and of course he stole her blanket.
another really cool thing about hanging out in my sister-in-law's backyard is that they have their very own family of birds living in the tree right next to their deck.

i swooped in to take some pics while the momma bird was out foraging

waiting patiently for mommy. so cute.

it was a lovely little night, and it's always nice to spend time with folks you don't get to see that often, but it was back on the road early the next morning. gotta make up for lost gilboa time!

someone wants to make sure daddy remembers he's in the car

when we did finally get up there, we immediately transitioned into fun mode, but one of the most exciting parts of our arrival was desmond's very first time meeting his new DBFF shea. you have already seen shea in our doggie party post, but this was actually the first time they got to hang out. and what was one of the first things desmond did upon meeting shea? get all up in her teeny tiny face and then go eat all her food. good job, des. what great manners you have! shea definitely let him know that he needed to step off. she spent most of the weekend growling at him, which was totally cute, seeing as how she's like the size of my forearm. would you like to guess what else he stole from shea? i'll give you a second to contemplate...

...

...

if you said, "her teeny tiny bed?", you win! woo! good for you!

really, desmond? really?
and not only did he steal it, but he pretty much took it over and decided it was his new bed.

"i'm just going to lie here and guard this log."

"hey! i see you over there, whoever you are. don't be eyeing my log!"

"don't mock me. this is a really good log."

"really good. in fact, i love it."

"this could be the beginning of something special."

"or i could just munch on it a little bit."

"OK, or a lot. i could munch on it a lot."

"mmm...this log really is a really good log."

now, shea didn't really seem to mind (and her mommy found this rather amusing), but i'm mad. do you wanna know why i'm mad? do you know how much a bed for a dog of desmond's size costs? a lot. a lot of money. a bed for a toy poodle costs far less. and since desmond finds this puff of fabric oh-so-comfortable, perhaps i should have saved my dinero and stuffed him into a wee lil bed instead. he's such a jerk, right?

perhaps at this point you're wondering where all that wilderness action and adventure is? don't fret! jen, joey, and i took desmond and nala down to the creek that runs through the campground for a little bit of water fun. desmond had never gone swimming yet, to our knowledge, so we weren't sure what to expect, but earlier that day, when jamie and i were walking our pups, we headed to the creek to test out desmond's reaction to such a large amount of water. i was thrilled to discover that he was intrigued and curious. obviously he spent a minute drinking the water, because he's crazy, but then he started to walk into it, just a little bit. this was great news and seemed a good sign for our planned later trip for some actual swimming.

well, desmond can't actually swim. his back legs do not allow for such a thing. however, we just so happen to have some great friends who handed over their dog's old life jacket. safety first! (the cuteness bonus does not hurt.) on the way over to the creek, we stopped at the kiddie park to let the dogs explore a bit.


posing on the bridge

right after going down the slide, nala was all riled up. they were both super cute on there.

onward, to the creek!

the part of the creek we went to has a lot of rocks in it and around it. there's really no flat floor to speak of, so it's hard to get in and out of the water, especially when the rocks are mossy, which they usually are.

desmond needed a little help--and yes i hurried over to get to him.

feeling safe on top of the rock

shaking out on us

dogs getting stuck in each other's leashes
desmond did great in the water. much better than i expected! he wanted to go in and swim around, especially after a golden lab jumped in and started frolicking. desmond wanted to follow that lab around all over the place. i'm so glad she showed up, because it really helped him feel good about being in the water and gave him motivation. however, it was still early in the season and the water was pretty cold. we all know how desmond doesn't like the cold, so he was looking to get out pretty soon after he was looking to get in. lucky for him, it was pretty hot out, so he dried off quickly and wasn't cold for long.

later in the day, jen went back with nala and brian to another part of the creek that is usually less crowded (there were a lot of campers hanging out on the "beach" part, which made us all a little bit nervous about the dogs. we wanted to let them off the leashes, but felt we couldn't with the crowd there.) and she reported back that not only was it not crowded but there were no rocks. it was easy to get in and out. excellent news! we'll be going camping again after 4th of july, and i am pumped about getting desmond back in the water.

after swimming, we all went over to the campground horseshoe tournament, where a bunch of the family was hanging out--including desmond's little cousin keegan.

family photo!

desmond is so good with keegan



they're all a bunch of cuties

we couldn't believe how much of a good time desmond was having on this trip. it must have been the cold and the rain that made him miserable last time, which is fabulous news for all of us. plus, the power did come back on! actually, it went on and off periodically--and we ran out to buy 13 bags of ice or something crazy like that--but we all managed just fine. and the campground has a generator that they use to keep the plumbing going through any outages. hooray for that!

he even found himself a new favorite chair!

in fact, such a good time was had by all, we decided to stay over sunday night into monday. we don't usually do this, as we are fans of having the extra day off back at home, but we couldn't resist. the only problem was that we were out of food--for us and the doggie. we had to find a place to eat that would allow desmond to accompany us. this is hard enough in nassau county, never mind up in the middle of nowhere while you don't even have a cell phone that gets reception (thanks, virgin mobile!). at the same time, i really thought that it would be a little easier to find something. i figured there would be a lot of places with outdoor seating and almost all of them would allow dogs, since the whole vibe upstate is so much more casual. in any case, we decided to just drive to a few towns we were familiar with and see what we could find. it turned out that one of the spots we go to fairly often had picnic tables outside (somehow, we didn't realize this at all! duh. so duh.) and when i went in to ask the waitress if we could hang there with mr. d, she was more than happy to oblige. 

we took the table in the back, away from the other folks there, but no one really seemed to mind that he was with us. and he didn't seem to mind that we were there--i'm sure he was particularly thrilled about it actually when we fed him some nice grilled chicken that we ordered plain from the kitchen for him. it was his first time having that, and he gobbled it up in a flash. and the staff was so cool about it. they put it on a plate that they covered in tinfoil so he could eat right off it. we'll definitely head back there with him at some point. 

there he is, relaxing in the grass while we wait for the food. his leash was wrapped around the table leg, to keep him from running off if a bird or something came by...

but i don't think he was planning on moving very far

except maybe into a lying down position

he's like our very own flat stanley!

by the time we got back that night, desmond was pretty tired out from the weekend as a whole, and i think he was starting to want to go home. the wuss that he is, he didn't even want to sit out by the fire with everyone. instead, he preferred to sit in the screen house with his grandma & great nana.

trying to shift him around so he's actually on his blanket is almost impossible when he's so sleepy

well, that's that! camping was a success. we may have found his new favorite place. not that he wasn't pleased to be going home. look at this happy boy napping on the car trip back!

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