23 February 2007

Hey Porter!

Each roadtrip brings its own epiphanies... this one brought a few, actually. Taking off felt a little self-indulgent, but our return trip to Savannah--this time for an agility trial--proved truly satisfying, if not particularly warm. For one, we realize the human's job is a pretty sweet deal. What other job lets you just take off for five days to play? The human agrees. (His mood hasn't changed, but at least he knows his complaints are baseless.) Not to mention that we needed those couple extra days to come home through Asheville to pick up some new growlers of Pisgah Brewing Co. organic beer! The human and his friends sure dig their porter and pale ale. Now that's indulgent--and we love it!

But "play" is what we're talkin' about. Our fun is easy, but the human had a special treat this trip: a reunion with his best buddies (minus one, unfortunately) from college. Although we had to wait in the hotel, we hear they painted the town red and more! They trolled River Street, bar hopping, listening to live music, basically connecting with their inner frat boys (embarrassing, isn't it?). As the evening wore on, we fear the sounds of the "Cousins" singing along with Johnny Cash out of an Acura SUV.

For us, we just love being on the go. On the road--and on this trip, in particular--we were warmed by the outpouring of love shown to special boy Jacks. Especially in the South, his name honors many a street, plaza, and park. Among our favorites are "Jackson Mountain" and the ever-popular "Jackson Love Highway." We ride that road every day!

Speaking of the road, this picture of ours was taken at a "hike" stop in Woods Bay State Natural Area in South Carolina.

03 February 2007

Our joy

Hard to say if our greater joy is the trail or the hotel... The trail is definitely the mood enhancer, however. It sure makes the human happier. Who knows how grumpy he would've been if we didn't get out to hike a bit on the way home.

Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah's Skyline Drive were closed due to winter weather, but enough of both roadways was open for us to check them out. From Asheville, we headed north to Grandfather Mtn (which was closed) and on to Boone, NC (home of the Appalachian State Mountaineers!). We picked up the Parkway there, had to hop the interstate for a bit, but then got on Skyline Drive outside Harrisonburg, VA. Yeah, it was cold, but skies were clear and the views were revitalizing. Our pictures are posted on Jackson's website.

Ring of fire

Okay, it's been five days since we got home, so the fallout from the agility trial has subsided for the most part. Let's just say it wasn't pretty.

On the last day, a nice lady said to Narra, "Are you going to be on fire again today, girl?" The human smiled and answered, "That's the only way she knows how to do it!" Yeah, he thought he was being smart, but the statement was prophetic--and not in a good way. Our first run was jumpers, and, again, we knocked more bars than we left up. But we sure were fast! :) The human was determined to do well in standard which would be our very last run of the trial. He walked the course very deliberately, planned his strategy decisively, and even battled nerves with some success. Narra, on the other hand, had other ideas. At the start line, she bolted early and took the first jump without her handler. He was surprised and unprepared, so called her back--big no-no, not allowed. The judge blew her whistle and excused the team from the ring. WHAA...?

You can imagine, there were no rewards, praise, or play after that. The human marched Narra to the van and drove us out of there like a bat out of hell. He was pissed! Spitting fire for almost two hours as we drove out of Asheville, he spewed bad language for miles! There was talk yet again of "quitting" agility...

Ironically, his anger brought us home in time to make Narra's agility class. Guess we're not quitting after all. :)

Sister spirit... and organic beer!

A definite highlight of our southern jaunt was visiting an old friend--and making some new ones. The classy lady sitting front and center is Savannah, a 7-year old German Shepherd girl who lives with our friends in Asheville. We didn't actually get to meet Savannah, not in that sniffing way, because of Jackson's "inappropriateness," but we did bark greetings through the window. Savannah has a pretty good life: she goes to work at the Pisgah Brewing Co. (one of only two organic breweries on the east coast) with her human every day (he owns it!). And she will soon assume expanded protection duties as her other human is expecting a baby later this month. You will recognize her new charge as the baby strolling around town in Clemson paraphernalia. :) We look forward to meeting you, baby Rae! Incidentally, the other human in the photo, Savannah's "uncle," is a former vegan chef now working with "exceptional" (in the euphemistic sense) high school students. And all the humans get to hang out in that party-ready gold room. Of course, Savannah hangs out there, too (and Simone the cat, too!).

Almost forgot to mention, our own human was pretty happy: not only did he get to catch up with friends, he brought home two growlers of beer: a pale ale and a porter. If you don't know what a "growler" is, it's a refillable glass jug, not unlike old-fashioned moonshine jugs. (We just learned that.) YEE HAW!