Woof, are we there yet? I know Matt got (and gets) tired of me asking that. We had such a hard drive to get to Joshua Tree National Park. We had planned to camp along the way but Mother Nature and some ocean guy Matt calls the Pacific or is it Specific? It rained, and rained, and then it rained more. Along with the rain was wind that shook the truck around as we drove. It was just too bad to try to camp out because we would be soaking wet every time we got in and out of the back of the truck. When we got there Matt told me I was a bit excessive about asking if we were there, but I was worried. It wasn’t fun being in all that bad weather. It was hard to see we were in the truck, no fun or hiking so I just wanted us to be there. Matt watched the news every night and there were stories about mudslides and all kinds of bad things happening. A lot of times Matt would say we had just been right through that place or in the case of Joshua Tree we saw what it looked like after the flooding that happened the day before we got there.
Our first night camping was windy and cold but at least there was no rain. I had to get right next to Matt to keep warm under the warm and fluffy sleeping bag. The next day was windy but Matt said it was too but clear for photographs so we hiked a lot. When we went exploring the next day it was clear and sunny where we started but by the afternoon it started getting cloudy and started to snow while we were hiking, woof that was fun! Matt decided late in the afternoon we should get dinner instead of cooking and go to camp. The next morning when we woke it was sunny but everything was covered in white! I got out and played in the snow that morning, it was fun. That morning we drove through the park and too photographs before going to our next camping place.
After all that rain and the snow we finally had a couple of nice days at a state park called, I hope I write this right, Anza-Borrego in California. It was nice and sunny for two day, but when we left there it was getting cloudy again and Matt was worried about rain. Well that rain followed us all the way to Arizona and the rained on us like crazy for ours. We got to the place called Organ Pipe Cactus, and why they call it that I don’t know, I did not hear any organs at all while we were there. We got there in the dark and the next day it rained, and rained. We stayed in the truck all afternoon and night. When we got up the next morning it was all wet and the mountains had snow on them. Woof, more snow. After spending the morning there we headed to Phoenix where some of Matt’s cousin’s live and we even saw snow there!
We are getting ready t go camping again this morning so I expect some more adventures, though Matt said he wouldn’t mind a bit less rain and snow and some warmer temperatures and honestly I think I agree with him.
Woof, I have been on some scary trails, but this hike on Drift Creek Trail is one of the scariest ones I have ever done. I am just glad there was only a short section I didn’t like. Matt had read about this place and the very next day we went there. He was rambling about bridges and I was thinking about the bridges that look like houses he goes to all the time. Don’t they look like big dog houses? Woof! Well let me tell you while we went to one of those house bridges along the way we also went to another kind, but I am getting ahead of myself. We left in the morning and it was a long drive, not as long as some but we got to the trailhead before lunch. Then we got ready and gathered our gear to get ready for the hike. It had warmed up some but I could still see my breath and Matt had his funny looking wool hat on, he lost that later when it warmed up. As we hiked along big trees I had to check who had been there before me but I kept up with my job and led Matt as I took in quick sniffs without delaying our hike. We are interconnected in walking rhythm when we are working together. Sometimes I have to stop and help him cross difficult places by giving him added balance by giving his resistance on my leash or by him using me directly for balance since I am a tall dog.
The trail gradually descended and went back and forth on the side of the mountain to make it easier to walk It was a pretty normal hike crossing over some creeks on small wooden bridges and I was enjoying it thoroughly until… The Bridge. At first it wasn’t too bad, I was a little hesitant because there was only wire on the sides but when that bridge started moving from side to side and the 100 foot exposure below and a waterfall roaring right below me I froze up! We were right there at the midpoint of the bridge and I just thought I had to get back where we came from. That bridge moving I though meant it was coming down and I didn’t want to fall that far. Luckily Matt turned my video camera off at my most embarrassing moment and gave me some love and along with encouragement and some treats I made it across. Luckily the return back over the bridge went much better. This time you could see the waterfall and exposure in advance instead and I had done it before, the other way it was a big surprise!
That’s it for now, but we are getting ready for another big trip, oh boy!
Woof, I think I am finally rested from flying back to North Carolina and back. It was hard work and honestly my space was pretty cramped. Matt told me it was much better than flying in the belly of that big plane and not with him. I got a new soft travel blanket; Matt packed one of my toys, some treats, my portable water bowl and other tings in a carry on. He packed everything he needed in his camera bag so we would be traveling light. All the smells, buildings, people, hallways, it was like a city in one big building that never ended. I have been a lot of places but nothing like this. Then there were all those noisy airplanes.
I’m jumping ahead of myself in the story. People do such strange things; after we drove up to the airport and got out and we had to go to a counter in front. It was late in the evening so not many people were there but another Jackson was there with his persons. He was a bit mouthy so Matt had me stay back at the line so the other Jackson would be quiet while he talked with the lady at the counter. The next thing we had to do was a lot of fuss, woof! The security checkpoint was a lot of people and confusion. Matt said he had done this before and assured me things would be okay. He had to take his shoes off and take all sorts of things out of his pockets and his computer out of the backpack. Then we had to walk through a gateway and have a wand thing waved all around me and Matt. All the people that worked there wore uniforms like police officers do and they were real nice. After Matt put himself back together we were able to roam around. I didn’t have to take my harness off in Portland but in Charlotte I did. Woof, I’m glad I don’t wear clothes all the time like people do but as you know I do have boots and a sweater!
We stopped by the “Pet Rest Area” and it was real nice but I didn’t have to go and then we walked around for a while because we were there early. Matt got something to eat and some water for me at a restaurant, I did get a snack too. Then we found a nice spot near the entrance for the airplane to wait and I had my nice soft blanket to lie down on. We got to board the plane early and I had a spot about as big as my chair at home for me and Matt’s feet. We were right next to First Class, Matt said it was a bulkhead seat, well I didn’t see a head and if you had any bulk you wouldn’t have much room so that name made no sense to me, woof! The takeoff wasn’t too bad, I didn’t like the noise of the engines but the landing in Charlotte scared me. Matt reassured me and held me tight. I was shaking like it was cold out.
We had a good time in Norwood and I enjoyed seeing my friends Trish, Strey, Purceophie and all my other friends. All that went too fast. Our return flight was different. The Charlotte airport was a lot more crowded and we had someone sitting right next to us that time. Luckily he didn’t mind me taking up some of his space. The flight was better and I liked the landing better. I think the pilot did a good job. She smiled at me when she first got on the plane.
Well, I need to wrap this up, I could go on and on but it was a fun weird experience. I am finally rested and I am making Matt stay at home today so he will get over his ear infection, woof, and that’s that!
Woof, Matt told me before my surgery the next few weeks would be tough and he was right. That place on my mouth was beginning to be a bother and I know it needed to be done but this staying around the house has been no fun. I like to go out on my morning walks to the dog park or hiking when we are traveling or camping. Even a day trip with a hike is fun but having to stay home all the time and have no play time is so frustrating. To add to all this I had to wear this plastic cone collar so I wouldn’t accidentally scratch or rub and hurt where the doctor removed that lump. That crazy collar made me run into everything and knocked things over and off tables. At least it was clear so I could see through it a little but that didn’t help much. One consolation was Matt did stay at home with me and gave me extra attention.
Finally Matt took that nasty collar off, I hated that thing and we started short walks. Matt says my mouth needs to heal more before we can play with any of my toys though. I kept asking when we could at least walk but the doctor wanted me to rest, she said resting would help me heal faster. The first couple of days weren’t hard because I really didn’t feel like playing but after that I was ready to do all the things I normally do. That was the frustrating part, feeling good enough to play and run but all you can do is lounge around the house with a stupid collar on and your person calls you a Radio Dish head, woof!
Next it will be Matt’s turn, we have to go to Portland and he is seeing one of his doctors then when we get back he is having something done to one of his eyes. He can’t see very well in one eye and he said after an easy operation he will be able to see out of that eye better than ever. He did say he would be coming home with a shield on his eye and have to wear it at bedtime; I’ll have to think of a name for him.
Woof, what a trip we have been on so far. At first it seemed like we have been next to a campfire the whole time. Everywhere we went there was smoke, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It was hard to see very far a lot of places we drove through and stayed. We finally got to Glacier National Park, but only on the east side. When we drove through West Glacier the smoke was so bad Matt said we were going to cancel our camping reservations but it ended up he didn’t have to, they were canceled because of the fire. We spent a lot of our time in the camper there but it did clear up a couple of days. When it was windy and smoky outside Matt said we needed to take it easy.
The first day was smoky but the next day it rained and cleared the air. We went hiking on a trail high up in the mountains at a place Matt called Logan’s Pass. Some of the trail was pretty exposed. We only hiked a little ways and we saw a bighorn sheep. I had to stay a little ways back when Matt was taking pictures, sometimes a lot of wildlife look at me as a predator like a wolf or coyote and will get defensive. The next day was clear so we explored around the campground more and the other day we drove to a different area of the park even though the smoke was getting bad again. Then Matt did his laundry so I took a long nap. We had more than one day just in camp mostly in the truck; the air was too bad to go hiking so we just stayed in the camper most of the time. Our last day there I rode on the shuttle bus all the way up to Logan Pass and the smoke was real bad. That is when Matt decided it was time to leave the smoke was too bad for either one of us. We left after Matt and I got something to eat because we had to drive an hour to get to a motel room a good friend got for us to get out of the bad air.
Matt has changed our plans because if we headed back home it is just as bad as it is was at Glacier park. We ended up going to Yellowstone National Park where it looked like the air might be better so we started that way the next day. We stopped in a campground on the way last night. We could see blue sky, white clouds and it wasn’t a funny hazy yellow color all over anymore and it rained a little. Then we got to Yellowstone and it rained a lot that night and began to clear the next day. We were going to another campground in Yellowstone when Matt said.
“Jackson, we are going on to the Grand Tetons!”
Woof, I think Matt was frustrated at all the people there and was hoping to find a less crowded place. I don’t know how he does these things but he told me he was listening to his inner voice. Well that voice was right because we found a campground on a lake named after me, Jackson Lake, and it is beautiful. Matt has promised me a swim there today. I think I just might forgive him for forgetting my birthday. Although he has promised me a big celebration this weekend and something special in the town of Jackson, WY.
Well, I promise I’ll write before we leave Monday, that’s Labor Day. Matt said we were lucky to have such a nice camping spot for the holiday!
Woof, I have been busy since we have moved here to Eugene. We have been learning how to get around, finding doctors, and I have been learning how to go on walks in the city. Now I know I lived in a small town but it is different here and the streets are much busier so now we stop at every road intersection whether cars are coming or not. When we were in Norwood we would scan ahead to see if traffic was coming. Now with more people and traffic, and bicycles we stop every time. I like the places where the poles tell you to wait and then let you know when it is safe to cross, woof, sometimes people can be pretty smart inventing things.
I am happy to say I finally got my chair. Matt has been taking me to a store almost every week looking for one but we could not find a chair I liked that would fit in our new place. The people at the store are nice to me and give me treats sometimes. The place is called the ReStore where people send things to be reused instead of thrown away. We found the perfect chair this week. There were two low backed chairs with the new stuff and I tried one out and it fit me just right. Matt didn’t even try it out at the store and told me if I liked it that was good enough for him. The lady at the store watched us and said she just loved the fact I got to choose the chair. Matt told me it was a real bargain at only $10 and almost bought both but he said both would take up too much room and we had to share the one chair. Woof, I don’t know about sharing but he can use it when I am not.
I did enjoy going to the highland games last weekend. Matt had to explain why all these men including him wear skirts. I just didn’t but the “it’s not a skirt thing” at first until he showed me an old style kilt that was one long piece of wool. You had to fold all the pleats in it and lie down and wrap it around you. Now people wear the modern kilt that is easier to put on. The old kilt was multi-functional as you could sleep in it also. There were a lot of people throwing things, dancing, and playing weird instruments call bagpipes I almost started singing with them.
Well it is hot here in Eugene and I am ready to go to the mountains and go camping. I know Matt has something in mind but we have had to make changes already due to wildfires so we have to watch the news and see. I have some photographs and videos I’ll be posting on social media soon.
Woof, we arrived at our new home a few weeks ago and it has been a busy time unpacking and running around with Matt. It seems people have to do a lot when they move. I had no idea it would take so long and really don’t understand, dogs have things so much easier. While he is doing some of those things I go along and keep him company, I do like going in the stores and meeting his new doctors. After traveling so much it is nice to have one place to come home every day, or even just stay home plus its dry in the house when it rains. Sometimes it gets a little messy when we are camping in the rain. Eugene is a nice place with a lot of parks and places to walk and run. It really doesn’t seem like a city until we get in the truck and have to go somewhere. Even then there are no tall or really big buildings and right now everything is so bright green I can even see it.
Matt takes me to the park right next to where we live where I can run and play Frisbee. Sometimes I have to remind him when it is time to go though he does get busy and forgets. I like walking around the neighborhood to get to know where we live. My doctor isn’t far, we can walk there and also we sometimes stop in the local shops. Most of those have or serve food and smell so good. There is a hill with trails close to the other side of the house. It has all these grey stones with names on them. Matt says it is an old cemetery. We saw pretty wildflowers blooming there the first time we walked there.
We have gone on a couple of day trips exploring the mountains close to us. On one trip we were hiking and got to the river and saw another person with their dog but the man was not wearing any clothes. I asked Matt why he never did that and he muttered something about modesty. Woof, I need to google that word. Matt explained there was a hot spring there and people got in the water at those without any clothes. Later we hiked in the snow to a waterfall then found a place later to watch trains roll by in the forest and went to a covered bridge. Matt said the man should have been covered instead of the bridge, I think he was trying to be funny saying that. After our day exploring we came home and rested.
So far I like being here in Oregon though I do miss my friends back in North Carolina. I told Matt I do want to go back and visit sometime and it would be great if some of our friends would visit here. We have room for them, woof; I have to go for now Matt says we have to go run some errands. I think I’ll take my Frisbee along and hopefully we will get to play too!
Woof, honk, honk, people rolling by on funny wheels and I am not talking about bicycles, I know what they are, and all kinds of weird noises. That’s what I think of places called cities. All that plus all of the strange smells are what I first experienced. Cars, trucks, and big things called a bus go up and down the roads and there are so many of them. What are they all doing? Most times we just drive through the cities without stopping. Sometimes we are on the big roads and there are a lot of cars and trucks and all you can see is road. Other times we drive through streets lined with buildings and I see people out walking.
The other day when we were on our walk in Oakland I started wondering where all these people were going and what were they doing. We spend a lot of the outdoors and I have only lived in small towns. I had no idea there were so many people. Especially all in one place like this, most of them seem to be in a big hurry so they must be important or have something important to do. I know when Matt has something important sometimes he gets in a hurry.
When we walk in the city it is different when we cross the road. Usually all we have to do is look both ways and wait until traffic is clear. In the city you have to push buttons and then the lights tell you to wait. Next it beeps until it is okay to cross. Plus there are signs that let you know when it is safe to cross too.
We did find a nice park next to a lake where we could get away from all of the hectic running around a little. I did see a lot of other dogs out with their people enjoying their day. On our way back we did stop in a couple of stores. One was sort of boring; all it had were clothes that had been worn by other people. Another store we went in smelled wonderful. I could smell it before we crossed the street and I was hoping we were going there. Matt said it was a bakery and he bought some stuff. He did let me have what he called donut holes. I thought he was crazy, they weren’t holes, they are balls and they taste good! People have such strange names for things though, woof!
When we were walking back to where we were staying I saw a lot of children out with their parents so even more people were out walking. Matt told be the schools had let the children out for the day. I asked him what the children do at school and he said it was like when we train for my service work but a lot harder. Woof, I think I will just stay with service work!
While I do like the city because it is different I still prefer to be outdoors in the woods or wilderness. I’ll be writing from somewhere out there next.
Woof, right now home has an entire different meaning. I guess home is our truck. Sometimes we stay in the same place sometimes we drive a longs was and then we are home. I had to get used to this different meaning of home a long time ago when we first started traveling. Sometime home is with a friend of ours or one of Matt’s relatives. I do like exploring new places and I love when Matt decides to stay longer than planned at one place. I have stayed in motels, campgrounds, and people’s houses since we left our regular home. Sometimes I miss my regular home and my friends there but I meet new and old friends along the way.
We do a lot of camping in all kinds of weather. On rainy days we spend time in the camper on the back of the truck. I remember on our last trip we were in the back of the truck during wind storms, thunderstorms, and snow! When it gets cold I burrow under Matt’s warm sleeping bag and get right next to him to stay warm. Other nights it stays real warm. The weather has been changing from hot to cold quite often on this trip. Just when I am getting used to the temperature it changes. I am glad Matt got a sweater for me but if it stays cold I just might need another.
We usually walk around the campground and I see other dogs and people there. Sometimes we stop and Matt talks with the people and introduces me. I also get to talk with the friendly dogs but some are grumpy and not happy or friendly. I do not know why some dogs are that way; Matt tells me people can be the same. He says sometimes it is best to avoid people or dogs like that.
I like campgrounds where there are a lot of trails. We usually take long hikes and take pictures but the best part is just getting out and smelling and seeing nature. I smell so many new strange things, different animals and plants, Matt tells me we have to be careful because there are many things we are not used to that can hurt us. He told me we have to stay on guard because there are bigger and more aggressive wild animals were we go a lot. Back home I could run loose sometimes but when we are traveling we stay close together.
Well we are going to have a lot more camping adventures to go on this trip before we get to our new home in Oregon and I am excited about that. Right now we are in Austin visiting Matt’s cousins. Like coming here to Austin to see Matt’s cousins I love them all.
I am going to sign off for now; I will be writing again soon,
Woof, what a great time we had in the Keys. When Matt told me we were going to a place called the Florida Keys I was expecting to see a lot of keys all over the place. I did not see any when we got there and told him so, Matt laughed and told me I had been seeing them for quite some time. They were the islands we were on. I would bet you are wondering why we are in such a pretty place. Well when we were on our long trip last year when Oregon Matt decided to move us to Oregon near the city name after a man call Eugene. I had to sit at home a lot while he was working hard so we could move and of course things did not quite work out like he planned. We had to rush down to the Keys instead of taking our time like we usually do because Matt’s plans were delayed beyond his control.
I did not know we were going to meet someone famous and even better we stayed at his house. His name is Tie Dye Mickey and people call him this Hippie Paparazzi, I had to check with Matt on the spelling, he had to look it up, tee he. I like Mickey he is my newest bestest friend, woof! He too Matt on bicycle rides every morning, he even took me on a ride. While we were visiting I got to go to all kinds of places. We went to a pub that had no name, a place call KiKi’s, and another called Boondocks. We listened to good music and I even had something from the doggy menu from Boondocks. One day Mickey took Matt and me all over Key West we went into bars and restaurants and even saw a bunch of people and dogs even on a march. Did I mention how dog friendly the Keys are? I got to meet a lot of nice dogs at almost all of the places I went. Mickey told me almost everyone love dogs here and a lot of places will let all dogs in, not just service dogs. At Kiki’s dogs can play and run around, woof! I am not used to that.
Woof, here I am rambling on about all the dogs I met. I almost forgot to mention my Auntie Mar came down to see us also, we had so much fun! All the people living here were friendly. Mickey’s friends were so nice; they made me feel so welcome. I almost asked Matt if we could move there instead of Oregon. He laughed and said it would be nice, but it gets too hot there in the summer for him and something about it would take more money to stay there. Why do people worry about money so much? I will never understand that.
Well we are about to get on the road again. We just spent three great days in Everglades. I still am not sure what an Everglade is but our next stop in at a place called Big Cypress Preserve. Can you eat Big Cypress Preserve, like on toast? I guess I will find out, woof and out for now!
Matthew Irvin & Photo Dog Jackson – Photographers and writers