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Our dream of cruising on a boat Around the Great Circle Loop and beyond has the drawback of leaving our friends and family far away from us for an extended time. This blog is intended to keep you up to date on our travels and adventures, and encourage you to join us for some part of our trip as we make our way around the waterways of the eastern US, Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Click on the archived posts below to follow our journey. Our dog, Ben, has been helping us write this blog since he has more time!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rental Car Cruisin'

Hi All...Ben here from the back seat of our rental car.

 We left the Izzy R docked at the Columbus Marina in Columbus, Mississippi under a big roof.  Jeff and Izzy spent a couple of days putting the outside furniture and cushions away, draining all the water lines, and locking her up for the holidays while we're gone.  They also got me a "cut and fluff" so I'd  look and smell good for the trip.
The plan was to go to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with Dick and Cathy, Laura and Steven ( and my friend Angel).  Jeff said that on the way, Izzy wanted to stop at this motorcycle museum, so we spent all morning there.
In this photo I think Jeff was standing in line with these scary guys to buy a ticket.
I'm glad they left me in the car to keep watch over our luggage.

This is Jeff beside the "Easy Rider" motorcycle in the museum.
 A lot fancier than the "Easy Rider" bike of John's that he rode in Fort Lauderdale last winter. Remember that?
At Dick and Cathy's house in Atlanta, not only did we have a great Thanksgiving dinner, but Dick had three other surprises for us. 
The first event had to do with that cousin of Izzy and Dick's whose picture was hanging right under President Obama's picture in the Visitor's Center at the Jamie Whitten Lock that I told you about in the last post.  Remember?
It turns out that he was just about to be promoted to a Two Star General  over the Thanksgiving holiday, and Dick managed to get us invitations to the ceremony in Atlanta. Well, when I say "we", I guess I'd have  to be a seeing eye dog to actually get an invitation...but Izzy and Jeff got to go, and they told me about it.

Here they are with Todd and his wife Connie, and Dick and Cathy.  Since none of them had ever actually met Todd, he must have been surprised to see their faces in the audience.  They all spent some time afterwards sharing family info and promising to get together again to become better aquainted.   Since Todd is in charge of the Army Corp of Engineers for the Southern Division, we may have an opportunity to see him again on our trip somewhere.  If he's looking for suggestions for the inland waterways, I'll tell him that they need to provide dog treats at the locks, and more dedicated dog parks along the route. That ought to help. 
I actually stayed home with Angel that day.  Here she is pretending to be asleep, while keeping an eye on me to be sure I don't eat her treats or something.  Not sure she trusts me...I'm a lot bigger.
The second surprise was that Dick had put in a real nice new back yard with a a fire pit and lots of lights so we could sit outside and chase the squirrels and birds.

The third surprise event was that Dick had planned a big party at their house that weekend to celebrate Cathy's 50th birthday. 
Good time for everyone...Cathy had a great time seeing all her friends - even old friends from college that she hadn't seen in years. 

  Izzy and Jeff got to help plan the party food and set-up, then join in the festivities - some of their favorite things to do.

Laura was a good hostess too.  Here she is manning the corkscrew...
 She got to invite her boyfriend and his mom and dad and sister over to introduce them to all of us.

Steven got to smoke cigars with Dick and the guys around the new firepit

 and Dick got to tell jokes to his friends and brag about his much younger wife!

Angel and I got treats from the guests and lots of petting
 and I got to roam in the woods and smell the squirrel tracks for a while before anyone noticed I was gone. That's me hiding in the trees way down there before I got busted.
Just as Angel and I were beginning to be reaquainted, I noticed Jeff and Izzy acting like they were ready to go on another trip.  I can tell because they put their clothes in those bags and zip them up.  They packed up the car with the bags while I waited anxiously to see if my bed and bowl were going to be put in too. I love riding in the car, and I hang around waiting for an opportunity to get in so they won't leave without me. 
Sure enough the bowl and bed went in too, and pretty soon they boosted my butt up into the back seat and we waved goodbye...off on another long car ride. 
Motels are okay, but I'm not allowed to bark and I don't get much exercise riding in the car all day.
  Jeff and I do go out for a wiz along the side of the road every now and then.  He says it's for me, but I know better.
Oh, one other advantage of the motel life is that Izzy lets me get up on the bed and join them for "happy hour"
and a nap
...wouldn't happen at home! I think she feels sorry that my big fluffy bed is rolled up like a big sausage on the roof of the car.  I try to limp around for a few minutes in the morning to keep the sympathy coming.
Speaking of sausage, I got another Big Mac the other day.  They ran out of my usual Purina, and let me have a burger instead in Oklahoma somewhere.  Next time I hope they Super-size it so I can get some fries. 
Within two days we arrived at Wendy and Jim (and Neva's) house in Arvada, Colorado.  They were glad to see us, and Neva took me outside and we romped in the yard for a while until I was real tired.  She's a fiesty one!
The next day it got real cold and the ground was covered with soft white stuff.  Jeff had to brush it off the car so he could see to drive it.   So this is what "snow" is....
Izzy and Wendy took Neva and me for a walk in it.  What fun!  I couldn't find grass to do my business, but  I watched Neva and figured it out.  My nose hairs were freezing up but I had a good time.
When we came back home, the neighbors had turned on their Christmas lights.  Looked so pretty reflecting off the snow.
One night everyone got dressed real warm and went to Boulder for sushi (that's fish...I could tell by the smell of their clothes when they came home).  After dinner, they decided that it would be fun to ride the "mechanical bull" at the bar down the street.  I don't know what got into them - must have been the saki. 
Anyway, from the pictures I found, I don't think the bull liked it much. Can't blame him.

A few days later, Jeff was packing the car again, and the next morning he got Izzy and me out of bed real early and put us in the car too.  It was real cold...I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the temperature on the dash board.  Yikes!  THREE degrees!
The snow started falling and we drove the rest of the day on the snowy and icy roads through Colorado and into Utah.  Luckily Jeff is a good driver, so I could relax and sleep in the back seat.  Izzy, on the other hand wasn't at all tired, and she continued to talk to Jeff the whole time.  I think he wished she take a nap like I did. 
When we stopped for a pee break, I got all covered with snow,
and Izzy got out to play with me for a few minutes.
At one pee stop we saw a whole herd of elk along side of the road.  They got scared when they saw us and ran away, jumping over the fence and into the woods. Jeff didn't get a very good shot of them because he was "busy".
The next day we left the mountains behind us as we got closer to Irvine.
Izzy told me she'd take me on a walk around the lake when we get there. I can hardly wait!  Meanwhile you can find me here in the backseat.