Tag Archives: dogs

Saying Goodbye…

R.I.P. Pia

Guide dog, family pet, best friend, and lastly, our constant travel companion over these past two years. Goodbye sweet Pia. May your spirit soar high and free sweet girl. Your missed!

She was 14 ½ years strong and lived an amazing life!

A few memories of her life on the road.                                                          (Click through for enlarged versions.)


Bristlecone Pines, Bishop, California
Bristlecone Pines, Bishop, California


Folsom Lake, California
Folsom Lake, California
What a journey!   ❧


Utah! First Up, Zion National Park


Zion National Park

We came into Zion National Park, mid-day and were met by more huge monolithic rock mountains…of a different sort.

The many differences in geological formations keeps amazing and awing us.


We were a little uncertain about Zion, as everything we read said how non pet-friendly the park is, and that you had to take a shuttle to see anything. The shuttle of course doesn’t allow pets, nor do any trails except one paved trail near the park center. Fortunately, it turned out not to be a problem. All the turnouts along the road had ample opportunities to hike and play and walk the dog. As for longer hikes, that will be another trip. And the shuttle just went up one scenic canyon…there was plenty to see without that shuttle trip. We’ve seen so much outrageous countryside, we didn’t miss that canyon. We know we can’t see everything there is to see on one trip anyway.

Zion_9966 - Version 2

I always feel like it takes one trip somewhere, just to get your bearings, and to know what you really want to do and see the next trip.

We did get to encounter these majestic Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep climbing around on the rock hillsides!!

Rocky Mountain Sheep - Version 2

We went through the longest rock tunnel we’ve ever been through. The park monitors the traffic, and only allows one way traffic through at a time. The tunnel was blasted and carved through these massive rock mountains.

Hanging out around all these massive rocks is no place to think about earthquakes, but being from California, Fred and I both had just those thoughts creeping into our heads.

We tried to just put those ideas far far out of mind, so to chill from the earthquake images, we strolled among the slick rocks.


And checked out some other canyon life checking out us.

Squirrel at Zion


Pia Goes 4-Wheeling

IMG_9177 - Version 2
Ready for Adventure


Our last night in Sedona we took a jeep ride on back country trails around the outlying rim of Sedona.




When making arrangements for the tour, we specifically asked about dogs, and were assured that it was fine if Pia went in the jeep. Dog’s have a special place to ride, the fellow told us…

Well, Tony, our driver and guide for the three hour trip was a crusty chap with lots of desert knowledge, great rock crawling abilities, and stories galore. But he didn’t seem so keen on the idea of the doggy, and was a bit put out at first, as we had to shift to a larger jeep to accommodate her. There were six of us going on the excursion.

Luckily, the other four passengers were all dog lovers, and once we got going, and Pia proved her ability to handle being bounced and jostled around and still remain calm, even Tony softened. After awhile, he kept asking “how’s the pup doing?” Everyone else, took turns petting her, holding onto her, allowing her to perch her head atop any body that was handy.

Secretly, we were not really sure how she would do, and three hours could become a hell of a long time, if things didn’t go right. It was a very rough and rugged trip, with many steep inclines and declines and very large rocks!

Pia was a champ! She came through it with flying colors, and I do believe she had a lot of fun! The wind was blowing through her long black hair and she seemed to be smiling, enjoying the journey.

The rest of us? We all had a blast! My personal thoughts that this was going to be boring, and a waste of time and money, were proven unequivocally wrong. This time.

Sometimes, you just have to get outside your comfort zone. If Pia could do it, certainly I could too.

A grand time was had by all.


Fred in Safari jeep
Fred Enjoying the View


Our return trip back to Sedona was met by lovely sunset orange glow colors.








Happy Pooches, Happy Van

Traveling with pooch

Hey, yeah we’ve been super busy.

Packing, storing, recovering, and organizing for living on the road takes a lot of energy.

pink cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky

I’ve been reading other folks’ blogs to get an idea of the weather and crowds in different parts of the country at different times of the year. Unfortunately it seems like everyone wants to be where the weather is perfect and the crowds are small. Hmm. I wonder why? Wherever you go, there you are…and so are others.  Well people, make room for our LWV, cuz we’ll be joining you.

Our main priorities when we leave are to go slow, relax, and keep Pia comfortable. Fred and I can handle the hot weather most of the time, but our “P-girl” has long black hair all over her body, so we will be focusing on keeping her cool, as she is 12 years old. (That’s like 84 in people years)

We recently had all the windows tinted on the van to help keep her and us cool inside and also to add an element of privacy without having to pull all the shades and curtains constantly. We’re really happy with the results. In addition to the tinting, I’ve adapted a pair of light blocking curtains to hang across the middle of the van. I’m still playing with those to make them look a bit more exciting, but they are really nicely lined and insulated. I’m adding another layer to the back, so the stark white lining doesn’t show from either side.

The plan is to mostly camp in places where dogs are welcome. Although I have a personal goal of visiting as many National Parks as possible, they are not always very dog friendly. Why go there, when the pooch can’t hike around with us?  Even though she is a great traveling doggie, and always content to go anywhere, we will not be locking her up in the van for the amount of time it takes to go on a nice hike. There are plenty of other campgrounds near lakes and rivers we can play at. So, for the time being, we’ll concentrate on those more pet happy areas, and just do some scenic drives through the National Parks we cross through.

Organizing Strategies

There is none.

I think I’ve re-organized the van on every trip we’ve taken and can conclude that there is no “perfect” way to organize it. That being said, every trip does get easier. And every trip is different, requiring a different game plan. So why not just add and subtract as we go along, which is part of the fun of traveling anyway. I know from experience that we will take things we don’t need, and need things we don’t take, so I’m not expending a ton of energy on this right now.

Still, I did buy two new little plastic organizing drawers. Mostly because they were this beautiful turquoise color, I was unable to resist!  I knew they they would fit perfectly in a couple of closets, and that the toilet paper and paper towels would fit majestically on top of and beside one of them fabulously.

Turquoise plastic drawer organizer showing storage options for life in a van

There you have it!

We will have food, clothes, a warm place to sleep, reading materials, a cozy little roof over our head, and two turquoise organizing drawer units.

Isn’t life simple?