Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We Made It Murphy

At 11;30 PST, in the shadows of the Laguna mountains we walked the length of Coronado Island to the edge of Oneonta slough and Hudson, Indiana and I completed our border to border West Coast walk.  

And like most of our Southern  California days, it was sunny and 70.  Indeed, it was a glorious day.  


And like all great endings one not without its comedic twists, cosmic ironies, and poignant moments. 


The morning began with a seven mile hike to the meeting place for our Final Mile which Ginger joined us though I'd quickly learn less for the honor and privilege of partaking in such a powerful experience but more for showing off her new kilt.  Really Ginger???  There can be only One Who Rocks The Kilt...


A couple dozen friends met us to walk the final mile, some we had met along our travels, some were new.  But to my utter shock and surprise, two of my oldest and dearest friends were there:  Jim and Renee with Tripawds.  Man was that way awesome.  And it made a circle round.  You see, they were in Austin to launch our first walk and now at the ending of our second.  Yep I got all choked up. Thanks for the avocados guys - only noticed yesterday you put them in a poop bag.  Hee hee.



Inspired by another of our friends, John Stalls, who walked from Delaware to San  Francisco, I had hoped to jump into the Pacific Ocean to punctuate our tremendous accomplishment but was greeted by this sign.  Apparently Tijuana thinks the slough is a dumping ground for their sewage sludge.  Precise opposite of the pristine Canadian border where began our adventure but the two constants throughout all of it were mountains to east and the ocean at our west.  And my companions by my side.  And that includes not only Indiana who made the entire trek but Hudson who made it to the California border and Malcolm and Murphy in spirit.  


--------

There are so many people to extend great thanks to - the friends we made along our path, kind and courteous strangers, and even the idiot drivers who although from no lack of trying, didn't kill us on the PCH.  Walking through and across 19 states now, I know of no more treacherous stretch of road.

Thanks to my team and all of the volunteers who helped out in various capacities to ensure our safe passage and make this experience matter, to those who walked the virtual final mile with us, and to our sponsors.  

I have lots of thanking and reflecting to do in the coming weeks but without a moment's rest, I leave now for Texas to catch up on a lot of work, rest a bit, and spend a week with family....









Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#GoFuzzybuttsGo

Twelve days til touchdown in San Diego.  We made it to LA and ironically, we've had only four rains days the entire West Coast walk, through Washington, Oregon, and Northern California and the week we arrive in LA, we're greeted by a monsoon.  

Completely drenched in Malibu and now navigating around mudslides and flooding, we're making our way through the 75 mile swath that is the LA area.  

Still, we've been trudging onward in the dreary drizzly, record breaking rainstorm sharing the message and spreading holiday cheer, the nearby pic was walking on Rodeo Drive, 

We're on schedule to walk the final mile to the Mexico border Sunday December 14th and our friends are making final plans for the day's events.  Between now and then we have a couple of events planned leading up to the final mile:  

Saturday Dec 6th.  4-6PM.  The Shore Break Hotel. For details, 714-465-4528.  
Tuesday Dec 9th. 2-4PM. VMSG. 31896 Plaza Dr. San Juan Capistrano.  

It's been great having folks coming out and walking with us on our final stretch. To find out where you can join us for a mile or a day on our historic trek, the following sites will be posting our locations: 


Or on my Instagram - 2dogs2000miles.  And on Twitter hashtag #GoFuzzybuttsGo



Friday, November 28, 2014

Surviving Southern California

Most days I feel like I'm a strange man in a strange land especially since I'm a Texan wearing a skirt for the entire length of the west coast.

We've made the coastal turn to the SoCal Bight somewhere around Point Conception, it's an inflection point - a concavity actually, that naturally delineates between central and Southern California.  

But it's more than that.  It's the point at which the cold coastal waters start to warm and the tides begin to downwell.  Too warm for the sweet succulent Dungeness crab.  

The mid afternoon fog banks that roll in almost on schedule to cool us down no more.  Where the sun hovers over the Pacific Ocean all day long and days like today which confuses the hell outta me since there's gotta be shade at some point throughout the day.  I mean - 'rise in the east set in the west' thing I once learned.

The turn also marks the final descent to our seventh month west coast walk.  I write this from our tent, technically in Malibu but only a mile or so south of Neptune's net where I had my thanksgiving meal - a disastrous tale for another time.

Heck I'm just thankful that we made it this far alive. I recently met a cyclist who travelled most of what we just did save 20 to Newport OR, 154 into SB & a few other crazy dangerous stretches & he said what the hell were you thinking?

Well, we just gotta get to LA was my answer.  Isn't that the crux of the west coast?  The hub of the hubbub out here?  

We're almost there - mere days away.  Keep hoping Ellen is there to greet us.  Or at least the kardashians aren't cuz we're too tired to turn back.

--------

YBD's Notes:  I put the last paragraph in there to, in my own way, thank everyone who've tried to get us on the Ellen Show.  As I have learned along the way 'Les chiens ne font pas des chats'. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Home Stretch

Now that we're back on the road, here's an updated schedule:

San Luis obispo November 12
Pismo beach November 13
Santa Maria area* November 14
Santa Barbara November 22
Ventura November 25
Oxnard November 26
Malibu November 29
Santa Monica December 1
LA Area (leaving) December 8
The Final Mile December 14

Planning for the final mile is underway so we'll post it here soon

Monday, November 17, 2014

puppy up 2014



Indiana and I are back on the road from my brief jaunt up to the northeast to honor my yearly commitment to the folks who make Puppy Up the most successful grass roots organization evah!  Madison CT won the contest last year and their 2014 walk was even bigger and badder, a trend they've been setting every year.  From over 300 in 2012 to 600 walkers this year Valerie and her team did an incredible job and it was inspiring to be there although I like to joke that I brought the sunny 70 weather from the west coast.  
               
Puppy Up Malvern

We also timed it so I could attend the inaugural Puppy Up walk at HOPE Veterinary Specialists in Malvern PA the week prior and damn glad we did.  Despite the rainy frigid weather, droves of Phillyers? (Whats the proper demonym?) showed up for the walk and to celebrate the clinic's 10 year anniversary.  Cheers to Kate Craig and Dennis!

Powerful the day's events but perhaps the most poignant moment for me was meeting two of the patients in a study we funded.  Teddy and Bynx.  They have a particularly nasty inoperable bladder tumor and both were given a prognosis of 1-2 months.  The Animal Medical Center in Manhattan is working on a more effective delivery system to get chemo to the tumor site and early results are promising.  



Comparative Oncology

Teddy and Bynx have passed the one year survival mark because of this study and if it continues as hoped, Sloan Kettering will start human trials.  Folks this is the crux of comparative oncology.  You can learn more about the types of studies The Puppy Up Foundation funds here.  

Puppy Up New Jersey

After enduring hurricane Sandy, Puppy Up NJ has had to change venues more times than Gov Christie has redirected traffic off the GW.  Just like the boardwalk, our  dear Jude has weathered some storms but she's still standing strong and this years event was held at Dusty's Dog House and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of their walk this year.  

FYI Jude - next time please don't cry when introducing me cause there's nothing worse than a dude wearing a skirt gettin all weepy.

YBD

Santa Maria CA

--------

PostScripts 1

It's sometimes hard to get perspective when youre deep down in it, risking all you have for a cause.  And the west coast walk has put us to the mat many many times so a Puppy Up break was sorely needed.  

I recently read that last year $18.5 billion was doled out by the federal government for renewable energy subsidies and recently $6.2 billion has been earmarked for the 'Ebola crisis'.  The total budget of the National Cancer Institute in 2014 was roughly $5 billion, which has remained at that level for over a decade.  

Last time I checked  - 1/2 of all men and 1/3 of all women will develop cancer in their lifetime never mind the 2-4 million dogs each year.  Talk about a government so disconnected and resolutely unconcerned with the most immediate threat facing its population.  

Some mornings I just wake up shaking my head asking why?  Why get out of your tent and keep going? I could tell you why I do but being a part of the Puppy Up walks says everything I need to say.

PS2

Have to give a shout out to Madison WI because Beth and Kai had the most awesome walk May this year and the perfect send off to our west coast walk.  Thank you for the boots and I'll see you next year.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Scenes from the Roadside 5

Yesterday was the 5 month anniversary of the west coast walk & thought I'd celebrate it with some of the as yet unseen pics - some stunning, some curious and kooky, some downright inexplicable and the rest creepy.  


From today near San Gregorio - yet another dismembered doll which calls into question the sanity of these folks


Tenting amongst moss.  


I dunno but imagine seeing this from a sidewalk in Daly City in the middle of the night.  Should've busted him out dammit


Ohhhh the symbolism.  There's some crazy sh*t in San Francisco 


Uh huh.  Moving on...


Angelica doesn't think Indy's a boy. But does she know the glasses don't match her ensemble?


Well we could've taken 'The Unifried' bus the rest if the way


These had to have been placed here right?  Someone's messing w me


Moo cows on the mountainside


I poop on marlboros says this marsupial who must smoke kools 


The sea ranch chapel


West coast girls can't hold their pee (or pickup the TP) I've seen this phenomenon all over in this state & nowhere else


Sleeping in the cuffy cove cemetery for Druids 


Friday, October 10, 2014

The Final Five

We've walked about 1100 miles in 5 months and only 500 miles remain between the Bay Area and San Diego the finish line.

Cell Phone Hell

This is the place that we've been consigned to for the better part of 3 months and 600 miles. 

First my apologies to all of you.  I thought I'd done sufficient due diligence on this west coast walk especially as it pertained to cell coverage.  I surveyed the ATT coverage map & thought we're all good.  

Bollocks... I might as well have been carrying a pocketful of sand in my kilt rather than my iPhone because it's been almost as useless.  We finally made it to the Bay Area but what got lost is months of photos, stories, and video sharing.  Never mind the fact it put us at serious risk - there were times I had to ask strangers to contact our team to let them know we were safe.

I'd like to say we're thru it but of that I am unsure.  The coastal mountain range hasn't left us or rather we haven't reached its tail end; Santa Barbara, they say, is where the state flattens out but that's still 300 miles away. 

And forget about Wifi - the drive thru coastal motels we stay at from time to time may as well be using 128k dial up.  I guess I'm past the point of kvetching but you've missed a third of the walk and for that I'm deeply disappointed.

In silence still we walked on.

The Bay Area

There's still 500 miles of PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and lots ahead and little time for reflection now.  I've been to San Francisco before to walk the final mile with our good friend John Stalls and it's bittersweet to return.  For new folks to this story it was when and where Murphy's nose began bleeding again and my descent into doubt that the radiation shrank his nasal tumor.

But I said my goodbye to him on the Golden Gate Bridge and like that iconic symbol of this state, the fog lets go of its fleeting grasp and and the sun shines through. 

The City of Skinny Jeans

Indeed I've made many new observations and that's the first.  Clearly I'm not making any fashion statements with beaded braids, pleated skirt, and giant wooden staff but most nearly everyone here is sportin them and I didn't want to be the bearer of bad news that they're about as sexy as bell bottoms.  

........

One final thought before we get back on the road and grind out the final 500 in 60 days... When we reach the Mexico border the total distance I will have walked combined with the 1st, 1/6th the circumference of the earth for this cause. Put that in a pipe a smoke it. 

Next up more scenes from the roadside

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hudson's Cancer Is Back

Hudson's cancer has returned. Two-fold it seems.  Last week two tumors were taken off him; on the base of his tail the other on his ear.  Path lab report indicates that the former is a neurofibrosarcoma, the latter a grade 2 mast cell.  

And while it's preliminary pending further testing and consultation with a few oncologists contingencies must be made.  What has made it even more difficult for me, other than being thousands of miles away from him, the lack of cell service on both my AT&T & verizon phone.  The path results were texted to me and I had to use the landline of a grocer in elk CA to learn its scope.  

The walk may be postponed once we reach San Francisco.  As we're within 130 miles of the Bay Area and planning a few events there, we're committed to them.  After that, what we learn this week will make a determination.  

What's particularly disconcerting to me is that there was a 95% probability of no recurrence or metastasis within two years.  It's been less than one.  

We've been tried and tested the entire time on this journey in ways I didn't foresee, perhaps even unforeseeable.  But what matters now is Hudson.  Indy and I are back on the road tomorrow unsure & uncertain what comes next. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Half-time

Just like the Super Bowl half time is all about the sponsors so I wanted to take a few to thank all of ours who have help make this journey possible.

TAGG the GPS Pet Tracker

TAGG has saved our fuzzybutts on more than one occasion.  The best example of this was when I walked highway 20 from Corvallis to Newport OR solo.  I took one of the trackers in case of an emergency and on the very first day I ran into a bit of a crisis. We had made water drops along the 50 mile stretch and my supply was down to less than half a liter.  As I neared the first drop I saw a man in a John Deere mower cutting the grass on the highway shoulder.

I sprinted up to him and asked if he found 2 jugs of water in the area he recently cut and he said he had and that one of them may have escaped the blade of the mower.  It didn't.  The temp in wilamette valley was already soaring up to the 90s and the next drop was down the road another 10 miles so i was in a bit of a pickle.



Ginger was able to tag me and then find a nearby store using Yelp.  TAGG - not only great for your dog but Yer Big Dog too!  I've gotten to know the trackers intimately and the folks behind them and I can't say enough about them. The fuzzybutts will be wearing them even after this walk.  

 When you purchase the trackers at their website and sign up for the service, enter the promo code 2Dogs they're generously offering a 10% discount and donate $25 to the Puppy Up Foundation. Also you can track Indy and me as we walk the west coast at www.2dogsagainstcancer.com It's been a little confusing because we're staying with more host families and sometimes we're tagged after we've been picked up and off the road.

We'd also like to thank our other walk sponsors: Hollywood Feed for providing the dog food for the walk.   P2 Collars and Toki Poki for the awesome corded collars and leashes.  Everlasting Memories for the beautiful infinity ring that holds Murphy's ashes. Orijen for providing the 6 Fish food for Hudson.


Rudy Green's

Karla, proprietor of Rudy Greens and chef extraordinaire to the dogs, just sent this hilarious video a few weeks back and it stars Teh-De a pit bull we met on our first walk and cancer survivor.  Check it out!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cffel7ly3Gg

Also, Karla has been nominated for Martha Stewarts American Made awards - please share on Facebook and Twitter http://www.marthastewart.com/americanmade/nominee/88599/food/rudy-green-incrudy-greens

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Scenes from the roadside 3 or 4?




Monterey Cypress grove. Westport CA. 


The 3rd and last time we cross the coastal mountain range


Pitching a tent on a promontory.  Westport CA



One of the great mysteries of this walk. Why poop on the white stripe?  Kid you not - all of the scat on hwy 1 is on or near it



Chipalope... Unsurprisingly Found only in the pot country of Humbolt



On the road there is no clean. Only degrees of dirty. Washing my shirt in a hotel sink



Meet Dave. He lost his Indy to cancer & every year takes Indy's favorite toy - a gorilla - on hikes in the redwood forest. Meeting ppl like him makes it all worthwhile



Josie's a beautie. She has cushings from a tumor on her pituitary gland



Autumn in August?  Never seen the leaves change so early in all our travels. Ferndale CA



Indy getting a little ass in Fortuna CA


Now that's irony


Etched in the sands of time


That's right Ella - you tell em


The glorious Trinidad beach... Breathtaking


Miss my Hudson but we must walk on!


Scenic route. Trinidad CA


Hey it gets lonely on the road... Indy's all about the girls from Cali 


An elk bull.  I was just 20 feet away when I took this pic. Powerful 


The south slope of the 101 mountain from crescent city was so dangerous that we walked on this narrow retaining wall. Frikkin crazy


Curious sea creatures that wash ashore on the west coast.  Like a mini Portuguese man o war found on the Gulf of Mexico 


Hudson's last days with us on the west coast


Chef big dog, tho otherwise occupied, is still in the house! Tex mex cuban sammich w chorizo spicy pickle roasted peppers bacon marinated pork chops and a chipotle mustard sauce



We enjoys having our friend and nutmegger Valerie join us on the road for a few days.  


The drive... Err... walk thru tree



Klamath river



Jimmy at the log house.  He walked from garberville to fort Bragg with me

Halfway Home

Yesterday I completed a 145 mile 13 consecutive day stretch from mckinleyville to fort bragg and man I'm beat and taking the day off to rest and relax on the beach. And catch up on the story telling part of this adventure.  So so much has happened and we've met lots of cool coastal kind of folks that this post won't even come close to recounting them all.  

NoCal

As I posted in a previous blog I had a tough couple of weeks after Hudson got off the road.  Unsurprisingly I took it hard and a dark, deep vein of sadness set in.  But he made it to Memphis safely and is now with ginger courtesy of our good friend Hope - thank you ma'am!  

Indeed, the stretch from crescent city to Klamath was exceedingly tough and it took all my focus and energy but it was therapeutic and though Hudson's absence is felt with every step, Indy and I have a mission to complete.

The Rhythm Of The Road

The first half of this journey has been a series of stops and starts while we were trying to determine the problem with Hudson's pads.  Now that's been resolved Indiana and I have been able to grind out the miles. We walked 9 consecutive days together to garberville and it's inspiring to see the grown up puppy he's become.  Truly a champion.

God it feels good to finally reach the rhythm.  

Amongst Giants

Expounding my experiences in the famous humbolt redwood forest would require pages and pages at a minimum.

The avenue of giants, the main road through the park, spans 32 miles of old growth forest with sequoia redwoods reaching over 350 feet in height and 50 feet in circumference and dating back to the Age of the Vikings. 


Aww that's a small moosey

On the One

Once we arrived at the end of the avenue in garberville a nice couple we met in eureka picked up lil nanner for the rest of the week while I continued on.  The downside of the forest was that it pushed us inland again into the Eel River valley where temps get up to the 90s and the sun burns off the fog by 9am and is punishing.

So my goal was to get down to leggett ca, pick up 1, cross the mountains for the last time and get back to the coast where weather conditions are much more amenable for Indiana. 

Only in reflection will I admit that it was bittersweet leaving the 101 after we'd shed so much blood sweet and tears on it but da-yamn it was time to get off it.  



YBDs Notes 1: Adjusted Schedule.  We're behind a few weeks and trying to make them up now but our target date to San Diego is the second week of December.  From fort bragg I estimate 160 miles to the Bay Area then 500 more to the border.  

YBDs Notes 2: companions on the road.  We've had an incredible couple of weeks made even more so by people who have walked with us.  From eureka to scotia we had someone with us.  And our good friend Valerie from CT walked with us the previous week.  And then jimmy from Fortuna walked with me on the brutal stretch from garberville to fort Bragg - thanks man. Helluva time & thanks for the native knowledge 

YBDs Notes 3: #%?@!!!! Cell phones.  From Waldport OR my ATT iPhone has been very little more than just dead weight.  This is why I can't post more pics more often and why I have people helping me with social media.  

Folks I met in Oregon kept telling me that cell phone reception wouldn't be a problem in Northern California.  We go days and days without reception and it's tiring disappointing and downright lonesome.  But it's inspired a whole comedy routine I've recorded.