Kiawah Island

Buckingham – Our training begins in earnest – so I’m told. So it’s off before sunrise to find our way to the beach, and what a beach, 10 miles of hard packed sand perfect for running but not very interesting for sniffing. Even this early there are people, and a few dogs, down here. I am considerate and ‘go’ near a bin so he doesn’t have the inconvenience of carrying my bag while running, then it’s off, but I get distracted by the dunes – still can’t find those gators.

on our way to lunch we meet a spotted me!! and i thought i was unique. anyway, i go over to check her out but she is so unfriendly i think she wants me for lunch?! oh yes, lunch, or not… lisa and mark eat whilst I sit, watch and wait. it’s moment like this that I am reminded that I am a DOG! urrrr!!
back to the beach in the afternoon but this time it’s for a walk cos lisa is with us. never mind, the temperature is ideal and the sun is out so I have nothing to complain about. in fact, I am so content that I’ve decided to quit my hunger strike. there is no joy in being hungry so I swallow my pride and eat brown bits of cardboard that they tell me it’s kibbles.

Atlantic Beach to Kiawah Island

Buckingham – So I am up again very early for my beach run. it’s great. I love it! the 3 of us take off at 9 and begin our long march from North to South Carolina. I am starting to hear the southern accent now,  it’s kindnna strange but the folks here are friendly, and they drive slow… ain’t nobody speeding. oops, they’re fighting!! Mark needs his caffeine fix so he gets cranky.Lisa tries to find him Starbucks but bing app shows a wrong location: 3 hours of stand still (noisewise) in the car so I better keep to myself. My joints are stiff from being cramped in the back but I dare not break the silence. We finally stop at Myrtle Beach (Las Vegas on sea) in search for lunch and found a spot by the ocean. Food, so I hear, is awful. Lisa has the worst salad in her life and Mark’s crab cake is greasy… hey, I don’t mind wilted brown greens and oily seafood if they would just let me have a taste… hello?!!

We’re finally here, at Kiawah Island! I bark at this man who opens the car door to welcome Mark and Lisa – watch out, this is my space!

Now they tirelessly unload their life belongings into the condo. No, no need to move my kibbles. I refuse to eat any more brown bits of crushed up cardboard, but i want my toys. Wait, don’t forget my milk bones! I sniff around and approve of the condo. this place has 3 bedrooms: perhaps so they can have their own when they next need their caffeine fix and I can have my own when I decide to be cranky… one big happy family under one roof.

Mark and I hit the beach in the dark – have to stay leashed cause I can’t see the gators – whatever they are – this is going to be a cool running spot.

Onancock to Atlantic Beach

Mark – This morning produced the first frost of the year – hopefully our last as we will be heading south from here on in. Onancock is apparently famous for two things – an elephant stampede (caused by Pres GW Bush Snr when he was showing off in a jet trying to impress a girl) and tomatoes ( pronounced the wrong way of course ).

Fell asleep in the car and woke up in the south with cotton fields on either sides.   Rte 17 is in the America’s most scenic highways book, well that book is being tossed to lighten the load.  We take a stop at the first  visitor centre in North Carolina and meet a Dalmatian owner and a sail boat from Quebec going down the inland waterway to the Bahamas – away for a year – father and 3 kids.   We thought we were being adventurous!

North Carolina at sunset

 Buckingham– After 7 hours in the car we arrive at the beach just in time for sunset.

Happy again
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So they go off for more seafood at dinner time whilst I’m left in the room.  Well, at least I had a good run on the beach and I can hear the soothing waves from my bed.  I approve this spot…   and Mark says he’ll take me for a run on the beach tomorrow morning.  Yahoo!!    Just hope he doesn’t wake me too early.   Oh, Lisa says she likes the southern food grits.  Why is it that she didn’t take some back for me to try?!
 
 

Princeton Junction to Onancock via Annapolis

Mark & Lisa– hit the road again today and continued the trek south covering 4 States – NJ, Delaware, Maryland & Virginia.  First stop for lunch was Annapolis, home of the naval academy and billed as a must place to visit.  We parked at the visitor centre and walked down the hill on Main St to find the first outside restaurant in the sun.  Although it was a bright sunny day it was freezing.

Lunch!

Lisa ordered a rather small crab but took great joy in hammering it to pieces and eating the parts that didn’t normally get eaten.  Crab not sufficient so we went off in search of the other hot item – crepes.
Annapolis seemed to have been taken over by parties of school children accompanied by teachers, or semi responsible adults.  The streets were soon echoing to the sound of Dalmatian!   Can I pet your dog?  The Dalmatian in question pretended to be oblivious to the unsolicited attention.
Departing Annapolis we headed over the long bay bridge and into Virginia where we left the interstate behind for the first time today and into countryside reminiscent of Ontario. Mr B appeared to be sulking as he was refusing to eat and slept for the entire trip.  He was definitely missing home!
At 4.30pm we arrived at a 300 year old town of Onancock (“foggy place” in native Indian tongue), supposedly the prettiest town of the eastern shore in Virginia, staying at Colonial B&B for the night.

Buckingham – at last we leave the small fluffy thing for the trip home – the wrong way surely!  for the past couple of days I have been eating well – bits of excess salmon – back to kibble this morning so hunger strike it is even though the breakfast bowl is put in my space in the car, and the space seems to be getting smaller every day.  urrrr!

Princeton

Buckingham –  I am so home sick anxious that I made a big mark in princeton.  Where is

At Princeton University

that patch of grass when i most need it?!    So lisa goes in a shop to warm up whilst mark and I wait outside in the freezing damp cold, getting wet.     I’m in the car waiting for them again and they come back from lunch smelling cumin and all those exotic spices: Indian – Mark’s favourite food.  Wish I could try some instead of the boring kibble which I’ve been fed for 8 years!!    Oops, they’re gone again, to the art museum but they’re mindful enough never to leave me too long in the back of the car.

Washington Crossing

Buckingham– met up with Merlin, an old friend of mine from Cranbury. We had fun playing in the rain at a place called Washington Crossing, put up a couple of deer and if it hadn’t been for the river between us and them we would have got them. Nice walk along the canal next to the Delaware River, one long straight place to race with Merlin.

Me and my mate Merlin

 I am told that Washington Crossing is where George W crossed the Delaware on Christmas night 1776 and defeated the British. Mark says that was cheating and even the Germans didn’t do that.

Mark – A dog walking friend of Lisa’s, Marion, moved to Doylestown a while back so we took the opportunity to drop in for lunch and a walk at Washington Crossing. It also meant that we could tick off another state (Pennsylvania).

Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River, which occurred on December 25, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, was the first move in a surprise attack organized by George Washington to defeat the British troops quartered in Trenton.

‘Home’ to Princeton

Mark – The big day has arrived, we leave home for good (albeit we need to come back and actually pack at some stage). A mixture of emotions – sadness at leaving and relief that the planning is now over and we move into execution. Buck and I started as normal by running first thing – the final trip to Cranbury Park, which has been our free running green space for the past 5 years. I have always checked my emails after the run as that allows me a bit of head space to mentally organise the day while I am concentrating on other things like avoiding tree roots and dog stuff.

The sadness of the day was heightened when I came back and read that a good friend of ours from Hong Kong had died following a short illness. Jack – thanks for the many stimulating conversations and advice – you will be missed.

Back home to check the list of things that need to be done before we leave – last-minute trip to the bank to organise an account and put the life vitals in the safe deposit box. We eventually leave the house at about 2pm and as we are leaving friends just pop in to say a last goodbye – thanks Yvonne, Pat, Jane and Bill for thinking of us.

Our chariot with Thule on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

About to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 We got as far as New Canaan and just had to have lunch at Chef Luis – our favourite restaurant so the actual departure time was later still. Note to self – leave early – driving in the dark is no fun. We eventually arrived at Jon, Julie and Maddie’s just after 6pm (Lisa having done a bit of verbal road rage on the way) and Julie has dinner waiting. After dinner I futilely attempt to beat Maddie at some Wii game – well she does practise every day.

Buck – Up at the crack of dawn again – what is he thinking waking me up at this time every day. Quick trip to Cranbury where I come oh so close to catching my first squirrel.

Me at Cranbury

We get home and I am sure that something is going on so make sure that I stick to both of them. At last – my bed goes into the car – relief! Two hours in the car rewarded by arriving at my cousin’s (Bella) I am getting used to her even though she is a bit too fluffy for me.

Farewell Silvermine

Mark & Lisa – A fantastic send off prior to our trip from our friends and neighbours. It’s at times like these that we question why we are leaving the area as we have so many very good friends here.  

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Thank you so so much Janet and Yvonne (and Katie, Tom & Chip) for organizing this for the three of us, so very much appreciated and it was so nice to be able to talk to everyone individually without having to worry about the party setup.

With our hosts - The 'Brownies and Fishes'

We all had a great time and it was good to have friends from all aspects of our lives come together in one place – the Silvermine community, sailing, dog, Lisa’s Italian mentor and physio and not least our very own ‘U.N’. Having the opportunity to say farewell to them all in one place was truly great. We have really enjoyed our 6 years in Silvermine and it is difficult to leave behind so many friends. You are a great community and we can never replace you!

The party beneficiaries

 Buckingham – Wow what a party! I had a feeling that something was up as the house has been in turmoil for a couple of days now. I love having so many people at home but it does get a bit tiring after a while – there is only so much food that a dog can steal.

Preparations

Buckingham – The first day of the rest of Mark’s life – he says that he will be spending more time with me (that’s me to the right). We run every morning, this morning it was Lake Mohegan, which is a great place to start the day. He is training for some race in South Carolina so that means longer runs every day – no problem for a dalmatian.

In two weeks we embark on the trek – surely the original settlers in covered wagons didn’t have to go through so much preparation? For certain they didn’t have to consider so much paperwork – even for me apparently. Afterall we are only getting in a car and travelling @7,000 miles. Anyway I am looking forward to hitting the beach at Kaiwah Island – our first major stop – but before then we have a house to pack!

 

New beginnings

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” Mark Twain