"To believe in this living is just a hard way to go."
I have a BBA in Finance and Accounting and I understand a few things about business but none of my education could have prepared me for the byzantine and bizarre world of sponsorship.
You could say I was a naif and you'd be mostly right.
But it was a noble belief. After all, who wouldn't want to wrap themselves around a storyline that goes like this:
Man doesn't like dogs. Man gets dog from stripper. Man v. dog. Dog wins. Man learns to love dog. Dog gets cancer. Dog dies. Man dies, almost. Man walks 2000 Miles with 2 Dogs for cancer. Dogs win.
But it was more than a grand idea. I not only had a clear vision of what I hoped to accomplish, I also had a well thought out plan.
I'd done my due diligence on the risks, hazards, dangers and challenges that would confront us on a daily basis. I spent weeks building a spreadsheet on poisonous plants and trees alone and their native habitat.
Growing up near the Gulf Coast, I knew that Oleanders are so deadly that their toxin suffuses the surrounding soil. But I had no idea where Yews yewed, rhododendrons rode and Sagos sat. All, too, could've been lethal to our kids and after compiling worksheet upon worksheet about fatal flora I was getting pretty freaked out.
It was like I was a risk manager trying to balance catastrophic chances with potential benefits in irreconcilable columns. And I was still a junior analyst.
Flora v Fauna
Sure I was worried about toxic trees and plantlife since Murphy pretty much ate anything and everything that seemed edible to him. But that was down on the risk list as I was more concerned with a clearer more present danger - feral dogs.
Down south, it's not uncommon to come across a pack of attack dogs and they can take down cattle. Since we would all be tethered together, they scared the holy hell outta me so much so that I bought a can of bear repellent that I carried in my micro (read fanny) pack.
But the biggest threat that would present itself to the three of us, Hudson, Murphy and me I determined was, well, you. On the road I mean.
A, B, or ZZ
One of the first questions people always ask me is, 'How did you pick your route?'
At some point when you're planning to walk cross country mountains come into play and for us, that was the Appalachians and there were only two sensible choices.
Option A: Hug the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic seaboard and the range wouldn't be a concern. But that would entail us walking through Florida, the lightening capital of the country. Pyrenees don't conduct electricity all that well so that wasn't going to happen.
Option B: Nix FL for GA since that's the southernmost extent of the Appalachians. Still, we'd have to traverse the Gulf Coast and the heat and humidity from the sea level states just don't suit mountain dogs' disposition.
Instead, I chose to Zig and Zag. Get as far north as fast as possible for cooler more favorable temperatures for the boys and then dog leg east to our destination. But that would mean a longer trek. By a few hundred miles. Every decision has opportunity costs even though when making life ones, the math doesn't always add up.
Risks assessed and our course mostly set, all we needed was a few essentials like food, outfitting, and even after selling my Pathfinder for $2000 I didn't have much of it to spend.
As I was soonly schooled in gearing up for 2 Dogs 2,000 miles, there were a ton of people looking for hand outs for 'charitable causes' and I was merely one in a long, long waiting line.
Two things made this walk happen: the difference between corporate integrity and gimmickry. Well that was one of them anyway.
YBD's Notes 1: At UTSA, I was the President of the Financial Management Association and I lead the most successful fundraising campaign there to get our members to a national event in Chicago. The theme was industry against academia in an arm wrestling event and I had professors battling it out with stock traders, brokers, and financial managers. In the end, it was House v Tank. A 6'6 goliath against a five foot five ton of steel. Tank won and that taught me a lesson way back when.
YBD's Notes 2: The odds never add up unless you take into consideration 3 things.
Yeah, I went the hard way. I know of no other way.
YBD's Notes 3: Part II: Faith, Love, and Fight.