Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Regarding Hudson

Even though we're a few months away from the start of our Walk 2, there are already grumblings in the background.  Some of the planning and preparation aspects of the excursion are still underway and I can't respond to them yet but the loudest one I can.   

Let me begin by saying thanks to all of those voicing their concern about Hudson's health.  To me, that speaks to your love of my little boy and that you care enough to stand up for his safety.  Can't thank you enough.  

In a few weeks time, on our way down south to start phase II of our training in warmer climates, Hudson will have a full evaluation of his health, physical condition, and road readiness by a vet.  Muscle strength, joints, tendons, pads, etc. will all be examined.  

But that won't be the last evaluation.  As we train together, I'll be assessing his weight bearing capacity and stamina amongst other things.  Keep in mind Murphy, too, was 7 years old when we left Austin and on a much bigger frame than Hudson.  
The second concern we've received is regarding Hudson's cancer.  We got the best possible prognosis from his two path reports combined with wide margins and there's a 95% chance of no recurrence within two years.

Everyone is going to have their own opinion about this understandably but getting The DX, diagnosis as I call it, shouldn't automatically be a death sentence nor life limiting.

My route and start and finish dates have been finalized.  We'll launch from Vancouver the weekend of May 10th and arrive in San Diego the weekend of November 1st.  That's approximately 1,600 miles or roughly 65 miles a week of walking for the fuzzybutts and me.

Lil' Nana will be fine.  Hell, it'll be hard to get him to stop at 65.

But the question, it seems, is will that be too much and too taxing for Hudzers?   


My last thoughts for you in the wee hours of Wednesday morning is one of the main reasons Hudson and Murphy and I made it as far and as long on the road was because we weren't hot dogging it out there.  Pun intended.  

I didn't take unnecessary or uncalculated risks and, equally important, I had contingency plans in place.  My job was to get the fab fuzzybutts from point A to point B safely.  Walk 2 won't be any different.

Phase II of training entails working with both boys separately and in tandem.   Even still, that probably won't answer the question.  Nor will even the most skilled and learned veterinarian be able to say whether Walk 2 will increase the risk for a recurrence of cancer in Hudson.


I must press ahead with reason, faith, and the love of my boys as my guide.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

THE RIPPLE: Chapter 1: Man Plans. God Laughs. Dogs Poop

In the first week of launching the Austin to Boston walk in 2008, the whole weight of universal forces bore down on us like the wrath; a swift and unforgiving maelstrom that tested our mettle absolutely.  


First there was the crippling weight of my pack because I didn't want to be caught on the road without some essential tool, doo-dad, device or sundry to assuage the uncertain world I had just thrown myself into.  

Though I made a pact with God to get me and my boys to Boston safely didn't mean I didn't have a backup plan. Or two.  

Hudson and Murphy's safety was of paramount concern to me and I packed for it. Shit, I carried enough medical supplies to run triage in a war zone.  I had a secondary leash that could counter as a tourniquet, micro flasks of iodine and isopropyl alcohol, and gauze pads of all sizes and shapes.   

A NOAA radio, batteries of all flavors, my clunky Dell laptop, and a seven iron to ground against lightening strikes and guard us from gophers, golfers, or god knows what.  

I barely made it five miles the first two days and even though I was in supreme physical condition, the weight of my pack almost became walk ending.  My lower back was already badly damaged from a work injury and later a car wreck and the sheer act of lifting my overloaded 5500 cc Osprey tweaked it even further. 


And then the skies unleashed their fury.

Scientists say that of all of the senses, smell has the longest memory.  For example, you'll never forget the acrid, stinging stench of a skunk.  That's true, but I'll never forget two sounds.  

One of which is the shrilling of my NOAA radio warning followed by the voice of the Atari Man, the nom de plume I assigned to that analog version of a linesman casting weather forecasts like a Pong match.  

Tornado warning. Wind speeds up to 50 mph.  Freezing hail.  Flash flooding.   Seek shelter.  

And indeed, Atari Man called it right.  Lightening storms and unrelenting rain opened up all around us and it got so bad that we abandoned our $20 Walmart tent off the northbound side of 973 for the underbelly of a nearby bridge.  

Clearly, this wasn't the way I planned it.  

And that was just for starters.  

Fire ants, crazy sponsors, a lost bag, forgotten antibiotics, bad burritos, and a mad cow man followed in that first week. 


YBD's Notes 1:  I have a good friend going through a tough patch and in her words, she's in 'Protection Mode'.  

There are some things in life for which there is no shelter and if it wasn't for the proverbial kitchen sink being thrown at us the first week of our walk, we would have never made it.  

I remember with perfect clarity in the tent with my boys what made the difference.  

YBD's Notes 2: Early on, I had to understand which weight to shoulder and which to shrug.  That wisdom carries forth to our second walk.  

YBD's Notes 3:  Very few things are worse than being in a bad bad storm when your dogs gotta poop.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beginning Again

So much has happened since the start of our first walk and its finish...

Murphy being diagnosed with nasal adenocarcinoma within weeks of our final mile and dying a damn hard death less than a year afterwards broke my heart beyond repair.  

And then I tried my best to live a normal life but I have a mission that beckons me back on the road.    

Come this May 11th, I'm walking again and if you've been reading this blog, you know the route: Canada to Mexico via the West Coast Seaboard.  

And as we begin making final preparations and training for it, I've realized that this is the way to portray the first walk.  

I'll begin again.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beard Wins

Though down and outright absolutely, Tom Brady, The Patriots and my pick got trounced at the AFC Championship last weekend, I still came out way ahead. Or abeard.   

Little did I know that I was really lured up to the White Mountains by a bunch of Sirens whose sole intention was shaving my very awesome man hair growth.  

It was a beard intervention of sorts.  Now I've been through some interventions before.  There was the Robinson Sisters-in-Law shampoo intervention after a live interview in Memphis back in 2008.  Then the great tick intervention of 2009 and then the wardrobe malfunction... uh, well, we won't talk about that.  

But I believe 2014 is the year, nay the rise and return of spectacularly hirsute men.  
Isn't it ironic that just after their failed attempt at shearing Yer Big Dog that this article about the historical importance of facial hair was posted?  Coincidence?  I think not.  Paid advertorial?  Maybe.  Trail Magic?  Definitely  

To paraphrase a quote from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing...  "O, what hairy men dare do.  What hairy men daily do, not knowing what to do with their chin-do."  

The White Mountain Sirens failed to shear my beautiful, big dog baby mutton chops.  But it got me thinking.  It shan't be sheared.  It can't be combed.  But maybe, just maybe, I'll bead and braid it.  

For reasons beyond my understanding, I'll wear it until it's time to shave.  Until then...

Pats lose.  Bangs lose.  Beards win. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I got a call this morning from a good friend.  Just jawing about theoretical physics and Gillian Anderson in The Fall, and why reds just don't do it for me.  But as a blonde, well, she's some kinda special.  

My friend is an architect and after the man to man cheese-mo speak about babes and blondes and blondes and babes, he said he couldn't find his way around how to incorporate a state mandated inclusion in his design project he was working on. 

So I said, 'If you can't plan around it, make it your plan.'  

Two hours later, we completely redesigned the plan that it's now educational, eco-friendly, inspirational, motivational, market driven, the focal point of the structure and to boot, it's never been done before.  

It's too early in the morning to pound my chest and yawp so I'll yawnp.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Silver on Skin

A few funny things happened this weekend.

I bear Malcolm's ashes on my right hand now as my necklace broke this weekend on his anniversary.

And then inexplicably, my laptop played Bob Marley when it was closed and shut down.

I do not presume to understand the cosmic implications of anything I do.  I miss Malcolm.  There's nothing more to me than that.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A + B = C


Logic. an argument the conclusion of which is supported by two premises, of which one (major premise)  contains the term (major term)  that is the predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise)  contains the term (minor term)  that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term)  that is excluded from the conclusion. A typical form is “All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C.” 

A:  Dogs don't know quit.
B:  Yer Big Dog was born the Year of the Dog
C:  Therefore YBD never quits.


I posted a few weeks back about a good friend of mine that gave me a couple of bucks.  Today I took them and the fuzzybutts to Coffee's Country Market to pay for a stranger's meal like the employees there did when we walked through Lyme CT.

On the day of Malcolm's anniversary, it was a great honor to re-connect with Jennifer who subsequently lost her dog, Dooley, to cancer last month.

The stipulation was, if they asked who it was from.  It was from Malcolm

Friday, January 10, 2014

Midnight With Malcolm

I'm not MOT but I may as well be an honorary member.  

It's been eight years since I lost Malcolm and not a second not an hour not a day nor a year has past since I lost my first son that I have forgotten.  

The Yahrzeit candle burns for 24 hours and I lite it now to burn til the morrow when he was given rest.

You were the rock that became the ripple.  

You are the circle not round that I followed and found two ends ever bound.  

My candle is an eternal flame, lit by you and I'll carry it for as long and as far as I can.  


Form Follows Function

Not known to many, that phrase was coined by Louis Sullivan, the father of modern American architecture and the mentor of Frank Lloyd Wright not Wright himself.  

I've spent the past few days mapping out, to the best of my present abilities, our path from Canada to Mexico.  

Things tend to change on the road but everything begins with a start and a finish and I have that now.  

The walk will start at the Peace Arch Park that straddles the Washington state border.    

From there it continues through the following cities: Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, San Francisco, Monterey, LA and down to San Diego.  

And it will end at the Border Field State Park.  Border to border.  Brother to brother. 

Based on Google calculations, the sum total mileage is roughly 1600 miles.  

Sullivan's full quote was, "It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law."  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Training Day

Mebbe I should've chosen a different day to start training other than arctic type temperatures.  

Mebbe I shouldn't have chosen to train in a skirt.  

Mebbe I shouldn't be smoking a cigar and swilling a bottle of wine while doing push ups on the jetties of Long Island Sound.  

Mebbe I shouldn't walk the length of the Pacific seaboard. 

 But I will. 

I've learned a lot about myself this past year and if I had to sum it up, heralding in the new year, it'd be 'What's my value?"  It's a great question, actually.  Probably, the question.  

Tho my moobs ain't that bad either

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Turn

Tomorrow begins training day.   

The immediate moment that Hudson was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor, I knew my plans for walking cross Japan would be delayed or discontinued indefinitely at best.  The red cranes of Hokkaido have to wait another day.  

Still, it is time for me to return to the road.  

Come this May the fuzzybutts and I will walk from Seattle to San Diego (which, yeah, pains me especially since they sneaked into the playoffs), the California corridor from Canada to Mexico. 

Over the past few days I have chewed this thru with my trusted compadres, that's Spanish for knuckleheads, and made my decision.  Hudson and Indiana are def on board.  

Most certainly Ginger will say the idea came from her.  Hey, I just go where I'm told to go.  


2 Dogs 2000 Miles 2.0  

Haven't slept much since the inspiration and there's a bit of planning and preparation between now and May.  But I have made a few important decisions.  I'll embark with the same amount of money in my pocket as in 2008 which was $200. 

I have most of the gear and won't require anymore save a few pairs of socks and liners.  My right strap on my Osprey pack is still bound only by a crimp and a carabiner which tore apart in North Attleboro just weeks before the final mile.  

I might get that fixed but it kinda reminds me of me.  

Osprey declined to sponsor my first walk for which I cannot fault them but they were a big big help when the frame snapped on the Great Allegheny Passage. 

Speaking of sponsorships, I'm not really keen on the idea on seeking very many though the ultimate determination probably won't be mine.  First I spent a lot of my time chasing pairs of socks and hiking shoes and the lot.  Second, we don't need much to get from Canada to Mexico.  What we will be looking at are strategic long-term partnerships with companies committed to work together to end cancer in our lifetime.

This is our second last and there will be a third and a fourth, maybe more and I'm a patient man to wait and find those partners.   

Also, (1) There won't be a follow vehicle like our first walk. (2) We'll have a vet clear Hudson's health at every leg of the journey.  (3) We won't be staying with host families (even though we've had the greatest of experiences doing so - this walk is all about time and efficiency).  (4) Nor will we be doing media or press events throughout other than start and finish perhaps.    

While I'm still mapping out the route, it seems 1,500 or so miles from border to border.  East CA is out of the question so I'm trying to determine a coastal route given Google maps.