Monday, June 30, 2014


To sum up today it got so hot that I started chaffing so I went commando under my kilt and then as I was desperate for shade I sat under a pine tree not thinking about the bed of needles.  Learned a new lesson.  Still I made good progress left philomath and said goodbye to the cascades. 

Al Fresco

Have no time to tent so I sleep few hrs at a time in places like this grainfield

IN Corvallis OR

Made it to hwy 20. 49.3 miles to newport OR. Temp up to 96 tues.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Constant East

Tomorrow I'll close the distance to Corvallis Oregon and begin to bestride Highway 20.

This is significant in several ways.  First of all, we'll lose the Cascade Mountains, our long spanning and looming friend to our left since the Canadian border and replace it with the Coastal Range we'll have to cross over to get to 101.

Hwy 20 is the last remaining inland road and the bridge to the Pacific Coast highway (PCH), our home for the next four months.

Second I've scouted it twice and without question it's unfit and unsafe for Hudson & Indiana so I must go it alone.  Some of our new Oregon friends will look after the boys til Thursday.  Still even solo it represents significant risk. The mountainous region I'll have to walk mostly at night when traffic iss lighter and my line of sight is farther.

Add to that cell service is poor and there aren't any c-stores or restaurants for most of the 55 miles.  I'm paring my pack weight down to the absolute essentials.  Will try to post updates here... See you on the other side

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Damn dove

A few weeks back I was walking south of kalama WA. It was a crappy day & had took ill the day prior & wasn't feeling any better.

Even still I had the firmest intention of making 25 miles that day but as I left the town a damnable bird jumped right out in front of me.  Clearly he/she was injured & I almost walked right by thinking I don't have time for this.

But I couldn't leave an injured little feller on the side of the road either. The host family I was staying with helped me get the dove to the Portland Audubon society & I just got off the phone with them & he's/she's doing okay.

They're administering antibiotics.  I gave them what cash I had in my pocket and thanked them.  I think it's time for us to name him/her. 

Even though I lost 17 miles I have to make up, 'damn' dove just doesn't do justice.  


The Road

The road is like a reckoning.  It settles accounts.

It doesn't suffer fools and you have no hope of making it if your motives are in the wrong place.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I've got one more night in this hotel until we start the next leg of the journey to 20 and up into the mountains and my thoughts return to High Street.

I almost got hit by oncoming traffic like a half dozen times and I do not exaggerate here.  I took this photo of a warning sign about falling rocks and I was like, screw that, beware of the rocks in the heads of the drivers coming down this mountain.

There was one driver who came around a hairpin curve texting and she came within inches of hitting me.  And I swore to the top of my lungs at her.  And then came the voice from up high.  



Shaking, almost pasted against a rock wall in hesitation to continue up this mountain, I looked up and there was this old guy calling out to us.  'I saw you on TV', he said.  'I was worried about the dogs'.

'You and me both' I thought to myself unsure how to respond or what to say to this godlike figure although his Lebowski-esque attire didn't fit the whole supreme being image in my head.

'Is it always this bad on this road?' I inquired hoping for a hail mary.



Don't Should Me

'You should've taken 7th Street', he answered.  I'm a poker player and there's always a 4th and 5th street bet that you called or should have laid it down but when you're in a hand, you're down in it.   And that's where we were.

Ginger Morgan, the Director of our foundation, taught me that lesson.  There is no 'should' in life.  And I thought about that after almost getting killed on High Street.

I thought alot about why.  Why put myself and moreover and more importantly the lives of my boys at risk?


'Do you need help?'

The old man asked me. 'No I don't', I replied.  And I lead my boys up to the top of the mountain unscathed and untouched.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scenes From the Roadside

We've encountered many curiosities on the road and these are just some of them:

I'll start out with the crazy and curiously artistic:

Longview WA.  Is this an homage to Daisy Duke?  

Off the Old PCH, we saw this curious crammed down version of the statue of Liberty but even though it overlooks the Pacific rather than the Atlantic it's still so inspirational.

The Bizarro 

(Left) Brony Pony?

(Right)  Sculpture in Vancouver WA
Decorative Truck in Milwaukee WA

Indy Turns Three

This week has seen the third anniversary of Murphy's passing and Indiana's 3rd birthday and to me, the two are inextricably intertwined. And this photo captures it.  

On Instagram I entitled it 'Between a Rock and a Jersey Wall' but there's greater context to it.  


Indy the Scrabbler

Didn't have a good feeling of 99E south of Oregon City so I chose to take Google Maps alternative route High street and after scrutinizing it on my iPhone it looked suitable.  So we took the Promenade Park and were greeted with sweeping views of the Willamette River (don't even try pronouncing it).  

I should've known that just like Long Island was, well, long, High street was high and that miscalculation by me nearly cost us our lives.  

Don't have time for the details of the harrowing experience but we made it to the top and in no small part to Indiana who, like Murphy would've, lead the way behind me with Hudson willfully following.  


Murphy Smiles

Still.  In each of us.  

In one of my training blogs I wrote about how I suspected that I'd have to keep up with Lil' Nana on this walk and he has not disappointed.  I see so much of Murphy in him.  

The good, the bad, and the fuzzybutt.  

That's the birthday boy with Vince and Diane and their gal Lucy.

Oregon Ho

A Gathering of Pyrs Is?

We call a group of geese a gaggle.  Of turkeys a rafter.  Quite appropriately enough, vultures are a committee.  And beavers are a lodge.  These things I thought of during Walk 1.  

So when Hudson Indy and I were met on border crossing day by a gathering of Pyrenees from the local club, I wondered what to call them.* 

Thanks to the Columbia Cascade club for coming out last Saturday and cheering us across into our second state.  

The 'Interstate' or I-5 bridge into Portland looked intimidating at first since it's a vertical lift draw bridge and the two that were impassable on our first walk were of similar construct.  The steel grating of those in Baltimore and Philadelphia scared the hell outta the boys but this footbridge was all concrete so we crossed over the Columbia River into Oregon and it was a good day.  


The Garden of 10,000 Roses

The following day one of our supporters in the area took us to one of the most stunning and spectacular places I've ever been.  Portland's International Rose Test Garden.  

It's a testing ground for new varieties and part of the much larger more expansive Washington Park that spans over 400 acres.  What's noteworthy here, aside from the sheer beauty of this place and that it should be a destination point for all, is that my father has had a lifelong passion for roses and on Father's Day I would find myself here.  

Washington in The Rearview

Our first full day of walking in Oregon, from the Delta East Park to south of the Ross Island Bridge, we had two complete strangers came up to us and asked what we were walking for and if the dogs needed any food or water.  And that was two more than the entire state of Washington.  

I must admit I'm bumfuzzled at that reality especially since, well, that's never happened to the fuzzybutts in any state ever.  Granted, the Evergreen State has countless homeless and our best guess is that, unfortunately, we were just being bunched up in the fungible forsaken even though I carried a banner that said, '#PuppyUp'.  

In an area that's home to such tech giants as Microsoft and Amazon, the sign would be clear that it's a cause. So in Tacoma we decided to amend the sign nearby.  But the folks got the dimensions wrong and I had to use my sports tape to make it fit in my backpack.**

Surprisingly, still bupkis.


We Walk On 

Washington is a state of inestimable beauty and memorable but in our short time in Oregon we've made so many new friends and thus far it's been a great experience.  

At present, we've made it to Salem and about 37 miles from Corvallis at which point, we'll pickup Highway 20 and head over the Coast Mountains to the PCH for the remaining 4.5 months of the walk.  


*YBD's Notes:  A Gathering of Pyrenees should be called a Preponderance I think.  

**YBD's Notes:  This was no small feat but we've since had the sign cut down and re-grommetted (is that even a word?).  Going forward, this is OUR sign.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Cross

I just realized after talking to one of my girlfriends that it's father's day.  

I've had my nose to the grindstone so to speak that I almost forgot.  This week is also the anniversary of the final mile in Boston, Indiana's birthday, and 3 years since the death of my son, Murphy.  

Crossing over the Columbia into Oregon yesterday was more than just a milestone. What Stover, the well intentioned and seemingly genuinely interested reporter left out of his article was this:

This walk is all about the crossing and not just borders.  

It's the cross I wear around my neck between the ashes of Malcolm and Murphy that doesn't represent a religious symbol but a commitment.  

The symbolic representation of a cross can be found in every culture as a partnership and a promise. And, at times, a lean-to when you need it. 

It's bridging the gap in understanding that cancer is a cross species epidemic. It affects all of us. Cancer. Touches. Everyone. isn't just a tagline or some cutesy saying I came up with.

I was stopped recently and asked, 'What type of cancer are you walking for?'.  Isn't it interesting that question?  That this disease so subdivides us?  

Dog cancer.  Pet cancer.  Canine cancer.  Human cancer.  Melanoma, lymphoma, breast cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer....

The most important takeaway point from Stover's interview was this - the microscope does NOT discriminate.  

I didn't really know what this second walk was really about until now.  I had an inkling and an instinct.  But now I know.  And on this father's day, I give thanks to my father for imparting to me a thirst for knowledge and understanding.  And my mother who helped me cross that with faith and belief.  

No matter how many bridges I cross I miss my sons.  Malcolm and Murphy.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Month One

You cannot move forward by looking behind*


One of the funniest things we continually encounter thus far is walking to a hotel and after sharing our story they still ask for the make, model, and license plate of our car.  Irony is often scarce out here and you take it when you can get it.  


I'm holed up in a hotel in Longview WA feeling pretty lousy so it's an opportunity for me to reflect on our one month anniversary on the road.  


Urban Sprawl 

It may come as a bit of surprise but city miles are much harder on us than the country and the stretch between Everett to way south of Tacoma was tough.  Elevated ambient temperatures, street detritus, miles and miles of monotonous strip malls, car lots, box stores, and blaring street sounds require a higher degree of focus. Plus, it's boring for the boys and part of my job is keeping them engaged.  

I must admit a prior unfamiliarty with the precise use of  the word 'sprawl' until now and I have a greater appreciation for it.  So from Roy to Longview WA we've enjoyed the rural setting, though at the expense of cell service which is why posting has been sporadic. One bar.  No bar.  Two bars Go.  


Tom Sawyer

Centralia WA was a weird kinda stretch that I still haven't really processed yet.  It was like my past life converged in this previously unknown and unchartered part of the world in two ways.  (1) A high school band mates lives up here that I had lunch with and (2) A host home we stayed at reintroduced me to the band, Rush.   

It's been years since I've listened to them and Tom Sawyer was exactly what I needed to hear.  The River. 


The Columbia

Speaking of...  If you're in the area, come out and join us in crossing the Columbia River into Oregon, our second state.  Saturday the 10th.  High noon.  At the intersection of West 6th and Columbia near Esther Short Park.  Hope the instructions are correct but go to the Puppy Up Foundation page to be sure.  


*YBD's Notes:  Kinda depends on your behind though.  

Monday, June 9, 2014


That's 300 miles darlin.  

Tomorrow is the 10th of June and our one month anniversary on the road.  We've zigged and zagged through mountains, farmland, swampland, sea ports, and urban sprawl and Oregon is now in our sights.  

This Saturday, the 14th, join Hudson, Indiana, and Yer Big Dog at the Esther Short Park at 12 noon for our crossing into Portland, the second state on our historic cross country trek.   There will be a meet and greet at the park and then we'll walk across the I-5 bridge into Oregon.  

For more information, contact  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Men In Skirts

The second most asked question aside from what's under the kilt is why the skirt?

Only a few shall know the answer to that but before we started walking, I made a west coast wish list that includes a tee time at Pebble Beach and a tattoo of Murphy in LA and also on that list was a UtiliKilt  since they're both in Seattle and the gold standard of kilts.

Our dear friend and fellow pupper Valerie sent them an email and without hesitation, they donated a kilt to the cause. And not just any kilt.  It's the Survivor model and it's their top of the line replete with pockets and pockets within pockets to satisfy the needs of any wayfaring adventurer.

Thanks to Stephan (that's him in the pic to the right) and Darius, and while it's a great honor to wear a UtiliKilt, the week since I was outfitted, the only downside is I don't want to get it dirty which is kinda ironic. And unscotsman of me...

Photo Album I

Every few weeks I'm gonna try to post random pics from the road for those that aren't on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.  I've already taken about 2,000 photos thus far and we're not even out of Washington State yet.

The Chaos Before the Calm - our Super 8 Hotel Room prior to launch.

I'm guessin that's Hudsy's way of saying goodbye to Red or ordaining her to a higher office or something.

That's Confucia and Super Cooper we met while walking thru Bellingham WA.

Polar opposites - even posing for photos in our tent.

An evening of R&R at the Hotel Bellwether in Bellingham.

Waterfalls find their way down the westside of Chuckanut mountain.
Don't even know what to say about this other than the the photo was taken in Edison WA and it appears to be a flamingo headed dude with a cryptic and misspelled message nearby.

Hudson and the mini-donkey farm.

Fields of purple irises in Mt. Vernon WA.

Perhaps the most surprising and unbelievable fact about our travels thus far is that we've only had 2 rain days since we launched May 10th and had to break out the fuzzybutt ponchos.  No one up here believes it but it's true.  Fair winds and following seas keep with us.

Spring seems eternal here as the dogwood trees and rhododendrons continue to bloom in unabashed beauty.