Thursday, November 17, 2011

-- A Soldier's Welcome Home

My bro, Lt. Rich came home from Iraq.  Oh. My. God.  My mom is elated.  Tristin is elated.  Everybody's elated.  Thank the Lord.

We drove to Los Alamitos in the middle of the night to meet him at the base.  I got to greet Lt. Rich as he got off the plane.  My mom was a frickin mess, though.  What a crybaby.  Sheesh, Mom.  Steady the camera and pull yourself together...

When my mom finally calmed down, my dad took a photo of my mom with my bro.  That's me in the front -- the handsome one in the group.

My mom made me this cool Army vest.  I fit right in with the other soldiers.  Everybody loves me, what can I say?

Here's a photo of me with my big brother, Lt. Rich:

Just call me "Private Tank"

My mom made a cool video.  But I gotta warn you -- prepare yourself to hear my mom blubbering.  Ugh.  Sometimes, I get so embarrassed for her:  

Boy, was I pooped after being up all night.  I fell asleep in the car, with my head squished between the door and the seat.

Monday, October 17, 2011

-- Destination Unknown...

My mom and dad have been spending a lot of time on the Internet, scoping out a new place for us to live. Geez, just when I was starting to dig San Diego.  They're looking at houses somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

After a long ride from San Diego to Los Angeles, they met Tristin, my big brother's girlfriend, at a restaurant.  Then they kissed me on the head and walked away.  They called it "the hand-off."

What's up with that?

Nooooo... Don't leave me...

I stayed a few days with Tristin.  We take lots of photos together and then she emails them to my mom (cuz my mom is sad when we're apart).

Tristin likes when I stay with her.  She misses my brother while he's away in Iraq.  So I have to step in and give her the love and support to keep her going til my bro gets home.  Yeah, I know what you're thinking.  I'm just that kind of lovable guy.
I can't help being so irresistable.

I love staying at Tristin's house, even though she makes me play "dress up" with her.

Oh geez, don't show this photo to anyone, okay?

Until my big brother gets home, I guess 'll have to keep on playing this charade, just to keep Tristin happy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

-- It's Good To Be Home ...

I woke up early today for two reasons: 

Number 1-- there was this yapper dog in the RV parked in front of us who wouldn't stop barking.  I think it was a Jack Russell terrier.  Yo Jack-- you are truly ANNOYING. 

Number 2--  we heard voices behind us and my mom looked out the back window of the Supervan to find three people digging through the trash dumpster.  It looked like they were taking bottles and cans out of the dumpster.  One guy was actually standing inside the bin. 

I hope he was careful, because there are more things than bottles and cans in there--like little plastic bags full of my poo-- Hah!

Today we're packing it up early so we can meet my bro, Rob, for breakfast in Westwood.  After a quick stop in Thousand Oaks to pick up our mail, we called Rob-- or should I say, we woke up  Rob-- at 10:30am and picked him up in front of his apartment. 

For breakfast, we went to a cool place named "Snug Harbor" on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.
Of course, I had to stay in the Supervan while they ate... and if that wasn't bad enough, they all came back empty-handed. Pfft. Where's the love, guys?

Here's a pic of me with my cool bro, Rob:

The drive to San Diego wasn't that bad -- I guess because it's a Saturday.  It only took us another two hours from Westwood (sheesh!). 

I was pretty dirty after this trip.  Although I spent a lot of time in the water yesterday, my fur coat was pretty sandy.  My mom stopped at the San Diego carwash with a coin-operated doggy wash machine. 

I tolerated it, but it wasn't fun.  I guess things could be worse though--anything is better than going to one of those grooming joints.  I don't like blow-dryers, so the groomers always stick me in a kennel until I dry.  It pretty much sucks. 

Anyway, the coin-operated doggy wash is only 12 minutes of torture and my mom talks to me the whole time while she washes me.  Since my mom couldn't video my bath, check out this video.,0,5403999.story

So now I'm clean and we are only minutes from home.  That's our building--

When we parked at our condo, my mom had to get the cart to load all of our crap from the Supervan-- and I got to go for a ride...
Ain't I cute?

My dad loaded everything up and we headed for the elevator.  As soon as I got inside the house, I was ready for a relaxing nap... 

Ahhh.  It's good to be home.

Friday, September 9, 2011

-- A Day at Rincon...

Last night I had a dream that I was running through the waves of the Pacific Ocean, chasing after a dirty ol' stick my dad threw into the water...  Then I woke up, and realized we were still at the beach.  I looked over at my mom and dad and couldn't understand why they were so lazy.  I licked my mom's foot to wake her up.  It was already 6:00am for cryin' out loud... 
My mom looked at me and went back to sleep.  Ugh...

Finally, my dad got up and we went for a long walk along the beach while my mom got her "beauty sleep."  Boy did she need it.  (sorry Mom)

While my mom and dad messed around with their laptops all morning, I stared at the waves in anticipation--my dad said we could play with my ball after lunch.  Then my mom told him that there was "no more ball"...

You see, I had a little incident yesterday-- my mom bought a sparkly purple ball for me at the store.  She called it a 'high-value toy.'  This was something my Aunt Teeta explained to my mom-- when there is a toy that a doggy can't be trusted to play nicely with alone (because it will most likely be annihilated), it is referred to as a "high-value" toy.  My Aunt Teeta learned this right away from my cousin Ruby-the-Destructor.  Anyway, back to my story, I chased after the purple ball a few times in the water yesterday, but each time I brought it back, I would chew on it a little before giving it up.  After about the third time, my mom got distracted and she didn't take the ball back from me right away and I bit into it and popped it. 


I just couldn't help myself. 

So for now, I guess it's back to fetching a stick...

After a fun day at the beach, I took a long nap.  So did my dad, and he didn't even play in the water. 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

-- Ventura Highway...

Heading south, we cruised down the 101 toward Ventura.  Destination:  Rincon Beach.  My mom and dad used to drive by Rincon frequently when they worked in Santa Barbara and I watched out the window, pining for the beach.  I guess my pining is finally paying off.  'Bout time...

We passed a strange vehicle on the way -- what the heck?

My dad surprised us and took us to lunch at an old favorite of ours in Goleta:

Yum-- and it wasn't even the weekend!  (my mom said that In-n-Out is not exactly "healthy eating," as evidenced by the greasy bag... ).

We found a camping spot at Rincon-- we were lucky -- there was only one empty site along the highway.  Looks like everyone had the same idea as my dad to camp here.  Here is our view out the door of the Supervan:

Not bad, huh?

I couldn't wait for my mom and dad to set everything up -- I needed to hit the surf.

Here's a shot of me with the Supervan in the background:
I shoulda been a model...

Okay, now I don't know about you guys, but I have a mom with an obsession for taking photos of me when I am shaking out water from my fur coat.  It's really annoying, and I try to delete these embarrassing photos when she's not looking, but she made me post these: 

I look ill...  Why does she do this?

My dad says we are going to be here all day tomorrow too.  Yippee!
For now, it's time for a little nap, and then...

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL???  It's the kickoff for the NFL football season:  Packers vs. Saints

Clay Matthews is a BEAST ...


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

-- No Dogs on the Beach...

What a beautiful day.  My dad says we are going on a 3-mile walk
down Pacific Coast Highway into Cambria for lunch.  No dust, no heat,
no rocks, no hills -- no reason for my mom to complain today. 

I waited patiently to begin our walk.  C'mon--c'mon!

Pacific Coast Highway was kinda dangerous.  The cars were whizzing by us as we walked-- I don't think it's common for people walk to town from the campgrounds... 

But we made it to Cambria alive...

... and had a nice lunch at the Main Street Grill.  On the way back to the campground, my dad found a boarded pathway along the beach.

I looked toward the ocean, anxious to frolic in the waves... 

... and then I looked closer at the sign:


Every entrance to the beach had a sign posted.  I was pretty upset, but then something caught my eye--

Dang--my dad said I couldn't chase after it.

We continued down the path and we saw wooden steps leading down to the beach -- and there was no sign posted!  So my dad said "Let's go"--
I almost pulled my mom down on her butt (sorry Mom).

As we walked along the path, we saw more signs posted -- I wasn't supposed to be on the beach -- I think the sign was missing by the stairs where we accessed the beach.  But I didn't poop or pee on the sand--and I wasn't a bad boy--so I hope it was okay that I took a quick swim...  Sorry...

After a long nap, my mom called me into the Supervan for dinner--then my dad made a huge bonfire!  My mom took a video of me by the fire and she said I looked like an alien!

We didn't bring any marshmallows, so I had to go without.

... and now it's time to watch the Republican debate! 

          Good night...


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

-- Giant Slimey Things That Move...

Okay, we were all in agreement-- we need to get out of here.  Beautiful views of the coastline, but too many bugs.  They arrived in droves at sunrise. 

My mom took a couple of photos before we left:

...and then it was down the hill toward Highway 1.

My dad did the mountain driving.  When we finally got down to Highway 1, below the coastal fog layer, we could hardly see the road in front of us:

We stopped for breakfast at a roadside cafe. 

I wasn't allowed in, but my dad brought me a piece of toast.  Yum.

We continued down Pacific Coast Highway toward San Simeon and my dad pulled into a parking lot on the side of the road. 

We walked along a path and I saw some sort of rodents zipping to and fro, then they disappeared into the ground.  I was going nuts, but my dad kept me focused on the path.

When we got to the end of the path, I thought my eyes were deceiving me.  There were these giant slimey things lying all over the beach... 

...  And ...  then  ...  one ...  MOVED!

We headed into Paso Robles and invited our friend, Rhiannon, to join us for lunch--but it didn't work out.  We ate lunch in town at Senor Sanchos. 

The restaurant people wouldn't even let me sit on the patio.  Pfft.  Three old ladies sat at a table right next to my mom and dad, and they were smoking cigarettes like chimneys.  I thought my mom was going to have another one of her coughing attacks.  So let me understand this--they allow dirty cigarettes on the patio, but not doggies At least I don't pollute someone else's airspace. 

We drove into Nacimiento Lake--an old favorite camping spot of my mom and dad's from about a hundred years ago.  We asked the ranger if we could look around and check out the Internet situation before paying for a campsite, but she said we had to pay to go in and if we changed our minds, we could drive back to the ranger station and get a full refund.  Fair enough.  We paid the $30 and drove into the campgrounds. 

This looked promising--there were squirrels aplenty, as well as these strange looking animals who stopped moving when we looked at them:

My dad found an empty campsite with a view of the lake and a patch of grass for me.  We leveled out the Supervan using Bob Keeley's Lynx Levelers, raised the top, extended the canopy, unpacked all the rest of the crap, and fired up the Internet.  Uh, there was no Internet.

Now this was getting to be a problem, because I can't post on my blog if I don't have Internet.  Yeah, sure, my dad had his satellite access, and my mom's cell phone worked if you stood on one leg and pointed to the north, but no Internet??? 

There was another issue that was bothering my dad--the temperature. 
It was over 100 degrees at 4pm in the shade.  I had my eye on the lake, dreaming of splashing around in the water--but the outside temperature was making my mom and dad miserable, so we packed up all of our crap, dismantled the canopy, lowered the top, removed the Bob Keeley Lynx Levelers, and headed back to the ranger station to get our $30 back. 

The ranger station was now closed.  So much for our full refund. 

We drove back to Highway 1 and decided to camp at San Simeon State Park.  The temperature here was only 59 degrees!!! 

Here is a photo of our campsite:

Finally, it was time to relax.  We had full Internet access, full cell phone reception, clear satellite access, and a comfortable, cool temperature.  Okay, Mom, what are you waiting for???  Let's eat.


Monday, September 5, 2011

-- Bugs Instead of Bears...

Paradise seems to always come with a price.  The flies around here are truly annoying.  They don’t bite like mosquitoes, but they hover around my head and land on my nose.  Even when I walk around the campsite, they seem to follow me.  It's as if I have my own entourage--my own little army of secret-service flies to shadow my every move. 

When I looked over at my mom, I noticed that she had her own crew.  My mom doesn’t like these flies any more than I do, but she said she would rather deal with bugs than bears--so she is tolerating them. 

My dad suggested a nature hike.  My mom didn’t want another episode of wheezing and coughing from the trail dust, so she opted to stay behind at camp.  I felt badly for her, so I posed for a photo to cheer her up.

After my dad and I left for our walk, my mom closed herself up in the Supervan and killed all of the flies with a bottle of Windex--don’t leave home without it. 

When we got back, my dad opened up the Supervan door and a fresh batch of flies entered my mom’s airspace.  The Windex was in one hand and a dish towel was in the other, as she sprayed and swatted the darn things.  She finally resorted to taking two food domes made from netting and concocted a goofy hat.

Not very attractive, but highly effective.

Besides my early-morning nature walk, my day was pretty low-key; mostly sleeping and fighting off flies.  I was so miserable, my mom made me wear her silly hat...    

The sunset was pretty cool...

Although we had no Internet or cell phone reception, we did have satellite--
I guess one out of three ain’t bad.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

-- From Whining to Wheezing...

Before leaving the KOA, my dad said we only had a half-tank of propane, so we stopped by the general store at KOA and asked them to fill our propane tank in the Supervan--and then we were back on the road.

Today, we are heading to an area called Prewitt Ridge near Big Sur, California.  Since it was the weekend, we splurged and ate pizza for lunch.  Mmm, besides bagels, pizza is definitely one of my favorite foods!

As we drove toward Highway 1, we entered Fort Hunter Liggett, a U.S. Army training facility.

There was a huge tank at the entrance and my mom wanted to take a photo of me-- She called it Tank and Tank -- Hah! 

Then, as we drove through the facility, I saw this sign:

I wish there were troops there so we could watch them train.  I miss my older bro so badly.  He is still in Iraq. 

We took a wrong turn and ended up at Mission San Antonio.  It was pretty cool.  I didn’t get to go in, but my mom did. 

The lady in the gift shop headed us in the right direction and we drove through more twisty and turning mountain roads.  When we hit the dirt road toward Prewitt Ridge, my mom gripped the arm rests.  The road was steep and only passable for one vehicle at times.  On a couple of occasions, we had to back up the hill to let someone pass us from the other direction. 

Each time my dad found a potential campsite, my mom said, Okay, this is good.  But my dad said, Let’s keep going and see if there’s something better.  I could hear my mom doing a Muttley grumble each time.  Then more steep and narrow roads.  A couple of times, my dad had to do an Austin Powers turn.  For those of you who are not familiar with this term, Austin Powers tries to turn a utility cart around in a narrow hallway and inches forward, backward, forward, backward--well, you get the idea.  Here's the scene from the movie if you don't know what I'm talking about.  It's a YouTube clip.  Just hit the back button afterwards to return to my blog...

When we came to a dicey turn-off, my mom wanted to scope out the steep downhill first on foot.  She walked down the hill while my dad chatted with another dude driving around the area at the top of the hill.  When my mom got to the bottom, she saw that it was a dead end and didn’t want my dad to drive down the dicey hill unnecessarily.  So she ran up the hill, kicking up dust as she ran.  She was out of breath when she got to the top and could hardly breathe.  Something in the dust affected her and she had a coughing and wheezing fit.  Besides the constant coughing, this pretty much shut my mom up for the rest of the drive.  This has happened to her before and she ended up having to go to urgent care, so she tried to breathe evenly and relax it until it passed.  There is no urgent care around this place--that’s for sure.

We finally reached the end of the trail.  There was no view from these campsites and we were surrounded by trees--not satellite-friendly.  My dad got out of the Supervan to disconnect the front sway bar so that the Supervan could handle the angular parts of the trail better.  Then he said he smelled propane.  He checked the propane tank on the Supervan and noticed that it was filled to capacity--over the red line.  Not good.  He asked my mom if she smelled propane, but my mom wasn’t talking at this point--just wheezing--so he shrugged and got back into the Supervan.   We started heading back. 

We returned to one of the earlier campsites my dad pointed out and we climbed to the top of the hill and parked.  My dad asked my mom if the spot was okay, and she nodded enthusiastically--she was prolly just happy to stop driving.  When my dad turned off the ignition, we heard a loud HISSSSS and there was dust pluming outside all of the windows.  I felt like we were in the space shuttle and we were about to lift off.  The hissing sound was hurting my ears and my dad said to get out of the Supervan and stand clear of it.    

After about a minute, the noise stopped and my dad went over to the side of the Supervan where the propane tank was located.  Turns out, the relief valve opened up from the overfill and a gush of propane had sprayed out--and now we are back to a half tank of propane.  Good thing we didn’t have a campfire going 

Our campsite is pretty cool--360 degree views of the mountains and the ocean.  Here are a couple of photos:

By the way, my mom is feeling better now.  I’m sure she will be 100% when we are ready to leave, so I must prepare myself for more whining on the way out of here.