Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Spirit is Growing

Just shy of 3 months ago we drove all the way to Indianapolis in our car and picked up our puppy “Spirit” from breeder Black Rock Labradors.  Were we crazy to raise a lab puppy in a motorhome?  Oh, probably!  Not that our lives were getting boring or we were running out of things to do but we missed having a pet since the death of our dog “Otter” last June.  We wanted to honor Otter by naming our new pup Otter’s Spirit, calling her Spirit for short.  
Our first time meeting Spirit.  (Photo courtesy Dale Brummett, Black Rock Labradors)

Spirits "car seat" - a kennel with a
soft blanket and lots of chew toys.
We first met Spirit two days before Thanksgiving and ever since then she has been a travelin’ dog.  We left Indy with our new bundle of joy for a six-day jaunt back to our motorhome in the Florida panhandle. On our drive south she learned how to ride in hotel elevators, the loud noises made by 18-wheelers in truck stops, the smell of Arby’s wafting through the car, and how to be a patient traveler.  We made a brief stop in Mississippi where our friends Sandy and Kim were nice enough to let us stay for a couple of days.  We loved the visit with them and 7 week old Spirit was so happy to play with other dogs and have a lake to learn how to swim in.

Along the way, she has made many, many friends (both human and dog, of course).  We discovered it is not possible to walk down a sidewalk (or anywhere else) with a lab puppy.  Spirit is so used to attention from people that she gets upset when someone does not stop to acknowledge her. 

By no means do we have a small motorhome, but by all means do we have a small “house” and “yard” so we look for ways to tire her out.  We are fortunate to have camped at many great state parks that have miles of trails and we are very good at finding dog parks and dog beaches. 

Spirit and Ivy (our friend Bonnie's dog) after a long walk.
Spirit as a "yard pretty" in Watercolor  Florida
Spirit is a great traveler which is probably because that is all she knows and she has a genuinely great temperament.  She sleeps calmly in her crate as we drive down the road and then barrels out the door to see her new outdoor world when we arrive at a new campground.  She has a new yard and neighbors every week or so but doesn’t seem to mind.

We look forward to taking Spirit out west this year.  But meanwhile we have more beaches in Florida to explore, more coconuts to retrieve, and more shore birds to terrorize.  She is not leading a sheltered life!  Spirit has brought much laughter and enjoyment to our lives and definitely lives up to her name.

We have more fun toting Spirit around.  The outdoor store we went to was pet-friendly - but only if she was in the doggy cart.  We laughed so hard.  Shopping proved impossible as everyone wanted to pet her.
More pictures below (for those of you that are dog lovers).

Spirit is definitely a water dog...

Hanging out in Tampa Bay.
There were too many alligators at Myakka River State Park so a Tupperware pool would have to do.
Swimming in Sarasota.
Sandy, wet, dirty, smelly mess....she couldn't be happier.
Retrieving a coconut in the Florida Keys.
New campsites mean new yards which means new toys.
Digging in soft sand is a very popular activity.

Pine cones work just as well as balls from PetSmart.
Firewood is a great chew toy...and when you get tired it acts as a pillow.
Coconuts work are readily available toys.

The motorhome has been transformed to accommodate Spirit.

Spirit ignored her two beds and decided to lay on the hard tile floor instead.
Chew toys line the floor.  Every now and then they get a reprieve when she falls asleep.
Foot warmer on a cold morning.
Spirit patiently waiting by the door to go outside and run on the beach.


  1. How Jack and I miss our Lizzie. He's yellow and she was black - miss her, terribly.

    Labs are fun because they have good senses of humor and they make you laugh.

  2. What a sweetheart! Labs are such great companions - but Spirit looks likes she's not getting enough lovin'....right! Oh, to come back in my next life as a lab pup with your two as owners! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  3. Just doing some middle of the night kitten watches and decided to catch up on where you guys were... the pup pictures definitely made me smile! Good to see you and her having so much fun.


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