the view from our campsite at Zion

So far, we’ve enjoyed Zion Cayon Campground the best. As we had no immediate neighbors, and were set beside the Virgin River, the dogs loved playing in the water and evenings provided us with fantastic stars set between the jagged rocks of the Zion mountains.

the Pup-Up

Hiking The Narrows

We hiked The Narrows, a two and a half hour, upriver trek, where there is no path; the river is your trail. Early on we crossed chin- deep in the 55 degree clear currents. The majority of the hike was knee to crotch deep and we found that holding hands was the safest way to navigate the strength of the river. However, when we tried to pass this info along to other, often clueless, hikers, no one ever heeded our advice.

In fact, the intelligence of some of the hikers was questionable at best. As we rented neoprene booties, special boots, and long sturdy hiking sticks, others attempted the hike in sandals or worse, barefoot. I wondered aloud if these people were just stupid or just too cheap to spring for the shoe rental, but HK warned me to keep it to myself. I did, however, belt out a “You’ve GOT to be kidding” when we saw a guy desperately needing to show off his importance by whipping out his….

ipad! What did you think I was going to say??

navigating the Narrows

 For any sweat-inducing activity, or water-based sports, cotton clothing is a no-no, as it keeps you wet and cold. Quick-dry attire is a must. However, again, the clueless wore bluejeans and tee-shirts, looking miserable, slogging along the waterway in their soaked, clinging clothes.

The morning we went, we watched a short, informative video about the potential dangers, including the risk of flash flooding thru the Narrows Canyons. Hikers have drowned in these floods, and since there was a 70% chance of rain this morning, I admit I was leery. But hey, it would make for a great story, so we prepared for the worst, hoped for the best, and went for it!

The narrows is a very deep canyon that has been cut through the mountain by thousands of years of water running through the mountains. At points, it is impossible to look up and even see the top of the canyon. In many places, there is no escape route in case of a flash flood. Hikers are told of the warning signs of an oncoming flood–a change in the color of the usually clear water, stronger currents and debris flowing downstream, such as logs and other hikers.

It was well worth it. This, so far, has been my favorite hike. There is something about the slightest possibility of danger that feeds my soul and brings out the old risk-taker that I used to be.

At the campground, we met another blogger, Russ, from N.J.. His travel blog is Check them out, it’s a great site. Russ is a teacher, traveling over the summer with his wife and four kids, in their popup. We have camped near them in Moab and Bryce, but only just met in Zion. It’s fun to meet other travelers along the way, and he shared some helpful tips, as well.

We’re off again, but check back, whenever we find reliable, free wi-fi, I will update our adventures.

Well, HK and I are still here.  Huge sigh of relief! On Saturday, May 21, 2011, at exactly 6:00PM (CST) just outside of Heflin, Alabama, we took a long draw off our vodka-tonics and held our breath.  Nothing. Nada. Zilch.  All the good folks surrounding us in their campers and tents were still there, too. (And I know for a fact they were good, God-fearing Christians, given the nuber of Jesus fish and “God is my Co-Pilot” bumper stickers surrounding us.  But this post isn’t about the Rapture, or religion, for that matter.  This post is about observing the world from a new standpoint.

Hk and I, as you know by now, purchased a pop-up camper this spring. We’re heading West in a couple of weeks and decided to do a trial run with the 3 pups. We needed to stay w/in a 2-hour drive, because our friends Stef and Glenn needed to be back in Atlanta for a Sunday afternoon function. So we agreed on Coleman Lake campground in the Talladega National Froest outside of Heflin, Ala.  The campground offered a lake (hence the name) and several hiking trails, along with wooded sites and electric hookups (a must in 90-degree weather).

So Friday afternoon, we popped-up the pup and settled in.  As crowds of watermelon-shaped folks began arriving and claiming the surrounding campsites, we wondered if we were still actually in the United States?

“Whereyuns fixunta setche cayump upayat?”

“Dju hayar wandar cumdoyon seeyak?

OK, I am from the South, (Kentucky), and haved lived in Tennessee and Georgia for all of my adult life.  I’ve been told I have an accent, but this gibberish our neighbors were spoutin’ out was, to me, unintelligible. I have friends from Birmingham- this is not the way they speak.   After actively listening in to their conversations for while, I began to decipher the words.   “Where are you setting up camp?” and “Did you hear Wanda got sick?”  It almost became a game to see who could figure it out first.

Still standing

The campground was, as promised, nicely shaded and the sites were of decent size. The bathrooms were large and contained showers, although I figured a nice brisk swim would suffice in washing the sweat-soaked mosquito repellant off.  WRONG!  On Saturday, after a nice hike around the lake–actually a very shallow pond, it turns out– HK and I  put on our bathing costumes (I love that expression) and hit the “beach”.  The beach was mud the color of butterscotch, with visibility of about 2 inches, and the roped-off swimming area was no more than mid-thigh-deep.  Fuck-it. I really needed to cool off, so I put my sandals back on and began wading in.

“Ay Diddy, whatch ee-uss!”

A pre-pubescent boy was standing on a 6-foot wooden pole preparing to dive off head first in 3 feet of muck. I was obscenely drawn to the carnage about to unfold in front of my very eyes.

I held my breath.

“Git down offunthar, junior! I tolt jew hit ain’t deep’nuf!”

Thank God his Daddy had the presence of mind to call that one.  Just then, a female child around 9 or 10 yells…

“Ah just pooped mah paynees!!”

In a flash I was back on shore, headed to the shower house.

A small sign on the bulletin board between the men’s and women’s room read–and I swear this is the truth– “Caution!  For unknown reasons, touching the women’s shower fixtures while wet may cause an electrical shock”.   I had seen such warnings in South American budget hotel bathrooms, but not in decades. I kept on my sandals and took my chances.


It got me!  Sonofabitch that muther shocked the shit out of me! And I still had to turn the water off!

ZAP ZAP! Got me again! I looked at my watch. Only 5:00PM. The rapture wasn’t supposed to happen for another hour.

After rinsing my Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap from my body safetly back at camp, HK and I poured ourselves a drink and waited.  At approximately  6:02PM, we glanced around. All quiet on the Southern Front.

We raised a glass in a silent toast to our neighbors.


hihihihihihihi! oooohhhhh! mommy just found the cutest bumper stickers! they’re from and proceeds go to their facebook (mommy loves loves loves facebook…) rescue page!  we’re gonna look sooo cute riding around in the car with a bumper sticker that promotes my dawgs!

so what are you waiting for??? order one!  or four!  Arf!


stand up, yawn, stretch, yawn, lay back down.  sleep awhile and do it all over again.

it’s hard out here for a pup.
when you’re layin’ down and gotta get back up.
first ya stretch and yawn and chew your feet, 
then ya look around ya for a treat.

ya know it’s hard out here for a pup.
when you bark and the neighbor yells shut-up
and ya just can’t catch you a squirrel
and your haircut looks like you’re a girl

ya know it’s hard out here for a pup….


hi hi hi hi hi! chance here. it’s yukky and rainy outside so mommy went to see a movie yesterday. she wanted to take me in her purse but was afraid i’d eat the popcorn she snuck in.  oops—no, just kidding.  really. (sorry, mommy)
she went to see “my dog tulip”, an animated movie directed by sandra and paul fierlinger about the love between a man and his dog. it’s based on a true book written by J.R. Ackerley before mommy was even born, which makes it like, a fossil!

it’s not a movie for children, which is another reason i couldn’t go. it had dog sex and poopie and bad dog behavior in it. none of which i ever do. ever!

the narrator of the movie is voiced by christopher plummer. he plays an old man (like granddaddy’s age) who has never found his “special friend” (the movie hints that he’s gay, but that’s ok, so are lots of mommy’s and my friends) and goes through life lonely. until he adopts this german shepherd, tulip. tulip has lived in a little cage all her life and acts wild and crazy, and the old man can’t control her, but, still, they fall in love with each other.  really. when he takes to to the vet because she scoots on the floor on her butt (i did that once when i had the worms), the vet, voiced by isabella rossallini, tells her tulip’s not the trouble, he is.

Click here to see the trailer
tulip poops on the sidewalks and everywhere, and the man never cleans it up. mommy said that is a problem, because it makes her real mad when she steps in poopie. then he tries to “fix her up” with a good male shepherd dog so she can have purebred puppies, but it never works. the movie is pretty graphic in showing the sex scenes. since i got tutored when mommy rescued me, i don’t really care about that stuff.  it’s dumb.  but tulip wanted it pretty bad, so, finally, the man gave in and let the old “disreputable dirty ragamuffin” from next door get her preggars. 

i’m not gonna give away the whole movie, but i will tell you that it was “computer animation, made by hand, and consisted of 58,320 drawings.    And that is pretty cool.

Some of the reviews say that the movie showed irresponsible behavior by the old man, but, well, he was old. and so is the book. and back in the 50’s, people weren’t as cosse  contc , conscent   they didn’t worry as much about their pets. i mean, he did rescue tulip. and mommy rescued me. so maybe people can just get over the other stuff and just like the movie for what it is. a sweet, touching film about a man and his dog.

love, chance