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.  
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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.  
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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.

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:

L
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

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.  
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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.  
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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.
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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.  
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*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.  
You cannot move forward by looking behind*
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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.  
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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.  
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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.  
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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. 
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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.  
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*YBD’s Notes:  Kinda depends on your behind though.  
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.

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…
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 ginger@2milliondogs.org  

Never cared for Matthew McConaughey even though he comes from my stomping grounds.  A grown man shouldn’t outta spend his time doing stoner flicks and romantic comedies.  And he’s notorious for taking his shirt off & the south is stocked full of guys like him trying to impress girls.

But I’ve seen some of his more recent stuff – a few episodes of True Detective and saw a video of his Oscar speech that’s made me reevaluate him.

In his presentation he talked about how he never saw himself today but who he could be down the road – How ‘hero’ is unattainable but it’s not unchasable and his speech spoke to what I’ve been feeling for a long time.

Who I am is always around the bend, atop the next mountain, and through the bottomlands.  It’s what keeps me going and forward bound.  And it’s made me realize that I am an inspiration to some.  And some of them want to walk with us on the West Coast and we’d love your company.

Walk a mile.  Walk a day.  Walk a week to show your solidarity in this story – contact Valerie K to schedule and coordinate. She’s been inspired and in training to come out to walk with us for a week.

You’re a hero.  Now chase it.

Last week I noticed a blister on Hudson’s paw and he’s been sidelined since. Just as in people it’s not an uncommon occurrence but in all of the miles we’ve logged together, not one we’ve ever encountered before.  

Perhaps it was a jagged stone, or a thorn from the wild strawberry bushes that abut the backroads we travel, or a shard from a discarded bottle that caused it but it’s healed now and tomorrow Hudson will rejoin the ranks and our pack is back again.  
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To Booty or Not to Booty

… is the question.  There are many many mitigating factors for an answer but for me, it’s three.  (1)  Breed.  Some do better with footwear than others and some are better suited than others.  With double hind dew claws – Pyrs aren’t.  Plus, dogs in general just don’t like them.  

(2) Trail conditions. Some situations necessitate them, surely, as Hudson and Murphy wore them many many miles on our first walk.  And (3) Temperature.  The weather has been favorable for us since we first left the border May 10th barely reaching above 70 during the day but it’s on the rise which is why we try to reach our daily goals before noon time before the ambient temperature of the sun has yet to heat up the pavement significantly.  

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Hudson has always had ‘soft paws’.  It’s part of his charm.  Can’t wait to have him rejoin us on the trail tomorrow as we have 10 miles to Tacoma.  



‘Shave Yer Ears’
Funny the things you think about before embarking on a six month journey – mine was this and I stored it in a voice memo on my iphone just in case I forgot my last thought before I got on the road.
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It’s always fascinated me how much life experience can be condensed down into a mile, a moment, and even a microsecond.  We’re on week three and already it feels like eons have passed.  We’ve zig zagged the coastal mountains and the farmlands of northern Washington down into the city proper and witnessed a whole lot.
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Seattle:  The City of ???
Walking amongst the innermost guts of a city, you kinda get to know it on an visceral level.  You don’t need to read municipal code, do a Google search or even check in with Wikipedia – just walk through it.  And though I have done all of the above I have torn feelings about this place perhaps because of and despite of itself.  
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Bare Naked Baristas?

From Everett to the George Washington Bridge is pretty much a continuous row of used car dealerships, box stores, strip malls, and these curious salacious sexy time coffee shacks like this one. 
And this one.  (FYI – Neither of which convinced Indiana they were worth their weight in Expresso to pop in).
I tried to look up what Seattle’s sobriquet is and I got bupkis other than ‘Rain’.  Perhaps this place and its people aren’t even sure what it is.
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To Be Sure 

The beauty here is boundless.  From Pike Place Market to the Chihuly Garden and Glass to the Waterfront District and countless soundside nooks surrounding Elliot Bay, the rusted steel structures of the Gas Works Park and the magnificent Madrona trees that are only found in this part of the world.  

Perhaps then, Seattle is a city of contrasts as its expertly manicured landscape is mottled with the misbegotten.
I have never seen so many homeless people in all of my travels and it’s now perfectly clear to me how the Grunge genre got its beginnings here.  
Don’t get me wrong, I’m nothing more than a passing observer but taken as a whole, my Seattle experience has been a bit disappointing.
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The Second Long Island?

Only once before have we walked through a community that not a single person stopped to inquire about our cause or mission.  Or offer a warm greeting of welcome to the fuzzybutts.  And that was the stretch between the Brooklyn Bridge and Port Jefferson on our first walk.  Seattle now has the distinction of being the second.  

I’ve spoken with a few folks about this and the best guess is due to the breadth of the homeless population people are desensitized to them.  And by ‘them’ I mean ‘me’ since I have a backpack and look kinda homeless.  
At least the chap whose backpack I snapped a photo of at Pike Place Park has some panache.  
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Cat Town?

Don’t know how to sum Seattle up really and maybe won’t have the context for some time. That’s why it’s taken me a tad longer to post this blog. I suppose I had a preconceived notion of this place and it just didn’t play out like I had hoped. The media was kinda ‘Meh’ I guess from so many who pass through here for some cause or another.
Is this where grumpy cat lives?  Maybe we’re just cat-less in Seattle…
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Annuit Coeptis
We’ve been granted safe passage thus far and that’s the thing to be grateful for. A few close calls and some rough and tough stretches but we’re making progress and as our dear friend Buddy pointed out yesterday, we’re at the midway point to Oregon.  And we made some new friendships and revisited old ones, too.  
But it’s time to move on.  
It’s not always up to us if the message we deliver is received but no community can be deaf and dumb to an epidemic so broad reaching and indiscriminate. That’s why we talk loudly and carry a big stick.