Is a curious thing.
It forgives and forgets

It punishes and at times,
Demands pay

Whether footsteps towards
Or footsteps away

No certainty
Not on any day

Those that step
Must accept

There are no manmade laws
Just the awe

Of living on The Road


YBD’s Notes 1:  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.  This poem was inspired by the Irish saying, ‘May the road rise to meet you.”.  

YBD’s Notes 2:  Bollocks.  

YBD’s Notes 3: The Road represents the path in life you take.  May YOU rise to meet The Road.    

A Hudson and Indiana Joint

Finally after bringing the bitter and brutal weather down south from one of the snowiest and coldest Northeastern winters I’ve been in, we got a break in the weather and took advantage of it at Chickasaw State Park.

Hudson and Indiana and I spent the past half week there training and they did great.  We’ve been hiking in all sorts of conditions and terrains but the working relationships will be markedly different  than with Hudson and Murphy and me.   More on that later…


We’re Back in the Tent Again (Cue Aerosmith)

The fuzzybutts and I have spent a night or two in our tent now and then but now we’re ramping up to the six or seven nights per week for our West Coast Walk.  

When camping out, our world is framed within 7’x9′ ripstop nylon walls and that’s all we really need.  Base camp is our sanctuary and the official Offices of Snuggles and Snuggles no matter where we’re at.  


For the Love of Loblolly’s 

The Chickasaw Forest has acres and acres of pine trees and when we had a moment to rest, my favorite place to repose was in a grove of Loblolly’s.  

When there’s a decent wind, there’s nothing like lying on your back watching and listening as they sway in legato like the lilt of an Indian flute.  

Yer Big Dog’s Notes 1: I’ve been here before on Walk 1.  The stretch from Memphis to Nashville TN was treacherous and rife with challenges from 64 to Whiteville, 100 to Mousetail, and 412 on to Columbia and 31.  

YBD’s Notes 2:  And there’s a wonderful Mennonite bakery off of 64 that we stopped at on Walk 1.   I was so hungry and I bought a pound of their roasted garlic cheese but alas, they no longer sell it.  

Launch Date:  May 10th, 2014

Launch Location:  Peace Arch Park Vancouver BC

Vancouver BC to Everett WA:

Route: 543 to Portal Way

            Vista to Hovander

            West Smith to Pacific Highway

            Northwest Ave to Samish Way

            Hwy 99 to Cedardale Rd

            Pacific Hwy to Hwy 99

Distance: 90 miles.  Estimated Week of Arrival (WOA): May 18th

Everett WA to Seattle WA

Route: Hwy 99

Distance: 30 miles.  Estimated WOA: May 18th

Seattle WA to Tacoma WA

Route: Hwy 99

Distance: 35 miles.  Estimated WOA: May 25th

Route Tacoma WA to Portland OR

Route: Hwy 7 to Hwy 507

Distance:  155 miles .  Estimated WOA: June 8th

Portland OR to Otis OR

Route: Hwy 99 W

Distance: 85 miles.  Estimated WOA: June 15th

Otis OR to Gardiner OR

Routes for Remainder of the Walk: Hwy 101 and Hwy 1

Distance:  100 miles.  Estimated WOA: June 22nd

Gardiner OR to North Bend OR

Distance 30 miles.  Estimated WOA: June 29th

North Bend to Brookings OR

Distance: 110 miles.  Estimated WOA: July 6th

Brookings OR to Eureka CA

Distance: 115 miles.  Estimated WOA: July 20th

Eureka CA to Loleta CA*

Distance: 15 miles.  Estimated WOA: July 27th

Loleta CA to Garberville CA*

Distance: 65 miles. Estimated WOA: August 3rd

Garberville CA to Fort Bragg CA*

Distance: 70 miles. Estimated WOA: August 10th

Fort Bragg CA to San Francisco

Distance: 175 miles. Estimated WOA: September 1st

San Francisco to Carmel

Distance: 120 miles. Estimated WOA: September 14th

Carmel to Santa Barbara CA

Distance: 230 miles. Estimated WOA: October 1st**

Santa Barbara CA to LA

Distance: 110 miles. Estimated WOA: October 12th**

LA to San Diego CA

Distance: 125 miles. Estimated WOA: October 26th

San Diego CA to Border

Distance: 15 miles.  Estimated Date for Arrival Party:  Weekend of November 1st


*Some areas of Hwy 101 don’t seem to be open to pedestrians. Alternative route may be necessary

“Natural science, does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves.”
Damnit Yer Big Dog!
Not that Heisenberg….
This one!
Way back in college when I was pre-med, I took several physics courses which pretty much kicked me in the arse… but I loved it.
I could wikipedia a link to Werner Heisenberg’s Principle for you to read and understand about how it was one of the tectonic shifts from Newtonian physics to Quantum Mechanics.
But in my best and most humble attempts over the years, I’ve reduced it down to this:  “There are things unseen, there are things known, but can we see the things unknown?”  
‘Hizzy’s P’ as it’s known in the ‘biz’, has become a much larger metaphor for me, an intersection at which I oftentimes find myself lost and without direction.  And yet unafraid.  
Integrative Manual Therapy
Late last year our Baltimore walk organizer, Chris, turned me onto IMT and I visited their Institute back in January after her dog, Blake was DX’d with menigioma.  I spent a day with the founders and thought leaders of Integrative Manual Therapy, Tom and Sharon.  
I must admit, watching them work on Blake was bumfuzzling especially since I was raised in a ‘Western medicine’ environment as my father was a nephrologist.  Even after a lengthy conversation with Tom, I still couldn’t reach my mind around IMT.  
I tried to blog about the experience but I felt like a vegan writing a review about a Bobby Flay burger joint. But I’ve seen things on my travels most people wouldn’t believe so I’ve learned to keep an open mind.  I mean, after all, Western medicine has been around for hundreds of years; Eastern medicine thousands.  
I Got Yer Back
Chris, ever so resolute and firm in her belief of IMT, and a whole host of others too, convinced me to get treatment on my L5 herniated disc.  I’ve written in previous posts about a work injury and subsequent car wreck that left me with, at times, crippling chronic pain that I had learned to live with and compensate for.  
The Thursday before I left New England, I went up to Hartford CT in part because of a promise I made to Chris and, perhaps, in part out of desperate hopefulness for some sort of relief.  I don’t and won’t take pain meds and have a general aversion to pharmaceuticals of all flavors.    
Following a thorough history and assessment, Tom’s conclusion was that my back’s range of motion was about 1/6th of its normal flexibility and utility and my leg muscles had been doing most of its work as a result. I kinda already knew that but what happened next is still head scratching to me.  
On Barb’s Butt, Sweet N’Low, and Green Tea
I have to be honest, I was pretty skeptical going into my IMT treatment since my only prior experience was watching Blake, who couldn’t speak openly about it, and Chris’ friend, Barb, who had a packet of sugar substitute placed on her backside to see how her body reacted.  
I called Mommy G after that in an attempt to explain IMT to her and said, “Well, I thought I understood it until the sugar butt thing.”  
Trust me, you put any form of food or spirits anywhere near me and my body will say, “Yes, please.”   Maybe that’s because I’m a dog or from TX…  Still, Tom and Sharon make a mean cup of green tea and having spent time in Japan, I know a cup of tea, and I made an appointment to see them. 
Yoga Makes You Fart
That’s what I’ve heard anyway.  
And when I was on the IMT table for the first time, that’s all I could think about as admittedly I was nervous about the experience.  
And then Tom put his hands on me.  Not like a massage therapist or chiropractor working out or through the tension, Tom was trying to find the source of it I’ve ascertained.  It’s like unwinding a clock back to zero hour.  Back before the pain.  
Those that know me know I’m not a touchy-feely sort of fellow.  And yet, after a few minutes of Tom’s and Sharon’s hands on me, I felt comforted.  They didn’t exert any force to me physically and yet after the therapy, my lower back was afire.
Now I recall my studies of thermodynamics about time and pressure but all of my erudition and the laws of science I had grown so accustomed to know and love somehow didn’t apply anymore. 
Even after therapy was concluded, Tom said I’d feel light headed and I was thinking, “Yeah, right.”  And yet I swooned. 
Postscripts from a Curious Skeptic
My lower back though not healed, the daily hurt I have to contend with has lessened.  And once the West Coast Walk is complete, I will return to the IMT Institute.  
YBD’s Notes 1:  You can see the unknown if you have the courage to.
YBD’s Notes 2:  Sorry Barb for using your butt as a learning lesson, but…
YBD’s Notes 3:  I can’t thank Tom and Sharon and their staff enough for their time and patience throughout this process.  
YBD’s Notes 4:  Breaking Bad is one of the best serials ever and I now understand where Vince Gilligan got his inspiration from, philosophically and sartorially.  
The other day I posted on Facebook about winding things down in New England in preparation for Walk 2 and that moving on isn’t the hardest part for an adventurer, it’s the leaving behind.  But that’s only mostly right.  


The Shannon Door

Ironically enough this was the first restaurant I ate at in North Conway NH with our dear friends Donna & Larry and it was where we ended up Wednesday night.  

That’s them with their niece, Christina, and Jim the ball busting bartender that makes the waitstaff at Dick’s Last Resort look like Disney workers. He’s a good kid and infinitely entertaining though he makes girly drinks.  

I had hoped to get some exercise up in the White Mountains and man did my wish come true though not like I anticipated.  The accumulation of snow and ice was so steep on their driveway Larry drove his plow into the bank not once but twice and we had to dig it out both times.  

Heck I’m just a simple man from Texas and I started to think this is some strange sport up here…. Some folks down south canoodle catfish, some wrestle gators, but up here drive your truck in the ditch then dig it out.  I was ready to break out the Foreman Grill and the Brats and beer.  


Sea Glass

When I spent my first week in Newport this past year, Valerie convinced me to go to Fort Adams for what seemed like picking up trash.   I’m all about beautifying the world we live in but it was brutal cold and dowsing wet sand didn’t seem like a productive use of my time.  Even after I uncovered a handful or two I still didn’t get it.  

Some fellas at a frat party in Australia, say, threw beer bottles in the ocean decades ago and I’m collecting the shards.  Still, there was something storied I found in the sea glass and their ill-lustered beauty.  I made a bracelet for Valerie in memory of her Max out of them to thank her for hosting the fuzzybutts and I this past year.  But it wasn’t easy.  

Six drill bits later and two deep puncture wounds to my thumb, I finally figured it out and finished it tonight.  


We’ve had a warm and wonderful send off as we start heading down south tomorrow and god willing, the three of us will all be back up here in November. But it’s more than just moving on and leaving behind.  It’s that you can’t travel with.  


YBD’s Notes 1: I’ve been inviting a few friends and colleagues to come out to the west coast and walk with us if even for a week.  I think it’ll make the experience that much fuller and richer…

YBD’s Notes 2:  Andre the Frikkin Giant.  Really?  

As I spoke about in a previous vignette about how if we weren’t tested that first two weeks on walk 1, it’s doubtful we would’ve made it.  That may seem counter-intuitive to some.  

You see most people will look for any reason to fail at things and they have a whole litany of excuses to justify it.  

A few, however, search for that one way, any way, to succeed.  It may take months.  Or years to find it but they do.  


We were trekking the Rails-Trails to DC in 2009 and I met a man who stopped us for a conversation for the ‘who, when, why, and what about the walk’.  I answered as honestly as I could about our mission and our cause and his hapless almost helpless response was, ‘You know, I’d love to do something like that.  But I have a family and a job and responsibilities.’

I suppressed the great growl within and merely responded, ‘What makes you think that I don’t?’  


I’ve met many people on our travels that would’ve, should’ve, and could’ve embarked on a grand adventure, traversed the AT, or climbed K2, and though I’m no scholar on the matter, my best guess is that why they didn’t or why they did and failed can be reduced down to one simple phrase.  


Colin Fletcher, the Godfather of modern backpacking wrote that within two weeks of an adventure, you’d know if you were going to succeed or fail.  I read his books before the launch of Walk 1 and they were only academic to me at the time.  

But in our lonely tent along the TX highways, I learned what he meant.  There was one night I asked myself what the hell was I doing there and why.  I was beat down and in a bad way because I began to see for the first time not the finish line but the thousands of miles til then. 

A few sponsors had bailed, we’d been battered by unrelenting storms, setbacks, and other challenges, too.  


There’s a moment at which faith crosses the threshold of self doubt and uncertainty and the only thing you need to decide is whether you have the will to continue.  There is no Glory without the Grind.  


YBD’s Notes 1:  No longer will I chapterize Book 2, The Ripple.  As I plan and prepare for WALK 2, the past and present story will unfold as it’s meant to, unscripted and non-linear.  

YBD’s Notes 2:  One should never give up on the aspiring to inspire in all walks of life. 

Even though we’re a few months away from the start of our Walk 2, there are already grumblings in the background.  Some of the planning and preparation aspects of the excursion are still underway and I can’t respond to them yet but the loudest one I can.   

Let me begin by saying thanks to all of those voicing their concern about Hudson’s health.  To me, that speaks to your love of my little boy and that you care enough to stand up for his safety.  Can’t thank you enough.  

In a few weeks time, on our way down south to start phase II of our training in warmer climates, Hudson will have a full evaluation of his health, physical condition, and road readiness by a vet.  Muscle strength, joints, tendons, pads, etc. will all be examined.  

But that won’t be the last evaluation.  As we train together, I’ll be assessing his weight bearing capacity and stamina amongst other things.  Keep in mind Murphy, too, was 7 years old when we left Austin and on a much bigger frame than Hudson.  
The second concern we’ve received is regarding Hudson’s cancer.  We got the best possible prognosis from his two path reports combined with wide margins and there’s a 95% chance of no recurrence within two years.

Everyone is going to have their own opinion about this understandably but getting The DX, diagnosis as I call it, shouldn’t automatically be a death sentence nor life limiting.

My route and start and finish dates have been finalized.  We’ll launch from Vancouver the weekend of May 10th and arrive in San Diego the weekend of November 1st.  That’s approximately 1,600 miles or roughly 65 miles a week of walking for the fuzzybutts and me.

Lil’ Nana will be fine.  Hell, it’ll be hard to get him to stop at 65.

But the question, it seems, is will that be too much and too taxing for Hudzers?   


My last thoughts for you in the wee hours of Wednesday morning is one of the main reasons Hudson and Murphy and I made it as far and as long on the road was because we weren’t hot dogging it out there.  Pun intended.  

I didn’t take unnecessary or uncalculated risks and, equally important, I had contingency plans in place.  My job was to get the fab fuzzybutts from point A to point B safely.  Walk 2 won’t be any different.

Phase II of training entails working with both boys separately and in tandem.   Even still, that probably won’t answer the question.  Nor will even the most skilled and learned veterinarian be able to say whether Walk 2 will increase the risk for a recurrence of cancer in Hudson.


I must press ahead with reason, faith, and the love of my boys as my guide.