After pitching a tent in a grove of Eucalyptus Trees along the Elkhorn Slough of the Pacific Coast Highway just outside of Moss Landing – there’s a video somewhere about it- , a song got caught in my head and like some things on our journey, I didn’t understand its significance at that moment.  
Invariably life is reduced down to one step, one song, one mile, one moment, and even just a snuggle, all of which inspire us.  To keep going.  
Nothing Else Matters  
The more ironical thing is – I’m not sure if I ever heard this song before the slough so why did it resound relentlessly in my tent that night?   
Maybe the love of a child never needs a rationalization no matter the kind and that’s the message.

Does Anything Else Matter?

Twelve days til touchdown in San Diego.  We made it to LA and ironically, we’ve had only four rains days the entire West Coast walk, through Washington, Oregon, and Northern California and the week we arrive in LA, we’re greeted by a monsoon.  
Completely drenched in Malibu and now navigating around mudslides and flooding, we’re making our way through the 75 mile swath that is the LA area.  
Still, we’ve been trudging onward in the dreary drizzly, record breaking rainstorm sharing the message and spreading holiday cheer, the nearby pic was walking on Rodeo Drive, 
We’re on schedule to walk the final mile to the Mexico border Sunday December 14th and our friends are making final plans for the day’s events.  Between now and then we have a couple of events planned leading up to the final mile:  
Saturday Dec 6th.  4-6PM.  The Shore Break Hotel. For details, 714-465-4528.  
Tuesday Dec 9th. 2-4PM. VMSG. 31896 Plaza Dr. San Juan Capistrano.  
It’s been great having folks coming out and walking with us on our final stretch. To find out where you can join us for a mile or a day on our historic trek, the following sites will be posting our locations: 
www.facebook.com/PuppyUpFoundation
www.2dogsAgainstCancer.com
Or on my Instagram – 2dogs2000miles.  And on Twitter hashtag #GoFuzzybuttsGo
At 11;30 PST, in the shadows of the Laguna mountains we walked the length of Coronado Island to the edge of Oneonta slough and Hudson, Indiana and I completed our border to border West Coast walk.  
And like most of our Southern  California days, it was sunny and 70.  Indeed, it was a glorious day.  

And like all great endings one not without its comedic twists, cosmic ironies, and poignant moments. 

The morning began with a seven mile hike to the meeting place for our Final Mile which Ginger joined us though I’d quickly learn less for the honor and privilege of partaking in such a powerful experience but more for showing off her new kilt.  Really Ginger???  There can be only One Who Rocks The Kilt…

A couple dozen friends met us to walk the final mile, some we had met along our travels, some were new.  But to my utter shock and surprise, two of my oldest and dearest friends were there:  Jim and Renee with Tripawds.  Man was that way awesome.  And it made a circle round.  You see, they were in Austin to launch our first walk and now at the ending of our second.  Yep I got all choked up. Thanks for the avocados guys – only noticed yesterday you put them in a poop bag.  Hee hee.

Inspired by another of our friends, John Stalls, who walked from Delaware to San  Francisco, I had hoped to jump into the Pacific Ocean to punctuate our tremendous accomplishment but was greeted by this sign.  Apparently Tijuana thinks the slough is a dumping ground for their sewage sludge.  Precise opposite of the pristine Canadian border where began our adventure but the two constants throughout all of it were mountains to east and the ocean at our west.  And my companions by my side.  And that includes not only Indiana who made the entire trek but Hudson who made it to the California border and Malcolm and Murphy in spirit.  

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There are so many people to extend great thanks to – the friends we made along our path, kind and courteous strangers, and even the idiot drivers who although from no lack of trying, didn’t kill us on the PCH.  Walking through and across 19 states now, I know of no more treacherous stretch of road.
Thanks to my team and all of the volunteers who helped out in various capacities to ensure our safe passage and make this experience matter, to those who walked the virtual final mile with us, and to our sponsors.  
I have lots of thanking and reflecting to do in the coming weeks but without a moment’s rest, I leave now for Texas to catch up on a lot of work, rest a bit, and spend a week with family….
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

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  
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.

Murphy’s Rain
Back when Murphy was undergoing his second round of radiation at CSU, I witnessed a rainbow from a sunshower and wrote about the Japanese expression ‘Mono no aware’ in a blog in 2010.  Down south we call that phenomenon the Devil’s Rain a phrase I renamed as to describe the hopefulness I felt beneath my tears.    
As Hudson, Indiana and I drove through the Cascades Tuesday morning and approached the Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 to Seattle, I was welcomed once again by Murphy’s Rain (top left photo).  That’s all I needed.  
The Drive 
After a tiresome 2,800 mile 40 hour drive, the Fuzzybutts and I made it from Memphis yesterday to make final preparations and get a lil R&R&Romping prior to our launch from the Canadian Border.  That’s a pic of lil’ Nana committing the cardinal sin of trespassing on Hudzer’s Altar.  Yeh, you can tell how well that went by his expression.  
Peace Arch Park
One of the first tasks on my list once we got there was scoping out the park where we’re having our launch this Saturday, high noon.  Never been this far north and west before and the only border crossing I’ve ever made on land was from Brownsville TX to Matamoros Mexico.  
There it’s all chaos with rows and rows of sputtering cars, a smoggy haze, and the incessant rapping on the window by Chiclet peddlers.  
Here it’s, well, peaceful and I found the inscriptions on both sides inspiring. Facing Canada, it reads, ‘Children of a Common Mother’, and facing the US, ‘Brethren Dwelling in Unity’.  
Recon
Task 2 began at 5:30 AM as I went to scout our route on the first stretch of our trek:  The Border to Everett WA.  Driving up Interstate 5 yesterday I became a bit concerned about the road conditions we’d be confronted with but after reconning this morning, most of my fears have been allayed.  There are some tough spots sure; shoulderless backroads lined with water-filled trenches as well as long spanning narrow bridges but all doable and we’ve seen this many times before on our first 2 Dogs adventure.
However, there’s a 10 mile track on Route 11 that presents considerable risk to our safety. Pic nearby.  High reaching cliffs on the left and a 50-80 foot drop off on the right with little to no room for negotiation.
This has me slightly worried but two things are in our favor.  First, sunrise is 4:30 AM on the west coast this time of year and when driving this stretch this morning, it was relatively desolate so we’ll have a few hours to get through it before morning school and commute traffic gets underway.  Second, it is not only perilous to pedestrians but cars as well so if there we do encounter traffic, it will be slow moving.  
But there’s a saying on the road, as in life I suppose.  Don’t walk 10 miles until you walk the first.  Or maybe that’s my saying.  I recall meeting a Marine on the trail and I always liked his perspective as we shared our many challenges on our travels.  ‘Impossible is just a degree of difficulty.’  
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Yer Big Dog’s Notes 1:  For the next six months, this blog is my journal of our journey from Canada to Mexico and this is where it’ll be posted first and from the road.  I’ll have limited time and energy to proof, re-read, edit, or even re-think its content. 

YBD’s Notes 2:  In 2010, Seattle was our last stopping point on the lecture circuit after the Austin to Boston walk and it was right before Murphy was due for his second CT scan back at CSU where we would ultimately learn that not only did his first radiation fail but a new sarcoma had developed on his nasopharynx.  

It’s bittersweet to be back here again and I couldn’t help but find a subtle irony in that to return here, we had to cross through the Bitterroot Mountains and the flowers that they’re named for.  Nearby is a photo, not mine, as they were not in bloom yet. 

What I love about the Bitterroot is it’s stubbornness to survive even in the harshest of all conditions.  It can live up to a year without water…
“There is no greater glory than a good piece of wood in hand, the path underfoot, your companions at your side and the call of the wild leading you on…”

– Yer Big Dog


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

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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.    


Now that we’re out of the forest and training on the Memphis Greenline, our focus this week has shifted towards pacing.  So why is that important?  
With my average stride, I can walk 3.5 to 3.75 miles per hour bearing weight, a fairly fast pace for the fuzzybutts… almost a trot for them really.  But one of the rules of the road is one must walk their walk.  Which basically means, you must abide by nature’s design of you.  
So since I cannot quicken nor slow my pace for extended periods, nor they, me, most of our training comes down to figuring out how a Man-Pyr (that’s YBD), a French poet and existentialist (that’s Hudson), and a Moose (that’s, well, Moosey) reach a rhythm on the road.  
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The Problem is Pyrs

I always thought it was god’s greatest joke on me that I choose to go on great journeys with one the most notoriously “independent” breeds. That’s how wonderful rescues like the  National Great Pyrenees Rescue characterizes them anyway.  I have my own sobriquet for Pyrs, crasser and truer to my southern roots, and one that could and should equally apply to me, too.      
Such as it is, pacing is a partnership and that’s why it’s of paramount importance at this stage of training.  
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A Matter of Metrics
To attain our 25 week West Coast Walk, we must average a little over 12 miles per day. From our work last week and this, I now know that 6 miles per two hours is a comfortable pace for us.  That includes a 15-20 minute break halfway and a few ‘stop and sniffs’.  
But with a laggard and a leader… I’ll let you guess which is which… the science isn’t always that exact.  
A partnership presupposes many things, but what’s most important to its success is fluidity and I feel like Hudson-Indiana-Luke, our little Industrial Puppy Complex is making great strides towards…
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Yer Big Dog’s (YBD’s) Notes 1:  I am pleased with our progress and preparation over these past few weeks, although we’ve had a few hiccups throughout… More on that later.

YBD’s Notes 2:  This week is gear training and filming the Trailer.