A hike, and then Pennsylvania, Maryland and Pennsylvania

The day after the trial in Rhode Island, a real beauty of a day, Chico and I went for a hike with classmates Dakota, Quince, and Simon – and their people.

This parking lot, at Castle in the Clouds figures in the story.

The parking lot at Castle in the Clouds offered a promising start.

It was a lovely day and we saw many wonderful things.







Even a picnic was had.

Even a picnic was had. Don’t miss Dakota, crashed out in the sun, lower left of frame.

And when we got back to the cars I couldn’t find my phone. And when I got home, I called it and it didn’t ring in my car. So the next day, after getting lost taking Chico to the canine chiropractor, I bought a new one … because the next day we were setting off on a big trip and I am hooked on that turn-by-turn directions thing from Waze and Google Maps.

On Wednesday, we drove to Pennsylvania, to visit Katy, Benny, Jimmy, their dogs, and the new grand babythat they take care of a few days a week while mommy and daddy work their separate, high-power, careers. Ben can be awful gruff on the outside, but when he has that baby, he shows just what a marshmallow he really is. We hung out all day Thursday, just doing around-the-house stuff – some canning, baby care, I supervised the doing of laundry – it was quite relaxed. Except for poor Chico, who was a bit on edge because – I presume – he didn’t know if I was leaving him there or not.

But I didn’t leave him there. On Friday morning Chico and I headed for Maryland*. There was a trail in a place called Finksburg, about forty-five minutes from my niece Nell. She got her first apartment last spring and was eager to show it to me. And this summer, she and her boyfriend got a dog, so we had to meet her too.

Penny loves to play, and Chico might have been the first dog she ever met who said “No thanks.” Things worked well if we kept moving, but in the apartment it was pretty tense, so we kept that to a minimum all weekend. We took a wonderful walk on the wooded campus of Goucher College, the dogs had enough room to ignore each other

Nell did come to the trial, Saturday and Sunday. Sunday she brought Penny and practiced “Look at me” at ring side. I had done a quick lesson with them, teaching Penny to target my hand in about thirty seconds (she’s a genius!), given Nell some exercises, and they got right into it. By the end of the weekend, Nell reported that Penny chose to look at Nell for a treat instead of trying to play with an approaching dog.

We had six runs between the two days, some good, some crazy, a couple that were qualifying, including our first P2 Standard Q. The people were nice, I did, sadly, miss the crab cakes at the lunch cart, but had a “southern dawg” – a hot dog with cole slaw and barbecue sauce – that had me saying “y’all” all afternoon, just as the fellow promised.

And this will mean more to any of you who, like I, watch and are fond of the TV show called The Big Bang Theory: we ate at a Cheesecake Factory on Saturday night. It was something I am glad I did, and doubt I need to do again.

Monday morning we headed to Philadelphia for a short, rather food-filled** visit with a long time friend and her husband. Even though they are cat people, they graciously welcome Chico whenever we can stop by. A few walks in Fairmount Park, a stroll to the post office where I sent my entry for the agility trial at the Thanksgiving Cluster (the biggest agility trial in the country I think – five rings), a good chat with my friends, and we were off for home.

And as a little happy PS, on Thursday I got a call from a friend in Minnesota. Someone had called her asking if someone she knew had lost a phone. No, really. It was the dispatcher two towns over. Someone turned in a phone she had found (a couple miles and five days away from the last time and place I saw it) the Saturday before, and – after ten days – my phone had just enough battery for the dispatcher to get out the last number called. Once reunited with my old phone, it was off to the Verizon store to return my new phone as the fourteen day try out period had not ended. Let’s all say a big thanks to the lady who found my phone and turned it in!

*We stopped at a UPS Store to print out, sign, get notarized, and return some documents so I could buy Chico a house, but that’s another story for another time.

**There’s an amazing diversity of people, and thus food, in Philly these days. For dinner we had first class Mexican food, right on the Italian Market (think the push carts on the street in Rocky), for lunch the next day – dim sum. I had left overs for days.




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