I’m spending a lot of time behind the wheel this week, taking My Adventure Bucket’s mascot, Murphy Ann the adventure dog, on a road trip to celebrate her 9th birthday. Since I’m busy driving, I’m going to turn the blog over to Murphy to document our adventures. It is, after all, her trip.
Friday, March 17, 2017- Mama wakes me up early this morning to tell me we’re going on an adventure! I’m so excited I can barely eat my breakfast, which should tell you a lot. I don’t know where we’re going but she says I need to get my backpack, so that must mean it’s a really big adventure. She doesn’t know I hid my backpack in the garage because I chewed one of the straps off.
Mama turned the back of the car into a great big bed for me with lots of pillows and blankets, and gives me a frozen peanut butter Kong when we leave. This is already the best adventure ever.
We drive for hours and hours and I invent a new game. I try to climb up front with Mama and she yells at me to get in the back before I make her crash the damn car. It’s great. We play so many times her voice gets hoarse. When we finally get out of the car, we’re in a town full of people. I’ve never seen so many people in my life. I wag at everyone.
Then we get on a boat! A great big one with sails and everything. Everyone loves me and the crew takes turns sitting with me and giving me skritches and telling me I’m a good girl. The captain lets me stand with him and help him steer the boat, and we see dolphins! This is the best day of my life.
Editor’s note: We sailed on the Schooner Freedom, which is, in my opinion, the absolute best attraction in all of St. Augustine. If you haven’t gone sailing with them yet, you’re missing out on an awesome experience. www.schoonerfreedom.com
We’re going camping tonight! I’ve always wanted to go camping! This is the most exciting thing ever. Mama sets up the tent while I watch. I don’t say anything, but I’m a little concerned. I’m accustomed to sleeping on a nice mattress with an electric blanket and several extra firm pillows. I don’t see her put anything in the bottom of the tent except a sleeping bag. I’m sure she’s got everything figured out, though. Then she makes fire appear out of nowhere and other campers come over to pet me and tell me I’m a good girl. I love camping.
Saturday, March 18, 2017- I hate camping. It got so cold overnight that I climbed into the sleeping bag with Mama and we were both shivering and we pressed our faces together and tried to get comfortable but the ground was hard and awful. A rooster starts crowing at 7:00 a.m. and I decide I will kill it, but Mama yells every time I try to claw my way out of the tent. I think about telling her that it wasn’t my idea to sleep on the frozen ground but then I notice the look on her face and decide to keep that to myself. We’re supposed to camp again tonight but she gets out her phone and makes a hotel reservation before we even get out of the tent. Maybe she can read my mind.
We get in the car and we’re both a lot happier once we’re warm and on the road again. In a few minutes Mama turns down a dirt road and my ears perk up immediately. I hear dogs. Lots of them. I’m already wagging before I realize we’re at the biggest dog park I’ve ever seen in my life. I know I’m not supposed to pull on my leash but between you and me, I drag Mama into that park so fast we both almost fall over. As soon as she takes my leash off, I take off running. I run straight into the lake, because I like to get as muddy as possible every chance I get. There are so many other dogs, I run from group to group and sniff every butt I can find. This is the best day of my life. The park has a great big wooded area; Mama lets me through the gate after I promise to stay where she can see me and not run off.
I run off as soon as she opens the gate. We have so much fun for the next two hours. She runs around the woods calling my name and I hide. When I finally come out of hiding she kisses me on the face for a long time so I think she had fun, too. Mama says it’s time to go, but I could stay here and play all day. She says we’re going to get lunch, though, so I allow myself to be convinced.
Editor’s note: We spent the morning playing at Dog Wood Park (7407 Salisbury Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32256), which is the most incredible dog park I’ve ever seen. Set over 42 acres, the entire park is fenced and has everything your dog could want in a park, from a great big beach to a huge wooded area full of walking trails. Admission is $11 for a single day, but if you’re local you can buy an annual membership.
I guess I doze off in the car after playing so long, because when I wake up we’re parking next to a great big farmer’s market. I see more dogs, and even more exciting: vegetables! Mama says I’m the only dog in the world who would rather have broccoli than steak. As soon as we get out of the car I go crazy sniffing everything I can find to sniff: dog butts, people butts, food, grass, and more. Mama lets me pick out some vegetables from a nice lady’s stand, then she gets us a ham and cheese panini from a truck. There’s a band playing music and we sit in the sun and eat, and everyone who walks by pets me and says I’m a pretty girl. This is the happiest day of my life.
Editor’s note: The Riverside Arts Market (715 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204) is held every Saturday from 10am to 3pm. It’s a whole lot of food, music, art, and fun. Don’t miss it if you’re in the neighborhood.
As soon as we get to our hotel, I climb into the bed and I’m out like a light. I don’t know how long I’m asleep, but it’s dark outside when I wake up. Mama says we’re not done having fun yet today, and we walk down the street to an Irish bar. There are tables outside and everyone thinks I’m adorable when I climb up on a chair instead of sitting on the ground. At first I’m nervous about all the motorcycles going by, but then a nice lady starts feeding me potato chips and I relax. There are lots of big burly men in kilts, and they all skritch my ears and tell me I’m a bonnie wee lassie. We stay out later than I’ve ever stayed out in my whole life, and by the time we get back to the hotel, Mama has to pick me up and put me in the bed because I’m too tired to jump.
Sunday, March 19, 2017- Today I learned that Mama likes to sing along to John Denver songs on the radio. Loudly. And badly. (Sorry, Mama.) This is going to be a long trip. But I forget about all that as soon as we arrive at our hotel in Savannah. They’re playing all of my favorite 50s music in the parking lot, so I know they’re my kind of people even before the nice lady at the front desk gives me popcorn. Then we get to the room and I find out they’ve made it extra special for me with dog bowls, treats, and some new bling for my collar. I could get used to this kind of treatment.
We don’t waste any time hanging out in the room, though. There’s adventure to be had. We walk at least a bazillion miles around Savannah and I have a lot of fun running up and down staircases on pretty old houses and sticking my snout in all the nice flower bushes.
We see lots of other dogs, and finally stop and have dinner at an outdoor restaurant where the waiter dances with me and everyone who walks by makes a big fuss over me. Once I see another dog I really want to meet and I almost pull Mama’s chair over but other than that she says I was a good girl. That’s a relief because only good girls get pieces of cheeseburger.
By the time we get back to the hotel Mama has to pick me up and put me in bed again. I never realized that adventuring was such hard work.
Editor’s note: We stayed at the supremely dog-friendly Thunderbird Inn (611 W Oglethorpe Ave, Savannah, GA 31401), one of my very favorite spots in Savannah. If you love retro kitsch, this is your place- right down to the RC Cola and moon pies they’ll leave in your room. We ate at the Public Kitchen and Bar (1 W Liberty St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA), and yes, our extremely accommodating waiter did dance with Murphy Ann. Not that she gave him much choice. Sorry about that.
Monday, March 20, 2017- I’m not sure what happened, but I close my eyes for just a minute when we get in the car, and when I wake up we’re in North Carolina. We’re visiting my Uncle Gary and my cousin Archie for the night! We’re gonna go hiking and eat pizza bones and stay up late.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017- Well, we didn’t stay up late because I fell asleep. But in my defense, Archie wanted to go for a really long hike so I only got about a 9 hour nap. I could stay and play with Archie for a long time, but Mama says adventure calls, so we have to hit the road again. I’m not sure what happened, but I close my eyes for just a minute when we get in the car again, and when I wake up we’re in Virginia. It’s kind of rainy out, which I don’t like, but Mama stops for pizza so I get over it. I consider myself a connoisseur of pizza bones, and these are some of the best I’ve ever had. I try to sneak onto the table and help myself to a whole slice but I guess I’m not that sneaky because I just get my butt swatted. It was worth a shot.
Editor’s note: Pie Hole Pizza (314 England St, Ashland, VA 23005) is one of the coolest pizza places around. They make everything from scratch, have a ton of great beers on tap, and the spicy chorizo pizza is absolutely killer. Try it, you’ll thank me later.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017- Hey! It’s my birthday! I’m nine years old today! Honestly I kinda want to stay in bed because it’s really, really cold outside, but Mama says she has a special birthday surprise so I have to get up. Maybe I’ll just sleep in the car until we get wherever we’re going.
Surprise! We’re going to Mount Vernon! I’ve wanted to go here ever since I found out that George Washington first created my breed, the American Foxhound. It’s on Mama’s bucket list, too. Everyone is so nice and wishes me a happy birthday and welcomes me “home”. Even though I’m still cold, I still have a lot of fun exploring my ancestral homeland.
There are a lot of school groups here and I get a little bit overwhelmed with all the running, yelling kids. We end up having to leave early because I kind of freak out a little bit. Don’t tell anybody, OK? We were supposed to go out for a fancy birthday dinner but I’m cold and I don’t feel good so Mama says we can just get some takeout and go back to our Airbnb and go to bed.
Thursday, March 23, 2017- I’m still not feeling great this morning so Mama says we can scrap our plan to get up early to go hiking. I pretend to be sad about this while I burrow back under the covers so far only my tail sticks out.
Eventually we have to get up and get moving again; we’re headed for Johnson City, Tennessee and I have a feeling Mama is going to spend all day singing John Denver songs in the car again.
Friday, March 24, 2017- Hey! Is that country music I hear? We’re in Nashville! This makes me wag so hard. As soon as we get checked into the hotel we head downtown and I’m amazed by all the music and the neon signs and the people. I try to wag at everyone but the crowd becomes kind of a blur. Mama says we’re looking for a place where I can listen to music and she can drink moonshine, and we’ll know it when we find it. What’s moonshine? She won’t let me try it. We find the perfect spot, on a patio next to a nice toasty heater, listening to a pretty lady sing some of my favorite songs. I love Nashville. This is the best day ever.
Editor’s note: We got away from the crowd and found the perfect spot at Tavern ‘96 (501 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203). The music, and the moonshine, were perfect. Get the Nashville Hot Sliders.
Saturday, March 25, 2017- I’m going to daycare today! Apparently Mama is going sightseeing without me because some places don’t allow dogs, which I think is pretty rude. But I love going to daycare and getting to play all day with lots of different dogs, so I don’t mind.
She picks me up after lunch and we drive all the way to Little Rock, Arkansas. We’ve been having so much fun eating outside and listening to live music, Mama says we’re going to do it again tonight. The owners of this restaurant have seven rescue dogs and they make such a big fuss over me I almost blush. They spend most of the night petting me, bringing me treats, and telling me I’m such a pretty girl. I didn’t know anything about Arkansas before this trip but I can tell you everyone here is just lovely.
Editor’s note: Who knew Little Rock was so much fun? We’re definitely coming back here for a longer visit. When we do, we’ll come back to Thirst N’ Howl (14710 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock, AR 72223), drink some more Stones Throw lager, and continue to marvel at how great the people are here.
Sunday, March 26, 2017- We’re up at the crack of dawn and Mama says we’re going bucket listing again! This time with actual buckets. We’re gonna go digging for diamonds and she says I can dig as many holes in the ground as I want. If you ever looked at our back yard you would assume this would be great news for me, but I don’t know. Who wants to dig holes when they have permission? I’m just not feeling it. I think Mama’s frustrated.
We spend all day digging for diamonds (well, Mama digs, I just wait until she’s not looking and then knock over all of her equipment. And once I knock her into a mud puddle but I swear it was an accident) but don’t find any. What do I care? I’m a dog.
I have so much mud between my toes I don’t think it will ever come out.
Editor’s note: True, we didn’t strike it rich at Crater of Diamonds State Park, but we had fun anyway. Muddy, muddy fun. Bring a picnic, make a day of it. Maybe you’ll have better luck than we did. I’m serious about the mud, though. It was ridiculous.
Monday, March 27, 2017- We’re finally on our way home! Thanks for following along on my adventure! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Mama says we have another big adventure coming up soon, so stay tuned!