Snuffy’s first (road) trip to the beach! or, 3 adults, 2 dogs, 1 4Runner (uggh)

Snuffy and Molly backseating it to FL! (shhh, don't tell the other dog)

Yep you read it right fair reader… my dog is 9.5 years old, and has never a) been on a road trip longer than 4 hours, and b) been to the beach (what kinda hippie am I?).  That is, til now!  Two birds with one stone.  When it became quickly obvious that I had no plans for Thanksgiving (disappointing on a few levels) that went beyond the usual gathering with my 65 cousins, 45 of whom I don’t really know, and my parents were about as excited as I about that continuing tradition, my Dad took up an offer to take us to the River.  The Carrabelle River that is – located in the sleepy fishing village of Carrabelle, FL right on the Apalachicola Bay… well, actually it drains into the Bay which is home to the best seafood, including oysters, shrimp, scallops (of which I’m fairly sure I had a pound each of this week) and is the one of the sweetest spots on the Gulf Coast.  Oh and sweet it was… it had been over a YEAR since I had been to the beach.  Probably the longest stretch since I can remember in at least 2 decades (read, since I’ve been able to drive – yoink!).  Sure, I’ve been having a wonderful time, but to go 13 months without a beach visit, holy moly guacamole.  I actually can’t remember the last time I visited the Gulf, dare I say, my senior trip in high school?  I love that shoreline more than any other beach shoreline I’ve been to (ok, Amelia Island ties it), and I’ve been to a few (most of the US’s East and West coast lines, the North Sea,  Ireland, France and Spain’s Atlantic Coast, Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas)… yeah, and you think YOU are a beach nut?  HAH! I laugh at you neophytes.  Yes, folks, at one point in my life, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist.  Ok, I’ll tone down a bit, but this is my blog and if I want to be a tad condescending, take it in the eye hippie!  After all, I prefer to say that I’m being feisty! 🙂

Ok, back to my story of the week… So, Dad and Mom suggested it, and coupled with the dogs were welcome at this riverside shangri la, and again, faced with no options to share with chosen family (sorry, still a bit disappointed… if you’re taking it personally, tough shit…ooh, there’s that “feisty” again!), I jumped at it.  Sure you may be thinking, but Molls, this is your family, why wouldn’t you want to be with them?  Well, it’s like this, since I’ve had no steady employment for the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time with them, and we’ve had lots of dinners and special times with each other.  As far as my other, more extended blood family, we’re not close.  There’s a myriad of other reasons, and those of you close enough to know why, know why, and those of you not, don’t.  I don’t really have to explain myself.  That and Thanksgiving, while nice as it is, is just not the most special day of the year, contrary to what some may think.  It’s neither magical, nor filled with the mysteries and traditions going back many millenia (as bastardized as some may be)… I liken it to Valentine’s Day, but with less chocolate and more dressing.  Don’t get me wrong, 3 of my most favorite dishes are served consistently with my family on this day… but sans one, they’re also served on another more special day.  Those 3 are: my great, great aunt’s cranberry salad – no, not that nasty ass shit you find on the shelf that for some reason people think is passable as a side dish, let alone food, and has a shelf life of 20 years – instead this is one of the best most sweet/tart delicacies my family’s culinary history can offer using fresh cranberries; the next is my Mama’s dressing – there’s nothing too crazy special with this yumminess, outside of the perfect blend of cornbread, celery, and sage all mushed into one (along with other things, of course) big pan and baked; the third is quite simple, but a huge tradition with every single “special” meal my family has… large, ripe olives.  Yep, you read right.  Those black beauties have been a part of my “special meal” lexicon since I can remember.  And, of course, what do I do with these beauts? Stick them on my fingers and eat them off one at a time!  What?  You don’t?  Well, if you don’t, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Oh, wait.. this was supposed to be a post about my dog’s first road trip and beach trip all in one, wasn’t it?  Well, I guess the story is set.  Anyway, my Dad’s good friend Jimmy offered his river house down in Carrabelle, FL, a town that should really only be 5.5+/- hours away, but took us 7 hours each way.  Mainly this was due to my parents enjoying full- on meals for lunch, stopping and starting for their bathroom breaks, stopping and starting for dog bathroom breaks, GDOT’s continual road construction around Newnan, GA, and the occasional getting lost around some podunk town square trying to follow state highways to our destination.  The coolest thing about the road trip was that the only Interstates we used were I85 and I185… all the rest were US Hwys and State Hwys.  Now that’s a neat way to travel… the blue roads – take you through old towns, podunk towns, crossroads, used-to-be towns, and lots of nothing.  Farms, waste lands, swamps, forests – both state and national were the norm.  What’s grown in that part of south Georgia/ north Florida?  Pecans, cotton, tomatoes, soy, sod were pretty much all I saw.  Cotton was going through it’s harvest… apparently a tad later than usual due to the rain.

Cotton field somewhere south of Columbus

<–Hi-speed cotton field there folks… driving back, most of these fields had been completely harvested.  It was an interesting thing to see the difference between the huge corporate conglomeration – supported farms and the rest.  The machinery is essentially the same, but some are more shiny and freshly painted compared to others.  It all looked the same in the end though, so I wander what differences there are in the plants themselves?

Anyway, thank goodness, also for doggie downers.  My parents 4.5 year old black lab is still very much in possession of her nutty ass puppy behavior.  Granted, my parents have done little to train this 80 pound goofball of love, so that really doesn’t help, but she’s just never taken to riding in cars… which really really sucks when you need to transport her and you DON’T want dog bites, slobber and a hyperventillating dog all over your car’s interior.  2 of the beautiful orange beauties barely scratch the surface with her, but she does end up falling asleep after a bit of disorientation/ hallucination behavior.  Janny is a sweet dog, but the training class was where the only training occurred… when that was done, the training was done.  She’s also about as goofy as mickey’s best friend.  Smart for what Labs are supposed to do, but that’s as far as that goes.  She can catch a ball and a frisbee and hold at least 2 or 3 of each in her mouth!  I find it funny that this pictures is slightly out of focus given the pharmies you’d have found in this dog’s stomach at the time of the picture.

Hooray for doggie downers!

Meanwhile, Snuffy rocks when it comes to riding in a car.  He’s always loved the ride, but it seemed he found spazoid’s lack of good behavior quite tiring and bewildering! 🙂

A bewildered Snuffy... "are we there yet, mama?"

Yep, Snuffy was a bit overwhelmed by the long ass drive, but handled it like the true champ he is, only occasionally succumbing to Janny’s fits and joining in the whining – but it usually had to do with him needing to go potty.  Finally, just before sunset, we arrived at our destination.  The town was quite unpromising, as I told my sweetie, I”m not sure they’ve even heard of the internet… no advertising had website addresses that I saw, and there wasn’t a coffee shop let alone an internet cafe to be seen within 40 square miles.  They call this piece of the coast “The Forgotten Coast”… not too surprising really.  The house was less than beautiful on the outside, but the view was absolutely stunning, and then it turned out the interior was quite comfy and nice.

View from the shore to the bay (via the river)......

Up-river

Looking upriver from the house

Across the river to the marsh…

Martin birdhouse, marsh across river, and the dock...

So, guess you wanna hear about Snuffy’s trip to the beach now, huh? 🙂  Yeah, I thought so, but you’re still gonna have to wait!  This river is tidal and brackish because of it, and when I found that out, I decided to ask folks about the fishing.  From a friend living in FL, I found out that I didn’t need to spend money on a license that I’d only use this weekend (cause let’s face it, who knows what life will hold, and who knows when I’ll ever go back to actually fish off of a boat… oh, and we didn’t have a boat), and I also found out that fishing is the best during a falling tide.  From the property owner, I found out that indeed fishing is best during the falling time, preferably during the more still times of the falling tide, such as the picture above and that shrimp as well as mullet are good for bait.  So, Wednesday, my Dad bought us some shrimps to go fishing with… not gonna get into the whole ickyness of live bait, so don’t ask… and we pulled out the rods we had found (then later found a bounty of about 25 more in the garage) in my room’s closet along with the stinky tackle box.  We went out on the dock and no sooner had a baited my first hook, and… my phone rings.  My sweetie!  Yay!  As we spoke, I felt quite accomplished in casting, reeling back and talking sweet talk… Dad grew somewhat frustrated with me and walked away because he thought I needed to pay more attention, but whatever.  As we spoke about whatever there was to speak about (he had stolen away to his room for whatever excuse he used), my bobber started jumping… I pulled, and nothing… and then it went down again (just the way I like it, hehehe), and again nothing.  Well, at this point I reeled back in and some damn fish had eaten my shrimp right off my hook.  ASS.  Yeah, that’s right, I called a fish an ass.  What of it?  Well, this happened several times, and finally after getting bitten painfully by the world’s worst no-see-ums, I gave up.  On Thursday, while Mom was putting the finishing touches on the creamed mushrooms and whatever else, Dad and I stole away to fish once more… Well, guess what?  I finally caught a fish!!!  YAY!  I made Dad take a classic “Just caught a fish” picture of me – you know the one where you’re holding the rod on one side and the leader with the fish on the other side of your body?  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  So, once he unhooked the fish for me and threw it on the dock (???), I took the classic picture of the flopping fish on the dock.

The big fish! 😉

Should I blow it up for you to see?  Yeah, I never said the thing was HUGE, just said I caught one.  And with that, I stopped fishing.  The next day… THE BEACH!!!  We decided that we wanted to go to St. George Island pretty early on… partly because we had never been there, but also because it was directly on the Gulf (as opposed to being on the Bay).  We headed out to Apalachicola for lunch… we all were excited for the oysters, I mean what else is that particular town known for?  So it turns out the state park is a no pets on the beach kinda place… bah!  I disliked this place already, but since we were already there, my mama agreed to hold Snuffy while I went to the beach to see what it was like.  We had heard it was one of the top 10 beaches… it’s not.  It’s nice enough, but first, they don’t allow dogs.  Second, Amelia and Destin and several other points in between are the exact same if not better.  Now, I can see that the reputation of it having the best shell pickings around is possible.  It was high tide and there was quite a rainbow of colors on whole and partial shells.  Lots of broken sand dollars too.  So we left, and headed to Carrabelle City Beach.

We got out there and the dogs had their first views of the “ocean”… read bay.  Here’s Snuff looking around my legs to the sea beyond:

Snuffy's first steps on the sand

He really wasn’t sure what to think… just another fun place to run around.  But then he got into it big time.  We ran up and down the beach,

Wheeeee!!!

watched Janny as she went out into the surf

Janny way out in the bay... really she was at least 30 feet off the shore.

And even got into the water with Janny!

Snuffy trying to help Janny find the stiCk - he's an expert ya know... hehehe

And of course, the obligatory “action” shots…

"I like the beach!"

and here…

The quintessential Happy Snuffy running shot!

and back again…

Snuffy's favoritest game... running back and forth between me and whoever else is lucky to be over "there"

The happiest dog on the Earth… imho, well, h-ish…

Really... the happiest, bestest dog ever.

I’m like a disgusting gushing parent aren’t I?  Well, that’s the joy of being owned by a dog.

Snuffy Dog, The Sun, The Beach... sooo Thankfilled.

Well, there were about 40 more pictures that I could’ve uploaded, but you’ve been overwhelmed as it is! 🙂  I do realize that I rambled on and on, and I thank you for your time.  Life is about living, processing, and living some more.  Oh and taking a dog to the beach.  Can we go back again, please???  Now?  How about now?



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