And we're off

The first leg of our journey around the country has begun — almost.

There’s one more load of last minute items to drop off at the storage unit, then a car to reload with what Ace and I will need for our month, or two, or three, on the road.

A few hours from now, Ace, who has been stressing out with all the packing up and furniture moving, will jump in the back of the Jeep, and settle in for the nine-hour drive to North Carolina.

For the past two weeks, he has known something is up, generally going into his crate or the backyard and assuming a position — head between his paws — that seems to say “Harrrumph, I’m not sure I like this.”

When I disassemble his crate about an hour from now, he’ll grow even more disconcerted, up until the moment he jumps into the vehicle and we get rolling. Then he’ll stick his head out the window, suck in some fresh air and be fine with the world. I’m hoping I will be too.

A few hours from now, I will either be feeling liberated, or thinking “ohmigod, I don’t have a home … what have I done?”

The plan? Well, there’s not much of one. After a stop in North Carolina to visit Ace’s grandma, we’ll push on to Alabama, for my son’s high school graduation. After that, we’ll meander west, eventually hitting Arizona. In other words, we don’t really know where we’re going, but we hope to have a good time, find some good dog stories and sample some dog friendliness as we make our way there.

Basically I decided to stop paying rent for a while, and — the book that has kept me busy for the past year being done — catch up with family and friends, all while reporting for ohmidog! from the road and continuing the job search.

How the latter goes will determine whether we return to Baltimore, which a big part of me is sad to be leaving — even after the city left me two goodbye notes, in two days this week, both slid under the windshield wiper of my car, which I’d parked on the illegal side of the street for moving purposes.

Thanks to all of our friends for helping us get on our way — to Dan and Marite for taking my fish, to Diane for the oatmeal cookies, to Don for helping me move the heavy stuff, to Tamara for far too many things to mention, to Tobey for the send-off party, and to all the humans and dogs at Riverside Park who were Ace’s friend, and mine.

With some trepidations (I’m pretty sure I packed the trepidations), we depart. We might get a little misty as we pull out of town, waiting for that feeling of liberation to kick in. I predict that will come once we get south of Washington. If it doesn’t, if we get that far and still feel sad, we know what to do:

Stick our heads out the window, take a deep breath and let our ears flap in the breeze.

0 comments for “And we're off

  1. Eighteenpaws
    May 25, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Damn, how you write! Love it when you let it flow from the heart and soul. Best wishes to you and Ace. See this beautiful country and tell us all about it. We’ll be waiting and welcoming you back when you and your book take a bow at the end of this year.

  2. JillyBean
    May 25, 2010 at 8:12 am

    John – Best of luck to you and Ace. Libby & I will certainly miss you both in the park, but I look forwards to hearing about your tales (or tails) from the road!!

  3. May 25, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I did the same thing two years ago: packed up the dogs and left Massachusetts. It was great until I ran out of money in dirtville, az. Still, it’s been an adventure! Enjoy! I would try to put off your arrival in Az until after the summer, unless you and Ace love living in an oven.

  4. RH
    May 25, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    South Baltimore is losing a great friend this week. I did not know that you were leaving, but I am thankful for the opportunity to have met you. Save travels to you and Ace, wherever the Jeep may take you. I look forward to following your adventures on ohmidog. You will be missed!


    Renee, Jeff, and Laila

  5. Melissa
    May 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I will be looking forward to your entries about your travels. If you make your way to Cincinnati, let me know, we have lots of dog/shelter activities in the summer 🙂

  6. Anna
    May 25, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Looking forward to the “Ace and John On the Road” reports. Happy Trails John!

  7. May 25, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Happy trails. Give us a hollar at South Bay Pets if you make it to the Southern California coast. Look forward to seeing your dog-traveling posts.

  8. Anonymous
    May 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    We’re gonna miss you and Ace up at the park! Have a wonderful journey and we wish you the best (while secretly hoping that job search results in you coming back to Baltimore 🙂

    Rachel + Tim + Scruff McGruff + Tablescrap

  9. Marilyn
    May 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm


    I sure hope you’ll make it as far as Seattle and plan a stay with Ivy, Browser, Carl and me! We know a few good dog parks!

  10. May 25, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I was going to say “don’t forget to write,” but somehow that seems a bit superfluous. The Madisons all wish you the best, and we hope you and Ace will enjoy many adventures.

    Greg – Spencer – Anne

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