Home and Lessons Learned 2012

We left Tioga early the next morning and rode home to Vermont. Crossing the rebuilt Champlain Bridge from New York state, the temperature immediately dropped fifteen degrees.The landscape was wet from recent rains, and all the streams were full of running water. It felt great!

After two weeks of oppressive heat and drought conditions, we come home to beautiful Vermont


  • What I learned during Desert Warfare training in the Marine Corps came in very handy, and worked as well for Barley as it did for me.
    • While dogs can’t sweat, evaporative cooling works well as long as they are in motion.
    • Like humans, dogs prefer chilled water. Given a choice between chilled and ambient temperature water, dogs will drink more if it is chilled.
    • If you and your dog can’t pee at every refueling stop, you’re not drinking enough.
    • Protection from direct sunlight is a critical health factor for any dog. The tonneau cover worked with the vent wide open only if I avoided the heat of midday and stopped to wet and rehydrate Barley twice an hour. As much as I love the lines of the sidecar, it’s time to invest in a ragtop to keep the sun off him while improving airflow.
  • ALWAYS have contingency plans! I never imagined the Mississippi River would be so low that the ferries stopped running. Having paper maps and alternative routes pre-selected is just good sense.
  • Sonic Drive-Ins are great pit stops if you travel with your dog.
  • Your dog MUST be able to remain in a stay reliably for those times when you need to visit an establishment that is not dog accessible. Whenever we are together, Barley is a social butterfly. When I leave him, either in the sidecar or on a Sit-Stay, he completely ignores all strangers and remains absolutely fixated on the last place he saw me. This has proven to be a very good thing!
  • No matter how much of a hurry you are in, expect a thirty minute delay at any food or fuel stop where teenaged girls notice your dog. This is known as the Sidecar Delay Factor, compounded by the presence of a dog. If the teenaged girls have smart phones, expect an even longer delay while they rally all their friends. Resistance is futile.
  • When environmental conditions leave you feeling stressed, know that your dog feels it as well. Be attuned to his emotional as well as his physical needs. A gentle caress now and then tells him that you are in this together, that better times are ahead.