Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ANOTHER DAY WITH BOAT AND DOGS

I know this is beginning to look like a dog blog, but I don't intend it to be. I enjoy their company and their shenanigans. I wanted to go up the Blue Ridge Parkway and camp at Mt Mitchel overnight on my days off. But an unexpected problem with Big Red has postponed that little excursion. The part is ordered and I will have her back on the road by next Sunday. She has seventy two thousand miles on her chassis and things are expected to wear out and fail. Hence, a new rear brake caliper is on order.
I'm baby sitting a little black dog named Pancake this week, so I thought I would load her up with Happy and the Golden Dog and boat down Tellico Lake in search of a suitable island to camp on next week. Pancake is a sweet being and stays on top of me at all times. I specifically select islands for camping because of the peace of mind I have over the safety of my dog friends. Douglas is a powerful swimmer but will not go through the effort of swimming across a large expense of water just for the sake of expanding his play territory. We have been parked here now for an hour and each dog is totally enjoying the day running, chasing each other and swimming. They are interesting to watch. Again, it makes me happy to see them happy. I feel so sorry for the dogs I see on the end of a chain tied to a tree or pole. It is heart breaking. Their entire lives are spent in that small confine of a fifteen foot circle. How absolutely appalling! I look at the friends I have with me today and I think how fortunate I am that they think enough of me to want to stay near me. I am honored by that.
Happy has now overcome her fear of water and has become a strong swimmer herself. She is a smart little girl, but has a habit of being a yippee, yappy little thing at play. That's ok I guess. She's having fun. I do not see as many woodland creatures as I would like when she is along.
This is a great spot I have found here. It is back in a shallow cove off the main lake. An opening exists directly in front of the boat allowing a view of grass that leads up to a dense wooded area. The foliage is green as green can be. An occasional Gar fish takes a fly from the surface of the lake from time to time. The Gar is an amazing fish. It is ancient. A long, narrow muzzle snout lined with needle sharp teeth top and bottom protrudes from a slender head, eyes located forward and to the front of the skull. It is a predator and lurks in warm water under overhanging trees and shrubs. The Gar are taking flies from the surface today for some reason. I am certainly not an expert but I thought them to be meat eaters. Well, I know they are. But, I wasn't aware they reacted to insects. I guess they are opportunistic like any other fish when it comes to dining.
The sun is high and hot. I have put the top up on the boat and a very slow breeze is gently blowing through. This is delightful. Douglas is slowly swimming in circles and Happy is---------------rolling in the mud! NO! "Happy, get your --- out of there".!!!! Oh well, got to wash the boat anyway in a couple days.
Days like this are important to me. They let me regroup and "get it back together." I have a great job. Over the past year it has become a lot more stressful because the business has grown so fast and operational requirements must advance with the progress of the business. Procedures are instituted and tested. Some are complicated. When one thinks about it; standing on your feet ten hours a day, talking to a hundred different people, discussing all aspects of Harley Davidson Motorcycles and explaining the same features of the same bikes day after day and dealing with all the different personalities on the planet, takes a toll after five days. I didn't and won't get into the paperwork and finance of selling a twenty five thousand dollar motorcycle. But there is a constant grinding that works on a fellow and a break in the action is necessary. We, in sales, have been allowed a "three day off" per week break from all this. It is wonderful. So, days like this are not just fun. They are a requirement. People often criticize me for being so particular with my boat or motorcycle when it comes to maintenance and perfection of workmanship. I am that way because I want them both ready and available when I need to unwind. They are my magic carpets. I escape on them. I have done so today with my friends.
I have adventures planned for every week. Big Red's problem was totally unexpected or I probably would have been with her today. I will document the next Blue Ridge Parkway ride thoroughly. I have need to go to my home in Pennsylvania shortly and I shall drive the Parkway end to end during that ride. Other adventures include my search for river otters and beaver, using the boat as well as a boat camping trip on Cumberland Lake in Kentucky. Also, folks are not aware that Tennessee has an enormous refuge that is home to elephants that have been rescued from the torture and inhumane treatment of circus handlers and zoos. It lies West of Nashville. It is a huge area and elephants can not be readily viewed. But it is worthy of a ride there on Big Red to investigate. Reelsfoot Lake, located in the extreme North West territory of Tennessee is on the list of rides for Big Red also. Hopefully, I can supply you with interesting stories and photographs in the future. For now, it's dog days. Literally!
The sun is big and the lake surface is like a mirror. It is so smooth I can see the little circles under an insect's feet as it touches down onto the surface from flight. Wonder how many under water predator eyes have caught his delicate landing? I guess even the fish are asleep. The little insect is still there. The gentle movement of the boat coupled with water noises is soothing. I think I'll lay down on the floor and catch a few winks. Below are some photos of Happy, Douglas and my guest, Pancake. Look at Happy go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh man! This is rough! Don't know if I can stand the pressure....
I believe I've found the island we will camp on next week.
Happy spends most of her time in this position. I don't know why it is but my dog friends like to have their paws right on the edge.
This is a great boat for doing what I like to do. She's not fancy, but she's got what it takes
I love it!
These lakes have sights to see at every turn. Here are the supports for what appears to be a bridge that went to nowhere. Theres nothing over there but forests. Seriously speaking though-it was a bridge before TVA flooded all this property. The bridge was demolished eons ago.
Happy appears to be confused as to our placement on the lake. She's always confused. This is the dog who can't tell a coyote from a canine friend.
Heading down the lake with my motley crew. Douglas, as usual, is at the point
The magic carpet with the sun shade up
is the area we hung out in for a few hours today. Delightful place.
Here is a terrible picture of the Gar I mentioned earlier. Between my inability to decide weather to catch it or photograph it combined with parallax produced this miserable photo. But it was long. Very long. I'll get a better shot of this species. I promise. I'm talking six feet long
This little black dog's name is Pancake. She is another rescue dog. I'm having her as a guest for this week. She loves boating and the water. Fits right in.
I'll tell ya. There are three happy dogs!
Pancake gets in on the play action. I may have printed this photo below also. I like it allot.
Pancake is a very small dog and she has troubles climbing back onto dry land after swims. The bank is slick
"Hang on Happ; I'll get you back to dry land"
Happy is a pretty fair retriever herself---------well-----sort of.
Hanging out with Douglas has given Happy the desire and motivation to take to the water
The dynamic duo at hard play
These guys are too much
All that swimming and playing got to him. A gentle breeze wafting over the deck and the sound of water lapping against the boat is too much to resist
What a handsome guy!