Friday, December 27, 2013


After seven months in south-central Pennsylvania, I’ve finally moved — or at least relocated — a bit south to the Annapolis, MD area. I’ll probably write some more about the reasons behind all that in a future post, but for now I’ll just report that Happy and I have settled into a nice new place for a while.

As you can see, our rig is situated in a well wooded campground, with ample facilities nearby.

You can also see that Happy has a new igloo-type doghouse!

Over the past year we've been together, she has made it very clear to me that she greatly prefers to spend most of her time outside rather than in my camper.

She’s been an outdoor dog her whole life, and while we enjoy some indoor time together to read, watch TV, take naps, etc., she gets very restless when she’s been inside too long.

Whenever I think it might be too cold outside, I remind myself that the coldest temperatures we’ve had are at least fifty degrees warmer than what she’s used to!

Between her fleece jacket, her thick, fluffy, insulated bed and the coziness of her igloo, she’s obviously quite comfortable… and sometimes even a little reluctant to come out!

The campground we’re in is a big place, with a number of long-term residents in a few year-round sections of the park. Mostly, though, the place is empty and offers many acres of woodlands in which we often walk, run and play. The park is quiet and tidy, just the way we like it!

Happy hasn't found any new boyfriends yet, but she doesn't seem to miss her recent boyfriend Gus at all. Such is the life of a free-spirited Happy dog!

I've got a few friends in the area, and the prospect of some interesting work for a couple of months... Stay tuned!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Living Art America "Bodies as a Work of Art" in Atlanta

Earlier this month, I went to Atlanta to attend the Living Art America “Bodies as a Work of Art” body painting competition. I posted pretty extensively in real-time via Facebook, but I wanted to post an entry here for the record.

Happy and I had a pleasant drive/sleep (i.e. I drove while Happy slept!) down to Atlanta, and arrived a couple of days early to hang out with good friends who were organizers of the event.

The artists spent the entire day of the event producing their work, and the models showed amazing patience as they stood still for literally hours at a time. One of my personal favorites was a woman painted to look like an owl, including some striking — almost spooky — contact lenses.

My friend Lisa flew down for the event, and she will vouch for the fact that it was a mind-blower right from the entrance... There were painted women everywhere!

The competition itself was simply awesome. One after the other, models displayed the stunning art they had become in stylish combinations of catwalk strut, artistic dance and fearless exhibition.

I’ve been following body painting as an art form for a few years now, but after seeing it in person I can tell you it is a “real thing” and predict that it will become a major art movement, possibly even an art revolution. Combining fine art with living canvases, it is ephemeral, evanescent, edgy and even a bit exotic… Stay tuned!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy: My New Jacket!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I'm happy about my new jacket!

My "management" has decided that I should wear a fancy jacket when I do all my presentations.

So, Macgellan and a really nice lady named Devanna have worked together to design my very own custom jacket. We've had several fittings so far, but today I got to try on the real thing.

I like it so much I flashed them one of my best smiles! Pretty sweet, eh?

The next step is to have my logo printed on the sides, then I'll be all decked out... Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Happy: It's All About Me!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I'm happy because it's all about me!

Macgellan and I just did a presentation at YTI -- York Technical Institute -- that rocked!

I was a little freaked out by hearing his voice sounding so loud and coming from big black boxes that were everywhere, but a really nice lady was super sweet to me and I got over it.

I still don't do so well with applause, but since I think it means Macgellan has done something good I'll learn to live with it!

Whenever we've done presentations before, Macgellan has talked about dogs but not so much about me in particular.

I've heard him say my name a few times, but all I've ever seen on the screen have been photos of my former SPKennel pack mates.

This time, he talked almost the whole time about me... It really was all about me!

When his talk was over, practically everybody wanted to take a photo with me. (We celebrities call that a "photo-op" in case you didn't know!) We also gave out a bunch of my really cool stuff: My souvenir cards, my collector's postcards and even my official fan wristbands!

I don't want you to think all my celebrity status has gone to my head, because there really isn't room in my head for much besides what little is already there. But, a girl likes to feel special and be the center of attention, right?

Macgellan says we've got more "gigs" coming up soon... So stay tuned!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Pony Express II: Record-Breaking Return!

I pulled out of North Platte, NE, yesterday morning at 8am and arrived back at my camper in PA just before 7pm this evening. Allowing for time zones, that's a total time of only 33 hours!

The actual driving time was about 26 hours, with the remaining 7 hours taken up by five stops for gas/comfort/food and a 3 hour nap. Was I cruising, or what?!?

I've travelled the route so many times now that I wasn't really motivated to take any photos. Except this one, an homage to Happy The Sled Dog who has easily earned the title of "Best Travel Dog Ever!" Honestly, folks, she slept for at least 30 of the 33 hours!

The Pony Express II has been a complete, flawless success. My thanks to Sam and Kelsie for their outstanding partnership on both high-quality expeditions... You rock!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Pony Express II: Second Stint Recap

Our second stint on the Pony Express II was flawless! We left the Missouri horse barn at 3pm yesterday, drove an almost exact 4/1 run/rest schedule, and pulled into Fort Collins, CO, at 7am.

Our first stop was at a service plaza on the Kansas Turnpike where everyone -- equine, canine and human -- had a nice walk about and a big meal. Slammer did extremely well on the road, and Happy was voted best travel dog ever! (The humans performed their roles well, too.)

In FoCo, it was smiles all around as Slammer explored his new home, with much "talking" to his new neighbors. After unloading all the gear, it was time to take the trailer for a power wash!

After all the chores were done, it was time for a celebratory breakfast of champions at Denny's!

Kelsie and Sam headed to their homes and jobs, so I hit the road again to get a jump on my return trip. This afternoon I whacked 250 miles off the 1,650 total, and have stopped for the night in North Platte, NE. I have repositioned Happy to the front passenger seat as is her due, and we will have a couple of long road days together en route back to PA... Stay tuned!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Pony Express II: Horse Barn Overnight

Our plan for the Pony Express includes an overnight stop at about the half-way point, in Wright City just west of St. Louis.

We stay at Rocking E Ranch which offers excellent horse and human accommodations.

The stop is mostly to give Slammer a good night's barn rest and the chance to stretch out and run around in a nice large pasture.

A great night's sleep and hearty breakfast is also very much appreciated by the rest of us!

During our morning walk, I took this team photo... and got a couple of sweet candids!

Slammer is a character, and I'm told he likes to smell a human's breath.

Sam gave Happy some reassurance that she is at least as well-loved as the horse!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Pony Express II: First Stint Recap

Like clockwork, Sam and Kelsie had the horse trailer outfitted and Slammer loaded aboard for our departure last night at exactly the planned time of 9pm.

We pulled into the horse barn B&B west of St. Louis at 3pm today, capping off a perfect 18 hour first stint on the Pony Express II.

In between, our expedition was almost exactly like last year's:

Our basic system was to drive 2-3 hours and stop for human comfort and to check on Slammer, then drive another 2-3 hours and stop to let Slammer out for exercise, put fuel in the truck as well as human purposes.

At every stop, Slammer at least got his door opened so he could look around. He traveled very well, and even seemed to be having a good time being the star of the show!

At our stop this morning, Slammer took the opportunity to decorate the parking lot. As always, Kelsie and Sam were quick to clean up, and we left every stop looking like it did when we arrived.

Happy was a perfect traveling companion as usual, spending almost all the time curled up and asleep. She took care of business during some of our stops, but mostly just partnered up with whoever was in the back seat for sleep. Is this the sweetest photo of the first stint? I think so!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pony Express II

You may recall that last summer I helped my young friend Samantha move her horse Charlie from Pennsylvania to Colorado. I'm happy to report that both of them are doing very well together in their new home.

I'm also happy to report that we're doing it again… This time to help her sister Kelsie move her horse Slammer out to join them!

Our plan worked so well last time that we're repeating it almost exactly this time:

We leave PA tomorrow and drive overnight to a horse barn near St. Louis. We will spend Thursday night at the horse barn, then leave on Friday and drive overnight to arrive in Fort Collins on Saturday.

I will be making the return drive with only my permanent co-pilot Happy, planning to arrive back in PA on Tuesday... Stay tuned!

(Click map to embiggen)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy: Ice Cream!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Tonight I'm really happy!

I gotta be honest: There's not much to do in Dillsburg, PA. I've been here for almost two months, and the only thing I've gotten to do when we go to "town" is wait in the truck... Until tonight!

Tonight we went to town and met a friend at a place where there were lots of people and even a few dogs. The next thing I know, I'm eating ice cream out of a cup. It was really tasty, and there was even a cookie on top! Maybe this town isn't so bad after all!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy: My First Presentation!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I'm happy I went to my first presentation!

Macgellan recently did a presentation to a big room full of humans. He took me along as something he calls a "prop" (whatever that is) and I had a really good time.

First of all, I got to wear my fancy sled dog outfit! That includes a nice new racing harness and my Iditarod ID tag (the special red jewelry you see hanging below my "everyday" baubles in the photo).

I mostly sat with a really nice lady who patted me, while Macgellan stood at the front of the room and talked about me and my former pack mates at SP Kennel.

He must be a pretty good speaker, because all the humans were paying really close attention. I did too, especially when he played videos in which I could hear my old friends talking. For once I knew what someone was saying!

I kept my eye on all the humans in the room, especially on anyone who looked like they could use a little extra attention.

This one lady looked like she could really use a hug, so I wandered over to give her one and let her lean on me for a few minutes.

Maybe that's what being a "prop" means, that I have to prop them up from time to time? If so, that's a really good job for me!

I must have dozed off at one point, because I suddenly woke up when the room erupted in applause. That startled me a little, but soon everything was better when the presentation ended and so many people gave me pats!

Macgellan says he's glad I had a good time, because we'll be doing lots more of these presentations together in the future. What's not to like? Fancy outfits, lots of pats and tons of attention is what I'm all about!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy: A Swimming Pool?

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I learned another thing that's totally new to me!

Macgellan and I visited some friends who have what's called a "swimming pool" in their backyard. I've never heard of -- and certainly never seen -- such a thing. To me it was just a big expanse of what I know of as "open water."

Sled dogs like me always stay away from open water because it can be very dangerous, but one of their black dogs just jumped right into it. I was worried for a minute, until she climbed out… and then she jumped right back in!

She tried to get me to follow her, but I wasn't having any of that nonsense... That canine is crazy!

Macgellan says that maybe one day he'll go in the swimming pool. If he does, I might give it a try… But don't count on it!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Happy: I'm A Cover Girl!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I'm happy to be a cover girl!

You may recall that I recently went to a two-day conference in Philadelphia with Macgellan.

Well, he just received a thing called a "report" and look who's on the cover!

That's me!

I thought all I did for the two days was sleep and offer an occasional hug.

Based on the facts that I'm on the cover and that I got a really special "mention" inside, I guess I did a lot more than I thought!

Maybe going to meetings is worth it, even if they are exhausting!

Who knew?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy: My First Polo Match!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I'm happy because I went to my first polo match!

First of all, we drove to a really big field which was surrounded by lots of families having picnics. Macgellan and our friend Lisa set up table for us, with lots of yummy treats on it. I didn't get to try everything they ate, but what I got to sample of it was pretty darn tasty!

After we'd eaten and I'd settled down for a little nap, a whole herd of horses suddenly trotted onto the field. That struck me as more than a little weird, because for me and my sled dog pack mates up in the wilds of Alaska horses are… Well… To be totally honest, horses are usually just food!

Nobody else seemed to be bothered by the horses running around. People just kept clapping and cheering while the horses chased a little white ball all over the field. I gotta tell you, sometimes I just don't understand humans! (And when that happens, I usually just take a nap!)

During a break in the action, Macgellan woke me up and we walked around the field for a while. A few kids came up to us and asked to give me pats. You know I'm all about the patting, so I said "You betcha! Get after it!"

On the way back to our table, Macgellan handed one of my souvenir cards to the announcer and said, "If the kids are looking for something to do, you can tell them Happy The Sled Dog is here."

The next thing I know, the announcer is talking about me and a whole swarm of kids from all over the field are gathering around me, giving me pats, talking to me and even asking me questions!

After the initial rush, Macgellan led me out of the crowd and we posed for photos with some smaller groups and individuals. All I had to do was just stand there and enjoy the pats, but sometimes I gave them my special smile just for fun!

After a while, the horses came back onto the field and all the kids returned to their families. Being a celebrity sometimes makes me sleepy, so I settled down for a little nap. I slept until the end of the match, then slept in my truck all the way back to our dog house. What a great day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy: My Boyfriend Gus!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I'm happy for you to meet my boyfriend Gus!

You may think he's just a short, fat guy who's missing most of his teeth, but to me he's dreamy!

If you think I don't know how to play, this will show you I'm very good at playing hard to get!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Happy: Meetings Are Exhausting!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I went to a meeting... Again!

Today was the second day of Macgellan's meeting in Philadelphia, and everybody asked me to attend again. So I did!

There wasn't really very much I could do there: I don't talk, so I couldn't say anything. I don't have opposable thumbs, so I couldn't use the markers to write anything.

I don't really even get the whole "word" thing, so it was pretty much a mystery to me.

All I could do was make the rounds from time to time and get pats. Everyone seemed to like that, so I guess I was helpful after all.

The meeting wrapped up after lunch, which somehow didn't include me. I didn't even get a snack. What's up with that, huh?

This afternoon, Macgellan and I loaded up in my truck and headed home.

I had fun in Philly, but I was glad to be on the road again.

I've learned that meetings are exhausting, so I was pretty happy to curl up in my co-pilot seat and get some sleep!

It's funny to me how humans think it must be so hard to be a sled dog and mush all those miles in the Alaskan winter.

I'd rather do that any time than sit in a room with no windows all day!

Whatever will my next adventure be?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Happy: I'm The Princess of Monaco!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Today I'm the Princess of Monaco!

Macgellan is attending a two-day meeting in downtown Philadelphia, and of course I'm with him.

We're staying at the Hotel Monaco and I gotta tell you: They're treating me like royalty!

First of all, when we checked in they gave me treats!

Then, when we got to our room I saw that they had a nice big, fluffy bed and water bowl all set up for me.

Everybody is really nice to me, and I'm very popular.

Here you can see me with a nice lady in the foyer, and with Kristin (she's my favorite) in reception:

The people in Macgellan's meeting invited me to attend, so I did! They did a lot of talking and thinking while I did a lot of sleeping under the table. Meetings are so exhausting!

We went outside during all the breaks, and I had a great time chillin' with the guys at the door. They love me, too, and said I'm the Princess of Monaco! While we were walking in the park I met a dude who didn't look quite right, so I wasn't too sure about having my picture taken with him.

So far this is one of my best trips ever, and the Hotel Monaco totally rocks!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy: My New Summer Camp Dog House

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... That's why they call me Happy!

Macgellan and I have settled into our "summer camp" here in south-central Pennsylvania. We're in a really nice park with lots of space to walk, explore and even play my favorite game, "Loose dog!"

The weather was perfect over the weekend: Cool and clear with a gentle breeze that brought lots of sweet smells my way. It's raining again today, but that's okay because I have a new dog house!

Somebody left this old table here, and Macgellan has very nicely added sides and a back to it. Throw in my old bed (which I don't use anymore because I now own the big bed) and its perfect!

On nice days I like to sleep in the sun, or in the shade, or even under our picnic table. But on rainy days my new dog house lets me stay comfy and dry while still being able to enjoy the outdoors!

(Just in case you're keeping track: Since I retired, I've accumulated a big dog house, a little dog house, a big bed, two little beds and a truck. Pretty good for a poor dumb girl from the sticks, eh?)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I've just set up "world headquarters of me right now" in south-central Pennsylvania. I'm at the same park as I was in for a while last year, and you can see that I've snagged a really good spot!

With the wooded area for "transients" to the southwest of me, I'm at least partially shaded from the worst of the afternoon sun. One benefit of having a short rig, I was able to park at an angle across the lot -- instead of backing straight in -- to maximize my view. Even when "transients" show up, I'll still have a much better view from my window than looking at the side of my neighbor's rig.

There's a small slope right behind my rig, so Happy also has a nice view from her usual hangout underneath.

It's all pretty well shaded, and she took no time at all to find a comfy space to lay out.

I tried to catch her sleeping again, but she picked her head up just in time.

Perhaps she wants you to know that she doesn't sleep all the time!

I'll keep you posted as things evolve here over the next few weeks… Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

Monday, May 20, 2013

US Hwy 20: Canandaigua -- Intermission

I've had a couple of really nice days in Canandaigua. The weather has been excellent, almost too good to be true. As you saw in Happy's last post, we're in a very pretty spot and have enjoyed spending time outside for a change!

Canandaigua is a little more touristy than I care for, but it has treated us well. Good restaurants, interesting shops and amusing attractions are topped off by a truly lovely lakeside setting.

As much as anything, it's been a perfect couple of days to hang out, catch up with myself and recharge my batteries. To be honest, this has been a long, hard drive and it's worn me down a bit.

I've got some work scheduled for the first half of June, down in Pennsylvania. Instead of racing to the finish line of US Hwy 20 in Boston, I'm putting an intermission into this road trip for a few weeks.

When I've taken care of business, I'll come back up here and continue east... Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy: Welcome To Happy Hollow!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... Welcome to Happy Hollow!

This is my favorite campground so far: Comfortable grass everywhere, in a nice little wooded area!

I've got my water bowl and plenty of shade. Macgellan has his chair set up, and he's got my leash handy for immediate use on a moment's notice. I love this place!

(PS to my old pack mates back at SP Kennel: Can you believe how big my new doghouse is?!?)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

US Hwy 20: Conquered Concord

I left Lake Chautauqua this morning and rejoined US Hwy 20 in Westfield, NY, the "grape juice capital of the world." The town earned that nickname as the home of Welch Foods, which has been growing and processing vast amounts of the region's tangy Concord grape here since 1897. The Concord's success in the area accounts for the seemingly endless vineyards along the highway.

I don't have much to report about my drive today. A good two-lane roadway took me northeast along the shore of Lake Erie, then skirted Buffalo to the southeast before turning due east to the western edge of NY's finger lakes region. At and average speed of 45mph, a very long series of small towns separated by farms and woodlands made for a very pleasant drive. Cool temps, clear skies and no wind made the drive downright idyllic compared to most of what I've dealt with on this road trip!

I've stopped in Canandaigua, which you can see is a very tidy, prosperous looking little town of old brick buildings and festive bunting. I'm going to stay here for a couple of days… Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.