Category Archives: Pets

Closing Summer with Catfish and Coastline

Standard

Well, it was a toss-up this year for my Labor Day destination.  I thought about staying close to my hometown of Nashville and visit Knoxville’s Boomsday festival, but that would mean leaving Scamp and Rambler behind again .  So, I’m packing them up in Max, the Airstream, for one final summer outing.

I decided to head due south to Kingsland, Georgia for the 30th Annual Labor Day Weekend Catfish Festival. What Tennessee girl doesn’t like catfish?

Catfish Nuggets

Catfish nuggets! Yummy!

The festival started as a one-day small town festival, but now it’s grown to a regional event featuring arts and crafts, a big parade, and tons of southern food! Scamp and Rambler will probably beg me for a bite, but they’ll have to stick to their diets even if I’m not sticking to mine.

After my previous visit to the Georgia coast in January, I knew I had to get back to close out the summer. Sharon and Phil (who I met on my last trip to the Peach State) are set to meet us there.

What’s great about Kingsland (other than all the catfish you could possibly want to eat in a weekend) is that it’s close to the beach and better for my travelling companions since it is also close to wildlife areas and state forests.

My worry with the dogs running in the wooded areas this time of year is all the ticks and fleas (yuck!).  My vet friend Bailey told me most dogs can get them from weeds and high grass, so I thought about getting a flea collar for the guys. She told me some over-the-counter products can work great too, so I think I’m going to give them a try. We’ll see how it goes!

LED Lights from Dometic

Love my new LED lights!

I have a feeling Sharon and Phil will be jealous of Max’s “upgrade.” The new addition is very much 21st century. Dometic has some really cool LED lights  that help me “light up the night” so I can enjoy the cooler autumn evenings that are on the way. They hook right onto my RV’s awning so I can sit outside and read, eat, and play with Scamp and Rambler well after the sun has set. 

I really didn’t know a lot about LED lights, so I did a little research. I learned that LEDs are much more energy efficient than typical “bulbs” and can last thousands of hours longer than regular lights. Sounds good to me!

I’m really looking forward to visiting southern Georgia again and seeing my newfound friends (and now e-mail buddies) Sharon and Phil. It’s amazing how the adventure of RVing can open up a whole new world to us and open up the opportunities to meet people we may have never met if we hadn’t chosen the RV lifestyle. For Scamp and Rambler, they’ll be happy to revisit the sandy beaches and pine-laden state forests in the area…and to fruitlessly search for some festival fare.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Advertisements

When to Change Your Pet’s RV Lifestyle

Standard

For those of you who read this blog, you’ll remember that last month I gave some suggestions about how best to travel with your pet (in my case, my dogs).  That post prompted an emailed from one of my readers asking about how to deal with a dog’s car sickness.  I’m fortunate that that hasn’t been a problem for me personally – Scamp and Rambler have always tolerated the motion as we drive along.  They’re relatively young, too, which I think helps, but what do I know, I’m not a vet. 

I’ve compared notes with other RV friends and acquaintances who travel with their dogs, and recently I’ve been hearing about a drug called Cerenia®.  I think it comes in tablet form, and from what I’ve heard, it’s worked pretty well for combatting car sickness for a number of dogs.  If your dog is demonstrating car sickness, especially when he or she hasn’t before, I suggest you call your vet first to ask about this drug, but this might be just the ticket.

This whole issue of animal health on the road has given me pause lately to really think about the idea of how long I’ll be traveling with my dogs.  As much as Scamp and Rambler seem to enjoy the experience, I realize that they can’t really tell me how they feel, so it is important for me to keep a close eye on their health and happiness.  We all make decisions for  our pets and hope they’re the right ones.  I mention this because I had a couple of friends recently who had begun to ask themselves about their aging dog and how well he was tolerating the travel.

Joe and Hazel have been retired for about four years and bought their Class C RV so they could enjoy the travel they’d never had time to do when their kids were growing and “life got in the way,” as Hazel put it.  Their dog, Festus, had been a part of the household for about seven years when they started to hit the road to see the country and visit their grown children who had spread all over the map with their families.  They told me that up until recently Festus had tolerated the travel very well, usually riding up front with them, and accompanying them on their adventures.  Sometimes it was difficult to tell who the grandchildren were happier to see, Grampa and Gram (as Joe and Hazel were called) or Festus, who became the immediate center of attention when Joe and Hazel pulled in.

But, as Joe told me, Festus began to be out of sorts more often when traveling and he’d had a couple of times when he’d acted as though he was car sick, once when they had been traveling a mountain road with its switchbacks and frequent turns.  Joe was the first to bring up the subject of whether or not it was time for Festus to “retire from the road,” as he put it, but Hazel didn’t want to talk about it at first. 

Knowing that Joe was right (he usually was), Hazel finally suggested they ask if Festus could spend his “retirement” living with their middle daughter, Cleo, and her husband, Paul.  They were fortunate in the fact that Cleo was a stay-at-home mom and Festus could be around people all day as a play companion to their two girls.  And, of course, they’d be able to see Festus when they visited Cleo and her family.  So, on their last trip, Festus stayed behind when Joe and Hazel pulled out.

Hazel had a hard time leaving Festus but knew they were doing the right thing.  She simply missed her companion.  But, as she told me one night as we sat enjoying the night sounds after a dinner we shared, “We make choices for our pets and it’s important to remember that those decisions not be just about us.  It has to be about them, too.”  For me, hearing this story made me aware that I may face the same questions some day with Scamp and Rambler.  I love having them with me but what’s best for them will always be the priority.  I hope the same will be true for you.

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

RVing With Pets: Transporting My Most Precious Cargo

Standard

You may remember that before I traveled to Kentucky for Thunder Over Louisville and stayed around for the chance to see the Kentucky Derby I made the decision  not to take my usual traveling companions, Scamp and Rambler, my dogs.  They instead enjoyed a vacation from me thanks to the kindness of my two favorite Nashville friends, Anne and Chet.  When I got back and pulled in to their place towing Max, my Airstream, and the dogs got a glimpse of their home on the road, it was difficult to contain their enthusiasm.  (I’m not sure who was most excited – the dogs or Anne and Chet.  Scamp and Rambler can be a handful.)  I’m thankful these separations are rare and they make me realize how important my dogs are to me.  They are part of my family.

Traveling DogWhen I was in Kentucky, I told a couple I met at the campground that I had left my dogs behind with friends in Nashville and they asked me about the experience of traveling with Scamp and Rambler.  They said they were considering getting a dog to join them on their travels and wanted to know about my experiences. 

I talked to them for several hours and later I thought I would make it the subject of this blog.  However, it’s such a broad topic I decided to confine this blog entry to things to think about while you’re actually on the road with your dogs.

Keep Your Pet Safe When Your Vehicle is Moving. 

Years ago, I let my dogs sit next to me in my pickup truck while we drove but after reading about some tragic accidents in which pets had been injured, I made the important decision to fit them with restraints.  I use seat belt harnesses for both of my dogs.  I won’t give you a brand name because there are a lot of alternatives for how best to keep your pet safe, including harnesses and plastic or wire travel crates, and it has to be a personal choice for each pet owner.  But I would urge you to research all of the possibilities and pick what’s best for your situation.  Your pet will thank you.

Take Up-To-Date Records.

Make sure you take up-to-date veterinary records for each of your pets, including vaccinations, and license tags, of course. A lot of campgrounds require you to have certificates of things like rabies inoculations.  It’s a good idea, if you plan your trip ahead of time, to learn of veterinary resources where you’re going and emergency numbers.  It’s also a good idea to have a picture of your pet, digital or printed, in your file.

Take plenty of Rest Stops Along the Way.

This is not only for – how shall I say – the “relief of nature” but also for a little exercise.  Every few hours is a good rule of thumb.  Make sure you take plenty of disposal bags and clean up after your pet.  Remember, you love your pets, but many others do not, and you would not want to be thought of as a nuisance.

Stay on Schedule.

Try to keep your pet’s feeding schedule as near to your home timetable as possible.  Routine is important for them even when you’re all on the road.

Pack supplies.

Cleaning supplies are a must, of course, because accidents do happen and car sickness is not a problem confined only to humans.

After covering much of what I’ve written here when talking to the people who had asked me, I perceived a look on their faces of “Uh oh, this sounds like a lot of trouble.”  I would be lying if I didn’t concede that taking a pet – in my case, two dogs – on the road requires a major commitment of time, patience, planning and, yes, expense, but I can tell you quite honestly it’s more than worth it.  Scamp and Rambler are like my children, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences with them as an RVer for anything.  There is nothing quite like taking them on a leash to walk a trail in a wilderness or to sit around after dinner in camp and listen to the night sounds. 

Be awakened just once by a cold nose nudging you in the morning to get out of bed and you will know the joy that I feel when I think about Scamp and Rambler.  They’re more than my pets.  They’re my traveling companions.   

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

In Search of Warmth

Standard

After spending a cold Thanksgiving with my family in Massachusetts and then spoiling my three nieces for ten days  – in the cold – while my sister, Judy, and her husband took off for a getaway anniversary celebration in my Airstream, Max, I was more than ready to find some warmer weather!  So, I’ve picked a southern compass heading and made my way down the coast to…Georgia! 

Live

Beautiful oak tree with Spanish moss.

St. Simon’s Island, to be exact.  My dogs, Scamp and Rambler, have already given it a “two paws up” rating.

That’s one of the really great things about being an RVer.  If you don’t like the scenery and the weather, you’re just a tank of gas and a day or two from something more suited to your mood.

I’ve always loved the southern coastal areas.  You’ll find some of the most beautiful views in the world here.  Large expanses of winter-brown tidal grass and the daily movement of the tidewater.  And those trees!  One of my favorite things in the whole world is the sight of a huge old live oak with long strands of its Spanish moss swaying in a gentle breeze. 

I was here for a few days when Scamp and Rambler made friends with another RV couple next door.  The dogs readily embrace the role of “ambassadors” wherever we go, breaking the ice and making the introductions.  The couple is Sharon and Phil, and they’ve been avid RVers since Phil retired from his job as a civil engineer a few years back and their children left the nest.

Dometic Wine Chiller

My beautiful new wine chiller!

I invited them over for dinner and conversation last night, and we sat under Max’s awning to enjoy the sunset.  Sharon brought a shrimp appetizer that was to die for.  I was able to offer the perfect complement while the charcoal heated up – a bottle of Chardonnay I’d been waiting to share with someone.  It also gave me the chance to take the Christmas gift from my parents out for its maiden voyage.  It’s a six-bottle wine chiller from Dometic. My folks know about my fondness anything Dometic, believe me.  They know I like good wine and how much I enjoy impromptu gatherings in the evening.  It was the perfect gift.

After we toasted a gorgeous sunset – a riot of rose-colored clouds and a last gasp of orange yellow sun on the tidal grass – we raised our glasses once again to all those folks who have no idea what they’re missing if they’ve never experienced the RV life.

Phil said they’d be pushing on the next day to spend a few days with their oldest daughter and her husband in Sarasota.  We exchanged email addresses and promised to stay in touch.  That’s another nice thing about life in an RV…the friends you make on the road.

After turning down their request to kidnap Scamp and Rambler, I said good night and wished Sharon and Phil safe travel.  They’d be gone in the morning before Scamp and Rambler could poke me with their cold noses.

 The temperature got up to around 70 yesterday and the forecast for today is about the same.  Not sure, but I’m thinking I may want to find a place where it’s a little warmer still.  After all, it takes a while to get rid of the chill I got in my bones while in Massachusetts last month!

 Livin’ the love,

 Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

On the Road to Thanksgiving

Standard

Hey, fellow RVers! It’s Robin again, writing from the road, so you can continue to be part of my travels.

Sad to see another spectacular summer melt away in a flutter of soft breezes and changing leaves. Every season writes its unique signature on the land as it rolls past my driver’s side window, and too often we fail to appreciate the beauty of each transition. That’s a shame, because seeing it first hand is so much more powerful than watching the nightly weather report on your big screen TV.

Where some see driving as a chore, I have to confess that I come alive behind the wheel of my trusty Ford truck pulling Max, my classic ’91 Airstream. As most of you know, I hit the highways with my two dogged doggies, Scamp and Rambler, who have marked their territory from California to the Carolinas. Like little children, dogs get up-close and personal with the great outdoors, and you can’t help but smile watching them run and play. I’m pretty sure they see me as their private chef and chauffeur, but they sure are fun to travel with.

So far this year, I have added Utah and Arizona to the growing list of states I have visited, along with return trips to Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky. Still planning to visit all 50 states as item number one on my bucket list.

But with Thanksgiving a few weeks away, it’s time to start planning my trip back home for the Holidays. Although I’m based out of Nashville, I actually hail from the Northeast (which explains my strange Massachusetts/Tennessee accent.) So I’m readying Max for a road trip for Thanksgiving with my family.

Scamp and Rambler have my parents wrapped around their little paws. All they have to do is sit quietly with pleading eyes, and my Dad will ‘accidentally’ drop pieces of fresh baked turkey into their greedy little maws. Mom will fuss at him, but she sneaks her own Thanksgiving tidbits to the beastie boys when she thinks nobody is looking. As for me, I just love to watch all the cooking craziness that spills over in our kitchen during the Holiday season.

This year, I’m giving my sister Judy and her husband Sean an early Christmas gift. I’m letting them borrow Max for a much-needed road-trip to mark their 17th Wedding Anniversary. My brother-in-law has a week’s vacation coming and I’m letting them take the RV up to New Hampshire for a second honeymoon, while fun old Auntie Robin gets to spend a whole week spoiling my three pre-teen nieces.

I plan to stock Max with a bunch of hidden surprises for Judy and Sean, like a new Dometic S28 Soft-Sided Cooler filled with two bottles of Korbel champagne, and a sweet sampling of Godiva chocolates. That should help bring out the romance for them, while I reconnect with my family for ten fun-filled days.

If you’re also heading home for the Holidays, please be careful on the roads. Winter driving has its own challenges, especially in the Northern states.

Before I sign off, I want to thank all those who have written in to share their own road stories or driving dreams. My RV friends are the best!

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Gorgeous Gorge

Standard

Hey, fellow RVers! This is Robin, a long-time traveler on the road of adventure.

I’m not one who sets off on a journey to get away from it all. I hit the road to get connected! Connected to the beauty of this great land of ours…connected to other RVers…and connected to that restless spirit in my soul that cries out for freedom and fun. And of course my travellin’ dogs – named Scamp and Rambler – keep me connected to my silly side with all their crazy animal antics. These two beasties love when I fire up the grill for some of Robin’s famous Cheeseburgers Extraordinaire (I’ll share my secret recipe in a future blog!)

My latest excursion was to Red River Gorge in Powell County, Kentucky. Scamp and Rambler took me on a hike through some beautiful woodland trails. Actually, they scamper ahead and then turn back at me with pleading looks to catch up. But hey, they have four legs and still have traces of their old puppy energy, while I’m a thirty-something with a backpack, making my way up the hill on two less lively legs. Tough to be pitied by your pets.

Along with hiking under a sweet smelling canopy of white pines, hemlock and sugar maples, Red River Gorge also features rock climbing and zip line rides for the true outdoor adventurer.  And you MUST visit Natural Bridge – a 65-foot-high sandstone arch in nearby Natural Bridge State Park.  Awesome photo ops there. Just look at all those great fall colors!

And while I’m visiting the Bluegrass State (it’s not really blue grass, you know), the dogs and I may hop down to one of the many corn mazes that spring up this time of year. When the corn grows high enough, they use GPS devices and satellite technology to carve really intricate mazes through the fields. It can be surprisingly disorienting to weave your way through the tall corn stocks, never knowing which way to turn. A fun treat for kids and adults this Halloween season.

Speaking of Halloween, I bought a new costume for Max, my classic 1991 Airstream.  Actually, it’s not really a costume, but a beautiful new Dometic awning* installed by my dealer. The colorful fabric really offsets Max’s shiny silver skin. To me, a nice awning is like adding a porch to your RV, making it the ultimate comfort, inside and out.  With a comfortable chair, my Dometic cooler*, Weber grill* and a chilled margarita, life is nothing short of spectacular.

For those of you who wrote in, Max (named after Mad Max – The Road Warrior) is a 1991 60th Anniversary Limited Edition. One of only 60 that were made. I enjoy the envious looks I get at the Airstream rallies I attend across the country.

With the advent of autumn, I’m thinking of heading up to New England to take in the spectacular fall sights. The changing leaves always set my heart free. Will keep you posted on where I end up.

If you have a chance, drop me an email and let me know where your road leads you. ‘Til then, settle back in your driver’s seat…stretch your leg to the gas pedal, and let’s hit the road together!

Livin’ the love,

Robin

*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin.  Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site.  All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.

Mad Max and the Beastie Boys

Standard

Hey, RVers! This is Robin, a long-time fellow traveler on the road of adventure. The truth is I live, eat, breathe and bask in the RV lifestyle, and only feel truly alive when I have spinning wheels moving me forward. So I thought I’d use this new blogspace on RV.com to share with each of you my thoughts, joys, and favorite places to visit in an RV.

 First off, let’s talk about how I’ve been RVing with my dogs, Scamp and Rambler, and our plans for the last few weeks of what has been a great summer. Is there anything as glorious as an endless expanse of black ribbon highway unwinding before you on a sunny August morning? I’ve chosen ‘Max’ as the nickname for my classic 1991 Airstream, in honor of Mad Max – The Road Warrior. Together, Max and I and my two beasties are on a decade-long mission to discover America. Not with a GPS or mapbook, but with face-to-face interactions with all my friends in the RV community.

 The goal for me and my travelin’ crew is to visit state parks in all of our great 50 states before I hit the big four-oh. So far, we have 32 states down and 16 more to go. And we’re not about to let this summer’s heat wave slow us down. My best friends under the scorching sun have been my Brisk Air AC unit and portable ice maker, both from Dometic, and my Waring Tailgater blender. This terrific threesome keeps us cool, whatever the weatherman says. They have been a real heat-buster for all of us.

 As you know, the kind of heat we had this summer can be really dangerous for pets on the road, but my air conditioner keeps the dogs cool inside the RV, and they really enjoy ice cubes in their water bowls as a special treat. Sometimes, I even slide a few cubes across the floor, just to watch Scamp and Rambler chase them around before chomping them up!

 And as for that blender…let’s just say we need to devote a future post to my favorite RV cocktails and cooking recipes!

 Well, my next stop is the beautiful state of Kentucky, and a place they call Red River Gorge. I hear they have some great hiking trails there, and you can even book a zipline tour. Looks like this Robin will be flying soon! Max is all gassed up and rarin’ to go, the dogs already have their noses out the window, and we’re ready to take on the Bluegrass State. Maybe we’ll see you there!

 If you have a chance, drop me an email and let me know where your road leads you. ‘Til then, settle back in your driver’s seat…stretch your leg to the gas peddle, and let’s hit the road together!

 Livin’ the love,

 Robin