Day 3: Hotter than Heck in NC

Perhaps I failed to mention that it’s been in the 90s every day on this trip.  Bank clocks that I saw this afternoon said 94 and 95.  So it must’ve been close to 100.  Maybe it was just as hot wherever you are.  Or hotter.  Texas?  Louisiana?  I can’t imagine!  But Sparkle’s A/C has been running just marvelously.  And I’ve kept the dogs cool with watery romps.

Yes, the dogs.  Remember them?  Some of you are waiting on photos of them with baited breath.  Others of you are probably rolling your eyes.  So here’s the big dose for this trip.  Before leaving VA this morning, I found some tidewatery spots which the dogs found skank-o-lish-ous.  Smelly & cool. Can’t top it!  Except back home where the park is one big picnic buffet right now with trash scattered everywhere.  I don’t even need to give them breakfast anymore.

One of their best romps du jour was in Hertford.  After crossing a bridge, I really had no choice.  Signs for “boat launch” are always a guarantee of a good time for all.  There’s always a nice water entry.  And the boaters are always amused by my goofy little menagerie.

Fix & Grem enjoying my tossed treats.  Today’s floating offering was bits of English Muffin.  Grip – no WAY was she going in the water past her tippy toes even in the heat.  She got caught in a teensy tiny river current a few years ago and decided that was that for swimming.

Nik, on the other hand, can never get enough of water retrieving.  This place had multiple docks for him so we had a lot of fun.  Ker-splash!  Even on impact, you can still make out his giant ears:

Did you know that Nik is actually a big dock diving champion of some sort?  Holds the record for Rat Terriers, ranked up there for small dog records with a high of 20-something feet.  We haven’t competed in a couple years because I find all the waiting around to be excruciatingly boring.  After watching the first 100 Labs jump in the water, it becomes a blur.  And I’d so much rather be working on the website.  Nik on the other hand, just never gets tired of it.  Screams like a lunatic the whole time we’re in line and hardly anyone is amused by that.

Here’s a lousy action photo from today.  I promise to take a camera course this winter because I know this fancy-ass camera CAN take good action shots.  But you get the idea through the blur.  Because I have trained Nik to do all kinds of distance stuff (back, right, left, come, out, WAY out), I can send him to the other docks to get a shot like this.  Bad as it is:

He’s actually got the form all wrong.  With some training, which I haven’t, the dog is supposed to jump UP towards the thrown toy so the dog carries in the air a further distance.  But Nik just relies on speed for distance.  Which is pretty impressive.  Also, he can’t really get traction on these wood docks (competition docks are aluminum covered with rubber matting).  So this is probably only about 14 feet or so when normally he averages about 18 feet.  If you’re curious about the sport & all, here’s some info:

Here’s the pack together.  From the ridiculous to the sublime.  While the girls are all used to (bored) with posing for the camera.  Nik can only wait so long before he demands “throw me somethin!”  Meanwhile, Grem is plotting which foreign country she will run off to when I give the “ok”.  Just a second after I had eveybody jump back in the van and slid the door closed, a cat ran by with a giant bird in his mouth.  Sheesh, that was a close one.  No amount of recall training would’ve helped me there had they seen that.

OK, now where were we?  Ah yes, buildings, signs, statues…  Back to Virginia, Norfolk to be exact, the WTKR-TV Building.  I don’t know if they are the original occupant:

That bit of canopy at the left belongs to this building across the street.  A damned shame what they’ve done to the building.  Hopefully, it’s not permanent and someone with more taste can remove that crap:

Also in Norfolk, this giant used-ta-be neon sign:

And two more from Norfolk:  an adapted Arby’s sign:

And just next door, a newbie sign — which must be spectacular at night:

Heads-up my botany buff friends out there.  It’s getting to be a tradition that I ask for at least one i.d. per roadtrip.  What’s the name of these nice flowers/bush/tree that I’m seeing all over on this trip?  There’s also a white version that I like almost as much:

In context for scale:

From the Corapeake Collision Center in Sunbury, NC — love this cool car & driver.  He has sort of an “oh no” Mr. Bill expression with his hands in the air. 

In Dunn, NC, more adorable figures at Raynor’s Muffler & Brake:

A lovely spot in Dunn, NC — I believe they call this a cypress swamp? — where the dogs did NOT get to go swimming.  Or I’m sure there would have been mayhem and murder.

Back to the dogs again for a second.  Imagine for a moment, the joys of traveling with four terriers.  Imagine the ear-splitting sounds, just inches from your ears, of one canine soprano.  Joined vocally by three other dogs, mostly just because.  All because of motorcycles.  Every couple minutes in nice weather.  Deafening, incessant.  I could break out the bark spray collar, but hey.  And just the sight of it makes Nik a nervous wreck even though I only put it on Grem, the instigator.  So, I just tough it out most of the time, and scream at them to knock it off when I need to really focus on something.  Still want to ride along with us, huh?  There’s one just ahead that will not escape the wrath of this never-weary traveler:

OK, last photo for the day. And since we have kind of a theme going today…  from Greenville, NC.  Lots of these Beagle signs around in VA & NC.  Beagle clubs & such.  Usually handpainted, metal or wood.  This one’s wood with a more goofy expression than usual.

Three blogs in one day – damn I’m tired!  But I’m finally caught up.  Nighty-night.

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