There are no rest stops on the 101 in Oregon. However, you really don’t need them, as the 101 turns into Main Street a number of times in different towns along the way should you need a restroom or gas station. As for Tucker’s needs, there are parking lots on the side of the road for parks with views like this:
I found a Best Western also on the ocean (now matter where we went, it would be a step down from the previous two nights, but I was taking a slow decent to normal.) Again, arriving after dark, I could hear the ocean, and I saw some fires on the beach, but aside from a few waves, I had no visual map of where I was.
In the morning, Tucker and I awoke to this:
Aunt Carolina (as she is known to Tucker) has a beautiful house with two canine kids of her own, Layla and Saffie. Layla has little to no opinion of Tucker. Saffie, on the other hand, is quite posessive of her mom and does not like sharing her with anyone. For the first day the canine kids were with out and about with their dad to allow Tucker to get all the love he could get from his Auntie.
We went to Fort Funston, which to me is like a giant amusement park for dogs. It is also a controversial place these days… or perhaps just now and again for the past sixteen years. I can’t find the exact square mileage or acreage, but it’s diverse enough to walk on paths, up sand dunes, through meadows, and run into the ocean. All of this space is an off leash dog area. Hundreds of dogs frollick and play, and I have never yet seen any incidents. Why? Because it’s an amusement park for dogs who have enough room to roam and play that if they don’t like someone else, they just move on. I’m not saying everyone is a good dog guardian; I’m sure there are incidents, but far less than a “dog park” which is usually a small fenced-in area of lawn that gets pooped and peed on so much it’s just a swamp or a dry arid desert.
The National Park Service wants all dogs off their property. Although Fort Funston is a “recreational” space, which means it’s for people to play on and dogs are usually allowed there, the NPA has been trying to fight for over 16 years to reduce the area in which dogs can be. They want to cut it back by 60%. Much of the off leash areas would be on leash or no dogs at all. This means all those people who moved to San Francisco for the dog friendliness and being able to have a place to exercise their dogs even though they live in a city, will be with nowhere to go. Or the area will be so small, dog fights will be more prevalent. Or they have to drive further out to more dog friendly locations.
The fight has been going on all year. The NPS put out a public comment period in which over 12,000 people voiced their opinions and elected officials and Congresspeople stated their disapproval of the plan and still the NPS vote to implement it. The battle continues. I certainly don’t want this to be the last time Tucker gets to romp in the dunes.
Back at home, Saffie, Layla and their Dad arrived. Saffie looked less than pleased to see that Tucker was visiting:
Since it was a full car with three humans and one dog, I sat in the back with Tucker.
She looked at me like I was nuts. “Why? There’s a patio. You don’t think he’ll be okay on the patio?”
I had just spent two whole months by Tucker’s side unable to go to restaurants or even coffeehouses because although Vancouver is considered “dog friendly” it’s not dog friendly in the same way California is where your dog is your child and he goes everywhere with you. I had completely forgotten that there were places in the world where Tucker could lie at my feet and I could have lunch.
We couldn’t go inside to order of course, but that’s fine. There was a chair for Tucker to wait on while Carolina and Emilynn made our orders.
I call 2016 my Year Without Holidays since I travelled on my birthday, missed Thanksgiving completely due to being in a country where their Thanksgiving was a month prior, not hearing Christmas music on the radio, not even seeing ads about Black Friday deals, and then crossing the border on Christmas Eve. I guess in a way, I did come home for the holidays, but home as in the United States, which counts on a grand scale as “home” I suppose.
Home is where the heart is, so I’m lucky to spend the holidays (and every day) at Home, whatever geographical location we’re in, for Tucker holds my heart. Although the adoption papers I signed three years ago state that I gave Tucker a home, and it he who provided Home for me.
Happy Holidays from the two of us. Wherever the road may take you in the coming year, may you always be at Home, and for those of you who still need a place for your heart to rest, please visit your local shelter. There are plenty of homes waiting to give you the love you so deserve.