Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Down By The River......

A couple of weekends ago, when we had a day that wasn't so brutally hot as the norm has become, we road John's Harley over to Charles Town, WV. It's a nice ride through pretty country scenery. Our destination was a large casino they have there, just as a change of pace. I'm definitely not a gambler, but it's still a fun spot to look around. However, I digress.....

On the ride over, we noticed one of those little brown signs indicating a local park that had, as the sign put it, "Public Stream Access". John took the bait and turned off in the direction of the arrow. After a couple more well-marked turns, we came to a narrow road, heading down a steep slope. It twisted and turned until it came out to a nice big circle of pavement in the woods. The stream the sign was referring to was actually the Shenandoah River! It came complete with a cement boat ramp, nice fresh, deep water, and a gorgeous view. We looked around for a few minutes and headed on our way, but we also filed it away in our "places to check out again" folder.

This past Sunday was another upper-90's day. Too hot to be outside unless there was water involved. So we packed up a lunch and the dogs, and headed back to that park. Not surprisingly, some people were already there enjoying the water. They didn't seem to mind the dogs, so we set about playing some stick fetch.

Here's a peak at the view:

The woods came right up to the river's edge so there was plenty of shade to enjoy.

You can't tell by the picture, but there are rock walls off to the right and straight across. The folks that were there said that on most days, the rocks are home to a group of feral sheep. They hop around the ledges just like the mountain goats you see out west. We didn't spot any however.

One of the things I love about taking photos by the water is all the abstractions the water ripples and reflections cause.

This next one is my favorite. The water in the foreground is just gorgeous!

Another Kraken sighting......

Next are just a couple of more portrait-like poses:

The boys would retrieve the stick for hours if you let them!

OH! Please! Please! Throw the stick! Throw it! Please!

One final shot of my Shenandoah Retrievers:

Wilson thinking: I wonder if I can make it to that stick back there before Jimmy steals it?

While we were there, a few other cars/people came and went. It was definitely not a busy place which was very nice. Both boys bark alot from all the excitement and I would not have wanted to ruin others' fun with so much noise. (The original group had already left.) After a couple of hours, the boys were starting to slow down noticeably, and we started to think about leaving. One more car appeared in the paved circle and then pulled all the way onto the boat ramp where we were. Wouldn't you know it, it was the local Parks and Recreation Sheriff! I ran and grabbed the dogs so they wouldn't run in front of his big SUV.  John waved and said Hi, and then threw a stick so the dogs would be quiet and swim away. The sheriff motions me over to his vehicle, and in his best WV accent, tells me he could give me a ticket for the dogs being loose. Here we are in the middle of the woods, no other people in sight, and we are about to get an off-leash ticket! Fortunately the officer didn't feel the need to ruin our day. He said he could see the dogs were having fun, but to be sure to leash them if/when any other people showed up. Whew! That was a close one! In this day and age of state budget shortages, a couple of off-leash tickets probably would have netted WV 200 bucks.  I am very thankful we were let off with a warning.

Wilson, for whatever reason, seems to take on tons of water when he fetches. Jimmy does not. So we walked them around the edge of the parking lot before leaving to give them a chance to pee before the 45 minute drive home. We plopped them in the car and instantaneously they were asleep! About 5 miles from home or so, Wilson wakes up, and sits by the window. A minute or two later, he lets out a small whine. I figured he wanted to sniff the air, so I lowered the window a bit. I see him in the rearview mirror and he's panting, even though the a/c is blasting. He lets out a few louder whines. I'm wondering if he's getting carsick, so I lower the window enough to get his head out for better air. By this time, we are nearly in the home stretch, in our own neighborhood, with only a few turns to go. Wilson not only puts his head out but he tries to wedge himself through the opening! This is NOT normal behavior and all of the sudden I get it! He has to pee and he has to PEE BADLY! Hold on, Wilson! We're almost there! I speed faster than I should the last mile home. John throws open the door and grabs Wilson, who staggers about two steps and starts peeing for all he's worth. You could almost hear the sigh of relief he let go. The poor boy peed for well over a minute straight! I kid you not! What a very good boy for holding it in, despite the desperation he was obviously feeling in the car.

Click any of the pictures to get the full-size version......


  1. That sounds like so much fun! We're looking for a long weekend rental where we can take the boyz, and I happened to find a place right on the Shenandoah River about 15 miles from Middleburg that happens to be pet friendly with a doggie door and fenced yard! Not sure if we can still get availability, but now that I've seen how much fun Jimmy and Wilson had, I'm going to definitely find a place to take my boyz!

  2. Love the side silhouette one.

    And I'm glad you are starting to enjoy your 70-200. It is too nice a lens to sit in a camera bag all day. ;)

  3. The name Shenandoah River in itself evokes beauty and lazy fun. :) The river pics are great!

    Glad you didn't get the tickets - rare break from a country WV officer. (My hubby's from Beckley, WV.)

    Poor Wilson and his full bladder. :)


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