Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rolling Thunder.......NCC*

* No Corgi Content......

Living so near to DC, it's hard not to take advantage of all the city offers on the major holidays, and Memorial Day is a big one in our nation's capital. Rolling Thunder is one such event. It began in 1987 as a demonstration to bring awareness to the plight of prisoners of war (POW) and to those missing in action (MIA). I think it has also evolved into a more general tribute to American war heroes and soldiers. It has grown into a motorcycle rally that draws in well over a quarter of a million riders from all over the USA. Since John has a Harley, every few years, we will participate in the ride. Many of the riders assemble in the Pentagon parking lot, and then as an organized group, file out and ride along Constitution Avenue. The streets are lined with spectators.

This year, we decided to ride down in the very large group that leaves from the Harley Davidson dealership in Fairfax, VA. (As a side note, motorcyclists of all kinds participate, not just the Harley stereotype.)  The shop is located on Rt. 50, a very major East/West highway. The east bound lanes are actually closed to car traffic in order to let the motorcycles queue up. The line starts forming around 7: 30 am and leaves for DC around 9am. It has become such a large group that the police actually close a full route going into DC and provide a police escort.

Here are a couple pictures from our place in line.

Yep! That's me there in the mirror!

And again, me,  in the reflective glass of a nearby office building.


We all got rolling, and the route ran east on 50, turned off after a bit and headed to east 66. Now 66 is the region's major east/west corridor, a full highway, and yet it was closed to car traffic so our group could proceed easily into DC. I felt sorry for the car drivers as this created some huge traffic jams! Every on-ramp was blocked by a motorcycle cop, with long lines of cars backed up.


Every overpass was lined with people, waving us on....


Here's a view of our group, looking east toward the city.......Nothing but bikes as far as the eye can see.


And turning around to look behind me.....


We wound our way to the Pentagon parking lot, but didn't stay. We left the group and headed downtown to park and find a place to people watch and see the start of the parade.

Going past the Washington Monument....

The motorcycles started filing out of the Pentagon lot and toward Constitution Ave. at noon.  We were right at the corner, so could watch as they turned. 

A Marine in full dress uniform, stands at the start of the parade. He holds his salute for the entire time it takes for all the motorcycles to file past. He never puts his hand/arm down. And it was a very hot day....



This truck comes every year, bearing flags....


There was even a large Canadian contingent.


With the large crowd, it was hard to get many photos without someone's head always popping in the frame at the last second. Needless to say, there were many, many bikes, some decorated with flags, some towing displays, and many ordinary riders. It takes a long time to have that many file past. In years past, we have opted to ride in the parade. This year we wanted to spectate.

Whether you are a fan of motorcycles or not, it is very hard not to be moved by the patriotism this event represents. It is a very emotional day.

And of course, there is always someone that goes to the beat of a different drummer.......Parked among the thousands of motorcycles, a bicycle built for two! Amid a sea of powerful engines, a father and his young teen daughter rode off, powered only by their feet.









Monday, May 30, 2011

OK, SoThen Where are We Supposed to Sleep ?!

Here's the scene that greeted me recently as I came upstairs. Do you think I should fluff their pillows and perhaps get them a nightcap?


Wilson:  Hey! Do you think you could get the light? It's in my eyes!




Both hoping that fan will be turned on soon......


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Great Falls National Park

For those of you that have never visited Washington, DC, or have, but only the city proper, you may be surprised that Wilson's photos yesterday were taken just a short 20 minute drive outside the city. Eh, well, it should be a 20 minute drive, but DC area traffic being what it is, it could take 20 minutes or an hour and 20 minutes! The views of Wilson were taken at Great Falls National Park . This is a lovely, large park situated along the Potomac River upriver of the city. It contains miles of walking trails, bridle paths, remains of the old Patowmack Canal locks, and lots of picnic areas.

This time of year with the spring rains (which we have had an over-abundance of!), the Potomac often reaches flood stage. This was the case this visit. The main waterfall is usually much rockier, with a more pronounced and dramatic drop, when the water level is lower. This trip, I could hear the roar of the river as soon as I got out of the car, although I could not see the river yet. Wilson was sure I had brought him here to go swimming and began to drag me to the river. Much to his chagrin, swimming was not on the agenda. The river current was probably running at Class V level  rapids. No one was going in the water!

As you saw with Wilson's photo yesterday, the boys were able to get a good view from one of the observation decks. They were both very curious to see what the noise was, and hopped up on their own to see over the railing.

Jim taking in the view
 More views of the wild ride that is the Potomac in spring......


This is why there is no swimming!

Even w/o the flood conditions, this section of the river is always dangerous.

Happily posing for a treat
All along the river shore are nice walking trails. Most of them are high above the water and there are some pretty big cliffs. These are popular with rock climbers and amazingly, the park allows the activity. I find it surprising that such rugged terrain is so close to our capital when you consider how flat the city is!

 The trail can be quite a challenge to navigate when you are a short-legged dog!



Just 'cause I like it!


Jimmy and Wilson, high above the river, posing on rocky terrain.

Jimmy, surveying his realm, in mountain lion fashion. Maybe in his case, black panther!


Wilson: I don't even need to ask! I KNOW this picture makes my head look HUGE!

I do believe Jimmy's tongue is bigger than his ears!
The boys were quite hot from walking on all those sun-exposed rocks and luckily the trail dipped into some deeper woods. This little stream flowed out of the woods through a small ravine and out into the raging Potomac. It was mere inches deep, nice and clear, and the boys enjoyed a much needed cool drink. The expressions on their faces is priceless to me. They can see the river, and really, really want to swim. It wasn't going to happen!


But, Mom, it's just right there! Why can't we take a dip?
With reluctance, we moved on from this little oasis. Our next photo-op was at the remains of the locks for the Patowmack Canal. This canal was built on the wishes of George Washington, as it was his vision to make the Potomac a navigable river all the way to the Ohio River Valley.


Watching an endless parade of hikers going by
 We walked on a bit longer, but the trail came back into the sun and rocks. I could tell the boys were getting tired and hot so we turned around and followed a more direct trail back to the main park area. Near the observation decks is this high water marker. So despite the fact the river was at flood stage, in the past it had been much worse. Where I took the picture from, as well as the decks, would have been under water with these previous floods!


Wow! That's some serious overflow!

I went to the park early in the day. I wanted to walk the boys at the coolest point of the day.  But, also, I knew from past experience, how busy and full the park gets. I arrived at 9ish and parked about midway back in the lot. By the time I returned to the car at 11:30, there were no spots left and people in cars were following the walkers, hoping they were leaving. As I drove out the gate, there was a long line of cars waiting to get in!

Monday, May 23, 2011

EIGHT!

We are celebrating another birthday! Today, Wilson is eight! Where have all the years gone? They sure have flown by in a flash.

Wilson got to party a day early by attending the Chesapeake Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club's Herding Instinct event. Now, Wilson passed his instinct test last year at the Nat'l Specialty, but that didn't mean he couldn't play. He still got to enjoy a few minutes in the ring bossing around some very ornery sheep. It wasn't nearly long enough as far as he was concerned, but still made for a fun adrenaline thrill! And of course there will still be cake and ice cream today!

Let me shout out a very Happy Birthday to brother Spencer. I hope you get a fun day too!





Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tug-A-Palooza!

We have been having the rainiest, most dreary month of May. There seems to have been endless thunderstorms and our lawn is a mushy, muddy mess. The result is very little yard time for Jimmy and Wilson, shorter walks, and too much time spent cleaning feet and under-carriages. The other result is a bad case of cabin fever! Today, during a rare sunny break in the clouds, the boys got a chance to vent!



It's mine! No! It's mine!



You let go first!


Jimmy giving his best Death Ray glare.


Wilson: Maybe if I poke him in the eye, it'll make him drop it!


Jimmy's view


Wilson's view

Next came a little one-on-one time with me doing the tugging. They can hold on so tightly you can swing them in a circle. Probably not a good idea for spinal reasons!


Wilson: Does this picture make my nose look big?


Jimmy: Yuck!This thing tastes like Wilson's breath!


The next couple of shots are a tad R rated.....just sayin'!

Whenever Jimmy is engaged in a good game of tug with me, Wilson always moves in for the hump. He knows Jimmy is too greedy to release the toy, and therefore Wilson can safely move in withhout Jimmy trying to stop him. Jimmy is usually the boss, so I guess this is Wilson's moment.


Oh, the shock and horror on Jimmy's face!


Jimmy:  Maybe if I just close my eyes, it will all go away!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Digital Space Cowboys

At 8:56 AM this morning, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, as the space shuttle Endeavor lifted off for it's last ever flight, history was made. Jimmy and Wilson, in their digital embodiments, rode along with the crew of the Endeavor! It was a tense and very exciting few minutes as the shuttle cleared Earth's atmosphere, and my two Cardigan Welsh Corgis headed on their way to the space station.

There's still time to join the crew today (until midnight tonite) or plan ahead and join the crew of the Atlantis with it's tentative launch date of June 28th. Just go to NASA's Face in Space  and follow the instructions to upload your Cardis, your kids, or even yourself! It's hard to pass up a free ride on the space shuttle, especially the historic final flights of these space crafts.

Hey, let's try to get a Cardi Party in Space going! What do you say?


Special thanks to George the Ladd who flew on a previous mission and posted about it. I would have missed the ride otherwise.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kids These Days......

Back when  I grew up, children shared bedrooms and didn't complain. It was just the way it was. Of course there were the occasional squabbles between siblings. I can even remember running masking tape down the middle of the room to be sure we each stayed on our own side of the room. That did mean that one of us was permanently stuck on the side of the room without the door, but oh well :-)

But nowadays, kids are just so spoiled. Everybody must have their own space, with plenty of room to spread out. There's no longer any sharing or making do.....

Wilson and Jimmy illustrate this so well in these pictures from today's nap.....

Oh the life these two live.......



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Four! ......

......And the title is not referring to ducking because a golf ball is headed your way!

Today Jimmy turns 4 years old!

I am in the process of switching to a new PC and don't have my camera software loaded yet so I will have to use a photo from last year's birthday. And of course, it is only 8 in the morning, so the festivities for Jimmy have not yet happened anyway!
Happy Birthday to my wild little man!


Looks like the sugar buzz is wearing off!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Wildlife on our Walk

Our morning walks are often filled with wildlife sightings. This little boxturtle was smack in the middle of the paved trail. Jimmy and Wilson both gave him a close-up sniffing so he wasn't coming out for a better picture!


This Canada Goose family was on the shore grazing, but returned to the water with lightening speed. It's amazing how fast the babies can run when they see danger!


And finally, the exotic black and white dwarf water-cow, seen here chowing down on his favorite food. There is nothing tastier than the new grass at the water's edge.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Weekend Report - Two more legs toward the MXJ!

Another weekend of agility trials is behind us, this time held by the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Greater Baltimore. These were at a nice indoor location only about 45 minutes from home. That's always a big plus!

Saturday started with Excellent Standard. Jimmy was a bit amped up. I put him in a stay, lead out, released him, and Jimmy took out the very first jump bar! We were done before we ever got started. Of course, we still run the course anyway, just with no chance of Q'ing. The good thing about it is you are free to push the limits of your handling, trying stuff you would never try if the Q was still possible. We had a couple more bobbles because my mojo was now a bit off, and finished with a nice quick time. Oh, well.....

Excellent Jumpers was late in the day. It was a fun course and Jimmy aced it! He had 44 seconds to get 'er done, and finished in 32.57, giving us 11 more MACH points. Yea!

Today started earlier because the dogs were running small to tall. Again, Excellent Standard was first. We got off to a very nice start, and made it all the way to the table, 4 obstacles from the end. And, no, the table was not our problem, Jimmy did a nice job of it. Unfortunately, the next jump was a triple and he knocked the top bar down. Crap! NQ! After that was a dogwalk/tunnel discrimination, and he chose the off-course tunnel, but who cares, cause we were already cooked! So close and yet so far......Another weekend without a Standard Q, but at least Jimmy did his table nicely both days so that part was a victory.

We finished the day with another really nice Excellent Jumpers run. Jimmy had 42 seconds to get it done and only needed 31.04, giving us another 10 MACH points. His jumpers runs were legs #7 and #8 out of the 10 he needs for his MXJ title. And a funny coincidence, for leg #7, he came in 7th place, for leg # 8, he came in 8th. Those were very respectable finishes considering all the super-fast shelties we were running against.

No more agility trials for awhile, mid-June being the next ones. I signed up for a May 21st trial but didn't get in. I am on the waiting list so there is a small chance I'll get in if someone drops out.......

Tracking Jimmy's MACH progress:
Excellent B JWW legs: 8 (out of 10 needed for his MXJ) More than halfway to his Masters Jumpers title!
Excellent B STD legs: 0 (out of 10 needed for his MX)
Double Q's: 0 (out of 20 double-Q's needed for a MACH)
MACH Points: 101 (out of 750 speed points needed for a MACH)
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