So another Nationals has come and gone and once again I have had a typical “Shelley’s Road Trip Adventure”. I’ve developed a new mathematical equation – “The ease of the road trip to Nationals (R) is inversely proportional to the success in results (S)” or S=1/R :) As the simplicity of the road trip decreases, the success of the results increases. Yes, that is making light of the difficulties encountered, but that is the attitude I am choosing to take.
So Monday morning, we headed out bright and early for Ohio. Well, maybe early (9 am) it wasn’t so bright. It was kind of cloudy up here, and as we got closer to the border, it started to rain, so that when we got to Niagara Falls, it was not going to be a pleasant day for Joan and Jens who were visiting to see the Falls. We decided that we would continue right through to Ohio, and they would come back to visit on another day before flying home. We did decide to stop on the American side so they could take some pictures.
Fate stepped in, by me choosing the wrong road to turn down to get to the State Park in Niagara Falls, NY. I instead turned down a driveway for a government building, and had difficulty backing out with the trailer in tow (I took my motorcycle along this year). While we were trying to get out I heard a “bang” but the engine seemed to be running normally. A security truck from the building helped me to get turned around further down the driveway, but by that point, my power steering wasn’t working, and my alternator light was on. As I got back on the road I noticed the temperature climbing and pulled over immediately. Looking under the hood, the “bang” was the serpentine belt breaking – leaving me with no fan, charging system or power steering. After some finagling with CAA and AAA the car and trailer were towed to a nearby Chev dealer who replaced the belt quickly and reasonably while we had dinner. So we were a little later arriving into Huron than we had hoped but the repairs didn’t put too big a dent in my pocket.
The results at Nationals were quite good. I was a little disappointed that Dragoon didn’t go as far as I would have hoped. He made the preliminary cut in the Megan and since his number was called twice, was obviously a selection of both first round judges. However, he went nowhere in the second round. In the specials for some reason he didn’t even make the first cut. More important, to me though, was the comments from several of the exhibitors who felt that he was going to be their main competition for the breed.
Naomi made the cut in her class, but neither she nor Shadow placed in their respective classes. Dash and Norton both came third in their classes, and Dolly received an Award of Merit – even out of coat. That is four years running she has been in major awards. As for the babies in other homes, Justin and Bling both looked fantastic but there were not enough ribbons to go around, and Darren came first in the regular class and second in Sweeps. Maple placed third in the 9-12 puppy bitch class. All in all, a very good showing for my kids and grandkids, and a lot more than many others came home with.
The sad part was taking Hunter in for the Parade of Titleholders. As we went around, it hit me that this was probably the last time he and I would enter a ring together. Even if he is still with us next year, it is unlikely that I will make the trip to Tucson, and if I did, I wouldn’t take him on a 5 day road trip. I wish we had been able to get a photo of Hunter and his descendants at Nationals, but everything ran far too late, and everyone was far too tired.
Norton was supposed to go live with his new co-owners…more about that in another post. However, there were issues getting paperwork done in the U.S., so he had to come home to Canada to have the paperwork done.
So on Sunday morning, all was packed up to head back home, and I stopped at Tim and Tracie’s to pick up the rest of the dogs. So far all was good, but about 20 minutes down the road on I-90, in my side mirror, I noticed blue smoke coming out from under the van. Never a good sign!! I immediately pulled over, and shut down the van and then looked underneath to see if I could see the source – and saw transmission fluid (I know my colours!!) pouring out from the front of the truck.
I called CAA/AAA again and got a truck to come out. Tim and Tracie came and rescued all the dogs from the truck and took them home, while I waited for the drivers to come and get the van and trailer, again. Tim gave me the address of his mechanic, and we towed the van there and left it. The tow truck driver was especially nice and took me back to their house, instead of leaving me to arrange my own transport, which was all he was really required to do.
Since I had to get Norton back to Canada, and I also had a very important meeting about a job to attend Tim then took me all the way to Cleveland airport to get a rental car. They also fed me and sent me on the road. I made it as far as Niagara Falls, before I finally had to pull over and get some sleep. Monday morning, I set out very early on the road again, and made Norton’s early morning vet appointment. Unfortunately, the Agriculture Canada vet was on a bit of a power trip, and was difficult (same guy that messed up my flights for Crufts) requiring another trip back to the vet again, but all worked out in the end. Late in the day I heard from the mechanic that it was only a transmission line that let go (when they put in the transmission cooler they used cheap hose), and thankfully I pulled over soon enough that I did no damage to the transmission.
Tuesday morning, I set off into Toronto for my meeting. From there, I once again hit the road for Ohio to drop off the rental car, and pick up the truck, and trailer, and the rest of the dogs. As I got out of the car and was taking out the crate and blanket we had put in for Norton, unfortunately my Iphone slipped out of my hand, and hit the concrete, resulting in a spiderweb of shattered glass on the front. The screen protector though, held it all together. I just made it before the rental location closed for the day, so I was able to turn it in and only pay 2 days rental instead of the 3. Tim came out and got me, and I picked up my truck. We then hitched up the trailer, loaded the dogs, and we all went out for dinner before I headed home.
I made it as far as I could before booking a motel in Hamburg, NY. I stopped at the rest stop in Angola, and walked all the dogs so they wouldn’t disturb everyone at the hotel, and then checked in at midnight.
Wednesday morning, I was beginning to question the sanity of long distance truckers who do this for a living! I don’t know how they are able to concentrate on the road, when one day just blurs into another. By this morning, I was blaring my music as loud as I could stand, and singing along (couldn’t have been too bad as none of the dogs were howling!) :) just to keep my sanity. So I arrived home just after 12:30 and started to unload. Larry came over and helped get the bike off, and some of the heavier stuff in. My living room looks like a warehouse, but I’m pretty sure many others who went to the nationals are in the same state. And then the final leg of the journey began. I had to return the trailer to Georgetown, and Carrie to Toronto. And then on the return trip, pick up Jade who has finally come into season.
So the whole trip was fraught with perils, and yet for some reason it hasn’t really upset me. Maybe its because I’ve decided to change my atttitude about how I am looking at it, and taken a page from the 12 steps to “Let go and let God”. No, I’m not an alcoholic (of the five bottles of wine I took to Nationals, shared one, gave away two, and brought two home), but I’ve attended their meetings with people I have been close to who are.
This story, another one that has made the internet rounds, came to mind during all of this. Even though I consider myself a spiritual, but not religious person, I couldn’t help but think of how it all pertained to this trip.
Me (in a tizzy) : God, can I ask you something?
Me: Promise you won’t get mad?
GOD: I promise.
Me (frustrated): Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?
GOD: What do you mean?
Me: Well I woke up late,
Me: My car took forever to start,
Me (growling): At lunch, they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait
Me: On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call
GOD: All right
Me (loudly): And to top it all off, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my foot massager and relax, but it wouldn’t work. Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?
GOD: Well let me see….. the death angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Me (humbled): Oh…
GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that might have hit you if you were on the road
Me (ashamed): Uhhh …………
GOD: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work
Me (embarrassed): Oh…..
GOD: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give a false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered
Me (softly): I see, God
GOD: Oh and that foot massager, it had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I’m sorry, God.
GOD: Don’t be sorry, just learn to trust me ……… in all things, the good and the bad
Me: I WILL trust you, God ~!
GOD: And don’t doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan
Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.
GOD: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I love looking after my children.
If Joan and Jens, hadn’t wanted to stop to see the Falls from the American side, I wouldn’t have turned down that driveway in error. If I hadn’t made that turn, I would have been on I-190 when the belt let go – and there would have been no one around to help with the dogs. As well, the dealership was courteous, helpful, and fixed it quickly, and all at a reasonable cost!
When the transmission line let go, I was driving in daylight. I could have been driving at night, and not seen the smoke, and would probably have cooked the transmission. As it was, it was again a minor repair. All totalled, both incidents came to less than $300 to fix.
When I broke down I was on I-90 and the vehicle, and by being in it the dogs were in peril if someone struck it. I am thankful for good friends like Tim and Tracie who rushed out and got the dogs to safety, and then looked after getting me settled!
I am thankful for another special friend, Carrie, who offered to stay an additional couple of days to look after the rest of the pack so that I could make the trip back to Ohio to pick up the truck and dogs.
I’m grateful to the tow truck driver who said he would not leave me sitting alone in a parking lot off the highway.
And I have to thank God, or whatever spirit was looking out for me on the highway, and timed these breakdowns in a way, that we were all safe, and had friends we could rely on nearby.
Instead of bemoaning the extra expenses, today I have chosen to change my attitude- and be thankful for these things instead.
And, oh yeah, Applecare has decided they would replace my Iphone too!!