I told you last time how we were leaving Venice, and our life from before the Big Adventure behind, but I had no idea how fun the next chapter was going to be. That’s why I haven’t written anything in so long! Time is funny, especially for us dogs. One moment you’re playing tug of war with Maya over the plastic bone from El Salvador, then you look up and Human weeks have gone by!
We packed all of our stuff out of Erik’s apartment and headed north to Studio City, and the beginning of the end of our life on the road. It didn’t take that long to get to Tanya and Sean’s, but my nose told me we were in a totally different part of Los Angeles. We crossed a big mountain to get there, and the smells of the beach were nowhere to be found. Sean and Tanya have a whole HOUSE, and we were going to stay there while they were away. I knew pretty quickly this arrangement was going to be tons of fun. Victoria and Jason deposited me and Maya on the back patio so they could move our stuff out of the camper, and we immediately met the Dude, and his Human Andrew. Dude is super cool, always happy to see you, and a total role model for Maya. Over the next month I watched Maya follow his every footstep, eating his food, barking at the squirrels, and laying about in the sun. Andrew was super nice too. He had no problem with me jumping up in his lap, or even sneaking into his bedroom first thing in the morning to snuggle up.
The next day we met Archie, another super cool dog that usually travels with Tanya and Sean but he got left home this time, which was just fine by me. Four dogs in the same house! We outnumbered the Humans! We wandered the house together like a pack of beach dogs all day long, tasting each others food, wrestling, running around, and sharing our toys. I could tell that we were a little bit much to deal with sometimes, but Victoria, Jason and Andrew still let us play to our heart’s content. Pair that with a super sunny patio and a ridiculously comfy bed, and I was basically ready to declare this place doggie heaven.
There were tons of other Humans around to hang out with, and to bark at. Hey, sometimes it just has to be done, you know? There was a big pool outside, almost like the one we had at the big jungle house in Costa Rica, and once a week two people would come over to clean it. They were pretty grumpy, so even though Victoria and Jason told us not to bark, they still kinda let us. Once some ladies came to clean the house, and they were super nice! In fact, one of them was from Oaxaca, one of our favorite places in Mexico! Victoria talked to her about chile rellenos and that beautiful city we had visited. It felt like we had brought a little bit of my Big Adventure to our new home. One day, Katie, Mike and little Marley even came to swim at the pool, and of course Andrew was there most of the time, always more than ready to give us dogs delicious treats. We didn’t even have to do anything for them!
It was about this point when Victoria and Jason started noticing my figure. It’s not something us dogs really think about, but apparently I had put on a couple of pounds since returning to the United States. I wasn’t about to be fat shamed, but I guess I had company. Victoria and Jason were complaining that they had gained weight too! I don’t know what their excuse is, but there were four bowls of dog food sitting on the floor. How could you not expect me to graze? Jason blamed his situation on something called In ‘N Out, while Victoria blamed it on the differences between camper life and life in a house. True, I was getting pretty lazy these days. But after so much time spent jumping from place to place, and eating all sorts of different dog foods (some tasty, some not so much), this was easy living.
Just as I was getting really settled in, My Family packed up the camper and we set out super early in the morning. What gives? I’m not entirely clear on Human time, but that didn’t seem like a full month yet. We drove back down the big mountain and through Venice, over to a storage space. A nice man with a giant truck dropped off a mountain of boxes and chairs, and Jason had to put it all away. Humans like stuff, but it takes up room. So when they want even more stuff they have to rent a place to keep it all. It’s complicated and silly, I know. Just as I was starting to wonder why we had to pack back into the camper for this, I got a huge surprise: Lorna and David! Victoria’s parents were in town for a visit! My tail nearly wagged off my behind. Even Maya, who normally just pees herself when there’s any kind of surprise, was jumping up and giving huge kisses.
We had packed up and left the Studio City house because we were going to spend a few days with Lorna and David in another house. Best of all? It was back in Venice! My Dogtown days weren’t quite over. The whole Family unloaded cars into a cute house near where we used to live, with a huge yard that Maya and I were allowed to explore to our heart’s content. We spent our time together doing some of my absolute favorite things: going on walks, snuggling on the couch, hanging out on the deck in sunny spots, and chasing Maya around the yard. Well, I think that’s only MY favorite thing, but Lorna and David didn’t seem to have a problem with it. Best of all, the smells rolling out of the kitchen were constant and amazing, wrapping around my very soul. More often than not, Maya and I each got a taste.
Soon I discovered why My Family got that furniture. Lorna and David had given up their house in Miami, and were in the middle of their own Big Adventure. They drove all the way across the country to see us, and gave My Family a car they weren’t going to use anymore! After our stay in Venice, they were getting on an airplane and flying to a place called London, which is across the whole Atlantic Ocean. They were going to live there! I was a little bit sad to discover this, even though they were very excited for this next chapter. What’s up with all this change? I sure hope it doesn’t mean we’re going to see them less. Hanging out with Lorna and David made for some of my favorite moments during My Family’s Big Adventure. We may not be wandering colonial cities with them anymore, but I’d be content going anywhere with them. I made sure to give them extra long snuggles (and more than a few kisses) while we were together, so they would be sure to know how much I loved them.
Lorna and David had to get on a plane. We had a pretty teary goodbye, and then Victoria and Jason took us to the vet for shots. Yeah, that’s right. Couldn’t they have spread this crummy stuff out? We packed up the house in Venice and drove back to Studio City, Maya with Jason in the Big Truck, and me with Victoria in our gifted car, JETT. Jason says it’s actually a Volkswagen Jetta with the ‘a’ missing, but I’m just going to call it JETT, because that’s way cooler. We got back to Studio City without a problem, even though Victoria was pretty nervous. This was her first time driving a car in more than a year and a half. Yeah, she felt a little bit rusty.
After a couple of days in Studio City, we packed into JETT for another adventure. Hey, this life off the road is still pretty cool! Jason pointed JETT east, and after a couple of hours we were in a town that was very hot and very dry, and Maya and I were panting our faces off in the backseat. Jason and Victoria were super excited about something called ‘Coachella’, and hanging out at a swanky hotel with Katie and Mike. I don’t know about this Coachella thing, and I sure never got to go, but the hotel part was just fine by me. The room was surrounded by grassy spots, and dogs were more than welcome. The bed was super cozy, and My Family was in a great mood. We did get left behind a lot, but I couldn’t really complain. There didn’t seem to be any other dogs lucky enough to be there, so when Maya and I had to occupy ourselves while Victoria and Jason listened to music, we were more than happy to enjoy the icy cold air conditioning . The last night there, Victoria hung out with us all night while Jason and Mike went to that Coachella thing. Jason came home very excited about some guy named Jack White, saying he “killed it”, and he “burned the whole damn place down”. I don’t know, Jack White doesn’t sound like a very nice person.
A couple of nights in the swanky hotel, and we hopped back into JETT and headed for home. We did make a couple of cool pit stops first, checking out this HUGE body of water called the Salton Sea, and a strange campsite out in the desert called Slab City. By the time we got out of the car in Slab City, I didn’t think I could pant any harder. It was really sunny, and really, REALLY hot. Jason and Victoria wanted to see this place called Salvation Mountain, however, and after Maya and I guzzled water we agreed it was definitely worth the trip. Big and colorful, with all sorts of Humans climbing around and taking pictures. I can’t say I understood exactly what it was all about, but they’re not looking for doggie tour guides anyway.
We drove back to Studio City and settled back in at Tanya and Sean’s. I was pretty confident at this point that the adventure was over, and I was going to get some time to just lay about and relax. For the next few days, that’s exactly what I did. Jason kept going off to work and working tons when he was home too. Victoria made sure we were all taken care of, and that Jason had delicious lunches to take along with him. Maya played with sticks and learned to be more like the Dude. Archie settled back into his routine, having a daft half hour with Maya during the day, sleeping in the bedroom with us at night, and sometimes even hunkering down on the bed with us.
One day Sean and Tanya came home. Boy, was Archie happy to see them! I know the feeling. Being away from your family is never fun, and Archie was really good the whole time. So nice to us, and fun to play with. I could tell he loves his family, and My Family loves them too. I don’t think I had ever met them before, but they are really fun to hang out with, and the Dude, Archie, Maya and I all agreed their baby is going to be super awesome too . We enjoyed a couple of days together, hanging out by the pool and catching up on all of their adventures in Canada, Australia, and in some place called Bora Bora, that doesn’t sound boring boring at all.
Then I got really confused. We had moved into a different bedroom when they got home, so I had thought we were going to stay there forever, with our new, bigger family. Boy, was I wrong. A couple of weeks before this we had driven out to another part of Los Angeles called Topanga. It was a quick trip, but a super pretty one. Trees, birds, and curvy mountain roads, like we drove in Guatemala. There was a house there that My Family wanted to show Lorna and David, but we didn’t actually know anyone who lived there. Apparently, this was going to be our home! Yep, My Family was moving to Topanga. Not just another quick stop, but somewhere we are going to stay for a whole year! I’ll check back in soon and let you know how life OFF the road is going!