Easter at Ruuska Resort

Despite the tone of my recent posts, it’s not all doom and gloom around here. In fact, it’s not really gloomy at all. I’m just feeling a bit “off.” But things are definitely looking up.

There’s nothing like a change of scenery and fun times with friends to lift the spirit. Besides, I am not typically a wallower, as in one who enjoys reveling in one’s own misery. I just figured I should share a little reality every now and then.

RR_MapHubby, Mike, and I did something a little different over Easter weekend. A road trip with the girls. A long road trip to the beach of all places, to visit our friends Heather and Timo (pronounced like tee-mo), who live in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

I met Heather back in 2008. We both worked for the same company at the time. She is also a remote employee (works from her home), so we didn’t spend much time together in person. But we did communicate a lot by phone and e-mail.

We have actually managed to stay in touch over the years. Co-workers come and go, but I have forged bonds with some that will last a lifetime. Heather is one of those.

I have been saying I was going to visit Heather for a very long time. She, Timo, and their furbaby, Roxie, came to visit us in Warrenton back in October. So I figured it was about time we make the trek down to visit them. And I am so glad we did. We had a fabulous time.

Ruuska Resort
Ruuska Resort

Heather and Timo don’t live right on the beach, but they are surrounded by water. If you click on the map, you’ll see what I mean. And their house is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like something out of a magazine, which is why I decided to call it the Ruuska Resort. It’s lovely, really. Heather definitely has a knack for decorating, and “the Swede” who is in charge of upkeep does a bang-up job.

Definite Dog Lovers
Definite Dog Lovers

Roxie, the resident furbaby, is a cross between a German Shepherd, Foxhound, and maybe some other stuff. She’s super-smart, very sweet, and was quite pleased to have some canine company. We didn’t see much of their cat, Rosie, while we were there, but I did at least get to meet her.

Spring arrives much earlier in that part of North Carolina. It was nice to see all of the azaleas and lots of other pretty plants in full bloom. Their azaleas have huge flowers, which are more like rhododendrons than azaleas, if you ask me.

The yard at Ruuska Resort
The yard at Ruuska Resort

 

Azalea
Azalea

Isn’t that flower gorgeous? It looks like a Stargazer Lily. It was almost as big as my hand!

Welcome Sign
Welcome Sign

We all felt very welcome. Dogs included!

Timo was born in Sweden, but grew up in Finland, which is why they have a Swedish welcome sign.

Happy K
Happy K

 

IMG_0020
Ruuska (like roo-ska) is their last name.

Heather made that sign. She’s crafty, too, when she puts her mind to it (and has time for it!).

IMG_0023
Nook on the back deck.

Don’t you just LOVE this little porch nook on their back deck? It’s quite cozy, which is a good thing, since I locked myself out there at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Lucky for me, it was warm. AND I had a full cup of coffee. I just curled up on the little settee and listened to the birds cavorting through the trees.

The girls were happy, too, as they got to watch the birds and squirrels. The house is elevated due to its proximity to the water.

Great perch for squirrel-watching.
Great perch for squirrel-watching.

 

Octopus
Octopus

 

Roxie
Roxie

 

Roxie and Belle
Roxie and Belle

Heather and I had been sitting on that little settee. As soon as Heather got up — like seconds later — Roxie joined me. As soon as I got up, Belle joined Roxie, and immediately pretended to be sound asleep.

Belle didn’t mind too much when I took my seat back.

Freshly showered ToadMama.
Freshly showered ToadMama and baby Belle.

Heather prepared a lovely breakfast for us on Saturday. The furkids were all happy to share the leftover piece of bacon.

Bacon!
Bacon!

After breakfast, we went for a driving tour of the area. It was overcast and rainy, so I didn’t take any pictures. We eventually ended up in Old Town Wilmington, which is where we stopped for a delicious lunch at a place called The Basics.

There was a piece of artwork on the wall above our table, which made Timo ask if we’d been assigned to sit in that spot because he was with us.

foreigner4
Blast from the Past!

The weekend went WAY too fast, of course. Sunday morning came far too quickly.

IMG_6322
My girls made themselves right at home.

My early-bird girls and I relaxed while everyone else slept in, then we went for a long walk. It was really lovely.

IMG_6337
One of their beautiful Sago Palms.

 

IMG_0042
A neighbor’s Live Oak.

 

IMG_6336
Cool plant (I forgot its name).

I told Heather we needed to make sure to get a group photo before we left. After the car was packed, we all headed outside. We knew our girls wouldn’t leave the car while we chatted and I set up the shot.

IMG_0048
Roxie wasn’t happy to see us getting ready to leave.

 

IMG_0051
We all thought Roxie was probably thinking “don’t leave!”

Nice group photo, right?

(L-R) Mike, Me, Heather, and Timo
(L-R) Mike, Me, Heather, and Timo

We all had a good chuckle afterward when we saw this…

IMG_0057
Apparently, Roxie had been thinking, “Make room for me!”

The girls were all perfectly happy to wait in the car as we said our goodbyes.

IMG_0061
“Okay, we’re set. Shut the door and let’s go!”

 

IMG_0066
Roxie, pretending to ignore us telling her to get out of the car.

 

IMG_0069
How can you not smile at that?

Heather thinks K and Roxie look like cousins in that photo (above). I think they look like drunk girlfriends.

IMG_0077
Roxie REALLY didn’t want her friends to leave.

It really was a lovely visit, even if it did go by way too fast.

One thing is for sure, I have been blessed in this life with a lot of really awesome friends.

More adventures are on the horizon. Could it involve family, friends, a road trip, airplane rides, surprise visitor(s) , a voyage to another country, a boat ride? Or maybe all of the above? One never knows. I do know, however, that exciting times are definitely ahead.

Snowpocalypsemageddon, Part 1

All is well here at the ToadMama abode. I was actually away at a work meeting Tuesday night through Friday morning. With the blizzard being forecast for our region, I made sure I left the hotel good and early on Friday.

When I got home, I saw that Hubby had prepared for the storm.

IMG_5351
Hubby’s Snow Stick

It’s always hard to measure snow depth during a storm. By that I mean actually having to go out into the storm to measure.

I took the girls for a walk around noon, which was when the snow started.

IMG_5352
Our driveway, shortly after the snow began.

I wanted to make sure and take the girls for a walk before the snow got too deep. They weren’t at all pleased to see the boots come out.

IMG_5355
“We can’t walk in these stupid booties!”

If they don’t wear boots, they get rock salt and/or ice balls stuck between their pads. It makes them limp.

ToadMama the Bitches
ToadMama and the Bitches

There was about 8 inches of snow on the ground when we went for our walk.

Snowin' and Blowin'
Snowin’ and Blowin’

They seemed to enjoy their walk despite the boots.

IMG_5365
Happy Pups

It was a crazy storm. We never lost power, fortunately. I took a bunch of pics yesterday and today, which I’ll share later.

We spent the day digging out, and I think I need a nap.

IMG_5376
Rest break during Friday’s walk.

I think we ended up with between 25-30 inches of snow. It was very windy, though, so I’m not sure of the actual total.

I hope you all had a warm, safe, and happy weekend.

More on the storm and digging out, later.

Not-so-traditional Thanksgiving

K and Belle (L-R)
The Girls (L-R), K and Belle

I hope you folks in the US enjoyed your Thanksgiving. Ours was interesting.

As I mentioned the other day, we didn’t have any meal plans for turkey day. A couple of weeks ago, when I was cataloging VA LOVEworks I still needed to capture, I mentioned planning a trip in the car, since Winter is approaching. Hubby said he’d go along, so I suggested doing it on Thanksgiving.

Hubby started a diet recently, and I knew we wouldn’t be preparing a traditional meal for the two of us. So I figured a road trip would be better than sitting around the house.

Not only did Hubby go along, we took the furkids, too. That’s something we rarely do. In fact, we’ve never spent the night in a hotel with these two. K is a good car rider. Belle doesn’t like car rides. Neither of them gets carsick, thank goodness, but Belle does a lot of panting unless we’re on an interstate or other smooth, fast-moving road. I was a bit worried that they’d be a real nuisance, but they actually did good on the ride.

Overview Map
Overview Map

I’d planned on capturing seven of the large LOVEworks and one smaller one, which I knew to be indoors. I also included two roadside oddities, which I knew wouldn’t be enjoyed by all participants. But, since both were in areas we’d be passing through anyway, I included them.

Traveling in a clockwise direction, our first stop was in Lynchburg. Wait, I mean our first planned stop was in Lynchburg, we first had to stop at Wal-Mart to buy a dog leash. We’d forgotten to grab the leashes before leaving home and could only find one in the car.

IMG_4870
My Traveling Companions at the Lynchburg LOVEwork

Mike, being a good sport, tried to get both of the girls to look at me for a pic. I took about ten shots before giving up.

Also in Lynchburg, within sight of the LOVEwork, were “the red high-heeled shoes of a giantess,” as described on RoadsideAmerica.com.

IMG_0009
Giant Red Shoes along the Lynchburg Waterfront

Not knowing when, if ever, I’d get back to Lynchburg, I wanted to see the shoes. There were other oddities, like an enema collection, large metal water pitcher, and Easter Island head, but I didn’t want to push it.

IMG_4872
Crazy Clouds

From there, we headed south and west toward Lambsburg. The LOVEwork is actually located at the Virginia Welcome Center along the northbound side of I-77, so we dipped down into North Carolina then headed north on the interstate.

The weather was warm — mid-60s F / about 18 C — dry, and partly cloudy, which made for some interesting skies.

Lambsburg LOVEwork
Lambsburg LOVEwork

That’s my favorite LOVE image from the trip. The light was perfect and there was a break in the clouds.

From there, we headed west toward Abingdon, where we’d reserved a hotel room for the night. A good bit of the Lambsburg-to-Abingdon leg was along The Crooked Road Trail (a portion of US-58), which goes past Grayson Highlands State Park, a place I’d been wanting to visit. I’d read there was a pretty good view from the park. As it turns out, the Internet was right.

View from Grayson Highlands State Park
View from Grayson Highlands State Park

I’d hoped to see downtown Abingdon’s Main Street at night, but Hubby was tired after those 380 miles in the car. The girls needed some people time, too. So, we got a mediocre-to-crappy meal at Cracker Barrel, which was right next to the hotel, then hunkered down for the night. (By sheer coincidence, Abingdon was almost exactly the halfway point of our journey.)

After a yummy breakfast, we were off.

Abingdon LOVEwork
Abingdon LOVEwork

I’d stopped in Abingdon in July, but the sculpture had been damaged during a storm and removed for repair, so I missed it. I’m glad I got the chance to go back. Not capturing the Abingdon piece wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but it’s a pretty town in a very nice area.

We also stopped at Holston Mountain Artisans, a craft co-op which has an indoor LOVEwork I’d hoped to see. They have a barn quilt on the outside of their building, so I actually got a chance to see a full-size barn quilt up close for the first time. (The standard side on a big barn is 8′ by 8′ (about 2.5 x 2.5 meters) square.

Holston Mountain Artisans' Barn Quilt
Holston Mountain Artisans’ Barn Quilt

Hubby actually discovered a second, smaller barn quilt behind the building, which I’ll share later. Sadly, the shop didn’t open for another hour or so and we had a lot of ground to cover, so off we went.

Dricing northeast toward Tazewell
Driving northeast toward Tazewell

I forgot to mention earlier that it was a very pretty day for a drive.

The next planned stop was Tazewell, where we’d capture the piece I was most excited about seeing.

Seen along the drive to Tazewell.
Seen along the drive to Tazewell.

I couldn’t resist stopping to see the barn quilts on this not-yet-open arts center. Speaking of barn quilts… wanna know why I was so excited about seeing the Tazewell piece, which was also added very recently?

It is a barn quilt LOVEwork! I’m not doing a barn quilt scavenger hunt, I just really enjoy seeing them.

Tazewell_LOVE_small
Tazewell LOVEwork

That piece is in a really, really cool location, too, which I’ll tell you about in a separate post.

Blacksburg LOVEwork
Blacksburg LOVEwork

Not all LOVEworks have to be standalone art works. The Blacksburg piece is a very nicely done mural.

We also revisited neighboring Christiansburg to capture a pic of the piece we’d ridden past in July because it was rush hour and too dang hot to stop.

Again, not seeing it wouldn’t have been a big deal. There are no hard and fast rules to this self-imposed scavenger hunt, but since we were in the area, we stopped.

Christiansburg LOVEwork
Christiansburg LOVEwork

We were supposed to see a seventh LOVEwork. Unfortunately, I’d failed to notice that the LOVEwork at the Silver Hearth Lodge, which was one of the more-recent additions to the growing list of sites, is on private property and you’re supposed to make a appointment to see the thing. We took our chances and drove up to the lodge anyway, but didn’t see the LOVEwork.

I don’t think pieces should be included  on the official/master list of LOVEworks unless they are publicly accessible around the clock. I can’t be the only person to have driven to see a specific piece only to be thwarted because a piece was behind closed gates and/or doors.

The next-to-last planned stop for the day was a must-see for me. I missed it the first time I visited Roanoke.

I had planned the route, but Hubby was in charge of entering it into the GPS. His label for the next stop should tell you how unexcited he was about that one.

IMG_4904
Just another stupid roadside oddity…

was excited, but the girls were ambivalent.

My first Paul Bunyan Muffler Man
My first Paul Bunyan Muffler Man

I should have made the girls get out of the car, but sunset was fast approaching and I wanted Hubby to see downtown Roanoke. As it turns out, he wasn’t impressed.

Looking west from Roanoke, just before sunset.
Looking west from Roanoke, just before sunset.

That was the end of day two. Not counting the uneventful drive home from Roanoke. I think it was just before 8:00 p.m. when we got back to Warrenton. The girls were especially excited to be back home. We were, too.

Now, if I could just muster up an iota of Christmas spirit, I might get something done today.

IMG_4909
In search of some Christmas spirit.

 

Out and About

Mother Nature has been teasing us with little outbursts of Spring.

image5
Belle is enjoying herself more than it seems.

While yesterday would have been a nice day to ride, we had some things on our to-do list than needed doing.

And today’s weather is supposed to be even better. So we decided to get the chores out of the way on Saturday, leaving Sunday wide open for FUN.

The first big thing on the to-do list was de-winterizing the WV Place. Mike had decided to shut off the heat and water for the winter,  hoping to avoid another ugly, very inconvenient, and costly freezing of the pipes incident.

Notice I said “hoping to”? Apparently, enough water lingered in the shower valve that it froze, causing the shower valve to fail. So, when he turned the water back on, the shower wouldn’t turn off. Crap. Not a huge deal, just another inconvenience.

We also had to move a dresser from the VA house to the WV Place. If it hadn’t been for that, we would have taken the bikes. Alas, taking the truck meant the dogs could join us.

It was a real treat for them, they LOVE the WV Place.

Happy Dogs
Happy Dogs

Can you tell that they’re happy? K, aka The Huntress, was so obsessed with whatever critter was cowering in the woodpile that I literally had to drag her away to get her to come home. Crazy mutt.

While Spring appears to really be settling in here in VA, it’s just barely starting to make an appearance near the WV Place, which is about 100 miles northwest of here and at a somewhat higher elevation. We thought for sure some of the Redbud and Dogwood trees would be in bloom. We thought wrong.

I did see some evidence of Spring.

Tiny Little Wildflower
Tiny Little Wildflower

I can’t remember what those flowers are called. They’re only two to three inches tall, with blooms about half an inch across. They may be tiny, but at least it’s evidence that Spring is on its way, albeit very slowly.

Still Standing
Still Standing

It’s always a relief to see the WV Place surviving without out us.

I can’t remember whether or not I told y’all we had not one, but TWO signed contracts on the place last year. Signed, as in we thought it was a done deal. Buyer number one had some sort of family emergency. The second buyer had “buyer’s remorse.” We could not believe that was their actual excuse. Bastards.

So it’s still on the market. Sigh.

image3
Hunting Fun

The dogs did seem to enjoy the brief visit. Even if K spent almost the entire time glued to the woodpile.

At least it was a pretty day for a drive. I even spotted a barn quilt along the way.

image1
Barn Quilt in Pleasantdale, West Virginia

I know that’s a crappy picture. I thought for sure we’d spot others, since Hampshire County now has a barn quilt trail. It would have been helpful had I remembered before we left. Then I would’ve been equipped with a map. They’re not as easy to find as one would think. And cell coverage is so painfully slow in those parts, that trying to use my phone to locate them was frustrating me more than it was worth.

That was our Saturday.

Imagine my chagrin this morning when I looked at my weather app to see this crazy-weird report. There was a frost advisory, current temp was 36 degress (F), with a forecast for a high temperature of 70 degrees.

That’s Spring for you.

Now, I need to go plan a route for today’s ride. I hope you all enjoy your Sunday.

Not Just Another Doggie Transport

CORRECTION: I goofed. You’l see my fix in red below. In short, Nancy is the coordinator for two Brittany rescue groups. Transports are executed without distinguishing between the two groups. 

I helped out on another doggie transport yesterday. I’ve mentioned transports here before. I even described a “transport” as a time when a dog rescue group needs to get a dog or dogs from point A to point B, usually over a long distance. Along the way, folks volunteer to drive 50- to 100-mile segments. It’s like a big doggie relay.

But that makes it sound so simple. There’s a TON of work, coordination, and cooperation that goes into pulling off these “relays,” and yesterday I was thinking a big shout-out is due to the folks who make this happen consistently.

Dog rescue is interesting. Cat rescue is similar, I’m sure. Sometimes, people wonder why it seems like one has to jump through so many hoops to rescue an animal in need. Those people, who have likely never been involved with a volunteer rescue group, fail to realize the level of effort, sometimes on a huge scale and involving many volunteers, that goes into rescuing an animal in need.

First, there’s the surrender/rescue. A volunteer has to accept the animal being rescued from an owner surrendering the animal. Or a volunteer has to pull an animal from a shelter, usually at the drop of a hat, because euthanasia is imminent.

Then that animal goes to a foster home. Ideally, the foster will be close to where surrender/rescue occurred. Sometimes, if there are no local foster homes with openings, the dog has to be transported over a long distance. On occasion, there are no available foster homes, and the animal has to be placed in a boarding facility, at great cost to the rescue group.

Remember, people volunteer to foster animals. That typically means one agrees to safely house, nurture, and feed the animal at their own expense. Fosters are also responsible for arranging for veterinary care. That can sometimes mean paying the vet bills then submitting receipts for reimbursement. Some rescues and vets will handle expenses among themselves, so the foster doesn’t have to pay.

When there are medical issues, and there usually are at least minor issues, the foster may have to medicate the animal, take it back and forth to the vet many times, nurse it back to health, etc.

Whether healthy or sickly, an animal usually spends at least a couple of weeks with a foster for evaluation. It’s a foster’s job to get to know the animal’s like and dislikes, personality, etc. For dogs, that means determining whether or not it is friendly to people, food-aggressive, has separation anxiety, likes cats or likes to kill cats, walks well on a leash, is content behind a four-foot fence, requires a six-foot fence, or is determined to escape from within any height or type of enclosure.

During this time, fosters can become attached to the animal. Which is why they care and want to make absolutely sure they end up in a good, safe place, with people who will care about them, treat them well, see to their medical needs, etc.

Sorry, that explanation got a bit longer than I’d expected, but it’s important.

As for getting a dog, or a cat, from point A to point B, it is the Transport Coordinator’s job to coordinate those efforts. Once they are notified that there’s an animal to be transported — they’re usually told the start and end points — they spring into action to map out a route. Things are never as easy as they sound, trust me. That mapping doesn’t just mean planning the route, but also breaking it up into segments, known as “legs,” manageable enough for volunteers along the way.

Then, they send out a transport request, typically by e-mail, but they also use other methods like Facebook posting, Internet forums/bulletin boards, perhaps a blog, etc. When I get these requests, I review each one to see whether or not there’s a NEEDED leg I can fill.

Here’s  a map of my route yesterday.

My leg was Staunton to Strasburg.
My leg was Staunton to Strasburg.

 

nancy
Nancy “The Rock Star” Walker

New England Brittany Rescue (NEBR) and National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network (NBRAN) share a Rock-star coordinator. Her name is Nancy Walker. Like many of us volunteers, she helps other rescues, too. (Other Brittany rescue groups, include American Brittany Rescue (ABR) and Brittany Rescue in Texas (BRIT), to name a few.)

Nancy will probably read this and accuse me of exaggerating about her contribution. But I’m not.

Nancy did call me. But only because she felt bad that I goofed and didn’t mention that she transports dogs for NBRAN and NEBR. 

Sorry, NEBR, that was my fault entirely. I completely missed this in Nancy’s e-mail signature, Brittany Transport Team – National Brittany Rescue (NBRAN)/New England Brittany Rescue (NEBR)

Essentially, getting dogs where they need to be is a joint effort between groups, which just means an even bigger network of volunteers is involved. 

Nancy also serves on the NBRAN Board. AND, in addition to Transport Coordinator, which is a full-time job in and of itself, she’s also the State Coordinator for at least four states. Being a State Coordinator for just one state is a big job. Describing what that entails will require a separate post.

I thought sharing the text from the request for the transport I was involved in on Saturday would help you appreciate the amount of work each transport involves. Do take a look at that run sheet, okay? A document like that is required for every transport. Each one.

Oh, and I just learned from The Rock Star herself earlier today that there’s a boatload of official government paperwork required for many of the transports, too. I had no idea there were specific laws, quarantine rules, and licensing requirements in some states. Some states even require foster homes to be licensed. Jeez. I’m sure there are reasons, but it just adds a whole ‘nother level of complexity to this already mammoth task.

On Saturday, Nancy the Rock Star was responsible for six transports. And sometimes, as with my transport, multiple animals are involved.

Nancy has to update each run sheet as legs are filled. Adding info such as driver names, contact information, vehicle descriptions, designated meeting place, etc. She publishes a final sheet before the transport starts. And then, while each transport is underway, it is Nancy who monitors the progress, fielding phone calls after each hand-off and sending e-mail updates to all drivers involved.

There were at least 23 drivers involved in just my transport alone yesterday. Think of all the e-mails and phone calls associated with just that one transport.

Wanna see yesterday’s passengers?

IMG_1117
Cyrus

 

IMG_1116
Princess

 

If you were wondering why Cracker Barrel at Exit 222 off I-81 was noted on the map, it was the meeting spot in Staunton. It’s convenient to the interstate, has a potty, which folks like me appreciate, and a big parking lot with a secluded grassy area that’s perfect for doggie potty stops, too. I’ve been there on at least two occasions when other rescue groups were also doing hand-offs. Arby’s was the meeting spot in Staunton. During my last stop there, at least one other group was handing off.

Diana, the lady I handed Cyrus and Princess off to in Strasburg, drove the two dogs north to Hagerstown, Maryland, another  transport hot-spot, since it’s near the intersection of  I-81 and I-70. A second transport was also heading south, so Diana brought another dog back to the Strasburg area. Diana also brought a borrowed crate (long story) back from Hagerstown with her, which I picked up from her in a nearby town this morning.

At least one other Brittany transport was going through Hagerstown yesterday, too, carrying a puppy from Michigan to Culpeper, Virginia.

Transports are a huge, HUGE part of the rescue process. I’m hopeful this post will inspire others to volunteer. It was a half-day road trip for me, which I thoroughly enjoyed. If you don’t have that much time, or don’t like to drive far, you could just volunteer for transports that pass a bit closer to your house. If you live near a major interstate, chances are very good that rescue transports are passing nearby all the time.

Just think about it, okay? It takes a lot more effort to rescue these animals than you might imagine. Every single volunteer and every donation, small or large, counts.

Before I sign off, I have to report that there was a bit of a hitch in yesterday’s transport plan. The dogs are all safe, but the transport got a bit stalled due to, get this, the volcano in Costa Rica!

Here’s some of the text from Nancy’s e-mail late last night.

Christine was supposed to pick up Dash and Cyrus tomorrow and take them home to Maine.  She was vacationing in Costa Rica and has gotten stuck there due to the volcano erupting.  The planes are not taking off due to the ash.  She will probably get on a fight out of the tomorrow morning, but we are not sure, so Dash and Cyrus need to stay with LeeAnn instead of leaving in the morning.
Princess will continue on as planned.

Nancy had to scramble into action again, to secure a place for Cyrus and Dash to rest their heads until Christine is available. Never a dull moment.

So, the next time you see a transport request, think about pitching in. Volunteering for a leg or two doesn’t require much effort, but it could be THE link in a chain that means life or death for an animal or animals.

Also, if you know Nancy, make sure you let her know how much you appreciate the fabulous job she’s doing. She’s a Rock Star, I tell you. NBRAN is very lucky to have her on their team.

LOVE Captured on Valentine’s Day

While daydreaming about fun warmer weather excursions recently, I came up with an idea for my own little scavenger hunt.

Who doesn’t LOVE a scavenger hunt? Especially if it means getting out on the motorcycle (or in the car; I’m easy on my “rules”).

The tourism folks in the state of Virginia — our motto being Virginia is for Lovers — are behind a push to have LOVE artworks erected throughout the state. I’d seen a couple already, and LOVE the idea, so I thought it would be fun to try and capture pics of each one this year.

Virginia is a big state — on the map, I’m about 3/4 inch SW of Washington, DC — but I think it’s doable. I’ve actually captured three already.

LOVE_map
Click on the map to visit the VA LOVE Web site.

 

I helped out on a dog transport yesterday. A “transport” is when a rescue needs to get a dog or dogs from point A to point B, usually over a long distance. Along the way, folks volunteer to drive 50- to 100-mile segments. It’s like a big doggie relay.

I was responsible for picking up two dogs in Staunton, VA and taking them to Strasburg, VA. They started off in Ferrum, VA and were headed to Conesus, NY. I believe their previous owner had health issues, which is why they were surrendered.

Anyway… I decided to multi-task on the mini road trip. It was Valentine’s Day, after all, and LOVE was on my mind. Sort of. (We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Only because we both think it’s sorta a contrived holiday, not because there’s any lack of love.)

LOVE_Waynesboro
LOVE in Waynesboro, VA (captured on Valentine’s Day)

 

I really liked the fishing theme of the Waynesboro piece.

Once I arrived at the site, I got out of the car to snag a few pics. A youngish couple got out of their car and asked me to take a picture of them. Of course, I obliged. They got one of me, too. Then, oddly, said, “Maybe we’ll run into you again.”

I must have given them an odd look, because the guy quickly explained that they were spending their weekend visiting LOVE spots throughout Virginia. That made my heart happy. What a great way to spend Valentine’s weekend, eh?

LOVE_Culpeper
LOVE in Culpeper, VA

 

Culpeper is about a 30-minute drive SW of Warrenton (my hometown). Hubby and I went there for lunch a couple of weeks ago.

LOVE_Luray
LOVE in Luray, VA

 

I captured the Luray LOVE sign back in January, while en route to another Staunton-to-Strasburg transport. I’ve only seen three LOVE pieces so far, but the Luray sign is my least favorite. It doesn’t exactly stand out.

I’m actually excited about seeing more, especially since there are some located near family members I don’t often get to see. And there are others in places I wouldn’t normally visit.

There are a couple more LOVE pieces I could have captured yesterday, but they’re along an awesome motorcycle road, so I decided to save them for later. Maybe Hubby can share that LOVE with me. LOL.

Speaking of awesome motorcycle roads, it was sort of torturous to be in the middle of prime motorcycle riding country AND seeing the mountains. I was excited to be out and about, though.

Did you know that Waynesboro is near where Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins? And Strasburg is actually near Front Royal, which is where Skyline Drive begins. I had to go through Front Royal to get home, anyway, so I decided to drive the northern segment of the drive, from Front Royal to US-211 at Thornton Gap.

It was cold, but quite interesting. We had an arctic cold front push through yesterday afternoon, so the skies for most of the day were quite moody, to say the least.

I’ll save the other pics I captured yesterday for my next post.

LOVE_Waynesboro_with_ToadMama