Sunday, September 26, 2010

Camping and Geo Caching

It was the DMOTC AKC agility trial this weekend, which meant camping, running dogs, and eating.  Not necessarily in that order! 

We had beautiful weather on Friday night, a small camp fire and Carrie brought her grill for cooking!  Liz and Tracy, both had a camper and RV up the lane a ways.  Martha was in a tent, Carrie, Meme and I were sleeping in our 'red neck RVs'.  "AKA - our vans!"   It was awesome.  Okay, for most of us it was awesome!  Melinda whined quite a bit on Saturday about the beagle and the FULL MOON from the neighboring tent.  Since Carrie, Meme and I were sleeping in our vans, it didn't bother us at all.  We didn't hear a thing!

Saturday it rained ALL DAY!! It was pretty miserable outside.  Luckily it was suppose to stop in the late afternoon.  Amazingly enough, it did!  The weatherman finally got it right for once!  About 3:30, no more rain!  So, off to the camp site and a trip to 'town' for pizza!!!  As we were waiting for the pizza joint to open, Michele found a Geo Cache for us to look for.  Unfortunately, we never found it, but we were interesting in trying again.

The pizza doors opened and Liz, Betsy, Michele P, Martha, Bill, Meme, Carrie and Jill FINALLY decided what kind of pizza to order.  As were waiting for our food, the conversation came back to GEO Caching.  Michele had tracked down a 'night time' one the evening before and asked if we'd be interested in going.  OF COURSE WE WERE!!  Michele told us to call her around 7:30 and we'd go find it.

We finished our pizza and headed back to camp.  Melinda had a tent malfunction and decided to head into the city to get a hotel.  Tracy was in town now as well.  Jill was now in a tent, Bill had joined us with his own 'red neck RV' and we started a wonderful fire.  It was rather chilly and we all had sweatshirts and coats. Jill decided it would be nice to toast her foot over the fire since they were a bit chilled.  We were fine with that since we didn't have any marshmallows (Tracy had them) or pokers...(they were locked in Tracy's trailer).

It was finally time to call Michele!  Carrie, Michele and Meme had flashlights and Jill had a head lamp!  I had my flip. Michele having found this cache the night before, lead us to the starting stop and turned us loose in the woods.  LITERALLY!!  You begin by scanning the area with your flashlight, looking for a reflector on a tree.  They are little reflector tacks.  You follow these tacks to the treasure!  Into the woods we went.

Apparently the conditions had changed in 24 hrs!  With all the rain during the day, we now had streams of water and a running creek to cross.  We made it into a clearing and spotted more reflectors in another wooded area.  It was just a few feet in and the "X" was located!!  Looking at the base of a tree, Carrie located the Cache box. After playing with the latch, she showed us the prizes inside!  We were leaving a quarter that we'd found at the camp site, so, we could have taken something.  I was eyeballing the plastic Mammoth, but honestly...what would I do with that!  So, we decided to just sign the log, (Everyone that locates the Cache is suppose to sign it) and left it intact, plus one quarter.  Carrie signed it SmoothSailin.

See our Video below!


As luck would have it, we ended up by the restrooms.
The perfect location before heading back to camp!  

Caching was fun, and I'm sure I'll be looking for more in the future.  

Interested?  Go to.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

2nd Provisional Judging Assignment

My friend Kristi, along with her PWD, Moby, picked me up at work Friday Morning.  We were heading to a Portuguese Water Dog ‘Water Trial’, in Indianapolis, MN.  Indianapolis is about 400 miles away, so it’s nice to have some company along the way.  Kristi has an extra 250 miles to travel, as she was coming from Lakeville, MN.  It was HER idea, NOT MINE!!

The plan was for her to pick me up about 9 am and arrive at about 4:30 pm in order to get a little ‘practice’ time for Moby.  I was going to complete my second required ‘Provisional Judging’ assignment, needed to become an ‘Official’ Portuguese Water Dog – Water Trial Judge. 

I packed as light as possible.  I had one clothes bag, one water trial tote bag – with water trial manual, and one crafty tote bag.  It’s impossible for me to ride in a car without something to keep me busy, unless I’m driving of course.  I also took along a small cooler.  I’d felt like I’d over packed, and hindsight, there were a couple things I could have left behind.  Bill thought I should take a chair, but I told him we only had Kristi’s Ford Escape, so I didn’t want to take too much stuff.  I could borrow a chair at the trial.

Well, when Kristi picked me up, it was worse than I thought.  I’d forgotten they had traded their Ford Escape for a compact car!!!  Escort maybe??? Moby rides loose in the back seat; he of course has a harness on and is belted in.  Poor guy, we could ‘almost’ see him under all that stuff!!  We somehow crammed my clothes bag into the truck and off we went.  

It was a fun trip over; we caught up on a lot of the summer’s events.  Kristi told me of her adventures at their cabin up in Northern MN and I told her of my adventures of the summer being a ‘stay at home mom’.  Before we knew it, we were arriving at the water site. 

The site is actually in Noblesville, IN, and it’s at a swimming beach.  They have to have it after the summer swimming season is over, so generally it’s the weekend after Labor Day.  It has a large sandy beach and a nice large grassy area for your tents, screens, and crates.  I wish I’d brought my swimsuit, but alas, that was one more thing to pack. 

Our friend, Judy was excited to see us.  She lives about 30 minutes from the trial site, and had graciously invited us to stay.  Judy (Porter), Kristi (Neptune) and I (Nina), all had PWDs from Kalista’s first ever litter.  They were the “A” litter and totally fabulous dogs!  Another great thing that came out of that litter was our friendship.  Aren’t dogs great!

Kristi and Moby got their practice in; we set up the tent, and headed to Judy’s.  John, Judy’s husband was awaiting our arrival.  He makes the BEST margaritas around.  WOW!!!  Kristi and I were somewhat prepared ‘this time’.  Two years ago, we’d made a similar trip and knew how strong they were.  So, we showed some restraint this time.  Not that it helped much!! After one, you can NOT stand up from the table.  Luckily, the food started to arrive. 

Saturday morning arrived sooner than expected, and we all piled into Judy’s RAV-4 and headed to the trial.  We did make a “MUST STOP” at Starbucks along the way.  A ‘Flat Liner’ for me, (aka – strong black – nothing added), and a Latte of some kind for Judy.  Kristi was happy with her tea 

We helped the club set up for the trial.  We helped set markers and buoy lines, build the course and pretty much just had a good time.  The judging judge, ‘Charlie’, has spent the night with Chuck, another judge.  They had a few people over Friday night, 7, I think??  They managed to finish off 11 bottles of wine between them.  Those were the bottles they found anyway.  OH DEAR!!  Charlie didn’t seem any worse for wear.  That was good, because he has a full day of judging ahead of him. 

Portuguese Water Dog Trials consist of 3 titling classes and 2 non-titling or ‘Certificate’ classes.  The first certificate level is Junior.  The titling classes are Apprentice, Working and finally Courier.  The last certificate level is Versatility, in which you can keep trialing your dog once you’ve achieved the Courier Excellent Title.  For more information you can see the PWDCA.ORG web site.

For me, Saturday was just a ‘hang out day’.  I could just watch the dogs and visit with friends.  Just a relaxing day in the cold, wind and rain!!!  Okay, it only rained off and on, but it was chilly.  Unfortunately, neither Moby (Apprentice) nor Ziva (Junior Cert) passed their respective tests.  Luckily, by afternoon, the rain cleared and we had a nice evening for the group dinner at the park. 

Saturday evening, I skipped the Margaritas.  I felt that I needed a clear head for the full day of judging ahead of me on Sunday. 

Judging Day!  I had PERFECT weather!  It was sunny, warm, and okay, a bit breezy at times, but over all, PERFECT!  I think I had 9 Couriers, 4 Working, 3 Versatility, 9 Apprentice, and 3 Junior certs.  I might be off a few here and there, but I had a nice mix of every class available. 

It was a great experience.  Everyone gave it their best effort, but sometimes things are just not meant to be.  We had our share of refuse retrieves, short go-outs, and rips around the sandy beach.  Apparently there’s nothing more fun than running on the beach.  I guess, I’d have to agree with that. 

When you look at distractions in your normal obedience, and agility competitions, they are nothing compared to water trials.  You have your rouge swans and ducks, large and small ski boats, boats pulling tubes with screaming kids, kayaks, scuba divers, people with their dogs swimming in the water; we even had a snorkeler come through a water site before.  The waves made by some of those boats are huge!  These are probably more distractions than any Portuguese Fisherman ever faced, but then again, we don’t have sharks.  I guess everything’s a trade off. 

I’ve heard Water Work described as ‘Obedience in the Water’.   In a sense, I guess it is.  It requires that the dog work with you, pick things up for you, wait to be sent, mark (not THAT way), and be willing to swim along side you for 2 minutes (my personal favorite exercise).  The dog needs to have drive to retrieve, yet impulse control.  He needs to have great swimming endurance, as well as be able to make direction changes in the water.  Overall, it’s a total blast!!

My pass rate on Sunday was rather disappointing.  Other judges that were there stated that this is not uncommon.  I still felt bad, even though I know it was not my fault.  I did have two Versatility passes, one Apprentice and one Junior.  GREAT JOB JUDY AND ZIVA!!!  Moby was so close in Apprentice, but couldn’t control the sand zoomies!  SO CLOSE!! 

At lunch time my wonderful Table Steward, Jeanie, asked me, ‘Why would you want to do this?  It doesn’t pay anything, and sometimes people are not nice.’  That was a great question.

I think water work is a very important part of the Portuguese Water Dogs heritage.  With every performance event you participate in, if there are not judges, then there’s not going to be an event.  We can not expect our current judges to be available multiple weekends out of the year, especially when we have limited months we can have trials.  If there are more judges, then everyone can have a much deserved break, and our trials can continue. 

For now, I need to wait a couple weeks to see if I ‘passed’.  Overall, I think it went well.  I was so fortunate to have a great bunch of people to judge and to work with.  Thank you to the OVERBOARD Portuguese Water Dog club for giving me the opportunity to complete my 2nd provisional judgeship.  Also, a HUGE thanks to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of the Twin Cities for allowing me to complete my Observe, and 1st Provisional at their trial in August 2008 & 2009 respectively.  This as been a LONG process!  THANK YOU!

As Kristi and I packed up the car and headed home.  Our packing was slightly better and Moby had a bit more room.  It was 3:30 and we were on the road, a good 90 minutes ahead of our goal time.  Life was Good.  A pass with Moby in Apprentice would have been better, but she has one more shot at it this weekend.  They can SO DO IT!!! 

We managed to stay on 74 and avoid 57 and Effingham, IL.  That alone was worth mentioning!!  We laughed most the way home.  It was fun. 

Somehow we got on the topic of hairy legs.  Women in general, not Moby’s.  Moby is supposed to have hairy legs.  I was telling the story about a ‘friend’ who had gone the whole winter without shaving.  We were at an agility trial in MN over Memorial Day weekend and those are either 40 degrees and freezing, or 95 degrees and you’re dying from heat.  This weekend happened to be the latter.  Everyone was in shorts, but this friend.  When we asked, she explained she hadn’t shaved all winter and proceeded to show us.  OMG!  We were roaring! 

So, Kristi had to share a story of a dance friend.  They were in ballet and her friend wanted to see how long the hair on her legs would get.  Kristi said, this gal was not the type you would think would do that.  So, they are at the dance bar stretching and this gal had pink tights on.  She said you could really see the shadows.  I almost blew pop out my nose.  Some things you were should NOT discuss while you’re taking a drink of soda. 

Happy Swimming!!!