Tag: Spoiled Dog

Dan and Sandy – Three Becomes Two

This was probably the most difficult podcast that I ever had to record.

In this episode of “The Journey of My Mother’s Son” podcast, Sandy and I talk about our travels through California and the loss of our best travel companion, Youk.

The end of April was very difficult for us and we’re still working through the grief process.  Youk crossed the Rainbow Bridge on April 24, 2024.  It was certainly the most difficult thing that we’ve had to deal with since we’ve been traveling.  Youk brought joy to such a large part of lives.  We literally planned our life around his schedule and well-being.  In return, he gave us unconditional love and countless memories that will last the rest of lives.

He was a larger-than-life personality who impacted the world in ways we never could have imagined.  Countless people from all over the world have reached out to us since his passing to let us know how much they loved our best-selling author pup.

In addition to Youk, we talk about our travels through several national parks in California (Joshua Tree, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and The Redwoods), our project at the Southern California Railway Museum, our night under the Golden Gate Bridge, our Pacific Coast Highway Adventure, and of course, reconnecting with friends.

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Youk’s Last Ride

It was a hot day, but we were very excited to be on a volunteer project again with many of our fellow RV friends.  Mainly because of my book signing schedule, we hadn’t worked a volunteer project since September of 2022, so this had been a long-time coming.

As Youkilis has aged, he really minded hot weather.  He would lay around on hot days and not move much at all.  This is the way that he was when we arrived at the project.  It was the third day in a row of pretty hot weather, so Sandy and I really didn’t think much of it.  We just told him that tomorrow would be cooler.

After we had our volunteer meeting and tour of the project facility, Sandy, Youk, and I went over to sit and talk with our friends, Jennie and Eric, who we’ll be traveling through Canada and Alaska with this summer.  Youk got his customary pets and love when we first got over to their rig, but it didn’t take him long to just settle and lay down while we chatted.  It was starting to cool down, so I thought that we were on the home stretch and he’d be back to his old self soon.

When we started to pack our chairs up and head back to our rig for the night, Youk couldn’t get up on his own.  I helped him up, but again, didn’t think too much about it and just figured that he was still just beat from the heat that we had experienced over the past three days in the desert on our way to the project.

Monday morning when we woke up, he was laying in the exact same spot where he was when we went to bed.  Normally, he would change locations during the night.  If he went to bed near the hallway, many times he would be sleeping by the couch in the living room or in front of our bathroom door in the hallway when we got up.  That was just his routine.  When I told him to get up so that we go potty and eat breakfast, he tried, but could not get up on his own, just like the night before at Eric and Jennie’s rig.  Now we were starting to get concerned. 

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Surprise!

One of the things that my mother was notorious of was always wanting to surprise people.

Her entire life, she really seemed to enjoy surprising others.  On her travels, she brought this to an entirely different level.  She would simply show up on the doorsteps of friends and family who had no idea that she would be there.  This was long before the days of social media, so in most instances, people had no idea that she was in the area.  Many times, they didn’t even know that she embarked on her solo road trip across the country.

I did a leg of that trip with her down the east coast from Pennsylvania to Florida between my Junior and Senior year of high school.  On just that short span, she thought that it would be a great idea to stop and surprise my cousin, Paul, or “Tink” as we still called him.  He was a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, stationed at Quantico.  Sure enough, she thought that it would be “neat” to show up unannounced on his doorstep at about 7:15 in the morning.  We arrived in his driveway, and the debate started.  She wanted me to go up and ring his doorbell and tell him that I was lost.  I said, “No way!”  Tink was the oldest of our cousins on my mom’s side, and to say that he was an intimating figure would be an understatement of epic proportions.  He was a former Division I college football player and as I had mentioned earlier, currently a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.  I hadn’t seen him since I was probably about 11 or 12 years old.  The thought of a soon to be 17-year-old kid with a mullet waking up a Marine at 7:15 AM by ringing his doorbell just didn’t seem like it would end well for said soon to be 17-year-old with a mullet.

However, debating with my mother was rarely a winnable task, so, there I was walking up to Tink’s door, stopping and turning around and seeing my mother, then continuing what would surely be my death walk to the front door.  I sheepishly rang the doorbell and anxiously waited for my certain demise.

Tink answered the door in his gym shorts and torn up t-shirt and went about the routine saying that I was lost as my mom quickly sprung out from around the corner, yelling, “Well I figured if you wouldn’t be able to make it to the family reunion, we had to stop by and see you on our way to it!”

“Aunt Loretta! …and is this, Danny!?  Oh my God, you’re so big now!”  Tink exclaimed.  “What a great surprise!  What are you guys doing here?”

There it was, she did it. Tink was so happy to see us.  He immediately invited us into the house and introduced us to his wife and stepson, who neither of us had even met yet.  I can only imagine what they may have been thinking at that moment.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Always try to make people smile and feel happy. You never know what they may be going through.
Don’t bite when a bark will do.
Always make time to take a walk, and get into nature.
Anytime is a good time for a nap.
You’ll get more treats when you’re nice.
Take time to smell the roses, as well as anything else that you can smell.
Always make time to play.
Be grateful.
Live in the moment.
Enjoy the journey.

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I’m a Salty Dog!

I’ve been in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Salt Lake.  This summer, when we go through Canada and Alaska, I’m even going to get to see the Artic Ocean.  Daddy says that the water will be too cold for me to dip my paws into it, but I sure hope that daddy is wrong about that.  It’s going to be in June, so I hope that it isn’t too cold.  I hope that mommy and daddy let me get my paws wet.  Even if is too cold for me to dip my toes in it, I’ll still be happy just to be able to see it.

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These Paws

I put this in my book, but I don’t think that I can ever stress it enough, so I am going to put here again, and hope that more people take heed to my rules to live by.

Always try to make people smile and feel happy. You never know what they may be going through.
Don’t bite when a bark will do.
Always make time to take a walk, and get into nature.
Anytime is a good time for a nap.
You’ll get more treats when you’re nice.
Take time to smell the roses, as well as anything else that you can smell.
Always make time to play.
Be grateful.
Live in the moment.
Enjoy the journey.

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Three Years

Three years ago today, Sandy, Youk, and I set out on this crazy full-time RV journey.

Since that time, we’ve been to 43 states and a little piece of Canada.  We have traveled over 56,000 miles, and made countless new friends and memories.  We’ve been awed by God’s beautiful creation time and time again.  We have visited family and friends that we hadn’t seen in years.  We have also made sure to get back to see our family and friends that we had left back in Pennsylvania often.

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Time to Adventure Again!

Wednesday was a really great day at Knoebel’s because a lot of people came up to visit me that day!  Matthew and Rebecca were still there and Jason, Rebecca’s boyfriend was there.  He actually came to see me on Tuesday, but stayed until we all left on Thursday.  But on Wednesday, Sherry, and Stephen, and Alex and his girlfriend, Kaylynn, and Lizze, and Stephie, and Lillian, and Lillian’s friend Kelsey all came to Knoebel’s just to visit with me!  It was an awesome day!

After Knoebel’s, we were headed back to Matthew’s house for the weekend before starting our next adventure.

I’m really excited for our next adventure!

We’re going to be headed to Colorado for a book signing tour for me and daddy.  I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to be able to sign with daddy, but I should be able to.  I’ve never seen the Rocky Mountains before, so I can’t wait to see them.  It’s going to be really exciting.  We haven’t been that far west since 2021 and I really loved seeing that part of the country back then.

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Bonjour! I’m officially an International Traveling Puppy!

Bonjour means hello in French.  I learned that when we went to Canada this past week.  In Canada, they speak French and English, so I learned how to say, “hello” in French.

We went to Niagara Falls, and it sure was amazing.

But before I tell you all about Niagara Falls, let me tell you about what we did before we got there.

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Four Paws and Six Wheels Pre-Sale Starts Today!

I really worked hard to write this book, but there were other people who helped me do it too.  I had my friend, Rachel Wertz illustrate the book for me. She’s a really good artist.  My other friend, Mikki Murry did the editing to make sure that it made sense for everyone who read it.  She’s really smart, my daddy uses her as his editor too.  My mommy and daddy helped me too.  It was really a team effort.

I’m going to be donating a portion of the proceeds from my book sales to the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR).  They are a great organization that helps puppies like me.  As a matter of fact, they helped me too!  They rescued my mommy from a puppy mill when I was still in her belly.  I don’t know what my life would have been like if they hadn’t rescued my mommy, but I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t be traveling around the country in the house on wheels with my mommy and daddy.

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