When my wife and I decided in 2018, after a couple of decades of toying with the idea, to move to her homeland of Canada, we didn't quite think through all the implications of doing this move right around the New Year.
Namely, the dogs ... our two big dogs, one of whom, Fluffy, it turns out has proportions that make her too large to fit into the largest dog crate allowed by the airlines. But, even without her size, the airlines, quite wisely, won't fly dogs into Toronto in December or January.
So ... ROAD TRIP ... approximately 4100 kilometres, with these two lovely mutts ... who had no idea what they had gotten themselves into!
Lola (left) and Fluffy (right) chilling in the dog seat ... and wondering WTF are we doing?
The route with stops (where I swam!!)
I knew these dogs were awesome before I set off, but learned just exactly how incredibly adaptable my pooches were, as they got to experience many firsts on this trip:
First sight of snow ... and first time staying in a hotel!
First bull (even if fake) ... and first time in Texas
But the most incredible part of their adaptability was that I managed to stay in five different hotels without incident while I swam in 6 different pools:
Yeah, all deep swimming fans know that breaststroke and IM great, Will Licon, is from El Paso, but I kind of thought Eddie Reese plucked him from obscurity, found him swimming in the Rio Grande before helping him become an American record holder and multi-time NCAA champion.
I actually don't know in which pool young Will swam growing up, but, on the west side of town, there is this great two-pool combo facility and my sweet dogs behaved themselves as I swam in the Leo Cancellare Memorial Aquatic Facility (#384) on the evening of December 28th, and then then fantastic Westside Natatorium (#385) the following morning:
Leo Cancellare Memorial Aquatic Facility (left) and the Westside Natatorium (right & above)
After a couple of solo swims and the long drive across West Texas, it was quite serendiptious to be able to join Team Ridglea Masters Swimming team for a Sunday morning workout at Texas Wesleyan Univeristy (#386). In my experience, not a lot of Masters teams train on Sundays, so this was a huge treat. As an added bonus, Coach Burr gave a cranking good workout ... and a big-Texas-sized welcome.
Well, I breezed into Jackson and no one stooped and bowed, nor did I need to wreck my health since there was this mighty fine club (#387), where I messed around in their pool.
I didn't do any of the fun things that Jackson is reputedly known for:
Didn't talk big
Didn't make a fool out of myself
Didn't teach any women what they don't know how
As there was fog and no snow, I couldn't even snowball Jackson
Nor did I comb my hair!
And, while I didn't get led around town like a scolded hound with my tail tucked between my legs, I ain't never comin' back.
New Year's Eve in Dublin
Many people have probably thought that spending a New Year's Eve in Dublin would be a rollicking good time ... all those pub-loving Irish with their music, their Guinness, their poetry and their good cheer.
So, while the Dublin, Ohio Residence Inn doesn't quite have the same vibe, I can highly recommend it as a road-trip stop with dogs for swimmers since ...
It is an easy walk to nice trails and views along the Scioto River (perfect for dog-walking)
The old town area of Dublin has a number of fine restaurants
But, most importantly, the nearby Dublin Recreation Center (#388) is a fantastic pool that is open on New Year's Day
A huge number of things could have gone wrong traveling the route I did between December 28th and January 2nd ... but, in the end, pretty much nothing did. No snow, no wrecks, no speeding tickets, no doggie accidents in the car, and I stayed fit through all the pools I managed to hit along the way. Just before crossing the border into my new life in Canada, I closed down the aquatic portion of the adventure with a fantastically hard and FAST workout with the Nickel City Splash masters team at the beautiful University of Buffalo pool (#389):
But, of course, the pool adventures continued in the Great White North!