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There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned road trip. Packing up the car, not worrying about how much stuff you take, because there are no weight limits, no bag limits, just no limits. And that includes me! All 60 pounds of this mighty Catahoula.

Plenty of room for me, my hammock, bed, food, toys, yep that’s plural and oodles of treats. And I even get the whole back seat to myself.  This road trip was loosely based around Mom attending the Telluride Yoga Festival, while me and Dad keep her company. Mom plans to take off every morning to Om while Dad and I plan to hit the trail. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

On the Road Again

It takes a while to get out of the city, but soon we are on the highway heading north. Mom, cranks up the tunes as Willie Nelson sings, “On the road again, like a band of gypsies we go down the highway…” and I manage to let out a long Catahoula howl that’s even in tune with the old Willy.

First stop, Flagstaff, because I gotta water a few trees while the parents beeline straight to Macy’s Coffee House and Bakery. It’s been in Flagstaff since the 70s and always smells yummy. Specialties include homemade granola, scones, and my favorite, eggs made every which way. Breakfast at the outside picnic tables is best because it’s prime mooching territory. And I always get to meet some of my funky Flagstaff brethren.

Four Corners Drive By

Our route takes us through the Hopi and Navajo reservations right through Four Corners. There we pull off to take a look and are promptly greeted by a “No Dogs” sign. I was really looking forward to taking a wiz in four states at the same time which really would have made my fellow Catahoulagans back home howl.  So we headed on to Cortez and then northeast to the cozy little river town of Dolores. We stop at the pooch loving Pony Expresso so I could do my business and the parents could have a cuppa Joe.

Our next stop is Telluride, a real dog friendly small town surrounded on three sides by 13,000’ peaks of the San Juan mountain range and to my liking a bazillion trees!  OK, so this is pretty cool… My great, great grandpa Joe lived in Telluride and was sheriff of San Miguel County and my great grandpa Cecil owned a 160 acre dairy farm and grocery store and my grandpa Del was even born here. How crazy awesome is that? No wonder these mountains call out to my Dad.

Dog Friendly

So we check into the Camel’s Garden Hotel and I even get to saunter through the front door like I own the place because it’s dog friendly.  After we get to our room and I jump up and down on the bed, smell every nook and cranny Dad opens the door to our patio overlooking the San Miguel River. This place is either the Dog Ritz or I died and went to Catahoula heaven!  That afternoon we went to the amazing Farmer’s Market where I got to sample homemade pooch treats while the parents gushed over sweet succulent peaches from nearby Norwood. Then we took a ride on the gondola! Can you imagine, me in a gondola. Later we went to the Telluride Brewing Company which even let me sit at the bar while the parents whet their whistle on some Redfish Ale.

My Most Favorite Town

The next day we all head to The Coffee Cowboy for a couple of Latte’s and sit on Colorado Avenue taking in the early morning sunshine before Mom heads up the hill to yoga. Meanwhile Dad and I take in the Telluride Baseball Festival on our way to Bridal Veil Falls. A 365 foot waterfall at the end of a box canyon you can actually see from town. Later that evening even though we are all pretty dog tired we go to the dog friendly Butcher and Baker Café for a nice al fresco dinner where I even get a taste of mom’s crab cake!

After a few days in Telluride we blow out of my most favorite town ever and head north through Ridgeway to the Uncompahgre Wilderness for my first ever backpacking trip.

Catahoula Backpacking Bliss

Backpacking is freedom, fresh air, simplicity and fun. Especially for me, running through fields of wild flowers, smelling huge piles of who knows what scat, crashing on a down sleeping bag and sniffing/scenting all kinds of new things. Every day keeps getting doggone better, with the excepting of the biting black flies which really like my naked Catahoula belly.  Mom is so good to me she even gave me one of her tee shirts to wear and tied the ends around by belly so I looked kinda like a canine version of Daisy Duke. So after three days of hiking and camping under three 14,000’ peaks (Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Matterhorn) we head back to civilization. And to my mom, that means espresso. This time it’s Cimarron Coffee & Books in Ridgeway, then off to Ouray for the evening.

History in the Rockies

Ouray is a tiny little, you guessed it, mining turned tourist town, with a bunch of period buildings and Victorian structures built between 1880 and 1900. It is surrounded on three sides with 13,000′ peaks, has sulfur-fee hot springs and the Ouray Ice Park.  I just like roaming around the main street and visiting all the dog-friendly shops while listening to people gush over how cute I am. Sometimes these human creatures are so incredibly smart.

Homeward Bound

The next day we are on our way home. First stop Durango for, you guessed it again, espresso. Then Dad’s puts the pedal to the metal and flies through Farmington, Shiprock and Kayenta with a pit stop at Macy’s in Flagstaff. I curl up on my bed for the rest of the trip, dream about all the free, wild and wonderful things in the world and just like that we are at home sweet home again.

I think I’m in love with road trips.

Espresso Road

Best of Telluride

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