Ever since I was small I've dreamed of riding for days straight. Last autumn's mule trip with Bernie from our home in Western North Carolina to Grayson Highlands in Virginia via Damascus was a highlight of my life. But I had to make the sacrifice of leaving my yellow shadow behind. That's my faithful friend and dog Snookie.
Snookie is now ten years old. I was reluctant to leave him then for the six weeks we had to do our ride to Va. There aren't that many years left to be together. We are not apart much. He pretty much follows me around all day long keeping his eye on me and sleeps by my side at night.
So how do you make the decision to leave such a dog companion behind for the better part of a year as you ride a dream West? The answer at least if you are me, is you don't. Not right now. Snookie is my friend, my responsibility and my dog. He's a preexisting condition. I've had him longer than I've known Bernie. I know he'd be crushed if I left him that long. Maybe dogs are so loyal because that bond they have with their human is the most important thing in the world to them.
So as much as I would like to be on the next adventure with Bernie, riding West on Pickle for the better part of the year. I will be instead waving goodbye to him and the mules from the gate.
Bernie will leave out our front gate on April 1st and head West. Brick and our newest mule Cracker will go with him. We wish them good speed so that we may see them all again as soon as possible.