Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dallas

It was another long drive from Oklahoma City to Dallas.
We passed this sign on I-35 in Oklahoma and were intrigued...


This is what we saw
I hope you can see all the great details like the litter and the graffiti
And it started getting hot. The further south we went, the warmer it got, until finally we had to use the air conditioner and roll the windows up.

Due to Texas’ tendency to be statriotic, I sort of expected more of a fan fare as I crossed the state line. I was thinking a giant set of long horns or big boots that say “Howdy, Partner, Welcome to Texas!”  But no. The only way I even knew I had crossed the line was because the highways were now TX highways instead of OK.
Entering Texas

We stopped a few times at rest areas and parked in interesting spots to sit in the shade for a while, but other than that the day consisted largely of driving.
car nap

I was due to pull into Dallas around 3pm and was right on schedule. I pulled into the parking lot of Studio 6 and went into the office to check in. Much to my surprise, the clerk started asking me about the size of my dog and whether or not I had a cage. I’ve never even gotten so much as a raised eyebrow from desk staff in the past. Usually the reception is much more enthusiastic, loving and welcoming. 
The curt clerk informed me that there would be a $10 / night charge due to his size. 
I asked him about the standard ‘no questions asked’ Motel 6 pet policy and his answer was ‘Not at my Motel 6.”

I had planned to check in quickly and get ready to go to the studio and teach Nia. Class started in three hours, and I had to shower and eat still. So I was going to pay the extra $10 and ignore his comments about the cage. But it didn’t end there. Then he informed me that I couldn’t have a non-smoking room, nor could I have one on the ground floor. Both of which I specified on my reservation.

So that was the last straw and I walked out and went to my car and looked at the Motel 6 app to find a different location. I found one in the same neighborhood and headed that way, hoping this one was more aligned with the ways of Motel 6.

They did ask me how much he weighed at this second Motel 6, but didn’t balk or try to charge me an extra fee. However, after checking in and driving around to the side door of the building which was closer to the door to my room (this was the ‘prison style’ motel with the interior corridors) we were called to from across the hall by some employee, “Sir, You have a dog. So, did you tell anyone about it?”

I stood there, dumbfounded. Fortunately, before I had a chance to answer, the clerk that checked me in tapped her on the shoulder and said something to her as he waved me away saying it was OK.

After the ordeal at the other place, I was a little bit on edge and feeling unwelcome. I half expected them to come knocking on the door and asking me to check out, so I quickly got in the shower to get ready for class. I was able to clean off and shave and get dressed and eat and make it to the studio in plenty of time.

The class was incredible. Jule had put together a playlist using 30 minutes of my rock music combined with her best Diva songs and we co-taught a class with a Rocker Vs. Diva theme. It was such a blast.

River did really well in the studio. He’s even getting more and more relaxed around men. So he seems to be improving and socializing better day by day. He chilled in the room, meeting the students before and after class and then slept in his crate while we Nia’d.

After class a few of us went to an upscale Mexican restaurant and Jule and her husband Maurice bought my dinner. I had a very delicious Pollo con Mole Poblano. River sat quietly at my feet for two hours as we ate.

After dinner, Jule, Maurice and I went back to their place so that River and I could join them with their three beagles on their evening walk. River was delighted to meet them and was very well behaved. He was even able to stay in a HEEL most of the time, though not without a lot of ‘reminders’. He was really excited to be walking ‘pack-style’ with so many humans and dogs. Along the way we ran into a neighbor of theirs with her dog and she joined us. It felt very Dog Whisperer. And I could sense it was a great experience for River. 

We went up into the apartment after the walk and let the dogs run around inside a little bit while we drank a glass of water and chatted. The dogs didn’t get overly rambunctious or territorial. They got along wonderfully.


In the morning, I took a quick shower and we headed back to the studio for the morning edition of Rockers Vs. Divas Nia. We taught the same routine as last night to a (mostly) different group of students. River made more new friends and we all had a great ROCKIN time.

After class we went back to the motel to shower and I did some laundry. While I was folding my clean clothes, a woman with a very thick Indian accent was trying to read a credit card number to someone over the phone. I was in there for about ten minutes, folding clothes and the whole entire time, she was repeating the same 16 numbers.

Once my clothes were clean and put away, I took River to the Dallas Farmers Market. It was sparse, due to it being a weekday, so the meat and dairy farmers weren’t there. I was able to get some produce but nothing else. I mostly got fruit but also some veggies.

On our way back to the room, we stopped and visited White Rock Park.
White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX
Jule had told me about a Dog Park, so I wanted to go check it out. River got really excited when he saw all the dogs at the park. I pulled into the parking lot and he whined and cried. And I sat there, feeling like I should reconsider doing it. Something told me not to go in. So I started the car back up and pulled out. River didn’t know what was going on.

I drove around the lake a little bit. It was impressive. It’s the biggest man-made lake I’ve ever seen, although a quick check reveals it isn’t even in the top 100 biggest man-made lakes.

I was about to turn around to take River back to the dog park again, when I spotted a cool spot on the lake, under a bridge, with a big grassy area nearby. I decided instead to stop there for us to play by ourselves.

We found a stick and actually had a really good time playing fetch and using a game of tug to strip the stick of its bark. River went exploring near the lake.

And then, he fell in. And my heart stopped as I realized I couldn’t see him anymore. He was completely submerged and not coming back up! Then I saw some struggling underneath the greenery bordering the lake. I was just about to begin my heroic rescue attempts, when he got a foot hold and came bounding back out of the water. 

He ran around and shook himself dry and found a patch of dry grass that was hot from the sunlight and rolled around on it. He didn’t seem traumatized, but we’ll see how he reacts the next time I take him to a lake. 

From the way he ran around and continued to play afterwards, I think he kind of enjoyed the adventure. He did continue to explore the edge of the water and even seriously investigated a big piece of wood that was floating nearby and trapped in some underwater grass.
The scene of the 'crime'
On the way back into the room, I was juggling my cooler full of food from the market, my phone, and travel journal and River’s water bowl and leash as well as dealing with allowing him to roam and sniff the grass on our way from the car to the door. But in my fumbling to find my room key in my pocket, I lost control of my stack of things and dropped the water bowl, which is aluminum, and my iPhone, which shattered.  :(

It still works, but now it’s kind of hard to see and feels rough on my fingers and feels like it is threatening to cut me.
The unflappable traveler.
In this video you'll see a bit of driving through north Texas and then stopping to play some 'chase' at a Rest Area. Then, I show some of the impressive traffic structures in Dallas, and the last bit is driving through White Rock Park. 

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