America, we have some explaining to do…


I haven’t been able to keep up with regular updates (sorry, Mom) but a lot has been happening. Don’t worry, I will explain everything.

We are following the 180+ mile C&O canal towpath trail. Since we left D.C. two days ago, we have had problem after problem. Grace and Max are both carrying backpacks, loaded with much of their food. Up to this point, they had not had any problems. Max has been phenomenal on the trail, carrying weight and covering miles like a champ with no sign of fatigue or soreness. The little guy is a machine! But once we hit the C&O canal, Grace’s packs started to rub her raw behind her front legs.

Kait pulled them off at the first sign of a problem,  and spent a good amount of time adjusting them and talking to Ruffwear’s customer service team. The verdict was that the weight wasn’t a problem – the packs just don’t fit her correctly. Grace clearly could not continue carrying her packs without the risk of injury.

Enter problem 2: What do we do with Grace’s extra weight? Kait and I were already pretty maxed out, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable making Max carry more. We have also been warned about the risk of running out of water on the C&O. Water is 8 lbs. per gallon, kids.

Enter problem 3 (and this is a doozy:) There are supposed to be water stations every 5-7 miles along the canal trail, but The National Park Service doesn’t turn the water spigots on until mid-April. This is a problem, because we can’t afford the extra weight to carry a safe amount of water between fillups. And considering the added weight of Grace’s load, carrying more water – while necessary – seemed impossible.

Enter the solution: Mark, a guy we met quite randomly when he and his wife Theresa came down to the Potomac riverfront with their dog, Fenway, last night.


Mark, Fenway, and Grace

After hearing about our mission and current issues, Mark offered to help us run errands today. After much heated married couple-style deliberation, Kait and I decided that our best course of action was to get our pushcart early. We had planned to wait until we got down out of the West Virginia mountains, but given the slew of complications – and our desire to ensure the safety of our extraordinary dogs – we decided that getting the cart now was our safest choice.

Mark ran around in town and we found the right jogging stroller for the job. After delivering it to us, Mark let me take us all out for lunch (and we snuck in a quick grocery run, to replenish our ramen noodles and tuna packets.)

So now we are back. This cart is a game changer. All the weight is off of our backs, and the dogs don’t gave to carry anything. We have more gallons of water for safety. I can finally get my guitar mailed back – you know, all the important stuff. Tomorrow, we are going to cover some real miles.

This trail is amazing. It runs right next to the Potomac River, and is full of wildlife and scenic vistas. I can hear the Great Falls in the distance. I have so much more to tell you – About D.C., and our first therapy visit, and our lavish outdoor lifestyle of tuna fish and ramen – but my battery is about to die, so it will have to wait.


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14 Responses to America, we have some explaining to do…

  1. Sally says:

    Good luck! I hope you can make good progress now and stay safe and healthy!

  2. Josie says:

    Ya’ll are always in our prayers! Good to see you’re still treckin’ on.

  3. Compass says:

    the pushcart may seem a bit like cheating, but I say it’s pure GENIUS! y’alls is still some badass ballers! can you rig up some Iditarod dogsled harness things to get the dogs to pull the cart?

  4. Saleem says:

    Fi Aman Allah— In God’s protection, Always! Stay safe and healthy!

  5. stephanie says:

    Sweet…i see Max knows exactly how to utilize your cart. Thanks Mark and Theresa for helping our friends!

  6. Tony Gargotto says:

    These will be some of the happiest moments of your life! Some of the most uncomfortable times ahead, persevere you will. Yoda*Pray everyone’s feet holding up. Still recommend harmonica over guitar if water is an issue. Wish they still made the Kraft chicken noodle dinner. Used to be found in macaroni and cheese section, our ramen/tuna, never tired of it. Be safe and considerate of each other.

  7. chip says:

    You guys are awesome!

  8. Oh, thank goodness! I’m glad to see you guys got a cart. And your doggie Max looks so happy!

  9. Mom says:

    I’m liking your Green Machine. Good move and Goodspeed with the new wheels!

  10. Kathleen and April White says:

    What a great idea and Grace looks great in it. Hope by now she is healed and that you ALL are well and thriving. Good moves! We think of you so often. The Queenstonians.

  11. Serinda Conner says:

    Glad to see you guys got that important tool! I am really excited about some news I’ve got brewing here. One of my students, my paraprofessional and I are trying to come up with an event that will knock everyone’s socks off. Will try to call you this weekend to let you know more. Not ready to spill the beans about it yet. The world will have to hold its breath but it will be posted once it’s organized! Working on getting a web person to help with a page so I can get a link for anyone who becomes interested. My students/job are calling. Be well and keep on truckin! LOVE YOU BOTH!

  12. Campers says:

    good job.. the dog in baby cart looks cute.. 🙂
    lookin forward for your next update..

  13. Sally says:

    looking forward to hearing about your visit in Arlington. wink wink…

  14. Emily says:

    Well done with your on-the-go fixes so far… dropping the laptop, getting a pushcart. You should post a before-and-after packing list *grin*

    Glad to hear you’re taking care of the pups and yourselves. Make sure to remember morale! Get a harmonica, much smaller than a guitar.

    I’m so absolutely jealous that you’re seeing all these places in such a close, intimate way – but not so jealous of the blisters and mildewed clothes and whatever else you guys are putting up with. But just think of how absolutely comfortable in your own skin you’ll feel a month from now. I can’t wait to see you guys (maybe along the trail somewhere? I’ll take a look at your route and see where I might have buddies) and hear what it’s like.

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