Friday, February 28, 2014

Spring is coming so time to head north before everyone else needs to cool off!

Crazy me never, well maybe a little but isn't that what makes me, me?

As always here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog 

So when I woke up this morning and the temperature was a balmy 2 degrees outside and the weather dude was saying that we may get another foot of snow between Sunday and Monday the first thing that crossed my mind was to plan a trip to Maine.  I guess that means that I am truly a New Englander at heart or absolutely insane or both maybe.

Whatever the case happens to be it only made sense to me to go to a place that my heart has always loved and that is the coast of Maine.  In my mind everyone has seen the rocky coastal pictures of the lighthouses in summer with the blue sky's but how often do we see those same lights that worked year round when the weather is still less then perfect for vacations?  Being a broken sole myself put out to dry so to speak I figured some of these retired lighthouses should be shown in there glory times which in my minds eye is when the weathers less then appealing.

So I contacted the West Quoddy Head Light House info contact person this morning and I guess ME. is similar to here when it is winter people spend more time on the computer then out playing ball.  By the time I came back from morning coffee with the guys I had a response.  (I'll get back to the response) but for now why West Quoddy you ask, well here is a blurp from their web page. "Established in 1808, West Quoddy Lighthouse is noteworthy in several ways. Despite its name, it is the easternmost beacon in the United States, one of only two U.S. lighthouses with red-and-white bands, and one of the first stations to be equipped with a fog bell and, later, a steam whistle. A reliable fog signal was deemed more essential in this area than a light since fog shrouded the coast for roughly half the time during the summer months. When ships approached the bay in foggy conditions, they would fire a signal gun to prompt the keeper to start tolling the fog bell. This arrangement continued until an adequate mechanical ringer for the bell was installed."  Pretty cool if you ask me and oh yea I went there as a kid and loved it.

So back to the response.  They have a great spot for me to park and no problem with me camping so I can hopefully get that classic morning sunrise shot I am looking for.  Not only that but they also informed me of a local VFW that was not far from them I could contact to help spread the word about Service Dogs and Veterans recovering back into the community.

So Here I go I have yet to set the date but soon I hope.  Like I said I want to beat the rush of people trying to cool off from the New England heat waves.  If anyone knows of other lighthouses or VSO's in ME. that I can contact during this photo trip I would greatly appreciate the tips.  Also any special request while I am traveling just let me know and I will ask Iris and see if she will let me deviate from our tight schedule and make it happen. ;)

For a few updates now.  The Classic Car Cruise group that had Iris my wife and I go on the trip through the Caribbean did raise enough money to name a future service dog at America's VetDogs.  They are now having a naming contest so stay tuned for that I will post here once I know what the final name is.  I also hope to be able to go to the final graduation of that dog and future Veterans pairing at some point down the road.  Of course you will have to stay committed to reading the blog and such because once the puppy is named he/she will go to a lucky puppy raiser for the first yr or so then on to training for the next 8-12 months before being paired with a veteran. I promise to get pictures along the way from the friendly folks at VetDogs and the Classic Car Cruise so that you all will be able to see the great things happening.

It was such a great cruise that Jen and I have broke the bank and decided that we would put a down payment for next years cruise already.  There is very few things that can get me out of my camper and into someones vacation spot but a cruse with this group was just the ticket.  Great people and I have not figured out how to get my truck camper to travel on the water yet (no ferry's) so come join us next year if you want and support America's VetDogs at the same time. Cruise Link 

Over the next few weeks I will be taking pictures for a veteran friend who has a great service dog and is getting married.  It is always such an honor to be able to give the gift of memories to someone that has lost so much supporting others.  He like me has a TBI except his has kept him in a chair.  That chair has not slowed him down at all though.  So I thank Ski for allowing me to be a part of his special day and look forward to giving him something to remember.  For others vets out there if you have special needs like that let me know I can not fulfill everything but when I can I am honored to.  Just ask...

Have a great week stay safe.

As always here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Welcome to the New Year! (Late of Course)

As always here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog like mine.
Iris sends her winter love out to all and hopes that everyone is staying warm.  It has been a busy time for her doing her job looking after me.  Since I last wrote in the late part of 2013 we have had a few surgeries and some hard times dealing with some medical issues.  For those worried we have put that all behind us at this point and now look forward to getting out of the cold and into action.  

As you can tell Iris Jen and myself took that queue and went way south via the Celebrity Cruise Line's Reflection and spent 7 wonderful days in the Caribbean.  This was not just a great vacation but actually a fund raiser put on by a group of Classic Car enthusiast and Sherry Leybovich ECCS, LCS, CTA
Your Cruise and Vacation Specialist
CruisePlanners, An American Express Travel Representative<image002.jpg>  

 Yes that is a plug for them please take advantage of it.  Sherry and her office are amazing.  Not only did she put this together but she and her husband Ron were on the cruise with us to make sure everything went well.  I would love to mention everyones name but I know I would miss so many that I would make someone mad so I will not even try.  What I will say is that this was the 3rd annual trip for this group and the largest turnout so far.  Also it was the first yr that they used America's VetDogs as their Charity of choice so I was extra honored to be able to be there to allow them to meet Iris My Hero dog.  The great news is this group raised over 6,000 dollars while having all sorts of fun and hopes to do even more next year.

Jen and I are hoping that we are able to go back next year because their destinations are Mexico and a private tour of Don Garlit's Museum by Don himself.  This year they had Tim and Carrie Strange of Strange Motion along with Darnell Racing Enterprises of the ShockWave Jet Trucks.  Both of which said they plan on being back next year.  Needless to say once you've been on this trip with these car enthusiast if you like and love cars you'll want to go again.  Not to mention the fact that when cruising your pampered and treated to some of the best dining and entertainment you can get anywhere.  Of course when you top all that off by helping another veteran be able to get a service dog like Iris how can you lose?

So here is the finishing act on the classic plug for Sherry and her business:
Toll-Free: 888-464-1827 x101
Local-: 813-657-0844
Fax: 813-657-0854

Please give her a call and ask about booking so we can hopefully meet you on the high seas next winter.

Here is a link for more pictures from the cruise.  My DropBox area for the Cruise

As always here is the info on the fundraising page for VetDogs Attention: I have a Personal Fundraising Page for VetDogs Now! Please follow this link and make a donation to help another veteran like me get a service dog like mine.

 Now for the next update.  I no longer have my little camper so the wrap project as we knew it has a couple changes happening.  I had to change trucks due to my nerve issues getting worse.  Found that stalling out in the middle of intersections was not a great thing to do.  After a few close calls and some great people at USAA I was able to make a trade in on the Tacoma and get a fully automatic 2014 Tundra.  Well being the 100% guy I am of course with the bigger truck a smaller camper just did not look right so we were able to work some great magic out with the help of Truck Camper Wharehouse where Bill and Ryan made it possible for me to get into a 2014 Northstar Liberty at let's just say I should be looking for the blue lights in the rear view mirrors as I drive around.  They worked with NorthStar and TorkLift (they had to build a custom set of tiedowns since the Tundra was so new) to make the deal even better and all I can say is thank you to everyone for all the help in keeping my dream alive to help other Veterans.  The day after we got back from the Cruise I was able to head Northwest to Springfield where there was a RV Show and TCW had a large group of their campers on display.  Was great to tell everyone I could how much I love my new Northstar thats for sure but it was even better to meet both Angela and Gordon White from Truck Camper Magazine.  They were the great people that wrote the great article last year about Iris and I.  They now want to do a follow-up on all the new activities we have going on.

Well there are many things coming up in the near future.  I have written more then normal and hope that I have not bored anyone so stay tuned and I promise it won't be months before I write again.