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It’s a Dog’s (RV) Life

Mark & Hilary Steves

NOTE: This post was written by Odin the Corgi, who enjoys traveling with his brother, Zeus the Golden Retriever, and their parental units, Mark and Hilary Steves, in their 2018 Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX.

Anticipation

Something’s going on.

Mom and Dad keep taking things out to the mobile house they got a few months ago. Are we going on a trip? We are, aren’t we?! Well, I’m ready to go. I always enjoy the vacations we take in this new home on wheels. I hear Dad calling the vehicle “Zephyr”– apparently, he thinks it’s funny because Zeus and I have gods’ names and Zephyr is the chariot of the gods (don’t ask how I know that)!

Alright! They have the leashes, so we must be leaving now – wahoo! Dad opens the door to Zephyr and my big brother, Zeus, jumps up and in. Just one problem… it’s a big jump for a little guy like me. What am I supposed to do? Oh, a bottom step comes out! That’s handy, and it’s no problem getting up now. We’re ready to go!

Unfortunately, the drive to wherever we’re going isn’t all that exciting. We’re far away from the coast so our mobile house is mostly crossing long stretches of farmland, hills, and some big dogs my parents call “cows.” And it’s a long drive. So, so long. In fact, since my bed fits in here, I think I’ll just take a little nap until we get to wherever we’re going…

Are we there? Mom and Dad are getting out of the front seats and moving to the back. They have our leashes! We must be there. But where is ‘there?’

Livable, Lovable Lodi

Dad says we’re in Lodi, California. We’re here to “Wine Taste.” Mom and Dad like to do that a lot, but that’s okay because they bring Zeus and me with them most of the time. We live in wine country in Central California, so we’re old hands at this, and it’s fun! The best part is meeting all the new people; they’re always excited to see us. Except they might be confusing me with someone else. I know my name is Odin, but everyone else seems to call me “Oh-my-god-its-a-corgi!”

Today our first and only stop is at Klinker Brick Winery. We arrive pretty late, so there aren’t many people here to swoon over us, but it’s nice and cool inside. While Mom and Dad talk to the person behind the counter and drink their red juice, Zeus and I check the place out. I even try to help the lady behind the counter (I was really just hoping she had a cookie for me).

Odin behind the winery counter

 I offered to help but I couldn’t reach the counter.

After Mom and Dad buy a couple of bottles of the red juice, we go back to the mobile house but we don’t drive away! We get to stay the night here – awesome! [Editor’s Note: Klinker Brick Winery is part of Harvest Hosts, which allows members to stay for free at hundreds of wineries, farms, and golf courses around the United States and Canada.] It’s nice that we don’t have to drive anywhere else today, and even better, there’s a nice lawn to run around on! Zeus tries to catch me, but I’m too fast for him! All that running makes us both tired, so we’re happy to stop and pose for some pictures (Mom and Dad always want us to pose for pictures) and then we jump inside Zephyr to eat dinner. We’re the only mobile house out here tonight. Walking through the vineyard, playing in the grass, eating dinner, and watching the sun setting over the vines is a great way to live, and I think Mom and Dad agree. They seem very happy with this new mobile house and the trips we take.

Pretty soon, like magic, a bed comes out of the wall…whaaat?! Mom and Dad climb on to watch some TV before turning off the lights and going to sleep. Zeus and I love hanging out on the bed with them, and there’s plenty of room for all four of us.

Sunset in the vineyard – a great place to spend the night.

Ahhh…  a good night’s sleep, and now Mom and Dad seem to be stirring. Is it time for breakfast?!

Yes! We love food time. After we eat, we go for a nice walk through the vineyard. It’s not too hot, but it seems hotter than at home, especially for nine o’clock in the morning. Mom and Dad take showers (they don’t seem to mind the small shower, but big or small, we’re glad we don’t have to do that), and then we hit the road again. I wonder where we’re going today?

Hitting the Lodi Wine Trail

First stop: downtown Lodi. It seems like a cute little town! We park next to the Lodi Visitors Information Bureau, and the folks there are very happy to see us and come out to give us pets. What we can we say – we’re irresistible!

Dogs in front of Lodi sign

Dad says this should be Lodi’s new postcard, whatever that is.

This town seems nice, with lots of shops and restaurants. We stop in at a garden shop where we find another dog to sniff – and they have cookies here! Wahoo! Then we find what must be another winery because Mom and Dad are starting with their red juice again. [Editor’s Note: First stop of the day was McCay Cellars in downtown Lodi.] Then it’s back to Zephyr, and we’re off. I wonder where to…

…Oh – more wineries. That’s okay with me! Not a lot of folks at the wineries today, but the people behind the counter come out to visit us. We love getting pets, and some people even have cookies – those places are the best! We’re not driving in Zephyr much today, so I guess the places Mom and Dad want to visit are pretty close by. Most are well-decorated, with plenty of shade and nice cool floors. On this trip, all of the places we stop at allow me and Zeus to come inside. Dad says they’re all “dog-friendly.”

When we get back to Zephyr, Zeus and I offer to drive. We figure it would be a nice break for Mom and Dad, but they just laugh it off. Dad says I can’t drive if I can’t see over the steering wheel. I hope they at least appreciate the thought.

Dad says we’re in Lodi because the area is famous for a specific kind of red juice that Mom and Dad like called Zinfandel. They certainly seem happy with it, and they pick up a bottle or two at nearly every place we stop. They don’t really drink a lot at each place, always sharing the same glass, but I guess they have just enough to know what they like. There are many discussions about how “fruit forward” a drink is, or if one is too “dry” (how can a liquid be dry? My water is never dry! That doesn’t make sense to me.). We eat lunch at a great place called Heritage Oak Winery, where we sit outside in the shade next to the vineyard. We stop at a few other wineries today before pulling into our final stop, a place called Jessie’s Grove – and we get to stay here tonight! [Editor’s Note: Jessie’s Grove Winery is another Harvest Host member.] We park in a giant field, where we sit outside for a while and say hi to some other humans in their big converted bus. Once back inside, Zeus and I take a little nap while Mom and Dad get dinner ready. There’s actually a lot of room in this mobile house, and I’m certain it gets bigger when we stop for the night. I haven’t quite figured that out yet…

dogs under table

I think my spot is more out of the way than Zeus’ spot.

On the Road Again (More Liver, Liver More, I hate Liver, Livermore, CA)

Morning again! First some food (yay!) and then it looks like we’re going for another walk (yay!).  I love walks, especially in new places. In this vineyard, there are so many new smells and some really weird looking mini-trees. [Editor’s Note: These are the 130-year-old Zinfandel vines on the property.] The only trouble is that Mom and Dad keep making us stop so they can take our picture. We’re okay to pose for a bit, but there are so many new smells to explore!

One of the trees the “red juice” comes from.

Now it’s time to move again. While this trip seems to be all about wineries and the red juice, every stop is different. That’s why Zeus and I like going to wineries! Some are on a vineyard in the country while others are in a more industrial location. Some are very large while others are quite tiny (like me!). But at every stop, the people we meet are very pleasant and love to chat and talk about the area, the wine, and most importantly, about us!

After leaving Lodi, we take a slightly longer drive than we did yesterday but soon we’re back at another winery in the town of Livermore. The nice cool floor here feels great since it’s getting hot outside. The sign says this place is called Rios-Lovell Estate Winery, and I can’t vouch for the red juice that Mom and Dad are drinking (again), but the room is nice, with lots of murals on the walls. Then we’re off to another place called 3 Steves Winery! I’m thinking we must be related somehow, but Mom and Dad say it was formed by three guys named Steve, and not someone related to us.

No other customers here, so we’ll just chill out.

We went to a bunch of wineries today and met some friendly folks, but, geez – who is this “Oh-my-god-it’s-a-corgi!” guy, anyway?? Even when the wineries we visited didn’t have any other people there, we were still pretty chill.

Tonight we aren’t staying at a winery. Instead, we pull into a different place. [Editor’s Note: We spent this night at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.] It’s nice that we get full air conditioning with the hook-ups, but these other mobile houses are a bit too close together and there’s no grassy field out front for us to run around in. But we’re tired anyway, so it’s good to just hang out and settle in for the night.

The previous two nights Mom and Dad ate food that they brought with them for dinner. It seems easy enough to do that in this mobile house. But I guess they wanted something different tonight because we stop to get a pizza! It’s nice that the mobile house truly does go everywhere and we don’t need another car to get around.

After breakfast the next morning we’re back on the road, but this time Mom and Dad keep saying we’re going home, so Zeus and I just snooze and wait until we get there…

…and we’re home! Yippee! It’s nice to visit new places (with new smells!), but it’s always good to be back home, too. And based on past experience, it won’t be long until we’re back in Zephyr and off to new adventures. We really love to travel this way!

About the Author

Corgi’s gotta blog.

Odin is a Welsh Pembroke Corgi and the top dog around the house. His older brother, Zeus, is good-natured enough to let Odin be the boisterous one. Odin enjoys walking, eating, sleeping, and everything else a dog enjoys (sniffing, running, barking, etc.). This is his first blog post, so be kind to him in the comments.

Owner’s Comments

In truth, probably the #1 reason we got an RV was for our dogs. As I approached retirement, we liked the idea of travelling but didn’t want to leave our doggies behind. Finding pet-friendly hotels and schlepping our stuff in and out of our car every night didn’t sound appealing at all. With an RV, we can all travel together and stop anywhere we want. We picked up our Unity FX in October 2018, and we’ve enjoyed every trip in it. More importantly, so have the dogs. If the saying “It’s a dog’s life” indicates a relaxed and carefree existence, then what better definition is there for the RV life?

Mark & Hilary Steves

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