Hello and welcome!
This site was established on the 24th of May, 2015, to document a 24-day drive to Alaska from Denton, Texas. As you can imagine, that is quite a trip. With that in mind, we decided to document this epic vacation to share with friends, family, and the internet in general. Now that that trip is completed, I will continue to document future family travels, both with and without Ripley, despite the name of the website. I have several goals for this site. First, I hope to share pretty and fun photographs from as many places around the world as I can visit. I also hope to share some insights into packing for trips and vacations, what roads you might take, things to do, and places to eat. Since Ripley is a dog, I intend to share as much information as I can about dog-friendly travel and how to entertain a hyper-active canine on long driving days. I hope everyone gets a kick from reading about our adventures!
Ripley is a Brittany, or Brittany Spaniel, born April 28, 2012. If you have ever owned a Brittany, you know that they are a sensitive, high-energy dog bred for bird hunting. Let me begin by saying that Ripley isn’t a bird dog by any stretch of the imagination. She is a sweet and occasionally timid pet that certainly doesn’t have the outgoing and fearless personality necessary for a gun dog. In fact, that is how we came to own her. As a puppy, her owner decided that she would not make much of a hunting dog, so she was passed along to us to instead. I remember the day we picked her up, she was in a horse stall with her sister, another Brittany. The sister came lunging out of the stall when her owner opened the door, bouncing into my arms and licking my face. Ripley had to be coaxed out of the stall with sweet words and kissy sounds. She’s become a bit more outgoing since then, but she will still snub people who call her over for a pat at the dog park, and run from the Great Dane that comes by for a visit.
Ripley runs between three and five miles most every day, either on the treadmill or on a leash outside with Mark and I. She’s been running since she was a puppy, and she is most definitely an athlete and what I would call a solid wall of muscle. Mark and I always joke that instead of wearing her out with her daily runs, we’ve built up her stamina, so now she can run around twice as much in the evenings and on trips. She has more energy than a hyperactive kid on pixie sticks. When we take her places, people frequently ask us how old our puppy is. They usually guess that she’s less than a year old, which you may notice is quite a bit younger than her actual age. That’s our girl.
Ripley is also an AKC registered Canine Good Citizen, and she does have lovely manners, or at least she does when she is tired. She has four diplomas from pet training classes, and she is gentle and sweet, even with babies. She has been to 49 U.S. states, and she’s already visited Canada several times before. All of this happened before she was 4 years old. To say she is well-traveled would be an understatement. She travels very well. Ripley loves visiting places, seeing things, riding in the car, sticking her head out of windows, and chasing lizards. Her primary hobby is eating, and she will find everything you’ve ever dropped and put it in her mouth to taste, even soap. So watch out.
Mark and Kristy
Mark and I are tall humans with jobs and such. We live in Denton, Texas. I was born in Texas, but Mark was born in Oklahoma. I try not to tell anyone, but sometimes people find out he’s an impostor. We’ve been married since May, 2012. We were married by a Justice of the Peace, and we had a wedding party in a barn. I suppose you aren’t surprised, if you’ve ever been to Texas. At least one of the horses didn’t officiate, right? We have a house and a pool and a big back yard. Like any real Texan, we panic when it snows. We’re also vegetarians. This really confuses our families. We have visited a one more state than Ripley, since she can’t make it to that one very easily. One of our goals is to visit all of the National Parks in the United States.
Mark enjoys photography and has a somewhat debilitating camera addiction. He gets upset when no one in our Craigslist neighborhood has Olympus lenses for sale. He even develops his own film. Mark is an Eagle Scout and has been hiking since he was a little boy. He has hiked much of the Appalachian Trail with his brother and his father. Mark loves traveling and has visited many interesting places for his job. Most recently he went to Ethiopia with a colleague who was born there. He likes fountain pens and inks and notebooks, and he prefers Apple computers. He hates cleaning the pool and dreams of the day that we will build a house without one. He plays the double bass for a local symphony orchestra. Possibly his favorite hobby is putting silly hats on me in camping stores and taking my picture.
I am an avid runner, and I inflict my hobby on Mark and Ripley. I have a weakness for fancy running shoes. I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy novels, and I play a few video games in my spare time. I like cooking and baking, and my favorite meal is shakshuka. I own several Appaloosa horses, and I’ve been riding both English and Western styles since I was a kid. I like to wear brightly colored nail polish, but it is always a mess when I first put it on. I make lists about everything. Sad dog stories on the internet make me cry, no matter what. Reddit is my secret vice. And of course, I love my husband and my dog, and I am always excited to travel with them, and now, to write about it!