Before I get into the daily blogs, I'd like to add a few general notes. 

Dogs are such faithful animals.  They go anywhere we go and do anything we ask them to.  At home they have kennels that are their place to be.  Here they have their trailer and the blue tent at night.  We can leave them in their trailer and go into a restaurant or store for an hour or more and they will be patiently waiting for us when we come back.  At night, they are happy as soon as the blue tent goes up.  Especially Lander goes in it as soon as it is up and spends the evening there.  In fact, if someone comes near the tent, he guards it.  Their whole world now is the four of us and wherever we are.  They get quite upset if one of us leaves.  We were on a road once where it was wide open with no traffic and we didn't think there were any bears or mountain lions hiding in the sagebrush, so we let them loose to run.  They stayed right next to the trailer, where they'd been running for 3 weeks, only Afton was able to run up by Jon and Lander.  She did stop every so often to wait for me.  A couple days later, we let them loose again, and they did venture off the road a bit, Lander running on the grass alongside and Afton darting back and forth, chasing birds and butterflies.  Sometimes the dogs remind me of sled dogs.  We harness them up in the morning and I feel like saying "mush".  As soon as we take a break, they curl up into a little ball for a "power nap".  Both of their feet are doing good now.  Lander had some problems the first few weeks, but his pads seemed to have toughened now.  They aren't so stiff or sore in the morning anymore, so I think they are getting Trail Hardy.

The weather has been about as perfect as it can be.  It seems very warm in the hot sun during the day while climbing up a steep hill, but it's probably only in the 70s.  As soon as the sun goes down at night, bam, the temp drops and it's time to layer up and go to bed.  I think it's been in the 30s and 40s in the morning.  Brrrr.  I have heard, although I'm not sure it's true, that the Eskimos used to scale the coldness of a night by how many sled dogs they had to bring into their Igloo to keep them warm, i.e., a one dog night is not as cold as a two dog night, which is not as cold as a three dog night, etc (is that where the band got its name?).  Anyway, we've had lots of 2 dog nights, as they love to snuggle in our sleeping bags with us.

I appreciate all the concern about my wounds.  I'm happy to say the scabs are drying up and falling off.  My thumb and forefinger on my left hand are still a little stiff, but getting better.  Thanks for the kind notes.

We've pondered a lot as we ride the reason for this trip.  The last trip in 98 with the kids was to show them the Country and meet its people.  This is a little different.  It is to challenge ourselves, but from all the comments from people following us, we hope we can be an inspiration to people of all ages, that something worth doing takes a lot of commitment and a lot of work, but you have to stick with it, even when it gets tough.

And this is a tough trip-much more than the last one.  We have more weight, we have dogs to take care of, the roads are definitely more of a challenge, and we are older.  But like I said, you have to stick with it, even with the going gets tough.