A Vacation in Vizsladom

[Image:] The quilt that I was amazed and disappointed NOT to win - a beautiful symbol of the Nationals I felt

9.00 pm Saturday 23rd October 1999 saw me leaving New Zealand for USA. I was headed for Santa Nella and the 1999 Vizsla Club of America Nationals .... my aims - to find the worlds best Vizslas so as to get ideas for future possible mates for the worlds extra best Vizslas (mine ) and to meet the many many wonderful VizslaTalk list people who I have been Internet conversing with over the years.

So after leaving at 9.00pm on Saturday .. I arrived in San Francisco at 4.30pm Saturday .... yes I gained back over a whole day!!

I managed to find my way around the small city that is referred to as the Los Angeles airport, struggled my way past hard faced immigration and customs officers, caught the shuttle bus that would take me to the far end of the airport, and headed to the gate shown on my boarding pass. HOWEVER one thing that my trip has taught me is that I must have a very suspicious face. Entering through the security gate I was taken to the side ... the security guard checked that my cabin bag was in fact mine and then proceeded to thoroughly test it for narcotic or gunpowder residue! I am sure that you will all be delighted to know that they did not find any.

[Image:] Rita's dog Dax under the table at the Field Trial grounds

At San Francisco I was met by Rita Martinez and her delightful husband, Rupert. We caught up on my exercise by finding our way to the baggage claim and then on to the car park and then headed out of the city to their lovely home! AND I got to meet my very first USA Vizslas ... Dax the forensic SAR dog; Daisy the famous rescue; and T-Bone the old guy who previously I had not even known existed! Chinese takeaways for dinner and a soak in the hot tub saw me having an early night and a good sleep.

The next morning Rupert managed Mission Impossible by loading Rita's vehicle with my luggage, Rita's luggage; all the raffle & auction paraphernalia that Rita had to take; ribbons and name tags; and still leaving room for Rita, me, Dax & Daisy!! T- Bone was staying home to keep Rupert company.

Off to Santa Nella!!! Did I mention my mild (well at times quite large) panics when cars kept coming around corners on the WRONG side of the road! Yes, in New Zealand we (correctly) drive on the left of the road so my nerves did have some trouble understanding why all the cars were not where they should be.

[Image:] The Ramada Inn - photo by Sandra Stuart

We arrived at the Ramada Inn, Santa Nella, at about midday but Rita's room still had occupants so we went to Pea Soup Anderson's for lunch - Caesar salad was great... I recommend it to anyone lunching there.

A bit more of a wait and the rooms were ready so we unloaded. After settling in a trip out to the field trial grounds was in order where I met up with Jane and Buddy for the first time ever IN PERSON. Back at the Ramada Inn I had the pleasure of meeting Michael, Sandra and Sophie Stuart from Australia. We do feel that it was a bit extreme that we all had to travel so far from home to finally meet face to face. Thanks to Michael & Sandra I now have a wonderful Vizsla pin from Australia to add to my collection.

[Image:] NOW I have been told that this is actually CH Oakleaf's Everwhen Chances R, CD, MH, NA, VC (Chance) - I now that I TOOK a photo of Henry at this time (I actually remember Henry and Chance saying Hi!) So where is it? The mystery of the missing photo!

While most people were heading out to the first official dinner of the Nationals, I headed for McDonald's and an early night. However the early night was delayed when I caught up with Susan Straughan. After having her stay with us in NZ for 5 weeks it was like meeting family to catch up with her when I was so far from home! And I got to met her Vizsla Henry at last.

The next day saw Jane up bright and early to come to the Inn and pick me up to take me back to the field trial grounds (she, Buddy, and her son Ian had a Motor Coach at the grounds). Once there I was introduced to Dudley .. a poorly gaited horse with a stubborn attitude!!!! The first brace was scratched as far as Dudley and I were concerned as he was limping ... a clean out of dirt and stones from his hooves by the wrangler saw Dudley walking a bit better so we headed off to follow the second brace.

[Image:] Place getters from the trial I followed

The dust, grime and dirt was amazing!!! But with some ‘discussion' between me & Dudley as to what direction and speed we should travel at, I did eventually get to see some parts of the field trials!! .. Oh yes and I also got to meet another of the wonderful people I have corresponded with, Julia Bonar. And yes, Julia DOES still have an English accent!!!

I must state at this stage that I met lots of other great people who I may omit to name in this narrative - I apologise for the omission but some I cannot actually remember the names of .. and some I have simply forgotten to mention ... There is no slight or offense meant by that. It is simply that I did not make good enough notes at the time.

[Image:] Diane Blackwood and Farli at the Field Trial grounds

Diane Blackwood was at the trials with Farli. She was the sensible one who had brought her own saddle. Maybe her posterior did not hurt as bad as mine did after time in the saddle. Another notable person I was delighted to meet was Lu Hart! And Lu .. THANK YOU for the cute Beanie Baby Kiwi - I meant to thank you again ion person but somehow time went .. and so did many chances.

Judy Jackson I had actually met the night before .. she had the job of (wo)manning the hospitality table for just about the whole of the week ... what a wonderful job she did!!! And I bet that she was pleased when it was all over.

Monday night was Gumbo night .. cooked during the day by Buddy. Here I have to beat and chastise myself .. as I did not go to the great Gumbo eating. A lack of transport and an overabundance of tiredness saw me share a meal with Sandra and Michael at the restaurant of the Ramada Inn.

I was unprepared for the knowledge that there was a rattlesnake killed at the trial grounds on the Monday - on hearing this, suddenly snakeless New Zealand sounded so friendly and secure!

[Image:] The BIG POSH Car ... thanks Michael and Sandra for sharing the fun!

Tuesday I was passenger in Michaels rental car (a pretentious Lincoln Continental [vbg]) as we headed off into the unknown to try sampling some of the famous Californian wines. Thanks to a book lent to me by Lu Hart we found our way to Gilroy, garlic capital of the world and home of many vineyards. APPARENTLY they make a garlic wine but we didn't find it. We did eventually find ONE open vineyard where we tasted some of the local fare and I purchased a bottle of White (Chardonnay) while Michael & Sandra bought a bottle of the Red.

[Image:] Shella Fuhrman and Jane Toadvin

Trying to find lunch we thought that we would head towards Monterey Bay .. this being a place that we had all heard of we thought that it may have some nice lunch spots. However this outing was curtailed when we drove into the twilight zone and found ourselves in a small, but definitely NOT thriving, town called Watsonville. Ensuring that all the doors were well locked and windows up, we looked for a safe place to turn around and headed back to Gilroy where we lunched very late but pleasantly at Joe's (Italian).

[Image:] The Poquito Photo

Dinner that night was at the field trial grounds .. and more people were added to my "I have met" list .. many of whom I CANNOT remember the names of but some I can include Denny Keeton, Ellis Hertz, Bill & Laurie Morrow and Wanda Berner who's gorgeous pups I had fun playing with.

The next day was quiet with a brief visit to the field trial grounds and a drive to see where the other activities would be held. Entering the showgrounds were they would all be based I yelled at poor Michael "PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!!!"

[Image:] Maria (left) and Melissa (Right) spend some time showing off their dogs for us.

There, right in front of us, was a row of Vizslas all sitting beautifully for their photograph. Who else could it be with so many co-ordinated dogs but the Poquito crew! So we spent quite a bit of time watching Maria and Melissa get the dogs to do tricks, some agility, stack for the camera etc. I hope it wasn't us holding her up that made them so late that Maria had to hurry and ended up spraining her ankle!

[Image:] Some of the members of the VizslaTalk list. I cannot remember everyone .. but the top photo far right is Sharon Simpson and the bottom photo left is Rebecca Dowdell with Buddy Toadvin smiling from the far side of the table.

That evening in Santa Nella we prepared for the VizslaTalk list get together. Thank you SO MUCH to Shella Fuhrman for this! The numbers were not as high as I would have expected mainly due to many not having arrived yet, some camping too far away at the showgrounds and others being involved with the VCA Board meeting - but those of us who were there had a great time. I added many new people to my met in person list that day including Rhoda Ezell, Kay Ingle, Beryl Taylor (thank you SO MUCH for the beautiful pheasant bowl and the VCA pin Beryl!! And for the extra tiara of course :)), Sharon Simpson, Janet Galante, Will Snyder, Michael Gail and all the rest! (And yes I have totally stuffed up sequences and times of when I met most people but I am sure that I will be forgiven for this).

Wednesday also saw my lovely room mates, Betty Anderson and Marlena Chumbrook, arrive so I did a quick tidy up that day to give room for them. A special thank you to these two for sharing with me and to Marlena for the Tampa Bay pin, patch and the Vizsla National pens.

[Image:] Janet Galante's dog, Hunter

Thursday morning was agility so we went to watch it. I saw the neat agility T-Shirt that was being supplied to workers and made a nuisance of myself until someone agreed to sell me one. I will be proud to wear it to future agility events in New Zealand! Agility was much the same except for the many different heights. I would have loved to have Spud and Maggy there - Spud for serious competition and Maggy for light comic relief. I spent quite a bit of time with Will Snyder this day admiring the Rivercity dogs and then also had time to admire Lucy & Alexander (a couple of gorgeous Vizslas belonging to Nancy & Skip Alexander from Oregon). I also saw my first cropped ears on their delightful little MinPin. I regret not having my camera handy for these ones.

[Image:] Lined up for the Parade of Title Holders!

Thursday night saw me, Michael & Sandra and Barrie & Hillary Brinkworth (from Canada) go to Pea Soup Andersons for dinner after watching the Parade of title holders.

By this stage it was a regular thing for me to go visit Michael and Sandra for a final coffee before bed - I had the coffee; they had the kettle to boil the water so Thursday was no exception. It was always a fun way to end the day.

[Image:] Michael Gail's two dogs, Hondo and Seco

Friday had both obedience (which I saw very little of) and the start of the conformation competition. I spent almost all of Friday and Saturday sitting beside the ring watching HUNDREDS of Vizslas perform first for the sweepstakes judge and then for the show judge. For those who have commented on the list about maybe not having the sweepstakes (or the puppy in the field events) I must say that I would be sad to see them go. These extra events give people who have travelled long distances to enter their dogs more incentive to come due to the ability to enter multiple events; and also give those of us who have come to watch extra chances to watch the dogs. Even with both Sweeps & Show I still will need to sit and watch the videos to help really focus what I saw and what I liked or didn't like from particular dogs.

[Image:] From left: Sandra Stuart, Barry Brinkworth, Michael Stuart, Miguel Chevaz, Hillary Brinkworth, Rita Chevaz.

Kevin Papirner had kindly offered to let me show his bitch McKenzie in the Best of Breed competition which, after a certain amount of convincing, I had started to look forward to!. However McKenzie had hurt her eye in field training so had to be scratched for that show. Oh well ... maybe next time I will get to show you all my amazing dog handling abilities!!! (LOL). Thank you Kevin for attempting to give me the chance.

Friday night was the membership dinner and Saturday night the Banquet. These were good chances for me to spend more time talking to so many lovely people. I really do appreciate how friendly and welcoming everyone was.

[Image Right:] Judy Jackson.

Oh yes .. and I won third place in the action photo part of the photo contest with a photo of an eight year old Spud flying over an agility jump.

I also met Steve Shlyen on Friday and then had the honour of being the recipient of a sweatshirt from him on Saturday!! I also think that he owns the coolest Vizsla tie I have seen.

[Image Left:] Rhoda Rezell
[Image Right:] Janet Galante

My wallet was noticeable lighter at the end of the week with a couple of vests, T- Shirts, a Jacket, 2 coffee mugs, a red dog shirt and probably several other things that I cannot remember at present.

[Image:] Kay Ingle.

Sunday morning started as a sad day saying goodbye to so many special people - and I am sorry that I missed saying goodbye to some but not everyone was findable!!

I headed off with Jane in her truck while Buddy drove the Motor Coach with Ian and the dogs. At about our 4th stop to let the overheating Coach cool down we took Ian into the truck with us and deserted Buddy to find someone to fix the Coach (apparently it was a belt problem).

[Image:] The view up the hill behind Buddy's place.

Buddy and Jane's ‘cabin in the woods' is an idyllic spot and I spent the first day there just relaxing, meeting the dogs, and admiring the scenery.

Later in the afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting The Bodeving family including daughter Dani and her Vizsla Winchester who had just won three BOB's!

[Image:] The Redwoods (left) and a shot of the Pacific Coast (Right).

Paul Bodeving was delightful enough to take me on a tourist run of South West Oregon on the Tuesday and I saw the magnificent redwood forests, the beautiful coast and some wonderful views of large parts of Oregon. I also sampled my very first Clam Chowder (YUM) and that night we all ate at the Bodeving's (Bill & Laurie Morrow also came to dinner). Dinner was European in flavour with a range of European sausages heated on top of the table cooker, many flavours of cheese melted under the grill on individual dishes .. potato and bread served from side dishes and of course some good wine and Margarita's to accompany the food! A gastronomic delight AND wonderful company!

[Image:] Sharing a European dinner - from left Laurie Morrow, Paul Bodeving, Bill Morrow, Dani Bodeving and the edge of Buddy!

[small aside] A strange thing about being outside of California was that EVERYTIME we went back INTO California we were stopped at little road checkpoints. Apparently carrying fruit over the border into California is not allowed .. and they obviously assume that the fruit fly is going to DRIVE in rather than (as I would have thought) fly in!! But hey .. obviously their fruit fly's are more into road than air transport.

[Image:] Jane and Starr

THAT NIGHT was the now infamous bed breaking incident. Starr ( the Vizsla who Jane said only loves her Mamma) was happily sharing my bed ... I had to get up for water in the middle of the night and coming back to bed tried to avoid waking Starr. WELL the new mattress did not quite FIT the old base and one side slid off. HEAVY bed was now at a 30 degree angle - and I was NOT going to wake Buddy & Jane up in the wee small hours. So Starr and I just slept with a list to our sail :)

While I was at Jane and Buddy's place I managed to hook up with Steve on ICQ for a chat and discovered that my beautiful Spud had tried to go walk-a-bout and got the inside of her left thigh SERIOUSLY torn after landing on a metal stake. Steve did not let me know just how bad it had been until after I got home but I am pleased that I had some warning and did not just arrive home to find out about it. Spud is healing amazingly well now.

[Image:] Crater Lake - a truly beautiful place!

Wednesday Jane and I did another big tour heading up to Crater Lake (with a stop at Beckies for some of the best pie in the world for brunch and a stop to visit the natural bridge created by lava flows) and around to Klamath Falls and back home. That night Buddy cooked Cajun food - it was delicious - and then sadly I said Goodbye to Jane and Ian and later Buddy, as Buddy drove my to meet up with Colleen Prickett for my next step of the great trip.

[Image:] Kiana was in season .. I am unsure how I managed to miss getting Colleen in the photo - but I did get Kim instead.

Colleen and Kiana are another delightful pair ... well actually there is Colleen, Kiana the V, Titan the Dobe, and (I can't remember the name) the Lab X. I had a good day of relaxation at Colleens place in Sacramento before heading down for a night in San Francisco with Kim Knight and Charlie (Charlie was 12 weeks old and is from Jane's last litter. Charlie is a darling!). This was where I got my ONLY hangover of the trip ... dare I suggest that it must have been the Australian wine [vbg]. A beach stroll in the morning (with both if us VERY quiet) was followed by a shopping expedition for a new suitcase and then muffins and coffee at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific. So strange to think that it is the SAME ocean that laps the East Coast of New Zealand.

[Image:] Charlie IS a darlin'.

Kim then dropped me at the airport and, after a mixup about which company I was to fly with, I eventually got my boarding pass .. headed through security and ... yes it happened again!!! "Is this your bag Ma'am" "Come with us please ma'am". And again I was checked for explosive or narcotic residue on my bags. Again there was none.

An uneventful flight to New York (broken by a BORING 2 hour stopover at Midway in Chicago) was worth every minute when I was greeted by Mary K at JFK airport. This was another person I had actually MET previously when Mary K stayed with us in New Zealand. It was so GREAT to see her again and spend some time with her. After the trip to her place on Long Island I at last got to meet both Spaetzll and Beamer - I wish that MY red kids were so well behaved.

[Image:] Mary K.

Mary again started me reading a new author who I am enjoying .. yet another name to add to the list I scan the shelves for - I read much faster than they write.

Saturday I watched Mary K and Beamer at obedience training and then we went to visit Linda and Tony Rafini (I do hope that I spell these names right). This lovely couple had 2 neat Vizslas including one who is a half sister to a friends Vizsla in New Zealand!! It really is a small world. Mary K and I stayed for a very enjoyable dinner and some fine wine.

[Image:] Mary K's dogs, Spaetzll and Beamer, and one of the Rafinis's dogs, Rhubarb.

Sunday we went to New Jersey and the day to remember Carol Vola and the V's she bred. I managed to finish a roll of film and meet a couple of people I had not expected to meet on my trip - Judy Resnik and Linda Promaulayko. I also met many other wonderful people from the New Jersey and New York area and admired the many lovely Vizslas that were there.

[Image:] The Atlantic Ocean!

A small aside here .. I am a Simon and Garfunkel fan. For years I have been listening to the words in their song ‘America' - ".. Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike ..". WELL now I have been on the New Jersey turnpike .. and I KNOW what they are singing about!!!

Sunday night saw me arriving at Barb and Bill Ehlers place and meeting Reba, Nelson & Vickie at last. Barb and Bill were a delightful host and hostess plying me with both good food and good wine (and an occasional Maragrita) for my stay there. Barb also took me to see the Atlantic ocean .... it may look just like the Pacific in the photo but it REALLY IS the Atlantic!!

[Image:] The Long Island Pet Cemetery!

We visited the pet cemetery and I saw my only live raccoon while I stayed at her place.

Mary K and I deserted Barb and went to Conneticut on the Tuesday. We took the ferry and went to visit Carol Phelps. This showed me a little bit how much I like my own dogs - I looked at Carols and said "Aren't they beautiful" ...... then looked at their pedigrees and found that they are closely related to my Maggy. Yet more International relatives. Carol took us to a wonderful lunch and allowed me to play with her dogs and take yet more Vizsla photos. Sadly time flew and we had a ferry to catch so it was a fast goodbye! (And no photos of this visit to date as I have lost that film!! It WILL turn up.)

[Image:] Vickie and Nelson at play.

I did manage to get a bit of shopping done while I was with Barb and now have some NON SQUEAK soft toys for my (well Spirits) upcoming litter. It was a very sad time to say goodbye to Barb at 4.15 am on Thursday as the shuttle picked me up to take me to JFK for my relay of flights to get me to Hawaii. Extra special thanks to Barb for my new mouse pad and Vizsla welcome sign :)

Time changes do make things very confusing but I worked out that from the time the first plane took off at JFK until I arrived at Honolulu airport, I actually travelled for 24 ½ hours that day. Oh yes ... and did I mention that I was RANDOMLY SELECTED to have all my luggage X-Rayed at the San Francisco changeover???

Jim Haley was there to meet me at Honolulu with 2 beautiful Leis and we headed for the Haley homestead. I had looked at the map and seen that Honolulu and Kailua are different towns on opposite sides of the Island so expected the trip to be at least an hour ... Jim told me that it was about 15 minutes. And it would have been if we hadn't taken the wrong turn to go and visit the gateway to Pearl Harbour base.

[Image:] Daisey and Peri

At last I got to meet another of my so special friends I have made through the Internet - Pam, and of course her 2 gorgeous V's Daisey and DP (Peri).

My time in Hawaii was R&R from the hectic pace leading up to it. Friday I spent meeting the rest of Pams zoo of animals, the 3 of her Day Care kids who were there that day, and her father.

Saturday was SHOPPING day at the huge Ala Moana shopping Mall and then out to dinner that night where I tried Eggplant for the first time and had a truly great seafood pasta. Saturday night I also met one of Pam's sons, Matthew (often referred to as 2 T's due to me also having a son Mathew referred to as 1 T .... look at the spelling of each name to work out the significance of the 1 T and 2 T's labels [g]).

[Image:] My beach photos never do the beaches justice!.

Sunday we walked Daisey and Peri on the beach (second most beautiful in the world Jim tells me) and tried very hard to get dogs gaiting nicely to look at whether they were single tracking. Delight at being at the beach meant that neither Daisey nor Peri were co-operating with this idea of ours!

Monday I bravely ventured forth on Hawaii's public transport for some more shopping. At the urging of Pam's father later that day, I even bravely tried Poi!!!!

Sadly on Monday night my travels started to come to a close with yet another sad Goodbye .. and Jim dropped me back at the airport late Monday night for me to check in and catch my flight home.

[Image:] Bananas growing at Pams place.

I was disappointed that Honolulu airport is one of the few that close almost everything at night despite quite a lot of planes waiting to fly. But we got away in good time and headed for Apia where there was a 2 hour stopover. This was the WORST part of my trip. Apia is hot & humid; the transit lounge is open and has no airconditioning; there is no food or coffee for sale. ALL I could get was water, chocolate, or duty free alcohol (6.00am!!!).

At last back on the flight I headed for Auckland .. New Zealand. The flight arrived early and I had no problems with immigration or customs EXCEPT .. yes once again I was randomly selected to have all my luggage X-Rayed!!!!

Out the door to find Steve and the final trip to home ..with a small detour to pick up a very pregnant looking Spirit!

The trip was a wonderful time ... but it IS nice to be home!