Monday, June 8, 2015

Alpharetta Update

We passed and Jedi gave me a celebratory lick
Our Alpharetta adventure is over. It was fun and exciting, as well as hot and exhausting. Everybody from The German Shepherd Dog Club of North Georgia (the hosting club) was very friendly and the judges were great. The city of Alpharetta and the Equestrian Center were both gorgeous. We came home with a TC title (temperament tested -- passed!) but no ribbons (we came in 5th both shows). Nonetheless, I learned a lot and met some really nice people. Here are a few highlights:
 
Renting a car isn't a bad idea. We ended up with a brand new Ford Escape. It was a lot roomier than I had imagined, and it got great gas mileage. Our Expedition gets about 14 miles to the gallon, while the Escape got closer to 25. That adds up quickly when you're driving 850+ miles. Hubby says that the savings in gas paid for half the car rental.
 
Don't trust Mapquest. It doesn't account for rush hour or construction traffic -- which there was a lot of! -- nor does it factor in pit stops and potty breaks. Jedi can only ride for about an hour and a half before he gets restless. And the Escape only had a 10 gallon tank, so we stopped for gas multiple times there and back. Filling the tank and emptying the dog added about an hour to the trip. Traffic, construction and the suit debacle (below) took another hour and a half. We didn't pull into the hotel until after 11 PM, only to get up at 5 AM the following day. ugh.
 
The suit
Check the list! I'm a list maker. I've found that it helps me focus and keeps me from stressing out. However, if I forget to check the list bad things happen. Seriously, it's not safe to trust memory alone. We had been on the road for about 20 minutes when I realized that I forgot my suit! We had to turn around and go get it because there was no way I was showing Jedi in the ratty jeans and t-shirt that I was travelling in. The sad part is "grab suit" was on the list.
 
Pop-up canopies are worth the trouble. Hubby suggested we take our pop up just in case there wasn't any shade. I debated it, afraid there wasn't enough room in the car. Well, Hubby was right and I'm so glad I listened to him. Six people and four dogs would've died of heat stroke if it weren't for the canopy. We had to move it several times throughout the day because the sun kept moving, but it worked out great.
 
Pack as much water as you can carry. We took a case and a half of water -- and came back with four bottles. I underestimated the heat and humidity in Georgia. We were all sucking down water as much as possible, yet I think we all got overheated.
 
My new "must have"
Outdoor show = ThermaCELL lantern. Have you seen these things? Hubby's work sells them like crazy. He was intrigued so he bought one to see if it was "all that." It is! The Equestrian Center was teeming with gnats, flies and mosquitoes. The ThermaCELL lantern kept us bug-free as promised. Each cartridge lasted about 4 hours and appeared to cover the entire 15' by 15' area we had staked out.
 
Put on big girl panties and join the Open class. Once upon a time, the Open class was the biggest and most competitive place to show your dog, and the American Bred class was a safer bet for chickens newbies like me. Apparently things have changed. Yet again this show, there were twice as many dogs entered in American Bred than in Open.
 
And speaking of panties, it's not a bad idea to pack extras and take them to the show. This is a delicate subject, I know, but I think one that should be broached. We were at the Equestrian Center for 12 hours, sweating the entire time. I wish I had had a change of undergarments. I was soaked and uncomfortable by lunchtime. Just sayin . . .
 
Jedi couldn't keep his eyes open after the show
Finally, my family is freaking awesome! My aunt and uncle drove down from South Carolina to see Hubby, me and Jedi in action. They braved the heat, entertained my friends and enjoyed the show (even though they had no clue what was going on). They even brought snacks! Seeing them was definitely the best part of the trip.
 
It was a long, hot weekend and we're still recovering. I think this was the last outdoor show we're going to do for a while. Summer is brutal in the southeast -- especially for those of us who aren't as young and in shape as we would like to be. See you at the (indoor) dog show! - - K