Besides the added 75lbs, what’s it like to have a pet on a bike trip? In the case of Ginger, entertaining.
She is remarkably easy to take care of. If she’s thirsty, she’ll ask for water by making strange little grunts. She doesn’t run away when off the leash. And if you open the tent door and tell her to go pee, she’ll dutifully do so and come right back inside.
She doesn’t really seem like a dog at all. The only time I hear her bark is when she’s feeling endangered, and then it’s her saying “Unless you have Tuna, piss-off.”
The vast majority of the time Ginger is a super chill companion. The only things she doesn’t like are helmets, hotdogs (just the dog, not the bun), and Dad telling her it’s time to go home. If she’s in the water when it’s time to go home, she’ll look at you with these eyes that say, “See you next Tuesday, buddy!”
Ginger loves food, cuddles, belly rubs, the water, and the beach. Today my cold started to subside, so I took Ginger to the beach. She was so excited she even chased her own tail in an unprecedented puppy-like manner. The last time I went swimming was probably in August in Alberta, so I was pretty happy too. Not enough to chase any tails, but still.
An off-duty surfer gave us directions to a great campsite nearby, with trees. It was a planted forest and doubled as a pasture for cows, but good enough. Forests are my favourite camping terrain outside of graveyards, and always remind me of British Columbia.
There were another 5 days of heavy rain coming, so I set up a tarp above the tent. It had a double purpose – to keep the tent and cooking area extra dry, and to collect the rainwater into Ginger’s collapsible bowl. Ginger drinks a lot, and if I also use free water for cooking, tea and brushing my teeth, I can cut down my carried water consumption. So we were ready to wait out the weather. Or pray for a break in the rain…
If it’s not too cold for Ginger she’ll sleep outside the sleeping bag. Ginger prefers to roll up by my feet. But when the thunder arrives in the night, she looks scared and it doesn’t take much convincing to get her to snuggle up under my arm for safety. She’ll link my ear gratefully a couple times and then snore directly into it for the rest of the night, drowning out the sound of any storm.
Still, a warm, dry dog in your sleeping bag is pure heaven. I can definitely see the benefits of traveling with a dog. Or in my case, the Ginja-Ninja!
By Brian Nadon