This the the final chapter of Iris’ cross country road trip adventure.  We started our trip after Iris was diagnosed with cancer.  I wanted to enjoy life with her as much as possible for whatever time we had left.  See previous installments of our story:

Part VII of Iris’ Grand Adventure: After we left California’s coast, I stopped to have the car’s oil changed.  I was chatting with the mechanic about our trip (and our Massachusetts license plates).  He told me that we had to go see Yosemite.  Because it was spring and with the recent rain, it was a perfect time to see the waterfalls.  Yosemite has long been at the top of my list for parks to visit.  I just love it’s history and connection to landscape photography, so it didn’t take much to convince me that we needed to see it before heading home.

Although dogs are not allowed on the trails in Yosemite, they are allowed in developed areas and on paved roads.  For our first evening in the park, we drove up to Glacier Point (a scenic overlook with an amazing view of the valley).

the tunnel view of mountains and waterfall at Yosemite National Park

As always, Iris was happiest wherever she could have a good view of everything that was going on in the park (a good view of the ground squirrels was also important).

Iris standing in front of the Half Dome

dog looking out at mountains

dog standing at overlook in Yosemite

We spent the evening exploring the park and then made plans to start the next day at sunrise.  We didn’t have much time, and I wanted to make every moment count.  As much as I wanted to see Yosemite, I think I really just wanted to extend my time with my dog as much as possible – to steal just a few more moments with her.

Early morning is my favorite time of day.  The world is so peaceful and quiet.  Even though spring is the busiest time to visit Yosemite, being up early meant that we had our little corner of the park all to ourselves.  Plus, there’s no better way to start the day than a hike with a good dog.  We found a flooded picnic area were we could see Yosemite Falls and stopped to watching the sunrise over the valley.

dog looking up at waterfall

dog standing in the forest with sunlight coming through the trees

After our morning in Yosemite, it really was time to begin the long drive back to Massachusetts.  Iris happily stretched out on the backseat, while I drove toward home.  We drove back through Nevada and Colorado, stopped in Iowa to fix a flat tire, and continued toward the sunrise through New York.

Iris sitting on cracked soil in the desert

In 16 days, we traveled for 8,350 miles through 18 states and saw 12 different parks.  It’s something I never would have had the courage to do if I didn’t have Iris with me.  She’s been the best traveling companion, protector, and partner.  She is my inspiration and my very best girl.

We traveled on shoestring budget with very little planning and only the simple desire to spend as much time together as possible.  The one thing in life that we have a limited amount of is time.  Iris’ cancer diagnosis was a reminder of how little time we really have and how important it is to make the most of every single day.  Live your dreams and embrace your “somedays” while you still have today.  I will never forget seeing the country with my little red dog, and I’m grateful we were able to fill her remaining days with hiking, adventures, and love.

The world is an amazing place, and the best thing I’ve ever done was seeing just a little bit of it with the most amazing dog.  Thank you for following our story and I hope we’ve inspired you to head out on your own adventure, whether that means driving across country or exploring your own backyard!

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3 Comments

  • I have enjoyed every step of your journey with Iris. I am so glad you had this little red dog. You made such a giant difference in her life as I am sure she did in your life. Thanks for taking me along on your adventures with Iris. It is a beautiful love story.

  • Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey and your special girl,Iris, with us. I am so glad you made it to the Pacific and to Yosemite. And thank you for seizing the moment and for knowing what truly matters in out brief lives.

  • Such wonderful memories of her journey. I’ve as well enjoyed your posts. I have an epi Aussie that they say I’ll be lucky to get 5 yrs out of her. I take lots of pics. I never stop researching for answers

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