Maple Leaf Drive

Maple Leaf Drive

October 11, 2015


Narrated Audio Blog

We were feeling very positive about the future of The Pack Track. Weeti was recovering well from her seizures and was slowly getting back to her old self again. It was only a few months now until we were to depart the America's bound for Europe and we still had so much to see. Our voyage across the Atlantic would be in the Queen Mary 2, the only cruise ship in the world with kennels on board. We had so far booked a single kennel for both Weeti and Shadow, but having lost Cinnamon just after her birth and seeing how distraught Shadow became at this loss, we decided that she should keep her surviving baby. So we booked another small kennel, or more correctly we went on a waiting list but to our surprise we picked up a spot in only a matter of weeks. So our plan was now to have Weeti in a kennel by herself and Shadow and Maple sharing.

But for now we were still in Wisconsin and heading towards northern Minnesota. We were slowly making our way over to Yellowstone while seeing as much of the American landscape and absorbing as much culture as we could along the way. The weather was certainly cooling but we were all warm. Weeti and Shadow had good quality coats and Maple had a pink knitted jumper we bought in a pet shop, but in any case her and Shadow were safely  zipped up in their T-Bags Pet Carrier.

One night in an isolated area far back from the main roads, we set up camp. We were without facilities but nothing unusual for us having wild camped when necessary in the past. Early in the morning Shadow woke Janell, Maple was coughing and seemed to have vomited. Dealing with a sick dog was not new to us, but we'd never had a puppy before. At this point we probably should have tried to find a 24 hour vet, but we were in the middle of nowhere. We decided to wrap maple up in a warm jacket with her mum and we went back to sleep. The next morning we were devastated to find Maple's lifeless body. It was heartbreaking, Shadow stood over Maple and looked at us to do something and seemed to not understand why we didn't just bring her back. The feeling of guilt was overbearing, we felt completely responsible in our inaction and that we'd let Shadow down in the worst way possible. Both of her puppies had now passed away under our care. Could we ever forgive ourselves?

We wanted to find a pretty spot to bury Maple and decided to ride until something struck us. We saw a lake approaching on the GPS (Leech Lake) and thought it might serve as the perfect resting place for little Maple, when we realised the name of the road we'd park on was called Maple Leaf Drive we knew it was meant to be. This time we made sure to involve Shadow in every aspect of the burial, she walked with us to the burial site and watched as we dug the hole and placed the little body inside. We didn't rush Shadow, she took all the time she needed to say goodbye before covering her over and placing a mound of rocks over the grave.

We sat silently by the lake for a little while allowing ourselves to begin grieving. We're not sure how long we sat there or who decided we should continue but we returned to riding. We made it barely 20 minutes down the road before calling it quits for the day and pulled into a motel. It was incredible how deeply this little dog had touched us in only 4 weeks. The devastation we felt was so strong, we'd now buried 3 dogs on our travels and each time we relived the previous deaths while also grieving the latest loss. We needed time out to reflect and mourn this loss and thought this simple and insignificant motel served as a good place to hide from the world and so agreed that staying a few nights was in order.



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Are you a Dog Person?
Do you Love to Ride?

Click below for more information on how you can take your best friend along on your next biking adventure

Also in Dog Blog

Snow in the Sahara
Snow in the Sahara

December 09, 2016

The Pack Track entered Africa with great excitement and trepidation. There is so much to see in Africa, such different cultures to explore. But it is a challenging continent (roads, climate, poverty) and a volatile continent (conflict). We had rested enough in Europe and felt ready for the next adventure, not to mention warmer climates! We took the Trasmediterranea ferry from Algeciras to Tangier Med. This is the slow, run-down looking ferry and coincidently the cheapest option at €77 for 2 people and 2 motorbikes.  We'd checked the prices online which indicated a cost for dogs but decided not to book online after our recent ferry debacle in England resulting in a missed ferry, additional 600km+, hotel expenses and more riding in the cold, wet, England rain. So, when we turned up to the ferry terminal in Algeciras we were happily surprised the dogs were allowed on for free and when we were on the ferry, motorbikes tied down in the parking area, the girls were allowed to sit inside ...

Read More

Translantic Crossing on the QM2
Translantic Crossing on the QM2

January 10, 2016

After nearly two years of exploring the America's, it was time to move on. We hadn't seen everything by a long shot but there was more of the world to see. So we needed to get two people, two dogs and two bikes from the US to somewhere, anywhere in Europe. We'd dreamed of taking the Cunard's Queen Mary II (QM2) cruise ship across the Atlantic since we first heard about it. We were already a fan of cruises having first experienced one for our honeymoon and then sailing on two others, each one just as good as the previous. Being dog lovers we were quick to research if dogs were ever welcome aboard but it was limited to just one ship on one particular transit, the QM2 from New York direct to Southampton (and occasionally on to Hamburg). The QM2 had 12 kennels on board and availability was competitive. We booked Weeti in 12 months in advance as was suggested on Cunard's official website, but even then it was too late and we were placed on a waiting list. Luckily it didn't take long to b...

Read More

The Time Everything Went Wrong
The Time Everything Went Wrong

December 31, 2015

The dilemma was to move Stu's motorbike from Los Barriles in the south of Baja, 2,000km to Los Angeles where it would be shipped to Europe. However, after the accident Stu was unable to ride. In addition his bike had a serious oil leak and wasn't in a state for anyone else to ride it to California. So the decision was made to truck the bike to Tijuana where it would be ridden the last 200km to Long Beach. In theory it was simple, but events needed to line up for this plan to succeed. And by succeed we mean boarding the Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship from New York to England on the third of January that would transport us and the girls across the Atlantic Ocean knowing the motorbike was with the shipping company in LA ready to ship. We were in San Diego when the large car carrier semi-trailer with a full load left La Paz on schedule with Stu's bike on board. It left early in the morning and was expected to arrive the following day at which point we would collect the bike from the depot in ...

Read More