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Travels With Ella

 As a big John Steibeck fan, one of my favorite books is Travels with Charley his 1960 travelogue depicting a roadtrip with his standard poodle Charley. The trip was Steibeck's chance to see the country one last time before his death. I love the idea of the book, and while I have not made the estimated 10,000 mile trip Steinbeck made with his dog, Ella (my rescue pup) and I have made plenty of journeys over the last year.

Ella on a foggy morning walk

You see, pre-Covid Ella would get two, maybe three walks per month if she was lucky. It was not until the shutdowns hit that I realized how much time I really have in a day (and how much I wasted I laying around doing nothing). I made a decision to walk every Ella at least two miles every day that I could (the only reason we would skip a day would be due to poor weather). 

In previous visits with my doctor, he would always say it only takes two weeks to build a habit, and I have to tell you he was correct. It was not long before Ella and I were in a daily routine of a walk first thing in the morning (I really enjoy getting the walk finished to start my day, it seems like if I waited for the afternoon I had a more difficult time getting on my feet). Even when school started in the fall, I would set my alarm for 5 a.m. and Ella and I would be off for our two mile route. We would go longer on Saturdays, sometimes hitting eight miles on long trips through Lake Erie Metropark.

It was not long and soon we raised our two mile minimum to three miles + (I want to walk the equivalent of a 5K, 3.1 miles, at least each day). Except for a little slip and fall on a snowy morning in January, Ella and I walk nearly every morning (I would guess we miss one or two days per month because we avoid rain.)

One of first walks of the 2020 lockdown

We average over 100 miles a month. Our record for longest walk is 9.13 miles which we accomplished on June 19th of this year and both Ella and I have lost some pounds (twenty for me). Our walks are great for my mental and physical health. I am very thankful for the local bike path that runs through Lake Erie Metro Park and to the Flat Rock Recreation center as that is my normal route. We did make a few trips to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in Gibraltar, as they have some great walking trails as well.

While we may not have traveled across country, Ella and I have been traveling much of Brownstown, Gibraltar, and Flat Rock for the past year. I realize how much time I have in a day and make sure to spend an hour two each morning on my Travel With Ella. I hope everyone is able to find some positives from this "new normal" and make your days better. Be safe


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