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Danette Benton

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Close Encounters of the Beachy Kind

30a is a great place! There is a 28 mile bike/jog/walk path that runs the length of 30a. No motorized vehicles are allowed on it. The path is approximately 15' wide. A typical morning for me is heading out with my 2 border collies, Jett and Gus, for a 3-5 mile walk.

Aside from my usual encounters...

#1 The family... Dad is pulling a wagon with enough food, drinks, and beach toys to camp on the beach for a week. He is struggling on the paved bike path to pull the wagon. I don't have the heart to tell him that when he hits that beautiful white sugar sand, he is going to question the whole wagon thing, cursing under his breath,  "Why did we need this much stuff?" They are usually in tow with many small children. The children are decked out in puddle jumper life vests, full snorkel gear, carrying buckets and shovels for the beach. When they see me and my boys, they want to do a group bear hug. My boys are very sweet, but these children do not look like children to them. With all of that gear on, my dogs don't know whether the children want to hug them or eat them. Luckily, I love kids and my dogs are pretty used to the little scary aliens that sound like children but look otherworldly, so we take a moment and try to make everyone smile.

#2 The oblivious bike rider...These people fly by on bikes giving you a whole 6" to walk in. They come flying up from behind, never saying "On your left or on your right." Snow skiers, snow boarders,  and experienced bike riders will get this one.

#3 The curious tourist...I love these people! They are sweet, usually very happy, smell like sun screen, and generally having a great time. They always stop and ask me if I am a local. I guess we have a certain look? Anyways, they usually want to know a good place to eat, where to buy stuff, general tourist questions.

#4 The grumpy tourist...You see this group with a bluetooth in the ear. They are carrying on a conversation with someone as they power walk down the path. Telling the person on the other end of the phone, "Hold on a minute!" They shout statements AT you like, "I guess it's going to rain all day!" "I  can't believe I paid XXXX amount of dollars to stay here and have an overcast sky!" "Tell me how to get to ...." My family calls them the "entitled" and we try to just stay clear and not make eye contact.

#5 The good dog walker...Not enough can be said of people who have nice dogs that are under control. You you pass them with a "Good Morning" or a wave and keep walking. Sometimes, we stop and visit with each other. Talk about how we love this place and our fur babies.

#6 The BAD dog walker...The dog is lunging on the leash, barking, hair up on his back, making a bee line for you and your dogs, dragging the owner. They holler out and say, "Your dogs look nice, can our dogs meet?"  At this point, I put my hand up, keep walking,  and say, "Sorry, but no!"

#7  Crazy GUY ...Well, today, I get to add a new encounter. I was walking on the bike path on the far right side. Jett, my blue eyed, prick eared, white with chocolate merle spots, is on my right. He is a perfect gentleman at all times. He is 4 and the most wonderful boy! He has his Canine Good Citizen Certificate and can go anywhere. On my left is my lilac, blue/green eyed, wonky eared boy, Gus. Gus is 1 year old. I went through a 6 month rehab during his puppy hood with achilles tendinitis and planter fasciitis. In a boot for 6o+ days during that time and an affliction I would not wish on my worst enemy. Needless to say, Gus is a smidge behind on his training. Each day we walk on 30a with all of the stimulus around us and he is coming along wonderfully.

Ahead of me on the path is a guy on a bike. He is in the center of the bike path, although there is ample room for him to move 4-5' over and give us a little breathing room. He is heading straight at me going really fast. I tell my boys, "Get in," which means they are to get within a foot or two of my body. When this guy is about 40' out heading straight at me, he starts barking! "Woof, woof, woof, woof!" He continues to bark as he flies past us.  Both of my boys watch in amazement. They do not bark back, they do not tug on the leads, they just stay by my side. After the guy passes, they both look up at me as if to stay, "That guy is nuts!" I busted out laughing because I knew Jett would do fine. My wonky eared, lilac boy would have loved to jump on top of this guy's head and ride down 30a barking with him. But he did not. He did not jump in front of the bike and send the guy end over end. He just walked by my side. Training is coming along. Good test... Good Boys!

Full disclosure... I have a sarcastic side. I see the craziest stuff living in a beach town. I always say, if you want to smile, just go out and walk around our crazy little beach town. I make fun of things I see, but genuinely love most of the people who come her. Each year, I get to meet new people, from all over the place, and visit with them. My Beachy Life!


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