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Quick Update from the Rices


Since the last post, we have made the long trip south from Minnesota to Texas. We stopped on the way in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at a local Wal Mart parking lot. Our trip down was mostly uneventful until September 29th at 8 pm. Candy was driving on I-35 just between Blackwell and Tonkawa, Oklahoma (an hour north of Oklahoma City) and the left tire on the camper blew out. She handled the truck very well during this incident, we got the tire changed, and got back on the road pretty quickly. We stopped that evening at a hotel in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Once in Texas, we stayed for a week in Jamaica Beach on the western edge of Galveston Island. This was the second straight year of going to the same RV park in Jamaica Beach, only this year it was without Chase. We certainly missed seeing him run and play in the Gulf and on the beach, among other things.

After what seemed to be a quick week there, we headed to Austin on Friday, October 7th to La Hacienda RV Resort. We have set up the camper in a much more efficient way this year after purchasing some needed shelving units.

This morning at 6 am sharp, I will start my 20th season of basketball coaching. It really is hard to believe that I have been involved in basketball for this long. We have a good group of kids, coaches, and parents again this year. I am looking forward to having a special year. I really believe that this season has the potential to be the best year of my head basketball coaching career…more to come!

Candy continues to stream roll through her PhD work. I am so proud of her for how well she is doing. I can’t wait to be the Dr’s. Rice!

Today, we stopped and saw some chocolate lab puppies at a stand on the side of the road. We almost bought one. The question I would ask of you as a reader is this:

Would you buy a puppy or go to Europe for an extended stay in the spring? Thoughts?

Have a great week!

A celebration of a life well lived…


Tuesday, September 27th was a tough day for us…it was Chase’s 11th birthday. As you have noticed, we have not posted since before his death. To be quite honest, we have been hurting and it has taken us nearly nine weeks to actually get on here and write about his incredible life. This morning (after yet another late night of grading), I decided to jump on here and speak on behalf of both of us. Needless to say, we miss him horribly.

Here is the story of a super dog’s life…I could offer many, many stories of this character (many of you knew him well).

We got Chase in the fall of 2000 when we lived in Western Pennsylvania. Candy and I had discussed getting a lab puppy if I got a full-time coaching and teaching job. When this happened, Candy started looking for a puppy in the newspaper.

She had been struggling with our move to Grove City, PA and wanted a puppy badly. She found Chase in a newspaper ad. We got him at a trailer house in West Middlesex, PA for $25. We have always said that he was the best investment we ever made 🙂 It was rather ironic that two people who grew up in trailers would get a mutt lab puppy who was born in a trailer. I guess we were just meant to be together, huh?

The first week was very challenging for us and Chase. However, the one thing that was amazing was his ability to learn so quickly…he was a sponge! We can still remember him learning to climb the stairs, up to and down from the 2nd floor of our “defense brick” home in Grove City.  He was so persistent and was soon running up and down these stairs.

He went on his first road trip in December 2000 with Candy when she went down to the Fort Myers area. We had been a traveling couple but never would have thought he would be such a lover of “going for a ride.” Once again, he liked what we liked. If he heard this, he was out the door and ready to go.

He jumped in his first creek in Grove City in the campus’s legendary Wolf Creek at seven months old. He swam like a natural, because he was! We never would have thought he would swim in the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the cold, glacial lakes of  Canada and Alaska. Again, the perfect match for us.

He loved to play ball and jump off docks. He was just a great dog. I guess I could go on for a while about this. He was so great that we bought a car just because of him (our 2003 Honda Element with no carpet…he shed quite a bit).

When we got him as a puppy, we thought it was all about teaching him. While I am sure we taught him some things, he taught us way more than we taught him. He truly was “The Great Teacher of Unconditional Love.” He was always there when we had a bad day, complete with a wagging tail and hanging tongue holding a Kong, ready to play. How could we not be happy seeing that?

Chase had an incredible life but we were the beneficiaries of his kindness and love. As you all know, we do not have children. He was our kid and it hurt so much to see him in pain. I will not go into detail about the poor job the vet did in Ellworth, Maine. Let’s just say we will never go back to that state.

He died at the foot of our bed at Candy’s mother’s home in Fergus Falls, MN at 5:28 am on July 28th. We were with him when he passed, something that was painful to witness but a blessing at the same time. We wanted to be there for him like he had been there for us for nearly 11 years. Chase had a form of cancer called hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, an aggressive, bleeding tumor that many large breeds get. There is no cure for this.  I just know that he fought until the very end and kept trying to please us.

After a misdiagnosis by the inept vet in Maine, we got a second opinion from our vet in Ohio. She found the cancer, news that was devastating to hear. Chase did get to see many of his “people” friends in Hiram, OH after this vet visit for one last time…that was such a blessing.

We laid Chase to rest in Candy’s mom’s garden, his ball launcher with a tennis ball marking the site forever. When we leave today (Wednesday, 9/28/11) to head south to Texas, it will be the first trip with the camper on the hitch without him coming along. That will be strange for sure.

Many friends have asked if we will get another dog soon. The answer to that question is “yes”, but it will not be happening for a little while. We have plans of traveling to Europe in the spring of 2012 for an extended time frame and are looking to get another dog after we come back to the US.

Thanks for reading this. He made an impact on everyone he crossed paths with. We appreciated the kind words from all of you when he left us.

As stated earlier, we are heading south to Texas today (Wednesday). We have spent the last nine weeks here in Fergus Falls with our “mom”, Joy Minion (technically, Candy’s mom). We hope to post about this time in a future post as we did a ton of things during this time to better ourselves. Stay tuned!

Have a great day and make it a masterpiece. Chase lived in the now and made everyday great. Let’s hope we can live by his philosophy for the rest of our lives.

Lubec and West Quoddy Head Light :: Rices’ Radical Sabbatical


We had the opportunity hit the road again on Sunday. We headed east again in Maine to visit the easternmost town and point in the US, West Quoddy Head and Lubec, Maine. It is roughly 2 hours from the Bar Harbor area. It is known for the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, which was built in 1858 and is known for its distinctive red-and-white stripes. It overlooks Quoddy Narrows, a strait between Canada and the United States, and near the Bay of Fundy.

Another great feature of the area is the Roosevelt Campobello International Park, just over the bridge from Lubec into Canada. This park was FDR’s summer home. It is owned, funded, staffed, and administered by the peoples of both Canada and the United States. We did not go into the park as we did not bring our passports.

We did take some pictures with our phones and there is some video footage as well on our Facebook page. Enjoy! Oh, and a quick shot of Paul Bunyan and me in Bangor just for fun!

The One-Year Mark and Beyond :: Rices’ Radical Sabbatical


It has been quite a while since our last post. We have kept ourselves busy since our last post from the Atlantic provinces of Canada. So, where to begin?

The week after our trip to Canada, I was in the air again heading back to Austin for Regents Girls Basketball Camps for a week. We had 2nd through 5th Graders in the morning and 6th through 8th Graders in the afternoon. It was a tiring time but the kids were great and seemed to have a fun time.

It was blazing hot in Texas Hill Country during that time…105 degrees at the hottest. This heat combined with making sure the kids in camp were staying active and having fun just wore me out. At least I work for a school that has an air conditioned gym!

Candy stayed back in Maine during this time and unfortunately had to deal with some confused guy from a group home who tried to enter the RV at 1:30am. According to Candy, he was older and had some physical deformities that made him appear even scarier at 1:30 in the morning than he probably was. She decided to leave the camper after this and spend the next few nights in a hotel until I got back.

It was hard to be so far away and not be able to do something about this. The plan is to buy a weapon in the coming week or so. As my dad said recently, “I used to carry a cop with me for protection but he got too heavy, so now I carry a gun and you should too.”  Good advice (if you are reading this, don’t gloat, Dad).

On June 27th, I had the opportunity to meet up with my cousin, Lt. Colonel Jeb Phillips, and his son, Nathan, in Bass Harbor, ME, just down the road from here. They had been camping across New England. Jeb has been stationed at Fort Drum, NY, recently.

I had not seen him for 20 years. We chatted and caught up on some great times and great people from the past. It really is amazing that we would meet again in Maine of all places. He has been in the Army since college and has been all over the world. Thanks, Jeb, for your service to our country. Hopefully we will see each other sooner than 20 years from now!

On June 28th, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of leaving Denver and living in the RV. It is really hard to believe it has been a year already. We have driven a lot of miles during this time (12,034 miles with the camper behind us) and been in five different time zones in the camper (Alaska, Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern) and an additional without the camper (Atlantic). In fact, the only time zone in North America that we did not reach was Newfoundland Time Zone.

We have been to 34 states and 3 Canadian provinces in the camper and 3 other Canadian provinces without it. We expect to hit Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and possibly Michigan on our way heading west in the next few weeks. 37 states are pretty good, huh? While we do not know how long we will live in the RV, we are thankful to have been given this chance.

On July 1st, I celebrated my 41st birthday. It is strange to think that I was in this area for the first time 20 years ago for my first summer at Raquette Lake. Time certainly does fly.

Candy and I spent the day touring Acadia National Park via Oli’s Trolley. Our tour guide was Santo, a retiree who was born and raised on a dairy farm in Connecticut. He was very knowledgeable and funny.

The park is one of the smallest National Parks and is made up of mostly donated land. Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole were pretty spectacular things to see. Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States. During certain times of the year, it is the first place in the U.S. to see sunrise. Hop over to our Facebook page to see two new videos from our trip to Acadia!

Candy bought me a brand new steel string guitar for my birthday. I have been learning how to play two strings and six notes thus far and my fingers are actually not too sore now. It helps to have a good music teacher. I am really excited to learn something new and think I can really enjoy it as well. I have learned “Song of Joy” and “Skip to My Lou” so far…watch out Carlos Santana!

We went to see the fireworks in Bangor on the 4th. It was not the greatest show but it was neat to see the town’s people come out in droves for this show. They were lined up on every street in town.

Chase has had some issues with his health recently. He has lost some weight and has not been eating. Also, he has had some problems with his left back leg. We took him to the vet today to get him checked out. He should be okay with some rest, thank goodness. We did get to meet the vet’s clinic cat, Salmon, today. He was huge (weighed 28 pounds) and had paws like a bobcat. His picture is in the gallery.

We have not eaten any lobster yet but are planning to go to the RV resort’s lobster dinner on Tuesday.

We have plans to go to a minor league baseball game on our last day in Maine on July 16th with one of our friends from Colorado, Brian Pelletier. I will also go to visit Raquette Lake, NY for the first time in 11 years with Todd Williams, a long-time friend and fellow camp counselor, on July 17th. We will then head west from there to Minnesota.

We will continue to keep you up-to-date on what is going on. Enjoy the pictures from our phones and keep following along!

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