Crusoe & Oakley Go To The Smokies!

It was to be Oakley’s first-ever trip out of the country, and his first trip anywhere aside from our cottage.

For this trip, we partnered with Visit My Smokies who would help organize and show us some of the best things to do.

Oakley was expectantly quite nervous. He lives with the parents of MY parents, and therefore does not live with me, so I could not be there to help him pack. I messaged him details on items he should bring and not bring though, and that I would join him at his house the night before we were to fly out together from Toronto.

Although, I kind of figured there’d be some sort of waggishness afoot whenever Oakley is involved…

Crusoe Dachshund Side Eye

However, when I finally arrived to his house by car, his preparations were not exactly as hoped.

“Oakley, is this suitcase from 1984? How on Earth do you plan to lug this thing around?”

oakley suitcase2

“Oh you think so?” He exclaimed. “It was grandpa’s, who told me it was actually quite modern. Has TWO locks on it and everything.”

I rolled me eyes, knowing non TSA-approved locks aren’t even permitted nowadays. “What do you got in here anyway? Looks like it won’t even close properly with all this stuff.”

“Yes, I figured you could use your packing skills to help me fit it all. But I assure you, everything in there is absolutely essential, and I only want a suitcase with good locks so no one steals my stuff on the way.”

oakley packing his suitcase2

So I began to rifle through the contents. “Your iFetch machine?” I asked. “Why don’t you just bring a ball and have the humans throw it for you?”

Oakley seemed perplexed. “Hm, I guess that could work, too.”

“And only a single pair of undies?! You’re going to wear the same underwear for 7 days?”

“Ah, that’s where you’re wrong!” he shot back. “I switch them inside-out everyday, so it’s pretty much like I have a new pair everyday! Pretty smart, huh?”

“Uh huh…” I replied dully. “And a whole box of Fudgee-Os, and donuts?!”

“Yes, what if they don’t have those where we’re going?!” Oakley demanded smartly.

“Oakley…” I began, shaking my head. “We’re going to the United States. Trust me, there are plenty of donuts and cookies there. Too many, in fact.”

“Oh good!” Oakley replied, gleefully. “Then I don’t have a problem switching to a suitcase without a lock then.”

The next morning we arrived at the airport bright and early. The humans carried us around in our carry-bags, zipping and weaving through the crowds of legs all around us. Oakley called over to me from his bag, obviously quite enjoying the ride. “Hey Crusoe, check this out! I feel like I’m riding one of those speed bikes through the forest of Endor!”

dachshund carry bag airplane travel

He always had to have his paws up and out of the bag…

Even before takeoff, he had paws out and tongue out, huffing his breath all over the place.

“Oakley!” I exclaimed. “Can you keep that tongue rolled up? You’re stinkin’ up our aisle”. Being a little huskier, Oakley seems to be panting all the time.

oakley carry bag

Then it was time for takeoff, and luckily Oakley followed my lead of being cool and composed. In fact, he did super well the whole flight, and when we finally touched down on solid ground once again, he was ecstatic!

Oakley survives first plane flight!

We were both happy to be on the ground again, but even more so to finally arrive at our dog-friendly Smoky Mountain cabin that evening!

crusoe oakley cabin

And what a cabin it was! Two balconies, a hot tub, arcade machine, pool table, big screen TV (what for??) and that characteristic view of the Smokies that we just couldn’t stop looking at!

looking at smoky mountain view

Yep, this would do well. Find a dog-friendly cabin at Visit My Smokies.

It even had a bachelor-style loft with big bay windows for the view and a giant king-size bed for me, and a futon for Mum and Dad.

crusoe in cabin bedroom

“What are we doing today?” asked Oakley.

“Oh, probably some mini golf, maybe a walk in the Smoky Mountain Park, we’ll explore town a bit since we haven’t seen it yet, and maybe just a little river rafting…”, I replied casually.

River rafting?!” Oakley cried. “That sounds much too exciting for me. I couldn’t do anything like that…”

“Oakley, don’t you remember? You fly on PLANES now. That is truly an impressive feat that only the bravest dare embark upon.”

“That is true…” Oakley pondered, looking down quizzically at his paws like he normally does when thinking hard. “Perhaps I am brave enough…”

So, we visited Smoky Mountain Outdoors who were so amazing and receptive to giving us special permission to come aboard, under the one condition that we brought our own helmets – which we did!

going river rafting with dogs2

Here we are, with both our “mums”, ready to cast off on a fast and furious ride down the river! Oakley still seemed a little apprehensive, and as the older brother, I set a cool and confident example.

Even though I told Oakley we were about to head down Class 6 rapids (he didn’t know what it meant anyway), it was in fact the calmest section of the river where they take 3 year-olds.

We both had a blast cruising down the river. I was busy looking for fish, while Oakley was just gleefully taking it all in.

river rafting dogs2

That is, until we spotted the first signs of whitewater up ahead. The water turned from a glimmering smooth green to a gurgling boil as it cast itself over rocks in a steeper part of the river.

“Okay hold on!”, yelled our guide in the back. “This is the only part of this section where you might get a little wet, so watch out!”

Wet!?” Nobody told me I would wet!! I quickly retreated to Mum’s arms, whilst Oakley – either truly not being bothered by receiving a bucket of water in the face, or perhaps more likely, just oblivious to the danger in front of him, sat happily through the whole thing!

exciting rafting with little dogs2

Perhaps Oakley is truly brave after all!

But then it was over, and back to smooth sailing and curious observation – albeit a little wet.

A big thanks to our guides for the exciting adventure!

rafting guides2

“That was awesome!” Oakley exclaimed afterwards. “Can we do a Class 7 river next time?!”

“Uh, sure”, I muttered. “Next time“.

While in the area, we decided to go on a little walk in the Smoky Mountain Park as a little reprieve.

crusoe oakley walking in smoky mountain park

It’s a beautiful, jungle-like forest, not like the ones I’m used to back home. The trees here are huge and exotic looking to me, and thus ripe for peeing on.

We couldn’t help but pose for a quick photo by the river, now that we could “compose” ourselves a little better than when we were on the river.

crusoe oakley smoky river

What a way to make a splash on your first day in the Smokies!

On the following day, we visited the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, where we re-created the “Draw me like one of your French girls” scene, with our own twist of course! You can watch the video here if you haven’t already.

titanic scene draw me like french girl

I have to say though, out of the whole trip the Titanic Museum was one of the places I was most impressed by. I admittedly had the misconception that it might be gimmicky, but it was incredibly well-done and moving. Highly recommend.

We also somehow “bumped” into Paula Deen, who is quite popular here. She really took a fancy to Oakley! She must love those chubby cheeks! 😉

crusoe dachshund meets paula deen

And speaking of famous people, my colleagues suggested I dress up like the iconic Dolly Parton next to her statue.

But when someone puts me to a challenge, I blow it out of the water. I came with Dolly’s coat of many colors and all!

crusoe as dolly parton

I must have attracted some attention though because before I knew it the mayor of the county was beside me, telling me how much his wife is a fan and that she’d be incredibly disappointed in him if he didn’t come home with a photo with me.


mayor of sevierville

Seems you always meet some interesting people when you’re a celebrity.

And every afternoon we made sure to spend some “relaxation” time on our cabin balcony, just soaking in the sunshine, humidity (geez, so humid!) and lovely views…

oakley crusoe smoky mountain cabin

By the way, that was what we were most surprised about here. For some reason we just figured it would be cooler – being in the mountains and all, but no, it was so much hotter and more humid than we expected.

In fact, I never realized how big Oakley’s tongue actually was until this trip.

oakley big tongue out

I have to say, for someone who doesn’t really travel, Oakley did much better than I expected. I figured he would have had a harder time adapting to the “busyness” and commotion of the celebrity lifestyle of moving from place to place, filming, riding on planes, etc. But he has done so well and seems to love it!

Although, I think as long as he’s with his big brother he’ll have fun doing just about anything! Maybe he’ll be up for skydiving next? (I’ll make him jump first then back out).

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.

Keep raftin’,

~ Crusoe




36 Responses to Crusoe & Oakley Go To The Smokies!

  1. My family and I were so excited to meet you in Knoxville. You and Oakley are beautiful. We love your stories, adventures, and videos. Can’t wait to read your next blog!!

  2. You and Oakley were so well behaved. I never heard a bark the whole 4 hours i was in line. You poor babies got so tired. I loved meeting you both. I wish you much health and untold happiness.

  3. Come back in the fall of the year, Crusoe. Much cooler and the fall foliage is magnificent! So proud of Oakley for being so brave!!!!

  4. With Crusoe and Oakley walking in the Smokey Mountain Forest, will the Tennessee Historical Commission erect a historical marker on the tree Crusoe peed on????

  5. Lovely trip story. I was wondering when you will have T-shirts? I really would love to buy some.

  6. Precious Crusoe and Oakley, you (handsome) fellas sure had a fine and adventurous vacation. Just love your funny description of it all, Cru, and your excellent choice of photographs to illustrate it. (That picture of you both looking back at that glorious view behind you took my breath away. I think your Dad may have been Tom Gainsborough in a past life. That stunning photograph is one powerful ‘painting’. It deserves an award. Beautiful in every way). All your pictures and stories are as wonderful as each of you. I think Paula Deen took a special fancy to you, Oakley, because she could tell right away that you and she share an interest in one of the joys of life: Delicious food! I’m not surprised that your only treasured possessions in your suitcase were your Fudgee-O’s and donuts, son. No wonder your tongue was working so hard to cool you off in that southern humidity, you poor baby. On the airplane, the look of fear in your little eyes and your panting tongue tells me that you were, indeed, way out of your comfort zone, little one. I hope your ears weren’t hurting from the pressure changes. Now if only you could chew gum to help alleviate that possibility. Dang! By the way, please stay brunettes, Crusoe and Oakley, although you do make an absolutely delightful Dolly P. and a French artists’ model, respectively. ( Love the blue ‘Titanic’ heart pendant. What a pose, Oaklette.! “Ooh La La !” 🙂 Maybe in Part II , Crusoe, you will tell us how your private visit was with the very lucky winner and if Oakley was all excited when he got home. I wonder if he was trying to tell his dad all about his first trip out of your country. I hope he can have a sleep-over pajama party with you soon, Cru, as he might well be going through ‘withdrawals’ now, poor little guy ! Love him, Love you, Cru. Thanks so much for sharing the fun and beauty of your lives. You make people smile and laugh — your little, red helmets… mum and dad forced to sleep on futons so you can have the big bed… suffering the indignity of being pulled around in public in a hot-pink wagon ( but what a gorgeous color for you ! ). Hope that Paula Deen sees your cooking series, Crusoe<3 ! Maybe she'd invite you to cook on one of her family's TV cooking shows. 🙂 xoxo…

  7. Proud of Oakley he is quite a champ and Crusoe wow gorgeous as always. …we adore you in every way. … love from Count UTE xx and remember to keep it ‘ballin’ xxx

  8. Love you both so adorable. So cool when you spend time together. I wish Oakley had his own facebook and instagram. I Just love his video where he has to go to school and misses bus. I love all your pics and posts Crusoe.

  9. Way to show Oakley the ropes Cru! You and your fam never cease to amaze me with your amazing adventures!! Love hearing from your celebrity perspective…as always thanks for sharing😘

  10. Oh I just love reading about your adventures! We have 2 doxies and are interested in traveling more with them. If you have any tips for traveling, I’d love to hear them! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  11. So stinking CUTE! We wish we could have made it to your book signing. Crusoe, it is very humid in the South. My 3 Dachshund babies enjoy mornings & evenings outside, and stay by a cool stream of AC indoors most of the day.

    My baby girl, Dixie Belle, has an anchor birthmark on her nose too, and looks just like you!

    We’re so glad you had a great time! Try to tell your pawrents that Huntsville, Alabama is also a great place to visit, because my city is known as the #RocketCity. We have The Space & Rocket Center and they host Space Camp (tell Dad to look it up, they even made a movie in the 80’s by the same name). It’s SUPER COOL!

    We’re so glad you & Oakley had a PAWesome time!

    Much love from Alabama, USA!

  12. I so enjoy every word and every picture that you post, Crusoe, Mum and Dad! Thank you very much for all of your work. I cannot tell you how many smiles and laughs I have and my grandchildren have from your posts. We love you very much❤️!
    We live in Minneapolis and hope you will appear at the
    Mall of America for your next book signing, fingers and paws are crossed.🐾
    Val McDonald

  13. Wonderful Crusoe and Oakley, You’re like the uplifting light of the sun after a storm. ( So glad that you have visited Crusoe and your Aunt and Uncle since your special Smokey Mountains adventure, Oakley-Love. I see that you got to go on a walk in a lovely place with them when you were home again. I think that you’ve lost a little weight and that is very good for you, but I also think that you are simply a bit of a bigger doggy than your brother; you’re half-brothers, after all. You and Crusoe are both always very beautiful, inside and out). Thank You, Crusoe-Love, for working so hard to make such marvelous ‘albums’ here of terrific pictures and stories of your daily life and adventures to share with your grateful fans. By the way, you and Oakley looked adorable on “Canada Day” and next time your brother packs his suitcase, don’t forget to remind him to bring more than one pair of boxer shorts! He’s such a little clown and endearing like you are, Cru. Both of you are simply enchanting Keep ballin’, raftin’ and reelin’ in hearts. 💞💘

  14. “Toi” (Gilbert Becaud). That song is for YOU, Crusoe and Oakley, with love & thanks. Maybe your folks can sing it to you for me. XOXO

    • I meant to say the recording of “Toi” in Italian (by that same French singer for a famous Italian movie, “Io La Conoscevo Bene.” Some of the song’s French words were changed for it; I’m sorry I forgot to mention that, Cru and Oak. It’s beautiful and made me think of…. YOU !). xoxo

  15. Love reading your very nice post!!! You had such a great time together!!! Love all your amazing photos!!! Thanks for sharing:)

  16. Love you guys!!! I look forward to ALL you wonderful adventures. I wish I could get my little trunk to meet you both. I am certain “she” would love you both. She is almost nine years old and quite a looker. We love her just as much as your mommies love you!!

    • My word….I have several typos!! So embarrassing!! Should have said ALL “your” wonderful adventures and my name is “Trinka”!!!

  17. It looks like you all had a great time!! 😀 I am happy to hear that your dogs traveled for the first time and let’s hope that there will be more travels yet to come! 😀

  18. I have been following you Cru and Oakley now and I must say that me and me little brother UNGE just love everything about you. We are so proud to be part of your friends. I have been telling my fellow mates here in South Africa all about you and they love you. You are the best ever. I have your first book and are now trying to get your second book. Me mama has your T-shirt and your Cru leggings. We would like to order from you directly but it is difficult. We would like to do some more shopping. I love you Cru …keep it ballin my friend….much love from Count UTE, little UNGE and our mama from South Africa

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Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund

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