July 3, 2021
Well, this day sucked. It started off ok, a quick walk, a sniff, and nice poop, then back to the apartment. And then I just knew it…I knew it when Food Lady and Snack Guy started moving around like crazy, packing things and carrying them out to the Jeep. This was gonna be a long one. And it was. Don't get me wrong. The back seat of the Jeep is OK. They've got it all fitted out for me with a hammock type deal, and it's pretty comfy. I like to remain in the sitting position while draping my chin over the edge of the hammock, right where I can look out the side window, and then sleep for a bit, then wake up and look out the window some more. But I can't look like I'm too comfortable or they don't feel bad for me, so every now and then I'll curl up all cute like and sort of let out a little groan…that always gets them, and before long Snack Guy is sneaking a treat my way. I've pretty much got him trained.
But this drive. Oh, my! It went on for years. Out the window was all cows and windmills. Snack Guy kept making Don Quixote jokes, but they never got funny. There's a lot of windmills in Oklahoma and Texas. We crossed Texas as fast as possible, right through that little square of it on the top of the map…the Panhandle Snack Guy said. But even that little bit is longer than one would think looking at it on a map. I guess they are right, everything is bigger in Texas. Shortly after we crossed the border of Texas, Snack Guy made a stop at the Conoco Cafe. I have no idea why we stopped here, and it was as hot as sticking your head in an oven. After that, we got back on Route 66.
The plan, as I was to learn, was to get about halfway across, a place called Amarillo, where they'd find me a dog park to play, and here is where it got fun. We took some twists and turns before we found it. The exits and entrances seemed to confuse Snack Guy and I think we got turned around a few times. But soon enough, we found our way to a dog park. It was only one other dog in there, that I noticed (a black lab) whose only trick seemed to be fetching a ball and actually bringing it back to his human. Where is the fun, where is the chase, where is the tag-of-war? He was nice enough, I suppose, but he couldn't catch me. I was still faster. I pretend to be submissive, then jump and shoulder him. That trick gets them every time. We kind of got into it, over a kid's fan, but I chewed that thing up before anyone could get it. Kid shouldn't have left it on the ground. That's when I saw the pond.
Black Texas mud, thick as stew, and littered with the smelliest garbage drifting over from the county fair at the park bordered the small pond. I looked over my shoulder for a second at Food Lady who had a mix of fear and anger on her face, and I knew I had her. I jumped as far as I could go, landing in the middle of the trash-filled sludge. I was so cool and so sweet and stuck to me exactly as you would imagine. Hip and shoulder deep. I waded in further until it became marshy and more like water; coincidently that happened to be where the dog park fence ended. I guess the builders didn't think dogs would come this far out. And I was off. I could hear Food Lady screaming in the distance, but that only spurned me on. I saw ahead in the park a golden retriever who was, no doubt, more fun than that boring black lab. So, I went to meet him. Snack Guy jumped the fence in a way you might not expect a fifty-year-old would. He is more agile than he looks (and in sandals too!). But it was no use. I was mud caked, off-leash, and beyond the fence, free as a Texas tumble weed. I did not want to get back in the car. I hung around the golden retriever for a while, but it was a no-go, and eventually Snack Guy caught up to us. I let him catch me and lead me back to a smoldering Food Lady. Clearly, she already had a plan, and I wasn't going to like it. It took some time and most of my white was tainted by black, sooty sludge, which to me smelled divine, but for some odd reason the humans didn't seem to like it. And there we were, under the hot Texas sun, filling water bottles by a little water fountain, trying their best to clean me off. Eventually, they got most, but not all, of it off me. The smell, however, was going to linger for the remaining four hours to Albuquerque. The Jeep was quite pungent for the rest of the way across Texas, and four hours somehow turned into six, but that's a story for later.
After we left the dog park, the next hour or so was kind of quiet and I'm not exactly sure why. We had a lot of fun… at least I did. So, I resigned myself to looking out the window at the cows, the windmills, and the horizon.
Texas may have been the shortest stretch, but it certainly seemed the longest. Everything really is bigger in Texas. Next stop Albuquerque.
I'll keep you posted,