Sailing Adventures

Eleanor's Excellent Road Trip




Hi folks! Eleanor the white Standard Poodle here, reporting on our Excellent Road Trip.
I've never been on a road trip before. As soon as I was born, Mom and Dad and I took off on our boat and had many adventures. Boat trips are fun but sometimes we keep driving and driving for days. This is very hard on a poodle, as I hate doing my business on the deck. But I have excellent bladder control so I can hold it for a day or two if I have to.
Because we have been so far from home, with nothing but water around us, Mom and Dad leave separately to go visit friends and family in Oregon. One of them always stays with me on the boat. I don't know why they didn't just let me fend for myself. I am an excellent hunter.
In fact one of my favorite games is called Find the Dog Food. I have an excellent poodle nose and good hunting instincts so I can almost always search out the extra bags of dog food. I don't care that much for kibble but I always gnaw a little hole in the corner of the bag and eat a few, just to let Mom know I won again.
One time my Aunt Beth set up a really fun game. She brought a bag of beef jerky and hid it deep inside her backpack. Boy, it took me a long time to find it and even longer to unpack the stuff she hid it under. Jerky is much better than kibble so I ate the whole bag - and all the jerky inside it too.
Last August we were in Georgia. Dad decided we should drive to Oregon so we could all be together for the holidays. Dad's first plan was to buy a little two seat convertible sports car. Then Mom mentioned "the Dog" (that's me, of course.) Plan B was a black Lincoln Towncar (they are very cheap in NYC from the limo trade.) He was going to wear a little chauffeurs cap and sit in the front seat. Mom and I would sit in the back, looking elegant. It is easy for us - good breeding is the key to elegance!
Later he decided to buy an RV. He insisted on a Class A (the breeding thing again) with a Diesel engine. Dad loves Diesel engines - now he has six of them to maintain. He named our bus the Dog House.
The bus is nice because it has a couch for me to sleep on as he drives. Sometimes when he isn't there I sit in the drivers seat and study the instruments. I am pretty sure I could drive it if someone would just turn on the key and the radio. Most of the time I just lie on the big dashboard and look out the windows. It is nice how many people appreciate good breeding - I often get my picture taken sitting on the dash looking elegant.
So off we went, driving from Georgia to the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond. For the first few days, Dad practiced running into things. Apparently a bus is longer, wider, and taller than other cars. Guardrails, trees, and other cars were all good targets. After a couple of these experiments Mom got that "pursed lips" look on her face and hardly spoke to Dad for a long time. Fortunately he soon got bored with hitting things and just kept it on the road after that.
The cool thing about a road trip is that we only drive a few hours then we stop. And every time we stop, Mom just opens the door and we go for a walk. We don't even have to wait for Dad to launch the dinghy. My bladder really likes road trips although I do miss the dolphins.
We spent a few days in the Mammoth Caves National Park. Mom and I didn't go in the caves - we don't care for the dark. But it was very neat because at night the coyotes would howl! I thought about going running with them but I am not into the raw food diet that they prefer.
After a few days I could tell that Dad was really missing the boat. Then we came to the Ohio River. Most rivers have bridges over them, but the Ohio had a ferry. Really it was just a barge with a little tugboat to push it back and forth. They loaded the Dog House first and had us pull right up to the front. It was almost like sitting in the pilothouse of Orion with water all around us (except the wheel didn't work.) So Dad got a little "water fix" though they wouldn't let him blow the air horn.
We stopped in St. Louis to see family then drove through about five thousand miles of corn fields before reaching the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore is even more amazing in real life than in the pictures in Dogs Life. We stayed at a wonderful place called the Rafter J Bar Ranch where we could walk or run around in the big meadows between the tall hills.
Dad had been mentioning the change in the weather and even started wearing a long sleeved shirt. It got so cold in the Black Hills, he had to put on shoes. Two days later, in the middle of August, it actually snowed on us in Casper, Wyoming. Boy, Dad was whining like a Cocker Spaniel. I understood though - I am a bit of a Tropics Girl myself. Bring on the sunshine and a good long beach!
We had a wonderful time in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. We saw many moose, bears, herds of buffalo, and even a big grey wolf. Oh was he a handsome fellow. I'd love to gnaw on the other end of a bone with him!
All good things come to an end and eventually we reached Oregon. It has been a lot of fun seeing all my aunts, uncles, and cousins and visiting our beach house. But now Dad has gone back to the boat and I am sitting here in Mom's condo, so bored I spend time picking out letters for stories like this on her iPad using my delicate poodle nose.
I'll write again sometime when we have another adventure.
Eleanor