Blue's First Report
Crater Lake Blue, with Glenn P. Hebert

    Hi, folks.  My name is Crater Lake Blue, but you can call me Blue for short-like.  I'm here t' tell you about th' latest places I carried Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn.  I call 'em Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn 'cause they adopted me when I wuz no more'n a few months old.  Okay, technic'ly they bought me, but I know they saved me from a hard life, prob'bly with kids climbin' all over my innards, and tearin' my nice cloth 'pholstery, and breakin' my cupholders, and fightin' 'bout who sleeps in my crow's nest, and spillin' drinks, and droppin' food.  I tell ya, it gives me th' willies jus' thinkin' about it!  Besides, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn took real gud care of my older sister, White Magic, before she started fallin' apart prematurely, you might say.  They loved 'er so much they 'dopted me when I wuz wet behind th' ears and just off th' boat from my birth plant in Germ'ny.  I wanted t' see th' west'rn United States of America.  Yessir, tha's me.  Born t' roam.

    That's how come I landed here in Texas.  Ain't no better base from which t' start explorin' th' west than Texas.  Why, a gud chunk of it's here anyways.  Tha's also th' reason why I don't talk like my kinfolk in Germ'ny.  But there's plenty o' kinfolk I sound like right here in Texas.  Ancestral kinfolk, you might say.  Lots and lots a ancestral kinfolks helped build this great state.  'Course, their DNA's a mite dif'rent, since they're people and I come from th' hardworkin' dependable line of vans for people.  My fam'ly name is Volkswagen an', before Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn renamed me, I wuz christened Eurovan, as were hunnerds an' thousan's o' my kin.

    I promised t' tell you about Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn's latest 'venture.  But first, I just hav'ta mention some of th' other great times we had 'cause o' me.  (It ain't bragging.  I carried 'em safe inside me ever'where they wanted t' go - 'cept over oceans and stuff.  If God hada meant for cars t' fly or swim, I'd 'a done that, too, 'cause I'd do anythin' I could for Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn.)  I got my name, Crater Lake Blue, on one of our first 'ventures after I wuz adopted.  I wuz settin' beside Crater Lake in Oregon, see, when Mommy Marilyn looked at me, then she looked at that bright blue lake, then she shot me another look, and declared my skin color th' 'xact same shade o' that dadburned lake.  Leave it t' a woman t' notice stuff like that.  Since then, we been all over this great country, mostly out west, but we seen most o' th' other country, too.  Even been t' Canada a couple o' times.  (Them Canadians sure talk funny, eh?)

    Okay, I done gabbed long enough.  Now I got some reportin' t' do.  Didja know I'm studyin' t' be one o' them high-fallutin' journalists?  Well, I am, and this, by gosh, is my firs' ever by-line.  Save it.  It'll be worth a ton o' gold one o' these here days.  (Remember, it ain't braggin' if it's true.)  Couldn't decide on no psuenodym, sudemym, pseudony, fake name, so I borro'ed Daddy Glenn's full name off'r him.  He won't mind, less I write somethin' ubnokshu, obnoxshu, obnok, something in bad taste.  Okay...  Okay...  Here goes nuthin'!

    Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn wanted t' leave at seven in th' A.M. on Fry-dy, July th' 17th, two thousan' and nine, 'cause they figgered out th' traffic goin' south through Austin's not too bad at that time, an' they could prob'ly save themselves some time by takin' 290 west instead o' 29.  I wuz 'bout half full with their gear and rarin' t' go.  They got up in time, but still had a lotta stuff t' do.  Th' upshot wuz that we couldn't get goin' till near nine.  At that time, traffic south down Austin-way is not somethin' t' brag about, so Mommy Marilyn took th' reins and we loped on up t' Texas 29.  It wuz all th' same t' me.  U.S. of A. 290 and Texas 29 are both purty roads in these parts.  But takin' Texas 29 excited Daddy Glenn, th' reason being Texas 29 runs right by Coopers Barbecue in Llano, and Daddy Glenn saw a way t' spice up th' menu by gettin' some brisket, beans, and cobbler t' go.  Y'see, they always feed me well with that Exxon Plus gasoline, but they had decided t' camp th' first four nights, and camp light!  They didn' even bring no stove.  They wuz gonna eat cold pork & beans for four nights runnin'.   I'm tough, but that mighta even got t' me.  I think Daddy Glenn might'a been feelin' sim'lar.  Well, we hit Cooper's 'bout ten twen'y-five in th' A.M. an' seen they wuz openin' up at 10:30.  Perfect.  Mommy Marilyn grabbed th' stuff, paid, and we got out o' there lickety split.

    I-10 west o' Kerrville's gotta be one of my favo-right highways.  I can gallop along at 80 miles an hour and hardly ever hav'ta worry about passin' another car.  Th' scen'ry is right purty, too.  Yeah, I know there's them that likes their tall trees crowded so thick 'longside th' road a body can hardly breathe, but I'm partial t' space.  And deserts can be real purty, too, if you got th' right 'preciation.  Funny thing, though.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn noticed th' so-called desert wuz greener than th' land 'round Austin (not countin' th' places there where people water lawns and such.)  Tha's how bad th' drought's been 'round th' Texas hill country.  And tha's partly why we're hankerin' t' spend some time in Caleeforneea and Col'rado right now.

    At Ft. Stockton, Mommy Marilyn had t' hol' them reins tight, 'cause I had a hankerin' t' head south an' mosey a while in Big Bend National Park, what Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn swear's th' Center O' Th' Un'verse.  At Van Horn, TX, we cut up north t' Guad'lupe Mountains National Park.  Didya know that park has th' highest point in Texas?  Yessir, it sure 'nough does, and it's called Guad'lupe Peak - eight thousan', seven hunnerd, forty-nine feet up there.  Mommy Marilyn wuz itchin' t' climb that sucker.  Th' mountains 'longside th' highway were gettin' purtier all th' time as we headed north.  Then we saw th' Guad'lupes themselves.  Oh, my!  Buet-tee-full!  Mommy Marilyn spurred me on 'til we foun' a gud place t' bed down in th' campgroun' tha's 'bout fif'y-eight hunnerd feet 'bove sea level.  While I rested after a gud long ride, they ooh'd an' ah'd 'bout that brisket an' beans an' cobbler.  Looked gud, but I know'd it'd upset my stomach.  I'll stick t' that gud ol' Exxon Plus gasoline, if it's all th' same t' you.  After that, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn crawled int' my shelter for some early shut eye.  Later, it rained gud 'bout thirty minutes.  Don't that beat all?  Havin' t' go t' th' desert t' get rained on?

Glenn Reading
Daddy Glenn sure reads alot!
    Next mornin' Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn were up at six an', after th' two wolfed down breakfast, Mommy Marilyn lit out for th' peak.  Daddy Glenn stayed with me, readin' on 'is new-fangled 'lectronic book reader called a Kindle, and sippin' 'is water time t' time.  I wuz willin' t' let 'im listen t' what we could catch on my radio, but he wuz too worried 'bout my energy gettin' low.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn are consid'rate like that.  When th' few trees 'round could hardly shade 'im no more, I wuz ready with my open hatchback.  I love takin' care of Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn.  'Long 'bout three, I noticed Daddy Glenn lookin' at 'is watch right reg'lar.  Mommy Marilyn'd been gone purty near eight hours.  Th' trail wuz eight an' a half miles round trip, an' we both knowed Mommy Marilyn always hiked fast'r than one mile an hour.  I started gettin' a bit uneasy, myself.  I also seen that Daddy Glenn had done drunk all 'is water, too.  Would've offered some radiat'r water, but somethin' give me th' idea that wouldn't settle in 'is stomach too well.

Trail to Guadalupe Peak
Headin' for th' peak.
Agave in bloom
Cent'ry plant (agave).
A trail bridge
Hada cross this sucker.
Top of El Capitan
Lookin' out o'er El Capitan!
    Yahoo!!!  There's Mommy Marilyn!  Uh-oh.  She's movin' a mite slow.  Real slow, matter o' fack.  I hear 'er and Daddy Glenn talkin' now.  Took 'er three hours t' climb nearly three thousan' feet and FIVE hours t' get down.  'Er knee started hurtin' within a half mile o' startin' back down.  It got stiff?  She could only take four inch steps?   Oh, poor Mommy Marilyn!  Fill up Daddy Glenn's water an' come t' me.  Lemme hol' you while you take a nap and rest.  There.  You'll feel better soon.  I heard Daddy Glenn suggess you might wanna get a hikin' stick.  Please 'member that in case other people suggess it.  I know how thin's sometimes need t' be heard more than once 'fore they hit th' radar.  Shhh.  She's 'sleep.
Guadalupe Peak benchmark
Mommy Marilyn sure 'nough
reached th' top!

    Well, folks, Mommy Marilyn did feel better after I comforted her.  She and Daddy Glenn walked 'round a bit, ate their pork & beans and canned fruit, then hit th' hay early again under my pr'tection.  Can't wait for tomorrow.  I get t' limber up and carry 'em t' someplace called Chiricahua National Monument in southeast'rn Arizona.

    It's th' next day, Sundy, and its hot again.  Hot's it been at home in Pflug'rville.  We're gettin' near Chiricahua National Monument, which is in mountains (th' campgroun's 'bout fif'y-four hunnerd feet high), so it should start coolin' off.  Only, it ain't!  We're almost there and my tires are darn near blistered th' road's so hot.  'Bout ready t' go back t' Texas.  We're in Bonita Campgroun' now an' there's big trees all 'round.  So why's it hotter than it wuz at Pine Canyon Campgroun' in th' Guad'lupes?  There's a breeze, and another.  Gettin' kinda dark-like.  Could it be?  I smell rain!  Yahoo!!!  Uh-oh!  Daddy Glenn done got out o' my pr'tective interior.  Nein, nein, nein!  Now, why'd you go and do a fool thing like that Daddy Glenn.  It's gonna rain!  With thunder and lightnin', e'en.  Uh-oh.  I ain't bein' disr'spectful, Daddy Glenn.  Jus' that I got so worked up 'bout lookin' after you.  No, sir.  Won't happen again.  Huh?  Open my hatchback?  Oh, why sure!  You bet.  I'll shelter you from th' rain anytime.  ('Tween you and me, pardners, Daddy Glenn ain't as dumb as he lets on.  I think he pulls my tire a lot, fig'ratively speakin'-like.)

    Well, pardners, it did rain pretty gud, but Daddy Glenn stayed purty dry under my hatchback readin' 'is thing-a-ma-jig.  He did get a mite wet 'round th' edges, but said that felt gud.  Felt gud t' me, too.  That rain cooled thin's right down.  Mommy Marilyn wuz under my pr'tection, but she wuz worried someone might see Daddy Glenn outside (even though I had 'im cov'red) and think she wuz 'busin' him.  Daddy Glenn rides in a wheelcheer, so strangers might 'sume he needs more help 'n he does, speshly city slickers.  They don't realize Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn love each other t' death an' neither would do th' other any harm.  They're both real inapendent, though, and gen'ly do what they wanna.  If Daddy Glenn feels like gettin' a little wet on a hot day, by gum, he's gonna do it.

    When th' rain stopped, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn walked th' campgroun' from one end t' th' other.  Daddy Glenn thought he wuz helpin' Mommy Marilyn get  exercise when she wuz really testin' 'er knee t' see if she could hike t'morrow.  Then they unhitched me and we took th' scenic drive.
Stone Columns
Balanced Rock
Masai Point view
Lookin' at stone colums.
Now, how's tha' possible?
View from Masai Point.

    Daddy Glenn says these Chiricahua Mountains (least th' upper two thousan' feet) are volcanic ash deposits welded t'gether by th' pressure of stuff that used t' be on top o' 'em.  Rhyolite's th' name, erosion's th' game, see.  When th' stuff up top wuz eroded 'way, th' rhyolite rocks started erodin' in funny ways 'cause they had these cracks (both horizontal and vertical) runnin' all through 'em.  Now, you got your columns, your pillars, your balanced rocks, even a few windows, all over th' place.  They were right close t' th' road, too, speshly for th' first part of th' drive.  Kep' my eye out for rocks on th' road, I'm tellin' you.  At th' end o' th' road is a buet-tee-full spot called Masai Point.  You can see for miles in almost any direction.  Some o' them columns are so thick and lined up so ord'ly, they look like solder batallions marchin' down th' hills.  There were picnic tables here, so Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn decided t' eat dinner while th' sun set behind some more storm clouds.  They had th' same thin' for dinner they had last night.  Sure am glad they'd already fed me.
Daddy Glenn...
Daddy Glenn
Mommy Marilyn...
Mommy Marilyn
Smilin' 'bout this?
Meager Meal

Mysterious Canyon
Makes you wanna 'splore.
Leaning Column
Leanin' column o' rholite.
Looking down the trail
Mommy Marilyn hada t' go down there.
Cactus Garden
Natchal cactus garden.
High balanced rock
I'm stayin' 'way from that one!
    Guess Mommy Marilyn's knee passed th' test, 'cause they were both up early Mondy mornin' and Mommy Marilyn caught a shuttle that took 'er t' near where she an' Daddy Glenn ate th' you-know-what on Sundy night.  From there, she hiked back t' camp.  Daddy Glenn and I waited for 'er in camp, and you can guess what he did.  I love my Daddy Glenn, but he really ain't much comp'ny when he gets t' readin' 'is books, 'lectronic or otherwise.  Sometimes I hear 'im laugh, but he don't think 'bout lettin' me in on th' joke.  Sometimes I hear 'im sniffle, but I don't wanna know what tha's about no ways.  When she got back, Mommy Marilyn said it wuz a real gud hike - it wuz real purty without hurtin' 'er knee.  Thin's wuz kinda slow-like th' rest o' th' day.  It did rattle me a bit when I saw 'em eatin' cold pork & beans and canned fruit th' third night runnin'.  They're so tough, you gotta 'mire 'em, though.  Leastways, I do.  T'morrow night we're stayin' in a hotel, so I s'pose they won't be eatin' so sparse-like.

    Tuesdy, th' twenty-firs'.  Time t' make tracks.  Headed for Kingman, Arizonee, via Phoenix t'day.  Usu'ly take I-40 'cross New Mex'co and Arizonee, but this time we're takin' I-10 and we'll cut up t' Kingman on U. S. of A. 93.  Don't range on 'em parts too offen.  Tha's what I like 'bout Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn.  They keep thin's interestin'.  And dat's gud, as my 'cestors 'ould say!

    Leavin' west of Phoenix, there were no freeways - just a lon' stretch o' traff'ck lights.  I tell ya, fella trav'lers, that weren't fun at all.  Worstest part o' th' trip.  I'd be tickled pink when Mommy Marilyn spurred it t' me, only t' haf t' stop at 'nother light!  A body'd think they 'ould (Whatcha call it?) time 'em so's we kep' movin'.  Remin' me t' write an ed'torial t' th' Phoenix papers, will ya?  Anyways, when we got t' th' open country 'gain, it wuz real nice.  Big rollin' hills some 'ould call mountains.  Ev'ry hill, seems like, wuz outfitted in sa-wah-rows 'r choy-ya.  Don't think any had both kinds o' cactus's on 'em, though.  That wuz strange-like.  'Peared it might have somethin' t' do with elevation.  Least, tha's what Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn thought.  I dunno.  That land wuz jus' purty t' me, 'speshly when we went over deep washes.

    The hotel wuz right next t' my feedstop, but I had t' wait 'til th' next mornin' t' eat.  Now, why'd Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn do somethin' like that?  I'm not complainin', but it seems kinda inconsid'rate, 'spechly since I had t' carry 'em t' Mattina's Eye-talian Rest'rant after they cleaned themselves up.  Makes me chuckle t' think 'bout how they smelt after four nights a-campin'.  But they gud folks, hones'.  Jus' wish't they hadna a talked 'bout how gud that eye-talian food wuz when I carried 'em back t' th' Hol'day Inn 'Spress.

    They musta been sorry for not feedin' me that night, 'cause they filled my belly gud bright and early next mornin'.  AN', they didn't ride me hard that day!  We jus' went 'bout six an' a half hours t' Tehach'pi, Caleeforneea (as th' gov'nator says).  'Course, I got a mite perturb'd after we got there an' I carried 'em t' eat cuban food at Don Juan's Grille.  That didn' bug me.  What chapped my tailpipe wuz that there wuz this RV Show next t' th' Hol'day Inn 'Spress, see, an' after I carried 'em back there jus' as safe an' gentle as you please, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn went LOOKIN' AT RVs!  USED RVs, AT THAT!!!  I never heard o' such foolishness.  Mommy Marilyn e'en looked inside some and told Daddy Glenn 'bout 'em (since none o' em welcome 'im int' their very beings like I do.)  I tell ya, folks, it wuz humilliatin'!  This weren't th' first time they done that.  Fine'ly, just like th' other times, they come t' their senses an' realized they couldn't do no better'n me.  I eat less, cost less, am reli'ble, don't need no special storage, can squeeze int' tight spots, and I love 'em, 'xasperatin's they can be at times. 'Least, they always realize what they got in time.  Still, I'm not complainin' - jus' reportin' th' facts, like a hard workin', high-fallutin' journalis' oughta.  I reckon I shouldn't oughta get so worked up 'bout such thin's, though.  Bad for my oil pressure.

    When we dropped down in Caleeforneea's central valley next mornin' th' smog wuzn't bad's it usu'ly is.  That wuz nice.  Before hittin' th' valley proper, though, Mommy Marilyn reined me in at Murray Fam'ly Farms fruit stan' and got some peach's and chaireys for 'er Momma (as well as Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn).  When it's not winter, we usu'ly stop there.  After that, wild horses could'na kep' us from Sacr'menta (or Sacto, as Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn call it).

    Pulled in th' parkin' lot 'bout 4:00, 'bout a hour before we were s'posed to.  I knew Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn wuz pinin' t' get there, so's I give it my all.  They took lots o' stuff outa me an' went on in with Mommy Marilyn's Momma.  Hope she don't mind, but I'm gonna call 'er by 'er giv'n name, Momma Doris, t' save time from here forward.  (If you do mind, Mommy Marilyn's Momma, holler at me an' I'll print one o' them there corrections.)

    Now, th' parkin' lot Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn stabled me at wuz purty nice.  Had lotsa trees keepin' me comf'table all day, tho' they got messy sometimes.  Only thin' I didn't like wuz havin' two people come out ever day, ever day, and smoke cig'rettes right near me.  But my, wuz they cute!  Both o' 'em were in their seven'ies and could'na kep' their hands off'n each other if they'd been hog-tied!  Few days later, I heard 'em tell Mommy Marilyn their story.  Th' woman hada stroke and moved where Momma Doris stays now back in Feb'ry.  My windshiel' got moist-like when she tol' Mommy Marilyn she 'spected t' find a corner t' crawl up in an' wait t' die.  I jus' hate hearin' 'bout people givin' up.  But then, th' man hada stroke an' moved in in May.  They met, an', would'n'ya know it, they started sparkin'.  An' I mean SPARKIN'.  They say th' staff don't know what room t' take th' meds t' in th' mornin's!  If that don't beat all.  Uh-oh!  Don't know if I can r'port on that.  My ed'tors could black it out.  But, by juniper, it's a cute story, ain't it?  An', it's 'sclusive!

    I'm gettin' ahead o' myse'f a mite, but I jus' gotta tell ya 'bout this place.  Name's Atria El Camino Gardens, see.  Th' Atria's on accoun' tha's th' nationwide company that owns it.  They got places for people wantin' t' live inapendent-like, like Momma Doris, and they got places for people needin' a mite more help, like th' smokin' couple (smokin' more'n one way, I should add. Hee, hee!)  They got all kinds o' activ'ties, like trips, all kinda e'ercise (includin' somethin' called Sit Tye-Chee), games (includin' WII bowlin'), socials, and whatnot.  Cal'ndar's chock full o' 'em.  They got jobs for res'dents, if they wan'em, like waterin' 'tic'lar plants, helpin' new people get use'ta th' place, etc. and etc.  Res'dents can cook grub in their own room or eat in th' dinin' room, which is included in th' price res'dents pay t' stay there.  It don't cost too much, neither.  Momma Doris really's taken a shine t' it.

    Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn liked it, too, 'speshly when they found out they could stay there for fiffy-five dollars a night, with three meals a day included.  They got a two room 'partment, with a washroom and a nice kitch'n.  Better'n campin', an' much cheaper'n a Hol'day Inn 'Spress.  Th' way I heard it, they wuz in hog's heav'n.  Daddy Glenn found out Atria's got places like this all over and tol' Mommy Marilyn they could travel all ov'r cheap-like by visitin' folks livin' in 'em.  When th' folks claim not t' know Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn, all's they gotta say is, "Oh, Aunt Bea, I'm sure you'll remember us later."  That Daddy Glenn can be a cut-up, I tell ya.

    Okay, back t' my nar'tive.  Tha's bas'cly what this report is.  I ain't ready for no invest'gative journalism yet.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn unloaded me some an' went in with Momma Doris an' got sit'ated.  When they got refreshed-like, they came back and I carried 'em, includin' Momma Doris, t' yet another Eye-talian restaurant, where they met Mommy Marilyn's brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Marcia.  Momma Doris wuz so tickled ever'one wuz together, she paid for th' whole kit an' k'boodle.
Mark Cooper
Marcia Cooper
Mark Cooper
Marcia Cooper

    Now I'm a purty gud high-fallutin' journalis' 'cause I got keen pow'rs o' obse'vation.  Here's an 'xample.  When they come outa that Eye-talian restaurant, I heard Mommy Marilyn tellin' 'bout how 'er knee got real stiff comin' down from Guad'lupe Peak.  What d'ya think Mark and Marcia told her?  Both o' 'em.  They both said, and this here's a direck quote-like, "You should get a hikin' stick."  BAM!!!  They wuz th' sec'nd and third people t' tell 'er so (Daddy Glenn being th' firstest, if you 'member), so guess what hit Mommy Marilyn's radar screen?  You got it - a hikin' stick.  They e'en rec'mended one and told where she could buy it.  See how 'stute I am.  Pick up little stories all th' time 'cause I listen and 'serve.

    The next day I could'na done nuthin' but listen and 'serve, since Mommy Marilyn and Momma Doris went shopping - IN MOMMA DORIS'S CAR!!!  Tha's right, pardners, I wuz left stabled with th' smokin' couple.  For th' life of me...  After I done carried 'er safe and sound from Pflug'rville t' Sacto...  Why'd Mommy Marilyn wanna do somethin' like that?  Yeah, Momma Doris wanted Mommy Marilyn t' check 'er drivin' in 'er car, arright.  What kinda lame 'scuse's that, though.  Th' only gud thin' 'bout th' deal wuz that Mommy Marilyn come back with a hikin' stick.  Daddy Glenn weren't much help, neither - readin' an' checkin' th' stock market all day.

Marilyn and Glenn
Best Mommy an' Daddy
xin th' world, I tell ya!

    On Saturdy, July th' twen'y-fi'th, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn had ANOTHER fandango for their six'ieth birt'days an' twen'y-fif'h an'vers'ry.  Now, I'll admit here an' now, I like t' cut loose at pardies, but, come on!  Three?  In one year?  Cel'bratin' th' same thin'?  E'en I tone it down mor'n that.  They jus'ified it by claimin' th' Caleeforneea rel'tives couldn't atten' th' firs' two.  Whate'er.  Th' rel'tives came an' I heard they hada gud time, eatin' steak, an' fish, an' cake 'til their bellies 'bout bloowed up.  Atria give 'em a big ol' sheet cake for free.  It wuz so big Mommy Marilyn and Momma Doris moseyed from room t' room after th' pardy givin' 'way cake.  They made lotsa friends that day, sure's shootin'.

Woodpile at cabin
Momma Doris, Mommy Marilyn, an' Daddy Glenn by Mark's woodpile.
    Marcia, Mommy Marilyn and Daddy Glenn's sister'n-law, invited Mommy Marilyn t' go hikin' Sundy, so I carried ever'one t' th' fam'ly cab'n in th' mountains ('cept Marcia 'cause she met us there.)  While Mommy Marilyn and Marcia went off t' another mountain, Daddy Glenn read (again) outside, and Momma Doris did thin's inside an' outside, an' I kinda lazed 'round.  It wuz cool an' th' breeze smelt of pine.  I like wide open spaces where I can run, but sittin' 'neath those tall pine trees 'bout thirty seven hunnerd foot in e'evation, can be real peaceful-like.   Mommy Marilyn came back beamin' 'bout that hikin' stick.  Daddy Glenn, he wuz beamin' 'bout it, too.  Ever'body wuz a-beamin'.  After a gud dinn'r an' a gander at Mark's woodpile at th' cabin, we headed back down t' th' valley.  What a fine day that wuz.

    On Mondy mornin' I carried Mommy Marilyn and Momma Doris t' shop for, whadaya call it?, a La-Z-Boy.  I hear they real comf'table.  We checked out some swatches and skeedaddled back t' Momma Doris's place.  After lunch, Momma Doris, Mommy Marilyn, and Daddy Glenn looked at all th' swatches and fine'ly picked a color.  Then I carried ever'one downtown where they got t' go on a scenic boat ride.  They didn't 'llow cars (though I preten' I'm a horse), so I hada stay at a hitchin' post in th' blazin' sun.  Goldarned, it got hot that day!  They come back 'round two hours later talkin' 'bout how interestin' and purty that boat ride wuz.  Said they saw a sunk boat been there since 'bout World War II an' three bridges, includin' one that looked like some famous bridge in London name o' the Tower Bridge.  Called it th' Gateway T' Sacr'mento.  They saw a waterfall, too, but it wuzn't 'xactly natual.  It come out the water treatment plant after bein' cleaned up.  I didn't care a lick 'bout none o' that, though.  I jus' wanted 'em t' ride me back t' my shady parkin' lot.  I begged 'em.

    But my pleas fell on ears that wuz deaf, seems like.  They walked right past me int' an air-condition candy sto'.  What's worse, seems like Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn spent hours pickin' out all kinds o' what you call salt water taffy.  They saun'ered outa there with a sack o' candy big 'nough t' choke two horses an' a cow.  Cos' 'em more'n twen'y-one dollars.  Why'd they go an' do that?  I coulda swore I could arready feel th' stick'ness on my clean upholstery.  Leastways, we were headed for th' shady parkin' lot now.

    I can't hol' it back no more.  Ever since we hit Sacr'mento Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn been eatin' like a queen and a king.  (Well, they are like roy'lty t' me, but you get my drift.)  Meanwhile, I been off my feed.  Ain't no Exxon Plus t' be scared up out here.  Makin' me cranky.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn do their best, findin' my secon' choice, Mobil, when they can, but mostly I havta eat thin's like Chevron, an' Arco, an' Valero.  You ever eat that stuff?  Don't bother.  Thin's've sure turned 'round since we started this road trip.  I wuz eatin' high on th' hog while Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn were gettin' by on cold pork & beans and canned fruit.  Now, their eatin' gud and I'm starvin'!

    Tuesdy wuz kinda laid back-like.  In th' aft'noon I did carry Mommy Marilyn, Momma Doris, and Daddy Glenn t' th' Crocker Art Muse'm in Sacr'mento, where they oohed and ahhed at some o' that art stuff.  Meantime, they foun' a nice, shady hitchin' post for me.  Kinda embarrassin', 'cause I think they mighta heard me complainin' 'bout th' heat yest'dy.  I should'na made 'em think I felt 'bused.  They really are 'bout th' best parents a body could want.  I think they had themselfs a purty good time, but I did hear Mommy Marilyn complainin' they still had th' paintin' o' th' Boston Creme Pies hid away.  My guess is that some'un ate it.

    Wednesdy I got t' spin my wheels good.  Carried all three t' Gold'n Gate National Recr'ation Area by San Francisco.  It wuz purty foggy an' cold there, too.  Not that I'm complainin'.  Just statin' facks, like a gud high-fallutin' journalis' oughta.  Firstest, we parked catywompus in a parkin' lot an' them three ate th' gud grub Atria El Camino Gardens fixed 'fore we left.  We parked catywompus so's nobody'd get in our way while we watched some fool surfers.  They could only "catch a wave" (I think they call it) for fifteen or twen'y yards.  Seems like tha's an awful lotta effort for a cheap thrill.  Don't they know 'bout racin' hot rods?  Less effort, more thrills.  I res' my case.

    Then we mosey'd on up th' hill t' th' Marine Mammal Rescue Center.  They got o'er 90 seals and sea lines at th' place right now.  Mommy Marilyn asked why so many and they said lotsa 'em are starvin' 'cause they can't find no food on 'count o' El Niño wuz warmin' up th' waters too much.  Now, pardners, I been joshin' 'bout starvin' 'cause I wuz missin' my fav'rite foods, but I had t' feel sorry for these cute critters.  They couldn't find no food at all!  Mommy Marilyn, Momma Doris, and Daddy Glenn watched 'em bein' fed but, while they watched, one o' th' seals wuz rolled out on a stretch'r - dead.  Poor thin'.  Mommy Marilyn got t' watch th' necrup... nacropse,,, dead animal bein' cut op'n an' 'xamined.  That woulda turned my moto' oil freezin' cold, I tell ya.

Golden Gate in fog
I seen th' Golden Gate firs'!!!
    As we were headin' for Sausalito, where them three could stuff their faces again, we were drivin' 'longside th' ocean when th' fog started liftin'.  Didn' lift all th' way, but I saw th' one an' only Gold'n Gate Bridge with th' city of San Fran in back o' it.  That wuz a mighty fine sight, I tell ya.  Seems like th' bridge and th' city wuz  jus' settin' there 'tween th' water an' th' high fog.  Fine'ly, all three o' 'em seen it t'gether an' Mommy Marilyn jerked them reins t' th' right so's she could take pitchers.  Good thin' I wuz 'spectin' that jerk, on 'ccount o' havin' seen it first.

    After they ate in Sausalito, while watchin' pel'cans dive for their grub, I carried 'em back t' Sacr'mento.  Momma Doris wanted t' stop at Hedrick's Fruit Stan' in Dixon 'long th' way.  Since we stopped, Mommy Marilyn decided t' get some blackber'es for cousins Kathi and Jim, who'd we be visitin' in a couple o' days.  Funny thin' 'bout that stop.  Three days after we'd done got back home, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn heard a NPR reporter talkin' 'bout how gud th' fruit wuz at Hedrick's Fruit Stan' in Dixon, Caleeforneea.  I done scooped ya, son!  I know I'm a high-fallutin' journalis' now!  Don't that jus' pop your 'spenders?

    Thursdy we wuz gettin' ready t' make tracks back eastways, so thin's wuz low-key-like.  Mommy Marilyn did some laundry, and Daddy Glenn did what he always does with free time - read.  Daddy Glenn must be real smart from readin' all them books, e'en th' ones that make 'im sniffle.  I stayed in th' parkin' lot with th' cute smokin' couple for comp'ny.

    On Fry-dy, July thirty-firs', it wuz time t' say "Adios" t' Momma Doris.  She didn't like seein' us leave, neither, but she wuz in demand t' play bridge near all day, so that 'lowed us t' skedaddle without too many tears.  Lotsa other folks wanted t' say so long t' Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn, though.  Guess tha's 'cause Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn are friendly-like.  After eight days, they seemed t' know lotsa folks.  Wonder if that Texas friendly rubbed off on 'em, or if Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn wuz born natchaly friendly?

    We had a purty short ride that day - jus' over th' Sierra N'vada t' Reno, N'vada - 'bout two hours.  But  it's a real nice leg o' th' journey.  Got big tall pines all over.  Now, I 'member what I said 'bout likin' space in th' early part o' this here journal, and I didn' tell no lies, but I can also 'preciate other scen'ry.  Besides, there wuz places where you'd see clear 'cross a valley t' mountains so high no trees grew on 'em, or you could look down int' lakes as blue as I am.  Spectac'lar's what it wuz.

    Cousins Kathi an' Jim were waitin' for us when we rode up.  They're always so nice t' us.  Cousin Jim e'en takes th' bathroom door down so Daddy Glenn can do 'is business in there.  How's that for hosp'tality?  After restin' an' playin' with th' dogs a bit, I carried ever'one t' th' Nugget All-U-Can-Eat Buffet.  They chowed down so hard I liked t' sprained a shock 'sorber gettin' 'em back home.

    Next day, after breakfast and a hike that Daddy Glenn got t' go on, we lit out again.  This time we were goin' 'cross north'n N'vada t' Elko, N'vada.  I been in N'vada an', between you an' me, it ain't th' purtiest state in th' union.  But north'n N'vada now, well, tha's a bit dif'rent.  It's high desert, see, an' mostly it's green.  Got lotsa mountain ranges, too, sep'rated by broad valleys.  In fack, 'cordin' t' Daddy Glenn, most o' N'vada is in what geol'gists call th' Basin an' Range Province.

    Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn were sure lookin' forward t' eatin' in Elko.  When we come through last year, cousins Kathi and Jim told 'em 'bout a Basque restaurant name o' th' Star Hotel.  They liked it and were itchin' t' eat there again.  Turned out, they had th' same waitress as last year.  Like my kinfolk from Germ'ny, th' Basque people come here a while back, only they come from th' border area of France an' Spain.  Lots o' 'em settled in north'n N'vada 'cause it wuz good shepherdin' land, an' that wuz one thin' they wuz good at.

    'Cept for th' ahntrays, this place brought all th' grub - soup, beans, salad, bread - in big bowls that Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn served themselves from. They ate so good they liked t' strained my shock 'sorber two nights runnin'.  I wuz beginnin' t' hope they'd start eatin' McDonald's one dolla' hamburgers again.  But I'd never encourage 'em t' go back t' cold pork & beans.

    After that, we had a purt long day, drivin' through Salt Lake City and down t' Green River, Utah.  I like t' think I can find purty in ever'thing, but west'rn Utah kinda stumped me-like.  Salt, salt, and more salt, with hardly a green spot.  Daddy Glenn said th' Great Salt Lake wuz th' remnant of somethin' called Lake Bonneville.  It 'xisted millions and millions years go, and had a shore a quarter way up 'em big Wasatch Mountains.  I b'lieve him, too.  Sure looked like dregs t' me.  After Salt Lake City, it got purty again.  We were either in mountains or near mountains all th' way t' Green River.

    When we pulled int' Green River, Mommy Marilyn spotted a fruitstan' sellin' watermellin, casaba mellin, Crenshaw mellin, cantalope - all kinda mellin you could think of - and declared we were goin' back there after checkin' in t' th' hotel.  Didn' havta, folks.  There wuz another fruitstan' right close t' th' hotel.  We went there an' Mommy Marilyn just 'bout tried all them samples.  'Er eyes lit up bright as th' sun in th' desert an' she brought some o'er t' Daddy Genn, e'en though she knowed he didn' take too much t' watermellin.  'Is eyes lit up, an' they lit up e'en more when he gotta taste o' that Crenshaw mellin, or casaba mellin, or whate'er it wuz.  They got a good bit o' that stuff an' then called th' friends they wuz meetin' in Breckenridge, Col'rado, an' told 'em not t' buy no fruit.  They done had th' best mellins a body could buy!

    It's Mondy, August twen'ieth, folks, an' I'm itchin' t' go see them Rocky Mountains.  Did I tell you I perform real good in mountains.  I sure do.  I even eat 'bout ten percen' less.  Daddy Glenn gets this goofy smile whene'er he calc'lates I done traveled more miles between my feeds than usual.  Shouldn' s'prise 'im none.  My real fam'ly come from Germ'ny, where there's lotsa mountains.  I wuz jus' made for mountains, ja?  But now I'm forced t' bide my time 'fore goin' t' th' mountains, 'cause Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn are in th' J. W. Powell Museum next door studyin' 'bout how that guy an' some other 'venturous fools took wooden boats down th' Green and Col'rado Rivers before any other fool white men.  Said they did it t' 'spand knowlege.  Sure - an' I'm pink 'stead blue.  I know they jus' done it t' get 'way from civil-LIE-zation for a time.  Feel thataway myself time t' time.  Great day in th' mornin'!  Here they come at last!  I see Daddy Glenn done got himself another book.  Might o' knowed it.

    It got purtier and purtier as we followed th' I-70 trail t' Breckenridge.  Mountains got higher, trees got taller, snowcaps got more numerouser, temps got cooler, passes got steeper, roadside streams got swifter, an' I got friskier.  Did great 'til 'bout six miles before we wuz due t' get off th' main trail.  Some fool went and had himself an accident right before our turnoff, so folks wuz backed up th' whole six miles!  Daddy Glenn, he looked at th' map but decided t' wait with ever'body else.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn done got after that taffy they got in Sacr'mento.  Nuthin' else t' do, 'cept gab with th' folks in th' other lane.  Got them wrappers all o'er my innards.  Least they wuzn't sticky.  We fine'ly got there 'bout an hour late an' my fun wuz o'er for a while.  Tha's right, pardners, they done put me in an undergroun' garage and went off with their friends t' eat dinner - on top o' all th' taffy they chowed down.  Must be makin' up for them cold pork & beans.

Scott, Barb, and Evan
Scott, Barb, an' Evan Widdall at th' pass.  Good folks.
    Here underground, I got time t' think, see.  I know Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn wouldn't be enjoyin' this nice cool weather right now if'n their friends from Penns'lvania, th' Widdalls (Barb, Scott, and Evan), hadna invited 'em t' share th' timeshare they bought in Breckenridge, Col'rado, a while back.  (I like ol' Evan.  He's an' 'leven-year-ol' pup, but he don't get my innards sticky or nuthin' like that.)  Some o' Barb's fam'ly, Howard, Kelly, Sydney, and Kelsey Dieter, also have a place here.  They get t'gether out here when they can.  Purty nice setup.  And it wuz right nice o' 'em t' invite Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn t' share their get-together this year.  Hmmm...  Musta dozed off.  I hear 'em comin'.  Yeah!!!  There's Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn, an' Barb, an' Scott, an' Evan.  What's Daddy Glenn sayin'?  "It's dark down here!"  Duh!  What's Mommy Marilyn sayin'?  She saw a fox.  LAST NIGHT!!!  Well...  What...  I can't even tell no time down here underground.

View from Loveland Pass
View from Loveland Pass
A view from Loveland Pass.
An' 'nother one.
     Well, after they done left me undergroun' all night, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn made up t' me by lettin' me carry 'em an' th' Widdalls up t' 11,990 foot Loveland Pass.  There, ever'one went hikin', 'ceptin' me an' Daddy Glenn.  We sat back, breathed th' fresh but thin air, an' took in th' spe'tac'lar views.  'Course, Daddy Glenn, he had t' read a little more.  Later, on our way back, Mommy Marilyn reined me in at another trail, where ever'one went hikin' again, includin' Daddy Glenn.

    Ever'one wuz purty tired after I carried 'em back, 'cept Mommy Marilyn an' Evan.  I carried 'em t' th' groc'ry store t' get dinner fixin's for th' whole passle o' 'em.  But then they stuck me undergroun' again and left.  Hey, guys, I yelled.  Doncha wanna go out on th' town?  Didn' work none, though.  I later heard they wuz 'cited 'cause they seen that fox again.  What's that blame fox got that I ain't got, I'd like t' know?  Stupid fox runnin' 'round on God's green earth while I'm stuck in a hole.  I should be makin' tracks in th' mountains.  Stupid fox!

    When they come down rarin' t' go, I figured it must be Wednesdy, July th' twen'y-two.  Hot dang!  Get t' carry 'em all again t'day.  Wonder what th' 'venture is now?  Now we're stopped at a bike shop jus' down th' hill.  Ever'body's gettin' out, includin' Daddy Glenn.  What?  They're not gettin' back in!  Dad gum it!  I don't get t' spin my wheels after all.  I see Mommy Marilyn's done rented a bike an' she's goin' off with Scott, Evan, and th' Dieters.  An' Daddy Glenn an' Barb's gonna walk 'round town.  Meantime, I gotta sit in th' parkin' lot 'stead a goin' on a 'venture like I 'sumed.  Why they wanna vex me liike that?  Jus' ain't right, I tell ya.

Glenn eating donut
Daddy Glenn eats donuts whene'er he can.
    Later, I heard tell how Mommy Marilyn and th' other folks rode them bikes clean t' th' next town, Frisco, 'bout nine miles up th' road.  They ate lunch an' done a little shoppin' there before ridin' back.  Mommy Marilyn's tongue wuz hangin' out by th' time she come back.  Serves 'er right for takin' an inferior form o' transpertation t' me.  Daddy Glenn wuzn't no better.  He an' Barb walked that durned bike path a ways, come back, walked 'round town, an' looked at th' town's museum.  An', ya know what?  He got himself some doughnuts at one place, ice cream at another, an' didn' think t' get me nuthin'.  Sometime, I feel like Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn take this ole boy for granted, while I'd do anythin' at all for 'em.  Like, I didn' e'en complain 'bout carryin' 'em back up th' hill.  Seem fair t' you?

Glenn eating donut
Copper in th' gold mine!
    Scott felt a mite poorly on Thursdy, so I carried Mommy Marilyn, Daddy Glenn, Barb, an' Evan t' see th' Phoenix Gold Mine, 'bout fif'y miles t' th' east.  On th' way, we stopped 'side a purty little stream with someone fishin' it and Mommy Marilyn, Daddy Glenn, Barb, an' Evan had a little picnic.  (I'd already been fed in Frisco, though 'tweren't my favo-right meal.)  Despite I-70 bein' right up th' hill, it wuz a peaceful spot.  After they'd done took th' mine tour, I heard ever'body talkin' 'bout how interestin' it wuz.  They seen real gold and copper veins!  It wuz 'cessible, too, so Daddy Glenn got t' go where'er other folks went.  In fack, th' mine tour s'ports a foundation for disabled kids.

    After Evan panned for gold an' didn' strike it rich, we headed back t' th' timeshare.  We stopped t' look for some o' them Bighorn Sheep, though.  Evan said he saw 'em.  Maybe he did and maybe it wuz jus' 'is 'magination, but th' rest o' us couldn' find 'em.  Even me, an' I get my perfec' eyesight checked least once a year.  They told me that, when we got back, Daddy Glenn went on "Fox Watch".  He wuz determined t' see that fox ever'body'd talked 'bout all week.  No fox showed, though.  He might a well kep' me comp'ny in that dark undergroun' garage.

    Fry-dy wuz our last full day with ever'body, so we went for one more hikin' trip, a hike called Wheeler Lakes.  Well, 'course Daddy Glenn an' I stayed in th' parkin' lot.  Daddy Glenn read "Hank th' Cowdog: th' Case o' th' Fiddle-Playin' Fox", an' I could hear 'im chucklin' t' beat th' band.  He read th' whole thin' an' then started back with 'is Kindle before th' others e'en come back.  Didn' read all th' time, though.  It wuz so purty there, he kep' lookin' up an' 'round, admirin' tree-clad mountains, snow clingin' near mountaintops, neat ski runs, an' all kinda other stuff.  I didn' half mind being there, neither.  When th' others come back, we all went lookin' for ice cream.  Found it at a Texas Stop Sign.  (Tha's a Dairy Queen, for all you un'itiated.)

    That night I carried Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn t' what you might call a fare-the-well dinner in downtown Breckenridge.  We sure had a good time with 'em folks.  It wuz so neighb'ly o' 'em t' invite us t' share their v'cation with 'em.  We could tell they liked us, too, 'cause, when we got back t' th' undergroun' garage they were all there, waitin' t' direc' us t' an empty parkin' space.  That wuz so nice.  Felt like a big ole group hug or somethin'.

    It's Saturdy, Augus' th' eight, an' here comes Mommy Marilyn with suitcases an' th' ice chess, an' 'er Spanish stuff.  I know what that means, an' I'm rarin' t' go.  Gotta nice long pull t' Amarillo, Texas, t'day.  Yahoo!!!  Goin' back t' my favo-right state in th' union.  Mommy Marilyn went back an' got Daddy Glenn.  Barb came down, too.  She's sure a nice lady.  I know she's tryin' hard not t' cry, but I done seen a tear or two while Daddy Glenn wuz gettin' in my co-pilotin' seat.  Mommy Marilyn is th' pilot, but Daddy Glenn gets t' tell 'er where t' go.  For some reason or 'nother, he thinks tha's funny.

    Instead o' takin' I-70 east t' Denver, then I-25 south, we took Col'rado 9 south from Breckenridge t' U. S. of A. 50 east int' Pueblo.  We woulda gone through Pueblo anyways, but this wuz shorter an' purtier.  Th' firs' part wuz mountain highways, where I 'cel.  Then we got int' broad green valleys with rollin' hills an' mountains all 'round.  If Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn ever decide t' leave Texas, they oughta think 'bout this country.  'Course, it gets mighty cold here, an' Daddy Glenn don't take t' cold too good.  Kinda stiffens 'im up some.

    After some more purty country in Col'rado, New Mexico, and Texas, we hit Amarillo.  Mommy Marilyn checked int' th' Hol'day Inn an' off we went t' an eatin' 'stablishment we been t' many a time, th' Big Texan Steak Ranch.  It's always jam packed, so Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn had t' wait a while t' eat.  Th' Steak Ranch has this gimmick, see, if you can eat a seven'y-two ounce steak, with all th' trimmin's, in less than an hour, it's yours for free.  Otherwise, it's a buck an ounce, or seven'y-two smackeroos.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn ain't fool 'nough t' try th' stunt, but Daddy Glenn likes t' watch th' knuckleheads that make a spect'cle outta themselves by stuffin' an' stuffin' themselves.  There were three goin' for th' free steak that night.  You shoulda heard th' whoopin' an' hollerin' when they got near th' ending.  Sounded like rodeo spe'tators durin' th' bronc ridin' 'vent.  Two o' 'em fellas achally got th' free steaks.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn's never seen that before.

Glenn petting Blue
Daddy Glenn pettin' me. Ooooohh! Do that s'more, Daddy Glenn!
    Well, pardners, Sundy wuz th' last day o' our vacation an' we still hada purty far piece t' go.  'Course, I wuz up t' it.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn can drive me anywhere, long's they feed me good an' give me my reg'lar checkups.  In fack, this is how reli'ble I am.  Two miles north o' Guthrie, Texas, which itself is 'bout nine'y-five miles north o' Abilene, Texas, I hit th' big two hunnerd thousand!  Daddy Glenn wuz so proud, he made Mommy Marilyn stop an' take pitchers.  Wish he hadna done that, 'cause I didn' look too good right then.  Twen'y four days o' dust on me, bugs all o'er my grille, I wuz jus' a mess, I tell ya.  But they got some gud uns.  One pitcher wuz o' Daddy Glenn pettin' me so nice and easy.  Sure felt gud to know how tickled they wuz with my reli'ble service.

    Mommy Marilyn hada pee 'bout th' same time an' couldn' wait for no fillin' station.  We wuz in th' wide-open, with no souls 'round, so she got inside o' me an' started usin' 'er female urinal.  Didja know they had such a thing?  Me neither, 'til Mommy Marilyn got one.  Anyways, 'bout that time, me an' Daddy Glenn seen a pickup go by, stop, and turn 'round.  Uh-oh.  Both me an' Daddy Glenn knew what wuz comin' next.  Th' man stopped so's he could offer 'sistance if we needed any.  Folks in these parts're like that, 'cause there's miles an' miles where it's just flat lonely.  Well, Daddy Glenn tol' Mommy Marilyn 'bout th' truck, but she done started peein', an' my side door wuz still open.  You ever try t' stop peein' once you'd got goin'?  It's like tryin' to shut off Niagr' Falls.   She wuz still goin' when Daddy Glenn said th' fella wuz outa 'is truck.  Daddy Glenn couldn' do nuthin', an' I couldn' do nuthin' 'cause it wuz flat as a dragstrip there.  If it hada been a hill, 'least I coulda took my brake off an' rolled aways a bit.  Mommy Marilyn got done jus' as th' guy got t' my tail lights.  I didn' know Mommy Marilyn could yank 'er pants up so fast, pardners.  Hada chuckle at that, but I guess it coulda been 'barrassin'.

    Now, I wuz feelin' great 'cause o' my two nunnerd thousan' miles of top-notch service t' Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn, but there wuz sumthin' stickin' in my craw, an' I might as well get it off o' my transmission.  This is th' thin'.  'Bout three years back, when I had, I don't know, 'bout a hunnerd an' twen'y thousan' miles on me, Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn insulted me real bad whey they adopted a rel'tive o' mine by th' name o' Silver Star, Silver for short-like.  I didn' have nuthin' against Silver - she's a mighty fine lady - but it curled my mufflers t' hear 'em say they got Silver for when I died.  Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn are good folks, but sometimes they don't think right.  They wasted their time, 'cause I'm still goin' strong.  I'll show 'em.  I'll always be willin' t' take 'em where they wanna go, an' sweet Silver can jus' stay 'neath th' carport lookin' purty.  She does look great, too.  Mmm, mmm!  Well, now's tha's off my motor, I can tell ya 'bout th' rest o' th' trip.

    We stopped in Brownwood, Texas, at yet another favo-right eatin' spot by th' name o' Underwood's Barbecue.  They got other good grub 'sides barbecue, though, an' Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn speshly like th' rolls an' cobbler.  (You know, I think they mighta fine'ly made up for them cold pork & beans.  I'm happy for 'em.)

    On th' last hunnerd miles, we seen that thin's didn' get real brown 'til we wuz 'bout fif'y miles from home.  Back t' th' drought.  Seems like th' land 'round home's in a bucket with th' lid shut tighter'n a drum.

    I'm in my own garage puttin' th' finishin' touches on my report and thinkin' 'bout stuff.  Hope ya liked what I wrote.  Mommy Marilyn done took all th' stuff outa my innards an' dumped it on the bedroom floor.  Says she'll pack it away o'er th' comin' week.  I think she an' Daddy Glenn done gone t' bed.  

    I'm gettin' sleepy, m'self.  I worked purty hard-like, but it wuz worth it 'cause we had what I call a real gud vacation, what ya call well-rounded.  Ahh-hhh.  'Scuse me.  Let's see now...  There wuz some campin'...,  Stayin' with rel'tives...  Zzzz.  Stayin' with friends...  Hikin'...  Readin'...  Seein' purty country...  Zzzzzzzz.  Thinkin' 'bout goin' t' Arkansas next...  Zzzzzzzzz.  Zzzz.  Hearin' 'bout Cash for Clunkers on my radio...  CASH FOR CLUNKERS!!!  WHAT?!!!  But, hol' on a bit.  I might've been goin' for two hunnerd thousan' miles, but I ain't no clunker.  Am I?   Mommy Marilyn an' Daddy Glenn wouldn' clog my engine with no chem'cals.  Would they?  I'll jus' havta do e'en more by writin' their vacation journals for 'em.  Tell ya th' truth, Daddy Glenn, he don't write too good no ways.

Crater Lake Blue

Blue's Self Portrait

Here's my pitcher so's you can get my autograph when I strut by.