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Mystery of the falling bread truck and baby goats

The Covered Wagon had been parked for so long that Mom was surprised that we hadn’t gotten any mean notes from the coppers about not moving for a month. So even though Big Sir is only less than 150 flat miles down the coast, the Covered Wagon was excited for a chance to stretch its wheels.


Big Sir when it doesn’t even have anything cool to visit like a wooden Taco Bell. In fact, there isn’t much of anything in Big Sir at all except a road with nothing on it but mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. “Mom, why do people come from all around to visit Big Sir when it doesn’t even have a Starbucks. Our town has four Starbuckses, and we don’t even get visitors from 10 miles away in The City.” “Well, two of those Starbucks are in the supermarket, so they don’t count,” Mom said. She’s always saying I count wrong. “And anyway, adventurers go to the wilderness to be self-reliant.” “What’s self reliant?” “Self reliance is why we’re driving all the way to Big Sur just so that I can make my own Starbucks out of the back of the Covered Wagon.” “But isn’t it easier to just have someone make the poop juice for you?” I asked. “But then we would have to wait in line. See? In Big Sur you don’t need to cooperate with other people to get what you want.”


In the morning we waited for the sun to wake up, and then we walked to the gate behind where we’d spent the night. A man who was practicing self-reliance by making his own poop juice behind his own car-house, which was behind the gate, came out to talk to us. “You going for a hike?” the Man said. “WHO ARE YOU?! HOW DID YOU GET YOUR CAR-HOUSE BEHIND THIS BIG GATE?!” I shouted politely. “Sure am!” Mom said. “But I’ve read that it’s overgrown up there. Do you know anything about that? Is there a lot of poison oak?” “Nah,” he lied. “Not this time of year.” The Man said his name was Richard, and he told us all about the trail we were going to hike. “This road is open to the public, but not for driving,” Richard explained. “What?” Mom said. “I know you didn’t say, ‘It’s open to the puppy, but not for driving,’ but I can’t for the life of me figure out what you did say.” “I don’t even have a license,” I barked helpfully. “To the public,” he repeated. “Not a lot of vehicles can make it up that road anyway.” Maybe Richard didn’t know that with a little patience and “Drive 3, whatever that means” even a covered wagon could drive up just about anything. Mom and I talked to Richard for a few more minutes, and then Mom wished him a good morning, and promised to say hello on the way back down, if he was around.






poison oak,” Mom said, because she believed Richard.

Richard lied. 


The Dean’s house. Even though I was tired from our hike, I whimpered and squealed when I recognized the neighborhood. But I had no idea what excitement awaited me when I got there…!

I was standing in the kitchen waiting for someone to drop some cheese when I heard a noise out in the yard, and my dog-hosts Goose and Blaze turned and bolted through the dog door. At first I didn’t follow them, because I was still trying to figure out what the fuss was about and whether it was better than cheese. “Um, are the sheep supposed to be loose in the yard?” Mom asked. And then I realized what was going on…


Goose and Blaze live with the sheep, so they get to play with them all the time. “YOU GUYS!!! I WANT TO TRY!!!!” I yelled, running through the neatly arranged sheep and scattering them like bowling pins. Goose and Blaze got them together again, and then I caught back up shouting, “LET ME TRY!!!!”

Goose and Blaze need all the sheep to be together in a bunch to chase them around, but I must be a natural because I figured out how to chase all the sheep in different directions on my very first try. I also learned right away that if I used my voice, that got the sheep really excited! I couldn’t believe Goose and Blaze had never thought of it. “LOOK, MOM! I’M HERDING!!!” I shouted, as I chased a sheep right into a fence, where it slipped and fell on its wooly butt.

Finally Goose and Blaze put the sheep away, and Mom and I sat down with our hosts so that the humans could talk, and I could practice my herding by playing Tackle Whoever’s Chasing the Ball. Goose was hogging the ball and wouldn’t let anyone throw it, which was boring, so I started sniffing around and munching on the yummy poop-flavored m&ms that the sheep left all over the yard. Then I smelled something just as exciting as the sheep. I looked up, and behind the fence that the sheep had crashed into were three baby goats! “Hey! There are goats over here!” I barked. “HEEeeeeEEEEEY, BILLY, BILLY, BILLY!” Then the baby goat did something I really wasn’t expecting. It lifted its head and looked at me. “Eep! What the heck is wrong with your eyes?” I thought as I jumped back two whole Oscar-lengths in one bound. But the baby goat didn’t chase me, so I decided to try again. “HEY! HEY, GOAT! HEY!” I screeched. For the rest of the afternoon, whenever no one was giving me attention, I visited the baby goats to shout at them some more. It was the best day ever!

Oscar the Herding Dog



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