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Last night we stayed on top of a mountain and it got very cold in the car-house while we slept. Luckily we have lots of blankets and Mom and I could huddle together for warmth, but it made it really hard to get up in the morning so that we could get an early start.

Mom had done all the research and found a place where we could run 6 or 7 miles on real trails, not just dirt tracks we found at the side of the road. We had found lots of great adventures so far, but we hadn’t actually been on many real hiking trails yet. For once all the roads to get to the trail existed just like the map said they would, and were paved, and there was a place to park the house and everything. Mom had no idea what the trail would look like, or even exactly how long it was, but she knew that we wouldn’t get lost! Probably.

The trail turned out to climb a mountain and loop around a big rock that stuck up like a building. We ran through this dry old pine forest that wasn’t trying very hard to be a forest, but that was fine because it meant that we could see the mountains, and the big highrise rock, and a lake, and the valley really well. Mom kept stopping to take my picture, which I think was in part because it was pretty (and I’m really handsome), but also because the air wasn’t working right and she wanted to rest. I may be unstoppable, but Mom is a little more sensitive to stuff like that, and apparently 7000 feet of elevation is hard on a human runner.

Because we were in some special park, I had to stay on leash even though I’m a responsible dog and we didn’t see another living soul the whole time. The leash made it harder for both of us because the trail was really narrow and had lots of rocks and stuff on it. I’m an expert at leash running, but even I was having trouble matching Mom’s irregular pace as she worked her way around the trail. Sometimes she could run medium fast, but sometimes she really had to be careful with her feet and went real slow. Mom, for her part, needed to pay attention to me and be extra careful because she was afraid that she would trip on the leash and fall off a cliff or break her face.

We didn’t have breakfast until after we’d run the 7.5 miles. That was partly because we had to sit outside to make and eat breakfast, and it had been too cold earlier, but also because my appetite is different now that I’m a drifter dog. When I’m home I eat on my routine, and I also get lots of treats. If I don’t get my first breakfast, second breakfast, or dinner on time – or if Mom forgets the treats on our walk – I feel STARVING and follow Mom around until she feeds me. But now when Mom puts out my kibble sometimes I sniff it and say, “Nah, I’m good.” I wonder if it’s traveling that takes your appetite away, or if maybe I’m just a greedy dog when I’m at home. When we’re living like strays we have to stop what we’re doing and prepare a meal, and then eat it in the cold, and then wait while Mom washes all the dishes in the silly sink-like thing that’s at her eye level on the back of the car-house. It really makes you think about whether you are really hungry or not.

Our next stop was at a spot that wouldn’t load. You know how on Google Maps (what? You think a dog can’t read a map??) sometimes when it won’t load right you can see the road, and then everything else is just a grey blankness? Where we had stopped was like that: road, and then just open, featureless blankness until the next section of the map where you could see mountains again. On the map section behind us all of the mountains were brown and dry. On the section in front of us all the mountains were pointy and white.

Mom decided that she wanted a picnic, which required hauling the stove and all of the ingredients from the car-house to a picnic table, cooking everything, and then cleaning it all up and putting every last thing away before we could move on. When she was finally done we walked right off of the sidewalk and onto the blank space. At first I wasn’t so sure about it. The ground was sandy and smelled a bit like the ocean, but not really. Then I decided that it was AWESOME! This was definitely something that I wanted to track back to the car-house and make sure that it was in our bed for the rest of the trip. So I did a summersault and rolled around kicking my legs in the air like crazy. Then I got up, ran around in a circle, and did another cartwheel and rolled around some more.

In the parking lot there was a sign that said that this was a place where land speed records were set. So once I had done enough gymnastics, I ran around and set a new land speed record. There was a bigger open spot on the other side of the road, but Mom said that we would have to drive almost an hour just for a spot to turn around, so unfortunately we could only explore this side on this trip. Oh well…

I didn’t think that Mom was fast like me, but she also got her own speed certificate as we were leaving our morning run. I forgot to tell you about that! We pulled over and then suddenly a strange man had his big, fat face in my window. I barked at him, so he went to Mom’s window instead where it would be less scary for him. Mom talked to him and handed him some stuff, and I barked at him the whole time. He must have been real scared, because he took the stuff that Mom gave him and hid in his car for a really long time. Then he came back with Mom’s stuff and awarded her her own speed certificate. So I guess we’re a pretty speedy family!

Oscar the Speedster



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