Last week Mom gathered an expedition’s worth of traveling things and loaded them into the Covered Wagon. I’m a California Dog living on the very edge of The West, so if we want to leave California we need several days and lots of supplies. I couldn’t wait to see where we were going, but when I climbed on top of all of our supplies Mom just rolled the Wagon to the trail at the bottom of the hill from our house.
Don’t get me wrong, the trail at the bottom of the lane is very pretty. It runs along the beach where sometimes fantastic monsters from the deep wash up on the sand and waft the smells from hair-raising under-sea adventures into the air. Then the trail climbs up 150 stairs to the top of a cliff that sticks out into the ocean where if you stand in a certain place, the hills block My Home Town and you can pretend you’re the first explorer to discover The West. There were no dead sea monsters that morning whose murders needed investigating, so Mom and I ran up the stairs several times to practice discovering. When we drove away, I was sure the warm-up was over and we were off to have an expedition.
Instead, she took me to the car kennel in The City where the Covered Wagon spends the day while we’re at the office. But we never did make it to work, because when Mom came out of the Jim smelling like an office person instead of an explorer, The Covered Wagon threw a temper tantrum and refused to close the door. Mom pulled hard, but the sliding door next to where we sleep wouldn’t budge. She pulled and pulled, and the wagon resisted and resisted, just like I do when I’m not done smelling something and Mom pulls my leash. Finally, with a giant heave, Mom pulled on the door with all of her might. She pulled so hard that she pulled the door right off of the Covered Wagon.
“Dog doo!” she said, standing stunned and holding the heavy door so that it wouldn’t bump into the car next to it. I always thought Mom was a small and gentle human, and had never seen her destroy anything before, so I sat in the car trembling with bravery. Mom tried to put the door back in its place, but try as she might, she couldn’t get all of the different parts in the right slots. The man whose car she had saved from being squashed came along and (after moving his car to safety), tried to help her out, but even the two of them together couldn’t put the Covered Wagon back together again.
Then Mom got on the phone. She had to make a lot of phone calls, and they sounded like: “No, a tow isn’t going to work. There are electrical wires less than 6 inches above the car’s roof, and it can’t be moved with the door hanging off like that and all my stuff inside.” And, “There’s no way you could get a flatbed in here.” And, “I can’t leave all of my valuables unsecured in The City.” And, “No, I can’t let you take it to your lot and wait several days for the part, I’m supposed to take it with me on vacation today.” And, “All I need is someone with some basic tools and mechanical aptitude to help me close it. Don’t you have someone who can help me?” And, “Yes, of course I expect to pay.” And after many, many phone calls, “Thank you. I look forward to meeting you when you get here. No, you’ll know me when you see me.”
While we waited, Mom finally remembered her handsome dog cowering in The Wagon. She gave me pats to tell me that no matter what happened she would never rip me to pieces, and fed me breakfast from our expedition supplies. “But why did you rip apart the Covered Wagon, Mom? What did it do to deserve that?” She explained that back when it was a mailman van, the evil mailman had probably abused it by opening and closing the door so many times that the track had just worn out. I was glad that now that it was a senior van, the Covered Wagon had been adopted by a loving family like us to take it on fun adventures to beautiful places, and to sleep with it in the wild places so it wouldn’t be scared and lonely. Mom also explained that we were supposed to go to Washington, but we couldn’t drive there in a Covered Wagon with the door hanging off because supplies and dogs might go flying out along the road, and littering is bad. We couldn’t adventure in our regular car, because we needed the Covered Wagon for sleeping, since there wouldn’t be any hotels or even camp grounds where we were going. So we sat with the Wagon in the car kennel and waited for the vet to arrive.
At long last, a man came. “Thank goodness you’re here!” I barked at him. “Come look at this, the door fell off and now we can’t go to Washington until you help us.” “Quiet, Oscar!” Mom said. And then to the Man she said, “All I need is to get it to close and then I won’t touch it for a week until I get back and I can deal with it then. Can you help?!” “That’s what I said!” I barked.
After a long surgical procedure, The Man asked Mom to use her powerful door-ripping muscles to help him put the door back in its socket. After much grunting and pushing, and a little more complaining from the Covered Wagon, it worked. When the door was closed, Mom covered the handle with a thick, sticky tape so that she wouldn’t forget and try to open it. Now we were free to drive north, although both Mom and I were so drained from the adventure that we wanted to spend the rest of the day napping in the car kennel.
All this happened last week, and for the next week we climbed a different mountain every day. Even though Washington is the birthplace of Starbucks, Mom and I couldn’t find enough of them to tell you about it while we were on the road, so I’ll tell you about it over the next week instead. As I post each adventure I’ll link back to them here so that if you get confused you can read them in order:
The most secret toilet in the world
Oscar the Adventure Pooch