23 December 2008

Christmas road trip day 1, a great day if great is sitting in a car jammed in a plastic box.

Dogs can be smart about the way they travel, or completely dumb. Ruby and Otterpop, super rocket scientists of travel. They get in their blue plastic crate in the back of the car, surrounded by Christmas gifts that they may have slobbered on during the wrapping of, and go to sleep. They have special dog ESP which does alert them to places that are nice places for dogs on the way to LA.

Not all dogs so smart about traveling. Gustavo, with his own private crate, newly renovated with a squishy blanket and taller roof, complains the whole way. Only does this when Gary is in the car. Sticks his nose out the metal cage door, hangs his upper lip over the wire mesh, and rolls his eyes back with his little guilty stink eye. Doesn't roll up and go to sleep, waiting for an ESP alert a beach or muddy field coming up. Stares whole way. Whines sometimes, until I out rocket scientisted everyone and thought to bring the most dreaded thing of all things in the car. Squirter bottle. One look from squirter bottle and there is no whining, just lip hanging and little white rolling eye pleading to make the car trip over. Or at least allow him to run free in the car dashing fore and aft and up and down while car rolling down the 101. As if.

But we try to make it enjoyable. First nice place for dogs, the McDonald's in Paso Robles. It's a faux diner-style McDonald's, bright white tile and a giant yellow arch. Bestedly, has an indoor bathroom for humans and is conveniently located next to a big muddy truck parking lot which is a nice place for dogs to run around for a few minutes. Look at giant semi truck cabs with sleeping guys in them. Good things dogs are good dogs. Because I lost my voice completely a couple days ago, and only way I can communicate with them is through a series of whistles and arm waving. Wave arms like this, good dogs. Wave arms like that, bad dogs. I know, you couldn't even tell because my TYPING IS EXACTLY THE SAME! Voice or no voice. Smart dogs climb right back in their boxes and go to sleep until next ESP alert.

Which is freakedly weird, how dogs can just KNOW that a freeway turn off is going to lead to a beach-Hendry's beach in Santa Barbara. We love Santa Barbara. If you took Santa Cruz and made it fancier and richer and more republican and made matching Patagnonia outfits mandatory uniforms and added 50% more palm trees, it would be Santa Barbara. And more warm. On a freezing cold day there, everyone still in flip flops and shorts. Hendry's is Santa Barbara's more improved equivalent of Lighthouse Field. They both have special names-Lighthouse Field Beach, real name Its. Hendry's, real name Arroyo Burro. Lighthouse Field has 33 acre field with rangers and dead trees, Hendry's has 77 acres of the bluffs above it, no rangers and dogs can run around in that mud and dead trees. Nice long beach, nice place for dogs when they're on a road trip. Same dead birds laying around, same sticks available, same assortment of big dogs chasing tennis balls. Smile and wave at well dressed dog walkers. Who ask me questions about my dogs and are answered with weird sign language and back away slowly.

Big difference of Hendry's vs. Its, nice sign at bottom of beach saying dogs off leash, go this way, on leash, other way. It is legal to run your dogs around here. Thanks Santa Barbara. I bet even Oprah comes down here. Or at least her dogs. The nice ones.

Ruby and Otterpop, sleep thru the new idea I had. Christmas music marathon. How much Christmas music can my friend Ipod hold and how far does it last driving to LA? Answer, probably all the way to Mexico except around Ventura I have total Christmas music meltdown and yank ipod from it's plug. Not my friend anymore. Will never, ever listen to another Christmas song again. Gustavo, magically quiet. Gary, so happy. Not sure what happened. Was the Kinks, singing about beating up Father Christmas, then all of a sudden some kind of Nutcrackery Peanuts Snoopy piano song and something snapped. Everybody nice and silent as we follow the non holiday, yet still festive in a rush hour kind of way, procession of lights through the Valley and down to the 405.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just got my TSD 2008 Christmas card... totally awesome!!!

Gustavo, go to bed in the car would you? Or else Laura is going to throw a flying squirrel at your crate.

Merry Christmas to our favorite little black California dogs!!!

Katie, Jeep and the four footed 5 + a hedgehog.