In 1960, author John Steinbeck set off with his dog, Charley, on a 10,000 mile jaunt around America. Two years later, his account was published as Travels with Charley.
Our recent trip to Tennessee covered far fewer miles, but we, too, were accompanied by a dog. A stuffed dog, to be more precise. His name is Woof-Woof, and he’s one of the nearly four dozen members of our “Dawg” family.
The adventure began when we reached our first stop — a lovely hotel in Jackson, Tennessee. It was then that my husband unpacked one of his bags, and like a weasel in a jack-in-the-box guess who popped out!
Earlier my husband had asked if Woof-Woof could go along on the trip. I’d vetoed the idea though, you see. Woof-Woof is definitely a favorite, and I would be devastated if anything ever happened to him. Needless to say, my husband would be devastated, too.
But, there was Woof-Woof. He’d stowed away in my husband’s bag, delighted to be with us in Tennessee. I knew I’d have to keep a close watch on our irascible little stuffed puppy. So, everywhere we went, Woof-Woof went, too.
Woof-Woof hiked the trails at Grinder’s Stand — the historic inn along the Natchez Trace where Meriwether Lewis breathed his last.
Woof-Woof especially enjoyed exploring the streams and waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains.
One of his favorite places to visit was the 11-Mile Loop at Cade’s Cove, although he was afraid he might get chased by a black bear. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
Woof-Woof has now decided that he wants to be a bit like those traveling gnomes you see all over the internet, getting their pictures taken in historic places around the world. I’ve told him not to get his hopes up. We’re not exactly globe-trotters.
But, we all enjoyed our trip to Tennessee, and I came home with lots of inspiration for painting.
On the return trip, my husband insisted we stop at the American Pickers store in Nashville, of course.
Later, my husband did ask, “Well, which one of us is in trouble? Me? Or Woof-Woof?” I won’t blame either one of them, and to tell the truth, I enjoyed having Woof-Woof along with us. So, I borrowed a phrase from Steinbeck, so to speak, to share our “Travels with Woof-Woof”.
I then discovered, to my surprise, that Steinbeck had borrowed his phrase, too, taking the title of his travelogue from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. So, I’ve now I’ve learned something interesting, and I’ll definitely enjoy reading this work by one of my favorites. I’m definitely a fan of Stevenson, and if you’ve read this blog for long, you know that I re-read his Treasure Island every summer.
And if you are a regular reader, you might even remember “meeting” a few other members of our ever-growing collection of stuffed puppies. I shared Topsy, Scraps, Bowser, Homer, Flopsy, and Hartley in my Walk in the Park post.
Stuffed puppies are fun, and they’re good subjects for drawing projects. They make good traveling companions, too, so when we do take off for another vacation, yes, Woof-Woof will come along.