July 30, 2010
Hello Everyone. It’s me, Wimsey, finally back from my summer vacation in Upstate New York and Michigan and once again coming to you from the Upper West Side of the Big Apple (or as I prefer to think of it as The Big Plastic Water Bottle or the Big Squirrel or the Big Rawhide or the Big Fawning, Lunch Toting Tourist). Now first I must apologize for my missing blog last week and for not posting mini-blogs from the road as I had initially intended to do, but things just got so hectic with all the family reunions, both human and canine, and so many people who wanted to meet me, that there was simply no time.
The idea for the trip started when my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth conceived this insane scheme whereby we would drive to Buffalo to visit Maria’s mother—aka Maria Mère (driving time 7 hours without stops) then on to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a rendezvous with my breeder and my sister Dixie and her human (driving time 8 hours without stops) and then back to Buffalo again and then home, all in eight days!
So, eight days in car with me is a long time (frankly eight days with me anywhere is a long time) and I had so many adventures and being a chatty Hound I have so much to say that this post is devoted to the Buffalo segments only. In the next post I will deal with my exciting Michigan adventures.
Of course the first question my humans had was what kind of vehicle could accommodate me and all my luggage. Considering that I had a two page travel list, this was not a trivial issue. In the end the ladies sprang for a Ford Explorer, which although high enough that Elizabeth (read: shrimp) still had trouble climbing into it, was at least compact enough that her arms were long enough to reach the windshield to position the GPS. This was a big advantage because our experience with the Jeep Commander had left her flailing ineffectually at the windshield until the long arm of the law (Maria who has at least four inches on her) was able to intervene.
And although Elizabeth spent her usual lengthy amount of time quizzing the rental garage guy about where everything was (which somehow still did not prevent her from inadvertently turning on the windshield wipers at regular intervals when she meant to do something else) a crisis occurred immediately when the ladies realized they did not know how to get out of the car (I am not making this up. People think I am joking about New Yorkers and cars; but it should be illegal)—how to get out of the car not being generally something you need to ask how to do. Apparently the engineers at Ford did not have New Yorkers in mind when they designed their sleek, high concept but cryptic door handle.
But to their credit, my humans did eventually ascertain how to get out of the car and even how to pump gas (Elizabeth looked like she had just won the Nobel Prize every time she successfully filled the gas tank). And to my credit I figured out how to release my seat belt, which I generally did in the middle of a highway where there wasn’t any possibility of stopping to re-belt me. My humans were puzzled. It was all “Wimsey can’t figure out how to sit on command but he can undo a seat belt. Maybe we should have asked him how to get out of the car.”
Anyway, once my humans figured out how to exit the car it was packed to the brim with my stuff. They did try to get a picture of me in front of the car, but as you can see I was quite eager to be on my way. I had much snoring and gas emitting and back (and front) seat driving. to do. And along the way we stopped in rest areas where I was allegedly supposed to relieve myself but which had such intriguing smells that eliminating was very far down on my priority list. Also I like the sight of grown women on their knees begging me to poop. Pooping is an art form that my ladies seldom appreciate—it cannot be taken lightly. Every time I did it though was like I had produced gold. Perhaps there should be a spot market in Wimsey poop.
Well finally after many, many hours (and one visibility destroying thunderstorm that caused Maria to revisit her relationship with the Almighty) we arrived at this place, the Lord Amherst Hotel which was to be our home in the Buffalo suburbs where Maria Mère lives. Honestly I cannot recommend it. Although it says dogs are allowed they confine us to a limited number of rooms that have a mysterious odor of sewage and unless they know ahead of time that a dog will be occupying a room they throw a fit. And most of the adjacent rooms don’t connect which means that on our first visit I was not at liberty to go and pester Elizabeth whenever I wanted—a feature of our road trips that we both especially enjoy. Nevertheless, I did see a mysterious creature on the property with long upright ears that hopped around and which I kind of thought might be a type of mutant squirrel that resides in these primitive parts of the country—i.e. those that are outside of Manhattan. This creature intrigued me very much but it was not until our return to the hotel from Grand Rapids that I decided to give chase in any serious way causing one of my signature shoulder dislocation.
Also on our return trip from Grand Rapids we did actually have adjoining rooms as no “pet” (read: sewage smelling) ones were available and we were covertly assigned normal ones. The fact that my humans travel with more sheets than Cristo and like him drape everything in sight didn’t seem to make the hotel more relaxed about the situation (you can see these artistic draping efforts in all interior shots of cars, hotel rooms and Maria Mère’s abode, etc.).
Anyway, my great coup at the hotel occurred when both ladies believed the other had shut the door to the corridor and Elizabeth went out for ice to stock the self constructed in-house cocktail bar (Elizabeth has enough trouble driving when sober so my humans set up-in room cocktail bars for when we return for the evening and consequently no automobiles are involved)—I quietly slipped out with her, sans collar, and she was quite a ways down the hall before she noticed that she was not alone. Elizabeth was stunned. It was the only time I had ever walked at a heel. Anyway, having no collar and a loose Hound in an unfriendly pet friendly hotel did present something of a challenge. But the problem is often also the solution—Elizabeth took firm hold of my ponderous dewlap and marched me back down the hall by it. Of course a guest popping out of her room did have a fright seeing this giant dog with a small human being walked with a dewlap instead of a leash and tittered a nervous “He’s very big!.” Elizabeth wanted to say, “Yes, but he’s an idiot” but thought this might not convey the proper reassurance so she settled for a soothing “But he’s very gentle.” which I would have thought was obvious as I was being walked by my dewlap.
But I am digressing from the main point of the Buffalo segments of the trip—the opportunity for me to sample Maria’s mother’s fine Hungarian cuisine. I am happy to say that this is a woman who knows how to entertain. Not only did she not object to bed sheets draping her house, or my close supervision in the kitchen (and she didn’t even fall over me once!) but she insisted that I try everything and refused to countenance me sampling cold dessert crepes. I was not permitted to have them until they had been warmed to a proper temperature. There was also goulash and chicken paprika and other delicacies too numerous to name. All for me. And the sight of her meticulously deboning chicken wings (she did not think Elizabeth or I should leave Buffalo without sampling the original Buffalo chicken wings) brought drool to this Hound’s heart. Everyone should have a grandmother like this! Of course I deserve to have a grandmother like this, but that is beside the point. I won’t even go into the pastries and desserts, which created so much drool that Elizabeth (who was in charge of making sure I did not leave saliva stalactites), went through an entire pack of washcloths.
And then there were visits to other admiring relatives—including Maria’s cousin, her two girls and this doodle called Angel. (They thought Angel was a big dog before I arrived!) and a Hound loving aunt and uncle of whom I became quite fond. Obviously people of highly refined taste. And everyone commented on how well behaved I was. I save this behavior for when I am in public so people think my humans are demented when they protest.
Well I think that is all for Buffalo, other than the fact that when we visited a Petsmart to buy a new car harness (that I still got out of) and a stuffed duck one of their employees came racing out of her car to say hello to me. It is very reassuring to know that people all over the country may look different, sound different, have different ideas, but they all love me. Unity of purpose is what makes this country great. The ladies also took a field trip to a Wegman’s where they spent an inordinate amount of time viewing the wide aisles with no one mowing them down with carts or screaming at them and they oohed and aahed over the extensive choices on the shelves (shopping at Fairway in New York is very often akin to shopping in the old Soviet Union) and the friendly service. They considered taking pictures and videos to show to friends.
Well that’s it for Buffalo. Up next—Grand Rapids and a Family Secret revealed! Stay tuned.
Until next time,
Wimsey, Born to be a Traveling Hound
Friday, July 30, 2010
Posted by Wimsey at 5:01 PM