Coach Goes West – Season IV July 17 – August 21, 2020 July 17, 2020 – On the road again, I’m looking forward to the sights and smells (especially the scent of dog pee) of every state between Maryland and Arizona on the first leg of our 2020 western adventures. Also, I’m very happy that Patty will be accompanying the old man on this voyage so there will be no repeats of the incident at the Saratoga Lake Campground, WY that occurred in Season I of this blog (see National Lampoon’s Family Vacation) – fortunately no lives were lost. First night on the road, dinner at the Cracker Barrel, just a short walk from our Best Western outside of Stanton, VA. They brought me some leftover chicken and dumplings – the old man must have ordered two dinners for himself as he rarely brings home leftovers for me. July 18 – Our second night on the road, he and Patty had dinner at a Knoxville, TN steakhouse with his good friend and former colleague Jim Thompson. Jim is smiling because he had recently decided to retire after a 30+ year career in journalism writing a daily newsletter focused on the coal industry. “I’m not waiting around for the Green New Deal to take me out, better to leave on my own terms” he said to no one in particular. July 19, Russellville, AR – My person is making me spend the night here in order to be the first in line for the morning delivery. It’s not enough that he is old and bald, he wants to be fat too. July, 20 – Paul Duro State Park – who knew – a mini Grand Canyon just 25 miles south of Amarilo, TX. Just like in national parks, as a dog, I am considered a threat to the natural order of things inside park boundaries. They therefore forced me to quarantine in our motel room and watch re-runs of Trump rallies on Fox News while they visited the geological wonders in the park. If the old man had a tail it would be wagging as he examined these rocks. Although nothing is moving in this photo, it depicts a textbook example of the erosional process. It won’t be long (in geological time) before the rocks on the top join the rocks at the base of the cliff; in turn, they will join the stream in the valley below as particles of sand and clay and will then be transported a short distance to the Red River, which is responsible for the existence of the canyon. They will eventually be transported to Lake Texoma, where they will be deposited behind the dam responsible for the creation of the lake. At some point in the future, the dam will fail and sediments will be transported to the Gulf of Mexica via the Red River, which becomes the Atchafalaya River in southern Louisiana. (Please note that I am not the author of this somewhat lengthy and boring caption.) The old man did this for 21+ years…Woodrow’s favorite restaurant, Lewnes of Annapolis, specialized in high quality cuts from the body behind this face. Fun stuff in Albuquerque, NM Somewhere between Albuquerque and Pine Top, AZ Reader question: Which way did the old man turn at this intersection? (If you answer incorrectly you probably don’t know him that well). Two old farts attempting to light a gas grill; I’m happy to report that no facial hair was lost durning this process.Gordon Peak and friend, Pine Top, AZ Model T – it runs! When the old man saw this rainbow he immediatelywanted a quarter pounder with cheese. Senic erosional remnants as seen from Highway 491, south of Shiprock, NM The day before this photo was taken the old man had forked over $200 to have a bike rack receiver installed on the back of our trailer. While driving north through the Navajo Indian Reservation (The ‘res” for all you Sgt. Chee fans) the rack deployed and three of the four bike tires were dragged for the better part of four miles before he was altered by a passing car of the carnage taking place behind him. Because of the COVID, bicycle spare parts are in short supply. However a shop in Steamboat Springs, CO was able (for a small fee of $525) to secure and install replacement wheels and tires. An erosional remnant, somewhere near the Four Corners region of New Mexico. Notice the red sandstone capping the softer tan rocks below. Also, notice the power lines in the foreground, indicating the old man was too lazy to get out of the car and walk across the highway to take a more charming photograph. No matter how hard he tried to forget the upcoming election, my person couldn’t help thinking of the two presidential candidates when he saw the above posters. I hope these places are dog friendly as I fear it won’t be long before he is spending most of his time playing checkers and taking shuffel board lessons at a similar facility in Annapolis. By the way, the name of this place refers to the number of times he gets up to pee at night. Millions of tons of glacial ice contributed to the beauty and color seen in these rocks. Like our current political dynamic, there are two opposing opinions regarding the canine world as depicted by the photos above…who are you voting for? One of our favorite National Forest camp sites, Snowy Range, Wyoming, elevation approximately 10,000′ (for the exact location please provide your name, address and Social Security and bank account numbers and I will email you a link). Snowy Range, WY More examples of glacial features – how many can you name? (mail your answers, along with a check for $100, made out to the editor of this blog, to: P.O. Box 1947, Annapolis, MD 20401, and you will be eligible for a big prize). You will notice that I’m not wearing my life jacket; somebody please report the old man to the proper Wyoming water safety authorities as well as PETA, he’s becoming increasingly less responsible (if that possible) in his advancing age. This wildfire was burning in northern Colorado, approximately 100 miles ESE from the Snowy Range, WY where this photo was shot with an iPhone 11 pro camera at 10,000′ elevation (the old man told me this). Colorful flowers The old man became very excited when he spotted the rearing horse on the rooftop of the Gaslight Motel in downtown Lamarie. The rooster, owl and moose were also major selling points . At $65/ night, which included $5 extra for me, the price was right (if you ignore the Travelocity review discussing a bed bug infestation in one of the rooms). With over 30 rooms, the old man was willing to roll the dice as he felt the odds of avoiding the infested room were pretty good. Unfortunately for him, Patty insisted they sleep on top of the sheets and fully clothed in order to avoid having to quarantine for both Covid and beg bugs on her return to school. As for me, I was freaked-out at the thought of a moose (even a plastic one) lurking less than 50 feet from our door. Patty’s last night in Wyoming, spent at maybe the only wine bar in the state. ( They drank a bottle of wine the cost more than our room at the Gaslight, where I too slept on top of the bed. YUMEvery family has oneThere may very well be more sheep than people in Wyoming. COVID note: according to the WY Chamber of Commerce, residents of Wyoming have been practicing social distancing since birth. I enjoy looking out for wildlife when the old man takes a nap in the trailer, however, when I want a good laugh I watch him fish. He spends most of his time un-snagging his hook and line from various shoreside objects, including his shirt and hat. Notice how far back I position myself – its always a good idea to practice social distancing when the old man is fishing. These photos were taken at a roadside park in Gilette, WY, better known as the Saudi Arabia of coal. Due to the current anti-coal sentiment in this country, perpetrated by the socialist elite, the old man doesn’t want to remind my readers that his first job out of graduate school in 1974 was as an exploration geologic for AMAX Coal Company (insert horror emoji here). We stored the trailer just across the street from the above mining park in Gilette, WY and headed back to Annapolis to enjoy the remainder of COVID TIME – 2020.