Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roadtripping, Cat Lady Style

Leo, Hazel, and I hit the road on Wednesday, off on an excellent Florida adventure.  The beginning of the 2-day drive looked and sounded like this:

Leo and Hazel travel in style in a purple mesh pop-up carrier that takes up most of the backseat and includes all the modern conveniences (i.e., a little box). It gives them a little room to stretch, but keeps them from leaping out the window at toll booths. Over the 14 years that the kitties and I have been spending time together, they've logged many miles. They're not always happy about it, but they are surprisingly patient and flexible.

If nothing else, they enjoy that after a day of meditative sunshine driving, I perk up (yes, cats sense your mood). While they don't let me sing (like many others, they interpret it as yowling, and meow with alarm when I forget and start in) they do let me change radio stations to catch scary 80s classics (yes, "Abracadra" still gets air time. Want to have a 1982 tune stuck in your head?  Click here: After a few hours of following the yellow lines, the endless winter gloom of DC gray fades into exploration and insights into other places, odd roadside moments and the peaceful zen of driving.

Day 1 of driving landed us at the Walterboro, SC Motel6.  Given that Motel6s are cheap and allow pets, we are brand loyal. This particular safe haven came with a bbq invite from the guys in orange reflective vests grilling dinner in the parking lot. They were in town to do electrical work in Ridgeland and were, safe to say, a little bored. Anyone who starts a conversation with "So you from out of town?" in a motel parking lot may be yearning for anything new (do lots of people in town stay at the Motel6?).

The kitties and I opted out of the parking lot festivities and instead hunkered down for a night of junk food and bad TV. I prefer to think that the bug Hazel found was not a baby roach, but some orphan insect of a less revolting tribe. 

The biggest excitement for me is that the Motel6 has a new, and possibly even more hideous bedspread pattern, this one with a Motel6 logo wound into yellows and oranges and blues.  The previous bedspread used, I can tell you, by most Motel6s across the country, flaunted blues and magenta, a stain-hiding combination that I've come to expect.

We hit the road early, anxious for more sun, more flashback music, and finally getting to the warmth. 

We first felt the shift to southern winter at a gas station stop in Georgia (at a nondescript Shell, not Mr. Pete's Pecans and Gas that we saw advertised in curly script on a billboard, as intrigued we were by that unlikely combination). Even though it was a chilly morning, it felt different...the sun was sharper, the sky bluer, and the birds sang with a tropical lilt. The wind coming inland from the the ocean still carried its salty smell. 

Hazel was probably thinking: lizards! 

When we lived in Miami, she was the mighty huntress, picking up, and dropping many lizards.  She didn't often kill them -- I imagine they don't taste all that yummy, although I don't intend to verify that. But she would chase them around and pick them up with zeal, at which point, they would drop their tails (a lizard stress reaction).  Many short-tailed lizards lived, anxiously, around our cottage.

The big excitement on Day 2 of driving (aside from arriving at our destination) all took place in the vicinity of Lawtey, FL. 

You can't say they don't give you
fair warning...
First: the Speed Trap billboard, 4.5 miles outside of town on 301. Yes, once in town, I saw a black unmarked car with a lawman sitting as promised in the 35 miles per hour zone there.  You have to figure, whoever pays for the billboard the town hero. 
Also in Lawtey, we made a brief stop to take a picture of not one, not two, but THREE giant metal chickens. 

Modern Styling.

Because one is not enough.

The reason for this can be found here:  Knock, knock is a running joke with a friend to whom I periodically send pictures of large metal chickens (or roosters - I'm flexible on these things).

Having finally arrived in our Florida destination,today, the cats and I are enjoying some down time on the porch. Leo had a tough morning with a visit to a local vet, as his back is hurting -- the prevailing theory is he twisted it on the stairs yesterday surveying his temporary kingdom, as he seemed surprisingly spry after the car ride. But by last evening, poor guy was hurting. Today, after a couple of shots, he's feeling better, and so is his nervous caretaker. 

In front of us on the porch, a palm tree is rustling in the wind. A few fluffy clouds are floating by.  I plan to go to the beach in a little while and stick my toes in the ocean. December in Florida, Santa hats and bathing suits, has much to recommend it. 

I hope Leo and Hazel agree.   

Hazel: "Lizards!"; Leo: "Cat treats!"


  1. So glad you had a safe trip down and Leo is no worse for wear now he's had a little relief. Enjoy the sunshine and visit with your aunt. You've psyched me up a bit for our road trip in a few weeks!

  2. Thanks, Shannon! A long trip, but a good one. You'll have a blast on your journey. Stop for as many weird attractions as you can.

  3. this was funny to read... thanks!