Thanks Buddy!

Yes, 8353 miles up, across, down and back we wound our way in a meandering circle around the US and home again.

What started out as just a lark of taking “Flat Hagrid” along as a chuckle proved to be an unbelievable final gift from our dear buddy. Hagrid gained us entry into places we would have otherwise missed. He was the impetus for our meeting folks and exchanging stories, laughs and memories- and even a few tears from sympathetic folks who knew the loss of a wonderful four-legged friend.

Last year I had to delay the trip because I knew Hagrid  was not going to make it and I wanted to be here to say good by to him. While it was sad to let him go I still had the great memories of the years of funny, stubborn, and terrier-rascal times we had had together. I never thought that he was going to provide even more fun and laughter- even after he was gone. Thanks buddy…your were a hit all the way across the country and back! I miss your bright eyes and the your sopping wet beard dripping on the kitchen floor!

 

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Home Again Home Again!

Well…finally we were home! We were greeted  with glee by Leia- but she had bonded so well with Haley that she was briefly confused of her loyalties. I guess that speaks well for my niece- not only was she an incredible house sitter but she was an excellent care-taker for Leia. Of course Hagrid didn’t understand all the fuss- he  just wanted to take advantage of another photo op.

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Back to North Carolina!

After the marathon drive we crossed the TN/NC border and Hagrid demanded we stop for a welcome back to NC photo! We made it to Asheville just in time to see our friend Rena’s art installation Let Color Be Itself at the West End. Of course Hagrid wanted a photo op with the artist!

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Headed East

Due to the back-tracking we were a little behind schedule and we needed to get back to Asheville, NC for our friend Rena’s art installation before it closed. We left Columbia, MO in the wee hours of the morning for a marathon drive to TN. At one of our stops along the way we found a perfect photo op for Hagrid…Metropolis, TN was the perfect place for Hagrid to pose for his “Super Dog” portrait.

 

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Columbia, MO

We did a little back tracking and headed to Columbia, MO to visit our friend Paul- who had just come back from a hiking and fishing trip to Alaska. Thanks for the fresh halibut dinner Paul! Hagrid passed on gallery hopping in down town Columbia. He did come along for one of Paul’s favorite hiking trails in a local state park. But Hagrid stopped at cave diving. He posed for a few pics- but that was it.

 

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Collinsville, IL

Cruising by the Arch in St. Louis we crossed the Mississippi River just to the other side to visit our friends the Levys. What a welcome! Abe- the dog greeted us at the driveway and Mark immediately shuttled us back into Collinsville for the Italian Street Festival- Spencer says if you haven’t had Banga Cauda you’re missing out.

Mark then took us to the Cahokia Indian Mounds just outside of Collinsville. Mark serves on the board of the historic site and is the author of Fishbone the Potter- a wonderful fantasy-historical novel setting in the past and present.

This set the theme for the next few days. When Elizabeth got home there was salmon on the grill, cold beer and dinner on the deck overlooking the lake! Over the next few days there were early morning walks, more great food and our own personal tour guides and perfect hosts! A big thank you to Mark and Elizabeth- on our entire trip this was the most “like home” feeling we had.

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Elk City, OK

After miles and miles of flatland driving across the panhandle of Texas we headed into Oklahoma. We decided to call it a day and make a stop in Elk City, OK for the night. To our surprise there was another Rt. 66 museum so Hagrid was excited for another outing.

We left Elk City- but not quietly! Trying to get a jump on the truck caravans that dominate US 40 in the early morning hours we headed out just at dawn. Unfortunately we had a fatal meeting with Wiley Coyote- may he R.I.P.- and then headed on to Missouri.

 

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Amarillo, TX

Coming down from Santa Fe headed to Amarillo, TX we had only two stops in mind- Cadillac Ranch and Beetle Ranch…As soon as Hagrid heard both stops involved cars he was on board! Sitting in the middle of a field just off 40 the long standing art installation was a little bit worn but still impressive in a desolate sort of way. We did run into a young man who was traveling across country with his Waldo statue and he was eager to pose with Hagrid.

Just a few miles up the road there is a “copy-cat” installation- Bug Ranch- which is a scaled down version of Cadillac ranch using VW Beetles instead. Also weathered, worn, and spray painted Hagrid once again grabbed the opportunity to be in the “driver’s seat”.

 

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

We skirted Albuquerque, NM to head to artsy Santa Fe. Hagrid was serenaded on the town square, danced a chorus line outside an upscale gallery- but he wasn’t allowed into the Georgia O’Keefe Museum!

 

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Taliesin West

Having visited Taliesin East in Green Spring, WI we had to swing by Taliesin West- Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and studio in Scottsdale, AZ. While the terrain is quite different the low profile and blending with nature is very much the same.

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