Deep into Steinbeck country…


Still planning the big road trip with Max. I’m deep into Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. I’m reading the good dog passages aloud to Max – and there are many good ones.

Reading about Steinbeck and Charley dog driving and sleeping in Rocinante – the camper truck Steinbeck used – has me perusing Craigslist and other places for a used Chinook camper! Somehow, the idea of traveling like a turtle with my home on my back, appeals.

I’ve been fantasizing that I could buy a decent used vehicle, drive it around the country and sell it after I return. I’ve been imagining how it would be different to stop somewhere at the end of the day and be able to go around and open the door to our little home on wheels.

Cook, eat, sleep inside. Stand up inside. Sit in a chair and read inside. Check email, blog, and surf the internet inside. H-m-m-m-m… is that crazy? Well, duh! Of course it is! Who could possibly want to do that when they could spend 15 minutes setting up a tent, cook outside, eat outside (or in the tent), and then go to sleep on the ground?

Okay, I’ve been rhapsodizing about taking this trip in the Honda Element for weeks and I’m still enthusiastic about it. I love the Element. Max loves the Element. We travel well together in that car. And I believe we’ll travel well in it all around this country.

Meanwhile, back to Steinbeck. Did you know that Charley was born in France and was, as Steinbeck wrote “the only dog I ever knew who could pronounce the consonant F.”

Here’s a sweet passage from the book:
“Charley is a tall dog. As he sat in the seat beside me, his head was almost as high as mine. He put his nose close to my ear and said, “Ftt.” He is the only dog I ever knew who could pronounce the consonant F. This is because his front teeth are crooked, a tragedy that keeps him out of dog shows; because his upper teeth engage his lower lip Charley can pronounce F. The word “Ftt” usually means he would like to salute a bush or a tree.… It is my experience that in some areas Charley is more intelligent than I am, but in others he is abysmally ignorant. He can’t read, can’t drive a car, and has no grasp of mathematics. But in his own field of endeavor, which he was now practicing, the slow, imperial smelling over and anointing of an area, he has no peer. Of course, his horizons are limited, but how wide are mine?”

And so it goes. And so it goes.

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About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in Camping in a Honda Element, Current reading list, Maine, Musings, Random thoughts, Traveling with a dog. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Deep into Steinbeck country…

  1. Another nice post! I am excited to read Travels with Charley!

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