A Three Hour Tour


As an animal rescuer, occasionally I am called to leave the security of my own home town, Tulsa, Oklahoma, to go to faraway and distant lands unknown, after a particular wayward fluffball. Such was the case yesterday afternoon when I was summoned to the great town of Ponca City, Oklahoma. It is named after the Ponca Indians, which I assure you never had troubles like the ones I am about to describe to you now.

The director of the humane society there, told me that this was a two hour drive from Tulsa. Oh contraire. Maybe some folks could manage to complete this expedition in 120 short minutes, but for some reason yesterday, Glory (my red Volvo station wagon) and I were having great difficulties.

I was driving along, minding my business, when out of an orange colored skyyyyy...I was looking at my Mapquest directions and suddenly, nothing looked familiar....nothing at all.
I called the shelter on the cell phone, and began to describe landmarks.

"What do you see?" they asked.

"Nothing. Grass...concrete...other lost people." I answered.

I then saw a sign... "It's a sign!" I exclaimed, happy to be near possible civilization at least.

"Read it to me!" she said...it was obvious these folks were excited easily.

"Hmmm....it says.....hmmm....let me get a littttle closerrr.....let's seeee.... Cemetery ...it says Cemetery 8 blocks".

"Cemetery???" she inquired.

"Cemetery...yes even in Tulsa we know what that is. It is the last stop you make after assuming room temperature."
"Noooooo, I mean..." she says.

"Yesssssss" I interupted, "I assure you that is what cemeteries are for"...now she is beginning to giggle as she tries to figure out WHICH cemetery I am near and what TOWN I am in.

"AHA!!" I told her! "AHA! Hold on just a second! I seeeee something!"

Glory and I pulled into a local drive in restaurant, as I leaned out the window and asked the man parked next to me..."Sir! I am so lost! Where are we??"!

Slowly and precisely he announced the much awaited answer.

"Sonnnnic"....he eluded with a definite lack of expression in his face and voice and yes those onion rings looked really good.."We are at Sonnnnic". Hmm...we have a pratical jokester here. No kidding, Sherlock.
"Well I KNOW that....which town are we in?"

"Enid, Oklahoma" he answered while dipping his remaining onion ring into a small packet of catsup which was now dripping down his white starched business shirt.

Just like in the telephone game, I relayed the information to my navigator on the phone.
"Enid, Oklahoma! Oh No!! You are in ENID???? You went 28 miles too far past your exit!" she explained.
That would explain why this was obviously a job not to be accomplished in two short hours. The way I had come would be like going to California by way of Connecticut.

Now, feeling quite foolish that I had somehow missed the turn off, the lady on the phone asked if I had a "Pikes Pass"...a pass for our toll road system here in Oklahoma.

I assured her that I did have a "Pikes Pass" and no she couldn't borrow it. It is attached to Glory and it would require surgical removal and would leave a scar.

"Nooooo"...she said again with a laugh. I was now becoming used to her "Noooooooo's".

She now explained that if I had used the "Pikes Pass" lane on the Cimmaron Expressway, that due to construction...the sign for my exit and my exit itself had been temporarily CLOSED. Oh Joy and thank you Jesus. I am not loosing my mind...not any more than normal, anyway.

I contemplated those onion rings, but temptation gave way to the time which was swiftly ticking away. I needed to get that shelter Bichon picked up and get him back to our vet's office back in never never land, HOURS from here...which closed at 5:30. I had previously thought I had plenty of time. After all...this was ONLY A TWO HOUR DRIVE. The music from Gilligan's Island began to play itself in my head...overrrr and overrr...

After turning Glory around, heading back east, and driving another 28 miles, I saw the sign advertising the lane for people with a Pikes Pass.

Oh nooooooo (Now I was beginning to sound like the shelter lady)....You got me once...you ain't gonna get me again. I may be blonde, but I ain't THAT Blonde.

I chose the OTHER lane. The one for the people who do NOT have a Pikes Pass.

I would just pay the toll, in hopes of finding an open exit not under construction.
BINGO. I made it. I was NOW on the way to Ponca City, Oklahoma.

I called the shelter again and assured them I was closer than before, and would be arriving in about 15 minutes.
When I got there, I was happy to see if was a beautiful facility. There was a sofa with a large yellow mixed breed dog, happily snoozing away. Yes, he obviously lived there. It was a Humane Society, not a pound, and just inside the door was a medium sized crate, with black button eyes peering out from behind white curly fur. I saw the tail began to churn.

Yes, he was mine and I was his and we both knew it. It was love at first sight.
I pulled out my business card and leaned down to show it to him.
"Seee there? You WON today! You have a Bichon Mom who drove only THREE and a HALF hours to get your little butt...."

The shelter lady laughed again and said, "Noooooooo...did it really take you 3 1/2 hours?"
It was 3 3/4 hour, but whose counting.

"Let's get this show on the road", I said, as she searched for the proper paperwork for me to sign.
She then reached down and opened the crate door and collected "Mikey" a five year old Bichon who had been deposited at a dog pound, a kill shelter, because his previous humans chose to move to a place that did not allow dogs. He had been brought in with his little Chihuahua buddy, but he had been adopted already, leaving Mikey all alone.

Thankfully, this humane society had saved Mikey from a fate worse than death, death at an Oklahoma kill shelter. They still use a painful gas in many of these shelters, something all of us would like to see changed.

As Mikey, the lady and I were heading out to the parking lot, the "house" dog, that big "Oklahoma Yellow Dog" who had been sleeping on the sofa, made his way through the door and was apparently joining us.
I went into immediate "LOOSE DOG! CALL 911! LOOSE DOG" mode, when the lady explained to me that this dog was fine off lead. He would not leave her side.

Otay lady...if YOU say so.

We opened Glory's back hatchback door, where a waiting crate and fluffy pale green towel awaited Mikey. As we were getting Mikey in the crate, (He made his legs stiff and put on the brakes...no he did not want to go in that crate and yes we were gonna hafta make him) Oklahoma Yellow Dog suddenly jumped in the back of Glory, curled up, laid down, and made himself to home on top of my rubber cargo liner.

She called to him...."Bob...nooooo....nooooo" Uh boy. Here we go again. BOB???? HAHA!
"Bobbbbb......nooooooo....you can't go home with Robin. Now get out of the car."

Bob looked right at her and in his native Oklahoma Yellow Dog language exclaimed...."Noooooo...I am staying right here. I ain't moving and YOU can't make me."

Great. Bob is now IN the car and as the Southern Baptist sing..."No No...He will NOT be moved."

"Ok...there has to be a solution. I know...how about you distract him, and I grab his collar?" I offered.

At this suggestion Bob moved things up a notch to a HIGH SECURITY ALERT, and promptly jumped over the back of the back seat, curled up and made himself to home yet AGAIN.

Two human beings and one Oklahoma Yellow dog in a game of wits and Bob...said dog...appeared to be winning.
"Close the hatchback! I'll head him off at the side door" I called, while looking for a lasso.

She closed the hatchback and as I approached the back seat side door, Bob's wheels were turning quickly as he then jumped up through the front console and took control of the driver's seat with a huge smile on his face. This was beginning to remind me of my Chipper's Fourth Barfday...
Chipper's Fourth Barfday

Bob had not had this much fun since his days of chasing the garbage collectors...the reason he ad been surrendered to the humane society, which he now happily called his home.

I got on one side of the front seat and she got on the other side and we both opened the doors while blocking the entrance with our bodies.

Bob had other ideas. He thought he had liked the verrrry back of the station wagon best...and you guessed it. He hopped through the console, sailed over the back seat, and into the cargo hold with Mikey and his crate... again.
I asked the lady if she knew the number to the fire department.

We could call them and tell them there was a kitten trapped on a phone poll...they would come..we would nab them and force them to retrieve Bob from the rear end of Glory....just a thought.

"Nooooooo" she laughed...we can get him.

Well it certainly appears that we are well on the way to getting him. What has it been now, 20 minutes? "Bob", I exclaimed..."We are GETTING you...how does it feel to be being GOT?"

I had an idea. LEASH! I would get the leash and persuade Bob that he wanted to GO...and maybe he would forget he was already IN a CAR and decide to let us put the LEASH on him so he could Gooooo.

BINGO. It worked and Bob had now indeed "done been GOT" and we pulled him from Glory, and I was free to go...or was I?

I headed out of town to the signs that said I-35. I-35 is good...I can find my way back to Tulsa from I-35.

I followed the big blue Interstate signs...to find...the same road construction I had encountered before!
A detour! ARGH!! Ok. I will bite. I followed the detour to find a HUGE pile of red Oklahoma clay in the place where the road would have been, and NO road. Gone, Finite, Kaputt PPPPHHHBBT.

I was TRAPPED in Ponca City, America.

I turned around and drove to a convenience store. A man pumping gas looked friendly enough, so I leaned out of my car and again announced..."Sir...I am so lost"...I stopped short of asking him where we were...
He came over and leaned into my driver's window. I told him of my plight.

"I tried to get on I-35..but it was CLOOOOSED...so I followed the detour...and IT was clooosed. Is it your intention to trap all visitors to Ponca City in an attempt to add them to the tax rolls?" I teased.

He looked dead at me and without cracking a smile answered..."Yyyyyyup. Kind of like Twilight Zone, ain't it"....Oh God. He had had this conversation with people BEFORE....I could tell. AT least now he began a friendly smile.

He drew a map for me to exit by way of the back way out of town...to highway 60..then south to highway 99, then east on Highway 64. It would take a while, but I would get home before the next major Holiday.

Wait...were those storm clouds in my rear view mirror? "The weather started getting rough,the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew,the Minnow would be lost."

A three hour tour.

Mikey and I arrived home at 6:45...Only 6 3/4 hours after I had begun on this two our drive.
Another white fluff was safe in the arms of a Bichon Mom.

If any of you have a spare one of those GPS NEVERLOST systems...please send ASAP. Glory and I need it. Love, Robin
The End?