Homeward Bound: The Incredibly Long Journey With a Hedgehog, a Puppet Giraffe, and a Famous Frog – Part II – The Long Louisiana Slog


Part II – The Long Louisiana Slog, and Even Longer Post

(See Part I here.)

Since the last post used a lot of words and not as many photos we’ll overcorrect here with lots of pictures and fewer words.

On New Years Day we got up, ate, and then began the really, really long day of driving to get back to Austin.  We loaded Princess’s home and all our baggage into the car and headed out into the rain.  Within minutes of being on the road we reached the Louisiana Visitor’s Center.

It looked cold and not exactly inviting.

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Fancy wasn’t thrilled.

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Once he found a sign telling him not to do something he perked up a bit.

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MUST BREAK RULES!  WHOO!

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As quickly as we arrived, we left, but Ryan was still annoyed.

We drove many more hours.

Kermit got a little stir crazy.

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He began investigating potential risks.

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Hours passed. Fancy also grew stir crazy as we crossed through the Atchafalaya.

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Princess slept and we left her alone.

Then we reached the Atchafalaya Visitors Center.  Yay.  It’s on the west end, so we actually passed through the gigantic swamp before reaching to place where we could learn to appreciate it.  We were fully prepared and rather excited since it’s a really interesting place.

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Dang.

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We took Princess out so she could experience the place anyway.

Many things were closed.

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And our old enemy returned.

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Happily, there was a comment box.  We quickly formed a brilliant plan.

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Princess and Fancy helped to deliver the note.

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Fancy was impressed at the brilliance of it all.

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Then Fancy found his favorite thing.  A sign telling him not to do something.

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Kermit joined in.

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A turtle tried to eat Kermit, while Princess watched in mild confusion.

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Fancy tried to eat Princess to help her better understand why this was happening.

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Kermit got a first-hand lesson in what it was like to be shrimp bait in a shrimp cage.

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And learned how shrimp traps worked.

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For a surprisingly long time.  Prickly-bear learned too.

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Princess visited the famous Louisiana Pelican.  “Why are these famous?” She wondered.

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Princess was attacked by an alligator, while Kermit hopped in to help.

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Kermit was of limited help.

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Princess rode a huge tortoise.  I guess there are huge tortoises in Louisiana somewhere?Image

The Alligator attacks continued.  Princess Sophie was a victim.Image

Princess P.P. visited with what we believed might be a Sandhill Crane.

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She posed attractively on a nice piece of wood.

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We took kind of a lot of photos, including one of Kermit in a swamp.

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Princess fought the power!

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Then we left, but took no pictures of us leaving, allowing the reader to build a dramatic scene in their imagination.

Next: Part III – Texas Touring Turns Troubling

Homeward Bound: The Incredibly Long Journey With a Hedgehog, a Puppet Giraffe, and a Famous Frog


Part I – New Years IHOP

Disclaimer: dear readers, we fully understand that as this is a hedgehog blog, and as such, content should feature and focus on hedgehogs, and in particular our favorite hedgehog.  Please note that the following post is only minimally hedgehog related, but serves as critical bridge into further posts that will highlight hedgehog related antics, hijinks, adventures, perils, peregrinations, and other words for the kinds of things these blog posts tend to include.  It primarily features a close personal friend to our hedgehog.

Disclaimer disclaimer: Please note that the previous disclaimer was very wordy for a disclaimer leading into a blog post.  If you aren’t interested in reading long disclaimers, feel free to skip the previous section.

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer: Its come to the editor’s attention that it’s unlikely a reader would encounter the disclaimer disclaimer until after encountering the disclaimer which would make it unlikely that the reader would actually be able to skip the passage in question.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Post disclaimer: There are numerous disclaimers that could be posted about previous disclaimers but in the interest of proceeding to content rather than discussions about content we will pause in our disclaiming for the time being.  If critical disclaiming is required, please rest assured that we will make sure to disclaim critical issues.

Post disclaimer disclaimer:  Sorry, this really was just gratuitous.

So anyway, we drove back.  It was rainy.  We past the Mississippi visitor center but it really seemed very cold, unwelcoming, and a generally bad scene for a hedgehog, a giraffe puppet, a stuffed frog, or humans.  We didn’t take a picture to allow the active imaginations of our readers the opportunity of building a more dramatic scene in the imagination.

So we drove non-stop to Pearl City Louisiana, which interestingly was before the Louisiana Visitor’s Center, as if the Visitor Center was trying to tell you something about just how interesting that place was.

Disclaimer: The Louisiana Visitor Center isn’t very honest, it’s actually a lovely gem of a town.

We pulled in, set up Princess’s home in our motel and then realized that it was New Years Eve and we needed to eat.  We went to find a place to eat working around the picky Princess Sophie’s demands we eventually went to IHOP.  We could not bring Princess P. P. due to the institutional pet prejudice that prevent pets participation in potlucks, restaurants, and most eating establishments.

Man, that’s a lot of words before a single photo.  We are violating a basic rule of our blog – “show, don’t tell.”

We have an IHOP tradition, started by the current author of this piece, that when we get to the table, we take spoons and pour spoons full of syrup as a kind of IHOP aperitif.

Disclaimer: We’d seen Saving Mr. Banks recently and since then I’ve constantly had Mary Poppins songs lilting through my head, so please mentally accompany the following images with “a spoon full of syrup” to get a full sense of the experience.

Mmmm, Fancy likes syrup.

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Not to be outdone, Kermit showed that he loved syrup.

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Really loved it.

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Delicious, delicious syrup.

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After getting all hopped up on syrup, Fancy rehearsed for Annoying Private Ryan, while Kermit hopped in to help.

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Kermit kept hopping into action.

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Food came, and mortified children were briefly relieved until Fancy got hungry.

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Princess Sophie kindly shared.

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Ryan rudely interfered with Annoying Private Ryan rehearsals.

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Briefly.

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As we left, Fancy wished the poor staff a happy new year.

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And with that, we were ready to go to bed for a very long drive, preparing for more blog posts that involved more hedgehogs and fewer disclaimers.

The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 3 – The Princess Strikes Back!


Previously Part 1, Part 2.

Now begins part 3 of our travelogue, heading on the final stretch, over the river and through the woods to Grandmothers’s house.  It was a long drive, so Fancy made good use of the time rehearsing for his role in Annoying Private Ryan:

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Still nailing it!

Alabama has a welcome center too, we are sensing a pattern.  The first thing we find is a phone booth, a strange relic from the lost past of telephony. Maybe it is a time machine!  Princess attempted to communicate with it, but found it strangly unresponsive. Fancy tried to help, but also found it unresponsive. Princess wanted to change into a superhero costume in the phone booth, but we didn’t bring any superhero costumes with us, so Princess and Fancy just played in the booth for a while instead.

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Next to the booth was a large concrete monolith with an inspirational saying on it.    Fancy thought it must have been placed there by a fellow pet’s rights activist – the persecution of pet’s rights and the sinister signage of institutionalized pet prejudice is an injustice Fancy hopes to overcome some day.  He has a dream. Fancy is sure that concrete block is meant to inspire pets everywhere to fight the peculiar and perversely pernicious idea of defending the idea that it’s a “right” to keep pets from visiting visitor centers.  Fight the power, hedgehogs, you have nothing to lose but your leashes!

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Princess bristled at Marxist undertones of Fancy’s proclamations.  As a member of the aristocracy she feels torn. Fancy thought it best to change the topic, since it was a bit of a prickly subject.

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“Cousin Phil?”

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There were some lovely holly bushes, so we posed Princess in front of them and got this super lucky photo of Princess waving!  Whoah!

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Once again we met our old nemesis.  Rather than explaining with complicated words and sentences why this is bad, we didn’t.

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Princess and Fancy were both appalled.

Fancy can be quite the activist…

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Is this what happens when a puppet has nothing left to lose?  Pushed to the edge, will Fancy, once a mild-mannered and law abiding puppet, become a rule-breaker?

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Clearly.

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Fancy even turned to handing out brochures he wasn’t authorized to dispense!

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And engaged in doing whatever it is that’s happening here.

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The breakdown into anarchy continued.  Princess turned from her mild mannered rigid authoritarianism to anarchy to the point that *she went past the NO PETS ALLOWED sign*!  At this point things were careening off.  Princess even tried to climb into that little buttoned down spot on my collar that there was no way she’d ever fit into.

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But with family intervention and care she settled down a bit – note she still was rebelliously sticking out her tongue here.

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With more time cooler heads prevailed, and we persuaded Fancy and Princess of the value of the social contract,  and that we had a Grandma to get to.

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On the way out, we decided that there must be a politically connected brother with a sign making business, because seriously.

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And later that day we got to Grandma’s

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And Great Grandma Gracie even got to see Princess Pricklepants:

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THE END

The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 2


Previously.

We made our way on the long drive from Louisiana to Mississippi, a state with constant and consistent consonant complications.

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Princess liked it since it had two Ps in the name.  Fancy had many opinions about Mississippi but nobody was interested in hearing them.  So he rehearsed for “Annoying Private Ryan”:

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Nailed it.

For various reasons Mississippi claims to be “The Birthplace of America’s Music,” which seems like a very grand claim.  We could have been pedantic quibblers, but hedgehogs don’t really promote pedantic quibbling so we tried to work with it:

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Once again we encountered the sinister signage of institutionalized pet prejudice.

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While we were taking photos of our hedgehog out front, various people noticed our hedgie, and we were showing her to them.  One of the workers at the visitor’s center noticed Princess and liked her, and wanted us to bring her in, though when he tried to get us in, security actually stopped us.  The Man Holding the Hedgehog Down. (Technically security was actually a lady, and she didn’t hold the hedgehog).  Here was the worker who liked Princess holding her:

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We sort of took our a stand for pet civil liberties, in a way, by taking pictures of our hedgehog near the sinister signage of institutionalized pet prejudice.

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Others kind of joined us, in a sense, by also taking pictures of our hedgehog near the sinister… the “No Pets” sign.

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Given the circumstances, we left Princess safely in the car and went inside the Mississippi Welcome Center with Fancy to take a stand.  Inside there was this painting of an American ship exploding, as if Mississippi wanted to say, “welcome, ships explode here sometimes, but not often.”

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Since the Visitor’s Center was under Pet Segregation, only Fancy was able to pose before the state seal, though he tried to appear hedgehog-like in solidarity.  Next time we plan to bring toothpicks to really show them.

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Fancy also met Miss. Mississippi, who he enjoyed meeting.  Luckily she wasn’t Mrs. Mississippi since that would have been far too difficult to say, and also Fancy might have been challenged to a duel.

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After talking to the nice people and forgetting to mention that they really shouldn’t be prejudiced against pets, we headed back to the car.  Princess was sleeping in her huffledome, so we let her be without further photographic documentation.

Next – The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part  3 – Alabama’s Revenge (and Land of Too Many Signs).

The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 1


On the day after Christmas we packed up a minivan and headed out on the road for a trip to go visit family in Alabama.  This was the first time we’ve traveled with Princess Pricklepants, so this was a learning opportunity for us.  So far we’ve learned that traveling with hedgehogs isn’t as bad as it might sound.  The kids have also learned that traveling with their parents is as bad as it sounds.

For this trip we took along another traveling companion, Fancy, who you probably remember from a previous post.  Fancy is our giraffe friend who was a costar in the theatrical release of the drama, “The Princess, the Dragon, and the Giraffe.”  Fancy has starred in many long car drive based dramas, including the early hit, “Ow!” as well as many other serial dramas like “Don’t Make Me Pull This Car Over,” “Does Anybody Need To Go To The Bathroom,” and the incredibly long running “No, We Just Got Food.”

After a long day’s drive, we pulled in for dinner at Cracker Barrel in Beaumont, Texas.  Fancy generously covered our dinner at Cracker Barrel.

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The Cracker Barrel cashier was quite surprised to be able to meet Fancy, we guessed that he had never met a giraffe actor of Fancy’s fame before.

Once we got checked in at the hotel Fancy called his agent.

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No new jobs, but a he did send over a script to look at called, “Annoying Private Ryan.”  Here’s a shot from one of the many, many rehearsals:

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The next day we made it to Louisiana.  The visitor’s center had a lot of construction work happening which created some tension between Princess and Fancy in the parking lot.

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Then we made a startling discovery.  The Louisiana Visitor’s Center was prejudiced against pets!

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Facing grave injustice, Princess and Fancy made up and joined together in solidarity.

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Together they laughed at danger:

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Unfortunately, Fancy had broken the law.  Princess was a strong law and order hedgehog, who felt she had no choice but to arrest him.

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Princess had stark plans for the scofflaw Fancy.

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Fortunately a very friendly and cooperative local construction worker stepped in and began the long needed process of bringing peace and healing between hedgehog and giraffe.

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(Side note, has anyone noticed that Christmas keeps coming earlier and earlier each year?  It’s not even January, and they already have these things up.)

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Coming after this, The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 2.

The Princess, the Dragon, and the Giraffe – A Drama in Several Parts


One Upon a Time there was a very prickly princess.  Who was attacked by a dragon.  There was a giraffe.  With a wand.

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For reasons involving the plot, she clobbered the giraffe.

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Then she clobbered the dragon.

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Which the giraffe approved of.

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She then climbed the giraffe.

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And she lived happily ever after.  Sadly, the Dragon and Giraffe did not.

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Ta da!

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