End of the Road Trip

I told you several stories about our recent road trip but I neglected to mention all the fine craft beers that I was fortunate to experience while driving in Northern California and Oregon.

Mad Duck Beer

A glass of Mad Duck goes down smoothly at the end of a long drive. Or a short drive. Or no drive at all.

At each stop along our way I sought out a new, local brew generally a dark beer, a porter or stout The Pacific Northwest must surely be the craft beer capital of the United States.

Another highlight of the trip (not quite as significant as the beer, you understand) were the many waterfalls. The AJF is a huge fan of waterfalls so we always seek them out when travelling.

Selfie at Waterfall

We don’t take Max near waterfalls. He’s just clumsy enough to fall in.


Max doesn’t much care about waterfalls probably because he is stuck in the car while he walk to the view point.

The trip was great fun, lots of laughs and a reaffirmation that we are still each other’s favorite travelling partner, plus dog.

Oregon Coast 1

We’ll always be drawn to the Oregon Coast.

When we got home we quickly realized that all was not paradise. The signs of depredation were everywhere: it was clear that our vegetable garden had been ravaged.


Way too few. Something was taking our vegetables!

Not all the veggies were lost but our crop was far smaller than we anticipated after a couple of weeks away. We scooped up the remaining ripe tomatoes, eggplants, cukes and peppers and began investigating who or what had purloined the rest.

The evidence was clear to our keen Inspector Clouseau-like eyes. Bite marks from small, sharp incisors. Likely a nocturnal miscreant with a preference for Japanese eggplant.

With mounting horror I recognized the signs:

Vegan Japanese Rats!!!!

No rat gets away with taunting me. It brought out my inner Russell Crowe. Out came the traps. Bait was set and in short order I had seriously reduced the rodent population that thought our veggie garden was like the free buffet at a Vegas casino.

Rat Collage

“Are you not entertained?”

Later, the AJF assigned me a task of constructing protective screening to guard her precious eggplants against future losses.

Back to reality.

Max Tongue Out 2

“I’m ready to go again. Maybe a nap first.”



31 replies

    • Mad Duck is in Fresno of all places. It was our first stop-over. Nice little pub with dog friendly outdoor seating and the brew was pretty darn tasty. One of my happier moments was when I made to Deschutes Brewing in Bend Oregon, home of my beloved Black Butte Porter. I called the trip my Beer Hajj, a pilgrimage of the mind, heart, soul and beer belly.


    • Our daughter bought us a large fake owl with eyes that glow and a head that swivels. We mounted Owley (we’re good with names, hence “Max”) next to the garden. The rats give him a high five as they pass on their way to a late night snack. Maybe a real owl would be better but I don’t know where to get one., there being no Owl Store in the Rancho. We thought about a cat (we would name him/her “Dirty Hairy”) as an exterminator but again the dog poses an issue even for an outdoor cat.


      • No, you need an owl house, the better to attract the real thing.Those rats are not easily scared, especially when they find a nice Smorgy Board like yours. Far better to bring in the big guns, or in this case the real owls. Instead of getting dinner, they’ll become dinner. Except, maybe, if your rats are like my Berkeley Hills rats, stoned all the time, high on fermented chicken feed, who knows what, they might be on the “too big to eat” side. Still, I’d be willing to let owl and rat duke it out. Worst case, the rats might just move on to easier pickings.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I’m glad you did your part to keep the craft brewers thriving!!

    My dog Murphy would be fine by the waterfall. It’s ME who would tumble in!

    The veggies you rescued look wonderful. But I’m thinking every rat whose life you terminated died with a smile on their face and a belly full of fresh veggies! Lol.

    Glad the three of you had a great trip and are home safe and sound. A little nappy time for Max and he’ll be good as new. 🤗
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    • Happy, smiling, well-fed little dead rats. There’s a lovely image I’ll treasure. I am pleased to report that thanks to my heroic efforts and very manly hunting skills, the veggie garden is again producing abundant goodies. For this I have been nominated as a “good husband,” an accolade that can be stripped away at any moment. Constant vigilance is my motto. Those hateful carriers of Yersinia pestis shall not tread again on my property! I swear this on my Victor Rat Trap.


  2. Kill. The. Rats. Sampling craft beers is one of the joys of life in this decade. I do not shy away from stouts or porters either. A couple days ago, we were dining locally, enjoying a couple pints of IPA, and we spotted a friend walking in. We waved and offered to buy him a pint. He sat down and proceeded to order a Budweiser. With a straight face. I asked, “Why would you do that to yourself? You have all these choices.” He said, “Well, that’s what I had when I ordered my first beer at 21.” “But you’re grown now!” Pity. We’ll have to sway him yet. You think Bud pairs well with Japanese eggplant?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve always accepted Bud/Miller/Coors as a suitable beverage on a very hot summer day when working in the yard and when hydration trumps (arghhh the internet goes crazy) taste. But, like you, I am thrilled that America has discovered craft beer and that so many good options are now readily available. I’m not a huge IPA fan though some are down right tasty. I lean to the ales and especially the dark brews but have never been accused of refusing whatever is on offer.

      Being a good church lady, the next time your Bud-drinking friend makes a statement about sticking to Bud because it was his first beer, please refer him to 1 Corinthians 13:11

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish we could still travel together….still, we’ve had some great trips in our time.
    I know now that the world has gone to the dogs when you find you are suffering an attack of vegan rats….I suppose it was too much to ask of Max that he spring into action to hunt them down? Fool question…a Maltese is mre likely to be lying on his sunbed sipping a cool drink while watching you in action.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think it says a lot about the compatibility of a couple when they travel well together. Even when trips are well-planned (not that I have much experience with that) they can be stressful and we’ve seen others have arguments and even knock-down drag-outs while on the road. The AJF and I just seem to find amusing the strange and sometimes wonderful, sometimes cringe-worthy happy accidents of traveling together. The only constant is, of course, that anything that goes wrong is solely my fault. As to Max and the rats, I’m not sure he has ever seen one since they are nocturnal and he is, well, he sleeps all the time so I don’t know if he’s nocturnal or diurnal or what. Oh, and to be precise they were gluten-free, free-range, vegan Japanese rats.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Rats?! Eek! 😮
    I WAS entertained! Russell Crowe has nothing on you! 😉
    Your surviving veggies look yummy!
    I love eggplant! And waterfalls!
    Max, your photo is so sweet! Get a nap and then get back out there when the road calls to you! There are more cool places to do your duty! 😀
    Coop would be safe at the waterfall…the noise would keep him from getting too close. I’d be the one who would take an unexpected plunge! 😛
    Glad you three had such wonderful travels!
    But, I imagine it’s good to be home again, home again, though! 🙂
    HUGS!!! PATS!!! RUBS!!! (Distribute them appropriately! 😀 )

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re the only one who acknowledged my “Gladiator” reference which makes me happy because I dedicated, like, 10 maybe 13 minutes making that collage. Nice to be appreciated. Thhhhppppt to the rest of you, Carolyn is now my favorite human and Cooper is now my favorite doggo. Max got spoiled on the trip by being with us 24/7. Now he insists that he cannot be left home alone even while we go shopping.

      Liked by 1 person

All comments are welcome, so speak! Speak! Good dog.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.