Route 66 Road Trip: A Handy Dandy Explorer’s Index

Previews and links to every stop on our Route 66 Road Trip.

Planning a Route 66 Dog-Friendly Road Trip

 

Route 66 Adventure: A Giant Sighting and Zombies Galore

Route 66 Adventure: Pas De Deux

Route 66 Adventure: Stars & Cars

Route 66 Adventure: Funky Funks Grove

Route 66 Adventure: Atlanta Antics (and giant hot dogs!)

Route 66 Adventure: Sugar Creek Covered Bridge

Route 66 Adventure: Even Explorers Need to Sleep!

Route 66 Adventure: Pink Elephants & Other Oddities

Route 66 Adventure: Minor Detour

Route 66 Adventure: It’s Just Water Under the Bridge

Route 66 Adventure: Route 66 State Park

Route 66 Adventure: Hanging out in Cuba & the Devil’s Elbow!

Route 66 Adventure: The End of the Tail

 

 

A Day at the SPA

I’d been working the chipmunk beat for two years. My chipmunk detection skills were second to none, and I knew I was at the top of my game. Even so, I was surprised and honored when Agent Levi Pitboxer selected me to join him as his paw-picked recruit at the SPA – Squirrel Patrol Academy. Apparently the squirrels were planning something big and their suspicious activity was escalating. They could be seen running the streets in groups of two or three at a time, and their chatter was getting louder. Agent Pitboxer thought I would be a good addition to the Squirrel Patrol because I am fast and low to the ground. Something the squirrels and I have in common!

Before I could join Pitboxer on his latest case, I had to prove myself to him by completing some required training. Squirrels are shadier and more daring than chipmunks and he wanted to make sure I was ready for them. I could tell he was worried about me because of my delicate frame and sweet nature, but on the beat I was anything but sweet. It was time to show him what I was made of.

We took the bus to the SPA and gathered our gear. He introduced me to some of his fellow Squirrel Patrol Agents, mostly large dogs, some hounds, retrievers and shepherds in the mix. I saw a few of them woofing at me, when they thought my back was turned. I knew what they were thinking.

‘She’s too small for this job!’ ‘What is Pitboxer thinking?!’ ‘The squirrels will have her for lunch!’

But I knew what I was made of. I was ready for the Big Leagues! I had no fear!

Pitboxer suggested a refresher course in a classroom setting, but I begged to be taken out on the streets for some field training. What better way to show him my worth than by getting out in the real world.

He finally acquiesced, and took me to an old cemetery in the middle of town.

‘He’s trying to scare me,’ I thought to myself, ‘Not gonna happen.’

The cemetery was eerily quiet as I took a sniff around. The tombstones dating back to the early 1800’s. There was a statue of a hawk with his beak busted off, who’s eyes seemed to follow me wherever I went. There were some flags around the tombstones to honor some war heroes from long ago.

It didn’t take long for me to find a suspicious tree. There was a hole at the base just small enough to be missed by a taller dog, but I was low to the ground and could smell that squirrel stink right away!

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I took a close look at the tree, getting my paws dirty in the process. I wanted to be sure of what I was smelling before calling Agent Pitboxer over to have a look for himself.

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Pitboxer had been scanning the higher branches when I called out,

“Agent Pitboxer, I think you should come and take a look over here. I’ve detected a strong squirrel scent.”

He quickly made his way around the tree and dove in nose first, practically knocking me over in the process.

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“Agent GiGi, your detection skills are top notch! This is definitely a squirrel hangout, and I believe you have found the entry and exit point! Good job!”

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I couldn’t help but smile at his praise, knowing that tales of my first day of field training would make their way back to his cronies at the Academy. That smile was where I went wrong though! I was too self congratulatory, and not paying enough attention as two daring squirrels dashed out of the bottom of the tree, running up the side and making their mad escape.

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Pitboxer and I watched as they made their ascent to the very top of the tree.

“How could I let them get away?” I cried out.

“It happens to the best of us, kid. Besides, this was only field training. Nobody was going to be brought in today. And this is the time to make mistakes, rather than later when there are lives on the line. These two rodents are likely up to no good, but we’ve got nothing on them. It doesn’t mean we can’t scare them a little bit though,” Agent Pitboxer barked.

He then jumped up on the tree showing me the move he’d made famous. He sure knew how to show those squirrels who was in charge!

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After watching him closely, I tried the move out for myself. I got it right on my very first try. It looked like I was going to do alright as an Agent on the Squirrel Patrol!

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Tuesday Morning Exploring!

Yesterday something really strange happened. MaMa willingly woke up before the sunrise and wanted to take an early walk! She likes sleeping in even more than I do! Levi and Pop are almost always out the door before the sun is up, and I tag along about half the time. MaMa will come with when we’re heading somewhere special like Lake Michigan or Midewen National Tallgrass Prairie, but yesterday was just a normal day, so we were all a little surprised to hear her coming down the stairs before 6AM. We didn’t have anything planned, but then Pop suggested we check out the sunrise at the local prairie path just north of town.

The Crystal Creek prairie path is right in the center of a subdivision, and close enough to I-80 that you can hear the cars buzzing along at all hours of the day and night. But when you’re on the path, surrounded by tall grasses, you almost feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, as long as you ignore the new condo construction going on a couple hundred yards away. That’s just what the world needs, more condos, huh?

Despite the construction and the congestion on I-80, we had so much fun exploring the path and waiting for the sun to come up. I hope you enjoy our photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!

Just waiting around for the sun to rise.
Just waiting around for the sun to rise.
If I'm just waiting around, I might as well lay down!
If I’m just waiting around, I might as well lay down!
On second thought, here I come!!
On second thought, here I come!!
And there I go! Did you know I can fly?
And there I go! Did you know I can fly?
Levi doesn't know if I'm coming or going!
Levi doesn’t know if I’m coming or going!
I better stay next to Levi so he doesn't get confused.
I better stay next to Levi so he doesn’t get confused.
Yay, the sun finally came up!
Yay, the sun finally came up!
The tallgrass sure looks pretty, and too tall for me to pee on!
The tallgrass sure looks pretty, and too tall for me to pee on!
It sure is nice that great big ball of fire rises every morning. Beautiful!
It sure is nice that great big ball of fire rises every morning. Beautiful!

On our way back to the car, after witnessing another gorgeous sunrise, I met a new friend at the park. Mr Dragonfly said he could take me for a ride, but that I need someone else for the other side. I think Levi Pitboxer is probably too big! Who can I find to ride this great big dragonfly with me?

Anyone up for a ride?
Anyone up for a ride?
I know there must be someone out there?
I know there must be someone out there?
So sad, nobody wants to ride a dragonfly with me!
So sad, nobody wants to ride a dragonfly with me!

Sadly I had to leave the park without taking a ride on a giant dragonfly. I wasn’t down for long though when I saw this peaceful pond to lie next too. I really do love taking breaks. Sometimes it’s the best part of exploring, when you just take time to sit and ponder everything you’ve just seen!

"Wow, that sure was a pretty sunrise and a huge dragonfly!"
“Wow, that sure was a pretty sunrise and a huge dragonfly!”
Eventually it was time to see what other adventures awaited us.
Eventually it was time to see what other adventures awaited us.
ONWARD!
ONWARD!

After getting back in the car, we all thought it was time to head home, but Pop had another idea. He said it was going to be a hot day, so we might as well make the most of the morning before returning home. He suggested we head to the woods at the Hickory Creek Forest Preserve on the other side of town. We all agreed with a resounding, “YES!”

We made it a short way into the woods before the mosquitoes found us, and unfortunately we had to cut that part of our adventure short. The mosquitoes never land on me because of my curly hair they can’t find a place to bite me, but MaMa, Pop and Levi were all getting attacked. Lucky for me I had already found a few prime places to have my picture taken before our exploration ended!

I fond a heart shaped tree stump to chill on. Awww!
I fond a heart shaped tree stump to chill on. Awww!
I love the shade all the trees provide. I like keeping cool!
I love the shade all the trees provide. I like keeping cool!
The face Levi made when he heard all the mosquitoes coming!
The face Levi made when he heard all the mosquitoes coming!