They drove 15,000 miles around 45 states, by car and Greyhound bus, known as the ‘Dog’ by the fearsome locals who ride it.
Follow them through landmarks including Monument Valley and Yellowstone, to a New York Yankees baseball game, a dude ranch in Montana and a rodeo in Wyoming. More than just a travel memoir, Dog Days provides vivid descriptions of the physical landscape, and unravels the characters they encountered along the way — with some very candid observations of America and its people.
They began their trip believing they knew a lot about the country, but quickly discovered just how different from the rest of the world it really is. Here’s an excerpt…
Americans are obsessed with the Fourth of July and the multitude of celebrations that it entails.
We walked out into the sunshine of Jackson, Wyoming at 10am and onto Broadway, the main street. The Fourth of July parade was well under way. The population of Jackson is about 9,500 and at least 8,000 of them were at the parade. Grandstands filled with people lined the street. Old couples were sitting in deck chairs that they had brought for the event.
Everybody was dressed in Americana – star-spangled T-shirts, American caps and people draped in flags. Everything was red, white and blue. Even the dogs were wearing American flag bandanas. A lot of the town’s stores had signs in their doors which read ‘Happy Fourth of July. God Bless America’. Everyone was God blessing America.
Float after float came up the main street to raucous applause, as two announcers commented on the festivities, effectively advertising local businesses with the usual pre-arranged marketing spiels.
‘Here comes Teton Motors,’ one of the announcers said as a brand new pick-up drove slowly along. ‘Get right along there and get yourself a high quality motor. They’re even open today.’ The crowd cheered. Various local guest ranches went by, then came the Jackson Hole Baptist Church.
‘They’ll answer all of your big questions,’ the second announcer said. ‘Why I am here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? They’ll answer it all for you.’
‘Here comes trouble,’ he continued. ‘It’s none other than the Jackson Hole Juggernauts. It’s the most fun you’ll have on eight wheels at the roller derby. Watch the girls battle it out in this ultimate tension-reliever as they smash one another to pieces. A-ha, there’s Diana, the Queen of Mean.’
Diana was a stocky and ugly woman, with a head like a bucket of smashed crabs, and looked as if she could tear your arms off. She smiled and waved to the crowd.
‘And here we have the Jackson Rodeo Queens,’ the announcers were taking turns.
The Queens were dressed in the colours of the day and were throwing confetti from horseback. Other floats squirted water pistols at the admiring crowd. Everyone was smiling and laughing. And applauding. The Yanks love to clap.
Andrew Thompson was born in Australia and lived in London for 12 years where he practised Law. He then embarked on a three-year world tour that took him to 38 countries, including all of the habitable continents. Andrew has also written three trivia books and a novel. Details of all of Andrew’s books can be found here.