It’s Zaturday – Traveling Kitties!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog!

Ziggy here. Zorro and I just got back to Florida after spending a week and a half in North Carolina. This time Daddy went with us. When Daddy comes along, the car is a lot more crowded. But I like it when Daddy goes with us. It’s fun having him around. He pets me a lot and calls me Ziglet the Piglet. He says it’s because I eat a lot.

Zorro and I have taken lots of long car rides, but Mommy told us about a cat that has traveled more miles than any other cat. Her name was Princess Truman Tai-Tai. She was a crew member on a British ship for 16 years and traveled over one and a half million miles.

I don’t know how many miles it is between Florida and North Carolina, but it seems really far, because Zorro and I are in the car all day. Zorro doesn’t mind it much. In fact, he seems to like it. He curls up in Mommy’s lap and stays there through the entire trip. I don’t know how he can be content just laying around so long. I think he’s lazy.

I have more energy than that. I don’t like staying in one spot for so long. There are no toys to play with and the car is too small for me to chase Zorro. So all I can do is go back and forth between the back seat and the front seat. I can’t even get all the way in the big back section of the car, because Mommy has me in a harness with the leash tied to the gear shift, and the leash is only long enough for me to get in the back seat. Zorro doesn’t need a long leash, because he’s never more than a foot away from the gear shift. Unless he has to use the litter box.

One place I like to be is on top of the seat back, because I can see out the window really well. When Mommy stops, I get up there to check everything out. Mommy doesn’t let me ride there, though, because she says it’s not safe.

 

I like Mommy’s lap, too, for short times, but Zorro always beats me to it. When Daddy is driving, I sometimes get in Mommy’s lap with Zorro. He doesn’t seem to mind, but I think it’s a little bit too crowded.

Sometimes I try to get down at Mommy’s feet and she yells at me. That wouldn’t be a comfortable place to ride, because there’s pedals down there that Mommy is always pressing with her feet. Mommy has her purse down there, too, so there’s not much room. It’s really not a good place to sleep. But Mommy has made it off limits, so that makes it irresistible.

Soon we’re heading back to North Carolina, but it’ll be just us and Mommy. Another long car ride. Even though Princess Truman Tai-Tai holds the world record for miles traveled by a cat, I think Zorro and I are going to catch up with her.

It’s Zaturday – Road Trip!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog.

Image by Roland Kuck from Pixabay

Zorro here. Ziggy and I have spent the past two weeks in North Carolina. It’s a lot different here from our home in Florida. First, there’s more people, like Aunt Kim and Grandma (who are sort of like two other mommies). There are no lizards to chase, but awhile back, Ziggy tried to steal a mouse I caught. (I didn’t let him have it.) Mommy took it away from me, though, and put it back outside, which wasn’t very nice.

Black cats in carToday we’re heading back to Florida, so we’ll be in the car all day. It doesn’t sound like fun, but it’s really not bad. A litter box on the back floorboard. A bowl of food halfway home. A warm lap to curl up on. What more could a kitty ask? Ziggy isn’t as experienced as me at this whole traveling thing, though, so he sometimes starts hollering. I’ve tried to tell him it’s all cool, but he doesn’t believe me. He’ll figure it out eventually. Okay, time for a nap.

My Latest Research Trip – The Appalachian Trail

I just got back from a research/writing trip to North Carolina. I’m starting a new series of romantic suspense books set in the Murphy area. This is always an exciting phase of the writing process for me–checking out new locations.

This time my research took me to the Appalachian Trail. But it couldn’t be just anywhere on the Trail. It had to be where the Nantahala River runs close enough to the Trail for my kayaking hero to come across my Trail-hiking, unconscious heroine. Studying Google Maps, I found I had two possibilities: near Highway 64, between Hayesville and Franklin, and Highway 74 at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

We tried 64 first, since it was the easiest drive from Murphy. There, I ran into two problems. First, there was nowhere for my hero to launch. A single-lane dirt road branched off 64 to run along the Nantahala River. It was narrow and steep, with the terrain on one side dropping sharply toward the water, and the ground on the other rising sharply upward. Anywhere that there was possible access to the river was marked “No Trespassing.” As soon as we turned onto the road, my sister (who was driving so I could take pictures) kept hoping we wouldn’t meet anyone. We didn’t. Instead, three law enforcement vehicles came up behind us, lights flashing. She moved as far to the right as she could, and they managed to squeeze past us without ending up in the river. A minute later, two more overtook us, these unmarked SUVs. I said, “Follow them. I might be able to get a story out of this!” In less than thirty seconds, they were out of sight. Now sure that this area wasn’t going to work for my story, and knowing our chances of witnessing anything exciting were nil, we did a 43-point turnaround and headed back toward the highway.

And thus problem number two presented itself. We’d crossed the river just after leaving 64. Right before the bridge, I asked my sister to stop so I could get out and take pictures of the water. The Nantahala is a big river. I’ve done whitewater rafting on it more than once. Not here. This stretch is little more than a mountain stream. It was really pretty, but as you can see, there’s no way someone would be able to canoe or kayak through there.

That meant it was time to check out the other location, about an hour away by car. This one was perfect. The Appalachian Trail crosses 74 at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which is right on the Nantahala River. A few miles upstream is a nice launch area, with another one a few miles further upstream. The next task was to check out this section of the Trail itself. Heading north from the Nantahala Outdoor Center, it’s a pretty steep climb. With lots of rocks and roots to trip us up, and steep dropoffs to the side, I kept my eyes on the Trail. At one point, we came upon a huge outcropping of rock that would make a great place to wait out a storm. I just had to climb up there and pose. Coming back down was scarier than climbing up.

We met seven serious hikers along the way, all but one headed north, planning to hike all the way to Maine. Two of them looked like they might actually make it. The rest…not so much. The last guy was really huffing and puffing. He’d just refilled his pack with supplies, which included lots of beer. He got a really good lesson in planning that day. Next time he loads up his pack with beer, it’s going to be before a nice long downhill stretch.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail has been a long-time dream of mine. I doubt that I will ever do the whole 2,200 miles, but I would love to do a decent portion of it. I haven’t found anyone willing to do it with me. Until then, I guess I’ll have to leave the real hard-core hiking to my heroine.