Day 1: Travels With Rosie

Our driving trip through the Southeast got off to a terrific start, as we got in great explorations of Roanoke (left) and Lexington, VA. Weather was great, and driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains was glorious. And traveling with a pig proved to be, well, full of surprises.

Have you ever walked down a city sidewalk with a new puppy? Well, walking in downtown Roanoke with a baby pig was an eye-opener. EVERYONE wanted to see this pig. Children wanted to pet her, adults wanted to photograph her. A group of street people were all over her. Almost everyone was excited to see her, and she brought out huge smiles in everyone. It was surreal to see a pig bring out the very best in humanity.

We did encounter one couple who seemed scared to death of this “ferocious” pig. They would look at her, but always stay fifteen feet or so away. But, with this one exception, Rosie was a smile machine, bringing out great big grins and laughs along our path. Anyone single in a city looking for a way to meet people . . . well, get a miniature pot-bellied pig.

At one point, as we walked along, a cab driver stopped and honked at us. We thought he was trying to convince us to use his taxi services. But, no, he wanted to know where he could get a pig like Rosie. “Where did you get it?” “How much do they cost?” “What do they eat?” “How much bigger will she get?” I have a feeling we’ll be hearing these questions a lot on this trip.

Not that everything about Rosie in the city was all that attractive. This pig can poop. She must have launched twenty little poop balls while we walked around Roanoke. We brought a lot of Kleenex with us to clean up, but ran out. And sometimes the poop didn’t exactly get away from the body cleanly. If you look closely at the photo on the left, you’ll see the exact size of her poop balls. Also, Rosie proved to have interest in eating anything in her path. ABC gum . . . down the hatch. Old cigarette butts or bits of paper and plastic, yummmmmm. We quickly learned that we couldn’t just watch all the people gawking at her; we needed to make sure she wasn’t eating something harmful or disgusting.

We had lunch and a great visit to Lexington, Virginia, a town new to all of us. Lexington is home to two universities — Washington and Lee and Virginia Military Institute. Curiously, the colleges are located right next to each other. Pick which is which from the photos on the right.

At VMI, we toured the Marshall Museum, dedicated to the life of General George C. Marshall. Marshall commanded some 11 million troops on the European Continent during WW II, then architected the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the War. He was the first military officer to win a Nobel Prize. And he later served as Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and President of the American Red Cross.

We also managed to check out the Natural Bridge, complete with some really impressive icicles. Pigs were not welcome here, so Rosie stayed in the car as our trusted guard pig. Believe it or not, at one point in time, Thomas Jefferson bought the Natural Bridge from the King of England.

We ended the day in Charlotte, NC, a city without much charm. But, after several tries, we found a hotel that accepts guests with dogs. We figured Rosie was close enough, and we’re set for tonight. But several hotels we called said “no way,” so we’re a little concerned about hotel options as we go forward on this trip. So tonight we’re watching the Olympics, and tomorrow, on to Atlanta, with no worries on the hotel front, since we’ll be staying with our long-term and fabulous friends, Connor and Martha Seabrook.

We also got a couple of short videos of Rosie today, including one on the streets of Roanoke, and one in our car.

One Response to “Day 1: Travels With Rosie”

  1. Helen Waters Says:

    Ted, Elizabeth and Most Intrepid Children –

    I have to say that I admire your search for less snowy climes, although the FB photos were truly fantastic, esp. the ones of Gibson bravely sledding behind the vehicle. Rosie has a peerless charm and a downright winsome facial expression, so it’s probably time for Ted to get on the “okay, I love the pig, I admit it” bandwagon as soon as dignity permits. Very curious to see what happens with public lodging, as most people probably think of pigs as livestock vs. pets but who knows?

    FYI, if you get to CA our family regards pigs as a favored species and my children are likely to try to steal her from you so they can keep her as their own pet. I foresee all kinds of excuses to miss school, etc. So you always have a place to stay in Palo Alto. PS my sister has a giant ranch and an overly-friendly Rhodesian Ridgeback so Rosie would be able to roam with impunity.

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