We travelled from the bayous of Louisiana to the trailer parks of Texas, from the rock shops of New Mexico to the campground for convict's wives at the penitentiary in Phoenix, Arizona. Satch was introduced a new concept of "rabbit".
It would forever change his view of chasing varmints.
In his journal, dated 8/21/1990 he wrote:
"The creatures in this new land are plentiful and varied. Today we chanced upon a rabbit, the size and speed of which I have never encountered. The animal stood nearly as tall as me at the shoulder and at least a foot taller with his ears erect. John, my man servant, told me to 'sic him' as I am predisposed to do. But it was not our east coast colonial rabbit. The beast ran me ragged across the desert scrub then, as if ir were only drawing me to it, turned on me with such a ferocity that I ran in the opposite direction in fear for my very life. We must secure a specimen of this creature and return it to President Jefferson post haste."
We spent several nights in Joshua Tree National Monument. One day I left him chained at the camp and hiked up Mammoth Rock. As I reached the top, I heard him barking and looked down to see him surrounded by five coyotes. I ran down the summit yelling. When I got to the bottom the coyotes had cruised.
While in the park, we encountered the cacti there. Satchmo's journal, dated August 29, 1990 notes,
"In this huge expanse of desert we have discovered many species of the cacti growing there. Today, in the interest of science, I chased a stick thrown by John, my man servant, until I was directly up against the species we have named choachilla, after the language of the natives here. Upon touching the cactus with my tail, I was set upon by twenty of so clusters of spines that literally threw themselves into my back and snout and sunk deep into my hide. This caused me much consternation and barking. John spent some time removing the barbs from my hide and consoling me. We will catalog and report our findings to the President.
We travelled up the California Coast from Ventura to Santa Cruz, stopping in Pismo Beach, Big Sur, Morro Bay and other places between. Rick's girlfriend at the time, Jen, was moving to Taiwan for a year but she hadn't left yet so Satch and I set ourselves up at the Watsonville KOA for about a week. We spent the days hiking and hanging at the beach. California, we decided, was the place to be.