Hello feline friends and human pets,
Bright and early, even in the depths of a tremendous downpour, Phil arrived at The House to pick me up for my trip to Wisconsin. As soon as he entered The House, I could tell by the look on his face that he had some deep thoughts. My human pet hadn't woken up yet so I was a bit relieved that I wouldn't have to worry about her hitting the carpet.
"What's going on, Phil?" I asked.
"This time is going to be slightly different, Zeus," Phil said. "You're going to be traveling across one whole state in a day, and you won't be staying with the same felines throughout the whole trip. It's going to be very busy so I hope you're up to it."
"I am definitely up to it! I owe it to Bonnie and Victor, The Crew, and Derby to give it my best!" I said.
"Fantastic! Then let's get you to the airport and get started," replied Phil.
When I arrived in Wisconsin, the first thing I noticed was the fresh air. I know this may sound a bit silly, but there is a definite smogginess to Houston air that was not apparent in Wisconsin. As I rode from the airport to my first stop, I saw rolling, green hills which had the most beautiful trees and farmland that seemed to stretch on for miles. It was a very gorgeous, serene landscape to say the least!
The taxi pulled up to a mystery house. I really hadn't been told who I would be meeting first so I gingerly (no pun intended!) walked up the path and hit the doorbell with my paw. The door opened and a strange human lady pet stared down at me in amazement.
"All of you come here! Zeus is here!" she screamed. She beamed from ear to ear and let me inside where I was met by George, Max, and Tipper of The Crew! (Little Misty peeked at me from around the hallway corner, but she never gathered enough courage to say hello. I waved politely to her nonetheless!)
"Well, it's about time you got here, Zeus. We were beginning to wonder if you had forgotten about us!" said George.
"Bah! As if! I wouldn't pass up a chance to meet all of you and tour the great state of Wisconsin," I said.
Max chuckled. "Did you think we would all be Cheese Heads here?"
"Why would I think that?" I asked. "Cats don't have cheese for heads."
Max leaned over to George and whispered, "He doesn't know about football. Bummer!"
"Ahem!" coughed Tipper. "Welcome to our home, Zeus. I am looking forward to having you here! Did Isis come with you?"
I shook my head. "Isis said to tell you that she couldn't come because if she came..." I struggled to remember the exact quote, "she would probably get off the plane and be bitten by fleas, ticks, or mosquitos, contract Heartworm, Tapeworm, Roundworm, or Eyeworms, have to go to the V-E-T, and then more than likely be treated with medicine, and if that happened, she might have an allergic reaction which could lead to ultimate death, and she just couldn't allow any of that to happen." I sucked in some air since I was out of breath just then.
"Wow. She is a bit frightened of being outside, huh?" said Tipper.
I nodded and said, "You have no idea."
Just then, there was a knock on the door. The human lady pet opened the door, and of course, there was Phil.
"George, Max, Tipper, and Zeus: You have $200.00 for this leg of the race. Here is your first clue. Be sure to read it carefully, and be safe in your travels."
"He certainly gets to the point, doesn't he?" whispered Max to Tipper.
We opened the clue together and read:
Make your way to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Once there, search for your next clue.
"Mmm, I love fish," said George. "This is going to be awesome!"
We all nodded in agreement, but as we were walking out the door, The Crew's human lady pet smiled and said, "I have a busy schedule today, but I managed to get a rental car for the four of you to travel in, and as an added plus, it comes with its own driver. I think it should be outside waiting for all of you."
"Is little Misty going to come along with us?" I asked.
"Oh no, Zeus. She's too young to go out with you four. However, I am sure The Crew can tell her all about it when they get back!" replied the human lady pet.
We were so excited that we bolted out of the door to see what kind of car The Crew's human lady pet had requested. It was a nice car as far as cars go...seeing that none of us had really taken notice of them before since they're mostly homo sapien-type toys. The driver opened up the doors for us, and we all hopped into the backseat. We were off to the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame!
When we arrived at the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, the first thing that caught all of our eyes were the GIGANTIC FISH! Our mouths started salivating as soon as we saw them.
"Imagine if you could catch one of those," said George. "You would be eating for days!"
"Months!" added Max.
"Years!" added Tipper.
However, it turned out that one of those huge fish was actually called A Shrine to Anglers. Its name was Muskie, and you could walk inside and tour the fishing records and rewards. The wide open mouth was actually a platform so you could walk outside and see for miles and miles in every direction. It was there inside the mouth of Muskie that we found our next clue:
Make your way to the World's Largest Six Pack. Expect the unexpected.
"Expect the unexpected? How can you do that if you don't expect it to begin with?" said Tipper.
"You got me," said Max with a curious look on his face.
"Has Phil ever done this before, Zeus?" asked George.
"No," I replied, "but I suppose there are firsts for everything."
We made our way to the car and drove to La Crosse, Wisconsin. When we arrived, Max and I both were in awe of the large cans.
"Those are the biggest cans I have ever seen!" said Max excitedly.
"I wonder if they're real," I said.
"They're not real, Zeus," said Tipper. "Don't be ridiculous!"
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Because...," began Tipper, "Because....they're not!"
"Well, if you don't know, then we're going to have to find out!" I said happily.
Max and I began jumping and reaching for the top of the cans. They were so large that we really never stood a chance, but it was fun to try! I believe after ten minutes or so we both looked at one another, panting.
"Maybe they really aren't real," said Max.
"Maybe Tipper was right," I said.
"Shhhh! Don't say that where she can hear you!" said Max.
Right then, a strange car pulled up. The driver's side door opened, and out stepped Phil!
"Phil?! What are you doing here?" I asked.
"Zeus, this leg of the race is not over. You must come with me and travel to Madison, Wisconsin," said Phil in his official announcer voice.
"Aww," I said dejected. I was having so much fun with The Crew, and I didn't want to leave them. However, I knew I was probably off to see Bonnie, Victor, and Derby. I turned to the three of them with a smile.
"I had a lot of fun with you three," I said. "I hope maybe someday you will come to Houston to visit with me!"
"It definitely was a lot of fun meeting you, Zeus. Have fun with Bonnie, Victor, and Derby!" said George.
We heard the clicking and ding! ding! ding! of car doors being opened. All four of us turned to look at the car, and we saw Bonnie, Victor, and Derby sitting in the backseat of Phil's car!
"Wow! Hey guys and gal!" said Bonnie as she waved.
"Hello efurrybody!" said Victor with a grin.
"Nice to see you!" waved Derby.
All of us huddled together, exchanged scents, purrs, and headbutts. "If only that Phil guy would let us just have a good old-fashioned kitty party and not all of these silly tasks," said Bonnie.
"We're going to have to probably schedule that one on our own, Bonnie," I said with a chuckle.
"Most definitely!" said everyone in unison.
We said our good-byes to The Crew who then hopped back into their BMW or BWM or something of that nature. We were off to Madison, Wisconsin, and I was so thrilled to finally be in the presence of Bonnie, Victor, and Derby! As we drove along the route, Phil handed us our next clue while we sat in the backseat. We opened it together and read:
Make your way to Chatty Belle, the World's Largest Talking Cow. Once there, search for your next clue.
"A talkin' cow?! Holy smokes!" cried Victor. "It's not efurryday that you get to meet a talkin' cow!"
Bonnie, however, eyed the clue suspiciously. "I'll believe it when I sees it!" she said.
When we arrived in Neillsville, Wisconsin, and pulled up to Chatty Belle, my eyes were in disbelief. Chatty Belle towered above the landscape! I couldn't believe how big she was! The four of us stepped out of Phil's car and walked over to say hello to the massive bovine.
"Umm, hello der, big heffer!" said Victor.
"I don't think that's really a good way to start off the conversation, Victor," said Derby.
Victor decided to try again: "Hmm, hello der, purdy Belle!"
"Hello! So nice to see you! My name is Chatty Belle, and beside me is my son, Bullet," shouted Chatty Belle.
"Oh my goodness! She really talks!" stammered Bonnie.
"Bullet doesn't talk yet but he's learning," continued Chatty Belle.
"Well that explains why he was so quiet," I said.
"What's your name?" asked the gigantic cow.
"Well, I'm Victor, and dis is Bonnie, my sistur, and Derby, our good friend, and of course, dis is Zeus, and he's from Dexas," replied Victor.
"Well, nice to meet you. Did you know I am the world's largest talking cow? I'm 16 feet high at the shoulders and 20 feet long, seven times as large as the average Holstein!" declared Chatty Belle.
"That's very interesting," remarked Derby. "I wonder how she got to be so big."
"Do you by chance know where da clue is, Chatty Belle?" asked Victor.
"Hello! So nice to see you! My name is Chatty Belle, and beside me is my son, Bullet," shouted the bovine.
"Ermm, we know that already. Where's da clue?" pressed Victor.
"Bullet doesn't talk yet, but he's learning," stated Chatty Belle for the second time.
"I think she might be ill, Victor. Let's just walk around and see if we can find it on our own," I whispered.
"What's your name?" shouted the heffer as if she had not even been properly introduced to us. We left Belle at that point and found the clue nestled in the grass beside the huge cow's hooves. We opened it up and read it together:
Make your way to The University of Wisconsin, Madison. Once there, locate Bucky Badger and participate in a Dance Off.
Bonnie, Victor, and Derby cheered! "Bucky Badger is a legend around here, Zeus! This is awesome that we get to actually meet him!" screamed Bonnie.
"I cannot believe that we're going to meet Bucky!" said Derby with excitement.
"And a Dance Off?! Dis is gonna be good, good, good!" laughed Victor.
We made our way back to Phil's car. Surprisingly enough, Phil was waiting patiently for us. "Did you find the clue?" asked Phil. We nodded, showed him the clue, and with that, he opened the doors for us to the backseat. We made our way to Madison, Wisconsin to meet the infamous Bucky Badger.
When we got to the university, I was a bit overwhelmed. The campus was huge! I was beginning to think that everything was truly oversized in Wisconsin. After all, they do have a lot of land in that state. I suppose they can afford to be a bit bigger with things. We looked in the Allen Centennial Gardens, the Chazen (formerly Elvehjem) Museum of Art, and even the Noland Zoology Building to find Bucky, but we had no luck.
Finally, after we had walked around for an hour, I turned to the others with an idea: "My human pet is a coach, and she always talks about this place called a Gym. Maybe if we find the Gym, we will find Bucky."
"That's a great idea, Zeus!" said Bonnie. Derby and Victor agreed, and so now with a purpose, we searched all of the buildings for something resembling G-Y-M in the name. However, there really wasn't any building with those letters. Tired, pooped, and cranky, we felt we were at a standstill. We sat down near a bench along one of the many walkways, waiting for inspiration to hit us.
And it did! Two human males walked by with a basketball, and as they were talking, we overheard, "...can't wait to watch Bucky and those cats perform in the Dance Off at the Kohl Center! It's going to be pretty wicked!"
"Eureka! Kohl Center! Of course! Why didn't you dink of dat, Bonnie?" said Victor excitedly.
"Bah!" grumbled Bonnie. The four of us, with new energy, now bounded for the Kohl Center. As we approached, we saw lines and lines of young homo sapiens just waiting to get inside. It was obvious this was going to be a big event.
We snuck inside through the legs of the humans and as soon as we entered, a man dressed in a very nice suit and a pair of black sunglasses said, "Excuse me, you four. You need to come with me." He swiped us up in his arms, two underneath each arm, and we were whisked away to the backstage area. It was there that the illustrious Bucky Badger was waiting.
Bucky Badger was a badger of few words. He nodded at us and did a backflip to show us how excited he was to meet all of us. However, he was nothing like Chatty Belle who could talk and talk for hours on end it seemed. He held up his big right paw and put forth two fat, furry fingers, and then pointed to Victor and Derby. We could only take this to mean that only two of us would be participating in the Dance Off, and apparently he wanted those two.
From backstage, Bonnie and I watched as Bucky Badger, Victor, and Derby stepped out onstage to a rather large crowd of screaming fans. The bass began thumping as "Hey Ya!" by Outkast boomed from the speakers. Bucky, Victor, and Derby performed an outrageous routine of flips, sommersaults, and wild dance moves! It was amazing! Victor and Derby were really good at The Robot and moved their paws in rhythm to the music. As the song said, they really "shook it like a polaroid picture"!
When their act was finished, Victor and Derby came running back to us with huge smiles on their faces. "Listen to that crowd! They loved us!" said Derby.
"Dey really liked da way I shook my tail!" said Victor.
We all laughed, and Bonnie and I congratulated them on a job well done. It was then, though, that I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked behind me to see Phil pointing at his watch, indicated my time was up.
"Well everyone, I had a really good time, but I think Phil wants to take us home now, which means he has to drop you off and take me to the airport," I said.
"Aww shucks," said Victor. "I had a furry good time with you, Zeus. We'll have to do it again soon!"
"I did too! Victor didn't even cause that much trouble!" said Bonnie.
"Hey!" shouted Victor.
"I enjoyed meeting you, Zeus. Thanks for coming up here to visit with all of us," said Derby.
"I had a lot of fun with all of you! I definitely will have to come back sometime soon. All of you are more than welcome to come to Houston anytime!"
And so with the sun setting, I reflect on the great fun I had in Wisconsin with my friends The Crew, Bonnie and Victor, and Derby. I had never expected there to be so much adventure in the state of cows and cheese! I feel, though, that I have only scratched the surface, and so one day, in the future, I shall have to return to see what else I can do!
Thank you to all of you for having me visit! I miss all of you already!