February 23, 2017 | Posted in WooFPAK Heroes

The group decides, in the end, to go around the Casselman River.

Rhett is keen on reading about their new destination, his level voice flooding the Jumbo Jet. “It’s a fifty six and a half mile river. This says it’s actually part of the Youghiongheny River, which is abosuletly amazing.”

The dogs aren’t particularly thrilled with the conversation. Jag, especially, is frustrated with it. He’s sitting in the front bench seat with Rhett, tail thumping rhythmically against Rhett’s legs. He whines, “please, just make it stop!”

In the seat behind him, Zarro gives a chuckle. “What, don’t you want to hear more about the river?”

“Yeah,” chirps Chase, barely biting back his own laughter. “You should be happy to be learning this stuff!”

“I’m not,” says Jag. He drops his muzzle down onto the seat, covering it up with one paw and whining. “I’m really, really not! Can’t we just pretend that we’re already here?”

“Nope!” Chase presses his nose against the window. It leaves a wet smear against the glass. He loves watching the world rush past outside.

This is what Rhett tells the group.

The Casselman River is located in Garrett County, on the plateau of western Maryland. It’s actually two branches – one south one east of Meadow Mountain, and the north one farther west, between Meadow Mountain and Negro Mountain. The two branches flow northward combining just southwest of Grantsville, Maryland.

“I’ve been there before,” says Rhett, but he’s only side tracked for a moment. Then it’s back to talking about how the river flows into Pennsylvania, following an arc across the Laurel Highlands of Somerset County, Pennsylvania and into the city of Confluence.

In the past, it was used for transportation across the Allegheny Mountains. People used it as a way to get between Washington, D. C. and Baltimore. Twin railroad tracks followed the river, both of them still in use. Right now, though, it’s only serving as a bed time story for the WooFPAK.

Princess is asleep almost before they leave the town, and Chase isn’t far behind her. By the time they actually reach the portion of the road that presses up against the Casselman River, Rhett has started playing a game on his phone and Zarro is the only dog still awake.

He sits on his haunches, idly watching the world outside. The river isn’t particularly wide, but the forest on the opposite side from the road is thick. It doesn’t look like humans have tried to forge their way through there in a very long time.

After being at the fair and in the town, Zarro is itching to get back to his roots. Chase might enjoy branching out into different jobs and skill sets, but Zarro? The only place where he is ever really calm is out here, in the parts of the world where you can’t find the road, where you can’t smell gasoline, and oil, and the fumes created by cars.

As such, he’s not particularly happy when the Jumbo Jet parks between the river and a rusted looking railroad track. Despite the fact that it’s still in use, it doesn’t look to be in great condition. Zarro gives it an unhappy look, ears flicking back with distaste.

“Really?” Zarro whines. He shuffles closer to the door, stepping over Chase’s sleeping form in the process. “This is where we’re going to stop? We could be anywhere!”

None of the other dog’s offer up their thoughts. In the front seat, WooFDriver leans close to Chris and shows him something on the phone. It gets a laugh out of Chris, and it makes Zarro’s stomach twist up with displeasure.

“Great,” he complains, voice low and rough. “We get stuck out here. I bet the train is going to come past just when everyone goes to sleep. Not that it’s going to bother any of you, lazy dogs.”

Chase gives a sleepy smack of his mouth. His eyes open, just a little bit. “What’s wrong?”

“Trains,” spits Zarro. “Trains! We’re going to be sitting right next to them. Why would WooFDriver do this?”

“Trains,” echoes Chase, still more asleep then awake. “I like trains. They’re fun to watch.”

“They’re awful,” grumbles Zarro. “They’re just plain awful.”

WooFDriver pushes open the door, stepping out and stretching his shoulders. “Alright. You guys ready to get some epic footage?”

“Ready as we’ll ever be,” says Chris.

Rhett responds with a cheerful, “sure am!”


Katelynn E Koontz – Author