Travel Schlepp Goes to England and Meets a Friend

Willie Leaves the I.O.W.

When Master Karl brought our hired car to a stop I hardly noticed as from my vantage point in the rear seat I couldn’t see what was ahead.  (Unlike Schlepp, I’m willing to admit that I’m somewhat small.)  I assumed we were just entering another round-about (English intersection that Americans have so much trouble 
understanding).  But when Master Karl lowered his window and began to chat with a fellow who was handing out tickets, I realized with a start that we were about to drive onto the ferry which runs from the far side of my island–the ferry I’d never seen. 

And on we drove.  Master Karl parked our car almost right at the bow of the giant boat.  There was lots of noise 
(something I’d not realized about ferries when I’d watched from Room Ten as they seemed to glide silently to and 
from Yarmouth).  The ferry’s large engine was running and there was the sound of numerous motorized vehicles 
driving onto the ferry.  The people who work on the ferry were all bustling about, waving vehicles into place and directing passengers safely from their cars and trucks toward the ferry’s interior upper lounges.  There was the sound of vehicle doors opening as passengers left their 
various cars and trucks.  Every sound seemed to echo louder than customary.  I have always heard that sound carries over water, but believe it was more because the sounds all echoed off the ferry’s metal walls and roof. 

Of course, Schlepp expressed his familiarity with ferries, owing to his previous ride on the Yarmouth ferry, 
but I could tell he was excited (as I was learning to read the furry one’s moods and expressions).  After we’d exited 
our car and headed up the staircase toward the passenger lounge, Schlepp insisted we stop so he could peer down into the ferry’s huge, very noisy engine. 
Master Karl, being amazingly tolerant, acquiesced to Schlepp’s insatiable curiosity and, of course, took Schlepp’s photograph in the doing.

Once upstairs, Caroline found an empty table by one of the ferry’s large windows and we settled in whilst Master Karl went for tea and biscuits (or as Amercian’s say, “cookies”).  I must admit that it was very exciting to 
be riding on a ferry, rather than looking at one from Room Ten.  Actually being there brought with it all of the sound and activity and motion and smells that I’d never imagined from my quiet room. 

Once we were under way (and it was a very smooth ride indeed), Master Karl and Schlepp wanted to adventure out on deck (even though it was raining rather 
steadily).  Caroline sighed and cautioned Master Karl, “Don’t let the bears get too wet.”  And off we went, myself somewhat apprehensive.  

We explored the whole upper deck.  Schlepp was in his element and Master Karl was snapping photographs every time I looked at him.    

I say! This is exhilarating! I thought somewhat surprised at how much I was enjoying myself.

After we’d explored every vantage point and view from the deck, we went back inside.  And, as Caroline had anticipated, we were quite damp.  She toweled off Schlepp and me with napkins and reassured Master Karl that no harm had been done.  I must say, I was glad for my sweater, but Schlepp, being so furry, seemed perfectly comfortable.  In fact, he looked a little out of place in the 
warmth and safety of the passenger lounge.  I suppose that’s the way of adventurers; they begin to look as wild 
and wooly as their exotic and dangerous environments. I reflected that I probably looked as mild and calm as my environment (Room Ten) had always been.  But, I thought. Change is in the wind, William Bear of Yarmouth, yes it 
certainly is! 

Once we’d settled down inside the ferry lounge, I could see the I.O.W.--my island, my home--receding in the distance.  Once again, the lady Caroline sensed my dismay, patting my head gently.  However, it was Master 
Karl who saved the day. “Schlepp,” he said, “tell Willie about how you left Oregon and ended up with us in 
sunny New Mexico.”  

I had wondered about this and Schlepp began, excitedly as usual, to recount another of his amazing tales, only this time I actually believed him (which shows how much I’d begun to change since meeting my Americans and their bear). 

Not very far into his story, I learned about BIG  Schlepp.  “I say!” I exclaimed, “There are two of you and 
one’s even larger!?” 

That caused the furry one to laugh so hard he actually bounced up and down on the ferry’s bench. (This is not unusual for Schlepp as he’s a very merry bear.) 
When he caught his breath, he continued telling his story, explaining that Big Schlepp is much larger and the 
elder of the two, possessing great wisdom and power. Before I had time to reflect upon this startling news, I 
became completely engrossed in the story of how “Karl & Caro” (as Schlepp calls our humans) rescued both 
Schlepp bears from the “Cookie Den” in Oregon on America’s far Northwest Coast.

So engrossed was I, that my island slipped from sight without my noticing.  Suddenly, the ferry’s deep, loud whistle interrupted Schlepp’s story telling.  Caroline and Master Karl gathered up their bags and us bears, and we all headed downstairs where our little red car awaited. 

Off the ferry we drove into Portsmith – the largest, busiest town I’d ever seen.  Master Karl did a lovely job of negotiating traffic and on we traveled toward the East Counties.  Caroline was in charge of navigation and seemed very excited about the prospect of stopping at Arundel on our way east, the location of a famous and ancient castle. 

So, as Schlepp continued to spin his tales of travel and adventure, I began to think that maybe, just maybe, I could learn to be at least a little adventurous myself-- 
well, maybe. 

 (Oh dear.  I’m taking too long with this story.  We aren’t even at the Castle and Caroline tells me she must go now for her morning exercise before her office work begins.  If you can bear with me (no pun intended), I’ll try to speed up this tale on the morrow as I’m anxious to tell you of my first Trans Atlantic flight–well, my first flight of any kind.  Not to mention recounting my first meeting with Master Large Schlepp and the Hare [whose name is Little Nutbrown Hare, but whom Caroline calls “Wabbit”]  I’ll also tell you about meeting the DOGS, although I try 
not to think about them too much, even now.) 

Chapter 4 concludes Willie's story.