24 Jun 2009. The closest College Cups has had to a chase scene was in Des Moines, Iowa. I left Iowa, Iowa, at 4:00 PM. The Drake bookstore was set to close at 5:30 PM. Could I make 119 miles in 90 minutes?? I mentally calculated that my average speed would have to be in the 75 mph range. If I went for it and made it, I could get the cup and log some after-dinner miles before setting up camp for the night. But if I missed it, I would have to stay in Monktown and make my purchase first thing in the morning. And that would put me way behind schedule in my cross country trip.
I went for it of course.
The bookstore was relatively easy to find from the interstate. I parked at 5:31 PM, and luckily the doors were still open to sweaty, jittery, numb-butted customers like me! Not only that, the cashiers recommended a great local barbecue dive. Jethro's and Lake Anita State Park: A+, would patronize again.
Sir Francis Drake stroked his chin. He was lost in the American continent.
"Will you stop fondling your goatee and ask for directions?" asked Drake's talking bulldog, Jethro.
"Never!! Not for all the naked lady scrimshaw in Connecticut will I accept help from a Frenchman or a savage!"
This was not the first time Drake regretted having Jethro take English lessons from a parrot. Yet he was still the most intelligent companion out of the whole crew.
Their tall ship, The Golden Hind, was dangerously out of place up the muddy Des Moines river. And it had been spotted by the natives. The natives knew it was only a matter of time before a ship of that size was permanently moored. It just came quicker than they thought.
Minutes later, The Golden Hind came to a sludgy halt. When Drake and Jethro disembarked to survey the damage, they were doomed.
"Look at the condition of the hull, Jethro. What a damnable catastrophe!"
"You're the damnable catastrophe. How many miles off course did you put us?"
"You are not being man's best friend right now."
Drake reached back to deliver a slap to Jethro's golden hindquarters. A large tailless squirrel dropped into his open palm.
"Ye Gads! A flying prairie rat!" It scampered down his shirtsleeve and disappeared into his vest. Dignity suddenly dropped low on Drake's list of priorities.
"Oof! Ahh! Gah! Jethro, help!"
Jethro was busy with small mammals of his own. He was barking and thrashing, trying to ward off the strange new species.
The enemy artillery emerged from the pines. Drake addressed them. "By the power of the crown, I order you to stand down - ahh - that we may - erg - engage in a humane discourse!"
Jethro flipped a couple rats aside. "Drake, you and your weak nose. They ain't humane cuz they ain't human!"
The crew of The Golden Hind finally finished their poker game and came deckside. They had a better view of what Jethro meant. Instead of charging Sioux, they saw the inexplicable: bison-mounted prairie dog catapults operated by trained coyotes in feathered headdresses.
A new round of prairie dogs were flung close to the ship. They climbed up the sides and populated the crew's faces. The animals not busy with facial mauling were gnawing through lines and masts.
The coyotes dismounted from the bison and identified Drake as the party's leader. Sadly, they made quick work of the captain.
Hopelessly outnumbered, Jethro ran.
He subsisted for two weeks on river water, grass, and prairie fowl eggs. He made it to Chicago where a settler recognized the royal seal on the lapels of his sailor suit. Jethro recounted the story during his convalescence, but as veterinary medicine was primitive back then, he had little chance of long-term survival. A few days later he succumbed to doggy dysentery.
Drake and his crew became heroes in England.
Much later, when a town sprang up around the Des Moines river, the founders paid tribute to them by christening their new school Bulldog University. Their sports teams were nicknamed the Drakes.
Days later the names were reversed.
Drake is home to the annual Beautiful Bulldog competition.