I think I’ve told you about my friend Zippy Zebra before. He’s bonkers and always has wild ideas. Well, the other day he was watching a nature documentary on TV. It was about animals that live on the African savannah making great migrations across thousands of miles. They traveled to find food, water, and other animals of the same species as them. Of course, there were zebras on the show and Zippy watched with rapt attention. I watched with him for a while even though there weren’t any turtles. Then again, land turtles don’t migrate. We’re at home wherever we are because of our shells.

When the show ended, Zippy turned to me and said, “That’s what I need to do, Greenie! I’m going to go on a great migration to see zebras across Texas.”
“But Zippy, I don’t think many Zebras are living in Texas. That show was filmed in Africa. That’s like a whole other continent.”
“But I’m here, so there must be more zebras out there,” he reasoned, pointing a hoof to the living room window and all the ‘out there’ that lay beyond the glass panes. He wasn’t wrong, but if there were other zebras in Texas, it couldn’t be very many.
“Why go on a great migration when there are plenty of zebras and animals here at our house…” I started, but it was too late. Zippy’s big idea had already blasted off the launch pad and he excitedly interrupted me.
“Don’t you feel it, Greenie?!” he shouted, throwing his head back and shaking his bristly mane.
“Feel what?” I was confused.
“The call of the wild! It’s telling us it’s time to migrate. It’s time for…ADVENTURE!” Zippy exclaimed dramatically as he danced a little jig around me, causing me to turn in dizzy circles as I tried to face him.
“No way!” Now it was my turn to get excited. “I’m not walking for a zillion miles to some crocodile-infested mud puddle. Forget it!” I waved my arms for emphasis. I am a North American Suburban Plush Turtle, after all. I’m accustomed to certain creature comforts that do not include mud or being eaten.

“I’m not walking, either,” he erupted. “That’s where those TV zebras got it all wrong. You have to take a car on a trip like that. Preferably one with air conditioning and a good stereo system. No wonder they were hunted by lions and getting washed away in rivers and stuff. What a bunch of dopes!”

Zippy was starting to make sense. He’s cuckoo, but even a broken clock is right at least twice a day. Anyway, that’s when I remembered that my mama was making a trip to Austin, Texas soon. She was going to see her friends at a birthday party, and was going to drive her car there and stay overnight. I told Zippy about Mama’s plans.
“That’s brilliant, Greenie! Let’s go. Pack your shell, Turtle! We’re road trippin’!” And with that, Zippy was off like a bolt to tell everyone about his great migration plans.


A few days later, we were on the road. I love a good car trip and have traveled with Zippy before. He likes to ride on the dashboard with his face pressed up against the windshield to really experience the open road. My Mama doesn’t let him do that for very long because it’s not safe. She prefers that we all be belted into our seats in case there’s an accident. Also, it’s the law that little zebras and turtles must wear safety belts. I like being comfy in my seat and securely belted in. Zippy, not so much.

We saw so many interesting things out the window as we whizzed by. Of course, we saw people, houses, buildings, signs, and lots of other cars. As we left the city limits, we saw fewer of those things and more farms, ranches, and open fields with cows, horses, and even a few goats. At one point we even saw some buffalo resting in a sunny pasture. One of them was white! My mama told us that white buffalo were considered special and meaningful to some Native American people. Zippy and I felt lucky to have seen one on our trip. But Zippy was still the only zebra.

Later, the terrain became hilly and we saw a large, strange-looking building in the distance. It was greyish blue, sat atop a big hill, and had four tall, slender smokestacks that reached toward the sky. I pointed it out to everyone in the car. Zippy declared that it was a “giant fartknocker”. My mama laughed and said it was a large power plant where electricity was made to power many of the homes and businesses around that part of Texas. It was so big that I thought that it must generate enough power to turn on all the lights in the world! Zippy still thought it was a giant fartknocker, whatever that is.

We were riding for a long time when we all started to feel a different sort of call of nature. It was time for a bathroom break! Mama pulled over and parked at an interesting place that is sort of a gas station, a restaurant, and a department store all at the same time. It’s famous around Texas for its super-clean bathrooms and variety of delicious snacks. We all got out of the car for a short break.

“Everybody stay together and stay close to me,” Mama said. I could see why, this place was wild! We made a beeline for the bathroom, but along the way, there were a zillion different sights, sounds, and smells. There were other travelers like us rushing to and fro, loud conversations, music, kids cavorting about, lots of products to shop, the mouth-watering aromas of bar-b-que, a whole wall of refrigerated drinks, and the jangled sounds of the cash registers. After we finished up in the bathrooms, we moseyed around with Mama to stretch our legs. There was so much stuff and lots of people…but no zebras. We were only a few towns away from Austin, so we didn’t want to delay for too long. We each got one of those refrigerated drinks and got back on the road.


Before long, all the farms and ranches gave way to more homes and buildings. We were entering Austin city limits. Soon we were there! My mama checked us into the hotel and we got comfortable in a room that had two big beds in it. When my mama went out to see her friends, Zippy and I stayed at the hotel to play. We each had our own huge bed to jump on!
“This is the life, Zippy!” I said, laying back with my arms behind my head.
“Yeah no hot savannah or hungry lions for us,” he replied. “But we didn’t find any zebras, yet.”
“Well, the trip’s not over. We still have more driving to do in a couple of days when we go back home.” I reminded him.
“Yeah, there’s gotta be some zebras out there somewhere.” Zippy quipped hopefully as he started hopping on the mattress.
“Yup, but for now… ‘Cowabunga!!!’” I said making a mighty leap on the springy bed. We jumped on the beds for so long that we wore ourselves out and were already fast asleep by the time Mama came and tucked us in.

The next day, Mama went to the birthday party, saw her friends again, made a few new ones, and had a great time. Zippy and I did, too. Soon it was time to go back home. Even though traveling was fun, we were starting to miss our family and friends. We were happy to be homeward-bound. We packed our suitcases and got back into the car.

Even though we were traveling some of the same roads we used to get to Austin, we were going in the other direction and got to see different things out the window. This wa perfect for resuming our search for zebras. We saw more people, houses, and buildings that gave way to farms and open fields as we left the city. We saw many small towns along the way, but no zebras.

After we had been driving for a while, mama noticed that we needed gas and pulled over at the next gas station. Zippy said he had plenty of gas. We rolled our eyes and ignored him. From the gas station, we could see our favorite fast-food restaurant nearby and realized we were a little peckish. While Mama was paying for gas, Zippy and I planned a multi-step strategy to convince her to get us some French fries to snack on. Then we were delightfully surprised when Mama got back in the driver’s seat and said, “Hey! Who wants a snack?”

Zippy and I cheered “Let’s get French Fries!!!!” in unison because we knew Mama was thinking the same thing we were thinking. We all laughed as Mama pulled the car around to the drive-through. Soon we were all enjoying delicious fries and cold sodas as we got back on the highway.

Zippy must have been reinvigorated by the French fries because soon he was asking Mama if he could drive the car. “Zippy, you don’t have a license. It’s illegal to drive without a license, or insurance, or the ability to reach the gas pedal and the steering wheel at the same time.” She said.
“Those are just details,” declared Zippy. “I can hold the steering wheel and see where I’m going.” Mama laughed because what Zippy really wanted was to hold the steering wheel. Mama let him hang on to the steering wheel for a while, but she was in charge of the car, and Zippy, the whole time. He ‘drove’ for about ten minutes before getting distracted and hopping on the dash to read a roadside sign. I was glad my mama had the foresight to maintain control over our car when he did that. Zippy doesn’t seem to understand that you can just abandon the steering wheel while rolling down the highway at 60 mph. But to hear Zippy talk about it, you’d think he drove us all the way home!


A little later, we were singing along with the radio when Mama said, “Look, those animals look like the pronghorn antelope we saw on Zippy’s favorite nature show. The one about the migrating animals.” She was right, there were a lot of them in a fenced pasture. “Keep your eyes peeled, guys. Maybe there are some zebras mixed in with the antelope. You never know.”

A few seconds later we saw a zebra in the next big pasture! A real one! And then another, and another. It was a whole herd of 30 or more wildly striped zebras grazing on the spring grass. It was amazing!

“ZEBRAAAAASSSSS!!!!!” Zippy bellowed. He was overjoyed. “We found them! We found zebras in Texas and I migrated all this way to see them.” Zippy bounced back and forth along the dashboard, cheering.

Mama pulled over so we could watch the zebras for a few minutes. We stayed in the car because we were still close to the busy highway, and it was dangerous to get out. The zebras were far away from us across the pasture and the ranch was private property, so we couldn’t go in there. Besides, it’s dangerous to walk up to an animal you don’t know in any circumstances, especially a big animal like a zebra. Even though they were far away, we could tell they were much bigger than Zippy. Maybe 10 or 20 times bigger than Zippy! Even though we couldn’t get close, it was still very special to see real, live zebras in Texas.


We rolled down the car window and gazed at the peaceful herd. Things were anything but peaceful in our car. Zippy poked his head out the window and brayed at the herd as loudly as he could. If you’ve never heard a zebra bray it’s a funny ‘whoop-whoop’ sound. He was so loud that I was surprised he didn’t rupture a lung. I told him he was going to shout himself hoarse. “Zebras and horses are different,” he said. I think he misunderstood me. We took some pictures of the zebras and then waved goodbye. It was time to go home.

“I can’t wait to tell everyone at our house that I migrated so far and I saw other zebras.
It was amazeballs!” Zippy exclaimed as he climbed back into his seat. I could tell that he would be retelling this story for a long time. I guess that means that have to admit I was wrong about Zebras in Texas. There really are more of them out there. Quite a bit more! I wonder if they’re anything like Zippy?