In the early 1960s, author John Steinbeck published the book "Travels With Charley."

It was a travelogue about his trip in a motor home, accompanied by his dog Charley. The book's subtitle was "In search of America." More than 50 years later, our two-day trip last week to Morro Bay with granddog Maggie had a much simpler search: Cooler weather.

I mean, just because we are dog sitting for three weeks doesn't mean we have to stay in Selma, right?

The big question I asked myself while pondering an overnight outing to a place where the weather was foggy and in the 60s was: Could we do that with Maggie?

Now that we are back, my answer to that query is twofold: 1) A trip with a dog is more difficult than a trip without a dog. 2) But it is easier than I thought it would be.

From dog-friendly hotels to animal-welcome coffee shops and restaurants to off-leash beaches, we found that a doggie vacation not only works, it has its own rewards. 

We all love our pets. Most of us take good care of our pets because they are a valued member of our families. We make sure they have ample water and food. We walk them. We take them to places where they can run. We make sure they have comfortable areas to hang out, be it inside, outside or both. We inoculate them, ID tag them and even put GPS around their necks.

Some pet-lovers consider Fido and Fluffy to be equal to children. At a party a few years ago, I overheard a discussion between two 40-something mothers. One said she was so nervous before the birth of her first child because, "I wasn't sure I could love a child as much as I loved my dog." The other woman nodded as if she understood.

Our daughter rescued Maggie from a shelter. Then the family got larger, and Maggie does her best as a big sister, even when her 2-year-old brother tries to ride her. Maggie doesn't buck him off. Rather, she slowly lowers her head and the Little Dude slides off. Then Maggie walks away.

Maggie mostly keeps her cool, with a few exceptions: She barks like crazy at the mailman every day, and her head explodes when she sees a squirrel. Oh, and she loves to romp with her four-footed friends. 

Last week, Maggie's cool took a backseat to ecstasy whens he got her first taste of the Pacific Ocean. 

Romping through the soft waves was a treat Maggie had never experienced until last week, and she made the most of it. Another pet owner was throwing a tennis ball into the surf and her dog would would run and fetch it. Maggie joined in, spending the next 20 minutes running in and out of the surf with her newfound friend.

It has long been noted that travel broaden's ones horizons. Could that be true for animals, too? Does Maggie now want to be a beach dog?

I'll ask her as soon as she wakes up.

The play's the thing

The theater axiom "the show must go on" took an extra meaning for Selma's Dominic Grijalva last weekend.

 The college student, graphic designer, actor and theater director became a theft victim when his backpack was stolen out of his car early June 23. Inside was his laptop computer and a USB drive which contained visual images he had created for "35MM," the stage play he is directing at the Selma Art Center.

Grijalva was able to use the original visual images that came with the show, and he said his cast "really delivered" last Friday night.

"It was a bit of a triumphant night on Friday, one of the best shows of the run," Grijalva said. "We went in apprehensive, but the show is so strong without the visual elements and the cast really delivered."

This week he is working to replace the visual images that were stolen.

"35MM," a musical in which cast members sing and dance in interpretation of photographic images, continues this week at the Selma Arts Center with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee.

Ken Robison, a longtime Selma resident, is a retired newspaper reporter, editor, columnist and photographer. Selma Stories runs most Wednesdays in the Enterprise Recorder. He can be reached at