Driving in the fast flowing traffic - trucks, utes, semis, motorbikes, sedans, hatchbacks, 4 wheel drives packed to the limit with holiday gear - I slipped into the stream of a ute packed with plumbing gear, and a dark brown Pointer strapped on a short lead near the cabin. Neil Young was plaintively singing about Cinnamon Girl and Southern Man, and my wife beside me was cursing the compiler of today's Cryptic Crossword. The dog ahead became my entertaining focus as it stood up to look over the cabin, ears pushed back by the 125kph wind, stood up there for some minutes then stood down and faced over the side of the ute. His mouth opened and closed as the wind flipped his ears about his head, opened and closed vigorously, barking into the rushing wind a rebellious bark we couldn't hear in our small cocoon. I rejoiced in his routine, standing up into the wind, then telling the world his opinion of a day's journey like this. If we'd stuck our heads out the window, our ears would have been pinned back too. For comfort's sake, I could've done with a shake of the tail too but the bucket seat and seat belt kept me safely pinned behind the wheel, steering down the highway, in the slipstream of the plumber's ute and the spittle of a windblown Pointer.
"What'll we call him?" my wife asked when I drew her attention to him.
"Neal Cassady," I suggested. "A car thief with the uncanny knack of charming strangers."