Fun Maps USA was created out of necessity in the spring of 1980. My children’s’ television show, Captain SeaTac, had just been cancelled and I had to scramble to reinvent myself. I knew that I could draw, write, and sell… and I loved to travel. So I decided to become a cartoon cartographer. That was about 60 maps ago.
I started by creating a cartoon map of my own neighborhood, South Hill, Puyallup, here in Washington State. Then I began to expand into ever distant areas. I have traveled as far as the California border on the Oregon Coast, creating two cartoon maps of the Oregon Coast.
As a result of the publicity generated through the Internet, I am now creating cartoon maps for cities, towns and counties all across America. If you would like a cartoon map of your area, please contact me, and maybe YOUR town can be next!
My Faithful Companion: The Vitara Story
I will never be able to fully explain how Vitara entered my life. Neither could she. Vitara is my faithful and true blue, actually deep red traveling companion. Vitara comes from a very well known Japanese immigrant family named Suzuki.
She never complains, coughs or sputters. She’s always there for me. She gets me safely out to Mapland and back home every time, without fail.
Let me back up a bit. She DOES have one annoying trait. She demands to be fed regularly. She won’t budge on that issue. And she’s fussy about her diet. Don’t even mention solid food to her. She insists on a LIQUID diet. If she doesn’t get her liquid diet, she throws a tantrum. On more than one occasion, she has brought me to a sputtering halt, sometimes in the most inopportune places. One time it was on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but that’s another story.
Our dietary preferences couldn’t be more diametrically opposed. Fortunately, however, we both find things we that we like to eat at AM PM Mini Mart. I like Grandma’s Chocolate Fudge Cookies. She prefers to just sit outside and guzzle from the gas pump. Fortunately, her tastes aren’t that refined…regular suits her just fine. At least she doesn’t insist on the high octane stuff.
Now, about how Vitara entered my life. One summer Sunday I was driving through downtown Puyallup, Washington, on my way home from church. I was minding my own business, passing by a downtown car dealership, when I heard someone on the car lot blare their horn at me. Thinking it might be a friend purchasing a car, I backed up and parked by the curb.
Again, a car horn honked twice. I gazed intently through the rows of shiny new cars, but I saw no one. Deciding it was time to get to the bottom of this strange situation, I exited my car and strolled in the direction of the honk. It sounded again, this time twice. As I passed by a deep red Vitara, it suddenly began making a huge noisy commotion, like a car alarm going off…sirens, woop-woops, blat-blats, the whole bit.
Befuddled, I dashed in the direction of the showroom. To my surprise, the salesman informed me that there was no car alarm in the deep red Vitara, just a standard, factory-installed horn. Hmmm. I told him that I would “just look” a bit more, then I made a bee-line for that deep red Vitara, my curiosity now more than aroused.
Long story short, we really hit it off. We seemed to be a match made in Heaven. I bought her on the spot…I didn’t even dicker on the price. All this, and I had no intention of buying a car that day. Heck, I’ve already got a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud in the garage. What do I want with a squatty little Vitara?
She hooked me with her best line…she promised to take me anywhere, anytime, with no questions asked. To the desert, to the sea, even to the highest mountaintop. A mountaintop? That sounded good. I love mountaintops. I was born and raised in Washington’s Olympic Mountains.
The papers signed, Vitara and I headed for the hills, the Olympic Mountains, to be exact. “Where’s she taking me?” I wondered, as she pulled a sharp left turn off the Hurricane Ridge parking lot, and headed down the Obstruction Point Road in a cloud of dust. This is one of America’s most precarious white knuckle mountain drives. Ask anyone who’s driven it.
“Maybe I bought myself some trouble,” I mumbled to myself, as we slid around a sharp curve, a 2000 vertical foot drop mere inches from the wheels.
The next thing I remember was opening my eyes to find myself safely in Vitara’s comfortable cockpit, perched atop a massive boulder on the summit of Lillian Ridge. The majestic Olympic Mountains loomed 180 degrees around us.
Vitara had kept her promise.
She insisted that I record the event, so I snapped the above picture with my cartoon camera. We celebrated our first day together that night by going to a drive in movie. Vitara wanted to see “Cars”.