Old Paint in front of barnIf you listen to enough cowboy music, you know the best love songs are written, not by a cowboy for his girl, but by a cowboy to his horse. (Or donkey, in cases such as Willie Nelson’s in Buttermilk Sky which includes the immortal line: My little donkey and me/we’re happy as a Christmas tree.) There’s no sadder cowboy song than the ones where a cowboy has to say goodbye to his faithful horse. But even the most steadfast and loyal equine companion needs, at some point, to be retired for a younger, faster mount. That time has come at Two Terrier Vineyards where Old Paint needs to make way for a mount more equipped to handle livestock duties. Hey, and just because Old Paint is a Prius and is only used in a round up of two terriers doesn’t mean I can’t wallow in a little Cowboy Pathos. And as cowboys are partial to a particular kind of horse — whether buckskin, Pinto or Quarter Horse — I went for another Prius.

Meet Old Roany. She’s firey and snuffy and rarin’ to go.

In Old Paint, the terrier crates had to be crammed into the tiny back seat — a fit so tight that most of the airholes were covered up. I’d arrive in Sonoma and release two gasping, oxygen-starved terriers. It’s no wonder Oscar has started running away every time he sees me loading crates into the car.

No more a problem now we’re riding Old Roany.

Lucy, our terrier spokesmodel, demonstrates how the new hatchback design is much better suited to terrier round-ups.

No more navigating by the stars with Roany’s super James Bondian electronics, Bluetooth and GPS. And the stereo synches up and plays cowboy music from my iPod.

We’re ready to hit the long dusty trail. ROADTRIP?!

And what about Old Paint? He’s served us long and well even though he was only really equipped to be a City runabout, not a working ranch mount. With surprisingly few miles on him and an excellent pedigree as one of the few Prius models never tainted by recall, we’re sure we can find Old Paint a good home. Paint deserves it. I can’t say Paint’s “been from Tucson to Tucumcari/Tehachapi to Tonopah“, but he’s taken us to half those places. And in the words of the old Lowell George song (made famous by Linda Ronstadt), he’s still willin’.

Here’s Old Paint just inside of Buttonwillow, gateway to California cotton country, on a pilgrimage to Bakersfield to worship at the shrine of Buck Owens.

Yes, Old Paint’s served me well. And I won’t be subjecting Roany to the indignities Paint quietly endured — such as hauling bags of composted manure and stacks of firewood. But Roany’s smooth ride and hatchback will provide perfect wine transport — as soon as we’re bonded and licensed to sell, that is. (Note to self: get on that!) And Paint, I hope, will end his days as a gentle mount for a City lady. Any takers?

I’ll let Andy Parker and the Plainsmen sing Old Paint out: