Okay, why is Doc facing away from Mark and Cherry?

Ah, family road trips:  Are they not the invention of a sadistic, satanic entity that might show up in one of Rusty’s stories? I grew up in Virginia and one day back in 1965, as I was just starting high school, Dad came home and said that the government was sending him to California for some technical training that would last at least 3 months. And it started in two weeks. So Mom and Dad took us six kids, a dog, and a few suitcases, stuffed everything in the family Ford wagon (no AC!), and drove all the way to Los Angeles in 4 days. And only Dad knew how to drive! It must have been hell for him.  But we made it. Heck, I almost got ulcers driving three of our boys from Minnesota to Virginia!

I recall that we hit a dog one night on an unlit road some place in Texas. Just over the California state line we passed by state cops investigating a dead body on the side of the road.  One time I got to sit on my Dad’s lap so I could “steer” down the highway. Nobody had seat belts then. Mom was not happy.

As for panel 1, maybe Doc has a focus problem. Or maybe he’s warning us readers to be careful.