Woodrow Wilson Nickel is 105 years old in the year 2025. He lives in a nursing home and is writing about his life – going back to 1938 when he was a 17-year-old orphan. He was the only survivor in his family after a dust storm in the Texas panhandle. He moved to the east coast to find his cousin, but outlived him too. An Atlantic hurricane crashes a ship with two giraffes who have miraculously survived, though one of them is injured and fragile. Young Woody is fascinated by the creatures, and soon finds himself driving a custom truck with them and their cantankerous caretaker across the country to the San Diego Zoo. They are being followed by Red, a secretive young woman who is an aspiring photographer. This coming of age tale involves suspense, adventure and romance as Woody travels west and the giraffes garner much attention. West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge is loosely based on the history of the famous zoo’s first two giraffes.