Make your dogs experts in traveling
I consider my dogs experts in traveling. It started when my husband and I first adopted them and vowed not to give up our travels. They were immersed in day trips to the beach, to the mountains, or simply to relatives’ homes. But then we gave them their biggest test – their first cross-country road trip.
Over the last three years, I have made two cross-country trips with my dogs. The first I made in 2008, when we moved from the state of Washington to Maryland. We shipped our possessions and set out across 17 states to reach our destination. It took us five days – and we spent many, many hours cooped up in the car – but those two dogs of mine settled right in, like it was their destiny to see the world.
Our second cross-country road trip was in July, when we moved back to Washington.
I think the most difficult part of these trips was finding pet-friendly places to stay (wish I would have know about all the great dog-friendly establishments on i Love Dog Friendly!). It seemed as though the hotels that allowed dogs were either way too posh for my budget, or unseemly places where we didn’t feel 100-percent safe.
However, we did find one place along the way that met all of our criteria – clean, comfortable, safe and budget friendly: the Landmark Country Inn in Murdo, S.D. It was about a mile off the freeway and we never would have seen it if it had not been for a phone call from my mom. I was talking to her as we coasted into the town, and asked her to look up reviews for a chain hotel I was considering. When she told me the hotel had horrible reviews, I asked her if she could find any others that were better. She found the Landmark. With large comfortable beds, sparkling clean rooms with eccentric but fun decoration, and a budget-friendly price, it was seriously the best night’s sleep I had on the trip.
Another thing we struggled with on the trip was our inability to explore the roadside attractions with two dogs. We never came across a tourist trap that was pet-friendly. Although this was probably a benefit to our wallet, we were a little disappointed that we couldn’t stop at places like the Ham Museum or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The product that literally saved my days was the invisible fence. i could set it up in an instant and sleep safe that my dogs wont be lost or wander far away from me.
But the trip was definitely not devoid of fun, and having the dogs with us actually forced us to stop and walk around places we never would have visited otherwise. Every two or three hours we would make sure we stopped to give the dogs a chance to relieve themselves and stretch their legs. Not only did this also give us a chance to get some much-needed stretching in as well, but we saw some interesting things.
We walked around a huge rest area that boasted an enormous concrete teepee. We walked the sidewalks of Chicago after stopping to order pizza. We walked to a little coffee stand in Cody, Wyo., and received a dog treat from the barista. And we found Wall Drug.
Have you heard of Wall Drug? Anyone who has made a trip through South Dakota has heard of it, as for dozens of miles before and after the store, you encounter billboards and signs advertising their wares. Since it was time to walk the dogs, we stopped and made quite a discovery! Wall Drug is a tourist trap like no other, boasting a saddled jackalope, a 50-foot dinosaur, 3D Western art displays, and more random but entertaining finds. Although we couldn’t take the dogs inside, we were able to walk around the outskirts and see a lot. It was great.
I had never been much of a fan of road trips before we made our big move. And I was quite honestly a little terrified of traveling with two rambunctious dogs. But I realized that as long as we stopped often and remained content ourselves (dogs can sense our moods), they settled right in and were excellent travel partners.
Now I get excited to travel with the two pups. We can travel as a family, and that makes us happy. And inevitably, we get introduced to things we never would have expected, and it is always an adventure.