Exploring & Moving Across The Country With Dogs
It has been almost three months since our little family traveled from Ohio to Washington. Time has flown by since we first drove into Seattle and immersed ourselves into downtown city life. It’s been a crazy ride… sometimes insanely stressful. But, the move actually went so well for us, and my little nomad pups can now add cross country move to their list of achievements! :)
As much as we wanted to visit so many areas of the country on our drive out, our top priority was making sure our most precious cargo was as comfortable and happy as possible. We acquired some anti-nausea medication from our awesome veterinarian (miss her so much!) which I think helped tremendously. The medication was a slight sedative and made them so much calmer. The Doodle usually hates riding in the car and almost always gets carsick, especially in the backseat. The Muppet practically hyperventilates from either excitement, anxiety, or a combination of both and has occasionally gotten sick in the car. During the 40 hour drive, we only had one incident of carsickness. I consider that a success!
Our other concern involved their safety. I looked into all kinds of harnesses and safety belts/vests. I settled on just their regular walking harnesses and seat belt tethers. This is by no means the safest way for a dog to travel, but I was also looking into comfort and the least amount of stress for them because this was going to be the longest car ride of their lives. (In my research, I came across Clickit which although a bit pricey is highly rated and actually tested for safety.)
After packing every nook and cranny of our car with the last of our belongings, we saved the backseat for the pups. I laid out blankets and quilts across the backseat and the dog bed for our Chihuahua princess. I stacked pillows flush against the back of the driver and front passenger seats and on top of the items that were in the back floorboard. It was seriously the safest and coziest mobile den I could make, and they actually seemed pretty content.
I then said a few silent prayers for our safety, and we drove as carefully as possible.
So, where did we go on our road trip with the dogs?
Well unfortunately, Yellowstone was out. Besides being a bit out of the way and adding a considerable amount to our travel time, it’s not exactly dog friendly. All the cool parts like Old Faithful, a pit of boiling water shooting up in the air, are obviously restricted to pup exploration. And then, ya know, there are bears and wolves who would probably love an easy snack of a couple domesticated pups.
The first two days on the road were spent powering through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and most of South Dakota. On the second day, we managed to squeeze in a sunset drive through Badlands National Park. Perfect timing! It was so gorgeous.
We mostly just drove straight on through and only ventured out of the car at a couple spots. At one location, we left the pups in the car for a few minutes so we could get a better look at the vastness. Thankfully, it wasn’t hot out and we weren’t venturing out of sight from our vehicle. (And another dog standing near our car provoked them into making their presence known…)
At the other location, we took the pups along for a short walk down a boardwalk. However, I don’t think it’s encouraged (or wise) to take your dog out with you even on the boardwalk areas as we saw several signs warning of rattlesnakes. Yikes! Nature, man… always being dangerous.
This was probably my favorite part of the road trip. It helped that it was a beautiful sunset and such a serene place even amongst other tourists.
The next day, we visited Bear Country USA, which is a drive-thru wildlife park with a gift shop and a baby animal viewing area at the end where you can walk around.
The husband and I took turns viewing the baby animals/staying with the pups because we couldn’t see our car in the parking lot from the baby animal section.
This big fella…
I had my window rolled down while I was snapping photos. Note: it’s in the rules to keep your windows up. I have a tendency to not follow rules, though. He slowly walked towards the car, and I screamed like a little girl as I put my camera down and drove us out of his path.
Our dogs whined and barked a little bit as we drove through the park, but for the most part, they were pretty well-behaved all things considering.
The next item on our sightseeing agenda was to see the presidents!
There are a couple pull-off areas along SD-244 as you travel around Mount Rushmore.
We felt like we got a pretty good view of it so we didn’t go into the park itself. 1. You have to pay to park. And 2. Dogs are not allowed outside the parking lot area. So, our view would have been the same basically except closer. We wouldn’t have been able to explore any further, so why pay?
We got lucky and had some gorgeous days on our road trip.
From Mount Rushmore, we took a scenic drive through South Dakota to see Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We also did not enter into the park here because there were a couple areas to pull over as well as a few gift shop areas right outside the entrance. It’s a very interesting geological formation that was cool to see. Dogs are also not allowed on the trails here.
Although the Grand Canyon is probably still the most awe-inspiring area of the country I’ve ever seen, this was still a pretty cool road trip.
All in all, our official sightseeing encompassed about eight hours of our trip as everything we wanted to see was clustered relatively close together.
Once we got closer and closer to Seattle, it began to feel so real… and unreal. Our pups seemed to do pretty okay on the road. Eating was not high on their list, but we managed to bribe them into eating a little here and there with some yummy toppings of treats or of whatever we were eating.
As for accommodations on the road, we just opted for decent low-end hotels that allowed dogs. I would have preferred B&Bs or Airbnb, but hotels seemed the easiest and least expensive route. We made reservations the week before we hit the road and made sure to note that we had two small pups with us. It was usually only another $10 or so per dog. I think we got out of paying for them at one hotel because they either forgot or didn’t see the notes, and of course, we didn’t remind them!
After a slightly hectic and very long day of getting the keys to our apartment and our furniture and stuff delivered, we then settled into our new home with an amazing view. All of us (pups included!) are enjoying exploring a new area of the country and adapting quite well to city life. ♥