Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Incredible Journey: Travel with Dog and Toddlers

We've made it!  We've successfully packed up everything we owned (except one cruddy skillet that I left for our boarder so he won't starve), packed it onto a truck (whoops, the couch didn't fit!  The boarder got to keep that too!), and moved it into our new house in Oregon.

It's been quite a whirlwind of travelling, unpacking, and figuring out, and blogging has seemed to be less important to me than, say, finding the silverware.  So I think I'll need to ease back into this whole business one day at a time.

I am SO excited about so many things in our new state, and I have a ton of enthusiastic thoughts swirling through my brain, but first things first.

Phase 1 of our journey out here (after packing up the house), was driving about 26 hours with a 3 year old, a 1 1/2 year old, and a 180 lb St. Bernard (oh, and my mom, without whom we would not have survived).  We had a very cozy minivan.  Here are a few things I learned along the way:

  1. Two very short ladies walking a massive dog at gas stations, rest areas, etc. attract a lot of attention.  This is a great way to meet strangers.  We enjoyed various comments ranging from "Oh, I was practically raised by a St. Bernard" to "I'm sure he's nice, but I saw Kudjo a long time ago, and I just can't look at him without getting creeped out" to "Aren't you afraid he's going to take off and drag you by that leash?"  "No, I actually feel much safer having him here with me...because you are kind of creepy-looking and asking WAAAY too many questions about our trip."
  2. Taking a dog with you cross-country (this was Samson's first big trip) along with toddlers, adds a whole new element of planning and chaos.  Fortunately, they have very similar basic travel needs: plenty of rest-stop  runs and snuggles, extra fluids, and frequent excrement disposal.  "Do you see an outdoor trashcan anywhere?  I have a dirty diaper and a doggy poo bag here that I really don't want to take in the car..."
  3. It is waaay hard to find food at gas stations that could be considered even borderline "traditional" or nutritious.  But we had great success with hard-boiled eggs, cheese, bananas, oranges, and applesauce!
  4. After realizing just how long we had left to travel on Day 2 (and how many extra-long stops we'd needed to take on Day 1), I learned that sometimes it is worth it, just to get in a couple hundred more happy miles, to throw all nutrition out the window, hand Miss Euler a gas-station muffin, and start passing gummy worms to Einstein.  I felt bad.  I worried that they would become addicted to junk food and become obese, unhealthy children.  But it was SO worth it.  They have since forgotten all about it, and are back to their regular non-gummy-worm diets.
  5. Motel 6's (basically the only place in rural America that accepts horse-sized dogs), vary widely in cleanliness and creepiness.  
  6. I have become extremely spoiled by Colorado's smoking laws, and very used to Colorado's low obesity rates.  However, 
  7. Scout Finch was right: there's just one kind of folks.  Folks.  Wherever you go (at least in the 5 states we visited), people are proud of where they live and eager for you to share their opinion.  One gentleman in (a very dry, flat, and desolate part of ) Wyoming, hoped that we would enjoy "this here country," and was sympathetic that we "had to" move to Oregon.  He continued, "Lots of people there, but not very many good drivers."  We shall see.


  1. So glad you guys made it! Can't wait to hear all about it! :)

  2. Very fun post - you are a very good writer, Danielle! Loved your description of the dog walking, and so glad you loosened your ideals a bit and let things go a bit on the trip!

  3. Stacia, we are glad we made it too...I had my doubts at times. :)

    Dawn, thanks for the encouraging words! The gummy worms had magical comforting powers!


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