Journey West

Jeff and I had planned a 4 day drive from Chicago to San Luis Obispo, CA. Traveling with a dog, we figured we would do well to drive 8 – 10 hours a day. Neither of us had ever traveled such a distance with an animal, so finding and staying in pet friendly hotels was a new experience. Our stops were not only dictated by length of time we wanted to be driving but also by the availability of a ‘doggy hotel’.

Our first stop was Lincoln Nebraska. This hotel was not only pet friendly but seemed to be very children friendly. With the amount of laughters, screams and fighting going on in the lobby by what seemed to be an army of young children all my fears of Ellie barking or making any sounds in the room were eliminated.

Our second night allowed us the chance to be in the Denver area and spend the evening with Austyn and Brian. They were loading up the Jeep in preparation for their own excursion to Alaska. A few visits to local breweries that had outdoor seating to accommodate Ellie and we all very happy.

Our third night took us to St George, Utah. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon with temperatures over 100 degrees. We actually had to figure out how to get the dog from the car to the building without burning her paws.

Ellie was intended to be Austyn’s dog. After our family dog of 14 years passed we quickly replaced Fergie with Ellie. When Ellie was less than a year old she became very ill. After tests it was decided that the corn starch based bones we had been giving her had basically glued themselves together and created a large ball in her stomach. Surgery would be the only option. On the day of decision, Jeff was on his own to make the call. I had prepared Austyn for the possible outcome and had anticipated that Jeff would have her put down. To our surprise he did not. Surgery and weeks to recover, she has been with us for 5 years. When we are all sick of her, she becomes Jeff’s dog because he saved her life. Why she isn’t Austyn’s dog? Well, Brian happens to be allergic to her. I personally think it’s psychosomatic.

The trip was beautiful and if I had done my homework we would have actually built in time to take in some sights. As it was we saw beauty every day. We will make the trip from Denver to California again some day…without a dog.


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