Into the Unknown

I am dictating this into my iPad because I have a puppy in my lap which makes it impossible for me to type. Bill is at the wheel. Bella has the backseat all to herself. We are east of Bakersfield and headed to Sedona.

We have been making these treks back and forth between Arizona and Washington for 30 years now. Often we have done so with dogs along for the ride–Nikki and Tess, Boney, Aggie and Daph, and now with Bella and Jojo. Nikki and Tess were golden retrievers. Boney was what our vet called a canardly–as in, “You can hardly tell what kind of a dog he is, but I think he’s probably half Irish wolfhound and half German shepherd.” In other words, he was a big dog.

Boney’s first elevator ride was in a multi-story Holiday Inn in Sacramento. When the elevator went up, he went nuts – – an experience never to be forgotten, especially by the five tiny Japanese tourists who were in the elevator with us.

Early on we learned the wisdom of having hotel reservations in advance. It was while we were traveling without reservations that we ended up at a benighted motel off the beaten track in Redding where the wiring was so bad that our mattress actually caught on fire when we turned on the bedside lamp.

The trip from our house in Bellevue to our house in Tucson is a minimum of 26 hours of driving in a moving vehicle. We usually break that up into a three-day, two-night ordeal. Day one is from home to Ashland or in this case, Medford, where we stayed at the Inn at the Commons. They are so dog friendly that they have a table set up in the lobby, so that you can eat a wonderful meal from Larks restaurant without having to leave your dogs locked up in the room.

Because of the uncertainties of winter driving in Southern Oregon and Northern California, we had made a reservation at a hotel in Sacramento for the second night. At least I thought I had made a reservation, doing so on the new app that my soon-to-be-former favorite hotel chain had helpfully provided.

I should have realized something was wrong when they didn’t send me a confirmation. So that morning as we were driving, I called to check. It turns out they had no reservation for us, and the hotel was totally booked. So was every other hotel in Sacramento and in Stockton as well.

We didn’t go any farther than Redding that day because there was no place to stay. In the process, we learned that the hotel we usually stay in in Bakersfield no longer accepts pets. They stopped doing that at the end of December. We eventually found alternate accommodations in Bakersfield, but it turns out the dog friendly hotel was … well … if you’ll pardon the expression, … a dog.

In other words, this has been a very stressful trip. And if we have to choose between having our puppies with us and having a home in Arizona, I guess you know which way that wind would blow.

Tonight we will be with friends in Sedona. After the past three days, we need to be with friends.

Over and out.

15 thoughts on “Into the Unknown

  1. In May, a friend and I will be traveling with five Scottish Terriers to Door County Wisconsin, for the annual Door County Scottish Terrier Rally. While we are very excited, three days on the road each way and three days at the Rally will be tough on all. I am tasked with finding dog friendly hotels en route, and am not sure how to attack this. LaQuinta is generally dog friendly, but quality and location varies considerably. I may have to resort to a Travel Agent, if they still exist.

  2. Sounds like it’s been a tough journey. Glad you are nearly to your home base and friends. Wanted to share with you that you gave me an experience I haven’t had in a while…an all-nighter. I began reading Cold Betrayal Sunday afternoon, and read all night…I finally fell asleep near dawn, and when I woke up later went right back to reading and finished the wonderful story around noon. And then I noticed the start to the other book…the book with Ali and Joanna meeting for the first time. I remember you writing about that, and am so enjoying reading it now. And I have to tell you, as engaging as your stories were before I began reading your blog, I now find then even more interesting. Having a sense of the author really adds to the story for me…maybe because I’m a writer. For whatever reason, I so enjoy each book. Thank you for bringing your characters and stories to life.

  3. A Marriott in San Antonio had, until he died, a yellow lab they took off the streets. He became on unofficial greeter. Guests could have him in their room over night if they wished.

  4. When I moved from Oregon to Texas in 2002, I had a cat and a Labrador retriever with me. I had planned on camping along the way, but the temperatures skyrocketed over 100 on the entire route. Every day I started looking for hotel rooms when I hit the first rest stop and picked up one of those magazines that highlight hotels, etc. Most of them say whether they are pet friendly. I would find one approx. where I had planned to stop, and make the reservation early in the day. La Quintas are usually very accommodating.

  5. We always stay at the Country Inn and Suites in Barstow when we travel from Flag to N. California with our dog. Lovely rooms, friendly service, and there’s a Chili’s just across the driveway.

  6. Red Roof Inns are pet friendly as are many of the Motel 6’s. Some of the so-called pet friendly motels are “friendly” for a $50 per pet deposit. (Eeeek!) We found 2 places along I 40 in New Mexico that I heartily recommend as pet friendly. In Moriarty, NM, it’s the Sunset Motel, and in Tucumcari, it’s the Historic Route 66 Motel. Both are pet friendly. The owners of each motel are nice. The motels are definitely vintage in style, but very nice and clean.

  7. I almost spit out my coffee laughing. Sorry you had difficulties but not sorry you have such a great sense of humor. Thanks. Tana

  8. We traveled to Texas to visit our son via Reno and the Hotel’s there wouldn’t take a dog, but we were told that a kennel was available to leave her in while we were in the room, nope, nada, not on my watch. Only time she spent away from us was when she had surgery.
    Well our darling little Dachshund was wonderful when we went to stay at the hotel way off the strip in Reno, they had an elevator and I talked to her and told her that she had to get on to go up to our room and off again when we reached our floor, as I had my hands full. You would have been as proud of her as I was, like a trooper she got on the elevator and then got off at our floor and then when we reached the room she went straight in did her potty thing on puppy pad, ate and then climbed up on the pillows and was out for the night.
    The next morning we had to repeat what happened with the elevator to leave and when the people in the lobby saw her they fell in love as she stepped off the elevator without being carried.

  9. I feel your pain!? This was exactly why we bought a small motor home in which to travel! This came about after being subjected to some pretty lousy places that would accept pets! We then had our own bed and our little dog was happy! ?

  10. I think JoAnn has a good idea with the motor home. Or rent a private jet and fly back and forth like Ali Reynolds? Sorry, you’re having such a bad trip. Hope it improves and enjoy your time in Arizona

  11. I loved our motor home when we had one. like a play house, but you still have to have reservations for places to park it over night, unless you want a safeway parking lot. which is fine since it is not a destination, just a stop along the way.

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