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Old 12-14-2009, 11:20 AM   #21
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Can anyone think of something else that would be smart to take along?
It looks like you've got the bases covered. When traveling alone sometimes it's more of a challenge to stay alert, so you might want to bring a thermos for some coffee or tea. I do that sometimes--the coffee helps keep you awake for the first hour, and the distended bladder keeps you alert for another hour.

With satellite radio (is her subscription current?) you should find plenty to listen to on the trip. If you're worried, treat yourself to a CD or two you can pop in. Similarly, in the hotel room at night you might want a magazine or book to read if you're not a TV person. Most hotels have wireless internet, so you'll have the net if you've got a laptop.

Good thinking about bringing something with your mom's scent for the pooch. Don't fret if he fails to eat at first--dogs sometimes go through grieving in their own way, too.

Have a safe trip, and enjoy the solitude and the chance to reflect. Best wishes.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:46 AM   #22
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So sorry for loss of your mom.

A couple large bags of sand or kitty litter, and a small shovel if you can find it, in case the car slips on ice.
God bless you for taking care of her dog - a just reward for a loving companion.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:08 PM   #23
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I'm sorry to hear about your mother and so glad to hear you are taking her dog home with you. Bless you and drive carefully.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:17 PM   #24
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Helen,
If you have satellite radio in the car, you can tune in to channel XM247 for constantly updated serious weather information from OnStar about the area you're traveling through. (XM247 is the emergency channel...it works even if the OnStar subscription has lapsed.)

Also, if the subscription is in effect, when you press the blue OnStar button, you can ask the advisor for local hotel accommodations that accept pets, along with any other kinds of information you might need to make your trip comfortable.

(And after once flying a dog from Colorado to Michigan, I think the drive will be much less stressful on your Mom's pooch.)
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:18 PM   #25
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Helen,

Just a couple of thoughts:

(1) If you are on the fence at all about driving vs. flying, both American Airlines and Southwest (now) will allow small dogs in the passenger cabin with you for a nominal charge. Honestly, this time of year, that is what I would recommend.

(2) If you do decide to drive, I definitely recommend the southern route. I believe all of the Drury Hotels (www.druryhotels.com, a mid-western hotel chain) welcome small dogs. These might be a bit expensive for every night stay on your trip; but, they are business class and might be a nice break occassionally.

I am very sorry for you loss.

Safe travels.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:40 PM   #26
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(1) If you are on the fence at all about driving vs. flying, both American Airlines and Southwest (now) will allow small dogs in the passenger cabin with you for a nominal charge.
This would be a good answer, but it only works for very small dogs. The dog has to be able to stand up and turn around in its carrier, and that carrier has to be able to fit under the seat (IIRC, the seat height varies between 9-11 inches depending on acft). That's just too small for an adult Cocker Spaniel.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:11 AM   #27
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If you drive, I believe all Motel 6's allow a dog in the room.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:26 AM   #28
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Wow, thank you all again for your replies. I am incorporating everything (don't have the cat litter yet though). In addition I am taking five gallons of water from our tap. When I get to Oregon I will start mixing it with the well water we use to switch her over. I also got her a new dog tag with my cell phone number.

The vet was supportive of this journey. She checked Sandy out and noted that she seemed very spunky. I got refills of her eye drops and vitamins and copies of her medical history including lab results.

I will take it slow. I have plenty of time and if I have to wait it out in bad weather then that's OK. I have $25k total of credit on my ccs, an ATM card and lots of cash.

Also, Mom's been paying almost $30 per month for Onstar and never used it, so I'll let them earn their money as much as I can.

Here is the route I am now thinking: Michigan to St. Louis, 70 to Denver, 25 to Cheyenne, 80 to Sacramento and I-5 to Portland. I think 84 is pretty dangerous this time of year, so it's probably worth the extra travel to take I-5 all the way up.

Thanks again to all of you. I have a laptop so hopefully I can post from the road.

-helen
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:55 AM   #29
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Sounds like a pretty reasonable choice on the route. Glad to hear you will skip north from Denver rather than go straight through the heart of the Rockies. This time of year they have some pretty nasty storms, avalanches, etc. That you are wise to avoid.

The only other thing I can think of for your trip is to have blankets, a dog bed, or something else cushy for the pup to get comfy on. Depending on the shape of the seat, the dog may have a tough time getting comfy on a long trip. My elderly dogs do fine just plopping on the minivan seats, but have a tough time in the back seat of my subaru. A thick blanket or two makes a big difference.

Safe trip.
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Old 12-15-2009, 05:06 PM   #30
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Sorry for your loss, and I second RiT's sentiments about this trip being cathartic. Having your Mom's dog to share it with you will only make it better. Take your time, enjoy the scenic vistas across the US; you only get to do this once.

80 west of Cheyenne will probably be the most risky part of the trip, until you get over the Rockies. I agree that 70 to Denver is probably a better choice than 80 thru Omaha- a couple of hundred miles of latitude really helps reduce winter storm risk and severity.

Look forward to reading your trip blog here on FIRE- happy trails to you and the pooch!
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:16 PM   #31
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I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have planned well for your trip. I hope that you have a safe trip. Enjoy your many memories of a great mother.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:15 PM   #32
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So far so good. I left mid Michigan around noon and am somewhere between Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis.

The dog is doing very well. She's riding like a queen in her bed in the back seat. She likes to look out the window, but she's been sleeping a lot too. She does not seem stressed at all.

It looks like the weather is going to be pretty good for the near future.

I found a Comfort Inn and they only charged $5 for the dog.

The car is a nice ride, it is a Cadillac CTS with butt warmers, the sirrus radio is nice too. Plus, the car phone is a kick. Best of all it reminds me of my Mom who would be "worried sick" if she knew I was doing this.

-helen
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:18 PM   #33
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Hey...good to hear from you Helen. Now just don't be typin' while you're drivin' down the highway...

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Old 12-16-2009, 07:19 PM   #34
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Helen, thanks for the trip report. Nice to hear things are going well for you and the dog. Please keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:00 PM   #35
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So sorry for your loss. Reading about your plans for a long drive home with the dog sounds like a nice way to process what you've been though and prepare for what's up ahead.

Good luck on the rest of the trip. I'm so glad the dog is handling it well.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:07 PM   #36
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Was wondering about your trip, glad to hear you are on the road, we'll be looking forward to hearing how the trip progresses. Safe travels!
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:14 PM   #37
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I'm glad to hear your first day went well. I'm looking forward to more reports. Be safe.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:13 AM   #38
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You guys are great, thank you so much.

I slept pretty well last night. Sandy is still asleep - half in her bed and half out. I'm going to walk her, pack the car, then shower and check out.

I think this will be another good day today.

Thanks for caring.

Sincerly,

-helen
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:02 AM   #39
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Good luck and take pictures!
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:13 AM   #40
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Good to know Comfort Inn charges only $5 for dog. Now that's a good deal!

Take care...drive carefully....be safe! Sounds like you have a good passenger, too, in doggie!
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