We survived our 10 day vacation- 5 on the road, 5 at the lake. I’m not sure the proportion of driving to vacation is one I’d consider optimal, but all things said and done I’m really glad we got the chance to make the trip. For all intents and purposes, we covered the entire expanse of the I-5 from Mexico to Canada: 1400 miles and change each way.
The dogs look so excited and happy at the start of the trip. To be fair, they always look this way.
The first day, we headed west out of the Grapevine to Santa Cruz. Tired and verging on crabby, we rolled into the Hilton Santa Cruz for the evening. It was the nicest place we stayed at on the trip, which was nice for me but also a bit intimidating. Let’s just say the facelifted lady wandering the halls in her posh red silk pajamas looked less than thrilled when the elevator doors opened and she had to squeeze by me and the dogs in order to swish off to the sauna. She should be happy! Brody’s much better about not jumping on new people these days and she made it by with nary a nudge.
After moving to Santa Cruz, these friends founded Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, a certified organic brewery that fits right into the Santa Cruz scene. Brody and Koa explored the tasting room but sadly didn’t get to try any of the official wares.
Since we had a full day of driving ahead of us, we didn’t either, though we did pile in a growler of pale ale for the cabin (and it was really good!)
After heading out of Santa Cruz, we made a lunch stop at the, ahem, “World Famous Nut Tree Rest Stop”. I drove by that thing a thousand times when I was in school and never knew it was there. Granted, I didn’t have two kids and dogs piled in the car with me at the time, either.
Of course, the kids wanted to partake of the carousel and the train, so the dogs and I had to wait sadly outside- no dogs in the park area. As we sat there on the grass, someone came up to see the dogs and, totally ignoring Brody, exclaimed over Koa and wanted to know where I got her.
“From a rescue,” I replied.
“What’s that?” she said, so I told her. She explained how her black labrador had passed last year, and she was thinking of getting a new one, but she didn’t really know there were options other than buying or hoping the shelter would have one. As we talked, Koa gave her young child piles of kisses, hopefully sealing the deal for this family when they’re ready for another pet. Go Koa!
Since we were so close to my old stomping grounds, I couldn’t resist doing a drive by of my old house in Davis (probably scaring the current resident), but we didn’t have time to see what I really wanted to see, which was the new and updated vet school. It’s probably for the best. I would likely have been mildly bitter.
We spent that evening in a nondescript Quality Inn just over the Oregon border. No ribbon-tied bag of dog bones awaited us this time, but oddly enough the potty options were better there than at the Hilton.
I learned a while back that Koa won’t go to the bathroom on anything except grass, which made it a bit of a challenge on this trip where several hotels and most rest stops along the way specified a crummy dirt patch for dog toiletage. I walked Koa on the grass and pretended to be oblivious, which I do pretty well anyway.
The drive through Oregon and Washington was a blur, though I have fleeting impressions of the rest stops on the way. The ones in the mountains (like the one to the left) were very pretty. The Oregon stops looked like the waypoint for hitchhikers headed to Kauai- people in dreadlocks doing yoga next to the bathrooms on the lawn. The ones in Washington were staffed by church volunteers handing out coffee and cookies.
By the end of day three, we couldn’t wait to get to the cabin on the lake. All things considered, it was a pretty uneventful drive, thank goodness!
I am really glad we had the seat belts for the dogs. It was much easier to open the back not having to worry about them jumping out and into the path of an oncoming semi at any point. I ended up getting the Champion K9 seat belt system, which was recommended by several of you. It was definitely secure and sturdy, and the dogs seemed comfortable in it.
The bull clamp that secures the restraint strap to the larger size harnesses, however, was a huge pain in the rear. I felt like I needed three hands to do it. I probably wouldn’t have noticed as much if I was just dealing with once or twice, but after stop after stop and two harnesses to deal with each time, I was getting really frustrated. It was such a pain that I eventually reversed the strap and attached the clamp to the cargo holder, and used the carabiner to attach the harness.