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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So my brother and his family moved to the Denver area recently, which is FINALLY within driving distance (sort of) for me. I have always liked road trips...and my faithful lil' 17-year-old Honda Accord has never had any issues, and only has 120,000 miles on it.

Problem always has been...well, now I have Willow, and the Accord is not a very dog-friendly vehicle. I want to do this road trip but the biggest obstacle has been, logistically, how do I do this with Willow now? I have never been comfortable having her riding free in the backseat of the car, primarily for safety reasons. I have been so stressed about it that I very nearly bought a new car this week, which a) is stupid because my Honda works fine and b) is like, in all of history, the worst possible time to buy a new car because of the chip shortage and inflation and all that.

well LO AND BEHOLD, I went to re-try putting her Ruff Land kennel in the backseat of the car and IT FIT!!! I don't know why I thought it wouldn't fit-could swear I had tried to put it in there before and couldn't do it. Anyway, now I feel a little better about doing this road trip so I'm starting to plan it.

My main question is regarding the best way to do this with Willow. She is not used to being crated for long periods of time anymore (she roams free in the house and sleeps in her wire crate with the door open). The Ruff Land is intended for travel so yes, it's a bit too small for her to be able to stretch out completely in it, unlike her wire crate. I quoted below some pics from another post I made recently re: her crate.

My plan was going to be this: break up the 14-hour trip into two days: 8-hours the first day and 6-hours the next day. Make sure she gets good exercise just before we leave, then we leave and she rides in the crate in the backseat. Take a nice long break at the halfway point for her to run around, snack, etc. Then back in the crate for the rest of the trip.

Do you think all that sounds reasonable? Now to try to find an affordable pet-friendly place to stay in Rock Springs, WY....

Oh also my brother just got a mutt puppy (they think a lab/aussie mix) so there's that. And he has a 2-year-old and an 8-year-old. So Willow's probably going to spend a fair amount of time in their backyard, or in her crate in the guest room. She will NOT be unsupervised with those kiddos or the puppy. Somehow I feel like this won't be that much of a vacation for me, lol...but it'd be my first out-of-town trip with Willow. So any other advice anyone has on how to manage this would be much appreciated.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great to go on a road trip. Personally I would take 2 - 3 hour drive stretches and maybe take an overnight in a motel with her. Have a great time.
Oh whoops that's what I meant to say. 8 hours the first day with a break at halfway, stay the night in Rock Springs, WY, then do the remainder (6 hours) the next day. Oops!
 

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Side note - don’t forget that the raised price of used cars also means you’ll get more for your used car. You won’t really lose out!

My dog is young and pretty bad at road trips (only done 3 hours so far) - I will take him across Europe when he’s more accustomed.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Side note - don’t forget that the raised price of used cars also means you’ll get more for your used car. You won’t really lose out!
I wish. I got a quote for the trade-in value of my car and it was $1200--about the same as it was a couple years ago. It's low-mileage and single-owner, sure, but the clear-coat "went" a few years ago so it looks awful. Splotches in the paint all over it.

Carvana said it was "outside their sweet spot" for used cars, whatever that means. Probably because of the aesthetic condition. :-(
 

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I think your plan sounds great. I've taken several long road trips with my dog and I just try to get him out when we stop to give him the chance to sniff around and go to the bathroom. I make sure he gets a nice walk in the morning before we leave and give his food time to settle (he gets carsick). Then make sure to stop and get him out for a round of fetch in the evening before it gets dark.
 

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I wish. I got a quote for the trade-in value of my car and it was $1200--about the same as it was a couple years ago. It's low-mileage and single-owner, sure, but the clear-coat "went" a few years ago so it looks awful. Splotches in the paint all over it.

Carvana said it was "outside their sweet spot" for used cars, whatever that means. Probably because of the aesthetic condition. :-(
Maybe it’s different in the US but here typically dealers will offer you about half of what they’d expect to sell it for (can’t blame them - it’s business) but selling privately gives you full price, just takes a bit of work. Just sold my older BMW 3 series for £7k - dealers offered £3.8k! I did it in order to buy a Land Rover for my dog!
 

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Keep the car cooler than you feel comfortable for a dog in a crate. In my opinion, 3 hours is a good limit before a stretch/pee and keep going. A 14 hour drive will take more like 18 with gas stops, food/restroom stops, dogs stops etc
 

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Rosie 01/04/2021 GSDxHuskyxAkita
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I'm envious and have no suggestions. I really hope my girl gets over her car sickness/car fear because I do a lot of road trips and camping!

About that car, I've had a few old Hondas. IMO, you're not gonna get anything as good for cheap money. 120k is nothing. maybe change the head gasket and oil pan gasket, but those things are great. 2004 accord? Might be able to sell it on craigslist for 4k if you tried...

anyways, I hope you have fun and your dog does too!
 

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We drove across country with a dog (twice) and it's doable. We drove usually all day east-west. 8 hours is easy in most of the flat country. It takes longer getting across the Rockies, so last time we went north from Denver to Salt Lake to Wyoming, then across to Idaho on I 80 and picked up I 84 and it was a nicer ride (flatter). I would recommend that route. Not much you can do about the traffic between SLC and Denver but the rest is okay. We discovered dog that knew what BurgerKing meant loved the drive thru so we ate in the car for lunch. We ate Holiday Inn for breakfast because most of them let dogs in (you get the 'dog room' but it's okay) and dog absolutely loved hotels. He marched in like a little prince and waited his turn at the desk, took the elevators like a pro and the beds were just wonderful. Better behaved than at home. We did take out for dinners. You shouldn't have any problems, just remember to stop at the rest areas and stretch once in awhile. Don't worry about the car, just make sure the tires and brakes are okay and get the oil changed. Those little things help a lot. If it breaks, get it fixed, life is an adventure. We drove that old Blazer from Seattle to NY and it didn't break down until a mile from my parents house. Somehow I think they know. Safe travels, take lotsa pics!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We drove across country with a dog (twice) and it's doable. We drove usually all day east-west. 8 hours is easy in most of the flat country. It takes longer getting across the Rockies, so last time we went north from Denver to Salt Lake to Wyoming, then across to Idaho on I 80 and picked up I 84 and it was a nicer ride (flatter). I would recommend that route. Not much you can do about the traffic between SLC and Denver but the rest is okay. We discovered dog that knew what BurgerKing meant loved the drive thru so we ate in the car for lunch. We ate Holiday Inn for breakfast because most of them let dogs in (you get the 'dog room' but it's okay) and dog absolutely loved hotels. He marched in like a little prince and waited his turn at the desk, took the elevators like a pro and the beds were just wonderful. Better behaved than at home. We did take out for dinners. You shouldn't have any problems, just remember to stop at the rest areas and stretch once in awhile. Don't worry about the car, just make sure the tires and brakes are okay and get the oil changed. Those little things help a lot. If it breaks, get it fixed, life is an adventure. We drove that old Blazer from Seattle to NY and it didn't break down until a mile from my parents house. Somehow I think they know. Safe travels, take lotsa pics!
Yeah one of the joys of having an old car is the headlights are super foggy and dim. I tried to do that DIY headlight-brightening kit thing but it didn't do much. So we're only going to be driving during daylight hours, which fortunately is like 16 hours long in Montana right now...

And thanks for the route advice...we will be doing the drive through the Lemhi Valley (which I've done before and it's lovely), and the worst part will be battling the traffic around Grand Teton NP. Once through there, though, it should be easy going south through the red desert to Rock Springs, then we shouldn't pick up much traffic again until Fort Collins. (Basically all 120,000 of the miles on this car are from long road trips through the west moving from wildlife job to wildlife job--I know most of the routes well!) On the way back we'll be interstate all the way; trying to combine this trip with a trip to Billings for a wedding, so we won't backtrack.

And ugh. I hate pet rooms because they always smell like urine. So not fair to those of us with clean, well-behaved dogs. We will probably camp at a KOA.
 

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We traveled 11000 miles last winter with dogs. Get them out before you drive for a good romp and potty. We don't stop until they get restless. This could be a few hours or 8. Then we do another good romp and potty break.

Red roof inn is always dog friendly.
 

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You;ll be fine.
I think the Holiday Inn in RS takes dogs. There's a Mom and Pop in Tremonton UT that I used to stop at (I always got a late start leaving RS) - they were dog friendly. Motel 6 is, too. but you need to confirm with them and remind them when you arrive that you have confirmed. Gash, is it Super 8 in RS? I think that was it. Tripple A used to publish a book on traveling with dogs. The info was often out of date but it had phone numbers (probably now has websites) that would help for reservations with dogs.

My advise - plan on getting the dog out when the human stops - for gas, for toilet brakes, for the heck of it. Don't get too locked in to a schedule.

I drove out here with two dogs who had never been on an extended road trip. They were both champs. It was a 2000 mile drive with a loaded truck and another loaded truck on a car hauler - which would fish tail at anything over 55 to 60 MPH. On one move, I remember I needed to full bench seat to sleep (too trashed to search for a motel) and that truck was a standard cab 1/2 ton - so the dogs (different duo) slept outside on the grass at the rest stop. They were tied to the truck door handle. We were all fine, no one messed with us.

For your trip, you might want to invest in a "buddy bowl" They're great for water - hard for arthritic fingers/hands to open to clean but great for travel.

I'm not sure where you are located headed to RS and then Denver but I know there are some stops along the way worth planning for whichever direction you are coming from.
 

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OK I see you are heading south out of Montana. There used to be a great place in Farson WY - for ice cream. Huge cones. Variety of flavors. and South Pass City is right there, too.

Once you head east from Rock Springs, there's a road that cuts off I 80 and goes on down to Ft Collins that is a really swell drive - much nicer than the interstate. It might be worth it for you to jump on the toll road between Ft. Collins and Denver to avoid some traffic. It's been years since I've been down there 'though.

If you've got the time and inclination, I'm pretty sure you could get new headlights (not just the lamps) to replace the foggy ones - lots cheaper than a new car. Or talk to one of the detail places and maybe they could apply some magic that you can't find or have a secret on how it works. One other thing I remember - watch the big rigs on I-80. They often do not see you, especially, I found, when driving a white company vehicle. ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We traveled 11000 miles last winter with dogs. Get them out before you drive for a good romp and potty. We don't stop until they get restless. This could be a few hours or 8. Then we do another good romp and potty break.

Red roof inn is always dog friendly.
Thanks!!!

And looks like no Red Roofs in or near Wyoming. There are a few places in Rock Springs that charge a $25 pet fee, I suppose that's not too bad. But KOA is also an option...I've stayed at some really nice KOAs [the one at West Glacier, and one somewhere in northeastern WY], some that were just okay [West Yellowstone], and some really, REALLY bad ones [Great Falls].
OK I see you are heading south out of Montana. There used to be a great place in Farson WY - for ice cream. Huge cones. Variety of flavors. and South Pass City is right there, too.

Once you head east from Rock Springs, there's a road that cuts off I 80 and goes on down to Ft Collins that is a really swell drive - much nicer than the interstate. It might be worth it for you to jump on the toll road between Ft. Collins and Denver to avoid some traffic. It's been years since I've been down there 'though.

If you've got the time and inclination, I'm pretty sure you could get new headlights (not just the lamps) to replace the foggy ones - lots cheaper than a new car. Or talk to one of the detail places and maybe they could apply some magic that you can't find or have a secret on how it works. One other thing I remember - watch the big rigs on I-80. They often do not see you, especially, I found, when driving a white company vehicle. ...
Thanks for all the tips! Yes that cutoff road to Fort Collins is lovely, I've done it before and will probably do it again this time. It's just a 2-lane road though which is always a risk for me...I'm a rather aggressive driver. I JUST WANNA DO THE SPEED LIMIT WHY IS THAT SO HARD. Plus the whole front range has gotten so ridiculously overcrowded I can't really imagine any 2-lane roads in Colorado that won't be horrible with traffic. I mean the Interstate will be awful but at least there are lanes to pass the idiots in.

and LOL the big rigs on I-80. Been there. Back in 2005ish I had to drive a Suburban packed with college students across southern Wyoming in the middle of the night on the way back from a conference in Texas (driving back to Idaho). I took the night shift because I was fresh off a car wreck and didn't trust the other people to not kill us. First off it was windy as all get-out--tumbleweeds rolling through the beam of the headlights every 3 seconds, "high wind" flashy lights flashing, me white-knuckling the steering wheel to keep us on the road--and then dang big rigs started playing with me. Don't know if they did it to keep themselves awake or what, but I'd pass them, worrying about them flipping over on me at any moment, then they'd speed up and pass me again, then slow down and I'd pass them again. OVER AND OVER. It was terrible! I hate that stretch, but at least the traffic is generally light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Road trips are nothing new to me! But this is my first time having a dog with me....
I've been everywhere, man! Except the southeast. Too hot and humid. :)

Seriously, in my 17 years of owning this car it has never needed a brake job. Because 90% of the miles are long-distance miles.
 

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You didn't miss anything in the SE. Just drive careful. One of the best detours we ever made was from Butte south through the wind river canyon to Thermopolis. That is a beautiful ride and I'd never seen anything like Thermopolis before. It was April in the snow and the kids were all running around in the hot spring. And the colors in the hot spring are amazing! If you get a chance. We were stuck in Billings by snow to the east. It's okay to pull over if you feel uncomfortable driving.
You might stop at the auto parts store and see if you can replace your headlights with newer, brighter bulbs. Hot spring:
Water Sky Plant Cloud Natural landscape
 

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I drive out West several times a year with my old dog. The hardest thing isn't the dog potty stops -- he's happy to go anywhere -- it's the human potty stops when you're solo-traveling and can't leave the dog in a car during summer heat. I've learned over the years that the best potty stop for me is a store that allows dogs: Tractor Supply, Petsmart, Petco....and some Lowes/Home Depots (but they're hit or miss). I usually program nav to a TS, Petco or Petsmart that's about 3-4 hours on the route. TS tends to be in rural areas, which makes it convenient. I take the dog inside the store to use their restroom, and they're very safe places to stop.

DH fixed the fogged headlamp issue on his car through a local detailer who offers it as a service. They looked good as new after that guy applied his treatment on them. Meanwhile, see about replacing the bulbs with high-end LEDs so you're getting more light through the fogged lens, in case you have to drive at night.
 
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