On January 15th, Blitz and I embarked on a 1,200-mile journey from our home in North Carolina to Kansas. This was not only the furthest road trip I have ever been on, but it was also my longest road trip on my own or with a dog. We have traveled from North Carolina to Ohio and back a few times with dogs, but ~450 miles doesn’t quite compare to 1,200. I learned a few things along the way and would do a few things differently next time, so here is a summary of our trip.
I planned out as much as I could ahead of time, which certainly helped. Once I figured out my route, I booked two Airbnbs. Since I was going to be driving in January and had no idea what the weather would be, I planned on 1 day of 8 hours of driving, 7 hours of driving the next and 5 hours the last. This gave me plenty of wiggle room in my schedule for bad weather and gave me an opportunity to give Blitz plenty of breaks along the way.
Traveling is stressful for everyone, so finding ways to keep us as comfortable as possible certainly helped. I recently bought a 2015 Honda Pilot, which made the trip super comfortable for me! Blitz had her Dakota 238 kennel; not only is she comfortable in it and laid down the entire trip, but I knew she was safe. I love the ability to strap it down through the handle at the top and was confident that she would be protected if an accident occurred along the way. Having a way to kennel her outside of the vehicle in case of an emergency was a relief, too.
Another thing I am really grateful for is to buy a backup camera to set on her kennel. This allowed me to keep an eye on her the whole ride. It was nice to know she was content, but it really came in handy when she wasn’t. There was a point where she was standing, panting, and clearly distressed. I pulled over as soon as I could and realized the kennel was extremely hot compared to the rest of the car. I changed the settings for the air for the back and she was comfortable from there out. I am so glad to have that camera to help keep her as comfortable as possible for the entire trip.
Finding The Right Places
On our way to our first night in Nashville, we stopped in Knoxville that afternoon. Part of my planning ahead was reaching out to a friend in Knoxville (thanks, Lindsey!) for park suggestions. She told me about a fantastic park that was close to the freeway and I was able to let Blitz run around for a half an hour before getting back on the road. This was exactly what we needed and really helped keep her comfortable for the rest of the drive!
I chose Airbnbs that were in safe locations, looked comfortable and clean and were dog friendly. The first night I stayed in Nashville in a super cute, comfortable room. The house was in a quiet neighborhood with a park so I was able to walk Blitz that night and before leaving the next morning. Having the ability to get some solid walking in along the way definitely helped!
What I Would Change
It ended up being fantastic weather, so instead of staying in Springfield, MO for my second night, I decided to drive straight through. Had I known the weather would be nice, I would have planned to stay further than Nashville the first night and just have two days of ~10 hours of driving. I also couldn’t find any great places to stop to let her run around that second day, so it made more sense to just keep driving. I arrived in Kansas around 6:30pm on the second day, which definitely isn’t bad! It just made for a long day, but now that I have done it, it was much easier to get it over with than to drag it out another day.
Although no easy feat, the trip went much better than expected. I am thankful that the weather was great and that Blitz is so good, making everything as easy as possible. I would have loved to have spent more time enjoying the places we drove through (especially Nashville or the beautiful Smoky Mountains), but it was really nice to make it at quick(ish) trip. For those of you that travel a lot with your dogs, what other tips do you have?