3,080 Miles, 10 States, Six Days, Two Humans and a Dog Called Chase
At first Chase was all kinds of confused, but cute as ever:
PA >> OH >> IN >> IL >> MO >> KS >> CO >> NM >> AZ >> CALIFORNIA.
Here we go.
Day One – To Dayton, OH
Chase outright ignored our first duet which we performed Caraoke-style just before New Stanton, PA. We thought we kicked it up a notch with this one, but looking back at the footage, he wasn’t totally into it after all:
Favorite Billboards in western PA:
“When you die, you will meet God”
And 50 yards later:
“Savannah’s – a Gentleman’s Club. Full bar. Full menu”
We stopped at the Wal-Mart in Zanesville on this road:
When we pulled into Dayton, OH, it was obvious that beer would greatly enhance our stay. Frickers was not stingy with their oranges in this enormous draft of Blue Moon.
Day Two – The Song Game
Here’s what went down from Dayton to Kansas City (Kansas side).
“Warm Glow Candle Store – nicest restrooms on I-70!”
And in case you didn’t know, the world’s largest wind chime is in Casey, IL exit 129 of I-70.
Chase was a bit needy on this trip, cuddling up a storm taking up residence on the lap of the front-seat passenger 80% of the time. He also wasn’t eating very well. So we added whipped cream to his food; that helped! I’m officially willing to admit Chase might be slightly spoiled…with love 🙂
We stopped in Columbia, MO to see a high school mate, her husband, and their three girls. Their oldest daughter did some magic tricks which is when I learned never to call out a nine year-old on messing up her magic trick. Sorry H!
The Song Game
The legendary Edelstein-McKinstry family road trip game. I’d been looking forward to this since we started planning the drive out west. How to play: choose a word or a topic. Each player must sing eight consecutive words of a song, including the specific word or theme. The players take turns and are eliminated when they can’t think of another song. The winner trumps the rest by singing one more song than everyone else. It was the Lion’s first time, so we got our feet wet with the topic of weather. For round two he upped the ante with the topic of “Royalty,” which turned out to be a really tough one!! I was almost stumped as we drove in to Kansas City when it came to me: “Dancing Queen,” which quickly turned into a duet. Chase sadly did not join in with his howling. The song game kept things interesting as we made our way through the midwest, hitting a rainstorm, but thankfully no tornadoes.
To Pike’s Peak
So we didn’t summit, but we were just happy to get some mountains on the scene. We spent the night with family in the Springs where after a little alpha showdown, Chase and Nelson, a 105-lb Golden Retriever, became good buddies.
The next morning we had a lovely home-cooked breakfast to get us started on our trip to Flagstaff. Chase was so worn out from playing with Nelson, that he sat calmly in the back, paws crossed like a well-mannered little pup.
Grand Canyon State – My Third Favorite State
Driving out of the springs through Pueblo we had great views of the Spanish Peaks and the South San Juan Mountains.
We drove through the town of Ludlow. The Lion’s dad had given us some road-trip reading after educating us over breakfast of the historical significance of the town. April 20, 2014 marked the 100-year anniversary of the massacre at Ludlow – a deadly event involving a militia “protecting striking miners” and that very union of miners who were striking.
While driving through Trinidad (Colorado, not the Caribbean Island), the Lion told me Trinidad was known as the sex change capital of the world. Sure enough, according to Wikipedia, the doctor who brought that fame to Trinidad in the 60’s was even featured in an episode of South Park where Mr. Garrison gets a sex change operation. There is so much to learn when traveling!
The scenery in New Mexico was spectacular – the mesas, plateaus and buttes are a signature for this state.
We hit several storms, just the universe reminding us again that we are making the right choice moving to Southern California. But rolling into 34-degree Flagstaff, it was hard not to notice the snow cover. For much of the ride, we both held a very sleepy Chase on our laps, still recovering from the excitement of making a friend the day before. We settled in for delicious pizza, beer and warmth, excited to see the Grand Canyon the next day.
In the Vortex
We woke up to a beautiful day in Flagstaff with this awesome view of Mt. Elden while walking chase.
We saw the peaks of Elden (9,290+ ft) and Mt. Humphrey’s (12,600 ft), collectively called the San Francisco peaks. I summited Humphreys in 2007 with the first Wilderness Medicine course I ever taught.
We drove on towards the Grand Canyon, driving up above 8,000 ft. The Coconino National Forest was covered in snow.
The North Rim was still closed, so luckily we chose to go to the South Rim. It was a pretty magnificent way to spend Sunday morning. We walked along the rim trail with Chase (he’s become a very well-traveled pup!)
Saw this sign that I’ve never seen at the canyon before:
We snapped …several pics as we planned future rafting and rim-rim hikes through the canyon. Coincidentally, the park labeled our parking lot so that we’d have very little chance of forgetting where we put the car.
And we met this street performer on the rim:
From the Grand Canyon we drove down to Sedona where Chase probably had the best day of his entire 16-month life – hiking in the rocks & the water. Of note for dog owners who like to travel and hike with your pups, Slide Rock State Park does allow dogs, but does not allow them to hike by the water. So we took him upstream to “Halfway,” just a half mile up the road from the park. It was equally awesome and beautiful for us. Not only that, but we learned Chase is totally obedient off the leash, always looking back to make sure we are all accounted for, and he comes when called.
Safe and Sound
Just over the 3,000 mile mark, Chase had really had enough. He wandered into the way back and gave us this look:
Finally we arrived. The house is great. The weather is exactly what you’d expect. Chase ran 7,000 suicides in the yard.
Day One as San Diego Residents
Obligatory errands of course – Gasman!, Cable Guy, Walk-through with the realtor, Handy-Man for various projects, the Lion’s car arrived from its east coast trip, first trip to Road Runner Sports. But most importantly, out our front door, an example of the reason we came out here: