|Driving through East Central Utah|
As August 2011 came to a close I was once again on my way up to Sister Bay in Door County Wisconsin to spend much needed vacation time at Madsengaard our family farm. For the first time that I can remember I drove from Las Vegas to Sister Bay so that I could bring our Cocker Spaniels Jazz and Koko. During the hot summer months in Las Vegas you cant fly with your dogs in cargo and since they cannot fit under the seat flying was a no go.
|Pit Stop in Colorado on the Colorado River|
I am not a straight through type driver. While my daughter Lisa has no problem driving 25 hours straight, even when I was her age that was not an option. Me, I am more the 8-10 hour driver, but now that most highways in the west are 65-75 MPH it you can cover more ground in that time. And, because I generally drive at speed limit +8-10 I average about 79 MPH for the trip, according to my trip computer and that is county gas and hotel stops.
|East Utah heading toward Colorado|
When planning road trips I like to match my stopping points with interesting locations or at least semi-interesting locations that I have never been to before. Which in the case of some stops are quickly moved to the uninteresting places list. I decided that I would drive the longest length on the first day with decreasing legs thereafter. I decided that my first leg would be from Las Vegas to Denver, CO then to Omaha, NE, then to Sun Prairie, WI (near Madison) to stay with Angela, Brad and my granddaughter Alynna for a couple of days meeting my wife and youngest Lisa there. I would stay for the weekend and head off to Sister Bay the following Monday to get a head start on work that needed to be done on the farm.
|Jazz, "are we there yet?"|
One thing about having dogs with you on a road trip is finding decent, dog friendly hotels to accommodate us. Some have policies of non refundable deposits, some dog fees and some both. However there are some hotels that require neither and I discovered all of this on the petvacations.com website.
|In Iowa, huge blade being delivered to one of many wind farms.|
Now if I am staying in a location for an extended period either business or for vacation and need a hotel, I like nicer accommodations... i.e. Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, etc. When road tripping I look for simple and clean and a good price as it is simply a stop over, not a temporary home. Petvacation.com helped with several good tips about traveling with pets and educated me well on different hotel policies concerning pets. I found the most welcoming and widespread brand to be La Quinta Inns and Suites. No deposit, no extra fees and good pricing. I had stayed in La Quinta before and found them to be a nice, clean and comfortable value in hotels. Of course wanting to maximize savings, once I researched the La Quinta's that I wished to stay in I used my Dream Vacation Network Membership to book the hotel stays. I booked at the La Quinta, Denver Airport, which was quite nice and relatively new. I also booked at the La Quinta North Omaha which while clean was not a purpose built La Quinta and showed some wear and tear. But booking with DVN I saved roughly $20 total on two nights... almost half a tank of premium gas for my Infiniti M35X, which by the way is an awesome road trip car.
So, after packing the car, harnessing up the dogs in the back seat I hit the road...