Words from the Road, Part 1

So if you haven’t been following along via Twitter or my recent blatherings, I’m currently on vacation to spend some time with family for the holidays. Not quite sure how much I’ll be posting while I’m away, but I’m hoping to have the occasional goofy, little post here and there along the way!

This, on the other hand, is one of those big, goofy summary posts to cover how I even managed to get here in the first place – enjoy…

Packed Beyond the Brim
Looking back, I’m honestly still not entirely sure how in the world we managed to make it all fit!

The problems here were threefold – my wife drives a small car (a Honda Insight); we’re traveling with our puppy, which from an extra baggage-perspective is pretty much the same as having an extra person along (maybe more if they don’t bring their own cage!); and third, we also had to bring gifts. Lots of gifts. Three people’s worth, in fact, because we also brought my sister-in-law’s with us (who lives with us, but flew up separately).

It honestly gave me flashbacks of when I first loaded up my own car and moved across the country to Florida way back in 2003, complete with an inability to see out the back window, stuff occasionally falling into my lap from the passenger seat, and the whole nine yards! Luckily, we never came across any cops who wanted to make a fuss about our ability to see the road…

The Weather Outside Was AWESOME
Seriously, we actually really lucked out in this area because I’m a little nervous for this entire trip in general about having to drive on snow-covered roads, but all the way from Florida to West Virginia, we never even saw the temperature dip into freezing once.

That said, I don’t want to say too much and jinx it because with temperature forecasts in the twenties for when we continue on north to Michigan next week, I’d honestly be really surprised if we didn’t encounter a single lick of snow during this entire trip.

Good Time
Despite leaving roughly six hours later than scheduled, the drive actually wasn’t too bad and we were able to drive all the way through with a relatively minimal amount of grogginess! I honestly don’t normally like to do that sort of thing – between my wife and I, we drove for just over sixteen hours straight and were certainly beat by the time that we got here, but I suppose either way it would’ve taken the same amount of time – drive for 1 day and then sleep the next, or drive spaced out over 2 days.

Either way, 970 miles is a long way … so thankfully our next leg from West Virginia up to Michigan clocks in nearly a third less at only 684 miles.

Good Dog
As I mentioned, we ended up bringing our puppy, Cleo, with us, and I’m very thankful to report that she did marvelously well throughout the entire car ride!  Not exactly having the best record for local trips, it wasn’t uncommon for her to throw up a lot when we would even take her 15 miles away to the beach, so we were a little worried about how a trip nearly 40x that was going to treat her. We did get some anti-nausea meds from the vet before we left, but we never actually got a chance to really test them before leaving home for this trip.

Nonetheless throughout the entire ordeal, she really acted like a champ – no throwing up, no barking, and only the slightest bit of antsy-ness at the very end…at the point where the both of us were pretty much feeling the same thing! We made her a bed in the back seat that slowly expanded to overtake nearly the entire thing, one of us always sat in the back with her (passenger seat was filled with presents anyways!), and it was actually a very enjoyable drive from that perspective.

The Pet-Friendly Wingate
And so that brings us to where I’m currently writing you from today – the pet-friendly hotel that we found only a short drive from where we’ll be meeting family for Christmas. We’ve never had the need to stay at a hotel that actually allows pets before, but overall aside from the lousy internet access, the rest of the hotel has still been above average. My wife pointed out shortly after Cleo’s third accident (long car ride!) that the carpet is conveniently very dark, thus doing a better job of concealing stains related to pet pee and whatnot. We also found, a little more surprisingly, that the bed actually has a plastic liner on it, much like you’d give a child who had problems with wetting the bed!

Whatever – by the time we got here, we were just thrilled that they let us check-in 7 hours early and pretty much passed out the moment our heads hit the pillows! Granted, we were woken back up shortly after that because Cleo still needed some getting used to the various people walking outside our door in the hallway, but we’re here for 3 nights, it’s got a fridge and a separate “couch area,” and it didn’t break the bank, so at the end of a long and exhausting drive, I suppose that’s more than enough for me. 😉

Next On Deck
Basically Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be spent celebrating with Sara’s family, followed on Monday by piling back into a hopefully less burdened car for another drive up to see my own family in Northern Michigan. Here in West Virginia, though, my plans are fairly simple – try to keep Cleo out of trouble, play some Lego Star Wars with my nephew, indulge in whatever other fun Christmas-y stuff we can talk the crowd into, and I’m told that at some point I’ll be experiencing my very first chocolate martini because from what I understand, one of my sisters-in-law has found quite the knack in making them!

Just between you and me, I haven’t the foggiest idea what to expect, but I like chocolate and I like booze, so I’m trying to keep an open mind at this point… :mrgreen:

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