Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quest to the West - Our Recent Adventure

If you have been following my twitter or facebook you may have noticed that I talked about moving a little bit. I don't usually get personal on this blog, but I like to landmark events and felt this needed recording.

I've had my eye on the west coast for quite some time, the pacific northwest to be specific. I visited Washington when I was a teenage and fell in love with the trees, climate, people, and basically the attitude of the place. I grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska and it was the first time I flew anywhere, first time I saw a banana slug, and the trip really stuck with me. In the back of my mind there was always this place I felt I needed to be....but meanwhile I went to college in Hastings, NE and later moved to Lincoln, NE where we have been living for six years. The last few years though my guy and I have been making trips to Seattle to go to PAX, explore, and to see friends we only get to talk to on twitter.

It is only recently that our jobs and everything came together to we did. We packed up our apartment (no easy task!), and went on our journey the minute the movers picked up our stuff. My guy and I loaded our car with our two cats, and pup, and whatever else we could shove in the doors. Google maps said it was a 25 hour drive from Nebraska to Washington....we discovered it was quite a bit longer, but we made it to our destination and took photos to document our migration through five states.

Movers came quite a bit late, mixup with the agents that organized the whole deal. But they came and said "Woah you have a lot of stuff in this apartment", and we said "yes, we do" and they packed it away in a giant cardboard block in the semi. Haven't gotten our stuff yet, so we still have yet to see how everything went....

And so we left Lincoln, NE that afternoon. The forecast was clear (who knew when it might snow!), so we knew we needed to go as soon as possible. The first stop for the night was in Laramie, Wyoming. We had two pets so we researched on pet forums and yelp good hotels where all the fur babies would be welcome. AmericInn was where we stayed and it was really clean and great for the pets. They even had a gluten-free breakfast option for my guy who has wheat allergies.

We had arrived in Wyoming at night so we didn't even know what the area looked like until we woke up that next morning. There was a little snow from earlier in the week, but clear roads so off we went!!!

This was to be the longest drive of the trip. We initially thought it would take us 10 hours to drive from Laramie, Wyoming to our next stop in Pendleton, Oregon...but it ended up being 14 or 15 hours.

I'm not sure if it's always windy in Wyoming, but it was sure blowing the day we drove through. We almost got taken out by a massive tumbleweed, I kid you not.

Yea Utah! First time we had ever been to the state. I was very surprised at how little traffic there was on I80. Many times we didn't see any other cars at all, just the occasional semi.

Utah was very pretty with the rock formations, one of these days would like to drive back and explore some of the state parks.

We were making good time and hit Idaho. There were all sorts of warning signs along the edge of the road - "sudden weather", "Fire warnings", "dust cloud warnings", "game area", and all sorts of things. I don't think I have ever been on a single strip of road with that all these warning signs....kinda freaked us out.

At this point it got dark before we made it out of Idaho and into Oregon. First stop in Oregon was to get gas, when a guy stopped me at the pump and said I couldn't fill my own gas tank in Oregon and I was "Whaaaaa", and it's true! No filling your gas tank in Oregon or New Jersey, it's the law!

We made it to Pendleton, Oregon and stayed the night there at Oxford Suites, another pet friendly hotel.

We left Pendleton, Oregon that morning for the last leg of our trip.

We really enjoyed the scenery along the Columbia river. The trees with their orange red leaves were gorgeous with the greenery. These pictures look really bland compared to what we were really seeing first hand.

Didn't take any more photos after this point because one of the cats decided to finally have a complete meltdown. Crying, clawing, flipping around upside down in his carrier. I'd never heard more ruckus in my life. The cats and pup had all done a pretty good job up to this point, and this massive cat tantrum at this point of the trip made everyone on edge. We eventually made it to our destination in Washington!

That is the conclusion of our little roadtrip migration to the west. I'm officially working full time as an artist, and have lots of exciting shows coming up in 2014 (so many things!!! I'm very excited, but can't talk about them yet!)


A lot of my anxiety with preparing for this trip was making sure that the animals were content and as stress free during the trip as possible. We got Health Certificates for all our pets from our vet before leaving. Legally you are suppose to have them when crossing state lines. This documents their rabies record. We had no idea if the hotel would want to see it or in the event our car was ever pulled over if the police would want to see the pets records. It was kinda expensive ($59 per pet), but we didn't want to take any chances with our pet babies. We ended up not needing to show the papers to anyone but I know with flying you have to have the papers before boarding a plane.

I got the cats new Sherpa bags that fit in the car better than their hard case carriers that I had. These soft carriers withstood the test of claws and the soft bottoms were really nice. I did put a "pee pad" in the bottom of them just in case a kittie had an accident or got nervous ( I saw this recommended on cat travel sites), but the cats always waited till the hotel to go to the bathroom. I brought a travel sized litterbox, litter, and a little rug with me into the hotel and set up their space every night.

The cats were "ok" at the hotel. My one cat, Kit was very vocal about being in a new space. Just walking around meowing while the other cat and pup just looked at him. I think it was Kits way of checking in with me to see if everything was all right. Once we got to our new place he still walked around and meowed but now it seems like he's settling in and finding his spots to hang out.

For our pup we got a doggy chair set that gets buckled in and he gets strapped in to. Any sudden stops would keep him in place and safe. He seemed to really like his chair and he had many a naps on the trip.

Toshi also really liked the hotel. Any time he sees a King Size bed he thinks it's all for him. Both hotels we stayed at required a pet deposit, but we did get a discount at our one hotel just for calling in our reservation so it pretty much evened out.

Traveling with pets was much better than I thought it was going to be. I imagined all the "kids" yelling and making a ruckus in the back the whole trip, when really I think they knew what was going on and all seemed to be on board.


Jade Sheldon said...

Welcome to the PNW!! Glad that all of you made it safe and sound (tantrums and all). I can't wait to hear more about your upcoming shows...

Jenny De La Torre said...

Congratulations on your trip! I expect your woodland adventures will get more interesting as you explore your new home! ^___^