Monday, May 31, 2010

Last leg tomorrow: Updated

We're outside Cleveland tonight... everyone is snuggled up on the bed together. I think they're pretty tired. I know I am. Tomorrow we drive from Cleveland to Stamford where we'll be staying in a hotel for a few more nights. Our stuff doesn't arrive until likely June 7... which, incidentally is Noah's first day at the new job.

We're ready to be done driving. It's been a long journey and we are glad to be getting to the end of it.

Tonight we're watching Bones re-runs and a thunderstorm that is rolling past the window.

I'll leave you with a few random pictures of the Midwest.

*Updated: I forgot to mention I ate at Cracker Barrel twice in 2 days... sigh. Love CB!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pet ownership: Not for the faint of heart

Today was a big day! We drove across Iowa

and across the Mississippi river

to Illinois.

Iowa, by the way, has tons of windmills generating large amounts of renewable energy. Way to go Iowa!

Around the 4th hour of the journey today, Bangs woke up from his drugged slumber... this is never a good sign. He began trying to escape his spot in the lap of the front seat passenger (me)... and even meowed a couple times (a sign he's stressed). We pulled off at the next exit, poured litter in the litter box, and shoved him inside. After a shocked second of sniffing, he pooed in the box, looking quite relieved. Sorry I don't have any photos to share with you :)

At the same exit, what should we find but a Culvers!

We are both, sadly, vegetarian, so no butter burgers for us, but we did have yummy krinkle fries and Noah got a chocolate shake (their chocolate custard was coming out in liquid form so we couldn't have any of that). Happy memories of times shared with our Madison, WI, friends :)

After arriving at the La Quinta in Tinley Park, IL, just south of Chicago, we decided to take Tag out for a walk/run about, so we checked on-line and found a wilderness-ish park area nearby. We hopped in the car and drove over.

Our enjoyment of this outdoor adventure lasted all of 20 minutes. About then 2 things happened. First Tag stepped on my shoe and I walked out of it. As I was retrieving my shoe, Noah began flapping me wildly with his hands because I was covered... yes, covered... in ticks. Immediately I thought "O my god, the dog..." Indeed, he and Noah were also covered in ticks.

Now, in normal circumstances, this might not be so horrifying, but... lest we forget, I have a collie... a long haired collie... I have no flea/tick shampoo with me in Illinois, and I have 4 cats back at the hotel that could also pick up ticks from the dog... I panicked mildly.

We nearly ran back to the car, grabbed Tag's brush, flipped him over, and started searching him for ticks. I've never seen so many!

We then proceeded to a PetSmart where we purchased flea and tick applications for the dog and the cats.

5 angry animals (they hate flea/tick medicine), one shower and 2 loads of laundry later, I think we can relax a little now.

Tomorrow, Cleveland!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Driving Miss Daisy

This is a quick video of what our drive was like today.

NNK had to stay in her crate today. She was too noisy and unpredictable... at least in the crate we knew where she was the whole time. :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Traveling with animals

We had a better day today. Nobody pooped in their crates. There was no hail... in fact it was sunny and warm the whole day of driving.

We are safe in Denver now, with a free upgrade to a suite... lovin' La Quinta!

Let me tell you a little bit about what it takes to get 4 cats and a dog into and out of a hotel every day. I'll start with packing the car...

Back of Subaruby: Bottom layer, a baby gate and a fold-able soft crate. Next suitcases and cat litters. 2 crates with cats on top of that, then litter boxes, food bowls, and a scratch post crammed in last.

Back seat: The Ark (food bin with supplies for all the pets), lock box, lap top, blankets, dog bed, dog.

Front seat: miscellaneous essentials... passenger, driver...

When we get to the hotel, we unload the crate and gate, the Ark, litter boxes, litter, scratch post, food bowls, crates with cats, and dog bed onto a hotel cart, and bring the dog with us up to the room. While Noah is unloading the cart, I put up the gate in the bathroom door and set up the litter boxes. We release the cats in the bathroom with the litter box to make sure they know where it is... they can explore from there... we use a gate so that Tag doesn't go digging for buried treasure.

While the cats are exploring, one of us goes back for the rest of our stuff (suitcases/laptop, etc.) and the other begins doling out pet food. Once everyone has eaten, Tag gets a walk and we start thinking about dinner.

In the morning, we do the whole thing in reverse, loading the cats last to make the torture as short as possible.

Today we tried something different. NNK spent the first hour or so wailing in the crate. I think she was protesting being put back in the same crate as Mr. Poopy (Bangs).

After a little while of this, we decided to pull over and let the cats loose from their crates. Bangs was still pretty drugged, so we put him in Noah's lap.

NNK needed to be re-drugged after a while before she calmed down... but then she was out like a light.

The kittens spent a while looking around and then crashed out on the back seat with Tag and we had the calmest, quietest day of travel yet.

Tomorrow we're off to the Iowa side of Omaha... another long day but without the mountains. I'll leave you with some pictures of the drive today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A somewhat traumatic day

Everything started out well today. I woke up just before the alarm went off and got up to begin preparing to depart for Salt Lake City.

I fed everyone and took Tag for a walk... then Noah and I had breakfast. La Quinta is awesome by the way. SO pet friendly and free continental breakfast all for less than $100 a night!

When packing up the cats, Bangs was more grouchy than he has been the past couple days. He growled at NNK a lot and was pulling on the crate door trying to get out. I was hoping that wouldn't be a sign of things to come.

We got on the road a little past 7. Today we drove around 8 and a half hours to get from Reno to Salt Lake. Until further notice, our in-drive entertainment will be "The Silmarillion" complete and unabridged, written by J.R.R. Tolkein and read by Martin Shaw. Tag chose to sleep through it all.

Bangs and NNK received their tranquilizers as planned. I don't think the 1/4 tab has any effect on NNK, by the way... so we may not use it at all tomorrow and see how that goes... although we may use it anyhow.

About 2 hours into the trip, we were coming along a broad valley in Nevada. It was rainy off and on all morning. We could see a storm coming up a few miles away. Noah saw lightning a couple times. I was looking back at animals in the car both times and missed it. Oh well.

A few minutes passed and it started raining VERY hard. Noah turned on the wipers and we continued on. Just as we were passing a big rig cab that was hauling 3 other big rig cabs, things took a turn for the worse. The rain became hail that was piling up like snow on the road and we began to hydroplane. My life flashed before my eyes. The cats lives flashed before my eyes... Noah handled the whole thing very expertly and thank god we didn't slide off the road or careen into the big rig cab driving next to us. A minute after we regained control we drove out of the weather and the roads cleared up. Needless to say, we were a little shaken up by the whole event.

Around 4 hours I took over driving and Noah took some pictures.

I'd been driving about an hour when Bangs started rattling his cage and getting testy. We pulled over and I re-administered tranquilizers. Before we reached the next exit, Bangs had pooed all over himself and NNK. She did NOT appreciate this.

(side note: last time we moved across country we had the exact same issue with Bangs on the first day of driving)

We pulled off at the next exit and cleaned up on the side of the road.

Finally we were back in business. Bangs's tranquilizer kicked in and he slept the rest of the way there. And there was hardly a peep from NNK, who was not too keen on getting shoved back into the crate with Mr. Poopy.

The Great Salt Lake Desert is pretty interesting. It was pretty intensely dusty and my allergies kicked in even with medicine!

It's hot here in Salt Lake. And hazy. And dry. I don't really like it. But we're getting the hotel living routine down now... and we found a park to take Tag out to run around in.

We had greek food for dinner. And we're all relaxing.

It's another long day tomorrow... hopefully we're done with drama for this trip!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Over the mountains: UPDATED w/photos

Today did not entirely go as planned... but we made it to Reno!

The majority of our plans played out perfectly. The movers arrived early and loaded quickly... Noah swept out the house and played with the dog while I slipped drugs to the cats for our first day of driving.

While waiting for the tranquilizers to take effect, I noticed a traffic alert for the eastbound 80 (which we're taking pretty much the entire way across the country). It was closed before Truckee... a diesel truck turned over and was leaking all over the freeway. Bummer... Plus, it was snowing!!

We loaded up the car and headed out,

deciding to go across on 50 to Lake Tahoe and then cut up to Truckee and over to Reno...

Bangs took his tranquilizers quietly and slept most of the 4 hours it took us to get to Reno (we had some construction traffic, too). NNK (no name kitty) protested loudly every 20 minutes or so... but I think she was better for the tranquilizers than she was without. No one threw up on anyone. Jack and Gill quietly waited for us to let them out again and Tag... well Tag is the best ever.

The room here in Reno is gigantic and we love it.... We got in around 4:30 and room service just got here, so I'm going to go eat now :)

I'm tranquilizing the cats again tomorrow. I'm hopeful that it will make the traveling easier... our longest day of driving yet!

Hopefully pictures tomorrow, too!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some sadness and anticipation

Today was the day of packing. Moving commences tomorrow! Noah and I spent the morning wrangling details. But first, breakfast!

I packed the food for all the cats and Tag in a plastic bin:

The movers arrived at around 9:30. They spent ALL DAY packing... well... one of them did. The other one spent a lot of time talking and answering his cell phone. Almost dropped dead of boredom and stress more than once... and the animals were REALLY confused about the new guys and how noisy they were and why there were more and more boxes appearing in their home. Little did they realize...

We loaded up almost as soon as the door closed on the movers backs this evening. Jack and Gill went in fairly quietly, having no experience with this type of thing and so nothing to dread. But Bangs and the no name kitty protested LOUDLY at being shoved into the same crate.

We left immediately and NNK cried the whole way there... she crowned the adventure by throwing up on Bangs's back. Poor Bangs!

We arrived at La Quinta in Davis for our first night of hotel living... a good break in for the animals. I'm hoping the stress will abate soon, for all our sakes.

Tag is a champ. He was only a bit confused about why there were cats on his car ride. He'll get used to it.

Fed, watered, and littered, we took a little time to hang out with Leslie one last time. We discussed the finale of Lost (cue deep disappointed sigh here) and shed some tears about being parted from one another. How will we live without Leslie?

Tomorrow we drive away! So tonight we're trying to get used to hotel living. Tag and Noah and I are pros at this, but the cats... well... they are going to need some time to adjust. And by the time they adjust, I think we'll be there :) Misery loves company, so I'm fairly certain the cats will bond over this common trauma. They're already doing better about sharing space with Tag!

One thing I am wondering is how well I am going to be able to sleep with so many animals on my bed...

Monday, May 24, 2010

'Twas the night before...

'Twas the night before moving... the house is in disarray... mostly in the area of the kitchen and the bedroom. We got rid of all the food we weren't planning to move (perishables, etc.) so there's nothing to eat and we're reluctant to make dirty dishes given that someone will be packing them for us tomorrow...

I sold my dresser at our yard sale on Saturday, so I have no where to put my clothes! I packed what I will wear over the next week in a suitcase, and filled a couple boxes with the rest of the clothes from the dresser... but that's still weird.

The kittens are confused. Their condo is gone and some of the furniture from their room has disappeared as well. So they're sprinting around the house and calling each other. Tag is oblivious. It'll kick in later, I suppose :) But we've been trying to travel with him some so that things like this would not phase him. Kitty is reproachful, but then, when isn't she? And Bangs... well, Bangs knows that something is up. He's clingy and needy. Poor guy has been through this more than once.

I'm stressed. I shouldn't be. The movers will take care of all the details here. Perhaps there's some of that control freak in me that can't let go. Mostly I'm stressed about the animals and how they will handle the next week's journey. I've done what I can to make their trip as stress free as possible. I packed plenty of yummy canned food... we have a nice new roomy car to travel in with an air conditioner that works. The hotels we're staying at are pet friendly. I have kitty valium in case someone decides they really can't handle it. Still, it's going to be hard on the cats. There's not much else I can do about that.

So tomorrow around one I'll take the pets and go check into our hotel in Davis. And tonight I'll try to sleep. Wish us luck! We'll keep you posted on the journey.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My last lesson

We're moving this week. Had a garage sale today. Got rid of a lot of stuff, actually. Yipee!

Sadly, I had my last riding lesson on Watson this past Wednesday. We had a great ride, though. I was having some anxiety in the morning, probably connected to the emotion of it being my last lesson. But I told myself I was just going to ride and not hold back... and have a good time. So we did. We did pole patterns and a few cross rails (Leslie did one vertical jump). Watson was SO happy... by the end of the lesson we were going VERY fast (for Watson), and somehow I was managing to keep his head up fairly well.

Noah took lots of pictures and some short videos. And by short videos, I mean SHORT videos :) Here they are for your viewing pleasure