A Beautiful Adventure

On the Road Again...

Tag: Packing a Subaru for a Road trip with animals

Road Trip 2015: New Mexico

route 66In a little over nine hours we made the drive from Colorado Springs to New Mexico. An impromptu diaper change had us pulling over and for a short while we were on the famous Route 66! This was a highlight for me (last season I choreographed and coached an award winning routine to this song!). JZ’s Dad and Step Mom, lovingly known as Granny & Gramps, live on an 80 plus acre homestead out there. This place is heaven. No other home can be seen from their house. No other light can be seen from their house. I’ve been there three times now, and still, it blows me away. I have never been to any other house where I can’t see another house, or light. or road from it. This is truly our Little House on the Prairie. JZ did have to work every day but we had family meals together every day and got to enjoy beautiful skies every night. The Total Lunar Eclipse happened the night we arrived and so the moon was extra bright during our stay. There is no light pollution out there and so the moon and stars are just breathtaking. The entire visit was relaxing.


Little Monkey managed to keep me busy though. One afternoon we explored the grounds and climbed about a tractor. The next afternoon I hosed down an area for mud pies and that took up the better part of the afternoon. (I kept thinking that my Grandmother M was smiling down on us while we played in the mud. Having grown up on a farm in Kansas, getting down and dirty and having fun seemed like something she would have approved of). One afternoon during lunch break, JZ put Little Monkey on his back and we hiked up the mesa with the Vizslas. Even from atop the mesa, we couldn’t see another house. Incredible. Gramps fed the horses and that provided an entire morning of entertainment for Little Monkey. Every evening JZ and I took Little Monkey out to the see the horses; and sure enough he was saying, “horse” and pointing to them constantly, after just a couple days out there. Lucky little guy even got to get on one!

Again, the time with family was the best part. Seeing my son with relatives and seeing them love him makes my heart swell. And after a short week in New Mexico, we saddled up the Subaru and drove off into the sunset.


On the Road Again,


Road Trip 2015: Colorado Part I & II

Friday I was scheduled to fly from Denver to Palm Springs for a bachelorette party. With the missing puppy ordeal I didn’t think I was going to make it. Though I was exhausted, I was very happy that I still got to take my girls weekend; also my first weekend away from the baby! We booked it from Jackson, Wyoming to Fort Collins, Colorado on Thursday. Trying, again, to make Queen Bee more comfortable, we put her carrier between the driver and passenger seat up front (with the strap snapped around a head rest, so she was “buckled” in). We arrived Thursday night in Fort Collins and stayed with JZ’s Aunty. I shuttled it to Denver for my girl’s weekend and had a glorious time until my return Sunday night. JZ and the rest of the Zoo Crew shacked up with Aunty for the weekend and spent some quality family time with JZ’s relatives. While away in Palm Springs I was being blasted with pictures of the cousins together. Although there is an eight-year age difference, their bond is already apparent and pure sweetness. They also got to see JZ’s grandma and uncles everyday. Knowing that Little Monkey is getting to spend such quality time with such important people like his Great Great Grandma makes me feel that all this is still worth it.

I came home from Palm Springs Sunday night and we stayed with Aunty for a couple more nights. We weren’t really sure what our plans were, because while we had a general outline of our schedule, we were thrown off by the missing puppy adventure. We also had never followed through with booking an airbnb in Boulder, which was our original plan. Low on funds and tired of searching, we ended up booking with the Hyatt House in Denver for the remainder of the week. This ended up being a great way to go. We decompressed, caught up on life a little bit, and just generally relaxed. We were out by the airport, so a pretty far ways away from the hub of Denver. While this seemed too isolated at first it felt really nice in the end to be away from the hustle and bustle after our Jackson adventure. Finally wising up, we bought a spray bottle and so when Queen Bee meows, we spray. Sounds mean, but it doesn’t hurt her and she actually calms down and I think it ultimately lowers her stress level (it definitely lowers our stress levels).

Denver did end up being a productive and interesting stop for us though. I took another dance class. Little Monkey and I got our passports taken care of. JZ went shopping downtown for some work items he needed. I cooked up some super food for V2, to help put some of the weight back on that he had lost during his freedom run. Friday night, we went out for dinner and ended up at Maria Empanada. The empanadas were authentic, delicious, and this place is highly recommended to anyone in the Denver area looking for affordable, ethnic food. Finding Maria Empanada was exciting because we are also preparing for a South America adventure here soon (stay tuned!).

Saturday was spent hanging around Boulder, Colorado. We packed a picnic lunch and drove in for the day. A good portion of the day was spent walking and hanging at the Pearl Street Mall. And, because we have two Vizslas, we found a beautiful hike that took us along the flat irons to an overlook of Boulder city. Then, by chance, we happened to end up at the world famous Dark Horse Grill for dinner and joined the locals while they watched Colorado State vs. University of Colorado’s football match. While we were originally disappointed that we couldn’t spend more time in Boulder, finishing up our Denver experience with a day trip there was satisfying and also a great way to close that chapter.


On the Road Again,


Road Trip 2015: Montana

The drive from Washington to Montana was long. We got going later in the afternoon, and unfortunately didn’t get to see most of the Montana section in daylight. We did make it to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho before sunset though. We enjoyed a nice pit stop here as we walked along the lake. Although we just passed through, Coeur d’Alene seems like a great little vacation spot for the future!

baby lake courd'alene

We spent a couple nights in Missoula at an airbnb. While JZ worked on Monday, the boys and I hiked up to the “M”. This was a image1_1pretty easy hike, but plenty of a workout for us. I think we counted 14 switchbacks and it took us about 45 minutes each way. A college student who was doing her pilgrimage to the M adopted us and we chatted with her the entire way. Monday night, JZ watched Little Monkey while I took another dance class. I took a jazz class at the Downtown Dance Collective. Again, this was a great class for any adult. A good level for me to enjoy, but from what I gathered it seemed repetitive from week to week, which is great for those who have not been dancing very long and enjoy it for a workout. Before my class, we had a delicious, inexpensive meal at a Brazilian restaurant, Five on Black. Great thing about college towns: delicious, affordable food! Then after my class, because ice cream makes a bad day good and a good day better, the three of us enjoyed some world famous ice cream at The Big Dipper. Our Missoula visit was short and sweet. We would never want to live there, or even vacation there, but think it’s a great little town for college and if Little Monkey wanted to go there, hey- he’s already done his pilgrimage to the “M”!


Tuesday, we checked out of our airbnb around lunchtime and JZ worked from his hotspot while I drove us down to Pray, Montana. This drive was very pretty. I feel like I got redemption as far as scenery goes, since we missed the drive coming into Montana. We spent one relaxing night in a cute little ranch cabin. The pups loved the wide, open range; and we enjoyed stargazing and chasing Little Monkey around. The cabin image2even had a great telescope that I used to glimpse the moon in a way I had never before. Out on the ranch felt very wild wild westish. The next morning, JZ worked an early shift and I took the boys out for another hike. I found a great little hike in the woods up to a waterfall. After getting out some energy, it was time to say goodbye to our home on the range and prepare the car for our next leg of travel.


Now, so far, the most frustrating part of our trip has been the packing. Originally, we planned on putting the pups in the rear of the Subaru behind the doggy gate- and the cat in her carrier in a backseat. Well, after a 3½ hour drive from Tahoe to the bay area with an unhappy Queen Bee, we decided to try something different.  V1 & V2 sat yin-yang style (if you know Vizslas and have multiples, you know what I mean) in a back seat, and Queen Bee ended up with the entire trunk area to herself.  We ordered this pop up “room” for her and also this pup up “litter box ” which I had planned on using as a litter box/feeding area for her so as to keep the pups and baby out of her space during our stays. To try and make her as comfortable as possible, we set up this pop up “room” for her in the back of the Subaru and she had the best seat in the house from the bay area to Montana. She was still pissed.

The insensate meowing was not working for us anymore, so we decided to give something else a try. Rearranging the car again, we put her in her carrier in the other back seat. Also, trying to make our activity toys (ie stroller, bike trailer, baby pack, etc) more accessible, we put the suitcases up top in the Thule rocket box and loaded the outdoor activity equipment into the trunk.

Wishing we had rented an RV, we headed toward Yellowstone.

On the Road Again,