Every now and again I start thinking my life is pretty standard and boring. And then suddenly I'm planning a cross country road trip, while pregnant, with my nearly 2 year old. Now, I assume the universe threw this at me because I used the word "never." I will never drive across Canada in the middle of winter with 2 dogs while pregnant again. I assumed it was such a specific "never" scenario that surely I was safe. Plus Travis did have to drive Dinger (the mastiff) across Canada in the winter again. Surely that was close enough to lightning striking twice that if I said "never again" I was still safe from the universe having the last word. Alas, the universe wins again. This time I get to make a trip cross country to pick up Dinger. Once again, pregnant. No Roxi or Travis this time, but plus a nearly 2 year old. Should be easy enough, right? Now let me explain how this became my life.
So if you'll recall my earlier post about our move from Alaska to Nevada, we have a huge dog. In reality he's actually a tiny mastiff. Only 130 or 140 pounds depending on how spoiled he has been before being weighed. That's on the small side for a female mastiff, this is why his original name was Pipsqueak. But in any case, all airlines have put him in the snub nosed breed category (completely ridiculous as he is not a snub nosed breed but whatever, we can't win that arguement) and will not fly him cargo. Except United. The caveat is that they will fly him only to and from certain cities because his kennel is so big it can only fit on specific planes. This is why Travis had to drive him from Alaska to the lower 48 to ship him off to his parents' farm while we did the house buying thing. So now it was time to get him back, since all had settled after the move and miscarriage and whatnot, we booked him a flight to San Francisco. That is a 5 hour drive away. We picked the 4th of July because no one would have to take time off. We would do an overnight trip and have a good mini vacay. It went wrong on the evening of the 3rd, quite literally as we were walking out the door with Roxi and her kennel to leave her with a friend for a couple nights while we went to San Francisco.
Now I have to rant here. I HATE United with a burning passion. On the list of companies I hate, United is #1. Followed by United as #2. Then comes Comcast and #3, Priceline and #4 etc etc. Lost luggage, delayed and cancelled flights....things almost always go wrong with United. I fly them only when I have no choice. My Google news feed sends me nearly daily, "United Airlines messed up again today," stories.
So we have had this trip for Dinger booked for weeks. I have a toddler in one hand, a plate of brownies in the other and as I'm locking the door Travis says, "Hold on, I just got a message from my dad that the cargo drop off in Detroit it closed for the 4th." And did I mention, around this time the cell phone service went out because one of three wildfires around here burned down a cell phone tower. Long story short, after Travis spent a good hour on the phone with United reps who got annoyed with him (they are sooooo lucky they didn't have to chat with me) there was nothing they could do to reschedule the flight. Why were we not notified earlier? Because they had typos in Travis' contact email. We also learned that they would not actually fly him out of Detroit because they had also entered a typo in the kennel dimensions we provided. Sweet. So we went from getting our dog back in 24 hours with minimal fuss, to absolutely no one would fly our dog across the country. No one can take enough time off work to drive him from Michigan to Nevada. So I began making plans for a 5 day (that's only one way) trek to Michigan and back. I figured I would take breaks in Colorado at my family's place and again in Michigan at Travis' family's house. It worked out to be a 3 week trek with 10 days of driving. And I have to leave pronto, like, Monday. Because we want to have some time to settle Dinger in before we go on our vacation to Michigan. The one we have planned in August, the only time we can go before I'm too pregnant. The only time Travis and Lyra will get to see a good portion of family this year. I even thought about working my trip around that but we came up with something better.
After hours of planning and discussion and contacting friends and family, it has turned into a 2 week long vacation to Colorado/roadtrip with my brother. I am actually excited to go now. I mean, I don't think I would do this just for fun if I didn't have to right now, but still. So here's the rundown of the epic journey to come.
It takes 2 days of driving to get to Colorado. I will rot Lyra's brain with TV and bribe her with junk food along the way. I'm totally buying a car dvd player. We even get to stop and see friends the one night we have on the road. I mean, I wasn't terrified to stay alone in a hotel with Lyra, but the extra security of staying in a friend's house is super awesome. Plus Lyra can meet a new buddy that evening to get some energy out.
Next step, we stay in Colorado for a few days to recover. That brings us to the weekend. I will leave Lyra for one overnight with my parents (my mom just proved she can handle Lyra overnight) while my brother and I drive to Nebraska. Travis' mom happens to have enough time off that she will drive 2 days to bring Dinger to Nebraska and then 2 days back to Michigan. Also, one of my good old school family friends happens to be in Nebraska, perfectly placed to meet for dinner. The kind of friend whose family calls and says, "Hey we are leaving tomorrow to come visit, is that cool?" Seriously that happened once. So par for the course to text this guy and say, "Hey so I'm coming through your town in like a week and half, can we chill?" And then text back an hour later and say, "Oh and my brother and mother and law and psycho dog are coming too. Just fyi."
So then with Dinger in tow, my brother and I will head back to Colorado, taking ridiculous pictures and video along the say. Then I'll spend some time visiting friends and family and keeping Lyra out of cars before driving the 2 days home. I will make a couple weeks of my first trimester fly by, Lyra will only have 4 days of car travel, and I won't have to be gone the better part of a month. Our only other option was to set Dinger loose, homeward bound style. He'd probably end up in Alaska though.
Oh did I mention my morning sickness sometimes makes me carsick? Wish me luck, guys. Send me all the toddler appropriate audiobook and podcast recommendations.