Heads Go West, Things We Learned Along the Way

This was an incredible trip. 2 adults, a 10 month old little girl and a 2.5 yr old 70 lb dog. All stuck in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. From Brooklyn to Oakland, we traveled over 3,700 miles in 12 days. Road trips aren’t all fun and games (ok mostly if you have the right company). Here are a few of the things we learned along the way.


In a car full of 2 adults, a 10 month old child and a 2.5 year old Lab, it is the dog that will wind up being the biggest baby. You will learn the difference between the “Hey guys! I’m bored!” whine and the “Hey Guys, I’m about to empty my guts all over the backseat here! Pull over!!”

When traveling with a dog and baby, just assume that a “quick” stop for gas will take an hour: “Well, as long as we’re stopped, I might as well do a diaper change.  And as long as we’re doing that, I’ll give her a quick bottle.  Can you take Wally for a quick walk while I do that? Oh wait, I just need to use the bathroom real quick. By the way, can you grab me a water? Wally, get in the car…come on, get in the car, Wally.  Wait, what time is it?”

In Kansas, when you say “what is the taco special?” to the woman behind the counter, don’t be surprised at the quizzical looks you get. There is only 1 kind of taco. Beef. And it is not good.

Asheville, NC has some of the best beer we’ve ever tasted. Must. Go. Back.

A free continental breakfast goes a loooooong way when you spend a long time on the road. No matter where you are.

Gas station coffee is universally bad but necessary. I’m amazed that more people don’t get ill or contract some kind of lifelong illness from those individual creamers that sit out all day. What is that stuff? Seriously!

Sirius satellite radio is the best thing to happen to road trips since power steering and cruise control. 

One word – Utah. If you hear the word Utah and think Mormon temples and salt lakes, do yourself a favor and drive through Utah’s southwest. The combination of deserts and mountains will take you out of this world.

There were more Trump signs we saw along the way that we expected. Frightening. Please. God. No.

Marriott Towne Park Suites are all dog friendly and many 1 bedroom suites have separate sleeping areas for Mom/Dad and baby. Win/Win!

Between Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee gets the award for the most “omg, this is is so cool!” moments. Even all the beautiful scenery in the world can’t touch the feeling of standing in the same spot as Elvis and Johnny Cash.

While it is heavy and takes up a lot of room in the car, bringing your own pack n play for your child to sleep in nightly in is a must. Getting them used to sleeping it a week before you leave can save you a lot of headaches. And sleep. Depending on each and every hotel to provide a different kind of crib nightly is something we do not recommend if you like to sleep more than 2 hrs each night.

A shot of bourbon and a cold beer or two can wipe away the stresses of a day of travel in about 3 minutes flat. 

Getting dog hair out of your car after 12 days on the road is a fool’s errand. At this point, we just want to turn it into the dealer and ask for a new one.

An epic road trip can set you up for life with the ability to be a better road tripper for the rest of your life.  After 11 days of driving several hours a day, an hour drive to wine country will seem like a walk across the street. I hope it stays that way!

Being in the car for many hours a day can make you crazy. It can make you cranky. It can make you exhausted. And, if you’re lucky, it can confirm how lucky you are to be going through life’s adventures with the best family in the world.  Turns out, we’re lucky. 😉

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