My trip to Myrtle Beach with Leroy was the longest trip that we’ve ever taken together. Up until last week the farthest that Leroy and I had ever traveled was to Kentucky for a dog show. That was about a 5 hour trip and my husband was with us. We more than doubled that travel time this past week and we did it by ourselves.
I’m not going to lie, traveling alone with Leroy for an 11 hour drive to a conference 4 states away had me a little nervous. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, I knew we would have obstacles to over come but I also knew it would be a very rewarding experience for both of us, and I was right, it was all of that.
Packing for myself was easy. I had 1 bag packed to the top with everything I needed. Leroy had 4 bags. I tried my best to think ahead of anything that he would need, not just everyday stuff but also the just in case stuff.
- Boiled chicken because I had a feeling he wasn’t going to eat.
- Medications in case he had an IBD flare up.
- All grooming tools including scissors, nail trimmers, quik stop.
- Extra bags to put dog hair in
- Bib, a roll of paper towels, big bath towel for under his bowls.
- Treats. 3 different kinds of treats plus rice cakes
- 2 food bowls and a water bowl
- Bag of ice
- Jug of water
- 2 cases of water in case we got stranded
- Dog ramp
- Dog food for a week which was 14 Ziplock bags of food.
- Battery powered fan.
- 2 rolls of poop bags
- Portable fan
Besides my clothes and essentials, I also brought myself 4 cans of Pepsi to try and squeeze into Leroy’s cooler. No snacks for me unless I got desperate and wanted some cold boiled chicken.
I took my husband’s truck because my car would have never made it. There was plenty of room for Leroy in the back seat but all the luggage had to go in the passenger seat. My husband did have a tool box that on the back of the truck but removed it before the trip because I didn’t want it on there. Thinking back, I really should of left that on for someplace to store our bags but I didn’t want to mess with that. The dog ramp was in the bed of the truck with 2 cases of water weighting it down. I didn’t want a ramp flying out of the truck when we were going through the mountains.
To be blunt, the drive down sucked. It was hot and humid the entire way. I was expecting it to be hot once we got to the Carolina’s but as luck would have it, the day we left Ohio it was 90 degrees and humid. Of course the truck had air conditioner that was set to the coldest temperature possible but it was still a bit on the warm side.
Rest areas were an obstacles. I had planned that I would get out and use the bathroom first. The truck has remote start so the air was still blasting while I ran to the bathroom. It literally took me less than 2 minutes to pee because I was paranoid leaving Leroy in the truck. People in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina must of thought that I had to poop really bad by the way I was running to the bathroom but it was just because I had a dog in the truck and didn’t want anyone to smash the windows. Another issue was letting Leroy out. It was hot and humid, so getting him out of the truck every 2 hours and putting him back in took a toll on both of us. Thinking back, I should of stopped less.
The dog ramp was another obstacle. In most cases you use a dog ramp in the back area of the car but since I had the truck ,I had to use the ramp on the side. This made parking an issue because I had to have enough room to extend the ramp so that Leroy could use it. Leroy is VERY particular how the ramp is set up. The incline has to be just right for him to go up it without needing a kick in the butt. Luckily at each stop I was able to find an end parking spot with just enough room to set up the ramp.
Finding a Pet Friendly Hotel.
I had planned out our trip before we left on Go Pet Friendly’s Road Trip Planner. We were suppose to stop in Virgina and stay over night in a Red Roof Inn. I had called ahead to verify that big dogs were allowed and they stayed for free. However, we were making very good time so I decided to drive into North Carolina to make our trip shorter the following day. Bad mistake.
Little did I know that for that stretch, pet friendly hotels were basically non-existent. 2 1/2 hours later I was panicking trying to find a hotel that Leroy and I could stay at. At one point I got off the highway and stopped at 4 different hotels but none allowed big dogs. With darkness coming on fast I sped on. Finally I saw a sign for a Red Roof Inn and immediately exited. At first glance it appeared that we weren’t in the best of areas but pure exhaustion allowed me to overlook that.
Leroy and I got our room and settled in for the night.
The next day we hit the road late morning and arrived in Myrtle Beach just after noon. I realized just when we were about to get to the hotel that the Sheraton at Myrtle Beach was pet friendly to dogs up to 80 pounds so I had a little anxiety about that but thankfully we were greeted at the hotel with big smiles from fellow bloggers and the friendly staff at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach. Leroy was just happy to see the tile floor.
Leroy was not a fan of the elevators and each time we had to use it he hung his head low. It had been so long that I forgot he wasn’t a fan of them.
As far as the convention center goes, it was a bit humid in many of the areas that we spent time in. I’m not sure if anyone else realized it but these are things I pay close to attention when I have one of the boys with me. The exhibit hall was the coolest area in the hotel so we tried to hang there a lot.
I had a backpack everywhere we went and it had a water bowl and a jug of water. After the first day I ditched the jug and just filled the bowl up as needed from the bathrooms. Water bowls were set up around the center but it was nice to have a bowl on hand when we were in a room. I tried to be as respectful as I could with the drool and always had a roll of paper towels and a towel on hand. We did have a bib but that only lasted for one day.
I also had a portable fan which would of come in handy if I wouldn’t of forgot about it and a cooling mat will definitely be a travel essential on our next road trip. I have 2 of the at home, just forgot to bring one.
Getting From Point A to Point B
As I’m sure anyone with a Newfoundland knows, getting from point A to point B can sometimes be a challenge. This was the case for us but it was great to able to talk with so many people who have never seen a Newfie before. We were asked the normal Newfie questions and had numerous chances to educate people on the breed. One of the most asked questions was about Leroy’s color. Many people don’t realize that Newfoundlands can be other colors other than black. It was also a great experience for new and old blogging friends to finally meet Leroy in person. Seeing their expressions was priceless for me.
While Leroy was with me for most of the conference, he did spend some time chilling out in the room. We got into a system where he come down for a few hours and then rest for a few hours. It was a good system and I think it worked well for both of us. He did refuse to eat the first day so I’m glad that I had the boiled chicken to entice him. After the second day he was back to eating normal and I was super relieved that the stress and heat didn’t set off any diarrhea.
Going to the bathroom was sometimes an obstacle because it’s not like bathroom stalls are made for a person AND a 150 pound dog. Luckily, I was surrounded by people that I trusted to watch my dog for a few minutes. “I gotta pee, can you watch him?” was said at least 2 dozen times.
He’s Not Allowed Here
We were asked to leave the hotel bar one evening. It was made clear to us before the conference that dogs were not allowed in the bar or restaurant according to South Carolina law, but they were allowed to be just outside of the bar area on the tile. This is where we were but we were still told by the bartender that Leroy couldn’t be there. I think that this was just a miscommunication between hotel staff because dogs were seen in the bar throughout the conference and dogs were even in the bar at the time we were there. We did wind up staying, because members of the BlogPaws staff were with us and advised us to stay, but it was a sore spot with me because I feel like Leroy was singled out because he was big.
So while we faced many obstacles, I wouldn’t trade our trip for the world. It was a great bonding experience for the both of us and I’m glad we had this time to spend together. I think I had most things covered and was well prepared but it was a learning experience.
Our trip home was much easier. The weather was cooler and Leroy was exhausted. We were able to complete the trip home in 11 hours.