Tag Archive: travel


Um…ok, so is anyone surprised that I wrote this blog back on March 16th, and went to bed without ever posting it, and then never blogged about our last day on the road at all?  Yeah, I didn’t think you would be. Well, here it is, albeit a little late:

Today was Day 4 of our 5 day trip. Yesterday was so non-eventful that I didn’t even bother to blog about it – and believe me, I am happy to be able to say that!

I’m to the point now where the days are all blending together, so I had to go back and consult a map before I could say this: yesterday we started off in Missouri, and traveled through Iowa and Nebraska, accidentally spent 10 or 15 minutes in Colorado (missed a turn!), and finished the day in Cheyenne, Wyoming. This morning we resumed our travels across southern Wyoming, dipped briefly into Utah, and started across Idaho.

As I said, yesterday was a pretty ho-hum day. The cats all behaved themselves, other than an occasional protest here and there. It rained some as we crossed Nebraska, and was pretty windy all day in general, but nothing awful. We took a short (accidental) detour over the Colorado border, but that only took us 10 minutes out of our way, and it allowed us to add another state to our “yeah, I’ve been there!” lists…

Up until today, all of our travels have taken place at fairly low elevations. Even when we crossed the mountains out in western Maryland, I don’t think we ever got above maybe 3,000 feet. Today, we hit the eastern Rockies, and learned something we didn’t previously know – cat’s don’t like crossing mountains. As we started our way up into the mountains, reaching elevations of over 7,000 feet, the cats all started to get more vocal. A lot more vocal. Apparently the change in elevation bothered their ears as much as it does ours (wow, who would’ve thunk it?), and telling them, “It’s ok, kitties, just yawn” didn’t seem to get the message across to them. Eventually everyone quieted down again, as we reached a point where we leveled out – everyone except Dinah, of course.

After awhile, I couldn’t take it anymore, and brought her into the front seat to sit in my lap. Oddly enough, that shut her up right away.

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After a few minutes of looking out the window and trying to convince me that letting her walk around the dashboard would be a great idea, Dinah snuggled up into my lap and went to sleep for about 2 hours.

At lunch time Dinah went (quietly) back into her carrier and stayed there…and this was right around the time that we noticed the low tire pressure light was lit up on the dash. The next time we stopped, my brother did a quick walk around the car, and said all of the tires looked ok, so we kept driving, not thinking much of it. When we stopped for gas a couple of hours later, the driver’s side rear tire was almost completely flat. Ruh-roh!

Thankfully, putting air in the tire got us to our hotel in Twin Falls, Idaho, but I have a feeling that the first thing on our agenda for tomorrow morning will be getting that tire fixed!

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Harley and Dinah enjoy the king-sized bed

Today was Day 2 on the road from Maryland to Oregon. So far, we’ve traveled through 7 states: Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana yesterday, and Indiana, Illinois and Missouri today.  I know everyone is waiting with baited breath to hear my horror stories about the nightmare that is traveling with 5 cats, but the truth is, so far these girls have been pretty darned good. We’ve had a few minor incidents, but, really, I was expecting a lot worse.

Yesterday we had a little carrying on in the car, mostly by Dinah (the demon-eyed tortie in the photo above).Today, there was hardly any at all. There were a couple of random bouts of meowing here and there, but for the most part the back seat was quiet.

Today, our two incidents both took place at hotels. This morning as we were preparing to leave Smoker’s Central (a.k.a. the La Quinta in east Indianapolis on Post Road), Dinah (why is it always Dinah???) decided to attempt a 6 or 7 foot jump from the sink located to the right of the front door to the shelf above the ‘closet’ area to the left of the front door. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a particularly major feat for her – I call her my little flying squirrel – except that in this case, the ‘shelf’ she was trying to reach wasn’t actually a solid platform. Instead, it was made up of metal bars with spaces in between each bar.

I saw the idea take root in her mind, but I was too far away to stop it. She jumped and fell, taking all of the towels that had been folded on top of the shelf with her, and then disappeared. She wasn’t on the shelf (of course), and I didn’t see any movement under the fallen towels…so I immediately think that she’s hurt herself badly, and oh no, where am I going to find a vet at this time of morning in Indiana? I quickly moved the towels to assess the damage…but she wasn’t under them. Um, where’d the cat go? I called her name, and looked around frantically, only to see her come walking towards me from the bed area as if nothing had happened. OMG.

Incident #2 happened after we reached the hotel in St. Joseph, Missouri this evening. My mother’s 3 cats, Isabel, Ivy and Sophia were with my brother in his room across the hall. (They aren’t quite friends yet with Harley and Dinah, so we have to keep them separated.) After about an hour, I got a text from my brother stating, “The cats made a mess in here.” Seems they were running around the room, chasing each other like wild things – probably just happy to be free from their carriers – and upended the (thankfully not yet used) litter box. He had to go borrow a broom from the front desk to clean up the mess.

So, in summary, I have to say that other than the mind-numbingly boring car ride and last night’s stinky hotel room, there’s not much to complain about on this trip. Just the thought of saying that on day 2 of 5, though, makes me cross my fingers and hope that I’m not jinxing myself.

I’d take some time now and tell you about how much better tonight’s hotel is than last nights – we’re staying at a Drury Inn and Suites, and it’s great! – but I see Dinah eyeing the top of the room’s armoire, and I can see the gears turning in her head, so I’d better go.

More tomorrow!

Day 1: The Move

This about sums it up:

Harley, after 10 hours in the car

Harley, after 10 hours in the car

It’s late and I’m tired, so I’ll sum today up with bullet points:

  • Woke up at 4:15am, and never got back to sleep
  • Drove my mother and daughter to the airport at 6:15am so they could FLY to Oregon. Biotches.
  • Got a late start on the road – 10am
  • The cats were surprisingly quiet…for the most part…except, of course, for my Dinah. She spent the first couple of hours on the road letting us know that she was not happy about this trip. And then decided that this idea needed reiteration off and on throughout the day.
  • I’m not sure exactly what Isabel was doing, but when I checked on her the first time, maybe an hour and a half after getting on the road, she’d somehow managed to scrape her nose and make it bleed a little.
  • We arrived safe and (relatively) sound in Indianapolis, Indiana at a little after 8pm.
  • I’ve decided that traveling with cats is just as bad as traveling with children. We’re staying in this hotel for 1 night, and we had to make two trips to get all of our junk into the rooms…and my second bed is almost completely full of stuff.
  • We got through the entire day with only 1 accident – toward the end of the day,  Harley peed a little in her carrier. I felt bad for her, because it seemed like she felt bad for doing it. Poor baby. I don’t blame her. I’d die if I had to hold it for 10 hours.
  • MIRACLE OF MIRACLES – HARLEY DID NOT POOP IN HER CARRIER!!!! Anyone who knows me knows that an amazing feat this is. Harley has a knack for pooping in her carrier roughly 37.8 seconds before we reach whatever destination we are driving towards – even if it’s only a 15 minute car ride to grandma’s.
  • We are in another La Quinta hotel. This one claims to be an entirely smoke-free building….and so far I haven’t experienced a part of it that does NOT smell like cigarettes.

There’s more, but I’m sleepy. (See bullet point #1)

Tomorrow’s a little bit shorter day, at just over 500 miles. We’re shooting to leave by 8:30 or 9am, and our next destination is St. Joseph, MO.

Adventures in France

I recently had the opportunity to chaperon the Peabody Children’s Chorus as they toured France. When I say recently, I mean we just got home on Monday. I’m still extremely jet-lagged and sleep deprived, so forgive me if I ramble. My CRS (that’s Can’t Remember Shit, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the syndrome) being what it is, I wanted to be sure and get this all down before I forget that I even left the country.

Day 1SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This actually spanned 2 days. We left at 5:35pm Friday, June 28th (after an hour and 20 minute weather delay), flew overnight, and landed at around 7am Saturday morning. Everyone was loaded on to two coaches, and then we got our first glimpse of Paris in the form of a 2 hour bus tour. It was rainy and the top of the Eiffel Tower was enshrouded in fog, but it was really neat to see. Our tour guide, Arianne, (I think that was her name, but I was half-asleep after not sleeping at all on the plane), was very entertaining and informative. She schooled us on the difference between Bobos and Hipsters, and pointed out every dog that we passed on the street. We even saw the back end of The Thinker as we passed by at 30 mph.

 

After our bus tour, we were dropped off in the heart of Paris, near Opera Garnier…for FOUR HOURS. Now, being given 4 hours of free time to do whatever you like might normally be a good thing, but when you’ve been traveling since yesterday and haven’t slept, it’s a little bit like Chinese water torture. We got lunch and wandered around the area, but really all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep for a month. Even the 5 shopaholic teens I was chaperon to were less than exuberant as they browsed through H&M. (Yes, of course they could shop there at home…you know it, I know it, they know it…but it’s in Paris, so it must be better than the one at home, right?)

Finally, free time was over. We got back on the buses and headed for our first hotel. After check in, we spent a little time cleaning up and settling in, then walked to dinner. After dinner, we had a chaperon meeting, policed the halls for a bit to make sure we didn’t have any escapees, then went to bed. That’s when we discovered 3 important things about the French:

  1. They don’t believe in air conditioning
  2. They don’t believe in putting screens on their windows
  3. They don’t sleep. Ever.

Because of #1, my roommate and I had the window open in our room, which is how we learned about #’s 2 and 3. France must have a low suicide rate, as they do not put any kind of screens on their hotel windows, nor do they restrict how far you can open them. I found this amusing, because after trying unsuccessfully to sleep that first night, I considered tossing myself out the open window. There was noise outside all night long – music from what sounded like an outdoor party not too far away, punctuated by the occasional loud voices and sometimes even yelling and screaming. Somewhere between 2 and 3am, I’d swear I heard what sounded like someone dragging a bag full of broken glass down the sidewalk. The rave-like music went on until around 6am.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDespite all that, I did manage to sleep for a few hours here and there, which is more than I can say for the second night.

One notable thing on our first day in the country – we saw a woman on a bicycle get hit by a car. (She was fine) Even though they drive on the right side of the road in France, I don’t think I would ever be comfortable driving there myself…at least not in the city. Silly things like lines on the street and road rules seem to be more like suggestions to the Parisians…

Coming up next:

Day 2: First Full Day in Paris