We did in fact make it back to Dallas! Despite not having a triumphant blog post last Friday -- or even a couple days after -- we did make it and were so happy to be home!
With a packed U-haul, car-in-tow, two cats, and a warm cup of coffee in our bellies, we began the (half) cross country drive Wednesday night -- just hours after my plane landed in Richmond.
Everything we had worried about seemed to work out just fine -- There was plenty of room for us and all the belongings, Adam drove the truck and trailer like a pro, everything was safe and secure, and the roads were clear. We did, however, completely underestimate the difficulty of traveling with two cats. After about 5 minutes in the truck, I almost broke down and was certain we weren’t going to make it. Despite drugging the kitties -- with prescribed meds from the vet, no worries, it was safe -- they would not settle down. They were typical curious cats and jumping all over the van, onto the dashboard, crawling under your legs, jumping in your lap and digging their claws into you at every bump. The car also turned them into completely different animals and they acted like enemies hissing and trying to fight each other. This was certainly not going to work for the next 48 hours!
After realizing neither would settle down, we pulled out the pet carrier and put Simba, the least affected by the meds, inside. We made a little bed on top for Pima and prayed they would settle down -- Success! The meds eventually kicked in and Pima finally fell asleep after some reassuring and attention. Simba was contained, albeit against his will, but at least he wasn’t roaming around anymore. The one problem -- he cried the entire time! We realized there was nothing we could do about it at this point, so we turned up the music and assured him everything was fine. We made it a few hours before reaching our first ‘rest stop’ in the south-west corner of VA.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat, filled up with gas, and were back on the road! We drove a few more hours and finally stopped in Dublin, VA for the night. There weren’t a lot of choices for hotels at this point and we were forced to settle on a non-pet friendly place to stay.
After securing the room, we started to brainstorm about sneaking the little kitties and their littler box in. Luckily, it was so late and there was a side entrance, so we managed to get them in without any trouble or worker run-ins. We had no idea; however, that little Simba would continue his whining and ugly streak all through the night. He literally cried every 5 minutes and would not stop trying to fight his brother. Finally, at 5am, he was banished to the car to cry as loud as he wanted so we could get a couple hours of sleep before a very long day in the truck.
Sneaking little Pima out the next morning turned out to be quite the task. Maids were all over the halls by the time we were ready to leave and just begging to clean our room. They were practically waiting outside our door since they knew we were loading up the car and checking out. As a good-girl-rule-follower, I almost had a heart attack when I realized I would most likely be seen with a cat and be a known rule breaker!
Like the most awkward person in the world, I stepped into the hallway and pretended to be waiting on Adam until I could be assured the maid would be busy in another room. She kept asking if we were leaving and wanted to come to our room, so I continued my awkwardness and managed to keep her away. As soon as she gave up on our room, I rushed to grab little Pima, motioned for Adam and we took off almost jogging down the hall to the stairwell. We got him in the car and just needed to go back for the litter box and pet carrier -- both obvious signs there was an animal in the room, so I was still filled with some major rule breaking anxiety! I took a deep breath, we went back upstairs, and we carried out the same plan -- a little more awkwardness and Success! Once everything was out of the room, I was very relieved and could finally relax again.
We made another stop for food and gas and were back on the road! Here is what we saw for most of our morning drive -- SNOW! Being born and raised in Texas, it was quite enchanting for the first few hours. The novelty of it, however, was quickly lost every time I had to get out of the car and couldn’t feel any part of my face or extremities -- I may exaggerate a bit, but it truly was COLD!
In just a couple short hours, we saw our first signs of travel progress -- Tennessee!
My pictures aren’t super great since all were taken from a moving vehicle, but the color and gloominess is quite accurate. It snowed the entire first half of the day and through half of Tennessee. By the afternoon, I was thrilled to see some clear skies!
I tried my hardest to get my lovely driver to stop in Nashville for a sweet treat at Gigi’s -- it was just 10 minutes from the highway! -- but he refused when he learned a new store had just opened in Dallas and it wasn’t something exclusive to Nashville. I should have kept my mouth shut and acted totally surprised when we came across the one in Dallas. But seriously, check out their website and you’ll see why I was dying to stop. Plus, the Nashville store was the original, so there was some significance. Anyway, we kept on driving straight through Nashville until the sun went down.
Due to several recommendations, we stopped in Memphis for some good ‘ol bar-b-que from Corky’s. Despite living in Texas, I’ve never been a huge fan of bbq, but that night it sounded and tasted delicious! While at dinner, we did some destination mapping and planning and decided we could make it to Little Rock that night and have just 5 or 6 hours left to drive on Friday. Back on the road again, and just a little ways after Memphis, we saw our next signs of travel progress -- Arkansas!
I know that picture is AWFUL, but it’s the only one that has signs saying “Welcome to Arkansas” -- I promise, that’s what those blurry squares say! With just a couple hours left until Little Rock, we decided to spare myself another heart attack and called around to find a pet-friendly place to stay. We had a lot more success this time around with our pre-planning and I was relieved I didn’t have to do any more sneaking and rule breaking.
We brought Simba in for some food and water and to see if he’d learned to be nice, but quickly realized he was back to his whining and fighting ways. After purchasing enough hand warmers to heat a house, we made him a warm bed with blankets, pillows, and hand warmers all around, and settled him into the car for the night. We knew we couldn’t go two nights in a row without sleep and it was not going to be possible with him crying and fighting all night. He snuggled up on his warm bed and finally slept -- either the drugs kicked in or he finally gave up, but he slept -- woohoo!
The next morning was the most exciting because we knew we’d be in Texas that day! We left the hotel uneventfully -- since the kitties were allowed to be there this time -- and began the last leg of our drive. Arkansas wasn’t too enchanting but we were thankful the snow had stopped and it was sunny.
This part of the drive was pretty unexciting until we caught our first glimpses of Texas. We must have missed the welcome sign, but there was no doubt we’d crossed the border -- minus the snow, that’s a little more unusual for us.
We had just one more stop to make before this road trip would be complete. As any Texan knows, Dairy Queen is the Texas stop sign and no road trip is complete without stopping for a blizzard. So, despite the freezing temperatures and snow still on the ground, we stopped for lunch and dessert and completed our trip :) Since I did not get my cupcake, there was no way I was skipping this blizzard!
It only got better when we saw our first signs of downtown Dallas -- Thank you Rockwall, for this lovely view of the Dallas skyline complete with a picturesque lake in front.
We were home -- finally! After 3 days, 4 states, two drugged-up kitties, dozens of pit stops and one delicious blizzard, our road trip was complete. I must say, once we got the kitty situation sorted out, the drive really wasn’t bad, of course, I was just the passenger -- Adam may feel differently :) I don’t think another trip like this is in either of our near futures, but if something unexpected should happen and we must make a similar journey, we have learned much from this adventure and would get through it like old pros.