Friday, July 29, 2011

Andie's Big Adventure: Planning the Road Trip

We are down to the one month mark. Minus a couple of days, even. I do not have butterflies in my stomach, I have bats. But we have made even more planning progress, which helps. We still don't have the ferry situation completely resolved, but it's close enough that we thought it best to go ahead and plan the road trip and make reservations for the stops along the way. Captain Pete has graciously made arrangements for Dinky to stay in his crate on a lower deck where we can visit him a few times. The only hitch right now is that I'm not 100 per cent sure where he'll be able to powder his nose, as it were. But we're assuming that Captain Pete knows that he won't be able to hold it for 15 hours, and there will be somewhere for him to go.

So yesterday, Pootie pulled up Google maps and got to work. The first call didn't go all that well. Remember, we've got a hundred and thirty pounds of dog in tow.

What did the vet mean when he said I was "phat"?
Hotels sometimes think they don't want giant dogs eating Doritos in the bed and watching the Weather Channel. I have no idea why. But it makes sense to mention the size of the animal when you're making reservations. Unfortunately, Pootie hadn't quite got the hang of it when he started.

Pootie (on the phone with Hampton Inn's 800 reservation number): Yes, I need to make a reservation. This Hampton indicates it takes pets and we'll be traveling with our Bernese Mountain Dog.
Phone guy: whaa hwaa whaa whaa whwaa whaaa wha
Pootie: Uh... about a hundred and thirty pounds...?
Phone guy: wha whaaa wha waa wha whaa whwaa whaaa
Pootie: Oh. OK. (hangs up) They won't take dogs that big.
Me: Did you call the hotel itself?
Pootie: Yeah... but they said they were busy, so they'd call me back or I could call the 800 number...
Me: Give me the local number for the hotel.
Me: Good morning. Could I speak to the manager please? Thanks... Hello? Yes, we're traveling with our Bernese Mountain Dog and would like to make a reservation. He's about 130 pounds, but he's older and pretty sedentary. I was wondering if you might be able to accomodate us?
Manager: Oh, sure. That would be fine. Would you like me to make the reservation for you? I'll just make a note on here for you.
Me: That would be great. Thanks.

And now I have passed along my wisdom to Pootie (and anyone else who needs it here). It doesn't always work, of course, but if you need to have an exception made, go straight to someone who can make it, and don't rely on the first schmoe who answers the phone. They aren't given the authority to make decisions and most of the time, they won't go out of their way to find someone who does.

The rest of the reservations went great. So we are stopping outside Baltimore, Maryland.

Then on to Mystic, Conneticut. (Which is just KILLING Pootie since we won't have time to actually see anything.)

Then to Camden, Maine, where we spent our honeymoon.

It was a LONG time ago. Yes, I know that dress doesn't fit. I was in borrowed clothes because the airline lost our luggage.

Then on to Moncton, New Brunswick (we'll be in Canada, by then, in case you haven't figured that out.)

Wow. That looks like a pretty big place.
Then to Sydney, Nova Scotia (not Australia - that's way too long a drive.) We catch the ferry there.

Dinky will be one one of those below decks. He's fussed that he didn't get his own cabin.

Then we take the very long ferry ride to Newfoundland and when we land, we drive an hour and a half to St. John's.

In case any of you are wondering about all the water, and I haven't already mentioned it, Pootie is going up there to start the PhD program in Maritime History. That ought to make a bit more sense of all the wet stuff.

So now we have several point Bs to go with our point A (here at home), and I feel better. Marginally.

Tomorrow we start mapping out the most important part of any road trip.

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