Whenever there is some new change in my life about to happen, it seems daunting. When I take a long trip, sometimes it’s hard for me to believe I’m actually going to make it to the end. As my husband will tell you, I’m slightly a pessimist at heart. I just call myself a ‘realist.’ Regardless, the journey ahead of us upon leaving Clio, Michigan seemed almost impossible– until I got on the road. That first turn of the wheels is always the hardest, I guess. Whenever I thought I couldn’t make it, I always started thinking about those adventurers– Lewis and Clark, Amelia Earhart, Alexander the Great, etc– who walked or flew or rode horseback through their adventures. I was embarking on a journey thousands of others have accomplished, on a road of asphalt, and in a luxury SUV– it wouldn’t be nearly as difficult as those early adventures.
Our first day of driving would come out to be about 434 miles (698.5km) and end in Madison, Wisconsin. We started in Clio going I-69S, speeding away from a thunderstorm that looked like the start of Dorothy’s tornado in The Wizard of Oz. S and I had discussed extensively about our rest stops because I have a tendency to guzzle my beverages and need to use the restroom every 10-20 minutes. We were both really concerned about this because it definitely would put a damper on our travel time management. Fortunately, I didn’t have anything to worry about. I kept track of how much I drank and Callie took care of the rest– we had to stop about every 2-4 hours for her so it worked out great for me.
Our first rest stop was at the Indiana Welcome Center. It was HOT! The temperature was around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity, and found out Callie hated high temperatures just as much as she hated the cool mornings in Michigan. We also had to remember she was only 9 weeks old and hadn’t really had a chance to learn how to deal with different types of weather.
We stopped at a Panera Bread for lunch and quickly realized having Callie was going to make eating more of a process. Even though we hadn’t thought it through for this first stop, we were fortunate because the Panera Bread was right next door to a funeral home that was closed on Sundays. Behind the funeral home was a large grassy area with a big pine tree and we had ourselves a little picnic, let Callie eat, and tried to get her to play even though she was obviously not enjoying the heat. Before leaving, I looked up pet-friendly hotels in Madison and made a reservation at Holiday Inn Express Madison for around $110 ($20 for pet fee). This was the first and last comfortable bed and nice hotel we would get to stay in during our trip.
Just before Chicago, we saw we should have taken I-294 after Gary, Indiana (instead of staying on 94), and then 88E to 39N to bypass Chicago and Indiana’s multitude of toll roads. I usually don’t mind toll roads so much, but there were so many of them and if we exited the highway for a rest stop, we had to pay when we got back on. Also, although there were many that were manned, there were a few that were just to drop coins in. Well, after the 7th toll, I didn’t have any coins. I’m pretty sure S and I are wanted in Indiana due to toll violations.
Callie turned out to be a wonderful travel dog. She would just sleep for hours and then wake up and look like the picture to the right and we would stop and let her go to the bathroom. She didn’t have an accident in either vehicle the entire trip. It was definitely an interesting way to housebreak her as well. It was good planning on our part that we started the trip immediately upon getting her, because she grew quite fast and we had to carry her from the hotel room to the grass outside whenever she needed to go to the bathroom, so it was nice she was kind of small during the trip. I couldn’t imagine having to do that now– we would just have had a lot of accidents to clean up in the hotel hallways. We did learn rather quickly to ask for a room on the first floor near an outside door when we made our reservations though.
Next– Wisconsin! There were some beautiful stretches of road…(and I didn’t see ANY cheese!)