Cross Country Road Trip!
When Flying Lad was six months old we drove cross country, from Florida to California. Mom got a new job and Flying Lad’s brother (Not-Flying Dog) didn’t fly well, so we piled into the ’96 Accord, with whatever would fit in the trunk and started our road trip. A road trip with a baby. It took us about a week and this is the route we took. Not many people manage to bring an infant and a dog on such a long drive, but we did! And here’s what happened:
We made many stops along the way. Here’s a list of our top 5 favorite moments of the trip:
- Non-Flying Dog (Boscoe) usually *loves* car rides, but after about the second day of driving, Dad stopped to put gas in the car and so everyone could stretch their legs. Boscoe got out, did his business, and did not want to get back in the car. I think he’d had enough. Good thing he got back in the car, though, otherwise he would’ve
missed favorite moment number 4 (see below).
- Beale St. in Memphis. They don’t allow animals on Beale St., so Mom and Boscoe had to hang out on the patio at the Starbucks in a hotel near Beale St., but Dad and Flying Lad took a stroll down Beale St. and got a hamburger from a place that cooks them using 100 year old grease. Literally.
- Best thing my parents ate on the trip: kolaches from the Kolache Bakery Co. & Cafe in Amarillo note: Looks like the place has gone out of business 🙁 but if you’re looking for good eats, check out my tip below about tvfoodmaps.
- It was already dark when we arrived in Sedona. We drove down a dark winding road for a long time. Luckily we seemed to be behind a local so we could sort of follow their tail lights! When we
finally arrived at our hotel – the Sedona Rouge, we were very happy. We booked this room through Hotel Tonight, sight unseen, but it was an extremely nice property. The next morning, we strolled around the property and popped over to Safeway and Starbucks next door, before we hit the road. We did a little sightseeing in Sedona before continuing our trip. Dad kept making jokes about hippies being out in the desert spinning around with their heads back. But we didn’t see any of that. The twisted tree trunks and the sweeping vistas of red rock mountains and valleys was unlike anything we’d ever seen before. It was beautiful! The best part, though, was as we drove out of Sedona, we could now see the splendor we had driven through in the dark. Amazing! I couldn’t believe what we had missed on the drive in and I’m so glad we got to experience it on the way out. Sedona, we’ll be back! By the way – it gets cold in Arizona at night! We had to put Flying Lad in a makeshift papoose!
- Boscoe provided a lot of moments of joy, but there was nothing like the sight of him strolling through the lobby of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. We were quite a sight. Mom, Dad, Flying Lad, and Boscoe, trooping across the casino floor (Unfortunately not to gamble, to get to our car in the parking garage.) This stop also provided Flying Lad’s first trip to the Strip, sure not to be the last 😉 Before heading out, we hit up Hash House a Go Go for Chicken and Waffles!
- Breakfast at Embassy Suites is perfect for a road trip. Fill up and go–don’t miss it!
- We stayed at the Embassy Suites in both Atlanta and Little Rock.
Stop for lunch in Oklahoma City at Leo’s BBQ and it was everything you could have hoped for in OKC BBQ!
- We decided to take the northernmost route, which took us through Amarillo, to avoid having to do that long stretch through Western Texas. If we took the southernmost route, the time would have been about the same, but there would have been a long expanse of nothing to see or stay at. Going north allowed us to break up the trip such that Dad never had to drive more than 8 or 9 hours in one day.
- Use tvfoodmaps to see what noteworthy restaurants are along your route or in your vicinity when you make a stop. They even have a way to plan out your road trip now! We always enjoy trying out the places we see on TV.
- Become a AAA gold member. We got it for the peace of mind of knowing that if we broke down on our 3,000 mile road trip we could call AAA and they’d tow us to the nearest service station or give our battery a jump or provide whatever roadside assistance they could. We did take advantage of their travel services. Mom called as we were pulling into the Scottsdale area and asked them to help us find a place to stay for the night and the person on the other end let her know that Sedona was just 25 miles out of the way and there was a nicer hotel there for a more reasonable rate. So glad we called! (see favorite moment #4 above).
- Bring your baby’s favorite distraction. Flying Lad’s was this really creepy witch that had light up eyes and spoke. We don’t know why. But it also worked as theft deterrent for the car! We also listened to the opening theme from Lilo & Stitch about 10,000 times.
Finally, we made it to our new home in California. It took about 8 days, with a good chunk of driving each day followed by a night of resting. Dad did the whole thing and found it “wasn’t near as bad as (he) thought it would be”. There were tons of beautiful sights along the way, some surprising (Arkansas is a beautiful state!), and there were a lot of things we wanted to stop and see, but couldn’t either for time’s sake, baby’s sake, or because we had a dog. Would we do a long road trip again? Maybe! Flying Lad is older now so we’d be able to stop more places and enjoy more things. But we’d probably only do it if we were moving again.