Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Final Trip: What a drive!

Have Winnie will travel.
Rilley's Winnie-the-Pooh has accompanied him on every trip to Minneapolis.

This is the first post detailing Rilley's final visit to the University of Minnesota.  The trip ended up being quite hectic and left little time for me to update the blog while we were away.  Now that I've had a day to recover, I can begin by writing about the drive to Minneapolis.  One thing that made it interesting was that it was just me, travelling alone with Rilley and the kids, as Sara had to stay behind to work.  This proved to make everyday quite hectic as I always had to plan everything around running out to the store and leaving them in a hotel room alone.  Sorry Rilley, I can't really trust you to be an effective babysitter!

The kids and I left home around noon and drove the first six hour stretch to Kalamazoo, Michigan where I had booked us a room at the Best Western Plus.  This is the same hotel we had stayed in when the four of us made the trip last May.  They not only accept pets, but for a regular hotel they have easy access to the outside.  Whenever Rilley needed out, there was a door at the bottom of the stairs that I could use to get out and back in.  So no waiting on an elevator and no need to make our way to the lobby every time.  This night the kids discovered their new favourite pizza, the "All Meaty" from Jets, a local pizzeria whose ad was in the room.  The pizza was quite good and given Rilley's constant drooling, I think he really, really wanted a bite...sorry buddy.
Elizabeth and Rilley getting comfortable.
We got up to watch The Early Show as I had posted about the last time.  However, if anyone else did watch the show they will have noticed that Drs. Ohlfest and Pluhar were nowhere to be seen.  As is inherent in television news, something can always come up and that is just what happened...another story bumped theirs. However, The Early Show producers have assured Dr. Pluhar that the story will air and once they provide her with a new air date she will pass it along and I, in turn, will post it here.
Rilley enjoying the ride.
We were on the road again around 9:30am to complete the remaining 10 hours of driving to Minneapolis.  I had checked the weather prior to leaving the hotel and took note of the high winds expected as we got closer to Lake Michigan.  In the end, the winds were not a major concern but rather the snow storm that we hit beginning in Belvidere, Illinois and lasting well into Wisconsin.  It felt like the middle of February!  Some of the road conditions did make the girls nervous, but fortunately for us, after a few hours of winter driving, the weather, as well as the roads, cleared right up.
Just after entering Wisconsin.
The same state...a few hours later.
I must admit for a lot of the drive I almost forgot that Rilley was in the Jeep at all.  He really seems to have taken to travelling.  We had set up his bed on a special "dog hammock" to help keep him from falling into the space between the back and front seats.
Katherine and her favourite pup!
Around 5:30pm we arrived in the Twin Cities.  Here I also booked us into the same hotel as the last trip...the Marriott Residence Inn in the Minneapolis suburb of Eagan.   Just as the hotel in Kalamazoo, this hotel was picked because it has easy access to the outside for Rilley.

So, that about sums up the journey to Minneapolis. It was definitely more comfortable having one less person in the car, however it really felt strange travelling such a distance without Sara.

Thursday didn't turn out as expected...but we'll save that story until tomorrow.

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