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On the road, with a dog


jgm
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As I mentioned in another forum, we will, within about roughly the next month, be driving from Kansas to the Orlando, FL area. Our anticipated route will take us through Tulsa, Little Rock, Memphis, Birmingham (probably an overnight stay there), Atlanta, and then down to north of Orlando.

We will try to make the trip in two days. This is not a pleasure trip; it's to attend a funeral. We want to minimize our travel time so as to maximize our time at our destination.

If you have recommendations for specific restaurants along that route, we'd be interested in hearing them.

More importantly, though, is figuring out how to get good meals that don't require sitting in a restaurant for an hour. The problem is our dog, Fred, who will be in the back seat. Unless the weather becomes unseasonably cool, it will be too hot to leave him for more than a couple of minutes. (Black car. Inside and out. ) Leaving the dog behind is not an option. We don't have a suitable place to do that; he won't eat if we're not around; and it's bad enough losing one family member without leaving our first born child behind. And my sister-in-law, by the time we get there, will need the pet therapy. So here we go!

So how do we do this without succumbing to eating in fast food hell? I have enough time to plan to take a little food. I also like to try to eat a low-cholesterol, low-salt diet, although those requirements may have to give a little for the sake of convenience. We also will have enough room to take maybe one regular size cooler, plus a smaller one to hold drinks.

General ideas, and specific recommendations alike, would be appreciated. I know we'll eat at McDonald's at least once on the way out and once on the way back; Fred loves their fries. I figure I can deal with their salads if I take my own dressing. I'm looking for other creative ways to blend take-along food with whatever we can find, and have some good meals.

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While we don't have a dog, we do have three kids, and one is Heidi. Although she is permitted in restaurants, it is difficult because people stare and we have to restrain her in her chair (the comments, you know).

So, when we're on a road trip, I've learned a few tricks. Pack a couple of plates, forks and spoons, and plastic glasses. Make sure you have a cooler.

Deli's and grocery deli counters can become your best friends.

You'll find you might be best off picking up food at delis and groceries and eating at local parks. Also don't overlook a small bag of Kingsford and some newspaper. Many parks have bbq's, and a homemade burger on a toasted bun or a grilled steak -- cut chosen and grilled by you -- just might taste good, and meet the dietary requirements, as well as being a lot kinder on the pocketbook. Just look what BryanZ did over here! You don't have to be nearly that elaborate or bring as much stuff as he did!

Another advantage of meals in a park is that the dog can run and you can bring a blanket and lay and look at a different sky!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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jgm~

What Susan said.......and altho I don't have any recs as to restaurants along the way that will make your life easier, I envy you a roadtrip with Fred. I LOVE travelling with my guys, but it IS difficult. They get such a kick out of it............

Good luck.

K

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We've logged tens of thousands of miles of cross-country driving with our bulldog, in every extreme of temperature, and have always been able to make it work. It's really the sun that you're worried about, but the sun goes down at night and so does the ambient temperature. At that point, the weather, even in the South in the summer, is often cool enough for the dog to be just fine in the car, windows open, in the parking lot, in view of your table by the window of a restaurant. We use a car harness that attaches to the seatbelt, so there's no flight risk.

Outdoor dining is another option, available at most barbecue places and lots of cafes as well. And I'll second the recommendation of dining in park-type areas, or even rest areas. Depending on how they're constructed, you may even find a McDonald's in a rest area that has nice outdoor shaded picnic tables as part of the complex.

Of course, when you do your overnight stay you can leave the dog in an air-conditioned hotel room.

In desperate situations, we have even been known to leave the car running with the A/C on. As long as you have two sets of keys and can see the car from your table this is not a big problem, unless you have one of those cars that explodes if you let it idle too long. Yes, it's horrible wasteful of gasoline, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Condolences, jgm. Fred will be a comfort to all of you.

I know we'll eat at McDonald's at least once on the way out and once on the way back; Fred loves their fries. 

:laugh::laugh::laugh: Love it!

The late, great Josie made many long trips with us by car. She was a Lab, and a ridiculously energetic one, so we did lots of rest-stop/picnic area dining so we could walk/run her. Some of the best food we got was when stopping for gasoline somewhere -- not a 'travel plaza,' just off the highway. We'd find a smallish diner or deli and get the food to go; usually someone could tell us where the closest picnic area was.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Condolences, jgm.  Fred will be a comfort to all of you.
I know we'll eat at McDonald's at least once on the way out and once on the way back; Fred loves their fries. 

:laugh::laugh::laugh: Love it!

Amusing, yes, but I see right through it. Clearly Fred is taking the fall for jgm's rationlization for eating at McD's :wink: Shame on you for exploiting that poor innocent animal. :biggrin:

On my recent trip westward, I took a few sandwiches, ziplocs with bite-sized watermelon and canteloupe cubes, cauliflower, cukes, carrots. Had I a co-pilot, I would have probably taken something relatively healthy (plain yogurt w/herbs?) to dip the vegetables into, but I was hell-bent on getting there (in one piece) so simpler was better. Pita is good for driving sandwiches (if you're careful not to put a hole in it during construction). Oh, and some fat-free tiny twists (pretzels) for those times when I ate out of boredom more than hunger (yes, there were many).

I prefer guilt-free eating unless there's something special worth a splurge and most of what I find along the main highways these days isn't all that special.

Also, I just posted this on BryanZ's thread about keeping foie frozen but, to repeat, consider using half-gallon plastic milk jugs filled with water and frozen, instead of ice. They last a long time and don't melt and drown your food like ice will. I bet they'll last most of the two days down and you can re-freeze them at the inlaws for the trip back.

If you hit Memphis at meal time, I would think one of their famous 'cue places would be a must. I seem to remember Mr. jgm likes bbq and one of you could easily run in and grab sandwiches or a rack of ribs to be consumed at a nearby park. You are packing handi-wipes, aren't you?

Good luck and safe travels. I know it's not a trip you want to make but enjoy the time together - that's the silver lining.

Edited for clarity.

Edited by moosnsqrl (log)

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Amusing, yes, but I see right through it.  Clearly Fred is taking the fall for jgm's rationlization for eating at McD's :wink: Shame on you for exploiting that poor innocent animal. :biggrin:

Fred loves to be exploited! :laugh: He likes it best when we exploit him with nibbles of bratwurst. But McDonald's fries are second best. It's embarrassing to have him in the car and go to the drive up window of a bank; he's got his nose out the driver's window, sniffing for that unmistakable French fry smell, frantic and drooling all over my shoulder. Somebody always offers him a nice dog treat, which he won't even consider eating. The tellers at the bank go into hysterics over his antics as he desperately searches for his beloved fries.

The time together will be really nice. And Fred absolutely adores road trips. One of his favorite parts is when he gets to sniff around at rest stops ...a friend calls it "reading the pee mail". :laugh:

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There are many recent cross county trips under my belt. I always bring prepared food and I eat well and do not waste time looking for a resturant and I always look forward to my evening dinner meal. Since I am on a special diet, it is helpful to arrive feeling like you took good care of yourself.

I always carry a small electric water kettle, single plastic cone with filters for a great cup of coffee. I also carry olive oil and vinegar or homemade salad dressing, honey and frozen bottles of water. A sharp knife, paper towels, cups and soup bowls with spoon and fork. Soy butter, wholegrain bread, and my favorite coffee.

Breaksfast is oatmeal bars, or single serving oatmeal stuff. (Favorite is a bananna with soy butter.) Fresh fruit in season. I freeze a great soup and/or cooked French lentils (cold chicken breasts if no time). I carry one great cheese with bread to have with my wine and fruit (night at motel). Otherwise, I eat in the car if time matters or state rest area. Sometimes I do stop in grocery stores or places like whole foods for wholesome breads, sandwiches, cooked chicken, to go salad or stuff but rarely.

Snack food is always blue corn chips with low fat bean dip. Yogurt with fruit or honey for desert.

When travelling with a dog it is important to let them walk during traveling breaks and so should you. At night with two people one can go get take out while the other settles in with the dog. If you have to have resturant food sushi to go is a winner. Even the most fancy places can do take-out.

Thoughts for a safe trip are being sent your way. Bringing a loved pet is so important.

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We traveled a lot with our recently departed golden retriever :sad: and always had good luck with the old "you take the dog and I'll get the take out routine" One walked the dog in some shade and gave her some water and the other grabs the grub.

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We are on a road trip with our dog, Oscar, on Saturday, except we are heading from DC to Central Maine. We may spend the night in Massachusetts if we are tired of driving and I hope to find some good carry out. Unfortunately as wonderful of a dog as Oscar is, he cries uncontrollably when you even leave the car for a minute and there is no chance we can leave him in the hotel room. The above ideas are very helpful.

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General ideas, and specific recommendations alike, would be appreciated.  I know we'll eat at McDonald's at least once on the way out and once on the way back; Fred loves their fries. 

Which reminds me of an amusing little story. A while back, a neaby air force base got a brand new drug dog. It was the dog's job to check cars that were coming onto the base. Part of the job was to leap into the cars and sniff for any possible contraband.

But they had to get rid of that dog because of his fondness for McDonald's french fries. If there were any in the car, or had been any in the car, or any had spilled down in the seats, or under the floormat, or anywhere else, the dog promptly lost interest in searching for drugs.

It turned out to be a fondness from which he could not be dissuaded.

And, interestingly enough, only McDonald's french fries. Other brands didn't seem to entice him at all. It's been a while back, so probably the beef tallow they were cooking their fries in at the time had a lot to do with it.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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We are on a road trip with our dog, Oscar, on Saturday, except we are heading from DC to Central Maine.  We may spend the night in Massachusetts if we are tired of driving and I hope to find some good carry out.  Unfortunately as wonderful of a dog as Oscar is, he cries uncontrollably when you even leave the car for a minute and there is no chance we can leave him in the hotel room.  The above ideas are very helpful.

And for your next trip, I recommend this book:

Traveling New England with a dog.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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condolences jgm.

we moved north from texas to new jersey in a little less than a week with two cats(do not try to go through nashville with unrestrained cats). we travelled mostly during the nighttime hours since it was cooler for them in their crate and we split the driving - 6pm

to about 2 am for me and 2 am - about 8 am for johnnybird. we took sandwiches and ate in truck stops and the kitties made it up here fine - though jon's grandma wanted to keep them when they got north....

you can do it and pet therapy is the best healer in the world. again - many blessings on you and yours for the future

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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In desperate situations, we have even been known to leave the car running with the A/C on. As long as you have two sets of keys and can see the car from your table this is not a big problem, unless you have one of those cars that explodes if you let it idle too long. Yes, it's horrible wasteful of gasoline, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Thats a tip to tell your children about.

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I just returned from an extremely hot jaunt to Portland, OR with my mom and her 2 dogs. It was about 100 degrees the entire time we were there and will agree with what everyone else has said, but add one thing. Buy a bag of ice for the dog to sleep on. Callum was so hot we just didn't know what to do, so on our way home, we stopped at a gas station and picked up a bag of ice. Callum curled up on it and I now have pictures of this dog hugging the bag of ice, out cold and snoring. For the first time the entire journey. AC usually isn't strong enough to reach the back seat and they stay very warm with the fur coat and all.

Ice...it's your friend.

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In desperate situations, we have even been known to leave the car running with the A/C on. As long as you have two sets of keys and can see the car from your table this is not a big problem, unless you have one of those cars that explodes if you let it idle too long. Yes, it's horrible wasteful of gasoline, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

And that's exactly what everybody's "gotta do" during long, cold Alaska winters.

You look into parking lots, and at least half of the cars are idling. Everybody has two sets of keys and if they're only going to be in a building for a half-hour or so, they leave the car going so it will be nice and warm when they return.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Pre- reading should be "Travels with Charlie" by John Stienbeck. One of the great American novels.

Charlie was a standard poodle, great dogs. We used to have two.

Hotels that let you bring your dog are fairly scarce & many that do take them say 'small dogs only'. Our ploy was to call for a reservation & when asked just say that our dog(s) were poodles. Little did they know that Kuno weighed about 80 Lb. and that we struggled to keep Polly under 95 Lb. Still, they were well behaved.

We moved to France when Kuno was 13. He was in heaven for his last 18 months as he could come with us into all restaurants & be greeted and treated with due dignity. He loved it & never put a paw wrong.

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We are on a road trip with our dog, Oscar, on Saturday, except we are heading from DC to Central Maine.   We may spend the night in Massachusetts if we are tired of driving and I hope to find some good carry out.  Unfortunately as wonderful of a dog as Oscar is, he cries uncontrollably when you even leave the car for a minute and there is no chance we can leave him in the hotel room.  The above ideas are very helpful.

And for your next trip, I recommend this book:

Traveling New England with a dog.

Great. Thanks for the link. I may head to the book store on the way home.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey jgm et al.,

This article in the Travel section of today's Star caught my eye.

It refers to this website, which caters to those traveling with four-footed friends.

They have restaurant listings broken-down by state and ratings (1, 2 or 3 bones) submitted by folks who have actually gone there, with pets.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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How cool! Thanks for the info! I'm getting ready to establish an itinerary, and that information will be extremely helpful.

I've decided to put some cookie dough into the freezer, to be baked off just before we leave. Dorie Greenspan's new book also has a Carrot Spice muffin recipe that looks like good road food.

I'm going to take oatmeal in the little packets, and before leaving will calibrate a bowl with a Sharpie so I'll know exactly how much water to add without having to bring a measuring cup.

This weekend I'm previewing bread machine recipes, in hopes of finding one for a loaf that will travel well with us. There are a couple of rustic peasant bread recipes in Beth Hentsperger's book that look promising. If not, a local bakery has a good cibatta, a country walnut loaf and an asiago loaf. Their French is very good, but has a life measured only in hours. Anybody have cheese recommendations? I'll probably pick up some aged manchego, just because I love it; it's kind of crumbly and hard, so something a little softer, like a cheddar, would be good. What goes really well with "basic" fruits like apples, pears, and grapes? (I like any fruit, but I don't know what will be available here just before we leave, or on the road.) We have a modest variety of cheeses available here in town.

Probably some pita bread, hummous, and tabouleh from N&J here in town will round out the cooler, as well as some cut up fresh vegetables and dressings/dips.

I appreciate the recommendations so far... but more would be welcome also.

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I've travelled a lot with multiple dogs; one monumental journey took us from California to Vermont, then to Connecticut and Delaware, on to Kentucky, over to Texas, and then back to California. Twenty-four states in twenty-five days and all with five dogs in tow!

You don't say what persuasion Fred is or his age but, unless he is infirm (and from the sounds of his French fry addiction, he's not), I *highly* recommend taking him for at least a 30 minute walk as soon as you arrive at your nightly destination. The exercise really helps the dogs release the stress they will invariably have from being cooped up in a car all day.

Other tips: don't rely on rest area water for either your own water bottles or Fred's. One word...Ghiardia (and yes, I speak from experience!)

As for "on the road dining", you can do things to keep your car cool while you're in a restaurant.

* First and foremost, park in the shade.

* Use the window cover thingies, even though you are parked in the shade.

* Open your windows but not so much that all the A/C coolness you've built up in there escapes before you make it to the restaurant door.

* Fill the dogs' water dish *before* you go into the restaurant. (My guys always travel in crates but if Fred doesn't, then read this one as "put a bowl of water out for him")

With those things taken care of, we generally were able to get 45 minutes without having any dogs get too hot. Luckily, that seems to be the average length of time one spends in an independent, family-style restaurant! (There, that's my restaurant dining tip...)

More tips:

* If you have a cooler, take any leftovers from dinner and eat them for lunch the next day.

* Most grocery stores have a deli counter where they sell pre-made sandwiches, salads, etc.,. They make a fine lunch and, depending on the state, some rest areas are really quite scenic!

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Anybody have cheese recommendations?  I'll probably pick up some aged manchego, just because I love it; it's kind of crumbly and hard, so something a little softer, like a cheddar, would be good.  What goes really well with "basic" fruits like apples, pears, and grapes? 

My favorite with fruit (an old habit that dates back to The Lift, on Rock Rd) is walnut gourmandise. I've been chided for it (it's really more of a spread) but there is nothing better with apples and pears, IMHO. I was able to buy it in Wichita 25 years ago, so I imagine you can find it somewhere (Piccadilly, if nowhere else).

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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