Traveling from the East Coast, from Asheville, North Carolina to the West Coast of Washington, Oregon and California for 6 weeks with a dog in a pick up truck is an interesting undertaking…. especially if that dog is 145lb Leonberger! We learned a lot along the way and so we wanted to share a few of our tips for hitting up national parks, camping, eating out, feeding and all that jazz with you. So, we took the back seats out of the Toyota Tacoma so that Cash would have extra room and we put down some no slip grips in case he was in there without his bed as a base.
One of the keys was to keep all of his stuff together! We brought two leashes and a gentle leader but in the first 5 days we “lost” a leash and had to get a new one. I am pretty particular about the leash we use, most of them are made of nylon that seams to slip and burn your hands, so I was at the mercy of a store near where we were…. they didn’t have the kind I liked. Nothing screams road trip argument with your spouse like trying to determine who used the leash last and where it went. We found the leash the next day when were pulled EVERYTHING OUT… Let’s just say, we stuck to a stuff sack for all of his treats, emergency items and then kept one leash in the door on each side from there on out!
Some rest stops are better than others when it comes to space. Driving 6-10 hours a day which is about what we paced at for the first 8 days and the last 7 days requires rest stops that allow for a good bit of energy release in a short amount of time. We didn’t follow the pets on leash, in this area only (sorry, not sorry). We always took a long walk to the back of the rest area or found a gas station with an empty lot near by (watch out for broken glass). Luckily Cash has this ball that he absolutely loves, so we had 4 in our truck, and we threw and he played hard at each stop for a good 15 minutes.
When it came to figuring out where we could stop for food, and we weren’t eating our protein bars, obviously we needed a patio but not all patio’s are dog friendly so we used Bring Fido a good bit for restaurants, hikes and other stuff and Yelp. When we were in more desolate areas it was more difficult, so in those cases we just took the 30 seconds to call and find out. We found a great blog post for dog friendly hikes, restaurants and such for the Black Hills – we did most of his recommendations including the campsite, which was on a lake and had a park with an awesome river trail across the street.
When we were picking out campsites, location was key – we always asked for something in the back corner or not near other campers. This keeps the pup from getting excited every time he hears a noise or someone walks by. It was a bit overwhelming, I am sure for him, to be in a new place just about every other day, so trying to keep things quiet as possible was important to us. Luckily our pup is a traveling champ and had been on a few 10 hour road trips; we highly recommend taking some shorter treks to get a feel for how your pup does in the car, staying in a new place, and if you are going to camp in a tent, practice! Our boy loves the tent, he really loves anything where he can be near us so that was easy. Most nights he was whining to go to bed at the tent door before we were ready!
Goods you need to hike and travel with your dog – check out my pup kit