You guys. I have so much to talk about. Write about. Share. Like, I don’t even know where to start. Our trip to Utah and Wyoming was supposed to include a visit to Idaho, but it ended up being such a bizarre experience that we didn’t make it there.
Bizarre. Yes, that’s a good word for this trip.
This is gonna be a long one, folks, but I hope you enjoy the craziness as much as I did 😉
I don’t really know where to begin on this post. So I’m just going to start writing. Here goes.
A long, long time ago in a far away place…
I drove 13 freaking hours with my son. 13 hours is a lot. Wynston and I have driven 13 hours before, and that was to San Angelo, TX. But when we drove to San Angelo, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. On this trip, I knew there would be a lot of unknowns. I was going to a new place. I planned to see friends. I didn’t have expectations. Nevertheless, I had a long drive ahead of me.
So the journey began…
The first 6 hours of our drive were slightly tiring. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and driving through the desert is an absolute bore. Thankfully by the time we hit Utah around 12pm, I started to feel better. The rest of the drive didn’t seem too treacherous all of a sudden. We were getting somewhere.
Like any tourist, I stopped to get a photo of the Utah welcoming sign as soon as we crossed the state line, then we were on our way again.
The scenery in Utah is much more interesting than that of Arizona. The mountains are towering. Red. Snowy, at the time. There are ranches and farm properties. Lots of cows. More water. I was so relieved to see something other than barren, brown gravel and desert for miles on end. I was in awe over the beauty of the Utah mountains. They put Arizona to shame. And the incredible sights never went away. The entire 6 hour drive through Utah was breathtaking. We even drove through rain and snow!
I remember we were driving through a mountain pass, and the mountains on either side of us were covered in snow. I was watching the temperature drop on my car’s thermometer and as soon as it hit 32° it started to snow. I was very mindful in that moment. I started to cry. I was at peace. This is what I live for – traveling with my son through unknown territory, charting the roads of the country together. That moment was one of extreme serenity. I can still feel it.
A majority of our travels were through the country and uninhabited lands. There may have been a home here and there, and the towns we drove through were very small. I happen to love small towns, so I enjoyed seeing them. One of my favorite parts of traveling is seeing how other people live. The cultural differences throughout the country are absolutely fascinating.
When we drove through Kanab, Utah we stopped for gas and to give Wynston a potty break. It was chilly but beautiful. I recall thinking “I’d like to spend some more time here” because I noticed that the city was very touristy and it seems to have a lot of small, local places to visit. Little did I know our trip would later take us back there…
Then we arrived.
After a fairly decent 13 hour drive we finally arrived in Ogden, UT. We showed up to my friend’s house around 8pm. It was still light outside so I could appreciate the cute, historic neighborhood at the base of the magnificent, snow-capped mountains. I was in heaven. The houses were like small cottages, there was a tree-lined creek across the street, and the mountains in the distance made for an incredible view.
Upon arrival Wynston and I met Odie, my friend’s 10 week old Border Collie. He was precious, and definitely a puppy. Odie was extremely intelligent and full of energy – much more than I could handle, that’s for sure. Let’s just say not everyone should have a Border Collie.
My friend is not equipped to deal with such a smart breed, let’s be honest. Odie was in his training prime, and it was not being taken advantage of. He wasn’t getting exercised like he should. I tried my best to give helpful, non-pushy advice. Odie is very loved, but I questioned my friend’s ability to deal with such a dog. But, what can I do besides give an educated opinion? I don’t want to overstep my boundaries but my friend clearly needed help controlling a Border Collie puppy.
After doggo introductions, my friends and I went to the bar for a beer. We chatted, watched some March Madness basketball, then headed back to the house. Wynston and I were exhausted from the long day, so we passed out for a good night’s rest.
The next day, the house was quiet. My friend took Odie to work so Wynston and I had the chance to relax and get caught up on some emails and social media. My friend didn’t get home until around 4pm, when we decided to take the dogs on a nice walk by the creek. And that’s when everything went down hill.
Lord help me, you guys.
So we’re all standing out front on the lawn, when Odie starts vomiting. I’m standing here, observing the situation, when I look down to see worms squirming on the ground. Worms. Not like earth worms. These were spaghetti noodle looking worms. Let’s just say there’s a reason I’m not in the medical field. It was gnarly af.
Abort mission. Time to look into these worms, and find out exactly what they are.
After a simple Google search, it was determined that Odie vomited roundworms. You guys, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so grossed out. I started freaking out and told my friend he needed to take Odie to the vet immediately. If it were me, I would have taken Wynston to the emergency vet. I don’t take chances. So an argument ensued.
I called my vet. What are these worms and is it contagious? Well yes. Roundworm is not only contagious to dogs but also to humans! GROSS! Yeah, I’m worried about Odie, but I’m more worried about my son. He’s on Heartgard to prevent such conditions as heart and roundworm but good God. This is terrifying. My vet insisted that I limit exposure between Wynston and Odie, and suggested that I may want to be careful as well.
A note about roundworm: Roundworm can be spread easily from animal to animal. It can be picked up from simply smelling contaminated feces. There were a lot of people in the area who didn’t pick up their dog poop and there were also a lot of cats roaming around. Odie was putting pretty much everything in his mouth because he’s a puppy, so my guess is that he ate something that was contaminated.
Wynston already wasn’t a fan of Odie’s puppy energy, and after an intense argument with my friend I decided it’d be best for us to leave.
So I did.
By this time it was 10:30pm on Saturday. There were several hotels nearby so I grabbed a room at Comfort Suites.
And that’s how our trip started.
I was so. tired. Between driving 13 hours the day before and everything that happened in the hours leading up to us being in the hotel, I was grumpy, irritable and questioning what we were gonna do next. Luckily I’m an experienced traveler and I’m great at improvising. I figured everything happens for a reason, so Wynston and I were about to have some fun!
The Comfort Suites we checked into was super nice! The lobby was very cozy yet modern and the receptionist was very friendly, even at almost 11pm. Our room was $99 for the night and I’d say that was a great price for what we got. Our room was lovely and spacious, complete with a sitting area and kitchenette. The bed was extremely cozy, which I definitely appreciated after feeling so tired. After Wynston and I did a Facebook live that night (which you can view here) we passed out for a solid night’s sleep.
A perk about staying at the Comfort Suites in Ogden was we got a really nice, restaurant quality breakfast the next morning. I was happy that we were able to roll out of bed and enjoy a free, hearty meal. Wynston was welcomed into the restaurant (which was attached to the end of the hotel) and he got lots of smiles and happy greetings. One man even told me that Wynston was the best behaved dog he had ever seen. Those compliments make me the proudest mom!
When we got back to the hotel room after breakfast I requested late check out so I could have a bit more time to relax. In the meantime I researched hotels in Wyoming because I figured that’s where we’d head. Nothing was keeping us in Ogden anymore and I was super stoked about hitting up Wyoming. Luckily the drive to Evantston, Wyoming was only an hour away so I wasn’t put off by spending more time in the car. Once again, we packed up our stuff and hit the road.
Overall, our stay at the Comfort Suites Ogden was wonderful and I will consider staying at Comfort Suites again in the future since our stay was so phenomenal! Our experience at Comfort Suites earned 5/5 paws from us.
Wyoming, here we come!
The drive to Wyoming from Ogden, UT did not disappoint. The entire hour drive felt like we were in a massive train layout. The mountains were huge and covered with snow. Beautiful trees added a hint of green to the road sides. Trains traveled through mountains and small streams sat flowing to the sides of the highway. All of our issues from the day before had completely drifted away. It was time for a new adventure.
A short time later, we arrived in Evanston, WY. Evanston is really just a small, drive-thru town at the entrance of Wyoming from Utah. It’s a good place for truckers and travelers to stop for a good night’s rest. But I wanted to spend some time there. We were in WYOMING and there was a lot of snow on the ground. I was absolutely thrilled.
Wynston and I checked into a locally owned Days Inn. The hotel had decent reviews and a great rate. We walked into the hotel exactly at 2pm for check-in. The hotel was fairly empty and the manager (whom I also think was the owner) put us in a very nice bottom floor room. This hotel was older, but it had a charming, Wyoming feel to it. The entrance had a large staircase and the lobby smelled of an old boutique hotel. The hallways were decked out in outdated wallpaper with hunter green accents, but it was kind of fun for me. We typically stay in “nicer” hotels, so I enjoyed the charming feel.
Our room was spacious and very cozy. The beds were surprisingly comfortable. The heater in the room looked absolutely ancient, but damn, it sure did the job! This was one of those “don’t judge a book by its cover” lessons. Staying in that hotel was one of the best experiences. The Days Inn Evanston, WY definitely earned 5/5 paws from us!
All of the staff was thrilled that Wynston was there. They all smiled and talked to him. Every time we walked into the lobby the owner would ask Wynston to come behind the counter to say “hi.” I felt like we were a part of the hotel family! The owner asked me a few times if everything was good in our room and if they could get Wynston anything. I absolutely loved feeling so welcome and appreciated as a guest. Wynston even spent time running up and down the stairs and on a ramp by the vending machines, and the staff thought it was hysterical. It’s the small things. 🙂 As a dog mom, nothing makes me happier than when my son is welcome, treated kindly and offered service like a human child would be.
Honestly, we didn’t do much in Wyoming. There just wasn’t anything noteworthy to do in the area. But I was fine with that. I needed to get work done and I could tell that Wynston needed rest from all of the travel and excitement. We had a good time relaxing and I got a solid amount of work done.
We stayed in Wyoming for two nights and checked out on Tuesday morning. Our plan was to drive 6 hours south to Kanab, Utah. Remember how I said I was interested in spending time there? This was the perfect opportunity for that. I wasn’t ready to head home and I figured Kanab was an excellent halfway point to split up the drive home. So, again, we packed up the car and hit the road.
Aaaaand back to Utah.
Kanab, UT is home to the famous Zion National Park and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It’s a beautiful, friendly town full of locally owned restaurants and souvenir shops. I called a hotel the morning we left Wyoming to see if they had a room for us. The woman told us they had a ton of rooms and we could just show up whenever. So we did!
The 6 hour drive from Evanston to Kanab was easy and went by quickly. We arrived at the hotel around 3:30pm. I chose to stay at another Days Inn since we had such a good experience in Wyoming. And let me tell you – the service in Utah was just as good! This particular Days Inn does not charge a pet fee, which is a perk for people traveling with their pups! I never pay for Wynston since he’s an ESA, but this specific hotel doesn’t charge a fee to anyone.
We had a room on the second floor, and again, I was impressed with the room. It wasn’t as old as the other Days Inn we stayed at, but it wasn’t new either. But I didn’t care. We got an incredible rate of $55/night. Our room was perfect for us and we had a pretty view out the window. This Days Inn had lots of places for Wynston to go potty outside and the staff was happy to have him around. I’m so grateful that all of the hotels we stayed in were so awesome!
At one point Wynston and I got back to our room and I couldn’t find my room key. I sat on the floor emptying my purse while Wynston sat next to me, waiting for me to open the door. I sat there for a moment, defeated and told Wynston, “We need to go get a new room key. I can’t find ours.” Then an employee down the hall saw me and asked, “Do you need me to get you into the room? I have a master key!” I was so appreciative. I had, indeed, left the keys in our room.
The nice room and friendly service earned 5/5 paws from us.
Our Time in Kanab
Upon checking into the hotel I asked the clerk for a dog-friendly restaurant recommendation. She suggested Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen. It was right down the street (literally a 2 minute walk) and dogs were welcome on the patio. After getting settled into our room, we headed to get dinner.
Peekaboo is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant. The vibe was super great and the patio was covered with heaters inside in case the weather got too cold. Luckily we were there on a beautiful evening. When we walked into the patio area I noticed another woman sitting alone at a table…with her dog. Wynston started crying and crying, as he does when he sees a dog he’d like to meet. I politely asked if Wynston could say hello.
And then I had dinner with a stranger.
The dog was a beautiful Standard Poodle. His name was Louie. Louie was friendly and fully aware of Wynston’s size. They both had a mellow demeanor. The woman and I chatted for a minute, then she invited me to sit down and join them for dinner. So we did.
Cheryl, was her name. Cheryl was 65 and from Montana. She was doing what I was doing – traveling with her dog. She just had 35 years on me. Cheryl and I shared travel stories. We spoke about the adventures we’ve had, the encounters we’ve experienced with our dogs, and all of the people that ask us why we like to travel alone. Of course, she had a much more extensive list of crazy stories than I did.
It was such a fun, interesting experience. I never had dinner with a stranger before. But it was so easy and comfortable. Despite the 35 year age difference we had so much in common. The company was lovely, for both me and Wynston. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of our trip.
Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen was good. The service was good, the food was decent but the prices were too expensive, in my opinion. I personally felt like I spent too much money on mediocre food. The ambiance was wonderful, and I’d be willing to give the restaurant another try. But for now, they only earned 3/5 paws from us.
The next day I was feeling pretty beat. I wanted to hit up Zion National Park which was only about 30 minutes from the hotel and I was also interested in checking out Best Friends Animal Sanctury. But I was just so spent. I knew we were going to head home the next day so I didn’t want to exhaust myself. It looked as though there were some fun things to do in the area around the hotel, so I equipped Wynston’s harness, grabbed my sweatshirt and we headed out on foot.
Our first stop was an antique shop directly across the street from the hotel. I have a thing for antiques so I couldn’t pass it up. Inside, I met the store owner. He was an elder gentleman. He asked me where I was traveling from. I told him Gilbert, AZ, and that’s when he told me that his son lives in Gilbert! We continued to chat, as no one else was in the store.
And that’s when he asked me the question…
“Is it just the two of you?” he asked.
“Yeah.” I kissed Wynston’s head. “It’s always the two of us.”
“You do this a lot?” He followed up.
“We do. I’m a writer. I like to be on the road.”
“You…always travel alone?” he asked, intrigued.
“Yes, but am I ever really, alone? I always have my kid. And I meet the most interesting people. I have the best, meaningful conversations.”
He looked at me and nodded. “That’s impressive. Quite the gal, you are.”
I bowed my head. “Thanks, but I’m just living my life how I think I’m intended to live.”
Wynston and I made our way around the antique store. I picked up a vinyl Beatles record for my dad’s collection. We said our goodbyes and Wynston and I were on to the next spot.
There were beautiful views everywhere we looked, and I took advantage to snap some nice photos. Kanab is full of fountains, statues and historical marks. It really is a cool place!
There weren’t many dog-friendly food options on the main drag by our hotel but we did come across Jakey Leigh’s Coffee Shop. They offered breakfast, coffee and lunch items. I ordered a turkey sandwich for Wynston and I to share. They even brought Wynston a treat and cup of water! The prices were perfect and it was a lovely day to sit on the patio and enjoy the sights and sounds of Kanab. Jakey Leigh’s in an excellent breakfast and lunch spot. 5/5 paws from us!
Wynston and I spent some time perusing the streets of Kanab. I came across a souvenir shop and I decided to go in because I wanted to buy some postcards. I didn’t see any “no pets allowed” signs anywhere on the door or storefront, so I picked up Wynston and we walked in. Right in front of me was a rack of postcards. I started looking through them so I could pick a few out. Then I heard the clerk behind me.
“Excuse me, is that a service dog?”
“No,” I replied.
“Okay well I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” the clerk said, sternly.
“Really? He’s in my arms and obviously he’s well behaved. I just want to buy some postcards.”
“You need to leave,” said the man.
“Wow. You really are a jerk,” I exclaimed, as I walked out the door with Wynston.
I just wanted to buy some freaking postcards. I personally feel like the situation was absurd. Wynston was just relaxing in my arms. I was going to buy my items and leave. But that rude individual just wanted to assert status…or something. I don’t even know.
Experiences like that show that it’s really up to the employees weather or not a dog is welcome. Where dogs are welcome seems to have nothing to do with laws. Wynston and I have been welcomed inside restaurants yet we were kicked out of a dinky souvenir shop. It doesn’t make sense. But oh well. I’ll take my money elsewhere.After a few hours outside in the local area, Wynston and I went back to our hotel. He promptly fell asleep while I caught up on some work and baseball. I cleaned up our room since I knew we’d be heading out the next morning.
Checking out of the hotel sucked. I didn’t want to go home. Honestly, if the cats weren’t waiting for me back home, I wouldn’t have gone back. The more I travel, the more I realize how sick I am of living in Arizona. At this time next year I hope we are traveling the country in our RV.
Our drive back home was fine. We arrived safely and the cats were happy to see us. I spent a lot of time reflecting on our trip and how great and interesting it was. Traveling with Wynston is my favorite thing to do, and I can’t wait to hit the road again!