Driving Cross Country with Pets

More Than 2000 Miles on Our Way

In Gentle Journeys by Susan3 Comments

Two peeps, one dog, and four cats drive from Salem, Oregon to Pewaukee, Wisconsin in a Subaru Forester. And survive.

Day 1: Salem OR to Spokane WA

What did we learn about traveling with cats? Well, for anyone wondering, cats behave the same in your car as they do in your home.

At home, when Zander isn't eating he is sleeping. In the car, he picked a spot and dozed. TJ was his usual cantankerous self, trying to rule his turf with a little hissing and spitting. Emmie loves it under the bed at home so she went straight to the floor. Rico Baby is our investigator. He was the first to find and use the litterbox, and to try out any and all areas almost big enough for him to squeeze into.

Lizzie deserves a medal. She settled into her spot and never complained. Not a peep.

We do it all again tomorrow but we're in the car much, much longer.

Day 2: Spokane WA to Glendive MT

We crossed Idaho and most of the great (big) state of Montana. From forest fires (one of their worst years) that made my eyes sting and water to the gateway of the North Dakota badlands.

Long driving day of 13.5 hours. Jamie gets the medal today for his driving. My work was easy. The cats are as settled and quiet as Lizzie.

This photo represents what we saw all day.

Day 3: Glendive MT to St Paul MN

We had a shaky start. Packing up we discovered we were one cat short. Rico Baby. He was last seen exiting the bathroom as Jamie went in to take a shower.
I'm the only one who left the room. I took Lizzie out for a little relief and I went to lobby to get coffee. He MIGHT have slipped out the door. So, I took full responsibility.

We looked and looked. Talked to guests, hotel staff, and looked some more. The desk clerk said that a couple months ago a guest found their cat hiding behind the bed. We looked there. No Rico.

We walked all three floors, went into every public room, searched the grounds, recruited Lizzie and sent her into the shrubs we couldn’t push through. No Rico.

We were on edge and distraught.
Then, just as I was booking another night at the inn, Jamie walked into the lobby --- with Rico. He had gone back to our room and saw a little pink nose under the bed. Rico, the little bugger, was hiding in the room the whole 1.5 hours we spent looking for him.

Relief. Even the maid gave him --Rico, not Jamie -- a kiss on his nose.

About today’s drive - North Dakota was pleasant and green. Fargo doesn't seem like the backwater depicted in the movie of the same name. We stopped at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park where the great plains meet the badlands and took a quick, cold and windy look at Painted Canyon, a good example of badlands topography. But we were hours behind schedule, so we were obliged to be satisfied with our brief glimpse at the landscape.

Later that night when we arrived at Jamie's sister's house, the cats had another new experience - houseguests. Lizzie is an old hand at being a houseguest.

Minnesota reawakened our native Midwest memories. Hard summer rains and the green of an Oregon winter. It was so nice to have family welcome us at the end of another long drive.

Day 4: St Paul MN to Pelwaukee WI

Finally, a short day. After relaxing with Jacki and Kent until almost noon, we drove the final 5.5 hour stretch to Jill and Bob’s home in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Jill, another of Jamie’s sisters, and her husband Bob have graciously invited us to stay with them for the next month. We’ll spend the time exploring the area before we fly off to Spain.

Lizzie loves the green grass and huge lawns of the Midwest. The cats have settled in like they lived here their whole lives. This will be so pleasant and now I finally feel my retirement has started.

Susan writes about the things that make life meaningful for her. This includes places we’ve been and what we’ve experienced as nomads these last several years. And now, includes finding a place to call home.

As we come closer to a “settled” life, Susan will begin to emphasize aging gracefully with a plant based diet, plenty of yoga, and physical activity. She is certified to teach Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin yoga. Adaptive and Senior yoga certification is coming soon.


  1. Pingback: Our Spanish Journey – Together and Apart | GentleCycle

    1. Author

      Thanks for reading, Rebecca. The real adventure is just beginning. I’m glad to know I have an audience to write for.

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