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Old 02-24-2008, 07:22 AM   #1
Established Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: greenacres
Posts: 10
M.O.C. #8228
Traveling the US with the kids

Just wondering if there are any other folks out there traveling the US with the family. We have a 14 yo dd and a 12 yo ds and three dogs, two bostons and one great pit. We are planning our first practice trip in the beginning of June for 3 weeks to Montana and the plan on leaving on the grand adventure when school starts in September. We will be sticking to the Southern stated furing hte winter and working our way north during the spring.

We are purchasing a Mountaineer 345 DBQ from Lake Shore RV in Michigan and would like to hear from anyone who has purchased from them. Also anyone else have this mountaineer? We are looking for a rig to haul with, the unit is a 36' rig with a max weight of 14,310 lbs. I tried to search for rigs that you folks would recommend, but I could see that there are a lot of different opinions. I thought maybe we could get by with a 3/4 ton, but after reading the posts, I may go with a dually

What do you do with your dogs when you travel? We are planning on stopping at a "home base" for a couple of days and then traveling in the truck to the various spots, i.e national parks, zoos, museums, etc. Not sure I want to make the dogs to stay in the 5th wheel when we are gone. Any ideas?

I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me, lots of questions...

Thanks for any advice you can give.
Kim, Pat, Holly, Casey, Belle, Scooby and Tigger
Greenacres,(Spokane) WA
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:59 AM   #2
Montana Fan
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Davis
Posts: 482
M.O.C. #4524
Kids are no problem, just the usual things they need, cell phone( if they have them), radio, video games, snacks and more snacks, and the most important...spending money (yours! LOL!).

Regarding the dogs....taking them is like having more kids with you. They need to eat, potty and exercise. Don't get me wrong we travel with two poodles (miniatures).And love to take them.

The longest trip we have taken is from home California to Texas and back.
The dogs did excellent on the trip, but they did ride in the truck with us. Although I have heard of families that will let their dogs ride in the trailer (crated).

As far as day trips....the dogs did stay in the trailer while we were gone. We put "weewee pads" in the kitchen area while we were gone incase the dogs had to use them. At home we don't use these any more, but we did use the pads during the housebreaking stage. (my dogs were 3yrs old and the other one was 10 months. old, but fully housebroken) While we were gone we left on the radio, set the air,turned on one light, and closed all blinds except left one open so they could peek out. We also put out favorite toys, safe chew toys and gave them Kongs (that were frozen ahead of time)
We were never gone more then 6-8 hours (which is what they are used to at home, except we have dog door for potting).

When we returned we had two excited dogs, no mess...not even on a pad,but dogs that had to potty right away, and emptied kongs.

We do try to befriend who is in the camp spot next to us and give them access to our cell phone number. If not maybe leaving a note on your door (folded for privacy) with your cell number in case there is a problem or the dogs get too loud. But be prepared to return if you get a call of barking dogs.

I would like to hear of how others travel with the dogs and what they do if they leave for the day.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:36 PM   #3
Mrs. CountryGuy
Montana Master
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: _
Posts: 5,238
M.O.C. #6337
No children traveling with us these days, but, on the rare and lucky occassion, the twins (granddaughters) go with us. We usually need an extra vehicle to tote the bikes, toys, games, clothes, dolls, and all their "stuff".

As far as the bow wow kid variety, we have traveled for years with yorkies, 2, then 3, then 4, now 3 again. We use CRATES!! Crates in Big Butt, crates in Tana, crates crates crates! When we leave them in Tana, for more than 5 minutes, they are crated. This is for their safety and preservation of Tana. You don't want to know what a yorkie can do to window coverings when they are watching out the window for you and you don't come back soon enough to suit them. OUCHIE It also keeps the barking down, cause they cannot look out the windows and see all the other kids, dogs and adults walking by THEIR campsite.

We do leave the a/c or heat on, depending on the weather situation. On brutally hot days, we may ask a neighbor or friend to keep a key in case the power goes out. It happens, even in parks with brand new 50 AMP service. Had a tree go down one time, took out the power in the park for a number of hours, and it was well into the 80's. Scary stuff for the doggie mom and dad.

Carry complete vet records on each pet. You may also want to consider carrying an emergency kit of meds, stuff for upset tummies, something if they get hurt, cut, etc. Also consider if they are on prescrip foods that you may or may NOT be able to purchase those when you cross state lines. I could write an entire booklet on that situation. I carry 4 months worth, and my vet has said he would ship food to me anywhere in the US, I'll have to pay shipping, but, it would probably be cheaper than a office visit of $45.00 and up (what I have been quoted to "see" my kid so that I can purchase food that I have a scrip for, they don't recognize the scrip, and don't talk to my vet about it, he will stroke out! grrrrrrrrrrrr)
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
Montana Master
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Delaware
Posts: 504
M.O.C. #5841
We take Rocky along with us. He has the entire back seat of the TV and is a wonderful traveler.
He sleeps while we are on the road and if we go inside to eat somewhere, we leave him in the truck
if it's hot we leave the air on for him. He loves to be with us and it's easier than having to rush
back to the camper to let him outside. DH hates to leave him behind. Don't know what we'd do if we had
two of him, tho.
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Old 02-25-2008, 04:32 PM   #5
Montana Fan
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Valley Center
Posts: 157
M.O.C. #7840
We traveled to Montana two years ago with our 16 yo son for three weeks. We visited Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier National Park,lived through it and had a great time. We were new to trailering with a 29 ft TT so we did not take the two Labs. Now we take them everywhere. They love the trailer and know we will come back sooner or later. No accidents, but they are 9 yo. When we first started taking them we left them in the trailer for a short time, even at home at first. When staying at a campground you need to ask in advance about their pet policy, some only will take two dogs and some have restrictions on aggressive breeds.
Have fun with those kids now, our last son is off to college in the fall. I assume you are home schooling your kids, we did that too for a few years, but never had the opportunity to go on a grand adventure in a RV. Many blessings to you all.
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Old 06-08-2008, 06:29 PM   #6
John Young
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Grey Eagle
Posts: 46
M.O.C. #5585
Hey Kim

Did you get the unit yet? How is it??

any photos of the unit??
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:13 PM   #7
Montana Fan
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Oviedo
Posts: 418
M.O.C. #8297
What awesome parents you are! Having been fortunate enough to have a father in the military and smart enough to want to expose his children to as much history and culture as possible when the opportunity arose we camped (tent) across country twice (Boston to China Lake, California on the northern route and China Lake to Sanford, Florida (near Orlando) on the southern route about two years later). I can tell you that those trips and the short ones in between are STILL very clear in my mind! (My college entrance essay was about the first hand sights, sounds, smells, and tastes I had in traveling the country and actually seeing/experiencing the historical sites, culural opportunities, the heat of the desert, the coolness of the mountains, etc.) This trip is a gift of epic proportions.

While not specific regarding animal travel (we're too new to share anything beyond that was already shared) or tow vehicle (our unit is smaller than yours) some things that we did on our travels were: the kids were in charge of navigating from one stop to the other (this provided us the opprotunity to learn how to read maps (e.g., distances based on the map scale, road types, altitudes, terrain type, etc.), how to estimate travel time (distance, relative/average speed); determine when lunch stops might be possible; and reading road signs); we had a license plate contest (goal was to get one from each state and we recorded the "sightings" on a blank U.S. map and had to identify the proper state on the map before we could "claim" the sighting; we collected post cards and made scrap books that identified local historical information or other items of interest (state map, flower, bird, motto, historical site/figure, etc.) which also supplemented our photos and ensured we had good pictures in case the photos were blurry or the film was bad; and we wrote weekly letters to our grand parents to tell them about we had done/saw that week (we took a month for each trip). So all the while we were having fun we were also learning (despite ourselves); and, we also purchased books before and during our trip so we could do "research" about our destinations and we could pick things we wanted to see/do. Today some of this could be "translated" into emails, website, use/programming of GPS (and supplementing with "old fashioned" maps), digital photos that could be incorporated into digital scrapbooks, etc.

Now I WANT to go on another cross-country year long trip! If you all come to Florida in the greater Orlando area be sure to drop a PM to me and maybe we can share some of the "road less traveled" places you might want to consider.

Have a GREAT time!

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