Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Dry Run

"You make me so very happy. I'm so glad you came into my life." Blood, Sweat and Tears was playing on the stereo system of our Highlander, and I was singing along to the music, air band motions and all. I love making Chuck laugh, and I was able to get a smile out of him.

We were heading up the highway to Wisconsin on the sunniest of spring days to visit Lake Geneva, our honeymoon spot, with Bristol and Sami in the back of the car. My heart felt light, and I couldn't help but smile. 

Our car was packed to the gills, considering we were only driving an hour and a half away from home. We had a huge cooler that contained a few drinks and a small lunch. There was an air mattress, pillows and blankets in the back. We had three camera bags tucked under and around the seats. The puppies' travel bag was loaded with treats, harnesses, wipes, water and a bowl. And last but not least, the puppies were in their crate, which took up more than half of the back of the car. 

Call us crazy, but we're preparing for a 1,600 mile (one way) road trip to Utah from Illinois, with two puppies who are less than six months old. We might be slightly wacky, and I have been a little nervous ever since we hatched this idea a couple of months ago. There are so many vacation variables that are beyond our control; we would just have to plan for the worst, and hope for the best. 

Photo credit: Chuck Bennorth

We woke up to a clear, blue sky day. The sun was warm, and there was a slight breeze. An idea began to take shape, and I only hoped Chuck would think it sounded as fun as I did. 

I wanted to make a dry run; a short day trip, packing our car the way we plan to when we travel to Utah, and taking the puppies for a car ride that was longer than 30 minutes. Chuck was in his pajamas, practicing simple commands with the puppies when I brought it up. 

"Would you like to do a mini road trip with the puppies today? We could pack up the car, and head to a forest preserve, or drive south through the Illinois farm land, or go to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. I want to practice a little before our big trip, and see how it goes."

Chuck may think I'm crazy sometimes, but he never lets me know that. He seemed a little hesitant, but to be fair, I'd been up for hours, and he was still waking up. I started talking fast, pointing out the perfect weather, the lazy day sprawling before us, the opportunity to work out any kinks in our travel plan, and a spontaneous adventure for us all to enjoy. 

Can I just tell you how much I adore the man I married? He is a sensitive, worrying sort, who likes to plan everything waaay in advance. When I spring these things on him, I know if I give him enough time to warm up to the idea, he will be the trouperiest trouper. And so he was. 

Photo credit: Chuck Bennorth

We had a wonderful day, planning our upcoming trip during our drive, and spending the morning at the lake. The puppies settled down for a nice nap once we got out of the stop-and-go traffic of Kane County. They had plenty of room to sleep, and chew on their toys in their crate. Chuck started out in the back, resting on the air mattress beside the dog crate. Unable to sleep, he took over the driving once we were on Highway 47 to Wisconsin. 

When we arrived at Lake Geneva, we took the puppies for a leisurely walk on the lake path. Even with my bum knee and healing heel, I managed to walk more than a mile along the lake before asking to head back to the car. 

The puppies were popular with the other tourists, and both of them behaved more calmly when meeting people. Bristol and Sam practiced sitting to allow walkers to pass by us on the narrow path. Sami did so much better walking with a loose leash. When people stopped to pet them, the dogs didn't knock anyone over. Bonus! 

2.6 miles after my injury? I'm pretty proud.

We ate our lunch by the car in the shade before heading home. The puppies fell asleep quickly. They had walked a mile farther than they ever had before, and they were worn out. I was feeling pretty dozey myself, and ended up sleeping soundly for about 45 minutes on the way back to Saint Charles.  All in all, we had a great time, and it was a very good dry run. 

Just a few more days, and it will be Utah or bust!

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