Monday, December 17, 2012

The dog watch

I am posting today from the road, quite literally.  Louise is driving and I've got the laptop out -- the only time I can get anything done with these long driving days.  We are in my cousin's SUV, rolling south on I-95 about three hours north of Savannah.

Thursday evening we tucked Odyssey away in a safe spot under some watchful eyes, and Friday morning we got a lift to the airport.  We had an uneventful pair of flights to LaGuardia, and I was surprised how empty the airports were so close to the holidays.  Our flights were not overbooked, either.  We had an on-time arrival just before midnight and headed for the hotel to crash.

We had a great afternoon and evening on Saturday with my aunt and uncle, my other first cousin, and some friends of theirs, Tommy and Maria.  And, of course, Simon the yellow lab.  Yesterday morning we got a relatively early start, stopping briefly for brunch with my parents in New Jersey before continuing south through Delaware, Maryland, and most of Virginia before stopping for the night in Emporia, where the Hampton Inn, which I could book on Hilton points, allows pets on the uppermost floor.

Traveling by car, especially on such an aggressive schedule, renews our appreciation for travel in Odyssey on a much slower pace.  Between a large dog taking up the whole cargo area, our suitcases taking up half the back seat, and a bunch of items left in the car that still needed to find their way to California taking up the other half, there is no room to even stretch out, and digging out lunch items, maps, or this laptop requires a bit of gymnastics.

We're also now very familiar with this stretch of road, but while we can tell you all the good spots to spend the night in an RV, where all the dump stations are, and how to find cheap diesel, we have no clue which towns have inexpensive and pet-friendly hotels.  We also get to see a different side of all the rest areas and visitor centers, and we've stopped at plenty to let the dog out.

Last night was our first hotel stay with the dog, and possibly the dog's first experience with an elevator, which seemed to baffle him.  But he travels well, and other than being always under foot, he's been no trouble in the hotel.  We'll spend the next three nights in a single spot, which will probably be a bit easier for him as well, giving all three of us a chance to get used to a routine and each other.

We had a little drama this morning relating to the boat.  Apparently, notwithstanding our broker having made arrangements with them to be on-site tomorrow at 10am, the marine diesel company we hired for the engine surveys called this morning to say they could not start at 10 -- we'd have to pay for them from 7:30 am or they would not take the job.  That would mean paying them for extra time to sit around until the boat splashed, but, more importantly, it meant some of the key players were in confrontation before we even started.  The broker found a different surveyor on short notice to come up from Jacksonville, but not before the angry phone call from the mechanics sent my blood pressure skyrocketing first thing in the morning.

All is back on track now, and we are on schedule to pick up our technical consultant from the airport this evening around 6.  Since the car is loaded to the gills, we need to get checked in to the hotel first and unload, so we have room.  The boat should already be out of the water as I am typing, and we start the survey tomorrow morning at 8am, on the hard.

I most likely will not get another chance to post until we are done in Savannah and on our way west.  I will try to get one more post in here en route, but if I don't get to it, we wish all our readers a very joyous holiday season.


  1. Best wishes on this adventure. I don't know about the rest of the regular readers here, but I've been busily reading up on trawlers and looking forward to watching this next stage in your odyssey!

  2. I hope both surveys go well.

    Bill Kelleher

  3. Hi Guys,

    As you know we are big into dog shows. As a matter of fact we spent the last four nights in Orlando at a big event in a LaQuinta near Disney. We stay at LaQuinta because 99% allow dogs. It's not the fancy hotel chain, but breakfast is included, they have lower rates and there are loads of them across the country. We also chose them for the accumulated points that earn us free nights.

    Just a suggestion from our doggie experience since you have given us many suggestions about the life on the road and electrical issues.

    Happy Holidays, Pat and Russ

    1. Thanks, and happy holidays to you, too. We are no strangers to LaQuinta and its pet-friendly policies; during the two years Odyssey was under construction we made Elite status in their rewards program, running back and forth between San Jose and Tacoma with all three pets in the car. Last night was our fifth night in our third LaQuinta on this trip, and I am guessing there will be three more in our future. Quality is all over the map, though, as are rates.

  4. As you are no doubt learning, the marine service community brings a whole new appreciation of how incompetence can thrive where knowledgeable owners are lacking. I can count on the fingers of one hand the really good marine professionals that we have met over the last three years. You've found a couple of the good ones in Curtis and Steve but it sounds like you are meeting the other end of the spectrum as well. Good luck.

    1. Yeah, nothing we did not already know, but disappointing nonetheless. We just got two of the "surveys" back, and it's criminal what we paid for such sloppy work.


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