As many of you know, we recently spent the Christmas - New Years break, road tripping from Central Otago, up to Auckland, and back down again. With all three of our puppers! Here are some of my thoughts about the whole adventure…
1. It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey.
But when you have your four legged best friends on board, everything is different. You make more stops, you actively search for suitable, (not to mention beautiful) places to comfortably pull over, and do a quick 5 - 10 minute exploration. We didn’t stop as often as we would have liked to. At the end of the day, we were still on a tight schedule to either make doggy play dates, or Christmas Family dinners. But I do know that if we have the same amount of time again, we’d do a more planned one, with more stops along the way just dedicated to exploring the beautiful sights located all over this beautiful country we call home.
We all know those feelings of guilt when you’re out with your friends, you look at the time, and you know that it’s best you get going, since your fur babies have been alone for too long. Even worse when you are away over night, and you know that your fur-baby is somewhere else with other people, or locked up in a kennel. Solution? Take your fur babies with you on a road trip! They will appreciate and love each and every moment of it. The feeling of warm fuzzies when you turn around in your car, and see their cute little fluffy heads resting on the seats having a nap between stops is like no other! Take that guilt.
Never in my life have I thought I would be the girl who would find sleeping under a high way bridge, in your car with a blown up mattress, surrounded by three fluffy, muddy dogs any ‘fun’. (funny story, we have a double air mattress, but no pump, so we had to take turns manually blowing that up ourselves. We both saw stars!) But surprisingly. It’s one of those things where if its for a night or two, it’s fun. It’s like camping! You feel adventurous and ‘in touch’ with nature. And it might sound silly of me, but I swear, I could tell that my fur-babies were genuinely happy when they realised they got to be a part of our adventure every. day. Any more than two days and I would be crying for someone to get me out of there, and for a hot shower.
1. Missing Out on those Spontaneous Tourist Spots
A lot of the things that you would be able to do if it was just the humans on board, are out of the question. I remember specifically driving past the Whale Spotting Tourist attraction, and wanting to go for a ‘spontaneous’ stop. Or wanting to stop at this nice cafe out Kaikoura way to divulge myself in some seafood. But that’s out of the question when you have the fur-babies with you! It also means a lot of pre-planning, checking that where you are going next is dog-friendly. If you’re not camping the whole time, finding accomodation to suit you guys etc. But all the work pays off!
So I could compare this with when I was a teacher in a class of 31 tweens. You are constantly watching, listening, checking in on the babies. You don’t really get to ‘break’ or ‘stop’ in fear that they might have gotten into the food in the back, peed in the car, or be dehydrated from the journey. Having two of us there made this part a lot easier though, and we were able to share those responsibilities.
& The Ugly
Be prepared for a MESSY car.
If you’re anything like me. Cleaning is the BANE of your existence. I HATE it with all my being. But of course I have to point out the obvious of what happens on a road trip where you take 3 MALTING fluffy dogs, up and back down the country. With multiple stops at lakes, rivers and beaches. Your car is literally INFUSED with the smell of wet dogs, mud, and for us, pee.
(Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and Niko did give us SEVERAL warnings, but, like imbeciles, we thought he was just whining because he wanted us to stop and play, so, cue dog pee. and lots of it. EVERYWHERE)
Don’t let the bad and the ugly put you off though. This was so much fun. In fact, Tim and I are already planning what we will add to our next road trip! We are looking at getting a roof top tent the next time we do it, and we want to explore the South Island more intricately, and make plenty more stops for adventuring and exploring. We also want to revisit every. single. dog. park. we got to do this time, and meet all of you again! It was one of the highlights of our trip. Putting names to faces behind the dogs, and getting all those great group shots of the dogs (and their parents). Have I mentioned how humbling and amazing it feels when we see you guys rock OMFD at the meet ups?
If you're still reading this far. For your entertainment and to laugh at me; TWO major mistakes I made as an adult on this trip, and the lessons I also learned from it:
1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SPARE TYRE GUYS.
Our tyre blew a little bit out of Twizel. A few weeks ago we had just used my spare tyre, and didn't think we would need another one so soon. So off we happily went on our road trip, oblivious to what would happen in just a few short hours into our road trip. We left on the Saturday before Christmas. We had to wait to get picked up, and then instead of replacing just one tyre. We had to replace four since the workshop that we got towed to didn't have ONE that would go with the other three. Tyres, call out fees, and small towns, are EXPENSIVE.
2. DOUBLE, TRIPLE CHECK YOUR TICKETS PEOPLE.
I swear I booked our car, and two people across the passage from Picton to Wellington. Well. After waiting in the loading line for an hour. We get up to the window. And. No car on the ticket. We also had the worry and stress about them 'squeezing' us on board, as apparently that crossing was fully booked because who doesn't travel to see family before Christmas? Nothing money can't fix right? But just be prepared to spend lots of money fixing easy mistakes that could have easily been avoided.