April 13, 2021

In March, my partner and I took another road trip from Michigan all the way to the west coast for a job he had in San Francisco for a client.  Since he was not comfortable flying due to the pandemic, we decided to do a road trip again and see the flyover parts of the country in the north.  

We took the time to be more conscientious with preparing for the road trip.  This time, I prepared homemade granola bars, a pasta salad, home baked sourdough bread and packed essential foods such as home made plum butter, peanut butter, crackers, tuna, beans, tomatoes, apples, coffee, honey, tea, olive oil and rice.  I packed for the weather, and we shared a suitcase, and I packed my deodorant cream, shampoo bars, and body soap.  We brought our own plates, silverware, bowls, cutting board, thermos, cups and an extra roll of toilet paper and paper towel.  I portioned out Marlin's dog food, and brought his snuffle mat, a toy, his blanket, and bunny - I had everything packed in a bag for him.  Once I was done, I looked over everything carefully and removed unnecessary items that would only take up space.  We wanted to be self-contained as much as possible and not overpack.  We had to use what we packed often.    

Initially we were routed through South Dakota, and Wyoming, however winterstorm Xylia changed all that, and I had to re-route us further north into the upper Peninsula of Michigan to Escanaba, through Wisconsin Minnesota, and North Dakota and on course through Montana.  We only caught a little snippet of the storm as we raced Xylia to Fargo.  My partner preferred Apple Maps, whereas I preferred Google Maps, since Apple Maps would reroute us into the storm, and other areas of great peril, while Google seemed to have a bit more common sense, while also giving us the ability to put multiple route options in.  Only once did Apple Maps do us right, however I am still not a fan of Apple Maps and that one correct route did not give Apple Maps any redeeming qualities.  They can kiss my butt left to right...repeatedly. 

This post is supposed to be about the dog friendly places we encountered.  We had fun along the way, and let down our hair and did the American thing by checking out the offbeat roadside oddities, and America's lesser known wonders.  

Here is a list:

Escanaba Michigan:

I could go on forever about Michigan, since I am a native.  I love the lakes.  We drove west by taking the northbound way through the upper peninsula...who does that?!  We do.  

And we did.  

We stayed in Escanaba.  We stopped along the way at many lookout points to see Lake Michigan in all her glory as she splashed along the belly of the bunny, creating ice volcanoes on the sandy shores.  What does “belly of the bunny” mean, you say?  Look at the upper peninsula.  It looks like a bunny rabbit jumping over a hand.  I live in the "mitten".  

We stayed at the Quality Inn in Escanaba.  It wasn't anything great.  The motel didn't have any weight restrictions, and the fee is $25.00 extra per night.  We took Marlin to the Sand Point Lighthouse to walk around and check out Green Bay.  There was no good coffee in Escanaba.  It was unfortunate.  Since this was a last minute booking, this was the only open option at a reasonable rate.  I am sure there are other good hotels in the area.  Escanaba is pretty big for a city in the upper peninsula and in summer, it must be hopping with tourists.  A must eat is a pasty in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula).  



Marlin likes the road trips, however we have to make sure not to exceed 8 hours a day with driving.  We make regular stops for potty breaks, and check with him often if he would like some water.  I had packed homemade food I had recently made for him in an ice cooler, however we noticed on the way up to Escanaba that he was having "Doggy farts".  Marlin in all his 3 years of life has never had doggy farts unless he ate cheap dogfood, or was sick.  This was ongoing for the whole 6 and a half hours to Escanaba.  I had given him his flea and tick medication the day before, so I thought maybe that was it.  When we got to the hotel, I fed him, however he looked at me funny when I served him his food and he reluctantly ate it.  I had made him ground chicken, quinoa, with veggies, oats, pumpkin.  I had made a batch prior to that.  Days earlier, I had noticed the ground chicken smelled like rotten eggs when I opened the package, and I mentioned it to my partner and asked if it was normal.  I don't eat meat, so I went ahead and cooked it up.  Marlin groaned all through the night, was restless, gassy and had loose stools when we took him walking.


Fargo South Dakota:

As we continued on our Journey, this is where Apple Maps decided we should not go north to sunny Duluth Minnesota, but instead head west into winter storm Xylia, where we snipped part of her gnarly snowy sludge and outraced her to Fargo, which tacked on an additional 2 hours.  

We stayed at the Clubhouse Hotel & Suites in Fargo.  I went ahead and dumped all of Marlin's food.  I had a feeling his food was the culprit, and he was experiencing food poisoning.  I fed him yogurt and dry kibble instead.  His gas and stools returned to normal and he seemed restful.  I made a note that if chicken smells like rotten eggs, throw it out.  The staff was very nice, and the coffee was great.  The rooms were excellent and comfy.  If you have pets, the hotel provides you with a room that has direct access to the outside, and there are no weight restrictions.  The pet fee is only $25.00 and the area is easy to walk around.  

When we left the next day, I prepped our coffee, tea, and snacks for the road.  The roads were icy at first, however we headed west into clear skies.  We stopped at two roadside attractions:


The World's Largest Buffalo - Jamestown ND - They have an old west town, the World's Largest Buffalo, and a buffalo herd that you can view...from afar.  Very afar. 


Best time to go is in summer if you want to see the Buffalo up close, however in off season, you can walk through for free but don't expect to see the Bison, unless you go to the Harley Davidson dealership on the other side of the freeway.  


Fort Sauerkraut - Dickinson ND - Where an attack never took place.  The backstory is somewhat culturally insensitive, just an FYI.  There is no cost, and it is self guided.  You get a nice view of the surrounding Prairies and town below.  

We also saw the North Dakota Badlands, which were quite beautiful, however no roadside pictures could do any justice.  If you have time to stop, or plan to camp, do so!  Marlin enjoyed the stops we made, and small hikes we took when possible at the roadside attractions.  The nice thing about having dogs is that you pay attention and find more of these types of parks to visit.  

Please follow along if you like this blog, to continue on the journey to California.  I added hyperlinks to the hotels, roadside attractions, and my products that you can purchase!  

 To Be Continued...

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