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All the way to Alabama

Your guess is as good as mine, but my guess is the person in charge of rest areas in North Carolina is a cat person.

Why else would have they created this giant litter box, installed at an I-40 rest area west of Asheville?

My dog certainly wasn’t interested in doing his business there, and I doubt many others are. Not to mention the dangers inherit in tying your dog, the sheer indignity of having to poop or pee while lashed to a wooden post, and the distinct possibility — in the event you and your dog do follow the directions — of soggy leash syndrome once the deed is done.

Perhaps I’m just not getting it. At the rest area, there’s a sign with an arrow pointing in the direction of a designated dog area, but no designated dog area — unless this horseshoe pit is it. We can only  hope children don’t see it, say “yeah, a sandbox,” and jump in.

Another traveler I encountered, accompanied by her Rottweiler mix, Bianca, couldn’t figure it out either. So both Bianca and Ace peed where they wanted, despite the state highway department’s apparent desire to have dogs tinkle only while tied.

Not long after the rest area stop, after cruising along that wonderfully winding stretch of I-40, we were in Tennessee, passing through Knoxville, Chattanooga, a smidgen of Georgia and then back into Tennessee before turning south and making it as far as Huntsville.

There we checked into a room at a La Quinta (Spanish for “we don’t make your dogs pee while tied to posts”), turned the air conditioner as low as it could go and cooled off, which we intend to do for the rest of the night and well into the morning before taking off for Florence, Alabama.

After two nights of free lodging at my mothers, and free meals, our budget took more of a hit today, after spending nothing yesterday.

Here’s how today’s expenses broke down:

Gas: $70

Food: A $2 meal deal at Taco Bell. (Ace got most of the tortilla and all the burrito filling that oozed out of it and hit the ground.)

Lodging: $60 at La Quinta.

Dog-friendly motels that don’t charge deposits, and air conditioning: Priceless.

Comments

Comment from Kym Sargent
Time May 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Greetings to you two here in Alabama. I live in Trinity just 20 so miles west of Huntsville on the way to Florence. What are you going to Florence for?
Enjoyed your article.

Comment from cyndi
Time May 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Motel 6 for the win! Most of them were rehabbed a couple years ago, so they are clean, as far as I know dogs stay for free, unless that’s up to the franchise owner. average is 38 dollars a night. Again, its been 2 years since I have been on the road.
My other money saving trick is one night at walmart, one night in a hotel… as long as no one gets to close, it works just fine!

Reply: Thanks for the tip, Cyndi. I’m assuming you mean the Wal Mart parking lot, though staying inside the Wal Mart would be nice (wasn’t there a book or movie about that?), and allow me to replenish my supplies. Keep those survival tips coming. John

Comment from Anne’n'Spencer
Time May 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Well, you’ve now meandered through my favorite territory–western North Carolina and the beautiful mountains. Such a drive! And you’ll at least be within shouting distance of our old stomping grounds in Birmingham. I hope you and Ace will have time to stop at Helen Keller’s home near Tuscumbia. She was a great lover of all the breeds we’re supposed to hate, including Akitas and Pit Bulls. I don’t think Ace should have had to pee in a sandbox, either. Ugh!

Reply: Thanks, Anne. We’ll definitely try and get by there. Wonder if they’ll let Ace — him being a mixture of four breeds we’re supposed to hate (Rottweiler, Akita, Chow and pit) — hang out.

Comment from Susan
Time May 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I’ve seen those rude signs all along I40. It seems like the rest stops don’t want your pets to get too comfortable. One place we stopped only allowed dogs on the strip of grass closest to the interstate. We tried that for about a minute. Let us hear from you if you make it to Nashville.

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