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Old 02-22-2005, 01:55 PM   #1
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
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Are we nuts?

We are planning a big cross-country this coming summer in our new (to us) '86 345, with son 16 and daughter 8. The general plan is to wander out to northern California through the northern states/southern provinces, then flow back through the South to take in Grand Canyon, etc. We would prefer to bring our lovely 60-pound dog with us, but are wondering - is it likely we would be able to find day-care for her for the occasions when we want to do a family day out? We are hoping to do lots of national parks; are these areas friendly to those of us travelling with pet along? Of course, we would not be letting her loose, but are we crazy to bring her along at all? (Husband says yes to that last question, but he is the only one.) Has anyone out there successfully six-weeked it with kids and dog?
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Old 02-22-2005, 02:46 PM   #2
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When I was 11 (1970?) my parents took us (6 kids) in a 24' Winebego w/2 Suzuki Motorcycles strapped to the back and a lot of "stuff" in a custom made container on the roof across the US and back. We started from the West Coast followed a Northerly Route to the East Coast and then came home on a Southerly Route. I think we took 2 months and hit 37 States. The Motor Home had (2) 25 gallon tanks and My Father had an additional 75 gallon tank fabricated. Fuel was something like 30 cents a gallon and it got about 7 miles to the gallon. We'd pull up to a service station (back when they were "service" stations) and my Father would go into to the office and "haggle" for a lower price, and he'd usually get it.

Anyway, it was great fun, a once in a life time vacation. I really enjoyed it as an 11 year old. I know my father about went crazy a few times - he was not used to being around all us kids that much, let alone cramped in an 8'x24' box for 2 months. And my older (teenage) brother "suffered" a fair amount from having to associate with his family . . . plus it was probably hard to be away from his friends that long. One thing that helped everyone was planning a "Rendezvous" with a family from home that we were close with, they happened to have kids similar in ages. They flew into a city back east and we picked them up and they stayed with us for about a week. I believe we didn't travel very far for that week. We stayed in camp grounds so all the kids could camp in tents outside the motorhome and the parents got to sleep inside . . . Anyway, sorry I don't have much practical advice - I was too young to worry about details. I do know my parents did a lot of "planning", they used "Triple A" for maps/sites and at least came up with a preliminary route to follow.

Good Luck and thanks for letting me reminisce.
Mark

We had a dog but I don't think it even crossed our minds to bring him
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:17 PM   #3
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Go For It!

First of all, congratulations on your "new" 345! You're getting ready to live out our dream trip. When we bought our 345 it was part project, part weekender, part family road trip bus and honestly part therapy. However, in the back of our minds, we wanted to take that 6-8 week Western National Park tour with our three kids.

We're currently on track to make this trip next summer (2006). They will be ten, seven and five that summer. I grew up tent camping and didn't make my first cross country road trip until my early twenties. We certainly want our children to have this experience at an early age.

We've only taken weeklong trips with the dogs. We bring a kennel for the Pointer/Lab and the Pug effectively uses the space under the dinette table as his kennel. Not sure how to handle the dogs during excursions away from the Airstream for sightseeing.
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Old 02-22-2005, 05:40 PM   #4
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Cool not too crazy

My husband's family airstreamed from MN to Alaska with 10 kids in a station wagon (this was in the early 70s) and lived to tell about it. The kids still talk about that trip!!! In fact, we plan an Alaska trip for our own family in 2-3 summers; it's something we've always wanted to do as a family.

I should add that during that AK trip, the oldest of the ten kids was 18 and was such a miserable travelling companion (hated being away from friends, car, job, etc) that when they got to Fairbanks, my father-in-law put him on a plane back to MN and told him he was on his own when he got to Minneapolis. Is the 16 yr old completely onboard about the vacation? I think teenagers can be the most difficult to deal with when it comes to being away from their "important" obligations.

My husband's family used to airstream to Mexico most summers, too. So travelling cross-country with 10 kids couldn't have been THAT bad, or I don't think they would have repeated the experience so many times. And the kids certainly have fond memories of those trips.

I hope you guys have a great time! (I have no advice about the dog, as we don't have one, but I'm sure there are plenty of other people who can help you)
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Old 02-22-2005, 08:39 PM   #5
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Take the trip and take the dog. Last summer we went to Acadia National park in Maine for 10 days with our 11 year old boy and our 2 year old Golden Retriever, Boomer. We found that there were plenty of pet friendly activities and even restaurants where Boomer was welcome. Traveling with a dog is a great way to meet people. In downtown Bar Harbor I could barley get 10 feet without having someone ask if they could pet the dog. My favorite benefit of traveling with a dog was that I never had to go into a gift store or tee shirt shop. My job was to sit outside with Boomer and meet his public. Boy and dog had a great time.
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Old 02-22-2005, 08:59 PM   #6
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I think the REAL question here is not about lengthy trips with kids, but can they all manage AND bring the dog!
My family spent three to five weeks on the road every summer. We never got to bring the dog, though. A dog would have been much better company than my brother, six years my junior....

We do two long trips a year, and many short ones, traveling with our two large dogs.... standard poodles, fifty-two, and sixty-two pounds each. We never leave them in our trailer or hotel room for extended periods without supervision, and crating!
Having a crate and using it, and having a dog familiar with being crated, is the best thing for all when traveling.. in essence, the crate becomes its den and private space.
However. Our Ford 350 XLT van has heavy duty components.... radiator, alternator, etc. We do take them during excursions at times, to find they are not welcome. The van, as equipped, has what it takes to leave it running and run the air for the dogs... we have done that.... locked it up running.
Most places have been really decent about bringing the dogs. They are absolutely ALWAYS on lead..... they are never allowed off leash, unless inside our x-pens at the trailer, and again, always with one of us out there with them.
When we wanted to go on a whale watching expedition up in Nova Scotia, I found a local vet to place the dogs with for about eight hours..... the cost was reasonable, and I knew they were in a safe place, and well cared for. Now I look up vet's office's for day boarding if we will be gone for more than three or four hours at a stretch. This works very well. Be sure to have the dog's immunization records with you so you don't have any hassles, or the dog getting more shots than really needed.
At national parks we have had no problems as we can periodically return to check on them, and let them out for a few mintues before we wander off again.... that's how we handled it at Mamouth Cave.... we would return between tours, check dogs, put our feet up, and get ready for the next tour!
We find the dogs make us rest more, much less over-doing things with them along!
Critical to all this is your dedication to cleaning up after your dog! We never, ever, go anywhere with the dogs unless we have some plastic poop bags in our pockets. At Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, one of our dogs, with no warning, decided it had to do it's business right then and there... she squatted and made her deposit.... tourists all over the place... I calmly reachedinto a pocket, brought out the poop baggie, a bright pink, deoderizing thing, scooped well, made sure nothing was left behind, tied it up, used some of our bottle water to rinse the spot, and deposited her bag in the trash. Now, I do whether people are watching or not.... and had one of the park staff tellme later what a good example I was making for others! Well, geeze, you let me bring my dog, cleaning up after her is the least I can do so the next doggie person is welcome!
Anyhow, some food for thought. I say, take the dog and enjoy!

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 02-22-2005, 11:30 PM   #7
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Are we nuts?

Greetings!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbnjsellers
We are planning a big cross-country this coming summer in our new (to us) '86 345, with son 16 and daughter 8. The general plan is to wander out to northern California through the northern states/southern provinces, then flow back through the South to take in Grand Canyon, etc. We would prefer to bring our lovely 60-pound dog with us, but are wondering - is it likely we would be able to find day-care for her for the occasions when we want to do a family day out? We are hoping to do lots of national parks; are these areas friendly to those of us travelling with pet along? Of course, we would not be letting her loose, but are we crazy to bring her along at all? (Husband says yes to that last question, but he is the only one.) Has anyone out there successfully six-weeked it with kids and dog?
I can't be of much help on the issues on traveling with children, but I do travel with at least one of my Chihuahuas almost all of the time. Precious, the four pound Chihuahua, travels with me winter, summer, and all seasons in between. Much like Cedars, my '99 K2500 Suburban is equipped so that I can safely leave it running with the air conditioners running (or the heaters in the winter) when it is necessary to leave the Chihuahuas in the car. Most of the time, Precious and Prince stay in the trailer in air conditioned comfort - - they have their familiar beds from home and rarely make any noise when left alone (they will bark if someone gets within about six feet of the coach).

Just before leaving on a trip of any great duration, I take both of my Chihuahuas to my veternarian for a complete check-up. At that time, she prepares a current health record/vaccination report that I can carry along just in case there is a health problem with one of the dogs or if one of them should happen to bite or scratch a visitor, I will have the most recent information handy as well as the contact information for my regular veternarian. Also, if you are considering routes that will take you back and forth across the US/Canadian border, my veternarian tells me that there is a pet health certificate form that can be carried (completed by your regular veternarian) that can help ease the border crossings (I have been gathering information for a planned trip to Alaska in the not too distant future).

Good luck with your adventure!

Kevin
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:15 AM   #8
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
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Post Looking forward even more, now!

Many thanks to all of you for your kind words of encouragement! I had gotten the travelling bug myself at 8, when my parents packed me, teenage brother and sister, and dog into a tent trailer to visit my brother then in basic training (it was 1968) in Mississippi. We couldn't afford to do a hotel/restaurant tour, so my dad had talked my mom into trying camping as an alternative. We all got hooked. We spent many years up and down the East Coast, Virginia, Niagara Falls, you name it. Now looking at an even bigger odyssey with my own two (make that three, with dog) - I can't wait! The teenager is looking forward to it as much as we are, and I think it will be a nice time for all of us to do crafts and games we never seem to get to at home. The vet's office stays sound like a good idea for when we do need the daycare. Since Chance (the dog) was a pound rescue, she is not good with kennel situations, so I couldn't imagine leaving her at home to be boarded especially for such a long time, as she could not understand it would be only temporary. With her along, I think for the most part she will enhance our trip, and we can deal with the occasional inconveniences by a few hours' boarding fees. We are gearing up the 345 and hope to do a weekend (or maybe Spring Break week) shakedown cruise before the Big One. Our biggest expense (we hope) will be for fuel, as virtually all meals will be just like at home, so on with the budget planning to get ready! It seems whenever I get a case of the "what were we thinking"s about this vehicle, a visit to this forum can get me back to looking up. Thanks to all of you!
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Old 02-23-2005, 10:48 AM   #9
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I came across this and thought you might want to check it out.... it is called The Great American Dog-Friendly Road Trip 2004 - by Tara Kain, and can be found here
http://www.dogfriendly.com/server/ne...ov_dec05.shtml

This site has many links for you to use to explore dog friendly places....
I must admit, I had forgotten about this site until my newsletter arrived! Be sure to check out the links under Previous Popular Topics!
Admittedly, these folks weren't camping, but the information is still good!

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 02-23-2005, 11:26 AM   #10
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we did two and a half weeks travel in our 1982 28 footer, in mostly 90+ degree weather with our dog and two kids at that time age 15 and 11. Went up the mountains of NC into Virginia and onward to PA and Gettysburg, and then Lancaster and Hershey. Came back down country roads to the Maryland Shore, and foolowed the coast down to NC and on to Georgia.
It was a terrific time, albeit one minor breakdown. The starter fried from exhaust heat. This has since been rectified with a "heat resistant" unit.
All in all we had fun, saw a lot of new places and made a short film of the trip that will always be cherished.
Follow the Boy Scouts motto and "Be Prepared" and you will have a lifetime of memories.
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Old 02-23-2005, 12:18 PM   #11
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Take a small pop-up tent for one of your kids - or both - they'll think it's cool and it'll give evryone some space. Be sure to check National parks for dog rules - before you get there - many have fairly rigid regs. We took our 50 lb dog along last spring.. he rapidly learned the ropes and had a great time. Bring a dog towel or 2, your dog will probably find every pool, puddle and stream.....
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Old 06-14-2005, 06:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbnjsellers
We are planning a big cross-country this coming summer in our new (to us) '86 345, with son 16 and daughter 8. The general plan is to wander out to northern California through the northern states/southern provinces, then flow back through the South....

Since you have the Saturn - and will be somewhat mobile after you park the 345, remember that most libraries offer free use of computers with internet connection, also, the proliferation of "on line" coffee houses (and bars), along with most campground offices being "connected" - you can still stay in contact without your own laptop.

Change the oil before you leave, check it often - I change mine religously at 3,000 miles (or less, if it has been in there for a while) - in my opinion, really cheap insurance.

Be mentally prepared for a major "Oh, !#*!" - tranny, engine, rear end, etc.

Southwest and Airtran airlines can become good friends - and tripsavers - leave the 345 at a shop with good reputation, drive the saturn to the airport - fly to your next destination - pickup the 345 when the repairs are finished.

Check the manufacture dates of the tires on the 345 - anything over 5 years of age is "iffy". New belts and a radiator fluid flush should be considered, if you haven't already changed them out.

How 'bout some pictures?

Please keep us posted with frequent updates on your "adventure".
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Old 06-14-2005, 07:21 AM   #13
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are we nuts?... nope... just carriers!!
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Old 06-14-2005, 07:24 PM   #14
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Okay, we are rarin' to go, radiator flushed, oil changed, all fluids checked and topped off. Now we are embroiled in a plumbing problem (see thread on newbie 345 water question) that WILL be solved, and with a minimum of bad words. Right. The parts are ordered for the Saturn towing, and they will be installed, also with a minimum of blue air. Little remains except for final packing, tearing out of hairs thinking of all possibilities and covering them. Lots of tools will be travelling cross-country, I suspect. Fortunately, the kids are looking forward to this trip - the son will be missing his teenage friends, but we are bringing guitars, and he just got his learner's permit today so he will be able to drive some in pretty states (the Saturn, of course) and have adventures to tell. Right????
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