Thanks to United Airlines having some majorly public issues with their handling of pets on flights, and cancelling all new pet flights through May as they figure out how they want to handle pets in the future, so I had to go drive a friends dog out from PA out to Utah to drop the dog off with it’s owner so it could be back to it’s owners in time.
So the trips plan was to rent the car, drive to Utah with the dog and then fly back.
One camera and one lens came along so I could document the trip, but the rest of the packing list was limited.
First day was plain, focusing on making sure the dog was comfortable and not seeing much of too much interest to stop for. She was happy and a great guest to have in the car through the 2100+ mile trek.
First night got us out past Indianapolis, IN and provided a small rainbow on our trip once we got through Ohio before sunset.
Day two got a great start, and gave me a little time to be able to photograph, but mostly just personal photos, and a couple bird ID photos so I could figure out what species I was seeing that I didn’t recognize.
We kept going and made it into another 3 states, adding up to 7 for the trip so far.
Iowa was pleasant but a little boring, and up to the point where we found a hotel for the night. Nothing really exciting to me, and I got to spend time with Molly more.
Waking up in Nebraska was slow going, and much of the way till we got to Wyoming was spent behind one single tractor trailer, trying not to get distracted by the Sandhill Cranes, and other avian visitors along I-80.
We did a midday pitstop once we were in Wyoming at the highest rest stop on I-80 in Wyoming (8600+ ft up, it was kind of cool), and got to see a really melancholy former president Lincoln statue as he looked at trees and small clouds, though the view from the visitors center was very nice.
The day got more interesting as we came out of the high peak, and went down through the buttes, and beautiful scenery, and just got even more stunning the longer the day went on. Southwestern Nebraska, all of Wyoming, and Utah all have made the list of places I want to go explore a lot more and actually get to photograph these places properly.
We also picked up a visiting painted rock at one of the gas stations we stopped at, and got to take some photos of it on it’s trek back to UT, and then the rest of the way home with me, before finding it’s way to the next step on it’s journey. We made it all the way to Utah that night, though had to stop to photograph one of the mountain cities we passed through on the way to the hotel. It was absolutely stunning up there at night, though it hid it’s beauty mostly until in the morning.
Our view from the hotel was revealed in the morning, and Molly was just enjoying the view in the morning with me. The mountains were just amazing. We hit the timing just right as there wasn’t much snow where we were, but the mountain tops all had just enough snow to be incredible. I told Molly she was going to get to see her dad that day and she gave me her normal look of “excitement” but I knew she’d miss me as much as I would miss her.
We met up with her dad just outside of Salt Lake City and she was on her trip back to California.
Then time to go clean out the car, and turn it in to the rental guys before waiting for the flight.
Once checked in, I found some Therapy dogs working for the airport who were fun to talk to and enjoy getting a very welcome few pets in (It’s hard to go more than a single day without some sort of puppy contact for me) before going through security and waiting for my flight.
SLC airport had an incredible view, as I watched plane after plane land and take off, I had to capture some of the beauty in the airport. My painted rock friend had to come join me too for a photo.
Our flight took us right up and over the mountains. I think we hit 29,000 feet going over the mountains, and i was able to convince my rowmate to let me get a photo out the window as we went to Denver, before I transferred to a red eye flight to Baltimore. When we got into Denver we dropped into a light snow storm, and I was able to capture a snowflake or 2 on the window, then used the Second flight to capture even more pics as I waited for boarding, de-icing, and then takeoff.
I love my camera’s capabilities with night photography too. I was able to capture the city lights of one of the towns below us as we traveled, before we got above the clouds. Arriving at 2:10 am, it was a fun journey and BWI is gorgeous at night with few people in the airport.
2141 miles of driving (I reset the odometer about 20 miles in) and nearly 30 hours of actual drive time or so (It started before that but I did’t know how to reset that one). 4 days of driving, and 5 hrs, or so, in a plane to get back, this was one heck of a trip.
Molly made it home safely, and her owners are very happy to get their beautiful girl back.
I don’t have anything really profound to say though. It was a fun 10 state journey (MD, PA, OH, IN, IL, IA, NE, WY, UT, CO and back to MD) with an amazing dog.
We are available to do trips like this again, just let me have an extra day or two to be able to relax with the pups and photograph more and I’ll be happy.