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  1. Default NC to Los Angeles, April or May, with dog - how long with sightseeing ?

    Hi all,

    Am thinking of relocating from North Carolina to Los Angeles. I'll be driving in a Honda HRV with my dog. Wish my car were a little larger for this. I've wanted to do this road trip forever!

    I definitely want to see the Grand Canyon. It will be just me and the dog, so I have to weigh what I want to do very carefully versus making sure my dog is safe. We are pros at long road trips and she's great in the car, but I obviously can't leave her in it to overheat while I go off and do things.

    I think finding places to pee while with dog is the greater issue that will take improvising in the southwest.

    Anyway, I don't actually have time constraints, so I'm wondering how long to take? My job is ending so now is the time to make the leap. I'm a single 52-year-old woman if that makes a difference but forget the age, please :)

    Would like to budget and stay in hotels sometimes, but maybe campgrounds sometimes. The dog will not be contained in a tent, so I'd need to sleep in the car. Wish I had an RV. Thanks!

    • How long should I allow for the drive?
    • Are there any doggie day cares or boarding spots that stand out?
    • What's a must-see that won't be a danger to the puppo?
    • Safe campgrounds that will let me sleep in the car?
    • Anything else I need to know ?
    Last edited by NC_B; 03-07-2020 at 06:20 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA, and if you decide to do it, welcome to California! Let me answer some of your queries:

    First, it's about a 6 day drive to do it without long sightseeing stops. Add extra days for any time spent at places along the way.

    There are two doggy daycares not too far from the Grand Canyon. One is in Grand Canyon Village, right in the park, Grand Canyon Kennels. The other is in Flagstaff, a good hour away from the GC.

    Most public campgrounds, including those in/near the national parks, will be fine for camping. However, I would not recommend that you try to sleep in your vehicle unless you can fully stretch out. You're better off using a pet-friendly hotel or getting a tent for that purpose; however, April and May are still a bit cold at the upper elevations (such as Flagstaff, Williams and the Grand Canyon), so you may not want to sleep in your car OR a tent. (My family and I were camping at the GCNP in April one time, in a tent trailer. We about froze, despite having a heater in the unit. Tents aren't well insulated.)


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Taking the "Un" out of Unknown

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I think that you're in for a great trip, having done some very similar drives myself in the past. Indeed, my first 'Grand Tour' was a once-around-America RoadTrip that included a segment from North Carolina to southern California that was almost identical to what you'll be doing, and I did that in an AMC Gremlin. In later years, I made many, many long RoadTrips with my own dog in a Subaru Outback. So neither the size of your car nor the presence of a dog should be a problem on your trip. I'd even argue that the smaller the car the more likely you are to enjoy the drive (and passing many gas pumps) and your companion will help you enjoy the stops along the way.

    So, let's deal with some basic logistics first. You'd need five days minimum of workmanlike driving to make this trip (I used Charlotte as a starting point). Considering the needs of your pet and the time required to get to a campground, set up at night, and get back on the road the next morning, a sixth day would come in mighty handy. You'd have to add to that any time spent detouring to and exploring any major sites along the way such as the Grand Canyon. Your basic route is as simple as they get: I-40 goes straight through from North Carolina to just north of Los Angeles where it joins I-15 for the final run into that city. The more time you can devote to the trip, the more places you can stop and see and the greater opportunity you'd have to get off the Interstates and explore some of the towns and countryside you'll be driving through, perhaps for the only time ever.

    Now, some resources that you might find useful. We have put together some lists of campgrounds and smaller parks along the Interstates to help you find places to stay each night and to walk the dog during the day. Note also that National Parks are generally happy for your pet to join you as long as you follow a few basic rules. The one thing I would point out is that in the Southwest especially it is important that you give your dog all the water she can take and keep her hydrated. Excessive panting will be the first sign that she needs more.

    Other than that, since you have plenty of time, the only other general advice I'd offer is to relax, take your time, and enjoy the trip.


  4. Default

    Thanks both! It will be a fantastic trip. Donna, I appreciate that info about the cold - I was wondering about that.

    I could fully recline in the car, it's great, but I definitely don't want to do that all the time. Probably more hotels than not.

    I think I'll plan to spend a decent amount of time checking out the southwest, as I've never been.

    Thanks so much for the doggy day care info. When I go, I'll create a road trip post.

  5. Default

    I have slept in minivans several times in the winter. Here are my observations.

    First of all, you will get a much better night’s sleep in a motel.

    In cold weather, I wore a stocking hat and slept in a mummy sleeping bag. I was never cold.

    You need to crack open a window or two for ventilation.

    I slept in rest areas that had a security guard on the premises. You’ll be hard pressed to find these. Tennessee has some. Don’t sleep way off on the end alone. If anything makes you feel uneasy, leave. Trust your instincts.

    I stick to busy rest areas with plenty of cars and traffic.

    Your sleep will be interrupted by headlights, lot lights, engine noises, truck noises, doors slamming and people talking. A mask would help with the lights.

    The inside of your vehicle will get humid. Droplets and even frost will form on the inside of the windows.

    You MUST be able to lay flat and/or on your side, however you normally sleep. You might need to pad areas with towels or camping mats or whatever. Figure this out before your trip.

    Be prepared for something to wake you up at least once. My dog woke me up at 3am!

    One night of this is enough.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Not only that, but it's illegal in most states to sleep overnight in rest areas, and unsafe unless there's 24/7 security. If you must, a truck stop, with permission, is legal and as safe as anything else.

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