Monday, January 09, 2006

On the Road Again

Sunday, after going to church, we drove down to Ryan's parents for dinner (4 1/2 hours) and then back up to my parents (about 30 from Ryan's) to spend the night since I had a doctor's appointment in Little Rock this morning. Since this was such a short trip we decided to get a dogsitter.

For holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas), and other longer trips, when we go to visit our families, we usually take Magaidh with us. Magaidh is our Scottish terrier mix that we adpoted from the shelter 5 years ago. Her name is the Gaelic form of "Maggie" and you pretty much pronounce it like "Maggie" with a Scottish accent.

We love traveling with our dog, she's a part of our family and she's just so cute. Whenever we travel with her, I feel like we are bringing a real genuine piece of home with us. And it's always nice to have her to pet and snuggle while you are away from home dealing with what can sometimes be the stress of travel. However, there are down sides to traveling with a dog.

We never go inside anyplace together until we get to our distination. We always take turns walking her while the other goes in the gas station to use the bathroom or get snacks and pay for the gas. We just don't feel right leaving her by herself in the car. And a lot of times it is hard to find nice places to stop with her. Unfortunately most of the state rest stops are in decay and very run-down. Most aren't safe to stop at now-a-days either. So we want to find places to stop with her that have nice, safe, and pretty walking paths, but those seem few and far between.

It seems that most of the state rest stops are probably run-down because they are not maintained well. The have no attendents. Most of them are just public bathrooms with snack machines outside and then walking trails and picnic tables. I think perhaps the state should talk with gas station businesses about taking over these rest stops. They could put in a smallish gas station, not one that is colored the way that they normaly are all bright and everything, but maybe more subdue like park buildings with their normal gas station logo. The station can still have showers, etc. for truckers, but the benefit would be that you would have employees who are there all the time to make sure that the area is kept clean and in repair and a nice walking path that you can get out at and stretch your legs.

I personally would stop at a place like this, as I find car trips can be painful and daunting if they are too long. I'm always wanting to get out of the car and walk for 5-10 minutes. This particular trip, since we didn't have Magaidh, we were able to stop and go places together to walk around. Unfortunately, the only place we could really find to do that was in the local Wal-Mart. I mean it was nice to go to a climate controlled environment that had stuff to look at, but when you've seen one Wal-Mart you've seen them all.

This experience has just led me to believe that we need more museums and parks along the major roadways in the state.


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