Dog Friendly Travel

Tour of America Day 13 & 14 – Headed Home

Dog Friendly Road Trip Days 13 & 14 - Headed Back Home
Written by Kevin Sando

Well, our whirlwind road trip across the US has just about come to an end. All that’s left now is one pesky detail – a 19 hour drive back home to Rochester, NY!

Charlie looking out the car window during our huge dog road trip

We started the day in Mitchell, South Dakota and after a great cup of coffee at Cornerstone Cafe, we got right on the road. This post will be a bit different than most as our main goal was simply to cover a lot of ground! We did have one highlight though – just like on the way down to BlogPaws, we were able to visit a friend on the way home.

Visiting with Spencer the Goldendoodle

One of the great things about the BlogPaws conference is the relationships you form in those short few days. This year we had the chance to get to know Spencer the Goldendoodle and his mother Brittany. If you haven’t visited their blog yet, you definitely should!

Charlie visiting with Spencer the Goldendoodle

When we found out that we would be passing near their home in Minnesota, we decided to arrange a playdate and let the dogs stretch their legs! We met up at a great dog park in Austin, MN where Charlie and Spencer had a blast playing fetch. At 8 years old he sure can give young Charlie a run for his money!

Spencer was giving Charlie a run for his money at the dog park!

Harley enjoyed taking in some new scents and received plenty of pets and loving from Brittany and her husband.

Harley enjoying some A+ Head Scratches from Spencer's mom Brittany

Back on the Road

With a couple of tired pups it was time to get some serious mileage under our belts. Rach and I took turns driving until late into the night when we finally reached Chicago, Illinois.

Pushing Through

The original plan was to get a hotel room near Chicago and tackle the last 10 hours of the trip casually on Monday. However, as we kept getting closer to home, we were getting more and more ready to be back. Looking back at the dogs, we could tell they felt the same way. The idea of being home before noon was becoming awfully appealing…

Harley and Charlie quite cozy on their 4Knines Seat Cover

Since we were both feeling great we decided we would push on through – stopping if needed for a few hours of rest along the way. Rach and I actually make for a pretty decent driving team on the road. She is at her best in the daylight hours while I am certainly a night owl. Staying awake and alert overnight has never been an issue for me.

Rach was actually able to drive until just after 1AM. For those of you who don’t know her, any driving after dark is quite an achievement! We switched roles and I got us across the rest of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and up to Erie, PA. At this point we switched once again and I fell quickly asleep in the passenger seat. I have to say, waking up as we pulled back into our neighborhood on Rochester, NY was an amazing feeling!

Wrapping Up our Dog Road Trip

It has been an amazing journey with memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. We feel truly blessed to have been able to bring the dogs along and share this adventure with them. We would like to thank our sponsors once again for helping to make this trip possible.

Thanks so much for following along on our travel logs and stay tuned for much more trip related content to come! We will be putting together park specific guides, dog friendly travel tips, and even a series on travel essentials.

What we Learned on Days 13 & 14

Skip the Tolls Around Chicago

We were given a heads up about the cost of tolls while driving through Chicago so decided to check out the toll-free route from our Google Maps app. As it turns out you can save ~$30 with only about a 30 minute detour. This was well worth it to us – what’s another half hour on this drive anyways!

Quick Stats

  • Miles traveled: 1250
  • States passed through:  8 – South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York
  • Gas fill ups: 4

About the author

Kevin Sando

Kevin is a mechanical engineer with a degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has move than a decade experience in new product design, prototyping and early stage manufacturing. Pairing this background with his love of dogs, gives him a unique perspective to evaluate the design and execution of new and interesting pet products.


  • i hate toll roads, they are a pain. we used to have them in nc, then they stopped now we have them again in some parts. well worth the 30 min detour to 30 dollars. i think it was so great how you visited other bloggers along the way.

  • Geez, you guys were so close to us too! Bummer we didn’t have a meet up! Maybe next trip? Those tolls are a royal pain and spendy, great idea to avoid them!