Dog Friendly Travel

Tour of America Day 2 – Stopping in to See a Friend

Road Trip Day 2 - Visiting Friends Along the Way
Written by Kevin Sando

Day 2 of our dog friendly road trip started out bright and early. After a only a few hours of sleep in the car, we were on the road. While sleeping in the car doesn’t sound glamorous, we were all business and really wanted to make up time – plus, it was hard to justify spending $50-$100 on a room that we would only crash in for a few hours! 

A view of the arch while driving through St. Louis

Roadside Glamour – Love’s Travel Stop

Our choice of stops was a Love’s Travel Stop, which we ended up finding all along our route. This travel stop was fantastic because it was clean, had great bathrooms to freshen up in, and you felt pretty safe surrounded by people who were sleeping in their cars/trucks as well. I slept in the back with the dogs (lucky me) and Rach slept in the passenger’s seat. The temperatures were pretty cool so we cracked the windows to keep the car cool and as the temps warmed a bit, turned the car on, put the windows up, and cranked the AC! While it was not the most restful sleep we have ever had, it was perfect to refresh and recharge! 

Penicillin – A Wonder Drug

After 3 doses of Penicillin (currently referred to as “wonder drug” around these parts), Rach was feeling much better! Since I had driven through most of the night, Rach decided she was feeling up to driving and kicked off our second day of travel from about 30 miles east of St Louis, MO. We drove throughout the day with nothing but gas and stretching breaks planned. We were absolutely in LOVE with the price of gasoline in Oklahoma, reaching as low as $1.89 (that we saw).

Keeping the Dogs Hydrated on the Road

The further south we traveled the more we could feel the temperatures rising! Doggy potty breaks were kept a little shorter and we made sure to provide plenty of fresh water. Because we had a lot of space in the mini-van, we simply used their ceramic bowl from home. We figured it was heavy enough that it wouldn’t accidentally get knocked over or cause any problems. We liked that the boys could get up in the middle of the ride to get a drink if needed. We made sure to bring a gallon of water with us and topped it off at each rest stop to ensure that we wouldn’t run out.

If you worry about water spilling or don’t want to have to lug around a extra gallon, a reader shared an amazing all-in-one bowl with us called the Torus. What makes the Torus amazing is that it has a water reservoir that holds up to 2L but only releases a small amount of water at a time, preventing major spills. I really want this for the rest of the trip!

Sharing the Backseat on a 4Knines Seat Cover

Pit Stops are NOT the Pits!

After 5 hours of driving, we decided to make a pit stop in Tulsa, Ok to visit our friend Flea – the official blogger for Jones Natural Chews. We love Jones’ products (see here and here), especially their stinky hooves! Not only was it great to touch base with a friend that we haven’t seen in a while, but it was great for the boys to run around and spend some energy. With a full 24 hrs of of driving under our belt, it was very much needed! 

Of course, Flea showered the boys with love (and treats) and in a show of true southern hospitality served us up some lunch and cold drinks in mason jars. Flea is the perfect example of why we love our readers and fellow bloggers so much. We truly form an online family, don’t you think? 

Our dogs sitting for some Jones Treats from our blogging friend Flea!

Flea showed us around her awesome house which included a chicken and duck coop and aquaponic garden which uses fish waste to grow vegetables! Best of all, everything I’m describing was right in suburban America in a housing development. Flea’s family uses every inch of their space to its fullest capability, so cool!

As Flea was showing us around, we took our eyes of the boys for a hot second, only to hear the splashes of their golden bodies in her koi pond! (Thankfully, there were no fish in the pond at that time!) We couldn’t even believe it! Harley and Charlie, without shame, flounced around in the above ground pond before proudly rolling in the grass. Just goes to show you…where there is water, a golden will find it! 

Charlie drying off after a dip in the Koi Pond

The OK State – Unless you only have paper money!

After a brief visit with Flea, it was time to get back on the road again. We set our eyes on Albuquerque and hit the open road! We hit some minor snafus passing through the Oklahoma Turnpike and ended up with paper money in a lane that did not have a coin changer. After some dramatics – a siren going off and fearing we would be arrested or ticketed (slightly dramatized), good ole’ Google let us know that we can send payment (along with license plate and time of transgression) to the Dept. of Transportation to avoid a hefty ticket! Will someone please remind us to do this when we get home?!

Pet Friendly Accommodations

As we neared Albuquerque, Rach started to look on Priceline for pet friendly accommodations for the night. As much as we loved the idea of saving some money and sleeping in the car, we wanted to be a little fresher (both in smell and mentally) when we met up with fellow bloggers the following afternoon. Plus, I think the boys needed a break from the confines of the car!

Today more than ever there are lots of options for pet friendly hotels stays at all budgets. Right off the top of my head I can think of Sheraton, Red Roof Inn, La Quinta, most extended stays, and campgrounds. BUT, buyer beware: pet friendly does not always mean all pets nor does it mean that they will be able to stay for free-so check the fine print or call before booking!

Because we were exhausted and wanted something easy and inexpensive, we decided to stay at the Red Roof Inn. We had never personally stayed at a Red Roof Inn, but knew they were super pet friendly. After looking at some reviews, we decided to push on a couple of hours past Albuquerque and stay in Gallup, NM right on the border of Arizona!

Red Roof Inn – For the WIN!

We were very impressed with Red Roof Inn's pet friendly accommodations .

If you have never stayed in a Red Roof Inn, or it has been a few years (or more) since you have, let me tell you – this is not the Red Roof Inn you might have in mind! We were so happy to land here and were blown away by our immaculately clean room that was filled with modern and comfortable furnishings. Can I also say how inexpensive it was for all of this?! We paid around $60 for the room and it was WORTH EVERY PENNY as I drifted off to sleep with the AC blowing and Charlie kicking me in the back!

Things we learned on day 2 …

  • We’re kind of “in love” with Love’s Travel Stops: While I am sure there are many other travel stops that are also great, we had a great first experience and decided to keep going with a good thing. All of the bathrooms we visited were clean, their prices were always comparable with gas and other goods, and there always seemed to be a patch of grass for the boys to do their business on! While I’m sure this isn’t the case for all Love’s Travel Stops, they worked for us!
  • Keep exact change on hand if traveling through Oklahoma! – When I say exact change, I mean coins! There are tolls with no operators and no change machines that accept exact change only. We were caught without the proper combination of coins and no option but to pay what we had and continue on. The alarm sounded and now we are expecting some sort of extravagant bill in the mail. NOT friendly for out of state travelers!
  • Check your hotels! Not all hotels are pet friendly. Those that are pet friendly sometimes impose restrictions on breeds, size, or quantity of animals. Additionally, some hotels tack on fees for your beloved pets to sleep there. I don’t get it, my dogs are definitely cleaner than some people – they only gently hop on the bed after all!

Quick Stats

  • Miles traveled: 1,233
  • States passed through:  5 (IL, MO, OK, TX, NM)
  • Gas fill ups: 3

Stop back tomorrow to see where we visited on Day 3…

Visit our road trip home page  Enter our Grand Prize Leaderboard Contest

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.


  • It would be a fun road trip with two humans to drive. With just mom it is really tiring and we always stay in hotels for safety reasons. We know the Loves stops too and often stop for gas, food, and potty breaks.

  • Oh my goodness.. I have been so looking forward to following your trip since my fiance and I will basically traveling the same route with our Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier next year after our wedding for our honeymoon. That information about having the exact change for OK just saved us a HUGE headache and possible meltdown.. I am sure ;). That is so crazy to me they would have tolls like that, but at least you figured it out and got on your way.. I’d still be there in a ball on the floor afraid I was going to be in jail lol!!! I am so loving this so THANK YOU so much!!!! Enjoy!!! xoxo from another Rochesterian 🙂

  • I had heard that about the toll way from someone that lives down in Oklahoma, yes do not forget to pay or it is a hefty fine. I also have a suggestion, if you don’t want dogs to have any digestive upset. I usually only bring my own water or buy bottled water. Thanks for the tip about red roof inn. #Tour of America.

  • Good to know Red roof Inn is dog friendly, we have stayed at one near the airport in Seattle but will check it out on our next road trip with the orange fluff ball.

  • Wow, some great tips as usual from you guys!! I will definitely have to remember to reference this for our next road trip!! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • I hate the tolls here! Truth be told, though, Texas and illinois are worse. Thanks for visiting!!

  • Glad you guys are having a good time. And I know the struggle with tolls they are horrible in California too and I also end up paying the fees online.

  • this is such a nice idea. i think you should have contacted a car dealership to see if they wanted to sponsor you or even a car manufacturer, like subaru who is very dog friendly. i dont know how you are doing this, my girls would be driving me crazy. the baby who is 5 likes to sit on the console, with her seatbelt on. my oldest does not travel well anymore, she used to be wonderful, but with her demenia and other health issues, deaf, going blind, it is too much for her. so we dont travel. it is a trying time to even get her to the vet. we have to go to Greensboro next wk to the dental specialist for a check up and that will be very trying. it is abt 3-4 hrs roundtrip. i hope you have a wonderful time, drive safely and keep us up to date. i did not even know abt this contest. i checked your website yesterday and there was nothing on it.

    • We are lucky, the boys are good travelers! Flash giveaways will always be announced on Facebook or Instagram, the large contest has just been retooled and there is a link on the trip homepage so check it out and see if it makes sense now!

  • Glad you’re feeling better! I am from eastern Kansas and I am familiar with a lot of the places in your post.

  • I’m so glad you guys are taking us all along for the trip!! I’m really enjoying reading about the adventures!! And I’m glad Rach is feeling better!!

  • So pawciting! Sleeping in the car definitely sounds like an adventure. You do look purdy cosie sharing the backseat! And how pawsome to meet Flea! Can’t wait to wag over tomorrow to read more! <3 Milk

  • Glad to hear a good review of Red Roof Inn. I won a certificate for a one night stay there, and am planning on using it to travel to an agility trial soon. Have never been to one (don’t travel much at all).

    • I think that they are working on updating the whole chain, but we were really pleased with the one that we stayed at!

  • Visiting Flea sounds like my idea of a perfect pit stop. We really are a big online family, it’s really cool how close I feel to a bunch of “internet strangers.” Love seeing your road trips updates, and it’s awesome that you were able fit BlowPaws in there as well.

    • Agreed! It’s so nice to meet people, we all really do get so close! Internet friends and family rock!