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With tips for Fido-friendly travel, road trips on a budget, and much more, PlanYourRoadTrip.com is our favorite new trip-planning website.
|The Roof Carrier Question|
|Written by Robyn Larson McCarthy|
|Tuesday, 23 September 2008 07:45|
We're cruising east along the New York Thruway as I write this, hoping to make it to Route 9 in time to cross Vermont before sunset. As if the possibility of catching the first fall colors on that already beautiful road weren't enough, we want to make it to the "cheese shop" before they close. From maple syrup to souvenirs, the store sells much more than cheese. Yet ever since we discovered their variety pack of locally made, maple-infused cheddars, the place has been known to friends and family as "that cheese shop."
This quick weekend visit to relatives in upstate New York has been something of a trial run for our cross-country trek in November with… The Puppy. Yes indeed, for those of you who don't keep up with his adventures at Chaucer Sees America or on his My Space Page, Chaucer the well-traveled terrier acquired a "little" sister this summer. What began as an adorable 11-pound yellow lab has grown at an alarming rate into a 40-pound-and-counting pooch. In keeping with the tradition of giving a dog a proper literary name in the futile hope that he or she will live up to it, this energetic creature's name is Brontë.
Several years ago, our trusty, well-duct-taped roof carrier met its demise in a fierce desert dust storm outside Albuquerque. That was just the impetus needed to start packing lighter for road trips. After cleaning red dust from the inside of bags that had been inside the carrier, I decided that if it couldn't fit inside the car, we didn't need to pack it on our next trip.
Thus began a campaign of downsizing and über-organizing, our system fine-tuned with each successive trip. I knew we'd succeeded when I no longer had to rest my feet atop my stack of unread magazines, and Chaucer got more than two square feet to curl up in. How nice to stretch out with a cup of coffee in my cup holder and my office files within easy, but non-confining reach.
Enter Brontë, whose crate fills almost half the cargo area! Time to start comparison-shopping for a new roof rack.
And yet… We just flew past an eye-catching vehicular contraption with Vermont plates. Once a school bus, it now sports a mottled green paint job and something that might or might not be an air conditioner attached to the roof. Hmm, do we just need a larger vehicle?
So, what's your car-packing philosophy? If you can strap it on, take it? Or if it doesn't fit, leave it at home?