Building the platform

Yesterday Forrest and I spent our sunny Saturday afternoon starting to put together our sleeping platform in the back of the Cherokee. The platform is definitely taking shape–we made the platform itself as well as the three main lengthwise runners. Our long plastic containers perfectly between the runners and the cooler should fit just in front (or so my cardboard mockup seems to indicate). We still need to make the front cross-brace and add the brackets to keep things square but we’re getting closer! Our list of things to do isn’t getting shorter quite yet, we keep thinking of new things to do, but the items are getting smaller and more optional.

We took stock of what we’ll need to pack and where we’ll put it and everything seems like they’ll have nice places to go. I’m feeling pretty optimistic that things shouldn’t be too crammed together. Once I defend next Thursday I can really start rounding up the things that we’ll need and finalizing what goes where!

Route Planning (with Sprocket’s help)

We sat down with a map of the US and started planning about how far we’ll go each day. We’ll certainly be refining our plans as we go along but having a pretty good outline of where we’ll be will help us start picking out cool things to see.

Sprocket was quite happy to help us with the whole mapping bit!

24 MPG “Motorhome”

What would you do with a Cherokee that got 24MPG? Considering that I’m (finally) done with my college education but don’t have a job prospect lined up yet, we have some time on our hands. What better way to spend it than traveling the country seeing the sights and visiting old friends?

While the actual logistics of the trip have yet to be worked out, the general plan of where we’re going is starting to come together. The only solid date in the timeline is leaving Philomath on April 15th. From here, we’re headed to Moab, Utah then to Texas (Luckenbach, Austin, who knows where else), Louisiana (visiting Meg, checking out Bayou Country), continuing our way across Mississippi and Alabama (more food sampling, bayou looking, and I really want to see some old plantations). Then we’re headed to Florida to visit a friend of Forrest’s in Tampa Bay, check out the Everglades, and visit Key West.

From there we’ll head back up through Georgia (maybe visit Savannah?) on our way to the Carolinas. We’ll visit some more of Forrest’s friends in North Carolina where he’s very excited to get to ride “The Dragon.” From there we plan to play our way up the Appalachians, visiting more friends in Pittsburgh then heading for New York–stopping in Cooperstown! We’ll make a brief stop in Boston and then head up to Bates (hitting up Nezinscot Farm for sure!).

Finally, we’ll make stops in Shoreham/Middlebury and Burlington, VT to visit Katie & Colin and Lee & Jim. We may make it up to see more friends of Forrest’s in Ottawa before hitting the western road.

We’re starting to try and iron out the logistics of how we’re going to fit ourselves and Sprocket (who will be 12 weeks old when we leave town) semi-comfortably into a nice little box for over a month. I scouted all possible storage containers in Corvallis yesterday so we could start planning the actual building of our sleeping platform, found Sprocket a kennel that only sacrifices 2″ of length so he’ll fit in the passenger seat at night, and am on the lookout for a futon mattress to modify into our sleeping space. Forrest is hard at work brainstorming how the actual construction is going to happen as well as fixing any small issues with the jeep.

Sprocket meanwhile, is dreaming on my backpack and thinking going anywhere with his people is fabulous.

Sprocket

On Saturday we brought home our new puppy. Welcome home Sprocket!

He’s probably the most adorable little thing I’ve seen in a long, long time. Among his discoveries–

  1. “Car riding can be really relaxing”: He slept all the way from Thomas & Tasha’s to our house curled up on my lap, happy as can be. Yesterday he took a short jaunt to the base of my weekday hiking hill.
  2. “I can run!!”: While playing on Saturday morning he realized that out of the confines of the puppy box he could work up quite a head of steam. Now he “gallops” as often as he “runs.” It’s easy to tell when he’s getting tired because that’s the only time he walks.
  3. “I found my food!”: He’s definitely learned the layout of our little house and will wonder in to the kitchen to get a drink whenever he feels like it now. This is a huge relief because Day 1 (Saturday) he hardly ate or drank anything.
  4. “I can go hiking! Or at least Mom will carry me.”: Yesterday I was a little anxious to get out and DO something after having been on puppy patrol over the weekend. I also felt guilty about leaving him confined to the kitchen alone for another half hour or so… So I turned my backpack into a puppy carrier and used his leash and collar as a safety and away we went. He quite enjoyed his hike up the cell tower hill–he even got to run around and smell the wonderful smells at the top!
  5. “Sleeping in my crate at night isn’t THAT bad.”: Last night he slept mostly without whining about being lonely, just when he needed to go out and go “potty.” It’s a bit exhausting to get up every two hours with him but we’re quite proud that he seems to understand that going potty in the house is not what he’s supposed to do. We haven’t punished him for his mistakes (although one of his VERY few mistakes was TOTALLY our fault…he was waiting by the door and we just thought he was exploring), we just say “potty” as he goes (which is supposed to help us train him to go on command which would be very nice while traveling) and then give him lots of loves afterwards.

We’re still working on the being home alone bit. He had a rough morning yesterday but once we gave him run of the kitchen as opposed to his crate he seemed much happier.

I also took a look at the way he sleeps outside his crate and realized that we probably made the crate too small for him. Since he seems to understand that he should only potty outside we took out the divider and he made it through the night so unless that changes, I think he’s earned the bigger crate.

Hurray for Sprocket!

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.