Are we there yet?

I was in my early twenties the first time I did a cross-country drive. I waited until we were about an hour out, and then I asked, “Are we there yet?” Although it wasn’t well received, the memory still cracks me up every time I think about it.

Four years later, I did the cross country drive by myself in three days. While I normally dislike driving, I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this trip.

It was my introduction to books on tape.  I brought a Mary Higgins Clark mystery, The Last of the Mohicans (I’d seen shirtless Daniel Day Lewis in the movie and wanted to “read” the book), and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

From the time I left the hotel in the morning until I stopped for the evening, my only company was gas station attendants and fast food restaurant staff … and the books. It was as if someone was in the car reading to me, which is why I love them so much.

Strangely enough, my favorite memory of my solo trip actually had nothing to do with the car at all. I wanted to stop in Yuma for a pit stop and lunch before I crossed into California. Unfortunately, the thermometer read 113, and I had a hamster in the car …. Doesn’t everyone travel with a rodent?


I was prepared, however, and had brought an over-sized bag and a travel cage. I woke up the sleepy (and very bite-y) hamster, “Bear”, did the cage transfer, put the cage in my bag and walked in. It was WONDERFUL being out of a moving car. The hamster agreed and started jumping around in her cage. I hadn’t realized that an active Bear could make my entire bag swing. I held it very close to my body as I ordered and then walked with my tray to the furthest empty booth.

I opened up my bag to give Bear some air, and I started to eat. A couple minutes later, I got a weird feeling. I looked down to see Bear sitting on top of her cage staring at me.

“#$%#!” went through my mind, “I’m the reason there is a loose rodent in Jack in the Box!” (Not a sponsored link … but could be. Jack, call me! And I promise not to bring another hamster into one of your stores if you do!)

Jack in the Box Logo

Fortunately for me and the health department, Bear was content prairie dogging on the top of her cage. I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, then I slowly grabbed the hamster and returned her to the cage. I then set my purse over the lid (making sure plenty of air holes were still available!).

When I returned her to her main cage in the car, I gave her a treat for being such a good girl and cooperating.

I laughed the whole way across California. For those last few hours, I didn’t care if I was there yet. The journey was so much fun.

Have you ever done a solo road trip? What is your favorite pet travel story?

6 thoughts on “Are we there yet?”

  1. Oh my gosh that would have totally freaked me out! I love road trips too. I don’t take long solo trips by myself – I tend to fall asleep too quickly. But I love audio books when I drive, I love the thinking time. I love to drive. Period.

    And I don’t have a pet – except an inanimate pink monkey (but don’t tell her that) whom I take on many road trips with me. She’s the namesake of a blog of mine – Bring the Monkey. Am I going to end up being one of those elderly women with stuffed animals lining the back window???? Yikes. Save me.


    1. Knowing that you have a problem is the first step in solving it! I would be willing to do a stuffed animal intervention if it comes to that.

      I won’t tell your pink monkey that she’s inanimate if you don’t tell my cat, Carmen, that it is her house and she only lets me live there.


  2. Thank you. Your story truly made my day and made me smile. My favorite was on a recent PCS move alone, I took one cat to the truck, came back and the other one was gone. Now for a cat to vanish in a Motel 6 room is quite a feat. So alone at 5am I find myself removing the backing of the boxspring very carefully and looking in every non existent nook. Finally, distraught I pull the wall unit out and find a tiny little grey cat curled up and under the back drawer. After that I decided I wasn’t stopping again and drove 19 hours straight through until I got to my destination. Sincerely, a lady that has done that cross country drive alone many times with cats.


    1. How scary to lose a cat in a hotel room! Thank goodness you found it without having to go all rock-star and destroying the room. I, too, would have done the rest of the journey straight through.

      Thank you for stopping by my blog.


  3. What a funny story. I can only imagine how hard it would have been to chase down a hamster in a Jack in the Box. I think it would be hard to explain to people what you’re doing too. At least your hamster was good enough to stay still so none of that would happen.

    I haven’t traveled across the country with an animal before, but I have traveled short distances with my cat. When she’s in her carrier all I hear is meowing – constantly. She never shuts up. My wife who has traveled with her from Texas to Minnesota said she meowed almost the entire way. It was only when she was sleeping did she let up.

    By the way, I love listening to books on tape when I’m traveling long distance. Aren’t they great? I’ve heard a few good books by just listening to them while driving.


    1. If Bear had gotten loose at Jack in the Box, I don’t know how I would have caught her! Thank goodness she was only curious about me and my food. (I did give her a french fry when I returned her to the cage.)

      Your poor kitty, and poor you having to listen to her express her unhappiness.

      Books on tape are a constant feature in my car. When there are books that are intimidatingly long, I like to go the audio route. Somehow when some is reading it to me, 1000+ pages seems less daunting.


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