Friday, June 27, 2008

Almost in California

Once I get home, I will post the events that led up to us being in Kingman, AZ tonight. Hopefully we will all be home tomorrow night. Tabby and the horses and some of the dogs are still way behind us. Of the dogs we have: Flynn, Lacey (both Dobes) and Sally the walker hound - well, none of them are spayed or neutered and Sally at the age of roughly 12 came into heat yesterday morning.

I did find out that Penske has a governor on the truck I am driving and I cannot go a bit over 70 mph. I usually drive fast and this is killing me :) The truck is fairly new but obviously has issues - going up any hill is done at about 40 mph as the poor old truck loses steam - even though cruise control is on - We are hoping to leave early in the morning so this is it for now


PS - Makeetah has been a dream to travel with - :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

North Carolina

To make a long story short, I was bumped off the one flight, Caren and Pete arrived, we rented a car to get us all home again, then drove straight back to the airport to catch the 6 am flight I had been bumped to - we slept from Utah to Missouri - Makeetah was fairly comfortable in the bulkhead area - the flight was uneventful to Atlanta and Makeetah behaved very well - from Atlanta to Asheville she had to be crammed under the seat as they had no provisions - accommodations - or interest in having a dog on board. She was squooshed badly but handled it well. Arrived about 4 pm

Spent today renting the big yellow trucks, and found that nothing had really been packed so we spent more than 12 hours packing up a house of stuff that had not been sorted or boxed. We are exhausted, were hungry till we came back to the motel and found Burger King was still open!! Hooray - food. So one truck is fully loaded, we started on the second truck but it got too dark to finish. There are the dogs to load - the horses to see to and the barn to clear out of hay and arena panels. However, as I need to be back at work as does Caren we plan to take the dogs, Makeetah, the Tahoe and one moving truck and start back tomorrow morning at about 9.

I have decided to adopt the Japanese style of living arrangements. I shall have a futon, a straw mat on the floor and one low table - will sell everything else - will never move again - to be continued ......

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Off to the airport - maybe.......

Well - all things well planned often have an almost insurmountable glitch in them - usually toward the last minute......

All is packed, all arrangements in place - then I tried to print out boarding passes and again after speaking to several folks in India found that due to the dog travelling with me I cannot print out the passes - okay - so no problem - I can deal with that - will get to the airport with plenty of time. Have to hand the Chessies and the truck over to Pete and then will race to the counter - no problem - I can handle almost anything - right?

Mmm - well I then get a call - with just a few hours to go - Pete and Caren are stranded in Acapulco - nice place to be stranded in.... however, the storms are such that they are not getting out of there any time soon.

What to do? try to get a later flight - gosh I really do not want to deal with the support staff at Delta again - it is very frustrating, but I call and the options are expensive - another $800 to have the flight changed. Call back and forth to Mexico and NC.

Finally I decide to hitch a ride with my son to the airport and catch the flight out. Luckily he was okay with picking me up later. All the dogs will be okay here for the night - my folks will feed them in the morning if C&P do not get here till sometime tomorrow. Their truck is already packed and ready to go - all is well - sort of - we are again down a driver now. Will worry about that in NC. Maybe Caren can get a later flight or get herself rerouted to NC instead of San Francisco - this is the beginning of a trek that even the Boers would find interesting!! Next post will be "we are on our way" - I hope :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

AB1634 - again

Please continue to help stop this bill - it has come back in a new and more formidable format. The new bill is much more anti-pet than the last AB1634. Please read the small print. Below are two links - cut and paste if you cannot grab the entire address - please read and help stop this insanity


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Confirming the flight.....

I came home from work early today and found a confirmation e-mail about the flight - there was no mention of the dog. I called the airline....."'ello, 'ello" - the voice was rather tinny in my ear so I said I am calling to confirm a flight and all I hear is "'ello, 'ello". After this goes on for a minute or two we decide that he can hear me - I ask where he is located - India this time. Gosh - I have talked to Manila, Jamaica and now India - just to get a flight to North Carolina!!!

Okay - he can hear me sort of and I tell him why I am calling - I get more "ello"s and he asks for the confirmation number. I give that to him and ask about the dog. He puts me on hold again. He comes back on the phone and asks for the number again - I spell it out to him using the Alpha, Bravo codes. He asks yet again, so now I use the animal codes, A is for anteater, B is for bison etc. The next time he asks, I use fruit and finally I regain some brains and ask to speak to someone at San Francisco airport. After 12 minutes he comes back on the line to say he cannot help me but would now transfer me to someone who will be better able to help me.

Minutes go by, I am almost seething now and then a very nice voice says Hi, my name is Sandy how may I help you - I ask "Where are you located?" and she laughs and says Georgia - I thank the powers that be - she can not only speak English - she can understand it too. So I tell her my sorry tale of woe.

She says not to worry let's see what they have here - oh, she says brightly - and in English - I see you have a psychological problem - gulp! goes me - really? - but I brightly say: "Don't we all?" She says well they have here that you have a mental problem that requires a support dog that you will carry in a bag on your shoulder. I kindly tell her that there is no way this side of the warm place that I can stuff Makeetah in a bag and put it on my shoulder - she is 75 pounds and by the way, nope, I have not yet been certified to have any mental issues. Sandy (whose name has been changed to protect the helpful), laughs, and suggests we start from scratch. We finally get it all sorted out, I now have the flight not only confirmed but the seating arrangement for Makeetah is not only reserved but I can download and print all the errors that we "fixed" in the hour and a half this phone call took to complete. Ahh, the joys of travel....

Booking our flight....

About a month agao, after finding the flight I wanted, at the price I thought was reasonable, I booked the flight to North Carolina. After making the reservation and paying for it on-line, I found I could not advise the airline that I would be taking a service dog with me in the cabin. So, I called the company.

I tried to explain why I was calling, but it was almost impossible to get my information across. I asked where the person to whom I was speaking, was located - Manila. Okay - could I talk to some one at the airline in the USA, I asked. I was told to hold on while I was connected.

A nice lady came on the line but again, there was a language barrier in place. I tried to explain why I had called - regarding the service dog on the flight I was taking. I was told that that was okay, it would be noted that I was taking a dog on board. I read her the instructions on-line and asked her to tell me what paperwork I needed to show the airline as the on-line site did not specify. She asked what type of service dog I had and was I blind. Nope, says I, I am reading to you from the web site - definitely not blind. She asked if I was deaf, nope again, as I am actually talking on the telephone and not through a TTY.

I asked where she was located - Jamaica. Nice weather? I ask. In turn she tells me to take the doctor who originally "ordered" the service dog, to the airport with me so that "the doctor (could) validate that this dog was the one he ordered and give the reason for his original order". I asked if I could simply take the paper work instead but she was adamant that I needed to take the doctor. Okay - we are off to a great start here and I think I shall call back closer to the time we are going to travel to make sure Makeetah is listed as being in the cabin.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

An upcoming road trip

The next two weeks will be hectic and this post is to try out this blog so that we can use it as an update for a trip to NC and back.

My friends Caren and Pete left to go to Cancun for their wedding anniversary today. They left behind four Chessies for me to watch and their Denali (well it *is* a fun vehicle to drive). They return at 10:30 on June 22. I will drive the dogs to the airport and hand them over to Pete, who will then drive his vehicle and his dogs home to the foothills. Then after having grabbed the baggage and Makeetah, Caren and I will then board a red-eye flight to NC at midnight. We arrive in Asheville, NC, at noon the following day.

The next 24 hours will be filled with checking my daughter's packed trucks - two 26 footers from a rental company, a Tahoe, a Toyota 4x4 and a pickup truck which will be hauling the three-horse trailer.

The convoy will be comprised of two Friesian horses, four Dobermans, two - or maybe three cats, a household and a full barn - and of course Makeetah.

Our plan is to travel along I-40 back to CA. I would love to stop in Texas to meet Roy Hughes and his family and of course see the rescue ranch. However, there will be four drivers, two vehicles pullings trailers (one for the horses and one for the Toyota) and timing is going to be interesting. The furthest I have ever hauled horses was about 1000 miles. This is going to be one long trip!

I hope we are all prepared, first aid kit, maps, GPS, cell phones and chargers, cameras and chargers, clothes, paperwork for Makeetah to travel in the cabin with us, AAA card and laptop.

So this is our first test road trip post....