2023 Michigan trip

Day 1

One of our goals for retirement is traveling with a toyhauler. There are several reasons for this, the main reason being able to take Buford with us. It always hurt our hearts to leave on vacation with him sadly staring at us in the window. Last fall we were gone for two weeks and he barely ate the last week. Since then he makes every effort to stay by our side and not be left behind.

In February we took Buford to the vet for his yearly rabies shots. He always gets a blood test as well. The next day the vet called with disturbing news. His liver count was high and the most common cause for this was liver cancer. The vet scheduled an ultrasound to check for tumors. We had to wait a few weeks for the ultrasound. Donna and I were heartbroken over the possibility of losing our buddy after only eight wonderful years. My family had lost a terrier to liver failure in 1985. Thankfully, the ultrasound showed no tumors and the vet said the high liver count could be due to something he ingested, a thyroid condition, or several other things. We'll continue occasional blood tests to monitor his situation.

For a long time Donna had been talking about going on a short trip with Buford to see how he does traveling. She has been recovering from neck surgery and was ready to get out and do something. She suggested going to Michigan and seeing some of the Great Lakes. That sounded like a great idea. I've been wanting to revisit Michigan since the crew went there back in 2010. We had free time in mid-May so we decided at the last moment to go. I plotted a course that included the Great Lakes, antique stores, and parks for walks with Buford.

May 18

That morning we got everything ready to go. Buford knew something was going on when he saw us packing. He stays close and keeps giving us a look. When we are at the door he stands at the corner of the dining room watching us (above) and hopes to be invited. When Donna asks if he wants to go 'bye bye' he knows he gets to go. He runs and barks with complete excitement. It's so fun to watch and his excitement is contagious.

Here Buford is on the front porch. He is barking and can't wait to go with us. He is so excited...and so are we. We're not leaving our buddy behind.

Buford is in his travel position for his first trip. We brought his pillow for him to lay on.

Happy pet parents on the first road trip with their boy.

The green truck in the background is our Volvo that will pull our toyhauler. It has been a work in progress since we bought it in 2016. I had initially planned to retire in 2025 so I've been slow about getting it ready for RV life. The Kurdzioleks are planning a three week trip this fall so my goal is to have it done so we can join them.

Look at that smile. He is so excited to be going with us and not being left behind.

We stopped at Crowders on the east side of Bedford so Donna could get some meds. Buford doesn't like it when Donna leaves and lets out an occasional whimper of concern.

Donna and her daughter Kenya spent a lot of time cleaning the Sequoia for the trip and it looks good.

We stopped at Hucks in Browstown for supplies and a bathroom break.

I took Buford for his first vacation walk while Donna went inside. I can already feel an excitement because he is with us. He has a whole new world to explore and it makes my heart smile to see him taking it all in.

We stopped at Dollar General in Dillsboro for more supplies...specifically poop bags for the dog. That'll be a new experience for us. I took him for another walk.

Buford is impatiently waiting for Donna's safe return.

Tipp City, OH. 13:21, mileage 110,552 - Fuel stop. I was happily surprised to find the Sequoia got 18.5 mpg for this leg. It's a heavy SUV with a 5.7L V8 and 4.30 gears.

Also in Tipp City was our first antique store of the trip...Midwest Memories Antiques. There is extra adventure going into the first store of the trip.

It was nice to see they allowed dogs here. We had parked in a lot around the corner so we didn't go back and get Buford. We use the remote start when Buford stays in the car. The weather is on the cool side so there is no issue with Buford overheating. The remote start gives another layer of protection. We don't want some overzealous doggie warrior smashing our window.

Near Piqua we stopped at a rest area and let Buford stretch his legs. It's fun letting him explore. We have to remember to give him potty stops and make sure he has water to drink but that ended up being a fun part of the adventure.

The courthouse in Wapakoneta, OH. I love the clock tower.

Our second, and last, antique store for the day was the Auglaize Antique Mall in Wapakoneta. Donna found a pyrex bowl and a couple pair of shoes. She had accidentally started the trip with only the shoes on her feet.

I used my cellphone to take pictures this trip and I got some of my finger in this picture. Doh! I brought my regular camera just in case but it never left the bag. My cellphone takes better pictures but is unhandy when riding the bike.

The antique store used to be an opera house and had an interesting history. Cool! I love historical things.

Just south of Findley, OH, we stopped at another rest area for a group potty break. After a long walk through the field Donna left to go to the bathroom. Buford wanted to go with her. He kept pulling at the leash, and whimpering, and impatiently waiting until she returned. When I went to the bathroom he didn't care. Ha! He and I are buddies but he loves Donna. When I came out of the bathroom I didn't see them at first. They were in the woods.

This area of Ohio is popular for railfanning. There are high traffic Norfolk Southern and CSX mainlines in the area. Sadly, we only saw parts of a couple trains this trip.

Findley also reminds me of Rick Miles. He lived in Findley and was the resident assistant my freshmen year in college at Rose-Hulman. His nickname was 'Rico' and he was a super nice guy. That was so long ago.

This is Buford's favorite spot...sitting in mom's lap. He would soon be alseep.

We decided to get food and take it to the motel. Popeyes sounded good. Red beans and rice...mmmmmmm.

While we were waiting on our food we looked back to see Buford keeping an eye on us. Bless his heart. He's always our 29 lb protector. It took a while to get our order and when we got to the room we found they had forgotten our sides. Sigh...

We stayed at the Travelodge in Monroe, MI. We will stay at 'motor inn' style motels the entire trip. It's convenient to back up to the door and unload. Sometimes these types of motels have a negative stigma but we've had great luck with them. I like supporting the smaller motels.

After supper we went for another walk. Donna is wearing a pair of shoes she found at the antique store. Buford is sniffing and exploring everything and keeping us safe. Kids loved petting him. He's small enough to not be scary.

Giving mom some hugs and kisses.

When Buford was little I built him a set of stairs so he could get on our bed. I wondered how he would do without stairs because he always has to be with Donna and I. He walked around the bed a few times, whimpered a little, then leapt up onto the bed. Donna and I were both surprised. Such a little beast.

It was a fun day with Buford. He adds a whole new dimension to the trip. Our highest mileage day is behind us. Time to relax.

355 miles.

Click here for the next day's adventure.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6

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