Long Road to the Rose Bowl

Since we all (Ziz included) work at the same place, we all had 11 days off between Christmas and New Year.  So naturally we embarked on a 3,100 mile road trip.

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December 24, 2009 | Missoula, Montana

Christmas Eve was spent in Missoula, Montana at the Holiday Inn (on Priority Club points, of course).  Dined on some excellent buffalo and elk at a cozy dinner across the street at the Pearl Cafe.

December 25, 2009 | Victor, Idaho

Our Christmas destination was an awesomely stylish cabin in Victor, Idaho with our college friends Cully and Rew.

Photo Credit: Cully's Facebook

As you might imagine, Victor is a small town so we didn’t have any dining out options.  Luckily we grabbed some generic pizza crust and beer at the Wal-Mart in Missoula.  Never has Christmas dinner been so classy.

December 26, 2009 | Victor, Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming

On Boxing Day, we came to the realization that Zizou was incapable of laying down due to some sort of pain in his chest area.  We picked up some aspirin from the store in hopes of it reducing some inflammation.

Then instead of snowshoeing in the Grand Tetons, we did a little cruise in the Highlander through the National Elk Refuge outside of Jackson, Wyoming.  We saw some elk from several hundred yards away, but the real stars were bighorn sheep.

Also great views of the Tetons…

December 27, 2009 | Driggs, Idaho and Salt Lake City, Utah

"Woke up" after a very long night with a dog in considerable pain.  The only way I could get him to lay down through the night was to scoop him up and flip him like a Tetris piece onto his side.  Horrible stuff.

Of course things were further complicated because it was a Sunday, but I was easily able to get ahold of the Driggs Veterinary Clinic to line up an "emergency" vet visit.  After some poking, prodding, and x-raying, the vet agreed there must be some sort of pulled muscle in his chest area.  The sad part about that diagnosis is that he hadn’t done anything but sleep in the car to injure himself.

So with some good anti-inflammatory drugs in hand (Rimadyl), we crossed our fingers and set course for Salt Lake City.  Half way through the drive, Ziz laid down independently for the first time in almost two days.  Huzzah!

By the time we arrived in Salt Lake City, he was ready to hang out with his buddy Oscar…

December 28, 2009 | Salt Lake City, Utah

Showing off the diversity of the specie…

Great to see Adam and Juliette, our friends and former roommates in Chicago.  As touristy as we got in SLC was a stroll around Temple Square to check out the Christmas lights and some ice skating.  Next time we’ll visit the Mormon food bank that purportedly serves the best chocolate milk on earth at the end of the tour.

December 29, 2009 | Las Vegas, Nevada

The drive down to Vegas was amazingly our first poor road conditions of the trip (and the last stretch it was a concern).  Most of our friends will be horrified to know that we spent zero time on the strip and just went straight to our hotel west of the strip—Element in Summerlin, the eco-friendly version of Westin.

This turned out to be a really great hotel, and earned lots of Starwood points in the process.  From my research, this and the Westin on the strip are the only two (decent) hotels that allow big dogs.  Our night in Vegas consisted of running around with Zizou at a giant park (Gardens Park) and then eating a bunch of sushi at Lahaina Grill.  Easily in bed before midnight.

December 30, 2009 | Red Rock Canyon, Nevada and Los Angeles, California

After breakfast, we popped over to Red Rock to get a little hike in.  Some cool scenery that’s very different than anything in the Northwest.

Our only family photo from the trip:

The 250 mile drive to Los Angeles was our worst leg of the trip, by far—terrible traffic and rain when we arrived in LA!  No matter, we had a great dinner with family and friends at my parents’ house

December 31, 2009 | Los Angeles, California

Arun was kind enough to score Ziz (and us) an invite to an exclusive/hipster loft New Year’s party.  A great way to celebrate our fifth anniversary since picking him up from Idaho.

Check out this handsome dog at the party:

January 1, 2010 | Pasadena, California

Time for the Rose Bowl!

Good news: we had grandstand tickets for the Rose Bowl Parade.  Bad news: we had to be there before 7am—not ideal the morning after NYE.  It was surprisingly entertaining as we saw: Jack Hannah (Columbus Zoo), Jackie Chan, and Jared from Subway.

The weather was perfect for t
he game—not to mention a great stadium, loud fans, TBDBITL, sunset over the San Gabriel mountains, and an excellent win by the Buckeyes.


Big thanks to Naveena for securing a boat load of game tickets, and my parents for scoring the parade tickets.

January 2, 2010 | Stockton, California and Portland, Oregon

After the Rose Bowl, we made the late night drive to Stockton so we could knock out ~330 miles from the 1,100 mile drive back home.  It would be mostly all-business just to hustle back home in time for work on the 4th.

We thought about trying to just plow all the way to Seattle from Stockton, but we sputtered out after 630 miles and decided to crash at Hotel Monaco in Portland.

January 3, 2010 | Seattle

3,100 miles later, Ziz took in the smell of home.

At the end of this trip, the states visited scoreboard for the Klugusamys looks like this:

  • Vinod – 42
  • Lillie – 36
  • Zizou – 9

Lillie and I will get to 50 eventually, but Ziz will probably have to settle with just cracking double digits.

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