Where will we sleep when we’re on the road?

A summer-long, cross-Canada road trip with a gigantic German Shepherd, even one as smart and charming as Milo, presents a few challenges.  Challenges like, where will we sleep for those months on the road?

It didn’t take me long to figure out that my criteria for a reasonable living arrangement aren’t complicated. It has to be

  • convenient for both me and Milo,
  • reasonably affordable,
  • reasonably comfortable, and
  • condusive to my research and writing.

Additionally, it has to

  • accommodate a flexible travel schedule,
  • come with a vehicle that is easy to drive, and
  • provide at least a little access to wilderness.

A good plan is one that gets at least a B grade for each criterion.

The options:
Family and friends. This option scores high in terms of comfort, convenience, and affordability. But, I love these people and want them to love me back at the end of the trip. I have enough sense to know that showing up with Milo for an indefinite amount of time is not OK.

Don’t mind me and my giant, shedding, barking dog. Aside from scratching up your floors and getting hair in every possible nook and cranny in your home and on your person, we won’t be any bother at all. He and I, you know, are both sweet darling angels from heaven…

I have one friend and one aunt who might be on board with this.

HotelsMotel 6‘s across North America are reasonably priced and pet friendly. They’re plain, but usually clean. The trouble is, living in a reasonably priced hotel for months on end still gets expensive. Also, I’d need to supervise Milo pretty much all the time. While I see the appeal of his constant company, a girl has to buy groceries and go to the library once in a while.  Finally, no wilderness.

Tenting. Staying in a tent with Milo, for a weekend, is great. We’ve done it before and he took to it like butter to bread. This den, he seemed to think, was just the right size for both of us. The first evening he walked in, snuggled up, and went right to sleep.

In my 20’s, I spent an entire summer living in a tent on the shore of a pristine lake in Northern Saskatchewan. But, now I’m in my 40’s, and my back hurts at the thought of spending 2 nights in a row sleeping on the ground. I can’t see being happy in a tent for an entire summer. Also, no office.

Gigantic motorhome. I have a vision of motoring along the highway, hands resting at 10 and 2 on a really big steering wheel, occasionally giving a serious nod and a little wave to passing truckers. Linda Ronstadt is rocking in the background and Milo is sitting in the passenger seat wearing a red bandana. Sigh.

That’s not going to happen. Unfortunately there are two kinds of motorhomes: the old ones and the expensive ones. Expensive is not an option. And, since my mechanical ability is limited changing tires, old is not an option either. Old too frequently turns into expensive. Also, I don’t like driving in big cities, even with a little car. The thought of someone else taking a gigantic motorhome along Yonge Street in Toronto is hilarious. The thought of me doing it is terrifying.

Camper trailer. A camper trailer will be pretty good at all the things I need. It’s not as cool as tenting or a motorhome (yes, I think motorhomes are cool, I march to my own drum). But, it will be convenient for me and Milo. I can keep my work set up and ready to dive into whenever I want. I can park it on crown land, or friends’ yards, or campsites, or Walmart parking lots. I can afford one. And I can unhook it and have a comfortable vehicle to motor around in. This is the winning option.


Family and friends Hotels Tenting Motorhome Camper trailer
Convenient B C B A- B+
Affordable A D A F B
Comfortable B A C A- A-
Workspace C C F A A
Flexible C A C B B
Access to a vehicle A A A D A
Wilderness C D A B B

The bottom line: 

If you and your dog are heading out on an extended road trip, take a camper trailer.

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