Yes, it took 6 days. That's because we got SNOWED IN when we were in Wyoming. And guess where the worst hotel of the whole trip was located? Yup, you got it: also Wyoming. And despite all the jokes about Podunk, Nebraska, that were floating around before I left, turns out "Podunk" (technically Lincoln, Nebraska) was the BEST place that we stayed. They had the nicest barn, the best hotel accommodations. So, if you're planning on making a trip to Podunk, oops, I mean Lincoln, Nebraska, they have my vote.
The Trip in a nutshell:
Stop 1: Twin Falls, Idaho -- Windy and the worst place of all. We left late (of course, because since when can either Dan or I be punctual?) and pushed hard, but still didn't make it to our stop until 2 AM. We crossed into Mountain time, so it only felt like 1 AM, but either way it stunk. We arrived to find the hotel with "convenient horse stalls on site" was actually a hotel with open-air pens on the side of their parking lot. It was AWFUL, and to make matters worse it was really windy/gusty/blizzardy and cold, so poor Gazelle had a draft up her skirt the whole night. She had two blankets on and was still miserable and wholly spooked. I could see her from the window at the end of the hall, so I stayed up keeping vigil all night; I only got about 45 minutes worth of sleep. I let Dan sleep though, he asked me to give him 4 hours, so we left at 6:00 AM on the dot. Gazelle literally leaped into the trailer she was so happy to go.
Stop 2: Rawlins, Wyoming -- See above. At least it was a better barn then the first night. Dan and I learned our lesson; we will only ever stay at private stables if we ever have to lodge anywhere in the future. The first day was still really windy, just as bad as Idaho, but when we left after spending the night because of the snow the wind had died down and it was actually a pretty nice day. It's beautiful with all the wide open spaces, but we were still so scarred from our first bad experience in Idaho, and then to follow that with such a horrible hotel just made the whole stop crummy.
Stop 3: Lincoln, Nebraska -- Again, see above. Wonderful barn, with a huge outdoor arena (we're going to put one in just like it I think). Dan really liked the lights for the outdoor arena; you could ride at night! The weather was beautiful and mild by now. And Nebraska is a gorgeous state. By far my favorite.
Stop 4: Ottawa, Illinois -- Not too shabby. Just as pretty as Nebraska, but the barn we stayed at was a very small operation. Not sure how she ended up on the list of "horse hotels" because she barely had room for her own horse, cows, chickens, rooster, duck, and kittens. But she was very, very kind-hearted, and even though Gazelle slept with kittens and chickens roaming through her stall, it was a good experience. That is, until the next morning when the bugs came out. Again, she almost leaped into the trailer when it was time to leave, but this time she was leaping for joy rather than fear.
Home at last: We made it into town on Sunday. We settled Gazelle first and then came home with Blake and introduced him to Bunny. Let's just say it's a good thing he doesn't understand what "declawed" means, because if he did he would be completely embarrassed for how scared he is of her. They'll adjust, I guess.
FYI: If you had "Drive Across the Country with a Horse and a Cat" on your list of things to do before you die, it's really not all it's cracked up to be. Ha ha.