Back in June, we packed up our Subaru Crosstek and took a two week road trip from our home in Northern Virginia all the way to the California coast. Of course, our whole family was in tow – Luna, Ralph, and my awesome boyfriend (who did ALL the driving).

You may recall that I promised to share the photos and stories from our trip and you may be thinking that I haven’t done a very good job keeping up with that promise. And you would be right. I’ve been dealing with fatigue and some other personal struggles lately, but I’m finally starting to pull myself together and was able to go through and edit my some 2,000 photos from our trip.

Because I have so many ridiculous and beautiful photos that I want to share, I’m going to break down our trip into a few different posts, starting with our journey out west! You can also see many of our trip photos on Instagram with hashtag #RoadTrippinBeagle.

The purpose of the first leg of our road trip was to get us to Phoenix, AZ for the BlogPaws Conference. I’ve attended this conference every year since I started Beagles & Bargains and it has taken me all over the USA – home in DC, Las Vegas, Nashville, Phoenix, and Myrtle Beach next year! But, this was the first year where I would be speaking. My goal with my new business is to help bloggers and small business owners conquer their tech because I know first hand that it doesn’t have to be scary! I had the honor of talking to bloggers about this topic.

We got a late start for our first day on the road, but were determined to make it to Knoxville, Tennessee which is about a 7 hour drive from our home in Northern Virginia. We elected to stay in a La Quinta, since they don’t charge any pet fees and are a good balance of price and niceness of the room. Since we got in so late, we really didn’t do much sightseeing there.

Selfies with Ralph on our road trip - RoadTrippinBeagle

The next morning, we left for Memphis, TN – about a 6 hour drive. There I had the opportunity to see my aunt, uncle, and cousin! We had a pretty delicious meal of BBQ. Though we were technically visiting Memphis, we ended up staying in Southaven, MS in one of my favorite hotels – Home2 Suites by Hilton. More on that later!

Luna at the wall outside of Elvis's Graceland - RoadTrippinBeagle

We couldn’t leave Memphis without taking a visit to Elvis’s Graceland, so that’s what we did the next morning. Since the King’s former home costs money to visit and isn’t pet friendly, we weren’t able to actually go inside. But, we were able to see a small glimpse of it from outside The Gates of Graceland and signed The Wall.

We also picked up our first souvenirs and first bumper sticker for our roof box, which promptly blew off somewhere in Oklahoma.

Luna enjoys a picnic lunch in Arkansas - RoadTrippinBeagle

Next we were headed to Oklahoma City, another 7 hour drive or so. On the way we passed through Arkansas and stumbled upon The Big Dam Bridge, which certainly lived up to its name. The bridge is located near Little Rock and is the longest bicycle and pedestrian bridge in the US. It is 4,226 feet long and rises up to 90 feet high! While we didn’t walk across the whole bridge, we did make it about half way and enjoyed a quick picnic lunch nearby.

The Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas - RoadTrippinBeagle

In Oklahoma City, we stayed in another La Quinta. Before leaving town we visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Since the memorial isn’t pet friendly, my boyfriend and I had to go one at a time. It was a very beautiful memorial for such a tragic event in our country’s history. After visiting the memorial, we also drove by the Capitol Building and I stopped in to get a few souvenirs and some Oklahoma stickers for our roof box.

Oklahoma City National Memorial - RoadTrippinBeagle

Luna visits the State Capitol in Oklahoma City - RoadTrippinBeagle

Then we were off to Albuquerque and on our longest day of the trip out there at 8 hours! To get there we had to drive through the panhandle of Texas, which turned out to be one of my favorite days on the road.

Pit stop to see the Britten Leaning Water Tower in Groom, Texas - RoadTrippinBeagle

We stopped to see the Britten Leaning Water Tower in Groom, TX and drove past the World’s Largest Cross. We took another pit stop at the gift shop of The Big Texan Ranch, which is the home of the 72 oz steak. We didn’t even consider attempting to eat it, but did pick up plenty of Texas souvenirs!

Luna enjoys the colorful cars at the Cadillac Ranch - RoadTrippinBeagle

We also couldn’t pass up a chance to see Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. I highly recommend it if you are passing by. Plus, it’s completely dog friendly! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was quite a colorful surprise.

The Texas scenery was super flat, but full of wind turbines which made for great views from the car.

Wind turbines and beautiful Texas sky - RoadTrippinBeagle

We spent another night at a La Quinta in Albuquerque and then visited the downtown area in the morning. We did some more souvenir shopping and ate the most amazing brunch at the Central Grill and Coffee House in the ultimate Route 66 fashion before heading off for Phoenix.

Luna and Ralph visit Old Town Albuquerque, NM - RoadTrippinBeagle

The drive to Phoenix was about 7 hours and was my favorite in terms of scenery. The rock formations were just too awesome to not appreciate.

Beautiful rock formations in New Mexico - RoadTrippinBeagle

We didn’t stop too many times on our last day because we knew it was the final stretch, but we did make sure to take some selfies in front the of the Arizona state sign.

Selfies at the Arizona state sign - RoadTrippinBeagle

While in Arizona, we experienced so many different landscapes from desert to forest and even witness a storm!

Stormy weather up ahead in Arizona - RoadTrippinBeagle

Once we finally made it to the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, we ordered some delicious room service and then went to bed after a long trip! BlogPaws was right around the corner, so I needed to rest up.

Our experience driving out west was amazing and I hope to do it again some day. I was able to visit 8 states, 5 of which were new for me, and became a professional at packing and unpacking our car. Plus, I can proudly say that I survived a 5 day road trip with my boyfriend and two dogs packed into one car!

Don’t forget to check out all our Road Trippin’ Beagle posts!
Road Trippin’ Beagle Does BlogPaws
Road Trippin’ Beagle Goes to PetSmart
Road Trippin’ Beagle Does California
Road Trippin’ Beagle Goes Home

Have you ever taken a road trip with your pets?

Jessica Shipman
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