California to New Mexico with my dog

Not having found a nice enough kennel in all of the LA area for our beloved dog, we decided to take her with us. We rented an SUV and hit the road bound for New Mexico.

California to New Mexico with my dog

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

Best things we did on this trip were visits to the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and simply viewing the beautiful Southwest scenery.${QuickSuggestions} Got a very helpful book from AAA called "Travelling With Your Pet". It lists hotels/motels in cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada that accept pets. Cost of book was $8.95. There are also some great resources on the web: and are two really good ones.

The book and the websites also tell you basic rules to keep in mind when travelling with your pet.

We also ordered a National Park Pass from the National Park Service. Cost was $50.00 and it can be ordered online at${BestWay}

Holiday Inn, Williams AZ

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

We stayed here because in the AAA Book it specifically states they accept large dogs. We have a German Shepherd who weighs 70 lbs. Normally, we don''t stay in places like this, preferring luxury when we travel. But when travelling with a pet, sometimes you have to lower your expectations.

Our $69 room was nice, but nothing to write home about. However, it was clean and large. TV and direct dial phone in the room. The vanity/sink was outside the bathroom and the smallish bathroom had the toilet and shower over tub.

Breakfast was included in the rate, but having eaten in the coffee-shop the night before, we opted to just take two coffees to go.

This hotel is just off Interstate 40. We had a room facing the Interstate, but didn''t hear traffic noise. The staff was friendly and courteous. The only downside to this place was the coffee-shop dinner. Everything tasted canned, not fresh.

I''ve listed this place as recommend, but only if travelling with a pet, or if one is used to staying in roadside inns.

Holiday Inn, Williams AZ
Interstate 40, Exit 163
Albuquerque, New Mexico

AmeriSuites Albuquerque

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

Since this is an all-suite hotel, all the rooms have a sitting area with a couch, an easy chair, coffee table and a desk with chair. We also had a king-sized bed. There was also a little kitchen area in the room with mini bar, microwave, sink, dishes and utensils. The mini bar had ample room in it to put things in that you wish to keep cold.

Our rate of $75 included buffet breakfast in the lobby. I went down, got a few items and brought them back to our room. There was a $10 fee for the dog.

The vanity/sink is outside the bathroom. The toilet and shower over tub were in the bathroom.

This is an 8 or 9 story hotel and we were on the 6th floor with a room in the back facing the parking lot. The downside to this was that at 2:00 a.m. the parking lot across the street was being cleaned by one of those trucks which vacuums up the debris. It was loud enough to wake me and it went on for at least an hour. The air conditioner in this room is one of those on the wall under the window that pulls in air from the outside, which is fine. But it also pulls in noise. I would stay here again, but I''d ask for a room in the front of the hotel as there is nothing across the street from the front. There is only a street in front of the hotel and it''s located on a side street off Louisiana Street.

There is a shopping center about 3 blocks away which has all kinds of restaurants. We ate at TGI Fridays. They''re all about the same, so no restaurant review for that.

The staff was friendly. One front desk clerk even gave us directions to an off-leash dog park about a mile away, which was a godsend for our dog. She got to run and play with her kind.

AmeriSuites Albuquerque
I-40, exit 162 Louisiana Street
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 872-9000

Days Inn, Carlsbad, NM

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

This is another place I wouldn''t stay unless I was travelling with my dog, but it was adequate. It is a two-story motor inn, with outside entrances to the rooms, and parking is right outside your door. We had a room on the 2nd floor with a sitting area with couch and easy chair, and a king-size bed. The vanity/sink is outside the bathroom. Bathroom has a shower over tub.

Breakfast was included in the $62 price. Breakfast was served in the lobby, and consisted of pastries, toast, juice and weak coffee.

This hotel is on Route 62 headed toward the Caverns. It is the last motel on the left before you leave town. It wasn''t anything to write home about, but was clean and adequate for our needs.

There is no restaurant close by. You have to go into Carlsbad. Since we were tired of pizza and fast food and were too tired to drive around and look for someplace nice, I went to the local Wal-Mart and bought a cheap plastic salad bowl, salad makings, salad tongs, paring knife, mustard, mayo, pickles, bread, ham, cheese, and beer. We had a nice "home-cooked" meal in our room for about $20. Since we were travelling by car (SUV, really) we had space to store the bought items.

Would I stay here again? Only if travelling with a pet or a large family. There is an indoor swimming pool here.

Days Inn Carlsbad
3910 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, New Mexico
(575) 887-7800

Four Points by Sheraton

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

This is an old hotel just off I-10 in Tucson. Four Pounts has not put any money into refurbishing these rooms, and they need it. This is a 2-story hotel...well, really it''s more of a motor inn. Entrance to the rooms is from a covered corridor.

The room was in need of sprucing up, but was clean. The furniture was old, but the TV worked and kept us entertained. There is a Bennigan''s restaurant on property and you can order room service from them, which is what we did.

We didn''t want to stay here in the first place, but the nicer hotels near University of Arizona were full. It was parents'' weekend and everyone was in town for that.

There is one vanity/sink was outside the bathroom plus another one inside, as well as shower over tub.

There was a party going on in the "ballroom", which was across and down a few hundred feet from our room. Luckily it didn''t go on past midnight. So this hotel can be loud.

Breakfast was not included in the room price. There is another Four Points not far from this hotel and it looked nicer, but was full. This one is right next to I-10.

Would I stay here again? No.

Four Points by Sheraton
350 S. I-10 freeway, exit 158
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(520) 622-6611

Grand Canyon Coffee and Cafe

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

The thing that attracted us to this place was the neon sign in the window---Espresso and Cappuccino. We had gotten American coffee to go from our hotel, but it tasted like colored water.

The cappuccino was very good here. I had a ham and cheese omelette, which was big and delicious, as were the hash browns. Husband had scrambled eggs with bacon. Bacon was good and crispy, without falling apart when you bit into it.

And the prices were very reasonable. We got out of here for about $25 with tip (we took another cappuccino to go).

Service was very friendly.

Grand Canyon Coffee & Cafe
125 West Route 66
Williams, Arizona, 86046
+1 928 635 1255

El Tovar Dining Room

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

We had a beautiful table by the window in this large, dark but elegant room inside the El Tovar Hotel. The tables are nicely set with linens and little vases with flowers. Many of the servers seemed to be foreign-born. Our team of waitresses were both from the Czech Republic and were quick, friendly and attentive without being overbearing.

I had angel-hair pasta with a mushroom sauce. Husband had grilled chicken breast, veggies and au gratin potatoes. We each had a wonderful glass of chardonnay. Everything was cooked perfectly and was delicious. It was a tad expensive for lunch, but the food, service and atmosphere were well worth it. Our lunch tab came to almost $70, but we ordered an upscale wine (by the glass) and left a really nice tip. Sometimes I visit a place and have high hopes that it will be wonderful. Sometimes I'm disappointed. I wasn't disappointed here. It's everything I had hoped it would be.

El Tovar Dining Room
El Tovar Lodge
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
(928) 638-2631

Grand Canyon Railway

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

We didn't ride this train, but would have if we hadn't had our dog with us. The reason I include it here is that we didn't even know there was a Grand Canyon Railway.

The office/depot is right in Williams. You can park your car there and ride in comfort in several different classes on the train. The train lets you off in the Grand Canyon about a block from the El Tovar. The journey takes about 2-1/4 hours one way. From the brochure I picked up there, it states that the train leaves Williams at 10:00 a.m. arrives Grand Canyon 12:15 p.m. Return trip leaves the Canyon at 3:45p.m. You could also overnight in any of the hotels in the park and return on another day.

The website for further information can be found at:

Grand Canyon Railway
233 N Grand Canyon Blvd
Williams, Arizona, 86046
+1 800 843 8724

Grand Canyon National Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

We arrived at about 10:30 a.m. and there was already a long line of cars to get in. This was in late October. However, we had our National Parks Pass with us and got to use the short line for free entry. I just had to show the pass to the Park Ranger and my driver's license to match the name on the DL with the name on the pass.

There are lots of places to stop and park to get a great view down in the Canyon. As dogs are allowed on the Canyon Rim on leash, our dog even got a view of the Canyon. We stopped three or four times at different spots to get different views. Then it becomes a matter of, how many different views do you want to see of the same thing. So we drove to the El Tovar Hotel, which I've always wanted to see. It is a Grand Old Lodge, indeed. A lot of ambience and charm. Would love to stay there sometime. As they were totally booked up, we didn't get to see any of the guest rooms.

Had lunch here and it was excellent. See dining entry.

Grand Canyon National Park
P.o. Box 129
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
(928) 638-7888

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Boomsie on January 17, 2002

We drove the 25 miles or so from our motel in Carlsbad to the Caverns. Once inside the Park grounds, the entrance to the Caverns is about another 5 miles or so. Plenty of parking.

Using our National Parks Pass once again, we got free admission. The price of admission without the pass is $8 per person. Since this was late in the year, there weren't many people there. We rented an audio guide for about $4 or $5. Whatever it cost, it was reasonable and enhanced our visit immensely.

You take an elevator down into the Caverns and begin your self-guided tour. There is only one trail around, so as you walk it and come to a point of interest, the audio-guide starts taking immediately. We used one guide between the two of us and could both hear it well by putting our heads together. Besides, it's more romantic that way.

Since there weren't many visitors, we found ourselves feeling very isolated at times. But it's quite safe and the beauty inside the caverns is awesome. It took us a good hour to make the big circle trail. The trails are also accessible to people in wheelchairs, but only in certain places. In some areas, it's too steep to hold onto a wheelchair and there are barriers to bar a wheelchar from entering these places.

Occassionally, a Park Ranger will come by in case anyone has questions. I asked if anyone ever tried to stay in the caverns at closing time. He replied that although some may try it, they make one final sweep through the caverns before turning off all the lights. It would be a lonely place to spend the night in the dark, and probably dangerous, too. The lighting in the cavern was designed by a Hollywood lighting firm and makes everything seem very dramatic.

There is also a kennel at the Visitor Center at the caverns, but as it was a cool day, we left our dog in the car. She napped.

And speaking of cool, it's about 55 degrees inside the caverns, so bring a sweater. It was well worth the drive here to see these beautiful caverns.

There is a viewing of the mass exodus of bats flying out of the cavern at dusk, but we were too tired to stay for that. I understand from one ranger than in Springtime, there are more bats than when we were there in the Fall.

More information is available here:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, New Mexico, 88220
(575) 785-2232

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