20 Sep 2013, 8:36am
Colorado Pet-Friendly Travel Telluride Travel:
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Comments Off on Traveling Like a Pampered Pet and Other Tales from the Road

Traveling Like a Pampered Pet and Other Tales from the Road

Tino and DaVinci at Home at Country Lodge Montrose

Tino and DaVinci at Home at Country Lodge Montrose

DaVinci Warming Up My Bed

DaVinci Warming Up My Bed

Ahhhhh, travel. It often means the best of times and the worst of times—typically all within the same day. Living in Telluride, Colorado, a remote mountain town, poses added challenges, especially when it comes to airports and airlines. On the plus side, the Montrose/Telluride airport is small and easy to deal with—the kind of place where you can get away with showing up just minutes before boarding your flight. The hour-and-a-half drive there from Telluride also ranks as one of the most scenic in the country—perhaps the world—affording dramatic views of 14,000 foot peaks and sprawling ranches right out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement. (Actually you do drive by the Double RL Ranch, Ralph and Ricky Lauren’s spread, on your way to Telluride from Montrose.) Also, once you arrive in T-ride and discover the raw beauty of this unspoiled place, the fact that there’s not a stoplight within fifty miles or a big box store or other signs of “the masses,” you realize the effort required to get there is more than worth it. The advantages to finding paradise in a remote locale are innumerable, particularly in the winter when visitors and locals alike praise the mountain for its many fine qualities including the fact that you ski or ride right up to the lift at Telluride Ski Resort without even having to pause long enough to snag a Kleenex in line.

The John Wayne Room at Country Lodge

The John Wayne Room at Country Lodge

Weighing In the Old Fashioned Way

Weighing In the Old Fashioned Way

But when it comes to flying out of the Telluride/Montrose airport at 6:10a.m.—something I did just last week—living in a remote mountain town can be akin to finding your way down from a double black diamond run when you meant to take a blue. Unless, of course, you decide to have your trip begin as soon as you leave your door. Why wait until you get to your destination? I’m talking about the fun part, of course. I was headed east to the Adirondacks where I was going to be spending a few weeks at my parents’ house on a lake. But before the divine ahhhhh I breathed upon arriving that evening at the lake—and before the sardine-packing of the three planes and general airport busy-ness I was subjected to throughout my journey—I reveled in a fun-filled slice of Western life in good ‘ole Montrose, Colorado, a town once primarily known for its ranching on the Western slope of Colorado.

For some of us, going to Montrose is a bit of an expedition to begin with, particularly when it concerns an early morning departure. My friend, Mary Dawn, lined up appointments in Montrose and kindly accompanied me with her two pups, DaVinci and Valentino, for the kickoff of my trip. We pulled into the Country Lodge in Montrose, a down-home motel that beckons to be experienced on any kind of a trip, especially a Western adventure to places such as the nearby Black Canyon of the Gunnison. From the get-go, MD, the pups and I began to appreciate the cleanliness, spaciousness, comfort and old time-y decor of this establishment. I admired the railroad-themed memorabilia that adorned our room as well as some of the more kitsch-y elements such as a stowaway scale that remained from days gone by. MD and the dudes checked out the vast field outside our entrance and the more landscaped poolside surroundings outside the other. Truly it felt like we had entered John Wayne’s world, something that came as no surprise when I learned that The Duke had stayed there back in the day. (Be sure to ask for the John Wayne room to experience it fully. If that’s not available you’ll also likely enjoy some of the other themed rooms showcased at the lodge.)

The Pool Deck at Country Lodge

The Pool Deck at Country Lodge

Jennifer as She Headed Out for the Early Morning Transfer

Jennyfer as She Headed Out for the Early Morning Transfer

After chow time for the guys, we realized that we’d better rustle on out to find some dinner for ourselves. We ended up at the Red Barn Restaurant and Lounge, an old cowboy hangout punctuated by pleather chairs, a dim decor and its own colorful past. We ponied up and decided to go big and order the steak (one to share with a side salad for each of us). Topped with blue cheese and accompanied with a glass of red wine, it was one of the best damned steaks we’d ever had. Service was also topnotch.

This winning feeling inspired me to respond gleefully to the 4:30a.m. wake up call from my iPhone alarm, a piece of modern technology which seemed totally out of place in this out-on-the-range chapter of our travels. And why wouldn’t I be joyous? I was headed on a trip to see my parents and was being sent off with hot coffee, brownies and a hug. Jennyfer, the owner of Country Lodge, took care of all these extra perks and even drove me to the airport at this ungodly hour. When I had called her the day before I was shocked to learn that there’s not a taxi service in Montrose, a town with a population of over 15,000. Yet before I could get through my exclamations, Jennifer perked up and said “I’ll drive you.” Wow, how I love it when people go out of their way for you, especially folks in the hospitality business.

I thought of this and my whirlwind stay in Montrose as I trudged through O’Hare and endured a three-hour layover that had turned into five. I took solace in the fact that I had had fun in Montrose, that I had delighted in my own Western adventure. I know that MD and the pups did, too, and they had the added leisure of sleeping in. Plus, as I chipped away at my travel time, they accomplished a lot of business in Montrose including a four-hour beauty appointment for DaVinci and Valentino at PetCo, something you can’t do in T-ride.

Ahhhhh, the life of a dog. Ahhhhh, the life of a traveling dog. Ahhhhh, the life of a travel writer. Ahhhhh, the life of a traveler. It’s all good, especially when you take most in stride. It’s nice to be loved, too. And thankfully there are pets, friends, family and the kindness of strangers that make us feel that way at home and on the road.

Know that Telluride Express also offers shuttle service between Telluride and Montrose if you’re not able to spend the night in Montrose before flying out from the airport—or upon arrival, something I recommend for those sensitive to vast changes in elevation.

You can shop for all kinds of handsome dog accessories and other finely crafted European products at Alpen Schatz, Mary Dawn’s Telluride shop and online boutique. Online shoppers will receive a 10% discount when they type in Bonjour upon ordering. If you find yourself on the east coast next weekend, September 28 & 29, stop in to see Mary Dawn’s Alpen Schatz booth at Meet the Breeds Show in New York City. DaVinci and Valention will not be making that trip, however, this AKC-sponsored extravaganza does provide the opportunity to see one colossal array of other beautiful dogs AND cats.

Read Dogs on Vacation and Travels with Valentino for more about traveling with dogs.

 
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