Our family has always been one for adventure when it comes to travel. We have flown into the Mid-West and then drove through three states just because it originally started with seeing the Field of Dreams in Iowa and "since we are there ..." type of adventure. We won tickets to the Master's in Georgia and then ventured to the Atlantic Coast "since we are there ..." We went to San Antonio Sea World, rather than the closer park in San Diego, in order to include seeing the Gulf of Mexico on South Padre Island "since we are there ..." You get the point.
When we went to Santa Rosa in February to return Haddie, we drove in order to see other parts of our country, specifically Northern California. While we didn't have a huge amount of time to dedicate due to the children's schooling, we did manage to get in a fair amount of exploration of Napa Valley and San Francisco.
It has been an agonizing last few weeks of going back and forth about car versus plane. Because the long, two day haul to get to Santa Rosa from home base is still very fresh in our minds, nobody in the family was overly excited about jumping back into our Toyota for a repeat. And with the airlines, once you purchase a ticket, you are committed to going somewhere in the next 365 (with an additional fee), should our plans change due to a change in Haddie's decision.
The safest route financially was going via ground, but we needed a "wow-factor" to get us pumped about that type of long travel. And we have finally made a decision. We will be going by Train! It wasn't even on our radar as on option until my husband casually mentioned it this weekend.
The perk is that if Haddie decides to change her mind and not complete College in these remaining weeks, we can get our money back up to 24 hours prior to departure. That was a huge selling factor, just as low-risk as if we hoped into the Toyota, but it definitely provides the "wow'.
Kolby will be staying home with the family that got us interested in Canine Companions. He will be well cared for by an experienced trainer, allowing him to learn how to take commands from someone other than ourselves, and there is a Change of Career dog in the household to help mentor him too. They are an amazing family and we are so excited the dates work for them to love on Kolby while we are gone.
I am so glad I can put our transportation behind us, and plan our fun adventure to celebrate our great teamwork to get Haddie to her new, amazing journey.