A few days ago, The Wall Street Jounal Online reported that many of the nation’s roadside rest stops could soon be shuttered. Built and maintained by state governments, about 2,500 rest areas dot the US interstate highway system. Unfortunately, the continuing economic downturn is forcing states to cut whatever they can, wherever they can. Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia were cited in the article as states where closures are occurring or are imminent.
Traveling as much as we do, GPF knows that while many of the rest stops can be rather spartan – parking spaces, bathrooms, picnic tables, and vending machines – they allow people to take a welcome break from the grind of driving. There are also large green areas that give the four-legged backseat drivers a great opportunity for a little R&R (relief and run). As the rest areas close down, travelers will be left to stop at the gas stations, fast-food restaurants, and motels that have popped up just off the exits. And face it, these asphalt miniplexes offer limited respite for humans, much less animals.
So, if you are driving long distances with your pets – plan accordingly. Carry water. Find shaded spots to exercise them. Consider stops a training opportunity since a few minutes of mental gymnastics can tire a dog’s mind as much as a nice run. In the meantime, GPF will look at our RoadTrip Planner to see if we can provide additional roadside information to help you more comfortably travel the highways and byways with your pet.
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