TRAVELS WITH FRANKIE: Discovering Pet-friendly Perks at Dateland, Arizona

by Edie Jarolim

Many years ago, I went to Spain with a man who turned out to be an Ugly American. The beer was never cold enough for him and he often mangled the language, but got annoyed at even my mildest attempts at correction.  So I kept my mouth shut when, in a bar in Barcelona, he loudly insisted on a “servicio frio, muy frio” rather than a chilled cerveza. The bartender, not comprehending why anyone would demand a very cold bathroom, nevertheless pointed him towards the men’s room.

These days, I mostly travel with my small terrier mix, Frankie. He rarely embarrasses me and never by being arrogant. But Frankie presents the opposite problem to my Spain experience: that of the very hot bathroom.

Let me backtrack a bit.

It’s almost an annual tradition, my summer drive from Tucson to San Diego, started when I moved from Manhattan to Arizona nearly 20 years ago. I go to escape the triple digit desert heat and to visit friends I made when I was doing dissertation research at the University of California, San Diego.

Once you get on to I-8 from the soul destroying I-10, the drive, through pristine swathes of Sonoran Desert, is spectacular. Few people slow down to enjoy the view, however. Keeping up with the traffic flow means going about 85mph. I’d zip along until I reached Yuma -- at the Arizona/California border and about the halfway point in the seven-hour drive -- and get gas at one of the many convenience store/stations clustered near the turnoff and use the bathroom. 

At least that’s what I did until I got Frankie, my first dog, a few years ago.

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