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Automotive Traveler Magazine: Vol 3 Iss 3 Page 12

Although the calendar assures us it is only May, the thermometer quivers at the 100-degree mark as we pull out of my parents' driveway in Tucson's Catalina Foothills. The Toyota Sequoia is packed as full as comfortable for a cross-country drive back to the woods of New Hampshire. This trip though, we are not taking the most direct route.

Automotive Traveler's Carmen Madrid--business partner, road-trip companion, and godmother to The Boy--is behind the wheel, as always. The role of navigator is mine on these cross-country treks, while my space in the passenger seat becomes our mobile Armarium Press/Automotive Traveler office: laptop, Verizon internet USB, magazines to be read.

Behind us in the center seat, The Boy himself, not quite two and a half at the time and already a veteran road-tripper who even has his own U.S. passport (his first 3,000-mile journey by car was taken at the tender age of six weeks). To his right, a travel box of books. To his left, Chaucer the wired-hair fox terrier. (We do not yet have Brontë, the labrador whose travel antics readers may remember from various AutomotiveTraveler.com posts.)

The day's destination is Sedona, but Red Rock Country is just a waypoint en route to the "real" start of this road trip: Jackson Hole, Wyoming, gateway to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. Sedona is a four-hour drive, unless you stop in Chandler south of Phoenix for an In-N-Out Burger. We do.

My family has been vacationing in Sedona since the 1980s, so our stay at a dog-friendly chain hotel there allows for a quick hello to Snoopy Rock and other geological favorites.

After breakfast at the Bike & Bean, we head up U.S. 89, the National Parks Highway. Almost 800 miles and a day later, we reach the dog-friendly