Summer 2017 Road Trip | US Travel Photographer

In May 2017 we fostered Levi, who we then adopted and named Stitch Monster (the best name ever considering he’s amazingly adorable and can still destroy an entire city in 30 seconds or less). Within two weeks of his adoption being finalized, we hit the road for 15 days for our annual summer road trip. We had no idea how traveling with an insecure, adolescent, terror of a puppy would go, but we knew that if he was going to be part of our family, he’d have to learn to road trip, one way or another.

And so he did. In 15 days, he visited 6 new states, two national parks, two national monuments, two new climbing areas, one new city and he got to meet his Aunts Nika and Sadie as well as his adopted maternal grandparents, Grammy and Pap. Christian and I also tagged three new states (Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas), two new national monuments, one new national park, one new city and one new climbing area.

Overall, the trip was a success! We had one night, where I threatened to leave him in a Walmart parking lot (Stitch, not Christian). But I mean, picture this… At two am, after searching for a camp site for three hours, we pull into a Walmart parking lot and I let the dogs out to pee. Stitch practically drags me over, and immediately goes belly down in a pile of fresh cut grass (fresh cut grass is like speed for dogs). He starts rolling in every direction, but won’t go potty. After about five minutes of this, I try to get him to walk back to the car, but he refuses. Goes complete deadweight, while still rolling back and forth. I eventually pick him up and carry him, all the while, he’s biting my hair, my clothes, my face (playfully, but puppy teeth hurt). We get back to the car and he picks up his “no spill” water bowl, and shakes it until it falls apart and water goes EVERYWHERE. Alllll over our bed. Whatever, I’m going to sleep. Except, I’m not, because Stitch decided to climb his way between the two layers of blankets and get the zoomies, for a good fifteen minutes. Had I not been too exhausted to open the door, I just might have kicked him out. But instead, I let him curl up on my pillow and we cuddled for the rest of the night. Because that’s what I do. #dogmomforlife

Anyways, here are the photos from our trip! I hope they inspire you to travel somewhere awesome!

Leaving Denver for our 2017 road trip!
Heading out of Denver!
Stop in Wyoming by US Travel Photographer Rayna McGinnis
Somewhere in Wyoming because Rayna got hungry.
The Devil's Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota
Family photo at the Devil’s Bathtub in Spearfish Canyon
US Travel Photographer's Dog
Stitch’s first real day at the crag. He’s not sold, yet…
US Travel Photographer Rayna Mcginnis doing a water crossing with her two dogs.
Savannah and Stitch became experts at water crossings on this trip!
Savannah dog at Spearfish Canyon, SD
Savannah LOVES laying in the sun at a quiet crag!

Spearfish Canyon rock climbing

Badlands National Park by US Travel Photographer, Rayna McGinnis
We did a driving mini tour of Badlands National Park. We did a more thorough tour last summer, but thought it would make for a more scenic drive.
Two black mouth curs at Badlands National Park.
The pups hanging out at Badlands National Park while we cooked breakfast.
Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota.
Pipestone National Monument was pretty cool. Native Americans still mine the quarry, and it was beautiful.
New State - We visited Minnesota for the first time.
Also, Minnesota = New State!!! Pipestone = New National Monument!!
Barn's Bluff, Minnesota
View from on top of Barn’s Bluff, which we stopped at for a half day of rock climbing
Christian and I on top of Barn's Bluff
Christian and I on top of Barn’s Bluff

The town of Red Wing, MN

Effigy Mounds, Iowa
We stopped at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa just before sunset. The mounds didn’t photograph well, but it was so green! Iowa = New State! This is also a new National Monument!
Indiana Dunes National Seashore
Me on the Indiana Dunes National Seashore with my pups. This was Stitch’s first time on a sandy beach.


Savannah dog at Indiana Dunes National Seashore
Christian running with Savannah Dog
Cuyahoga National Park
Last roadtrip stop was Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio. Lots of trains and waterfalls

Cuyahoga National Monument, OH

Savanna and Stitch playing
The dogs love going back to Pittsburgh because they can run and play outside!

Savanna and Stitch playing in Pittsburgh Savanna and Stitch playing in Pittsburgh by Rayna McGinnis Savanna and Stitch playing in Pittsburgh by Rayna McGinnis, US Travel Photographer

Frick Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Frick Park, one of Christian and I’s old playgrounds. We lived right by it and use to run in it during the cooler months!


That’s it. Next long roadtrip will likely be with our airstream in tow! Between now and then we’re going to Utah, Wyoming TWICE, and to Switzerland!

Rayna is a US Travel Photographer specializing in intimate elopements for active couples. If you’re interested in hiring her, send her a message!