We Drove 1600 km to the Norwegian Arctic with 2 Big Dogs and a Cat. This is How It Went.

We Drove 1600 km to the Norwegian Arctic with 2 Big Dogs and a Cat. This is How It Went.

"Preparation meets opportunity" is the recipe for great adventures!

In 2022, in the middle of winter, we sold our farm in the south of Norway and moved 1600 km away to a new home in the Norwegian Arctic. Sounds nice, but we had 2 x 100 kg dogs and a farm cat who had never been on a car trip before to drive north. There was some planning that was needed to make sure the trip went as smoothly as possible. Here is how we did it.

Packing for our moving trip to the north of Norway.

The Tools.

We made a list of everything we would need for the trip. We had a 2-seater pick up truck for the journey. That meant there was a little space behind the seats for 200 kgs of dog and the cat. To add to the challenge, one of the dogs had a chronic leg issue so we had to make the back area as comfortable as possible.

We had 2 dogs beds and toys, plus the large food bags for such large dogs. We had water for the trip and we had a stack of blankets and towels in case we were stuck in the cold. We also had doggie bags and our first aid kit.

For the cat, we had a harness and leash, her travel carrier, her litter box and her food.

I made a travel list for you included in our downloadable Buddy Bandage Journal you can get for FREE by signing up for our email list here:

Buddy Bandage Journal cover. Free download at www.buddybandage.com
Buddy Bandage Downloadable Journal FREE here


The Plan.

• We planned our driving route for the best winter roads. Norwegian winter can be rough but thankfully the winter road infrastructure is excellent. Plow and rescue trucks are available 24/7. As long as one stays on the main roads, they should be able to drive normally and get to their destination in reasonable time. We spent a few days planning the best trip north, and felt confident we would never be very far away from a gas station or help if any problems came up.

• We thought about how many days would allow for a relaxing yet efficient trip. If it was just 2 adventurous humans, we could drive 10-12 hours a day and get to our destination in 2 days. Because we had animals, we planned 4 days and marked hotels along the route that allowed pets and made reservations. We had received recommendations from friends and were confident in our choices.

• We planned for breaks and times to stop during each trip, walking time, drinking time, and pee breaks were scheduled. We also made sure that we ourselves scheduled time to eat because we had to be at our best. No “hangry” moments were allowed!

• Finally, we made sure if we needed any medicines and medical equipment was packed. Our Buddy Bandage Kit would have been brilliant. See Here.

Trip route from the south of Norway to the Arctic.
Our route to drive north to the Arctic.

How the Trip Actually Went.

Day 1

Despite all our best plans, the day we left for the trip we discovered a hurricane was moving towards southern Norway. We had the choice to cancel or trust the route the weather people said the storm would follow. We felt, based on the route, we would be outside of the storm’s path. We might encounter rain but it would be no big deal, so off we went.

After a smooth first day on the road, we called a few hours before arrival to the hotel to confirm our booking. The booking was confirmed and we arrived to discover they lied! There was no room for us. Unbelievable! So we were suddenly stranded in the rain, in winter, at 8 pm in a small town with 2 huge dogs and a wild cat with nowhere to stay. We were not amused.

We drove down the road to go to the next town to see what we could find and we found Halland Camping that had some cabins, but looked closed for winter. We called the phone number and begged for a place to stay, which turned out to be absolutely no problem for the owners. So instead of a small hotel room in a crappy hotel, we got a nice cabin right next to a frozen river in the forest. It was a considerable upgrade and so comfortable.

Buddy Bandage house kitty on her first night away from home.
Kitty's first day away from home.

Day 2

By the next morning, the rain had fallen so hard overnight that all the ice had broken up on the river and the water had risen almost up to the cabin, so we packed as quickly as possible to get ahead of the storm and to our next destination.

The Day 2 drive was very relaxing and we arrived at an incredible charming hotel Fru Haugan's Hotel with a really nice room. Though it was only one room, there was plenty of space for 2 dog beds and kitty box and all the human extras. It was a very successful day with a very comfortable rest at night.

Day 3

The storm had caught up to us completely and we were supposed to cross over the wide mountain range to pass into the Arctic territories. There was a road-block for driving over the mountain because of awful weather, but they expected to open it up in some hours. We parked with all the other cars and waited, and waited and waited 10 hours! The dogs were miserable, I was miserable, the cat who had just discovered she loved driving in the car, was impatient to keep moving and the hubby, who is an experienced long-haul truck driver, was blissfully relaxed having been through these delays hundreds of times.

Waiting 10 hours in the car for the road to open.
Waiting 10 hours in a car on Saltfjellet overland road.

The storm was so bad, it was clear the road would not be open until the next day, so we had to drive back to the nearest town at 10 pm and try to find somewhere to stay overnight. There was a hotel but the door was locked, lights off and no one was at a desk. We found a phone number and called whoever answered the phone begging for a place to stay. They agreed and generously put us on the top floor of a completely empty hotel. They actually spoiled us because upon entering the room, it was clear we had their version of a penthouse suite. It was such a beautiful room with high ceilings and windows thus creating another “first” for the cat and dogs by necessitating a ride up and down the elevator. The dogs were not very excited about the elevatore, but we felt so lucky that something that could have been a disaster turned out to be so comfortable and safe.

At this point in the story, one of the things that impressed us most was that the cat, who prior to this trip had only liked to sleep in our barn with sheep and chickens had become a luxury queen. She had taken to hotel life like a princess takes to diamonds. In each hotel, her first order of business was to hop up on the freshly made beds and stretch out in appreciation of the luxury she had become accustomed to in 2 days. Haha.

Our Buddy Bandage house kitty experiencing luxury lifestyle.
Kitty discovering her love of luxury and hotel life.

Day 4

After a brilliant night's sleep in our penthouse suite, we had a lot of time to make up for, so we drove hard crossing the mountains and entered the Far North. We drove an exhausting day to get to our new home.

When we finally arrived, it was late at night in a white-out snow storm. This actually turned out to be the worst night of our trip as the storm was raging and the new house had zero light bulbs installed. Luckily I had a random set of Christmas lights in my bag. The first night ended up being an unglamorous vision of squatting on the floor in a cold dark house in a wild storm, but we were finally home after 1600 km, safe and sound.

Our first night camping in our new home.

The moral of the story is that no matter how well you plan, things change. And even if you make rock solid plans, sometimes plans can execute even BETTER than you hoped for. Flexibility and willingness to be adaptable is a must when travelling with animals. "Preparation meets opportunity" is the recipe for great adventures!

- Juliana, Owner Buddy Bandage

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