Just read all the posts on this forum right now. Sorry for your loss Silver. Glad you and the pooch are OK. I have a 9 year old pooch myself (Sam's his name, shepard and rotweiler mix) and he's like my second kid, after my 10 year old son. Plus my pooch often listens much better than my son. LOL
I just looked on mapquest and Ely is only 4 hours away from where I live and that's not bad considering I'm in another country (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada). I went to college in Valparaiso, IN (about a hour south of Chicago) and did the Wisconsin/Minnesota drive many many times myself up I35 then past Grand Marais and Grand Portage up Highway 61.
Anyways, check your Paypal. I'm sending you a little gift to help you along the way. It's not much but it might be good for some gas or a meal and a tootsie roll for the moosh along the way.