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Ty’s Birthday

Rod and I are still mourning the end of our road-trip vacation, so we decided to celebrate Ty’s fourth birthday by taking the dogs on a day-trip on Saturday.  We say our cottage is in the “Poconos,” but those familiar with the area would disagree.  For the locals, our cottage is too far west to be included in the famous mountain area – I guess they might consider us to be in central Pennsylvania.  In fact, I have never been to what would be considered the heart of the Pocono Mountains, known as Lake Wallenpaupack.  We thought it would be a nice drive, and so on Saturday morning we loaded up the dogs and headed out.

Buster has developed a new game in the car.  He is sort of chasing traffic from inside the car.  The game starts with him stretching forwad as far as his car harness will reach so that he can rest his head on the armrest between the two front seats.  From there he is able to see out the windshield and he watches for oncoming traffic. Once he sees a car coming toward us he starts to get really excited – he watches it out the windshield, driver’s window, back seat window and eventually out the rear window.  He never takes his eyes off the car as we go buy, so you can imagine his head is turing really fast.  It’s kind of funny the first few times, but then it gets a little annoying.   

 So, we load up the dogs and take off on Saturday morning.  Ty promptly turns two circles in the back seat and falls asleep while Buster plays his “watch the traffic” game.  It took us a little more than an hour to get over to the Lake, which was not what I expected.  It is a very large lake with mostly residential areas around it.  We found one place where we could park and wald down to the beach, but there was really not a place to take a hike or get out and enjoy the day.

We did find a nice place of lunch with outdoor seating and good food.  The gentleman even gave the dogs a little dish of (sugar-free) ice cream with a dog treat on top!  We got a picture of Ty eating his – Buster’s was gone almost before we set it down.

Ty enjoying his birthday treat

Ty enjoying his birthday treatGreat little place!

 

 

From the Lake, we drove south on Hwy 6 through Milford.  What a cute little town!  I would have loved to stop, walk around, and get something to eat, but by that time it had clouded up and both dogs were asleep in the back seat, so we enjoyed the views from inside the car.  We stayed on Hwy 6 down through the Delaware Water Gap area – we really need to go back because it looks like there are some great hiking trails we’d really enjoy.  We also concluded that we need to do day-trips more often.  They are fun, they feel like a little mini vacation, and there are so many places right in our area that we’ve never visited.  If you have any suggestions for us, let us know!

You Go Philly!!

So, I know this blog is supposed to be about traveling WITH our dogs, but I felt the need to make an entry about a trip I took without them.  I had to go to Atlanta on business and, upon my return, I was heading out through the baggage claim area to grab a cab home, when (MUCH to my surprise) I saw a brand new dog area!  This is really exciting to me, even though we don’t fly with my dogs – well, we did once, when Blitzen, who passed away four years ago, was a tiny puppy and we were able to carry him onto the plane with us.  I’ve always been too afraid to “check” a dog – even for a direct flight.  Besides, the dogs LOVE to ride in the car!  So, we’ll keep our paws on the ground.

 

Anyway, they are calling it a Pet Port, at the airport – very cute and VERY nice!  This will be so great for people flying with their pets or service dogs into Philadelphia.  I did a little research and there are apparently seven Pet Ports around the airport.  All I can say is “WAY TO GO, PHILLY!!”  This is further evidence that Philadelphia is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the country!

 

Here is a link to the press release announcing the opening of the Pet Ports:   http://www.phl.org/news/080620.html

Hydrant, bench and pick-up bags, what more could a dog and owner ask for??

Hydrant, bench and pick-up bags, what more could a dog and owner ask for??

 

We’ve been in Manhattan since Thursday, and having a BLAST!  Rod and I love to go to the US Open and this year the dogs have joined us on the trip.  Thanks to the dogs, we have found our favorite hotel in New York – The Affinia Gardens on the Upper East Side.  This place is fantastic!  It’s bigger than most Manhattan apartments – we have a big living room, a full kitchen (including dishwasher and microwave), a big bedroom with two queen sized beds and a small bathroom.  AND, this place does not just accommodate people with their pets – they have a program call “Jet-Set Pets” and take it to a whole new level.  They brought up a little gift bag for the dogs, travel bowls, a “woof” mat to put the bowls on, and a sign for the door that let housekeeping know if the dogs were alone so they wouldn’t disturb them.

 

As great as the hotel and the room are, the best thing about this place is its location.  We are one-half block from 2nd Avenue, which must have 100 restaurants with outdoor seating within walking distance of the hotel.  (Our favorite was Mediterraneo, an Italian restaurant at 66th and 2nd.  They couldn’t have been nicer about the dogs – even though Buster kept barking at the dogs walking by – and the food was great!  Be sure to try their homemade iced tea and the tartufo gelato is amazing.)  We are about three blocks from Central Park, miles and miles of paths to walk the dogs.  However, if you love Manhattan, walking around the city streets near the hotel is fantastic too.  The area is residential and not too crowded.  We will definitely be back!!!

 

Thanks so much, Matt and Ryan, for watching the dogs while Rod and I went to the Open!!

Rod and the boys climbing the rocks.

Rod and the boys climbing the rocks.

Buster the poser.

Buster the poser.

Ty taking a break in the shade.

Ty taking a break in the shade.

 

Buster finds a sprinkler!!

Buster finds a sprinkler!!

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Back to work??

It is amazing to me how much a dog can appear to forget during a two week vacation!  For instance, Ty and Buster seem to have completely forgotten how to walk on a leash without pulling me down the street!  Buster also apparently forgot that other people live in the city, because he’s barking at everyone he doesn’t recognize.

 

Perhaps it is just that they transition from “vacation mode” to the “normal routine” mode more slowly than people.  It is even possible that they are onto something – maybe they are resisting going back to the normal routine.  I have to admit, I like being in vacation mode better too!  As a matter of fact, I’m resisting being at work – in a passive-aggressive way – by writing this entry rather than catching up on my e-mail.  Is it possible that, once again, I have more to learn from my dogs than I have to teach them??

 

So, why is it that going back to work after a vacation feels like jamming your feet into the most uncomfortable pair of shoes you have and running a marathon?  It’s extremely uncomfortable and it feels like it will never end.  And daunting!!  Most of us have 50 weeks of work to look forward to until we get to go on another two-week vacation.  It seems like there must be a better way to do this!  I’ll put the dogs to work on figuring that out.  In the meantime, we have decided to prolong our “vacation mode” by taking the dogs to New York for the weekend. We’re leaving tomorrow – thank you, Ty and Buster, for the inspiration!

Visiting with my family was nice and the dogs had a great time!  My parents live in the country, so the dogs spent the three days we were in Wisconsin off-leash, playing with their toys in the massive front yard.  We were really lucky with the weather – it was in the 80’s and sunny all three days.  We didn’t think it could get much better….and then we left for Chicago.

 

A short note on measuring friendship:  About a month ago our friend, Mark, was in Philly on business.  We convinced him to stay for a few days and he went with us up to our house in the Poconos (meaning he spent four days in our 1,400 square foot home with us and our dogs).  This did not stop Mark from inviting us to stay with him when our road-trip took us through Chicago – he even gave us his bedroom!  Someone that welcomes you and your crazy dogs into his house – NOW, THAT’S A FRIEND!!

 

Mark recently completed a landscaping project in his backyard, and it is beautiful!!  He had comfy chairs with ottomans, lounge chairs, a loveseat, a great grill and a fantastic outdoor television (with DVD player).  To top it off, the whole yard is fenced, so the dogs could run around inspecting everything!  We were enjoying ourselves so much that we extended the trip by a day and spent another night with Mark.

 

On Friday morning we pried ourselves off the outdoor furniture and got back in the car.  It was a pretty uneventful day.  We arrived in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio at around 4pm.  The Sheraton Suites here is really nice, although they do require an extra form at check-in for the dogs.  The Cuyahoga River runs directly behind the hotel and the waterfalls are very pretty.  We took the dogs for a long walk around town – there was not a lot to see within walking distance of the hotel.  I chose this place because there is a national park nearby, but, as it turns out, we were not in the mood for hiking, so we didn’t go to the park.

 

Saturday morning we left for home.  We did make one great discovery along the way:  The Du Bois Diner in Du Bois, PA.  It’s about two miles south of Highway 80 and has a lot of character!  They also have outdoor seating and were very friendly about us having the dogs there.  Right behind the diner is a big park, so we took the dogs over for a bit after lunch to chase the tennis balls.  From there it was only a couple hour drive home.

 

On Sunday we were still in vacation mode, so we took the dogs on a hike at Hickory Run State Park.  We hadn’t checked out the boulder field before – Rod and I thought it was cool, but the dogs hated walking on the boulders.  We ended up on some of the other trails for a couple hours.

 

It was raining when we left Duluth, so we weren’t able to take the dogs back out to the Lakewalk.  Rod and I got our breakfast from Starbucks and we headed south toward my parents’ house.  We pulled off of Highway 53 just south of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  I could hardly believe my eyes, but this gas station had a DOG PARK!!  

Dog park at gas station - only in Wisconsin!

Dog park at gas station - only in Wisconsin!

 

Buster playing in the sprinkler.

Buster playing in the sprinkler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It also had one of those really big Leinenkugel chairs.

 

 

 

We checked into the Grandview Motel in Ferryville, Wisconsin.  What a great place!  The room had a kitchenette, a living room area and two double beds.  The bathroom was a little small, but the room was really clean, and the view was spectacular – the hotel sits up on the bluff and overlooks the Mississippi River.

 

For the next couple of days we’ll be visiting family in the area.

Fishing with my dad was a lot of fun and Rod and the dogs enjoyed sitting on the porch, looking out at the lake, reading, snoozing and relaxing.  The weather could not have been better and the fish tasted fantastic. 

 

This morning we all packed up and headed out.  It took us a little more than an hour to drive to the US border at Pigeon River.  Again, I provided the agent with our passports and the dog health certificates and rabies vaccination record and we zipped right through.  Thank goodness Buster was quiet – he has taken to barking a bit at strangers on this trip and I was afraid he was going to make a scene!  We met up with my dad and uncles at Ryden’s, right on the other side of the border.  They had gotten an earlier start and had already had breakfast in the café, and my dad had finished shopping for a present for my mom.  Rod and I ordered our breakfast “to-go” and let the dogs out for a little bit while we were waiting.  It’s the typical diner breakfast – greasy, but oh-so-good.

 

About half-way between Grand Portage and Duluth is a very nice rest stop at Tettegouche State Park, right on the lake.  We spent about two hours walking on the trails overlooking the most beautiful views.  The dogs got to play on the beach a little (they were not supposed to be off-leash, but no one was looking!) and they were all tired out when we put them back in the car for the rest of the drive.

 

View from Shovel Point.

View from Shovel Point.

 

 Amazing.

Coming into Duluth on Highway 61 is fantastic.  There are beautiful lake homes that you drive by, and the city of Duluth is such a fantastic surprise!  I didn’t grow up that far from here, but I’ve never stopped in Duluth before.  We checked into the Raddison Hotel, which was downtown and very nice.  Check-in was no problem, however I thought it was interesting that they never mentioned there would be a $25 per night room charge for having the dogs with us.

 

Downtown Duluth is right on Lake Superior and they have done a beautiful job of making the most of the location.  The Lakewalk is several miles long and consists of a boardwalk and a biking/running path.  It was the perfect place to take the dogs for a walk.  When the dogs were good and tired we walked out to Canal Park.  This area of town is fantastic!  It is a peninsula that sets out in the Lake and there are lots of bars, restaurants, shops and a few hotels (which is where I would stay on my next visit to Duluth).  Several restaurants have outdoor seating and welcome pets.  We picked a great place called Angie’s – I highly recommend passion fruit margarita.  The service was great and the food was even better.

 

Thanks to the margaritas, I remember very little of the rest of the evening. 

Buster playing in Duluth fountain.

Buster playing in Duluth fountain.