It takes advance planning when you travel with a dog, but it's not difficult. Many places and activities are becoming pet-friendly. Even 5-star hotels that don't advertise as being pet friendly will bend rules. Not always, but enough times that I now ask, rather than assume they won't.
The first non-local pet-friendly activity Bandit and I attended, was the Barkus Parade in NOLA. Barkus is the canine equivalent of Bacchus (on which my friends Husband, Father, and Brother-in-Law all roll). Barkus is New Orleans only sanctioned dog parade during Mardi Gras. It's also the most family-friendly French Quarter activity in which you can participate. We go every year.http://www.mardigrasparadeschedule.com/krewes/barkus/
Another annual long-distance pet-friendly activity Bandit and I attend is the Atlanta Braves Bark in the Park baseball game. An entire section of seating is reserved for dogs and their humans. Vendors hand out freebies. There are opportunities to commemorate the event with caricature artists, professional photographers, etc. Water dishes and misters abound. Staff bring ice to the seats so pups don’t overheat. And our very first visit, Bandit and I made it on the jumbotron both in candid screen shots, and for a game with prizes–I won a trip to the Golden Moon Casino (part of the Pearl River Resort)! We’ve been to Bark in the Park about five times now, and Bandit usually gets a candid jumbotron shot or two.http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/atl/ticketing/bark_in_park.jsp
http://www.pearlriveresort.com (Golden Moon Casino)
On an East Coast trip we took the Portland Maine Mail Ferry to the outlying islands. It was an overcast day, but we had fun meeting the locals commuting to their island homes. I have always dreamed of retiring in a mountain cabin on a river in Maine—accessable only by helicopter; however, island living accessible only by ferry would work.http://www.cascobaylines.com/maine-boat-tours/
For my 50th birthday, I met a friend in Branson Missouri. Branson itself is not pet-friendly; however, I had a day before my friend arrived, so I took Bandit to Fantastic Caverns in Springfield Missouri—one of only 4 cavern jeep tours (I think in the world, and the only one in the USA). The cavern has an interesting history—discovered by a dog, they are very pet-friendly. The dog (I think a Golden Retriever) and his person were out hunting, when the dog disappeared behind a bush. On closer exploration, the guy found a small opening, and crawling on hands and knees, he went in after his dog. He found a huge cavern with many rooms. Evidentially, it had been home to a migratory or nocturnal tribe of indigenous Indians—that, until the discovery of the cavern, no one knew traveled through, or lived in, the area. If that were not interesting enough, during the prohibition, the largest cavern rooms were used as a honky-tonk and base for a radio station. It was said that some of Country Westerns Legends sang there.http://fantasticcaverns.com
Not to ignore the West Cost, this past summer, Bandit and I completed an epic two-week driving tour of the Western half of The Mother Road, drove up the California Coast Highway, and looped back to Texas by way of Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming—GPS girl didn’t want me traveling the isolated route I had planned—and since my steering had gone out and we had been stuck in a small town for two days waiting on parts and repairs— only to get on the road again and have a tire blow out after I ran over a semi gator (steel belted tire tread)—in almost the same spot that the steering had gone out—I didn’t fight her—we took the scenic tour from Utah to Colorado by way of Wyoming. And as my reward for following her directions, I found a great coat in a Wyoming Travel Center. It was a good thing to, because a cold front came in and I was freezing in my shorts. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Along Route 66 we found many roadside attractions, that while not specifically pet-friendly, allowed me to bring Bandit inside for photo ops. And one of my favorite lodging experiences was staying at the WigWam Motel in Holbrook Arizona. It was one motel of a chain of six back in Route 66 heyday. The last I read, there were three remaining WigWam Motels–Holbrook, San Diego, and someplace in Kentucky.
We also took a detour to drive one of the rims at The Grand Canyon—where I captured a video of a 14-point mule deer with velvet still on his antlers, and Williams Arizona—a great Route 66 town. And the Flamingo in Las Vegas for the Donny and Marie Show. The Flamingo is pet-friendly, the show was not. Donny was worth the lifelong wait. And Marie stunned me with her amazing talent. Awesome show.http://www.nps/grca/
When we arrived in Santa Monica, we drove onto the Santa Monica Pier, kind of by mistake—I heard clack, clack, clack and didn’t know what it was. It was starting to get annoying. When I parked the SUV and got out, I looked down and realized we were on the wooden pier. Awesome! While we didn’t ride any of the rides, we did walk around people watching and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the small carnival. Before we got back on the road, we took a selfie in front of the “end of the route” sign. It’s not really the end of Route 66—but the real end is a let down. Besides, the pier is the best picture taking place, so it’s kind of accepted as a sentimental substitute.http://santamonicapier.org
Next we traveled up California’s Coast Highway—where every bend in the road had an even more scenic view than the last—this is where my retirement plans started to reformulate. I grew up in North West Florida where the beaches are sugar-white. I've been to the east Coast and seen thier beutiful costline. But the cliffs and rocks of the West Coast beaches were stunning. I feel I need to explore them more. After we reached San Fransisco, we went inland to Petaloma California, where we entered in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest—with the express intention to lose. We were successful. In fact, Bandit was by far the cutest dog there!http://www.sonoma-marinfair.org/worlds-ugliest-dog/
The last stop on our epic adventure, which came after visiting my Aunt in Oregon, the car problems in Utah, and the scenic trip to Colorado by way of Wyoming, was The Manitou Cliff Dwellings in Manitou Springs Colorado. We met up with a friend—who told me Kevin Bacon was in town filming—and he had been sighted rock climbing the weekend before. While we did not encounter Mr. Bacon, we found the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Museum to be very pet-friendly. Alternating weeks you will either be treated to the a Native American Flute Player—or you will meet the Wolves. The Wolves are pet-friendly as well. I asked before we went. Bandit was allowed “anywhere people can go.” That’s my definition of pet-friendly—I’m glad it was theirs as well.http://www.cliffdwellingsmuseum.com/mobile/
My friends often ask me how I hear about all the pet-friendly places I travel to: Google. I just google “Pet Friendly Attraction” and sometimes add a location or a date. There is almost always some sort of Pet-Fair going on somewhere. www.BringFido.com/ is also a great resource. That’s how I originally found out about Canine Camp Getaway, in Lake George New York—which is now on our Bucket List. The entire camp experience is dog-centric. Dog-themed Arts and Crafts, Dog classes ranging from Obedience, to Agility, to Dog First Aide, etc. Dogs are allowed everywhere—and with acres and acres of off-leash roaming room, campers and their FurKids have the freedom to meet and mingle with other like-minded people and their pets. Sounds like Heaven on Earth to this Dog-Mom.http://www.caninecampgetaway.com
Like I said before, my retirement plan has always centered around a secluded cabin in Maine. But after this last trip, I now have decided when I retire, I will sell my house, buy an RV and Bandit and Moggy (the rescue kitty I adopted this past winter) and I will travel until they stick us in the ground. A traveling retirement—now that’s my idea of Heaven on Earth!
This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using the letters of the alphabet as their inspiration.http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Tomorrow is U, and as usual, I'm clueless as to what I might write about....
Tomorrow is U, and as usual, I'm clueless as to what I might write about....