Happy International Cat Day!

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Happy International Cat Day! We have two cats that we absolutely adore and celebrate every day, not just on International Cat Day. Mac is the furry mom to Billy, a 9 year old male tabby. You can read more about him here. Billy is the definition of a mellow cat. He loves to sleep and once a day harass Izzy, our crazy Wheaten Terrier.
cat, feline, domestic shorthair
Al is the furry mom to Tyra, a 13 year old female white cat. You can read more about her here. Tyra is not a fan of other animals but loves to cuddle with Al.

We have taken both of them on road trips with us at different times in the past. Check out our book, Woof Trekking: How To Road Trip with Your Pets, where we give advice on how to travel with your favorite cat.

We recently read about a pretty cool cat. The newly elected Prime Minister of New Zealand is Jacinda Ardern and she has an awesome cat named Paddles. Paddles is unique because she has a set of crazy thumbs! She also has her own twitter account which is pretty hilarious.


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Our 200th Post!!! Woof Trekking Dispatch #15: Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, May 2013

Our 200th Post!!! Woof Trekking Dispatch #15: Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, May 2013

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 6 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

First, we’d like to mention that today’s post is our 200th! We love sharing our adventures and interests with you and can’t wait for the next hundred! Now, we are going to celebrate this anniversary with a post that is out of this world!

In our previous dispatches, we were visiting the East Coast and ended that trip in Savannah before returning home. Our next Woof Trek was to the West Coast, aka the best coast. We made a trip to Los Angeles and we drove up to Griffith Park.

griffith-observatory
Griffith Park is located at the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains and is one of the largest urban parks, covering over 4000 acres. Earlier this year Griffith Park was in the news because a beautiful mountain lion named P22 made a koala his supper one March night. P22 first gained fame in 2013 after Steve Winter snapped an iconic photograph of the big cat with the Hollywood sign for National Geographic.

The land the Park sits on was originally owned by Welsh-born Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in the late 1800s, who made his money in the California Gold Rush. He originally used part of the land as an ostrich farm so he could sell the feathers, which were a popular addition to women’s hats. He also tried to sell the land to home builders but no one wanted the land, so he donated it to the City of Los Angeles in 1896.
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In 1903, after a heavy drinking session, Colonel Griffith shot his wife while they were on vacation. While she did not die, she did lose her right eye. He was sentenced to two years in jail. After he was released, he wanted to develop the land he donated to the city, but they rebuffed him and his money due to his criminal past. The rest of his life, he spent designing the park and investing in architectural designs for several building he envisioned on the land. Upon his death in 1919, he bequeathed his designs and money to the city. The city built the Greek Theater and the Griffith Observatory to his specifications.

We made the drive up the mountain and spotted the iconic architecture of the Observatory. The park surrounding the Observatory is dog friendly, so we hopped out and took turns going inside.
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Izzy and Nana enjoyed investigating the park surrounding the Observatory.
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A large monument stands in the park area in front of the Observatory, called the Astronomers Monument. There are six astronomers on the Monument: Hipparchus, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and John Herschel. Atop the Monument is an armillary sphere, which was added in 1991 to replace a copper covered concrete sphere which had degraded.
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We walked up the stairs on the outside of the building to look back at Mount Lee and the Hollywood sign.
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Here is a closer view of the famous sign.
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We turned around and looked out over the metropolis of Los Angeles.
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The Observatory was opened in 1935 and has this stylish art deco entrance.
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Above the entryway is this window protected by an awesome, decorative grill depicting different astronomy icons.
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Upon entry into the Observatory, you are greeted by this massive Foucault pendulum, which demonstrates the rotation of Earth. (In case you were wondering, admission to the Observatory building, grounds, telescopes, and parking is always FREE!!!)
foucault-pendulum

Here’s a GIF we made of the pendulum!

The main hall also has murals painted by Hugo Ballin which all have astronomical themes. One of the murals is on the ceiling of the dome and you can see the reflection of that mural in the pendulum.
ballin-murals
Here is a picture of the ceiling mural painted inside the dome.
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We enjoyed a brief tour of the exhibits from the Tesla Coil, to the Camera Obscura, and learning about the Sun. We didn’t have time to explore the lower level, which looks like lots of fun also!

We had a great time nerding out at the Griffith Observatory and especially enjoyed that it was completely FREE and dog friendly! We definitely recommend it if you are in Los Angeles and are interested in space!

Have you been to Griffith Observatory? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments below.

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #13: Outer Banks, North Carolina, January 2013

Woof Trekking Dispatch #13: Outer Banks, North Carolina, January 2013

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We started going on road trips with our pets about four years ago and were total noobs at traveling with them. Our adventures have taken across the US and we have been sharing them with you in our Dispatch series. We have also published a book, Woof Trekking, about how you too can road trip with your pets.

Woof Trekking in North Carolina

In our last dispatch, we told you about our adventure around downtown Richmond, VA, and the history of the area. We made our way to the coast and travelled south. We entered North Carolina and decided to check out the Outer Banks area.

The Outer Banks is a string of peninsulas and small islands that cover about 200 miles along the northern part of the North Carolina coast. We were intrigued by this area because of its historical meaning and because of the lighthouses.


Our first stop was the Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Wilbur and Orville Wright tested their aircraft on this land from 1900 to 1903 and eventually had their first successful flight on December 17, 1903. At that time, the nearest town was Kitty Hawk, four miles to the north; Kill Devil Hills was not established until 1953.

The Wright Brothers chose this location because of its steady wind. When we visited in January 2013, the conditions were also windy and cold – a very authentic experience.
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The Wright Brothers Memorial Tower is 60 feet tall and sits atop the Kill Devil Hill, which is 90 feet tall. The Wright Brothers used the hill to perform many of their glider tests, including their most famous in December 1903. The dome on the top is marine beacon, like those seen in lighthouses.
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The inscription on the monument reads: “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Conceived by genius, achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.” Another angle of the Memorial Tower is pictured below.

When we arrived, we were just in time for a Flight Room Talk given by the Park Rangers. We learned about how the Wright brothers developed their planes and saw a demonstration of how the plane for their first flight worked. It was very exciting.

After the talk, the dogs joined us (Dogs are permitted on the grounds if they are on a leash, but not in the buildings). We walked around in the cold, blustery wind. In the distance you can see the Kill Devil Hill and Memorial Tower.
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At the base of Kill Devil Hill there is a bronze sculpture garden that depicts Orville Wright on his first flight.
Orville Wright Statue at Kill Devil Hills
Once we were done investigating the Memorial, we decided to drive further along the Outer Banks and down to Cape Hatteras. We arrived at the Bodie Island Light Station, but it was closed for the season. It was still quite an impressive sight.
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We continued our trek along the ocean and it was slightly erie. There was no one around because it was freezing cold. It was peaceful, yet slightly spooky.
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Eventually, we arrived at the Cape Hatteras Light Station. This lighthouse was also closed, but we did get the chance to see it lit since we arrived at sunset. In 1999, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and surrounding buildings were moved 2900 feet inland to protect it from destruction.
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When the buildings were placed in their new locations, they kept the same elevation and spatial relationships that they had when they were originally built.
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We hope you enjoyed this dispatch from the Outer Banks! Happy Thursday!

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #12: Richmond, the Virginia State Capitol, December 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #12: Richmond, the Virginia State Capitol, December 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

In late December 2012, we took a Woof Trek to the East Coast and our first stop was Richmond, Virginia. We arrived in the early evening and got to explore the heart of downtown Richmond without hardly anyone around. Although it was cold, we had a great time exploring the area.

woof-trekking-at-richmond-capitol

Capitol Building

We are a family of history buffs and exploring this area was a dream. Our first stop was the Virginia State Capitol Building. The idea for capitol building came to Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clérisseau while they were in France. Construction began in 1786 and was finished in 1792. In 1904, two wings were added and in 2004, the building underwent a major renovation to update the building.

Nana would have preferred not to have posed for this picture in front of the Capitol building and instead run after the squirrels that were playing in the trees.
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Here you can see some of the ceiling detail inside the Capitol Building along with an electric candle decoration for the holidays.
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Virginia Washington Monument

The area around the Capitol Building is known as Capitol Square. The centerpiece to the square is the Virginia Washington Monument, built in 1858. This Monument was quite the sight, it has George Washington sitting atop his faithful steed and below he is surrounded by six other historical figures including: Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Lewis, John Marshall, George Mason, and Thomas Nelson Jr.
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George Washington looking across Richmond.
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This plaque was on the side of the Monument, marking where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States.
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Here is Thomas Jefferson pondering the future of America with a quill at the ready.
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The sculpture was very detailed.
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Old City Hall

We wandered around behind the Capitol Building and saw this huge gray Gothic-style building that took our breath away. The hulking building is the Old City Hall and was used from 1894 through the 1970’s. It was designed by Elijah E. Myers (1832-1909), who also designed the state capitol buildings of Michigan, Colorado, and Texas.

The architecture of this building was intriguing and in stark contrast to the Palladian-style Capitol. Since it was late, we did not get the chance to go inside however you can tour the first floor during operating hours.
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We did get a look inside through a set of windows and were impressed with the internal architecture as well.
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Here you can see the classic pointed arches of the Gothic-style and elaborate lamp to illuminate one of the entrances.
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The Old City Hall is a symmetrical building, except for this majestic 195-foot tall clock tower.
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Governor’s Mansion

This is the Governor’s Mansion, we couldn’t get too close due to security but it was still nicely decorated for the holidays.
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Our Friend, Edgar

Darkness fell upon us, but we continued around the Square and, perhaps fittingly, came across this statue of Edgar Allen Poe. It was erected in 1958 to honor Poe’s time in Richmond.
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We had an awesome time exploring the Virginia Capitol and we hope you enjoyed this mini tour!

Happy Thursday!

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Woof Trekking Dispatch # 9: Rockaway Beach and Cannon Beach, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch # 9: Rockaway Beach and Cannon Beach, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

In our last dispatch, we went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and gorged ourselves on cheese. Next, we decided to drive over to the coast and walk along the beach.

Woof Trekking at Oregon Beaches

There are lots and lots of little beach towns up and down the Oregon coast and they are linked by Highway 101. If you ever visit the Oregon coast, the Oregon Coast Visitors Association has a great website. Our first stop was Rockaway Beach.

Rockaway Beach

Izzy loved running around the beach and she left these super cute paw prints in the sand before they were washed away by the waves.

Rockaway Beach 1

The coolest feature of this beach was the Twin Rocks. This formation is 88 feet tall and the hole in the structure is 35 feet across. When you are standing on the beach it doesn’t look that big at all.

Rockaway Beach 2

Izzy posing and smiling in front of the Twin Rocks.

Rockaway Beach 3

After exploring this area, we jumped back into the car and drove up the coast to Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach also has some fantastic geological formations that were amazing to see. In the far distance, you can see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. This lighthouse was operational from 1881 to 1957 and was nicknamed “Terrible Tilly.” It is one of nine original lighthouses along the Oregon Coast, but it is closed to the public. Now, it is a nature wildlife refuge serving as a nesting area for common murres and cormorants.

Cannon Beach 1

Jockey Cap Rock surrounded by the ocean mist.

Cannon Beach 2

We were at Cannon Beach at sunset and it was incredible. We got to take in the waves and see all the birds flying to their nests.

Cannon Beach 3

Izzy really enjoyed her time at the beach running in an out of the waves. Her lolling tongue is pretty darn cute, isn’t it?

Cannon Beach 4

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Woof Trekking Packing Checklist: Cat Basics

Woof Trekking Packing Checklist: Cat Basics

posted in: On the Road, What to Pack, Woof Trekking | 3 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our latest book, Woof Trekking, is all about how to road trip with your pets. In a previous post, we showed you all the essentials we pack for our dogs. You can check that list out here.

What to Pack for a Woof Trekking Cat

In today’s post we will show you what we pack for Billy, the Most AMAZING cat.

Petmate Top Entry Litter Pan

This litter bin is very similar to the one Billy uses both at home and on Woof Treks. Since it has high sides, it blocks the litter from flying everywhere.

Petlinks Purr-fect Paws Cat Litter Mat

We travel with a mat like this one to catch the kitty litter that gets trapped in Billy’s paws as he exits his restroom. This helps limit the spread of the litter.

Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Bagless Handheld Vacuum

This may seem a little crazy but we travel with a small vacuum to clean up any kitty litter that has escaped from the bin. It also comes in handy if some other mess has happened while we are on the road.


Petmate Ultimate Litter Scoop

This is the exact scooper we use, it is excellent because it had an elongated handle and a wide scoop to handle large loads. ?

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10 Gallon Trash Bags

We bring a roll of these trash bags on our Woof Treks because some hotels don’t provide them. This is especially important when disposing of the contents of Billy’s bin.

IAMS Proactive Health Original Adult Dry Cat Food

Billy’s food, the only kind he likes so this is what he gets. He hasn’t gone grain free like the dogs because the food makes him sick. ?

Snapware 10-Cup Airtight Rectangle Food Storage Container

This the type of container we use to bring Billy’s food on the road with us. It has a slim profile so it is easy to pack.


LoveOurHome Cool Pet Cat Bowl

On the road, Billy uses a small bowl like this to eat out of. It is great because it is small enough to be stored in the food container and act as a scoop. If you are only traveling with a cat, then these bowls would also be great as a water bowl.

Whisker Lickin’s Cat Treats

We always remember to bring along Billy’s favorite treats. They are good as a yummy snack when we get to the room and also come in handy if he needs to be lured out of somewhere he ought not be. They were a lifesaver when he snuck under the bed of a hotel, read the whole story here.

Cat Harness and Leash

Billy wears a harness and leash at all times on Woof Treks. The harness also has a tag on it that has information about his microchip; if he ever escapes (knock on wood), people will have a way to contact us. The harness and leash help to secure him to a person in the car. In the room, it allows for him to be easily found. The previous story also explains why we keep the leash on him in the room.

We hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned for more posts about what to pack on your Woof Trek!

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #6: Goodbye San Fran, Hello Sunflower Fields and Dozing Dogs (July 2012)

Woof Trekking Dispatch #6: Goodbye San Fran, Hello Sunflower Fields and Dozing Dogs (July 2012)

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Last week, we showcased our time at Fisherman’s Wharf. Today, we will travel further north all the way up to Oregon!

Northern Cali featured

After the Wharf, we drove over to Chinatown for dinner. We ended up at R&G Lounge and were led downstairs to a table near a fish tank. It seemed very authentic when compared with our 2008 trip to China. However, when I just checked out their Yelp page, there was a warning that during a recent health inspection, the restaurant did not exactly pass with flying colors. So that’s something to bear in mind…
San Francisco to Grants Pass - 1

The next day, it was time to say goodbye to San Francisco and we did so in grand fashion, by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. While it would have been nice to see the bridge without fog, it was still beautiful! Apparently, it is only clear of fog 30% of the year, as I discovered when writing our post, Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

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We drove through Napa and then came upon a long stretch of interstate surrounded by farm land on our way to Redding, CA where our next La Quinta was located. One of the most exciting sights was this sunflower field.

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Days filled largely with driving are a good time for some catch up on beauty sleep. Adventures can really take a lot out of a dog.

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After a good night’s rest, we pressed onward toward Oregon. On the way, we stopped in Weed under the shadow of the awe-inspiring Mount Shasta for some lunch.

We were all excited to get out of the car after a day and a half of driving, so we stopped at Subway and brought our sandwiches to nearby Bel Air Park. That’s where we snapped this scenic photo of Mount Shasta, which happens to be a “potentially active volcano.” Here is the Google Maps Street View position from which we took the photo.

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After eating at a picnic table and a brief walk/run around Bel Air Park, we hopped back into the car and drove around College of the Siskiyous, which was located right next door. Dad loves to drive around a college campus, as you will see again in our next Woof Trekking Dispatch. Everyone caught a bit more shuteye as we crossed into Oregon.

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Finally, we arrived in Grants Pass and checked into our La Quinta. Billy made full use of the window ledge, inspecting the exterior of the hotel for anything that moves. The hotel key had a coupon for a local pizza and beer place called Wild River Brewing and Pizza Co. so we headed over. Dad treated himself to a beer sampler after two full days of driving and we all enjoyed some fresh baked pizza!

San Francisco to Grants Pass - 7

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Woof Trekking in Willcox: Apple Picking and Cowboy Crooning

Woof Trekking in Willcox: Apple Picking and Cowboy Crooning

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The official start to fall isn’t until next month, but with local schools back in session, it’s easy to get lost in a bit of autumnal enthusiasm. In this spirit, we share today’s post.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Apple Annie’s is our favorite Pick-Your-Own Produce spot in Southern Arizona. It is located near Willcox, a small city with three main attractions. The first is Wings Over Willcox, a birding/nature festival in January focused primarily on the annual Sandhill Cranes migration stop in Willcox. The second is Rex Allen, who we’ll discuss more in a minute. The third is Apple Annie’s.

 
We have visited Apple Annie’s twice, once in 2010 without the dogs and again in 2012 with the dogs, once we discovered pets are allowed in the orchards.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Their orchards feature many varieties of apples, pears, and peaches, all available for purchase by the pound.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona 5

Izzy and Nana quite enjoyed roaming through the rows of fruit trees, sniffing everything they could. They didn’t attempt to eat anything, although they do enjoy a bit of sliced apple as a snack at home. Apple seeds contain cyanide and consumed in large quantities can be dangerous for dogs.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona


Pets are not allowed in the produce and pumpkin section of Apple Annie’s. Luckily, we had already visited that area in 2010.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

They had a huge field of sunflowers, pumpkins and squash galore, as well as plenty of row crops like green beans, tomatoes, and chili peppers.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

With our bags full of produce, we headed back toward Willcox. Our next stop was a visit with the city’s favorite son: Rex Allen. The actor, singer, songwriter and narrator was a contemporary of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Rex Allen is celebrated in Willcox every fall during Rex Allen Days. This year is 65th Annual Event and will be held September 29th – October 2nd.

Apple Annies in Willcox Arizona

Across the street is the Rex Allen Museum. Our grandparents were huge fans of the old westerns and would have loved to have visited. If you love cowboy movies, then you will probably enjoy it. See Trip Advisor for tips before you go.

Rex Allen Museum

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Woof Trekking in Willcox Arizona

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #5: Blue Mermaid, Rainbow Sequin Man, and Ghirardelli Square, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #5: Blue Mermaid, Rainbow Sequin Man, and Ghirardelli Square, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The next stop on our very first Woof Trek was Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. This was another fun stop after our previous adventures at Angel’s Flight, the Pacific Coast Highway, Silicon Valley, and Japantown.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 1

 
The weather in San Francisco can be quite cool and wet, even in summer. Weather.com states that September is actually the warmest month. The day we visited Fisherman’s Wharf, the temperatures hovered around 60 degrees. It was a bit chilly for us desert dwellers.

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We had lunch at Blue Mermaid Restaurant, located in conjunction with the Argonaut Hotel. Yelp reviewers rank this seafood spot at 3 1/2 stars. We would tend to agree with this due to some fancy prices and fairly slow service. That being said, the food was delicious.

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Pictured above is the New England Clam Chowder. Pictured below is the Manhattan Clam Chowder. Both excellent choices if you decide to go.

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One of the most exciting things about this stop was the restroom. With a short jaunt into the Argonaut Hotel, you are in a natty and nautical Blue Mermaid-themed wonderland.

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A close-up of the wallpaper brings to mind the intro to a James Bond movie.

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After our delicious meal, we headed out to hang out with the doggies. Next, we ducked into Boudin Bakery’s flagship location at the Wharf for a little sourdough treat and some cans of Clam Chowder for home.


We didn’t get a chance to take a self-guided Bakery Museum Tour, but next time we will. It’s only $3. Boudin has locations all across California, so we’ll definitely have to stop there next time we are in LA.

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We returned to the Wharf and decided to stretch our legs. Not long into our walk we encountered this colorful character. Oh yeah.

Dispatch 5 Fishermans Wharf - 8

We tore our eyes away from Sequin Man and headed toward Ghirardelli Square. Ghi-rar-delli- that is a hard word to spell. It’s got two r’s, kind of like February, but we digress.

We arrived at the shopping center and popped into a little pet boutique, YAP, that featured clothes mostly for smaller dogs. A very cute store! Then we headed over to the main event: the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop and Café!

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Izzy, happy to hang out in Ghirardelli Square!

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When we visited in 2012, the café was quite cramped. Thanks to Google Maps, we now know that the Shop and Cafe has relocated next door and has expanded a lot! The previous spot is now occupied by Jackson and Polk, a lifestyle boutique, and Vom Fass, offering oils, vinegars and liquors. What a difference 4 years makes.

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Woof Trekking at Fisherman's Wharf

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Woof Trekking Packing Checklist: Dog Basics

Woof Trekking Packing Checklist: Dog Basics

posted in: On the Road, What to Pack, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Happy Friday, everyone! For today’s post, we wanted to give you an in-depth look at what we bring with us on our Woof Treks. We will be focusing on the first section of the packing checklist: Dog Basics. You can find the full checklist at the bottom of this post.

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FOOD

When it comes to feeding our dogs, our vet has fully convinced us to go “grain-free”. We had heard about Taste of the Wild ever since we took Izzy to puppy school six years ago, but thought it was too expensive. However, our vet has since made the case, and now we only feed our dogs the best.


Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food


Wellness Thick & Chunky Stews Natural Wet Canned Dog Food
 

CAN OPENER

A good can opener can be hard to find. We’ve tried both Martha Stewart brand and the Oxo brand openers, with plenty of early success. But after a while, the opener gets all clogged and rusty. That hasn’t happened with our Zyliss.


Zyliss Lock N’ Lift Manual Can Opener with Lid Lifter Magnet
 

FOOD BOWL

Their current food bowls look a lot like the bowl below. They are nice and sturdy, but on the road, they can get a bit bulky.


Petrageous Designs Pooch Basics Pet Bowl

Consequently, we purchased smaller, lighter bowls like the bowl below for future Woof Treks.


Loving Pets Bella Bowl Dog Bowl
 

WATER BOWL

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We bring the same water bowl that the dogs and cat use at home. As mentioned in Woof Trekking, when we are on a hike, we will just pour a small stream of water from our water bottles into our dogs’ mouths and they love it.


PetFusion Premium Brushed Stainless Steel Bowl
 

CRATE

We lug their large crates with us on every single Woof Trek. They don’t actually take up much space, since they are collapsible. Still, they’re heavy! We’ve been looking into alternatives (like this one) but haven’t actually purchased one yet.


Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel
 

BEDDING

Izzy and Nana each have a blanket in the bottom of their crates. We tried putting in more padded bedding, but they pushed it out of the way. We believe this is because they like the cool feeling of the plastic when they get hot at night.


Pet Dog Cat Blanket Mat Bed with Paw Prints
 

PET WASTE BAGS

We recycle a lot of grocery bags to pick up pet waste, but will occasionally splurge on these. A surprising number of rest areas throughout the country supply these, but it’s best to have your own stock, just in case.


AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags with Dispenser and Leash Clip

 

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Woof Trekking Packing Checklist Dog Basics

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #4: Japantown and Lombard Street, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #4: Japantown and Lombard Street, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our fourth dispatch from our very first Woof Trek is from San Francisco. You can check out our previous entries in this series here. You can check out our new book, Woof Trekking, on Amazon and Kobo.

We started off the day by going to Japantown, located in the Western Addition district of San Francisco. Prior to 1906, there were actually two Japantowns since San Francisco was the main port of entry of Japanese immigrants, but after the 1906 earthquake only one survived. According to Wikipedia, Japantown in San Francisco is the oldest enclave of Japanese residents in the United States.

The earthquake of 1906 is an important time in our own family history because both of our maternal great-grandfathers witnessed the destruction caused by the earthquake as they were arriving by boat from Japan (our grandma’s father) and from Hawaii (our grandpa’s father).
san francisco, japantown peace plaza, peace pagoda
We found a nice parking spot at the corner of Sutter Street and Buchanan Street and walked across Sutter to wander around.
san francisco, traffic light, street sign
Our first stop was the Japantown Peace Plaza. This Plaza holds several events throughout the year marking Japanese holidays. At the heart of this Plaza is the Peace Pagoda. The Pagoda was built in 1968, designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi and was a gift from the people of Osaka, San Francisco’s sister city in Japan.
san francisco, peace pagoda, japantown peace plaza
After walking around the Peace Plaza we ventured into the Japan Center East Mall. We went into a couple of shops, but our favorite was Daiso Japan. They had all sorts of household items but the most impressive section was these colorful containers, arranged in perfect order. It was quite the sight to see.
daiso japan, store, japanese, store, Japan Center East Mall
While walking around the mall, we stumbled across this fabulous mural of Japanese umbrellas.
Japan Center East Mall, mural


After doing some shopping, we hopped back into the car and set off to see Lombard Street.
san francisco, cars, road, hill,
This street is dubbed, “The most crooked street in the world.” It is located in the Russian Hill neighborhood. We took the slow, winding route down the hill. You can’t go too fast with all the switchbacks in the street. In the distance, you can see stately Coit Tower. You can also see Yerba Buena and Treasure Island further out into the bay, accessible via the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
san francisco, cars, road, hill,
The homes lining along this street seemed quaint. This the biggest and probably the oldest bougainvillea we have ever seen! Very beautiful in full bloom.
bougainvillea
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Another shot, a few turns down the street.

san francisco, cars, road, hill,

You can take a virtual tour of Lombard Street on Google Maps.

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Woof Trekking Japantown and Lombard Street

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Woof Trekking Hotel Safety: Who’s Hiding Under the Bed?

Woof Trekking Hotel Safety: Who’s Hiding Under the Bed?

posted in: On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s post is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

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Most hotels put their beds on metal boxes so nothing can go under the bed. For the most part they work, except occasionally at the head of the bed.

Sometimes the box ends before it touches the wall and leaves a cat/small dog-sized hole to crawl into. If you aren’t paying attention, your pet can end up under the bed and you can’t really get them out without a lot of time and/or coercion.

It would be wise to also take some of the extra pillows (you could use towels as an alternative) and create a blockade in front of any holes. We learned about this the hard way.

During our first Woof Trek, we would remove the leash from Billy’s harness when we arrived at the hotel. One night, we were not really paying attention and Billy found a hole we had missed at the foot of the bed.

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 1

We tried to grab his hind end but he slipped through and ended up inside the box spring!

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 2

We tried to lure him out by calling him and shaking his treat container, but he wouldn’t come.


Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 3

We finally gave up as Billy enjoyed lording his newfound power over Mac. She left some treats by the entrance to his newfound Kat Kave.

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 4

Eventually, Billy got bored and came out from under the bed to take the bait.

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 5

Hearing the sound of his munching, we grabbed him, put the leash back on him, and blocked the entrance to his Kat Kave.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this adaptation from our book, Woof Trekking.

P.S. We highly recommend investing in a cat harness and leash.

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #2: Pacific Coast Highway and Carmel-by-the-Sea, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #2: Pacific Coast Highway and Carmel-by-the-Sea, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Travel, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

After we departed Los Angeles, we decided to jump on the famous Pacific Coast Highway (aka PCH) to head north up the coast. This stretch of highway is 147 miles long and runs right next to the ocean, providing some extremely scenic views.

TWITTER PCH WOOF TREKKING

Our first look at the PCH started in Santa Monica, pictured below.

pacific coast highway 1

As we drove along, we watched waves crashing and people frolicking on the beach. We drove as far north San Luis Obispo before we had to drive inland to our hotel in Paso Robles. (La Quinta Inn and Suites Paso Robles – it is one of the nicest La Quintas we have visited in the country! Very spacious rooms and artisanal lotions/soaps in the bathroom!)

First thing the next day, we stopped by Hearst Castle, but there was no way we could go since we had the dogs with us. (The only animals allowed on tours are service animals.) That being said we did stop by, get some brochures and used the facilities in alternating shifts. After that, we stopped by Elephant Seal Vista Point about 5 miles down the road.

pacific coast highway, california
The seals blend right in with their surroundings.
pacific coast highway, california
Do you spy the seals?


One thing to know about traveling along the PCH is that in some of the more rural areas, gas stations are few and far between. So if you plan to take a road trip along this scenic highway, be sure to get gas when it is available. We nearly ran out of gas, mostly because we were kind of balking at the price. California has some of the most expensive gas in the country.

pacific coast highway, california

It’s better to buy expensive gas than run out of gas, pull off the highway and have to call for emergency roadside assistance. You can use GasBuddy or Trucker Path, an app we mentioned in Tuesday’s post, to find gas near you (including the price).

pacific coast highway 6

Billy was not a fan of some of the more curvy sections of the PCH. So if your pet is inclined to motion sickness, you may want to skip the Pacific Coast Highway or other winding roads whenever possible. See our post Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness for more.

pacific coast highway, california
The Bixby Creek Bridge, an extremely photogenic bridge along the PCH.

 

After driving for a couple of hours, we came to the artist enclave of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This quaint little town is about 330 miles north of Los Angeles and 120 miles south of San Francisco. Following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, a group of artists left the destroyed city and migrated to Carmel-by-the-Sea, thus establishing the small sea-side town as a now well-known hub for art and culture.

This was the perfect stop for us to hop out and stretch our legs. It was the first trip to the ocean for both Nana and Izzy.

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Nana thought it was just ok. ?

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Contrastingly, Izzy thought it was SUPER FUN!!! ?  She loved romping around in the surf.

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We already cover our car seats with towels (so it’s easy to clean up unexpected messes), but we also had the foresight to bring a couple extra towels, so we could wipe off Izzy’s sticky paws.

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #1: Angels Flight, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #1: Angels Flight, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Travel, Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Los Angeles was our very first stop on our very first Woof Trek. On our second day there, we drove around the downtown area and found a parking spot in the shade of the towering skyscrapers. We were on a mission to see Angels Flight.

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Angels Flight is a funicular railway that runs up and down Bunker Hill. It originally opened in 1901, then closed in 1969, and reopened in 1996. Another fun detail is that the cars are named: Olivet and Sinai.

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As we sat down to write this article, we discovered that Angels Flight closed in July 2013, due to apparent safety issues. What’s more is that the green space around Angels Flight, aka Angels Knoll, has also been closed according to this LA Times article. The park was featured in the movie (500) Days of Summer (Source).

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We first heard about Angels Flight from one of our favorite mystery authors, Michael Connelly. The 6th Harry Bosch novel is titled Angels Flight and is an excellent book that we highly recommend for fans of the mystery genre and of Los Angeles.


Angels Flight (A Harry Bosch Novel)

We hopped on at the bottom and prepared ourselves for an excellent adventure!

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The view from the top. Not a particularly long ride, but fun none the less!

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Here is an official ticket stub that we received once we exited the little train.

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Here you can see the ticket booth at the top of the hill.

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Another beauty shot of the tangerine titans.

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We had a great time going up on Angels Flight. The dogs did not ride with us, as it seemed unlikely that that would be allowed. We realize that this article is not very “Woof,” so we found a couple other articles to compensate:

‘Table for two. One of us will sit on the floor.’ Pet-friendly L.A. restaurants
We particularly like the sound of #3, Lazy Dog restaurant and bars with its dog friendly meal options.

13 Things Your Dog Really Wants To Do With You in Los Angeles
Our favorite from this list is #7, the BowWow Workout, with its human + dog workouts! Check out the video below!

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