Tag Archives: vacation

City Bulls: Our Chicago Trip

As you saw from our Wordless Wednesday post last week, we were out of town for a few days with chicagotrip-july2013-7437the crew to the beautiful city of Chicago.  Now, we’re not big city folk and prefer the outdoors, soft dirt and forests with the crew but this was a pleasant change and a welcome event for the pups as well – even with the beastly heat we endured for a portion of our trip.

The initial purpose of our trip was Paco Collars hosting a collar making class at Unleashed, a wonderful doggie daycare and boarding facility in downtown Chicago.  We, of course, couldn’t just stay one day and drive home so we opted to come down a bit early and enjoy our time in the city being tourists.   We made sure that before we left, we had plenty of dog-friendly activities to do so that the pups wouldn’t have to sit and be bored in our hotel room (we highly recommend Red Roof Inn for all of your doggie travels – dogs-friendly, beautifully laid out and their Redicard program means free rooms for dogs on the go!) and thanks to a fellow blogger who lives in Chicago (thank you, Two Pitties in the City!) we were able to have a LOT of options and ideas on how to keep the monsters entertained while we enjoyed our little mini vacation – which I wish had been longer!

We hit up Navy Pier on our day of arrival and met up with a fellow pit bull owner (actually, she haschicagotrip-july2013-7423 AmStaffs. Hehe.) and were able to take in the sights and sounds there.  Ryker and Mika tagged along with us for this round and enjoyed getting to mooch pieces of the elephant ear sundae my husband ordered and my funnel cake and all the stranger affection they could weasel out of those who happened to pass by that they could give some attention too.

While we were there, we all opted to take a 30-minute boat ride aboard the Shoreline Cruises’ Cap Streeter.  Dogs rode free and it cost us people a measly $17 to enjoy the tour that talked about Chicago’s heritage, growth and birth of the coastline.  The dogs enjoyed a cool bottle of water that a one of the employees provided and their own glasses.  They didn’t quite know what to make of it at first but once the boat got moving, they all relaxed and attempted to mooch affection from the other passengers on the boat.

At the end of the day we said goodbye to Cassie and her two wonderful pups, Ace and Sugar, and headed back to the hotel for the evening where we all passed out after giving the whole pack (all five of them!) some romp time and dinner in our spacious hotel room.  We, after all, needed our rest for the adventures to follow, right?

We woke up bright and early the following morning and had hoped to hit Grant Park, which was listed as a phenomenal place to go with dogs, but unfortunately we weren’t able to indulge ourselves there chicagotrip-july2013-7601due to the Taste of Chicago Festival that was closed to dogs.  Instead, we took the opportunity to walk along the shoreline with Luna and Ryker.  They got lots and lots of compliments and we met some bully-loving people along the way (even if a one or two asked if we had puppies for sale.  Ha!).

Afterward, we headed out and about into the city.  We checked out various places and just relaxed with the pups until early afternoon where we had a quick lunch at Chicago Joe’s Restaurant.  The pups enjoyed cool bowls of water provided by our phenomenal waitress while we dined (and shared!) on delicious hamburgers with all of the goodies before heading back to the hotel to drop the kiddos off and head to our Paco Collar class (which was amazing and we highly recommend taking one in your area!).

We headed home the following day but we couldn’t end our adventures there.  After we crossed the border into Michigan, we made a point of stopping at Weko Beach in Bridgman, Michigan.  This beach is dog friendly for dogs who accompany their owners on leash and gives them a chance to experience Lake Michigan and the wonderful feeling of sand between the toes.  We walked all five (yes, at one time – we were a bit crazy, we know!) down to the beach line to let them romp a bit in thechicagotrip-july2013-7920 water before retreating to a small tidal pool for calmer play (and to allow our rescue boy, Duo, some fun in the water since the waves didn’t sit too well with him!) and more family photos of our adventures.

We didn’t get home until late that evening and the dogs and humans were exhausted from our travels but we had a good time and can definitely see visiting the beautiful city of Chicago in the near future – preferably when the hot weather relaxes its hold!  Until then, you can see our complete set of photos from the Chicago adventure here.

Wordless Wednesday: Pit Bull On A Boat (Chicago Edition)


Hello from Chicago!  We know it’s Wordless Wednesday and the dogs, husband and I are on vacation in the beautiful city of Chicago (check back for updates when we get back into town!) and Ryker wanted to check in with a photo from his fun trip on the Shoreline River Cruise boat, the Cap Streeter.  Hope you are all enjoying your summer time – we sure are!

The River Trail & Marsh Trail

Being on vacation for a couple of weeks has allowed for some exploration of local hiking trails.  We proudlakestaterec-rivertrail-july2013-5806much prefer the state parks because they allow for more freedom on dirt hiking trails for us and the dogs but we’ve been known to hit a few metroparks as well. This time around, we had decided to scope out Proud Lake State Recreation.  We’d opted for the River Trail which is rated as easy despite the 5.75 mile loop it boasts and ended up doing a combination of the River Trail and Marsh Trail due poor trail markings from construction/maintenance going on.

We went on an early morning and a week day hoping to avoid some of the more prominent crowds with the 4th of July celebrations that were set to be on their way in just a couple of short days and we weren’t disappointed.  We saw a group of hikers on our way in and one gentleman with a very rude Labrador while out on the trails but other than that, it was pretty peaceful.  Mika and Ryker enjoyed romping ahead of us a bit and were good about checking in and returning when we asked because of a human or canine visitor approaching.  (It’s a pet peeve of mine to be rushed by rude dogs and I make sure my crew follows the same etiquette I’d want from other hikers with their dogs who are on or off leash but that’s a tale for another time.)proudlakestaterec-rivertrail-july2013-5821

The sights and sounds of this particular trail were pretty amazing.  We saw a variety of wildlife from the usual cottontail rabbits and deer to a few amphibians (leopard and bullfrogs) and snakes.  The dogs were particularly enthralled with a juvenile garter snake that slithered right across our path since neither had really experienced one that up close and personal before.

The dam on the trail was amazing as well.  There was a nice wooded dock-type area that had a shallow area that the dogs enjoyed splashing about in half way through our walk.  This enabled them to cool down as well as us while watching a few kids leap into the water.

All in all, it was a very fun day and I took a LOT of photos (all of which can be seen here).  The trails weren’t as well marked as we’d hoped but it was worth wandering and getting slightly lost.  Now that we have a more accurate map, we’ll be hitting that trail again in the future and hoping to do the entire length instead of only 3 miles of it. 

Home Sweet Home

The trip home was relatively uneventful.  We had a couple of challenges along the way home – namely the motor for the wipers finally died and we had to pull over during a sudden downpour right on the boarder of Pennsylvania and Ohio – but otherwise, the only annoying thing is that it was a long trip.  The dogs held up well and napped most of the way home.

We had such a wonderful trip in both Portsmouth and Washington D.C.  The dogs received lots of compliments on their behavior because they stayed when we set them up for photos in Washington or at various scenic stops along the way.  They loved every moment of the attention and lapped it up in typical pit bull fashion.

Work calls to start back up tomorrow.  While I’m not looking forward to it, it will be good to get back to being industrious.  Between work and planning our wedding reception (July 21st), we’ll be very busy these next few weeks and the vacation gave us a respite from the normal hustle and bustle of our day to day lives.

I’m hoping the weather cools off here soon as the temperatures in the high 90s and 100s are not conducive to training the dogs and they are sorely missing the structure and mental stimulation we get from training.  It’s been rather annoying dealing with four very high drive dogs and no actual direction for them to go because of the sheer heat and concern for their safety.  Ah, well…we’ll get back into the groove again.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.  You can enjoy the rest here.

Mika, Luna and Ryker at the Washington Monument

Lincoln Monument in Washington D.C.

The unbelievable temperatures in our travels.

Virginia Livin’

“Are we there yet?”, says Luna and Mika.

We got in yesterday at around nine o’clock in the evening and checked into our hotel in Chesapeake, VA.  The dogs were relieved to finally be some place that didn’t require being loaded back up in the car for a few more hours on the road.  They were able to lounge and relax for the rest of the night while we went and visited family for dinner and catching up since it had been a few years since I had been down to visit and it was a first for my wonderful husband.  We didn’t get back to the hotel room until a little after midnight and let the dogs potty one more time before retiring for bed from a long and uneventful day of travel down here.

Today, the dogs got to chill in the hotel while we ran around with family to an sushi buffet and other errands that were planned.  We’re now back in the hotel and they’re all relaxing while I blog.  Tomorrow, we’re planning on going back over with the crew and taking a nice walk after the weather cools down a bit in the evening so that our pack can be introduced to Logan and do a little bit of training and prep work to see if Logan is ready to do his CGC test along with some other activities with my darling little sister.

We’ll be leaving here on Thursday morning and heading up to Washington D.C.  We’ll be staying there until Saturday before heading back home to Michigan.  We’d like to do the tourist thing while we’re in D.C. and hit some of the dog-friendly locations while up there and get some good photos of the pups while having a little bit of fun for the two of us.

It truly has been a wonderful vacation so far and makes me not want to return to the reality of our life, but sadly that will eventually have to happen.  It’s a shame that it’s so darn soon.


The Real Meaning of Roadwork

No, this entry isn’t really about walking and conditioning your dog.  It’s about our trip into the great unknown.  Our first vacation that doesn’t involve some dog event as the main course of action and I’m so freaking excited!

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we are heading down to Virginia.  More specifically, we’re heading down toward Virginia Beach/Chesapeake/Portsmouth for four days before swinging up toward Washington D.C./Arlington.  It’s that time of the year that we get a week off of work and this year we intend to take advantage of it.  Getting to see friends and be ‘tourists’ for the first time in a long time is definitely a worthy reason to take a road trip.

We’ll be loading up the dog mobile with our gear and the gear of four of the five dogs.  We would be taking five, but unfortunately, Duo doesn’t travel well.  The stress of a long road trip does his system no good so he gets to stay behind and enjoy a week’s vacation as the only dog with Grandpa.  Luna, Lyric, Ryker and Mika, however, think that traveling is very awesome and they can’t wait to be going.

The one unfortunate thing is that BSL has limited our choice in areas to stay in up in the Washington D.C. area since a few of the less expensive hotels are in areas where there are restrictions.  We won’t put our dogs in that risk and so are avoiding those areas and spending a bit more money for a canine family-friendly vacation.  It sucks, but it is what it is when it comes to the response to owning an APBT because of the irresponsibility and management of others who have ruined it for the whole.

So, right now, it’s t-minus less than 24 hours before we hit the road.  So excited!

Our Mini Vacation

Well, we’ve got the entire week off from work and decided that it was time for a mini vacation away from home.  After some thought and discussion between Bruce and I, we decided on a destination that wasn’t too far from home in case someone in the family needed us for some dire emergency – Monroe, MI.

We’ve been down here, it seems, every single New Years weekend for some dog event or another.  This will be the first time that we come here and there is absolutely nothing dog related in the works.  We’re staying at our favorite hotel, Red Roof Inn.  They’re dog friendly and have loads of room for the pups to romp around the room without being a pain in the rear to the neighbors.  We opted this time, thanks to coupons, for the suite.  Let me tell you this…it’s huge.  Two rooms, king-sized bed (perfect for the pit bulls, let me tell you..they’ve already tested it out!), kitchenette, and a ‘living room’.  The dogs (and Bruce and I!) are in seventh heaven.

We’re going to be here until at least Thursday, although we’ve been whispering back and forth about staying into the New Year just to ‘ be away’ for the rolling in of 2012, but we’ll see how that goes in the next 24 hours.  Tomorrow, if the weather isn’t absolutely horrid, we’re planning on taking a drive down to Luna Pier and taking some photos and letting the dogs romp on the beach for a bit.  They don’t seem to care if it’s cold, but we’re going to bring their Fido Fleece jackets just in case they get too chilly.

All in all, we’ve got a nice little mini vacation planned – even if the weather continues to stay gross and we stay grounded to the hotel.  Plenty of local flavors we can enjoy and places to go that aren’t too far from ‘home.’  I’ll post more updates later on since I get to go be the fun police to two brats that keep ramming themselves into the back of my computer chair like sumo wrestlers!