Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Suburban Expedition

This past weekend, Sid and I hopped the train out to the suburbs to hang with my family.

First up on our checklist of activities was the La Grange Pet Parade which has been going on for over 70 years and is a big event in my hometown.

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Growing up, my sister and I would march in the parade with our various childhood pets (dogs, rabbits, turtles, and even parakeets) in home-made “floats” which were usually constructed out of cardboard atop a wagon. The parade is also full of other things, like marching bands, town officials, veterans, fire-fighters, the Shriners, and many others. Here are a few shots from the parade, although somehow I managed to miss most of the pets!

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The sun was shining brightly so Sid kept cool in the shade under our folding chairs.

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The paraders were handing out free candy to the kids and treats to the pets, so Sid was a happy camper. I think he got enough free treats to last the rest of the month!

The next day we drove over to Katherine Legge Park, and to our good fortune, there was an event being held in the park for the Hinsdale Humane Society. So, once again, Sid got loaded up with free treats from all the vendors. He also got to explore the creek that winds through the park and cool off his toes.

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And of course we spent lots of time relaxing in my parents’ lovely backyard garden.

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All in all, we had a good time taking a break from the city!

Pugs Take Chicago!

It’s a good thing Sid spent a few days resting up in preparation for Pugs Take Chicago because it was insane!

I’d reckon close to 100 pugs (and their human servants) from all over the U.S. dropped into Lake Shore East Dog Park this past Saturday.

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Sid arrived in his red travel bag after a relaxing ride on the El train.

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At first he tried to play it cool but once he realized how many freakin’ pugs were present, he lost any semblance of aloofness and started sniffing every pug butt he could find.

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He had a great time playing in the fountain and the small stream it flows into. This really is one fantastic dog park. I only wish it were closer to Pug Slope HQ!

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Pugs from California to Maine were represented, including the head-tilting pair from San Francisco, Minnie and Max!

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Sid also got to hang with his midwestern pal, Violet, who also calls Chicago home.

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There was a whole lot of running, sniffing, barking, and begging for treats going on.

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By the end Sid was pretty knackered and snoozed in his travel bag the whole train ride back home! We can’t wait for the next one!

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Prepping for a Pug Party

Hey fur-riends!

It’s Sid with you today. Reporting live from the nerve center of Pug Slope HQ. Yes, I know it just happens to be my bed.

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The reason why I’m in bed is because I’ve been taking several extra naps each day to store up energy for this weekend’s pug meetup in Chicago. Along with from my fellow flat-faced Chicago pals, Violet and Timmy, dozens of pugs from all over the country will be coming into town by air, by rail, and by dog stroller. This is the weekend the pugs will take over Chicago!

There are several activities taking place over the weekend including a pug cruise. I sailed on the cruise a couple years ago (in appropriate nautical attire, natch) and so I will be skipping it this year, but I am planning to be at the meet and greet at Lake Shore East Dog Park. I was there last summer for a pug party and it was absolute mayhem.

Let me know if you are planning to go!

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For more detailed information on PugsTakeChicago click here.

Hobbling Around in Holland

We would like to thank you all for the positive thoughts and good pug juju you sent to Sid regarding his hind leg and back. He’s doing much better now and his pug saunter is almost back to 100 percent. He’s got a few more laser therapy sessions at the vet lined up so we’re keeping our fingers/paws crossed.

I know we just finished up reporting on our HPWT trip that culminated with a stop in Holland, MI, so it’s only fitting that we went back there just a few days after I wrote that last post! This time my friend Anna (affectionately known as “Aunt Anna” to Sid) and her young son came along on our adventure.

Holland is about a three-hour drive from Chicago and midway through our journey we stopped for lunch at Panera. Anna and her son ate inside while Sid and I got our lunch to go and ate outside in the rear hatch of our rented Toyota Rav4.

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“Hold up!” you might be saying right now. Yes, I did say “ate outside”, and yes our adventure was taking place in the middle of winter. Well, let me explain. Somehow on this late January day the sun was shining brightly, the sky was cloudless, and the outside temperature was almost 60 degrees! It definitely felt surreal but certainly made our dining al fresco experience extremely enjoyable. Sid even got to indulge in some potato chips which he normally would never get.

We arrived in Holland and our first stop was the music store R.I.T. Music. You see, one of the intentions of this trip was so I could buy a guitar amp I had seen at the shop when Sid and I passed through Holland on our HPWT trip last September. Mission Accomplished! We then took a stroll down the main drag, 8th Street. Well, the three humans strolled; the pug rolled.

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Yes, this happened to be the day that Sid’s back leg stopped working properly, almost immediately upon arrival at our destination. After an attempt to carry him left me with a tingling arm in under fifteen minutes, Anna thoughfully suggested we prop Sid up in the vacant stroller her son had been riding in earlier.

Being carted around like royalty came natural to Sid and although I had now become “that guy that pushes his pug around in a children’s stroller” the smiles he put on the faces of passersby made it all worthwhile.

We got some delicious sorbet and ice cream at Kilwin’s and that’s when Sid laid into me and Anna with his classic guilt-trip stare.

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Like a sucker, I fell hard for it and soon the little furball was lapping away at my ice cream. Within minutes both Sid and Anna’s son were under the spell of a massive sugar rush!

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We checked out a few more shops on 8th Street and then hopped in the car and rode over to Windmill Island Gardens. In the winter there isn’t really anything happening in the garden department, but the grounds are open, and free, and THERE IS A HUGE DUTCH WINDMILL! How could we resist?!

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The sun was setting by this point and the sight of the pink and purple clouds reflecting off the canals was magical.

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If you ever are passing through western Michigan, be sure to stop by Holland. It’s pug-approved!

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Have Pug, Will Travel – Part 6

Everyone staying warm? We hope so! We’ve been having a pretty relaxing January so far. I was casually flipping through some photos on the computer last night and realized I never wrapped up our Have Pug, Will Travel trip from September (Boy, does time fly)! So here is the much-anticipated (I’m sure) HPWT finale!

(If you need to catch up with earlier installments, here’s the whole kit and kaboodle.)

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When we last left you in Part 5, Sid and I had enjoyed an evening stroll along the beachfront after a day of several amazing hikes at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. After a restorative forty winks in our home on wheels, we woke up the next day and made breakfast. Sid embraced his managerial role, making sure I split the blueberries evenly between us.

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Since our campsite was so close to the beach, we took an enjoyable post-breakfast stroll in the sand.

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And of course we couldn’t resist taking a few glamour shots.

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We then packed everything back up into the van and got back on the road. Our next destination was the town of Holland, Michigan. After a scenic drive along the western-Michigan shoreline, we eventually arrived at the Lake Macatawa campground located within Holland State Park. And, like most campgrounds we stayed at during this trip, we were just a short walk to the water! Time for a dip!

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As you can see in the corner of the picture, there are kayaks for rent on Lake Macatawa, but unfortunately it was a little too late in the day by that point to rent them, so instead we headed towards downtown Holland. Our first stop was Kollen park where there were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine and warm weather.

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The town of Holland is very charming and we enjoyed just walking around and people-watching. The main drag, 8th Street, is lined with little specialty shops, brew-pubs, and restaurants.

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Oh, and of course DOG BOUTIQUES!

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The staff at Decadent Dogs were very sweet and extremely generous with free samples of their gourmet treats, which Sid very much appreciated. They seemed to be giving Sid extra-special treatment and I didn’t know why until they told me about their town mascot: a pug named Lucy. Yes, you heard me right — A PUG!

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(Photo of Lucy from Discover Holland Facebook page)

Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Lucy in the fur because she was on vacation, but Sid left her a message (via “pee-mail”) at her headquarters for when she returns.

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We were in our element as it seemed like everywhere we looked, the town of Holland was obsessed with pugs. Even in the old-fashioned clock shop!

After a nice afternoon out strolling through the town, we arrived back at our campsite and Sid enjoyed a few treats he picked up at Decadent Dogs. Yum!

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The next morning, we packed up and headed back to sweet home, Chicago.

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Sid and I had such a fun time on our adventure and we hope you enjoyed traveling along with us! We can’t wait to make plans for our next Have Pug, Will Travel adventure!

Have Pug, Will Travel – Part 5

We hope everyone had a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Sid certainly got spoiled and will need to exercise all week long to get his waist back! I’m sure he’s looking forward to it.

Anywho, Sid and I are back today to continue the recap of our “Have Pug, Will Travel” (HPWT) road-trip from September. If you need to catch up with earlier installments, here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

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At this point in the trip we were back on the road heading to Traverse City, MI. We took a scenic route that hugged the lakefront led us out to the very tip of the Old Mission Peninsula where we were greeted by a cute lighthouse that was built way back in 1870.

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Sid explored the beach – scanning for treats as usual.

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When he didn’t find any, he decided to do the next best thing and take a dip in the lake.

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The long and narrow peninsula is home to several wineries. We picked up a bottle for the grand-pugrents but since Sid is under 21 years old, he was unable to sample any vino.

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We arrived at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and set up our camp at the Platte River Campground.

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We explored the area around the campground, which was lush with trees, then made some dinner and went to bed early so we’d have plenty of energy for hiking the next day.

After a good’s night sleep, we had breakfast and then headed for the Empire Bluff Trail. It was a very lovely trail that wound through the forest.

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The trail kept slowly ascending and by the end a little boardwalk led us onto a sand bluff that rose up 400+ feet above Lake Michigan! I couldn’t believe how far we could see off into the distance when perched up so high.

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Sid couldn’t believe it either. See how excited he looked?!

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After that breathtaking view we hopped back into our HPWT Home-on-Wheels and followed the route of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. This “trail” is actually a narrow paved road that winds through the forest and sand dunes and is dotted with a dozen scenic viewpoints where one can pull over, get out, and take a closer look. The concept behind this road is that it permits anyone – even those people that are unable to hike by foot on a rugged trail – to experience the beauty of the nature here.

Lookout points #9 and #10 were particularly spectacular – and extremely windy!

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We had a delicious picnic lunch at the Glen Haven Historic Village, which Sid was pretty happy about. He perked up after chomping down a few tasty b.c.’s. I suppose all that “scenic looking” must be considered arduous work for a pug.

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After our mid-day recharge, we headed to Pyramid Point to tackle another trail.

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Along the quaint tree-covered trail, we saw lots of cool little flowers, a few snails, and even some impressive looking mushrooms!

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And just like the previous trail, this one kept slowly going up. And up. And up.

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All those calories expended on the way up were definitely worth the view we experienced when we reached the point.

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Sid stared out onto Lake Michigan and took time for some deep thoughts. Either that or he was just thinking about ways to hijack the remaining b.c.’s from my backpack.

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At this point we were both ready for dinner so we headed to our campsite for the night which was at the D.H. Day campground.

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Sid wolfed his food down and then proceeded pass out while I relaxed and made some food for myself and lit the campfire.

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The D.H. Day campground was right next to the beach which is what made it superior to Platte River. So of course we couldn’t resist watching another stunning sunset and enjoying twilight time on the beach.

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With the brilliant moon and multitude of stars high above us, we settled in for the night.

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And…the HPWT epic tale will conclude in Part 6 where we visit Holland!

Have Pug, Will Travel – Part 4

After celebrating Sid’s 11th Birthday (for two full weeks, per his instructions!) we are back to continue the recap of our “Have Pug, Will Travel” road-trip from September. If you need to catch up with earlier installments, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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When we last left you, we had set up camp at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which is located on the east side of Michigan’s upper peninsula. In the lower falls area, you can row a little boat out to an island that is surround on all sides by several cascading waterfalls. We definitely weren’t going to pass this up!

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After acquiring his sea legs, Sid enjoyed the easy rowboat ride to the island. On the island is a trail that winds around the perimeter so you can get right up close to each waterfall. I made a little video of some of the lovely sights that Sid and I observed.

The shots at the end of video are actually of the giant upper falls. With a drop of nearly 50 feet, it is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.

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I asked Sid if he wanted to try riding over the upper falls in a barrel, and this was his response:

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There were quite a few sets of stairs around the upper falls that connected the various viewing locations, and even though I had to carry a 24-pound furball up and down each set, the views were totally worth it!

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After a fun day of exploring the falls and some nearby trails, we hopped back into the car and headed south towards the lower peninsula of Michigan. My flat-faced navigator decided to switch to auto-pilot.

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We soon approached the enormous suspension bridge, affectionately known as “Mighty Mac“, that connects both the upper and lower parts of Michigan. I was slightly terrified as we crossed, since the roadway is over 200 feet above the water at the midpoint! Eep!

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Our next stop was Petoskey State Park, where we set up camp. The campground was fantastic, with lots of tree coverage, and a quick walk right to a lovely beach.

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We parked our van, got settled in, lit a campfire, and had some dinner.

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After we filled up our bellies, we headed to the beach as the sun was beginning to set.

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There was a picture-perfect sunset over Lake Michigan that evening.

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The moon was full and bright, making the conditions ideal for some dramatic pug posing.

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After a good night’s sleep, we awoke the next morning and headed straight for the beach!

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There were lots of smooth round rocks on beach. Sid insisted upon sniffing every one in the event that one of them was actually a disguised treat.

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We had a great time exploring the beach and dipping our toes in the soft rolling waves. After we had our fill of sand, we went for a hike on one of the nearby trails: the “Old Baldy” trail. The woods were very beautiful, especially when the soft breeze would make all the leaves flutter.

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I wished we could have stayed another day in Petoskey as the campground and beach were lovely. However we had to get back on the road and make way to our next stop: Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes! We’ll tell you all about it in Part 5!