Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Midwest Migration – Part 3

So we pick up today en route to Des Moines, IA. If you need a bit of back-story, check out Part 1 and Part 2. Once again, Sid found the most comfortable position for traveling. This, my friends, is how you ride shotgun!

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We arrived at our campsite located at the Acorn Valley Campground on Saylorville Lake. Once the tent was up Sid felt right at home. In case you can’t see him in the main photo, I added a little zoom bubble so you can better make out his pug mug through the tent’s screen door!

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We hung out for a bit at the campsite, had some lunch, and listened to the breezes blowing through the tall trees. It was very relaxing.

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We met up with my friends and their kids for a while and they treated us to a delicious dinner made with fresh veggies straight from their back yard. We also got to visit a really nice park near their home with all kind of huge boulders and tree trunk sections for kids to play and climb on. Of course Sid didn’t do any climbing, but he seemed to enjoy watching the kids play.

We had a nice sleep in our tent that evening as it was much warmer than the first night. We didn’t really even need any blankets!

The next morning we made breakfast and then explored the campground a bit.

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Then we packed everything up and headed into downtown Des Moines to check out the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. While waiting for my friends to arrive, we walked around near the library and found this awesome water feature that wrapped around the entire block.

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Soon my friends and their children arrived and both the kids and Sid couldn’t resist sloshing through the water.

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It was a good thing I had some towels in the car! After another nice afternoon visit, we loaded up the car and headed back home to Chicago.

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Of course our trip would not be complete with a quick pit stop at the Mississippi River!

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We hope you enjoyed coming with us on our camping road trip! We’re looking forward to the next one!

Midwest Migration – Part 2

So if you missed Part 1 of our Midwest road trip, Sid and I had just spent a slightly chilly night camped out in Madison, WI. As the sun rose the next morning, I fired up the tiny butane camping stove, got some hot tea brewing, and gave Sid his breakfast.

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We packed up the tent and hit the road towards St. Paul, Minnesota. As you all know, Sid insists on a comfortable ride when traveling, so I had two beds stacked up on the passenger seat for him to sprawl out on. And sprawl out he did.

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We arrived at my friends’ house right around noon and had a great time catching up and getting a tour of their place. Sid approved of the original vintage wood floors.

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We all loaded up into one car, crossed the Mississippi into Minneapolis and spent some time on Nicollet Island.

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We enjoyed hanging out by the water and enjoying the natural beauty and lovely views of the city from this vantage point. I think Sid liked being the object of affection of my friend’s 2-year-old son.

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In the evening we went to an outdoor concert back in St. Paul, called the Grand Oak Opry. The weather was perfect and even Sid got to partake in our snacks.

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The next morning we hung out a little more and then had hit to road for our next stop, Des Moines!

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To be continued in Part 3

Midwest Migration – Part 1

This September we didn’t have quite the extensive camping trip planned as we did last year for “Have Pug, Will Travel” but we did manage to get out of town for a few days over the past holiday weekend. The plan for this trip was a mid-western loop to visit friends in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Des Moines, Iowa, with some camping in between.

We left on Friday night and drove for a few hours to Madison, Wisconsin, where we camped at a KOA in order to break up the drive time to Minnesota. We arrived at 10:30 pm and miraculously I managed to successfully set up the tent in near darkness! It was only 50-degrees out that night, too, so Sid and I were tucked into sleeping bags with quilts on top to stay warm.

It was still chilly in the morning, but some breakfast in our bellies helped us warm up.

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Our next stop: St. Paul! (to be continued in Part 2)

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 2

If you didn’t catch Part 1 of our Have Pug, Will Travel adventure, you can click here.

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After we visited Au Train Falls, a quick drive took us to our next campground – Munising Tourist Park– which is located right on Lake Superior in the town of Munising, MI.

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Of course the first thing we did was head to the beach so Sid could take a little dip and I could stretch my legs and take in the view.

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This was our first time ever at Lake Superior, and Sid didn’t hold back when he hit the water. He even dunked his entire face! Although he was disappointed to find that the hundreds of small dark objects under the water’s surface that he was bobbing for were small rocks and not treats.

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The beach was very relaxing, especially when the dune grasses swayed in the breeze.

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After checking out the beach, it was time to set up our camp.

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I was feeling a little hungry so I made a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Sid wanted to know where his sandwich was.

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Since we had arrived at the campground so early in the day, I had plenty of time to get a roaring campfire going which helped set the mood.

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While we sat by the campfire, I made some popcorn on our little Coleman butane stove. It actually worked really well! Sid was pleased to know he would be partaking in the noshing this time.

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Sid kept watch from his lookout post in the van anytime I had to use the restroom at the bathhouse.

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The sunset that evening was truly magnificent.

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The next morning, we had to sleep in and eat breakfast inside the van because of something we’ll tell you about in Part 3

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Have Pug, Will Travel – Part 1

Ahoy everyone! Sid and I have finally returned from our week-long camping and road-trip adventure around Lake Michigan which I’ve dubbed Have Pug, Will Travel. This is Part 1 of our story of the trip; we hope you enjoy it.

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For this adventure, I had originally considered renting a small RV. But after looking at the costs involved and also the size of an RV, even a small one, it was just overkill for one human and one pug. So I ended up renting a Ford Transit Connect cargo van because it provided ample room for sleeping and storage in the rear cargo area yet was as easy to drive as a normal car. So on the first day of the trip, I loaded loaded up the van with our camping gear, food, pug supplies, and mostly importantly: the pug.

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Welcome to our tiny home for the next week!

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We left Chicago on September 8th and made our way north through Wisconsin, into Michigan, and up to the charming Gladstone Bay Campground located in the small town of Gladstone.

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The campground was right on the shore of Little Bay de Noc, which is a bay of Lake Michigan. Our site was just a short walk away from the beach and as soon as Sid caught site of the water, he just had to take a little dip.

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At one edge of the beach was a cute little boardwalk that snaked along the water’s edge through an area with lots of tall grasses and plants.

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Sid liked the boardwalk so much he decided it would be the perfect place to take a little nap in the sun.

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The next morning we got up and had some breakfast while the sun was still pretty low in the sky.

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After breakfast and another visit to the beach, we got on the road and headed further north towards Lake Superior. Along the way, we stopped off at Au Train Falls. It was a lovely sight!

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The adventure will continue with Part 2

Turkey Run Adventure (Part I)

As I mentioned a week or so ago, Sid’s 10th Birthday fell on a weekend and I wanted to do something special with him to celebrate this momentous milestone. I rented a car, popped Sid into his carrier, loaded up our gear into the trunk, and cranked up some tunes as we peeled out of our alley and hit the highway.

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“WOO HOO! ROAD TRIP!”

We set our course for Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. Even though he can’t read a map, Sid is still the best co-pilot ever.

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My family has been coming to Turkey Run for many years, but this was Sid’s first time there. The Turkey Run Inn, where we usually stay, doesn’t allow dogs so we opted for a camping cabin at Up the Creek which is right up the road from the park. It was definitely on the rustic side but certainly a step up from a tent.

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After we dropped off our gear at the cabin, we strolled over to the Inn to meet up with my parents who were joining us for the weekend.

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Time to hit the trails! Turkey Run has the best trails (including the infamous “Trail 3”). The more rugged trails can get pretty challenging though they often end up being the most fun (or you end up soaked in water and lose a shoe in a mud pit – which has happened to us before!). Since this was Sid’s first time doing this sort of thing, we kept it simple the first day and began with one of the less-intense trails.

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Even though the trail we were on wasn’t classified as “rugged”, there were still some challenging obstacles. Sid was very proud of himself for conquering this pile of boulders.

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We took a little break near a small lake that looked especially mysterious due to the lighting and the cool moist air that made everything misty.

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Sid was a little hiking machine! Look at him go!

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We took another break at one of the covered bridges. There are tons of covered bridges all over the county and they have a festival every year devoted to all the covered bridges. Sid said he’d prefer a baby carrot festival.

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And then some more hiking!

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We ended our trek at the suspension bridge and Sid took a little dip in Sugar Creek to cool off (and to single-handedly ensure none of the pebbles beneath the water were treats in disguise).

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After our hiking, we had some dinner back at the cabin and tried to start a fire in the firepit next to our cabin. Unfortunately my camping skills weren’t quite up to snuff and the campfire was a bust. Instead, we just chilled out in our cabin, listened to some music, and ate some snacks. Once it got really dark, we hit the hay to rest up for our next day!

To be continued in Part II