Category Archives: Dog Days

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Sleeping in Paso – Hotels not to Miss

I like to sleep in the Oaks when I pass through and there are a few places I love to rest my weary, sometimes wine heavy head.

Paso Robles Inn:

As a member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Paso Robles Inn has been in service for over a century. They wanted to serve travelers along the El Camino Real with a bed and a hot spring. The traditions are still in practice in either the Deluxe Spa Rooms or two Room Suites where you can enjoy the healing powers of the hot springs.

Towel Animals in Paso Robles
This little guy was waiting to meet me at the Paso Robles Inn.

My room at the Inn leaves nothing to be desired. I have all the amenities including a hot spring hot tub, fireplace, mini fridge, and flat screen tv. While my wine country immersion does not leave a lot of time to sit in my hotel room, the 45 minutes between wine trailing and dinner was just enough time for a soak in my hot tub. They aren’t kidding when they talk about healing powers. I went from wine soaked and travel weary to refreshed and awake. Just make sure you use the scented oils and rinse afterwards, because the mineral smell is strong.

The Paso Robles Inn Steakhouse has a great breakfast menu. I ate in their main dining room one day and in the Cattlemen’s Lounge the next due to Pioneer day overflow. I enjoyed the ranch size portions and the wonderful service. They have it all from giant fruit plates to a cheesy egg sandwich I gobbled down.

Downtime can be spent strolling the gorgeous grounds or  kicking back and reading the copy of The History of the Paso Robles Inn: More than a Century of Pride by Ann Martin Bowler in every room. This book is well written with great historical facts and wonderful pictures.

Historic Hotel of America, Ballroom, Paso Robles Inn
The only original building left at the Paso Robles Inn.

Book your Stay At:

Paso Robles Inn
1103 Spring St
(805) 238-4707
http://www.pasoroblesinn.com

La Quinta Inn & Suites:

I like traveling with my dog and sometimes it is hard to find a mid-range hotel that makes Oliver as comfortable as possible. La Quinta is situated a few miles east of downtown near a handful of wineries. The don’t charge extra for your dog and provide a large grassy area with doggy bags to walk your pup.

La Quinta, Dog Park, Paso Robles
Oliver enjoying the plush dog area.

They provide a complimentary breakfast every morning and while it isn’t gourmet, the food is edible. I really enjoyed making my own waffles every morning and spreading my new pumpkin port butter from Jack Creek Farms. The dining area is the only place dogs are not allowed, due to health code, but you can always grab your food and eat in the lobby if you want to be with your pal.

The La Quinta has a wonderful wine gift shop and free wine & gourmet cheese reception each Monday through Thursday evenings from 5:30pm – 7:00pm. This weekday happy hour is just the thing you need to unwind.

I stayed here with my husband for our 6th anniversary and even though its a La Quinta it has at least 4 star quality. Our king size bed was plush and spacious. The suite came with a pull out couch and there was still more than enough room for Oliver’s crate. It is such a comfortable hotel to relax in between wine tasting and dinner.

Book your stay:

La Quinta Inn & Suites
2615 Buena Vista Dr
(805) 239-3004
http://www.lq.com/lq/properties/propertyProfile.do?ident=LQ832&propld=832

California One Tank Trips: Balboa Island

Growing up in Cleveland, I remember watching Neil Zurcher and his “One Tank Trip” segments on Fox 8. He always found the coolest hidden gems in Ohio and my family went on quite a few of his journeys.

Lately, we have been trying to explore Southern California in the same way.

Husb had a quick job in Newport Beach and Oliver and I decided to tag along. We stopped by the local dog park while we waited and then headed to Balboa Island for an afternoon of fun.

Boat Time
I had read about Balboa Island on OC Dog Friendly and couldn’t wait to have a fun afternoon that welcomed all of us.

CandlEssence

This sign was happily posted outside of CandlEssence, a wonderful candle store where you can watch them make the candles by hand. Seriously dogs(well my dog) and ice cream are two of my favorite things. Also, this is great marketing because people love when you let them do things other places commonly say no to.

I enjoyed this little Island town and their easy-going shop owners. We found a dog bowl filled with fresh water outside of almost every store. It definitely makes hot days and travel a breeze, when you aren’t worrying about dehydration.

Balboa Island offers a multitude of boutiques, dessert shoppes, restaurants, and fresh air. We had a great time and plan to go back soon for an overnight stay.

I found a really cute engagement shoot on Balboa Island featured on Done Brilliantly and was inspired by 50-Something Woman’s motivational early morning walk. We only spent an hour or two exploring Balboa Island, but I can see days of relaxing here in my future.

Where do you like to go on One Tank of Gas?

See all the photos from our adventure on my Facebook Page BoldWandering.

Hiking in LA: Dixie Canyon Park

One of the things I really enjoy about Los Angeles is the proximity to nature. It is right in your backyard.

Husb found a park at the end of Dixie Canyon the other day and took Oliver and I on an adventure.

The entrance is easy to find and after a hundred feet or so you come across a blue footbridge and 3 paths.

I suggest taking the path either to the left or right and it will loop around to the other side. The path narrows quite a bit and in places it is easy to lose your footing, in fact my roommate took this trail soon after us and did start to slide. Remember to wear good shoes and be aware of your steps.

The elevation is about 200 ft and at some points the vegetation clears for great views of the San Fernando Valley.

Dixie Canyon Park

The signs were not very informative about the trail length or elevation, but after some research I found Nobody Hikes in LA. Great information on this park and interesting outings in So Cal.

Where are your favorite places to hike in California and world wide? Do you take your four-legged friends?

A few more photos from our hike:

Cool Rocks
Tree Shadows

For more photos from this trip check out my Facebook page.

Whose Dog is This?

I had a completely crazy Portlandia moment and I have decided to post about it.

My Adorable Dog

Today is an incredibly gloomy and cold day for Southern California. On days like this Oliver is usually pretty irritable and constantly wants to go outside. I think the gloom must unlock something in his Scottish bones, as for me I want to sit in my snuggie and catch up on some horrible reality television.

Oliver and I set out on a walk to the bank and because the grocery store is right around the corner I popped in to buy a Pepsi. I tied Oliver to the post by the door, where he happily laid down to people watch. I grab the drink and check out without having to wait in line. I am sure it wasn’t more than 5 minutes, but upon exiting the store Oliver was surrounded by 3 people. Our conversation went something like this:

Tall Lady: Oh you’re back, we thought he had been abandoned.

Me: Nope just grabbing a drink.

Man Kneeling to Check on Dog: Glad you are back we were about to call this in.

Me: I wasn’t even in the store 5 minutes.

(Tall Lady silently disappears. I think she realized how foolish she had been.)

Little Lady: You never know whats do happen.

Man: You have to be careful someone could steal your dog.

(Right. He waited with my dog, just to tell me someone could steal him).

Me: I guess I just won’t take him for walks anymore.

Man: Or you could take him into the store, that’s safer.

Me: You can’t take a dog into the grocery store. (Now you have proven you don’t own a dog, because you would know that crazy man.)

Man: Then yes you should leave him at home.

(Really? You are so concerned and then tell me its better to leave him home alone! Really?!? Man leaves. I try to leave, but little lady stops me. She wasn’t a little person, but I honestly felt like a giant next to her.)

Little Lady: You know, my friend have lots of dogs. So people leave sometimes. She saves dogs from behind Wal-mart. (Because the front of the grocery store is the same as the back of Wal-mart.) She have 6 dogs and her little baby Chihuahua get pregnant. She have 6 puppies, now she crazy. Too many dogs. People let their animals go, mostly I think Spanish people. (of which she seemed to be related)

Me: Well that’s not me. I just have one and I really like him.

Little Lady: Yes you dog is so beautiful.

So I left the parking lot feeling a little disgruntled. You can watch the Portlandia sketch Whose Dog Is This? and see where I am coming from.

I just wanted to get my dog out of the house and run an errand, instead I am now afraid that dog snatchers are out to steal my dog or at the very least set him free. What do you think were these people out of line or do you agree? I am looking for some feedback.

Hollywood Blvd: An Unconventional Dogwalk

The Husb and I use Groupon on a pretty regular basis. I do agree with The Ball is Round in his post Marketing 101 that it is a good concept for consumers, but pretty weak for the retailer. Since discussing the reality of Grouponomics with some friends of mine in branding a few months ago, I have been torn in my desire to continue use of the site. Here’s the bottom line: I am a freelancer on a Ramen budget that likes to enjoy the good life. If I find a Groupon or other social marketing deal that I think is awesome I buy it. When I cash in my deal, if have a good experience I try to return to the business and continue to boost their revenue.

Most recently I got the Husb a Groupon for Barber Dollz in Hollywood. We try to find affordable haircuts outside of the normal best cuts. His hair is like a wild beast and needs professional help. (Side note: My fro is just as bad and we pity our future children.)Unfortunately, for their marketing strategy we won’t be coming back, it is too far over the hill for a regular place.

Early Morning Peace

While the Husb sat in a chair on display for Hollywood Boulevard passersby, I took Oliver for a walk and checked out some history. Hollywood is an area most locals avoid at all cost, just like Time Square for New Yorkers.

Fortunately, the Boulevard is practically empty pre-noon and east of Highland. You won’t find the famous Chinese Theater or numerous street performers hawking photos for donations this side of Hollywood, but amidst the cheap souvenir shops, guys selling tours, and dirty lingerie stores you will find history, street art, and architecture.

Dean Martin

The Hollywood Walk of Fame takes up just over a mile of Hollywood Boulevard sidewalks, but few walk the entire stretch. On this less traveled section Oliver and I found quite a few stars that I thought deserved more recognition than being in front of a sleazy underwear  shop.

Oliver and I meandered the strip reading historical signs and checking out the sites. Luckily, Hollywood Blvd. has a decent amount of trees lining the street. I am avid supporter of not allowing my dog to pee on anything he wants including buildings, bikes, and other dogs.

I really enjoyed the different paintings of old stars including Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Tommy Dorsey. The artists and shop owners did a great job of making their overbearing gates a little more palatable.

Film Star and Jazz Man

I am sucker for old buildings and architecture. I fell in the love with the Warner Pacific Theater on my walk. The Theater opened in 1928 and grew with the film industry until it was forced to close its doors in 1994 due to structural damage.

Pacific Radio TowerWarner Bros. put their radio station KFWB at the top of the theater and its two towers reading Warner and Pacific are still scraping the sky.

Italianate Beaux-ArtsThe building was designed by architect G. Albert Lansburgh in the beaux-arts style that was very popular in America from 1880-1920. I found the intricate detail and Italian inspired features to be a gem in comparison to the backdrop of Hollywood.

Carol BurnettI found Carol Burnett’s star right in front of the WPT and it was placed there by her personal request. Burnett worked as an usherette in 1950s.

Paul's Urban GardenThe parking lot has been turned into an Urban Garden, by the Ecclesia Church, the current tenants of the WPT. Find out more about the garden here.

Rob Reiner

Rob Reiner’s star is right in front of the Urban Garden and Oliver felt like it was the perfect spot to people watch.

Next time that you want need to get out, check out an area you don’t normally visit. As long as the area doesn’t have a no dog rule, bring your four-legged friend and enjoy sites that you might take for granted. Oliver loved exploring a new places just as much as I did.

I leave you with a few abstract photos of the architecture I couldn’t get enough of.

MetalThe Oldest Restaurant in HollywoodSimple SignsEnchanting Doorways

Pillows or Drinks

During New Years Resolution talks, the husband and I decided to have goals. Short term and long-term for the year. One major resolution was to spend at least one night away from home per month. We love to explore, but tend to get caught up in day-to-day life and forget to get out there and appreciate our own backyard. We lived in New York City for 2 years and didn’t walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or experience the Roosevelt Island Skytram until recent visits.

January held many options for our traveling day, but we are also on a tight budget after the holidays, lack of work in the new year, and the unforeseen new car. My first vote was to revisit San Francisco and go to the Academy of Sciences free day. We ended up booking work on that afternoon and started making new plans for our adventure. Husb wanted to visit Joshua Tree National Park for a night of camping, but we didn’t have a dog sitter budgeted and the distance seemed like a daunting achievement towards the end of the month.

Our final decision was to camp at Leo Carrillo State Park just North of Malibu off of the Pacific Coast Highway. The drive takes between 45 min to 1 hour and they allow dogs. So we loaded up the car and headed out in the early afternoon. Oliver was so excited for his adventure because this campground is connected to one of his favorite beaches.

The Ranger was extremely friendly and let us drive around and pick our spot. The options were abundant because even though it was warm, not that many people camp in January on a Thursday night. Leo Carrillo has 135 campsites and one group site that accommodates up to 50 people. We chose a site that was hidden from the road by trees on a hill. (Note to self: every time you need something, you have to walk up or down the hill). There are only a few dog rules: leashed at all times, no trails, clean up after the dog, and never leave him unattended. The only rule that makes Oliver a little sad is the no hiking, he is an avid hiker.

After the tent went up, we spent the afternoon running up and down the beach with Oliver. Looks like someone else was doing the same earlier that day, although I’m not sure which way they were going.

Crazy Feet
Who put those feet there?

The sunset was breathtaking and so cool to watch. Staring out into the ocean always makes me ready for another adventure.

Sunset in Malibu

We went back to our campsite and had a wonderful fire. Even though it was the middle of the week, some friends still came out to have kabobs and s’mores with us under the stars.Check out Beautiful Geometry‘s knock your socks off s’more tip. It is fun to go away from home for the night and experience new things without going to far. Remember that fire safety while camping with dogs is important. We tied Oliver’s lead just far enough so that he could not jump in the fire or burn his paws walking around it.

Sizzle, crack, pop

The fire died quickly and after a few rounds of Boggle by lantern, our pals packed up and headed home for the night. We followed Oliver into the tent and realized we had a problem: NO PILLOWS!

It is one thing to sleep in a sleeping bag  on the cold hard ground, but it is quite another to get comfortable with out some cushion for your head. Our mental checklist for this camping trip went something like this:

  • tent
  • sleeping bags
  • dog supplies
  • surf board
  • food
  • 3 kinds of alcohol

Obviously, we had our priorities. My family camped on a regular basis growing up, so all of our gear was packed and ready to go at all times. We still had a checklist and went over things just to make sure it was all there. Lesson learned on this practice round. We didn’t have things like wipes or hand sanitizer, pillows, and grilling utensils. I felt very foolish, but still had a blast. Luckily, we had more than enough supplies for Oliver and he was a happy camper.

A chair just for me

For more information go to California State Parks

Unsure about heading out into nature? According to Lifehacker it will make you more productive. So get out there and smell the flowers.

Artillery to Frisbee

My goals for our most recent trip to San Francisco over the holidays were simple:

  • Quality Time with Family
  • Happy Tired Dog
  • Sight-seeing.

This was the second year we would visit Brien’s Aunt for Christmas and I was super excited to re-visit the Bay Area. She lives across the street from an amazing and giant park with a great off-leash area for pups. Happy Tired Dog check. My goal was to take Oliver out in the park long enough that he would sleep away the day and we could catch some more sights this time around. Aunt Maggie had an even better idea: Fort Funston. This park is a literal dog heaven.

Fort Funston
A beautiful dog sniffing his day away.

Rolling hills, no leash, and a strenuous hike down to the beach were exactly what Oliver needed. He loved the open space down on the beach and it was the perfect place for a good round of fetch. We were able to through the ball up the bluff and Oliver had a blast running half way up just to catch it. Aunt Mags was terrified he would fall right off the side.

Oliver fetching on the beach.

Today the barracks of Fort Funston provide a wonderful environmental education center for children, but in the 1900s it provided a home for the artillery of Battery Davis.

Battery DavisFort Funston is a must visit park in San Francisco. You can hike, play with your dog, hang glide off of 200 ft cliffs, and learn about conservation at its finest. For more information visit the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy site: http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/fort-funston.html

Brain Fried Friday

Today’s post is about hiking with your dog, but I have been trying to write it for the last 3 hours and I have erased more than I have written. Writers block has been horrible, so I figured if I did a little free form I might get the juices flowing.

I really enjoy getting out of the house and seeing the different outdoor places that Southern California has to offer.

Sunset
Beaches
Leo Carrillo State Park
Canyons

and last but definitely not least

Wilacre Park
Great Parks

Please excuse the incredibly puffy hair. (Side note: you too can look this awesome if you have curly hair and cut it all off.)

The closest place to hike in my area is Wilacre Park off of Fryman and Laurel Canyon. It is a shady trail that levels off at The Tree People park and loops around through a residential area.

It starts pretty steep and the first few times, I thought I would need to lay down half way up the hill.

I am so in shape.

I usually drag a friend or two with me and we have a great time catching up while scoping the views. It is a great way to burn off calories for me and all that extra energy for Oliver. He also gets to socialize with all the other nice dogs we meet.

The best information on hiking Fryman or other areas in Los Angeles can be found at Modern Hiker. This is the type of post I wanted to provide today, but the juices just aren’t flowing.

A lot of my doggy adventures are inspired by dog blogger The Daily Toki. Toki and her owners take wonderful trips and provide awesome tips on gear and hiking safety. Toki has even taken a class on snake safety.

Thanks for sticking with me today and I promise a post that is off the charts on Monday. More like off the mainland, because we are going to Hawaii! By we, I mean all of you and I in the land of blogs. Happy Weekend!

Stumbling in and out of Adventure

I have played with the concept of writing a blog for years and could not come up with a clear concept until recently. I admit to being nerdy and doing a little research before jumping on deck, but I didn’t follow the tips I so readily devoured. I wasn’t ready with multiple backup posts and dove off the diving board before I had completed my starting game plan. My splash into blogging was more like a sloppy cannonball than a graceful swan dive. I quickly become overwhelmed by the work and the impending doom of failure.

Then the worse happened.

I missed a day. If I had followed my game plan I would have had a backup post to throw up, no big deal. Unfortunately, that was not the situation. My day became busier and busier and I decided to take a week off to recuperate and prepare some posts. Instead, I avoided wordpress like the plague. I was doing so well writing and creating a community that I couldn’t believe I let myself down. I kept telling myself its just a blog, who cares? I did. I was writing, being creative, getting know people, and learned a lot.

I may have gotten a flat tire, but there is a brand new one now.

I did have time to think about the niche that I want my blog to fit into and it is definitely personal. I want to share my journeys with the world and document them for myself. I truly enjoy writing and hope to hone a skill through Boldwandering. I will touch on travel, food, and life with an over-excited border collie who lives under my couch, but most importantly I hope to have you step in my shoes. I am warning you now I have a lot of them.

My favorite poem growing up was The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost and I still hope that my road is the one less traveled by.

Its All About the Journey