Can’t wait for your next trip, but are miserable at the idea of leaving your best friend behind?
After all, who better to experience long walks on the beach with – or snuggling up on the terrace to watch the sunset with – than your pooch (especially when no meaningful conversation is expected)?
If you’ve got to get away, but can’t bear the sad look from those puppy dog eyes, maybe it’s time for a little getaway that includes Fido, too. The following are some canine-friendly cities that offer more unusual treats to lure both of you for a visit.
“But my dog doesn’t drink,” you argue. No worries. While you’re lapping up the region’s top-notch wine, your canine pal will have plenty of things to do.
Cuvaison Winery 4550 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, California 707-942-6266
Well-behaved dogs on leashes are allowed to join you in the small tasting room and in the three outdoor picnic areas.
Clos Du Val Winery 5330 Silverado Trail, Napa, California 94558 800-993-9463
Dogs on leashes are allowed in the enormous tasting room and on the property
Hillcrest Country Inn 3225 Lake County Hwy, Calistoga, California 707-942-6334
Host Debbie O’Gorman runs this country home with her three dogs, Taz, Debo and Bamboo, who are friendly and welcoming to other canine friends. The antique-filled home is located on a hilltop with an unbeatable view of Napa Valley. You and your pup can romp around the 36-acre property where there is swimming, hiking and fishing, and then he has the option of staying in your room or in a large outdoor kennel.
Beazley House Bed & Breakfast Inn 1910 First Street, Napa, California 707-257-1649
You’ll be able to play with resident Golden Retrievers Sissy and Autumn Beazley in this downtown Napa inn, and you’ll even receive a doggie welcome basket with a bowl, doggie beer, bones and cleanup baggies. Three rooms open out into the gardens, and there is a $25 per day per dog charge, with a maximum of two dogs per room.
Angele 540 Main Street, Napa, California 707-252-8115
This gourmet French restaurant allows dogs on leashes in their outdoor patio, and will provide water and treats while you dine.
Bistro Don Giovonni 4110 Saint Helena Hwy, Napa, California 707-224-3300
This laid-back Mediterranean restaurant (it’s the sister to San Francisco’s Scala Bistro) allows dogs in their outdoor tables, but please call ahead to inform the staff.
Los Angeles already has a reputation for being a dog-friendly city, but its neighbor down south is making steps to become the next hot dog spot in Southern California. Long Beach is a coastal city that has recently opened three acres of its beach in Belmont Shore as an off-leash area. “The Dog Zone” visitors must follow the rules- only one dog per adult, and pooper-scoopers are a must. The Dog Zone starts at 4800 E. Ocean Blvd., between Roycroft and Argonn streets.
Also in Long Beach is the very active Haute Dogs organization, which arranges several doggie-centered events in Belmont Shore all year long. The Haute (pronounced “hot”) Dog Easter Parade features hundreds of dogs marching along in bonnets and Easter outfits, while the Howl’oween Parade and Canine Costume Contest that includes an adoption fair, a bulldog kissing booth; and a dancing dog demonstrations. If that’s not doggone wacky enough, stick around Long Beach for the Haute Dog poetry contest and bulldog beauty contest.
Several restaurants and shops along the busy Second Street in Belmont Shore offer water bowls to welcome pets. Pet-friendly accommodations are rather scarce (you may be better off making Long Beach doggie festivities part of a day trip), but you can try the following:
Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, a luxury hotel that welcomes dogs of any size for a $75 non-refundable fee. 111 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, 562-437-5900
Peter Greenberg is a preeminent expert on travel. His focus is on the journey, providing insider’s tips and recommendations to an increasingly savvy and demanding traveler. Peter is also author of The New York Times best-selling series, The Travel Detective, which uncovers secrets the airline, hotel, cruise and rental car industries don’t want consumers to know. Check out Travel Tips for more insider information.
“Are RV’s dangerous to own and operate?” After giving this question some thought I realized that this one short question covered a very large spectrum. There is no quick or easy response to this question. In most cases it’s not the RV that is dangerous, but the individual that is operating the RV that is dangerous. Some examples of unsafe acts that I have witnessed are carrying a full spare LP gas bottle inside the RV, sleeping in the RV with the generator running and never weighing the RV or checking the inflation pressure in the tires.
When you begin your search for an RV, the first thing to verify is that the RV manufacturer is a member of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). If they are, the RV will have an oval shaped RVIA seal displayed on the exterior, usually by the entrance door. This seal means that the RV manufacturer is in compliance with more than 500 safety requirements regarding electrical, plumbing, heating, and fire and life safety. These safety requirements are established under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.2 Standard for Recreation Vehicles. This should put to rest any concerns you may have about the RV itself being safe when it is manufactured.
The next step is to educate yourself on the systems of an RV and what is required to operate the RV safely and properly. If you’re going to be towing a three or four ton travel trailer, or driving a six ton plus motor home you need to understand the importance of proper hitch work, weights and driving techniques. I also explained that anytime you are dealing with petroleum products like LP gas and gasoline generators there is cause for concern, but if handled properly there is nothing to worry about. A good place to start is with our RV video and DVD library.
In no particular order, I offer the following advice concerning RV safety:
•Take care of your RV’s tires and they will take care of you. When you’re not using your RV keep the tires covered to protect them from the damaging affects of ozone in the air and UV rays from the sun. Invest in a quality inflation pressure gauge and check the tire pressure in all tires every time you use the RV. Check and adjust the pressure when the tires are cold, before you move it. Maintain the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Consult the owner’s manual for proper tire inflation and never exceed the maximum pressure located on the tire sidewalls.
•Weigh your RV and tow vehicle. The only way to know if the weight is properly distributed and that you are within the allowable weight ratings for the RV and tow vehicle is to have them weighed. Look for certified platform scales in your yellow pages under moving companies or truck stops. When you weigh your RV and tow vehicle have them fully loaded for travel to include passengers, cargo, fuel, personal belongings, and full fresh water and propane tanks. Verify that you do not exceed any manufacturer weight ratings such as, the Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR), Gross Combined Weight Ratings (GCWR), and Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR). NEVER exceed any manufacturer weight ratings. It is quite possible to be within the weight ratings, but still exceed a tire rating. This is why you must weigh each axle end separately to insure that the load is within the capacity of the axles, wheels and tires and to see if the load is properly distributed.
•Have the LP gas system inspected every spring before using the RV. Take your RV to a qualified service center and let them check the LP gas system for proper appliance operating pressure and to check the system for leaks. Familiarize yourself with the odorant added to LP gas to assist you in detecting a leak, and what to do if there is a gas leak.
If you smell LP gas or the leak detector alarm goes off:
1) Extinguish any open flames and pilot lights. 2) Do not touch electrical switches. 3) Shut off the gas supply at the tank valve(s) or gas supply connection. 4) Open the doors and windows and leave the area until the odor clears. 5) Have the LP gas system checked and repaired by a qualified technician before using the system again.
It is not recommended that you travel with the LP gas turned on. If you do have the gas on while traveling turn off each individual pilot light, appliance, and the main gas supply before refueling.
•The onboard generator makes your RV fully self-contained. It allows you access to 120 volts when there is no shore power available, but keep in mind that carbon monoxide is deadly! NEVER sleep in the RV with the generator running! Before you start and use the generator inspect the exhaust system. Do not use it if the exhaust system is damaged. Test the carbon monoxide detector every time you use the RV. Know what the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
1) Dizziness 2) Vomiting 3) Nausea 4) Muscular twitching 5) Intense headache 6) Throbbing in the temples 7) Weakness and sleepiness 8) Inability to think coherently
If you or anyone else experiences any of these symptoms get to fresh air immediately. If the symptoms persist seek medical attention. Shut the generator down and do not operate it until it has been inspected and repaired by a professional.
In my opinion, these are some very real concerns that all RVers need to be aware of. I also want to mention that this is a very short list. There are many other safety issues involved in owning and operating an RV, but by practicing common sense, and through education, RV ownership is not only safe, it’s lots of fun.
Happy Camping, Mark
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101
RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America’s most highly regarded series of DVD’s, videos, books, and e-books. www.rveducation101.com/
Mark Polk is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Three, specializing in wheeled and track vehicle fleet maintenance operations. In addition to owning and operating RV Education 101, (based in North Carolina) since 1999, Polk also has a very extensive RV background working in RV service, sales and management. Polk has a degree in Industrial Management Technology and his 30 plus years of experience in maintenance includes working as an RV technician, a wheeled vehicle and power generation mechanic, an automotive maintenance technician, Battalion and Brigade level Maintenance Officer, an RV sales manager and also in the RV financing department as the Finance & Insurance manager. www.rveducation101.com/
Planning a summer road trip this year? Do movies like RV and Family Vacation not scare you from the adventures that could await you on your cross country trek? Before you go, make sure you check off these top 23 travel tips.
Look at maps and plan your route. There are many great online maps that do a HYBRID map view showing real streets and routes with satellite images. Knowing the location, and how it looks, by viewing it from space is both cool and very helpful, so you won’t get lost.
Research the roads you’ll take. You’ll especially want to know if you’ll be traveling through areas of major road construction. The maps mentioned above are a little dated. Some new roads and maps will not have current, real-time data, bring physical maps, like ones you could buy from AAA along.
Make estimates of travel times along the route, so you’ll have an idea when you’ll be at certain points on your trip. This will help you to plan rest and meal stops. It will also help you plan to avoid traveling through a major city or area of road construction during rush hour.
Get the car checked, especially the filters, belts, fluid levels and have the oil changed. Don’t wait until the last minute, it may take time to get an appointment and parts may need to be ordered. You also want some time to drive around town and make sure that whatever they fixed stays fixed. If you vehicle is ‘mission critical’ and could die at any moment, DON’T take it with you, borrow a friends car instead.
Check the condition of your wiper blades, both front and back windows.
Check the operation of your turn signals, brake lights as well as the high and low beams. Bring some extra fuses along.
Examine the tread on your tires. Consider mountain driving in winter conditions on snowy peaks. Make sure you have chains or 4×4 traction for icey roads, out of season. Or try a different route.
Make sure your car is prepared for the weather it will encounter on your trip. You might need more antifreeze or need to recharged air-conditioning when you go through the desert.
Today, many cars have fancy wheels instead of hubcaps. These wheels usually have a lock to prevent them from being stolen. If you have a car with wheel locks, make sure you know where the key is stored (often with the jack). Otherwise, a flat tire will become a major problem since you won’t be able to get the wheel off the car.
Get your car cleaned. You’ll feel better in a clean car.
Pack an emergency kit in your car. Include motion sickness medication if anyone in your group suffers from it. Remove any items from the car that you won’t need on your trip. Bring some blankets.
Prepare some on road entertainment for your trip. Include games and CDs of music and/or audio books. Portable DVD players are really inexpensive and help pass the time in dead spots where where is nothing new to see.
Check your plates, registration and insurance information to make sure they are all valid. Be sure to place your insurance company’s emergency contact number in your car.
Check with all the drivers in your party to make sure their driver’s licenses haven’t expired.
Check your insurance for expiration dates and coverage for your automobile.
Arrange for someone to start your other car, if you leave one home, during very cold or very hot weather.
Fill the car with gas before you pack the car so all the fumes won’t bother your passengers. Check the fluid levels and tire pressure, your tire pressure will affect the ride and gas mileage you get on your trip.
Pack the car inside the garage, with the door down, so people driving by won’t find out you’re leaving.
Overall, enjoy the road trip. It’s not going to be as crazy as Clark W Grizwold’s family vacation experiences, and if it is, make sure you video it and put it up on You Tube!
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If you love Spring, tulips are blooming from mid-April to mid-May.
This is your time. The Tulip festival in Holland MI occurs in the first part of May every year. In fact, Tulip Time in Holland, MI is the official celebration of one of the largest Dutch ethnic events in the midwest United States. If you have always wanted to see a close imitation of the Netherlands, visit Holland, MI to see beautiful tulip fields in full bloom.
Holland Michigan tulips are on display, depending on the Spring weather and the growing season. In 2007, the tulip season seems to be on track and the Holland tulip festival is scheduled for May 5- May 12, 2007. The city of Holland features a line up of tulip viewing, entertainment, events and ethnic celebrations for tulip lovers and families. Here is what to see when you visit Holland, MI for Tulip Time.
Fields of Authentic Festival Holland Tulips When you drive down River Street from US 31, you will see the beginnings of tulip flowers that fill the Holland, MI area. The city claims that more than 5,000,000 tulips are on display in parks, along streets and in local attractions. For starters, visit the Veldheer Tulip Farm. This attractive farm began in 1945 with 100 red tulips and 300 white tulips. Now, there are millions of tulip bulbs that blossom every Spring. The farm hosts multiple gardens that teem with white tulips, yellow Big Smile, orange Apricot Dream, red Appeldorn, and literally dozens of other varieties and colors.
The Veldheer Tulip Farm displays lily tulips, Darwin Hybrid tulips, peony (double) tulips, parrot tulips, Triumph tulips and specialty tulips. The grounds show blue, white, and pink hyacinths, white and yellow daffodils and narcissi. Each garden has a numbered stake that identifies the type of flower. Visitors match the flower number with a printed guide sheet to learn more about the flowers. For those who want to order Holland tulip bulbs, visitors can order Holland tulip bulbs from the guide sheet, which are shipped the following September. Admission to the farm is $10 for adults, $5 for children. The Veldheer Tulip Farm is located on Quincy Street, just off Highway US 31, about 3 miles north of Holland.
If you are taking children and the family to Holland, make sure to visit Nelis’ Dutch Village. Dutch Village is a family theme park model buildings, authentic Dutch chocolate and licorice, Delftware, a wooden shoe factory, a working street organ, bell tower and photo spots for adults and children. Dutch Village offers a beautiful setting for family fun. The spot has buildings modeled after 1800’s Netherlands cottage architecture. Dutch Village had smaller patches of tulips that are spread throughout the grounds. Each “garden” is identified by numbered stakes so that visitors know what the tulips are. Dutch Village is on US 31 on the northern edge of Holland. Admission for adults is 10; $5 for children.
A third scenic spot to view tulips during the Holland Tulip Festival is Windmill Island. Windmill Island is the home of the “De Zwaan” (graceful bird,) a 240 year-old working windmill from the Netherlands. Located just off 7th Street, Windmill Island offers a shopping area, historic architecture including the Posthouse museum (14th century replica of a wayside inn. During Spring, Windmill Island boasts 150,000 tulips; during summer and fall, the gardens offer colorful annuals. Admission is $10 for adults.
You can wander downtown Holland on 8th Street and view the many attractive settings and plantings of tulip flowers. Then, drive along the eight miles of curbside tulips planted throughout the city. You can get some inspiring ideas for creating and enhancing the tulip garden at your home.
Make your Spring a joyful one; visit Tulip Time, the tulip festival in Holland MI.
This long line of islands, stretching south of Miami like an alligator’s tail, has long captivated visitors. And, just as you’d be careful while hiking through gator territory, exploring the Keys today demands a certain amount of caution. No, there are no real dangers (although the crass consumerism comes close), but there are real highs and real lows. And because the highs are so great – stunning tropical fish, unparalleled views of the sea, scrumptious dining adventures – it’s best to not waste any time with the lows of T-shirt shopping or cheesy-hotel stays.
The 45-island chain, held together by a 1130-mile roadway, has a pace of life that becomes more mellow and island-like the further you get from Miami. Surroundings also turn more beautiful as you travel south, and your experience will peak in all ways as soon as you settle into the southernmost point in the lineup, Key West. But don’t make the mistake of flying by all that rest spots in between these points.
While much of the HWY 1 (the only road that takes you through) is lined with fortresses of strip malls that block any views of the the gleaming shores, it’s worth turning off the highway, breaking through the barrier and enjoying what lies in wait,. Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Grassy Key’s Dolphin Research Center, Marathon’s kayaking tours and the amazing Cuban food tucked away in Big Pine Key are just a few of the pleasures.
Islamorada (eye-luh-murr-ah-da) is actually a collection of smaller islands with equally fanciful names – Plantation, Upper and Lower Matcumbe, Lignumvitae. It’s one of the best driving stretches because you can actually see water on both sides for much of the way. There are several placid, easily accessible little ocean-beach nooks providing scenic rest stops. Islamorada is known for fishing and as a result has some of the best seafood dining in the Keys.