Friday, June 17, 2011

How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog Series: Roadtripping the 'Seven Wonders of Illinois' with 4 Large Dogs

We haven't quite mastered the art of roadtripping with our two big pooches, so you can imagine our intrigue reading about Lilac, Blueberry, Bunny, and Morgan, three Greyhounds and a German Shepherd, regularly roadtripping around Illinois. Their family has perfected the art of traveling with 4 large dogs ranging from sixteen years old to two and one half years. And while we thought there wasn't beautiful scenery in Illinois, we are inspired by their travels: exploring state parks, visiting the 7 Wonders of Illinois, hiking among frozen waterfalls, and discovering the beautiful Allerton Park Estate.
When I started thinking about Two Pitties In The City’s Be A Tourist In Your Own Town series, I had to laugh a little.  We live in a tiny village in Illinois where there’s really not anything to do.  Sure, we go for walks every day, and enjoy the village festival once a year from our front porch, but aside from that, there’s not much going on here.  That doesn’t mean that we and the dogs sit at home and do nothing..It just means that most of our outings involve some travel. A lot of our weekend trips are day trips to some of our state parks.  Unlike national parks, most of our state parks in Illinois are free and they allow dogs on leash to visit.  It’s been great for us to get out and see a lot of the hidden beauty of our state. 

Starved Rock is a beautiful place to visit any time of year and leashed dogs are welcome on the trails there.  The same is true of Allerton Park, Black Hawk State Historic Site, Rend Lake and the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway has many nearby places where you can get out and admire things with your dogs, including Pere Marquette State Park. 
 Our travels have taken us to see some of the true gems of the state where we live.  A few years ago, there was a contest to determine The Seven Wonders of Illinois The residents of each of the seven sections voted to choose the area that they thought was the most noteworthy.  Those seven attractions are all definitely worth visiting.  We have managed to make it to five of them so far, and most of them are dog-friendly places.  The Bahá’í Temple is in Wilmette, and is beautiful, but because it’s a temple for all faiths, only service dogs would be allowed inside.  We did stop to admire it on a nice day at the end of March, but the girls rested in the van while we went inside to see the temple.  Wrigley Field is a great place to visit and take photos.
 Traveling Tips:
 Our oldest Greyhound is almost sixteen years old, and the Shepherd is the youngest at two and a half years old.  The variety of ages in the dogs means that sometimes we have to be creative in planning our road trips.

Since we’ve taken a lot of trips with the girls, we’ve gotten pretty good at being able to pack what we need for the kind of outing we’re taking.  For our hiking trips, we take the girls’ Wolf Packs, which have small water bottles, a portable water bowl, a bandana, poop bags, information from our Greyhound adoption group, treat, a first aid kit, and an ID badge that has their name, our vet’s name and contact number and the phone numbers of some of our closest family who can be found if the girls would be found wandering.  I know some people feel differently about ID on their dogs, but we decided that if our dogs happened to be separated from us while we’re out hiking then the chances are very high that we are injured or caught, and most people who found them would call for help, so we want to keep them as safe as possible.  We also carry our own backpacks with more water, human first aid kits, wildlife and plant guides, camera accessories, and sometimes towels if there’s a chance we’ll be somewhere where we might be walking through water.   We’ve learned that planning for the weather and things we’ll run into on the trail are really important.
 When we take day trips that involve all four of the girls, we put a couple of dog beds in the van, put the back seat all the way down, take plenty of water and treats and make sure we have their nice collars and leashes along.   We make sure that we have the Garmin GPS along with us and that we know where we’re going.  We have taken long, cross country trips with the girls several times.  That involves a lot more packing, but it’s always been worth it for us once we get to our destination and have the experience of our trip.  The main thing is to just anticipate what you might need and also try to figure out what you can live without if you have to.
 You can read more about the ladies' adventures on their blog here.  Seeing how easy they make it look, we're thinking we might try some of these trips with our pooches this summer. Again, we love hearing everyone's insider tips and things to do in their city with dogs. If you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information.And in case you missed it, check out things to do with your dog in Nashville and Alaska.

19 comments:

HP said...

Allerton Park! That is where I am getting married this fall! We love taking our dogs there - lots of trails to walk, beautiful gardens to enjoy - the overall beauty of a place located in the middle of nowhere is just awesome. Also, every year they do a 5 mile run/2 mile walk around Halloween tim - pups aren't allowed on the course, but lots of them came to cheer us on :)

Mr. Pip said...

With the exception of Wrigley Field, would you believe I haven't been to any of these places! I guess it is because I am not a big dog. Bunny and family have traveling down to a science - they should write travel books for dogs.

Your pal, Pip

In Black and White said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

What fun...I remember you talking about the 7 wonders before. Four pups is hard to handle! Im glad they took us around Illinois - I love their blog!

Thanks!

www.twogradstudentsandapittie.blogspot.com

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

Such gorgeous dogs! It's great that they can go on so many adventures :)

jen said...

Those girls really know how to go for an adventure! We love reading about their daily hikes!

loveandaleash said...

what a great post! i also had no idea there was so much natural beauty in illinois!!

houndstooth said...

I love that somebody here is getting married in Allerton Park! I don't think we've been there yet when there wasn't a wedding getting ready to happen. One day there were three wedding there in three different beautiful spots!

I will be thrilled if this gets more people to get out there and do their own exploring, though!

Two Pitties in the City said...

Houndstooth--I think we will be one of those people to get out and explore. I'm not originally from here, and I really had no idea this all existed. And I also am a bit embarrassed that I have only made it to one 'Wonder'. Thanks for all the inspiration!

Benny and Lily said...

You guys sure make awesome tour guides. Mom went there so she really appreciated the pictures
Benny & Lily

Kristine said...

One of the things I have always enjoyed the most about your blog is all of the great adventures you go on and then share with us. Your family has being a tourist with your dog down to an art form!

Barbara said...

As avid followers of Bunny, Lilac, Blueberry and Morgan, I love that you featured them. They are the travel dog experts!!!

dw said...

I'm from Illinois, too, and I've only been to one of those wonders as well! I really need to do some local hiking -- the state parks looks great! Thanks for featuring Lilac, Blueberry, Bunny and of course Morgan in this Illinois travelogue!

Kari in WeHo said...

in all the times Ive spent in Illinois I never really ventured out side of Chicago

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Zona said...

What great tour guides!! Those four beauties are expert travelers for sure!

Wags,
Zona

Bobby said...

What great sites to see and they get about all over. We have never been to Illinois, the park is great.

Two Pugs in a Pod said...

Just had our first M and B sighting! Sitting so nicely on the corner of Division and Ashland. Just drove by, so didn't get to say hello...but you guys are even cuter in person! ;)

road-dog-tales said...

Oh, wow, those are some great places to visit! Mom loves that Temple (we've seen it over at Bunny's blog before:) and that frozen waterfall is amazing! If we ever make it to that area of the US, we'll know who to call for tips!

The Road Dogs

Mary said...

Cute doggies! I want to know the secret of having such an active senior. They must provide a really great home!

I can't imagine walking four dogs, but I guess I can walk both of mine alone, so if there is another person, four would be doable. I wonder if any of these wonders are close to the Missouri border? I'll have to do some investigating.

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