The Adventure’s Just Begun

On this little adventure of ours we have kayaked in the Atlantic, surfed in the Pacific and sampled just about every hotel shampoo in between.  We have traveled over ten thousand miles, visited over thirty states and been chased by miniature donkeys on two separate occasions.  Eko has lived over half of his life on the road and I’m pretty sure my family submitted a “Missing Person” claim to the authorities.  To be fair, all I said to them before we left was, “Hey, I’m going out for a drive with Eko, we’ll be back later!”

 

 

dog friendly road trip

The donkeys were nice enough…until their pen was accidentally left unlocked.  Thankfully all species were unarmed.  We later made peace with the donkeys by giving them some carrots 

This once-in-a-lifetime road trip has led us to discover some of the most amazing pet-friendly destinations in the country.  The places we’ve visited were incredible, but the best part of the journey has always been sharing our story on the blog.  The question now is what is the next chapter of that story?

road trip with your dog

I certainly hope the next chapter doesn’t involve another growth spurt

Some readers have dreamed big and said that Eko and I should go to Alaska, others have suggested an African or European adventure, and we even got one suggestion that said we should go on a cruise!  All of those adventures sound amazing (Eko would make an outstanding first mate) but I have a different adventure in mind.  Over the course of our trip I have learned that it’s not where you are that matters – it’s what you do that counts.  It’s easy to forget that we only get one shot at each day, but thankfully our pets are there to remind us.  I mean, Eko knows he’s getting breakfast every day, but each time I pour that food into his bowl he acts like it’s Christmas morning.  That excitement is definitely contagious.

dog friendly road trip

C’mon, how could that face make you anything but excited and ready to seize the day?

To make sure we seize the day – carpe dogem­ – Eko and I are putting together a bucket list.  We’ll, I’m coming up with most of the ideas but Eko is typing them in a list.  In any event, we are hard at work in our secret lab (the car) coming up with a list of adventures, challenges, activities and events to attempt in the coming months.

The first item on our list?  “Live in the same place for more than one week.”  So that we can check that box, Eko and I are moving to Chicago.  Permanently.  The road had been incredible, but I have to admit that I am looking forward to the day when someone can ask me where I live and I don’t have to respond, “It’s complicated.”  We will tackle all of the items on our bucket list from our home base in Chicago, but aside from that, our list is only limited by what we can dream up.

road trip with your dog

As you may have noticed, dreaming things up is a specialty of ours

The plan is to take the next week or so to drive to Chicago.  We’ll stop at Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and other fun destinations along the way.  We’ll get settled in Chicago and then make one last dash back to New Jersey to bring our trip full circle (and pick up our stuff – which hopefully my family has not already sold).  After that, we’ll be in the Windy City full time.

road trip with your dog

Here’s hoping our human/canine friends and family remember us!

While we may wake up in the same place every day, you can be sure that no two days will ever be the same.  For our bucket list, no goal is too small (hug Mr. Eko every day) and no challenge is too great (the first cross-species presidential ticket??) – the important part is simply that we make the most of every moment.  There’s always room for more lines on our list, so if you have an activity you love to do with your pet that you think we should try, be sure to let me know!  The more ideas the better, so leave a comment or shoot me an email at willandeko@gmail.com.  Help us dream big!

The road trip may be coming to a close, but the journey is far from over.  Thanks for following along – there’s plenty more to come!

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – Las Vegas, Nevada

Dog Friendly Las Vegas

Most people go to Las Vegas with lots of money, leave with no money and consider it a great time.  But you actually can visit Las Vegas and have a great time without going broke.  In between rolling the dice, make sure you take a break and visit some of these awesome local attractions with your pup.

dog friendly las vegas

Lady luck treated Mr. Eko to a great week in Sin City

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Dog Park - Sunset Dog Park - The dog park isn’t huge, but it doesn’t have to be.  Even the mighty Eko didn’t want more room to run.  At Sunset your dog will romp in the sun for a while and then quickly join you in the shade to cool off.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Walking Tour – The Strip - No matter why you’re in Vegas, you owe it to yourself to take a stroll down the Strip and marvel at the spectacle of it all.  Make sure to do the walk at night to get the full experience.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hike - Frenchman Mountain - This hike is not for the faint of heart! Between the steep inclines, the rocky terrain and the desert heat, you and your dog will need to put in some serious effort to conquer Frenchman.  If you have the mettle to reach the top, you will be rewarded with a view of the city that few ever see.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hotel – La Quinta - The newly built La Quinta just south of the airport was a great home base for our trip.  If you are a high roller you can get your dog into just about any hotel on the strip, but it seems like more hassle than it’s worth.  We had a corner room by the door and could hop right into our car and go.  As an added bonus it is also the closest hotel to Sunset Dog Park

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Event – Pet-A-PaloozaLike us, maybe you’ll get lucky and your trip to Vegas will happen to coincide with this awesome festival. If you have the chance, go!  It’s a very unique and fun event.

We hit it big in Vegas without ever stepping into a casino.  If you and your pup are up for some serious outdoor adventures then you will definitely want to add Vegas to your itinerary.

The temperature is rising here in Phoenix, but Eko is itching for a run so we are going to head over to Chaparral Dog Park to see how long he lasts. Let us know if you’re around!

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – Salt Lake City, Utah

Dog friendly salt lake city

Behind every good Marking Our Territory post is a person who knows what they are talking about.  That person is never me.  This week we owe most of our awesome finds to one of our readers, Lilliam.  Not only was her name very easy for me to remember, Lilliam also shared with us some of the best parks and hikes in the area.  Luckily we were able to meet Lilliam and her dog Apollo yesterday morning for one last run at Parleys Dog Park.

dog friendly salt lake city

It was a gorgeous day in Salt Lake and Apollo and Eko had a blast romping along the trail

dog friendly salt lake city

The boys cooled off in the water, and as usual Eko played the role of the stick thief

dog friendly salt lake city

I also made a new friend – I think he really liked me!

And without further adieu, here are the awards for Salt Lake City:

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Dog Park - Parleys Dog Park - No surprises here.  Your dog can run, jump, romp and swim to his heart’s content in one of the most beautiful off leash areas we have ever visited.  You can make it from the heart of downtown to Parleys in under twenty minutes, so you don’t have any excuses not to make the trip!

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Walking Tour – Temple Square - There are a number of nice walks in downtown Salt Lake, but you absolutely have to take a stroll through Temple Square.  The grounds are beautiful and you can easily lose track of time as you enjoy the view.  Don’t forget to bring your camera.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hike – Mill Creek Canyon - Hands down our best hike of the trip thus far was at Mill Creek.  The Canyon belongs to dogs on odd numbered days, so you can climb and explore without having to hold on to a leash.  Pack some water for you and your dog and set aside at least half a day for any one of the amazing hikes.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hotel – Radisson HotelThe location is great and Eko was a big hit with both the staff and the guests.  Plus as an added bonus for staying at the Radisson, you can teach your dog how to walk through an automatic revolving door.

Thanks Salt Lake for an awesome week, and thank you Lilliam for showing us all the best spots!

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – Denver, Colorado

dog friendly denver

Whether turning Eko into a Rhodesian Ridgebunny or racing each other through the fields, we had a great time in Denver.  Denver combines all the best parts of the city and the outdoors into one of the most incredible dog-friendly destinations we have visited thus far.  We would have needed months and months to visit all the places we wanted to see, but here are the most awesome stops from our week:

dog friendly denver

There were plenty of pet-friendly spots to scope out in Denver

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Dog Park - Cherry Creek and Chatfield Park - Eko and I did a two for one stop at these parks and recommend them both highly.  Both parks have vast tracks of land, a pond for swimming, and a good crowd of friendly dogs.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Time Travel Trip – Dino Ridge TrailAs someone who has seen the movie Jurassic Park at least 76 times, I feel that I am entirely qualified to say that Dino Ridge Trail is awesome.  The trail is a fun, informative hike and your dog will definitely be whipped after making the trek.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Indoor activity – Zoom Room - Bad weather is a dog owner’s worst enemy.  Luckily for dog owners in Denver, Zoom Room has you covered.  For $5 you can take your dog through their indoor agility course.  Zoom Room keeps you dry and sane! 

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hotel – Hotel Monaco - At Hotel Monaco the staff would look at me with disappointment any time I walked through the lobby without Eko as if to ask me,  “How could you deprive us of more time with the puppy!?”  No pet fees, plenty of pet amenities, and best of all, $10 pet-sitting in case you need to duck out without your pup.  Hotel Monaco is awesome!

Denver is an amazing city and it’s a trip that your dog would love to take with you.  With so many great outdoor hikes and activities, it is the perfect city to have a pet.

Storm clouds are rolling in over Salt Like so we need to get a move on to Mill Creek Canyon.  If any locals have any indoor pet-friendly destinations in the area, now is probably a good time to share them!

[VIDEO] Marking Our Territory On Live TV

A couple weeks ago Eko and I had the chance to go on live TV in Austin and talk about our adventure.  I did most of the talking.  Eko managed to stay in one place for a couple minutes and I was also pretty well-behaved.  It was nothing short of a miracle.

Check out our appearance on the local CBS afternoon show, We Are Austin Live.

Next stop, the big screen!

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – Dallas, Texas

dog friendly dallas

It is good to be a dog in Texas.  Over the past three weeks we have found some of our favorite destinations in the whole country and it was tough leaving those places behind.  Here are some of the awesome places we’ll miss in Dallas:

dog friendly dallas

Eko will definitely miss his steer buddies

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Dog Park - Bark Park - We visited Dallas’ three most popular dog parks, and while each one had something going for it, Bark Park won us over with it’s unique design and atmosphere.  We always love it when dog parks can help make the community   come together – even if it’s under a freeway.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Tour – M-Line Trolley- Kick up your feet/paws on a ride in one of Dallas’ historic trolleys.  There is no better way to get a (free!) tour of Uptown and your pup will enjoy cruising the streets in style as much as you do.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Time Travel Trip – Heritage Village - For nine bucks you can take a stroll through time to see how Texans lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The grounds are a great place for a walk and you can check out some really cool historic homes on the way.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Park – Pioneer Paza- It’s worth the trip just to see the bronze statues, but the plaza also has a Civil War era cemetery and plenty of green space.  If you’re downtown, you should definitely swing by.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hotel – Aloft One word: perch.  Thanks to Aloft, I may have to build a permanent perch for Eko when we aren’t living in a car anymore.  Aloft is a cool hotel in the heart of downtown and it puts you close to Bark Park and tons of other great spots.

In sum: Texas you have a special place in our hearts and you have set the bar for the rest of the trip!

We dodged some flash floods getting to OKC and it now looks like we may have to contend with Thunderstorms for the week.  But if Ben Franklin and his key could handle it, then Eko and I got this no problem.

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – Austin, Texas

pet friendly austin petcentric places award

The rain washed out our weekend, but we still had an amazing week in Austin.  The city is packed with tons of pet-friendly destinations and we could probably spend a month here checking them all out without visiting the same place twice.  Here are our favorite stops from the week.

Awesome Hotel: Decker Creek B&B&B – Not only the best pet-friendly lodging in Austin, Deck Creek may just be the best pet-friendly lodging in the country.  Be sure to book well in advance!
Awesome Run: Turkey Creek – Turkey Creek is the only place we’ve found with trails that are specifically designated as off leash.  The creek and the surrounding area provide a beautiful backdrop for a run or hike with your dog.
Awesome Pet Store: Lofty Dog – Usually it’s a battle just to get to the register with Eko trying to eat his treats before we leave the store.  At Lofty Dog well behaved pets (and Eko) are welcome to hang out off leash while you shop in peace.
Awesome Restaurant: South Austin Trailer Park –  Only in Austin will you hear “trailer park” and “great food” in the same sentence.  With a bunch of different trucks to choose from, you can’t go wrong grabbing lunch here. Your dog can beat the Texas heat lounging under the picnic tables with some ice cold water from one of the public jugs.
Awesome Park: Zilker Park – Zilker Park is a triple-threat, you can take your dog on-leash around the paths, you can let your dog off leash in the wide-open designated off-leash area and adventurous dogs are more than welcome to hop on a canoe with you at the boat rental shop.
We had a unbelievable trip in Austin, but it’s time for us to finish up our Texas three-step with a visit to Dallas.  Stay weird, Austin, and stay pet-friendly!

[VIDEO] Marking Our Territory – Adventure Highlights

Like Lewis and Clark, Eko and I are on a transcontinental expedition of epic proportions.  Unlike Lewis and Clark, Eko and I have a sweet camera and some friends with digital editing equipment.

Our cross-country cross-species adventure has taken us from Park Avenue boutiques to Texas watering holes and just about every fire hydrant in between.  We appreciate everyone who has followed along and we hope to keep inspiring people to start their own adventures.  So whether you’ve been with us since day one or you’re here for the first time, check out this video (produced by people with talent – aka not me) with some great highlights of our journey thus far.

We have had an amazing four months, but we are just getting warmed up!  Stay tuned for more great adventures as our road trip continues.  Hope to see a lot of you out there!

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – New Orleans, Louisiana

pet friendly new orleans

We’re back!

As we quickly learned, New Orleans is the city of “Why not?”  New Orleans welcomes all comers, including pets (and including me).  NOLA might not have as many dedicated pet-friendly stores and parks as some of the other cities we’ve visited, but that’s because pets are seemingly welcome everywhere.  If you ever get the chance to visit New Orleans, make sure it’s during Mardi Gras and make sure you check out these awesome places with your pet.

dog friendly new orleans


Thanks to stuffed animals from the parade and scraps of chicken next to the vendor carts Eko didn’t have to make this tough decision during Mardi Gras

A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Park – Cabrini Park Have you ever debated between going to the bar and going to the dog park?  Well then Cabrini Park is the place for you!  The grass park has space for your dog to play and there are tables where you and a friend can enjoy your choice of beverage.  Bars in the French Quarter are happy to make your drinks to go.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hotel – Green House InnGreat location, great staff, great choice.  The Green House Inn feels like a home away from home for you and your pet.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Restaurant – The BulldogI was sold on the Bulldog when I saw the dog entrance to the patio and the water buckets, but what really impressed me was the fact that the Bulldog also raises money for local animal charities on a consistent basis.  And it doesn’t hurt that the place has awesome food and beer.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Event- Mardi Gras No words, no photos and no video can ever truly capture the spectacle that is Mardi Gras.  You just have to experience it yourself.  And why let your dog miss out on the fun?

dog friendly new orleans restaurant

Wishing we had more time in New Orleans

New Orleans, thanks for letting the good times roll!

The A.W.E.S.O.M.E Awards – St. Louis, Missouri

dog friendly st louis

With all the excitement of the Pet Parade it took me a bit longer to get to this, but fear not St. Louis, you were one of the most awesome pet-friendly cities we have visited.  If you’re ever in STL with your pup, here are the places you don’t want to miss.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Park – Forrest Park – Unfortunately, after our fence jumping escapades I never heard back from the University Park people,  so we can’t really recommend you go there. Not to worry though, we had a great time visiting Forrest Park. You have to keep your dog on a leash, but between the Art Museum, the World’s Fair Pavilion and all the other attractions, there is no better place in the city to go for a walk.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Hotel – Cheshire Inn – The newly renovated Cheshire has a style all its own.  Your dog will love the pet welcome package and you will love the fenced in patio where dogs are welcome off-leash.

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Classy Adventure – Vineyard/Museum day tripWe couldn’t pick one over the other, and neither should you.  Start your day with a visit to the one of a kind, AKC Museum of the Dog. It is full of great paintings, sculptures and photos.  After the museum, head a bit further west to Mt. Pleasant Vineyard, where dogs are welcome to stroll the grounds with you as you enjoy the view (and the wine).

A.W.E.S.O.M.E Event- Beggin’ Pet Parade - Without a doubt one of the best days of our trip was the day of the Pet Parade.  We have never seen anything like it before, and I doubt we will find anything like it during the rest of our travels.  Somehow, someway, make sure you are in St. Louis next February to experience this amazing event in person.

St. Louis really set the bar high, so if you think your city has some great pet-friendly destinations be sure to let us know!