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Travel & Recreation

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You may be familiar already with the photography of Claire Bow, a/k/a Rouxby Photography (if not, you need to go check out her site, like yesterday). Claire and her friend Sam(antha) have recently embarked on three-month-long road trip, hitting up Canada, the West Coast, and wherever else the open road leads them. They’ve also taken along their dogs, Roux (Claire’s Rhodesian Ridgeback) and Grady (Sam’s Border collie).

Along the way, they’re blogging, tweeting, and, of course, taking pictures.

Check on more photos and follow the adventure on Four Crazy Bitches’ blog and flickr.

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So, is this officially, like, the shortest summer ever, or what? I mean, it’s going to be broiling at best here in the South for at least another month, but kids go back to school, what, like next week? Duuude, I bet they are BUMMED.

Your pup can rock summer style all year long thanks to Island Dog Gear‘s leashes, collars, and accessories inspired by Hawaiian beach style. My personal favorite? The portable Bowl-to-Go, available in happy funtime summertime colors.

Found via Daily Kibble.

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Well, much to my surprise, even though the World Cup is over, there are other sports happenings going on in the world… there’s Lebron’s big decision, of course, and the British Open, and then that big bike race through France. (I’ll tell you, if I’m making a trip to the French Alps, you probably won’t find me sweating on a bike — I’ll be in a cafe with a glass of wine and some fondue or something.)

If you’re a biker, though, and you’d like to bike with your pup, maybe you should spring for a Springer. The Springer, developed in Norway in the late ’80s, is available in the US through Springer America. The Springer’s patented design keeps you and your dog safe on a joint bike ride, allowing you to stay balanced and keeping a leash from getting dangerously tangled. Norwegian brilliance, y’all.

Anyone used one? Whatcha think? Does it make riding a bike with a pup as easy as…. riding a bike?

Fetch one at Springer America. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee!

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Camping season is in full swing, y’all. I can’t wait to get out in nature and do nature-y things. We haven’t been on a camping trip yet this spring — we’re still trying to psych Dottie up for it. (She doesn’t really “get” the whole camping thing. Mingus, on the other hand, would probably prefer we just live full time in the woods.) I love camping, and fun doggie camping products make it even better.

This Eco Food Sac from ABO Gear, Inc. looks like the perfect thing for a camping trip or a weekend at the beach. It’s made of all-natural, heavy-duty jute fiber (which is biodegradable and recyclable), and it even comes with a little bamboo scoop.

Check out ABO’s site for all kinds of fun outdoor and travel gear as well as strong, eco-friendly jute toys.

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There are a coupla cool dog parks we’ve been frequenting since we moved here to Asheville, but one of our new favorites doesn’t have a water spigot, which we’re not used to. So we’ve got to start remembering to take some water with us when we go. We might need to add RuffDawg’s new RuffBowl to our dog park bag.

Actually, we don’t have a dog park bag. But maybe we should. With a bowl in it. And water.

Fetch the collapsible, durable RuffBowl online or at a store near you.

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I’m a total softie when it comes to my dogs, but we do have a few hard and fast rules. A biggie? Mingus and Dottie are not allowed to sleep with us in the bed. I spent a good portion of my youth being smothered and slobbered upon by our dear cocker spaniel at night, and many a sleepless night I vowed, “Never again.” Nevertheless, whenever we go camping, the dogs assume (Mingus especially) that the house rules no longer apply since, after all, we’re in a tent. So every night of every camping trip is spent furiously battling the dogs (especially Mingus) for a share of the air mattress.

Maybe if they had travel beds of their own, I could reclaim my sleeping bag? I like this travel bed from Canine Hardware. It’s made of durable ripstop nylon, is machine washable, and stuffs into its very own stuff sack.

Fetch it at REI.

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I have this little trick when I need to remember something later on: I just whip out my phone and send myself an email. Brilliant, huh? I do this often when I’m out and about and want to remember a cool dog product I see that I want to look into when I get home. I saw the Pet Trek Traveler the other night flipping through a Real Simple magazine while watching snowboarding with some friends, and I promptly emailed the link to myself for further investigation.

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The Traveler is a lightweight portable food/water storage system that comes apart to reveal two separate compartments that can also be used as bowls. And that cute little bone in the handle? That’s a rubber chew toy. Awesome.

The Traveler comes in blue, gray, and pink (yay!) and is currently backordered on Pet Trek’s website, but it looks like you can also fetch it from SpaceSavers. (Also check out Pet Trek’s Walker, a portable water bottle and bowl.)

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If you’re one of those people with a clever license plate (“MDLFNGR”), I’m one of those people chuckling mildly behind you at a stoplight. Even the hokiest license-plate wordplay can make me laugh, which is why I love the name of the company that makes these cool stainless-steel dog water bottles: H2O4K9.

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These nifty bottles are easily portable (with a carabiner for attachment to a belt loop or backpack) and are made from 18/8 food grade stainless steel and toxin-free polypropylene. The removable cap becomes a bowl for your pup (if your dog, like both of mine, has never mastered the art of drinking from your hand).

Fetch them at H2O4K9.com.

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I saw this Squishy bowl (by Guyot Designs) the other day while helping my dad spend a gift card at REI. It’s completely flexible and can be squished, rolled, or folded and crammed into a pocket, backpack, purse, or fanny pack (which, I don’t care what anyone says, are NOT coming back in vogue). And to clean it or dry it, you can flip it entirely inside-out.

Guess the name “Squishy” is pretty darn accurate.

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Fetch it at REI.com.

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I’ve been a little out of it the past week or so. See, weekend before last, our little family took our second annual trip to Barkwells, and I don’t think my mind has come back home.

Barkwells sits nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, just a few minutes from Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. To say that Barkwells is “dog-friendly” doesn’t do it proper justice: Barkwells doesn’t just welcome dogs, but rather was conceived and designed completely for the enjoyment of four-leggers and their people. Dogs are free to roam every inch of Barkwells’ seven fenced acres, and cozy cabins (each outfitted with a hot tub and doggie beds) provide quiet respite for canines and humans alike.

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While Barkwells’ grounds are quiet and secluded, they’re just a hop, skip, and a jump from Biltmore Estate and other neighboring attractions. Quite honestly, though, we enjoy the peaceful escape that Barkwells provides and don’t mind spending the majority of our time there just hanging around the cabin and watching the pups enjoy themselves.

There’s a pond for fishin’, divin’, and fetchin’, but truth be told, our two don’t really get too excited about the water. But seven acres of soft grass for top-speed runnin’? Pure doggy bliss.

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This year, our trip was dampened by persistent rain showers, which made for a peaceful weekend but unfortunately meant most of the other pups didn’t come out to play. As you might be able to tell from the photos, though, our two didn’t seem to mind at all.

Dottie briefly considers the water:

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Mingus checks out the dock and the chicken coop:

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When I tell people about Barkwells, they usually have one of two reactions: they either think it sounds a little bit crazy, or they think it sounds a little bit like perfection. If you think it sounds a little bit crazy? Well, you’ve probably stumbled upon the wrong blog. If you think it sounds pretty perfect, I’ll tell you you’re right — but also that you can’t even begin to understand until you go.

I’d say it’s “doggie heaven,” but that phrase has generally been used, erm, to refer to something else. Instead, I’ll just say Barkwells is a doggie’s dream come true.

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You can check out other photos and plan your family’s trip at Barkwells’ web site.

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