Dashing through the Sand….dunes!

Sand Dunes

Our family is pretty laid back, but we are still a stick to the schedule kind of family if that makes sense. I think that goes along with young kids. So we decided to exercise our impulsivity one weekend in February by planning a super last minute trip to the Outer Banks when we discovered our kids had Friday AND Monday off school. We used to live in Virginia and lamented that when we moved we had never really seen the whole state. We plan to change all that and see all of our great state of NC and also all of our great country too (more to come on that).

And what vacation would be a vacation without me? That question is rhetorical of course. I know my family enjoys having me along on vacations, and they know by now that I go crazy without my herd (literally– just ask Grandma and Grandpa’s furniture and doors…sorry guys). Mom and Dad found a great deal at a pet friendly hotel called Sea Ranch with a package that included breakfast. We have a room with two queen beds and two doors– one that goes directly outside to their dog-friendly lawn. Lots of smells for me to check out. As far as pet-friendly hotels go, I wouldn’t say it’s exceptional but it is solid, with the short notice we got more of a basic room. I hear their suites are a lot nicer and have ocean views, but honestly this is a lot easier for me than having to go a distance to the designated doggy potty area.

Day one we tried to leave as early as possible and of course didn’t because it takes us FOREVER to load the truck with all of our stuff. It was also the nicest day of our trip with weather in the 70s (so nice for mid February!).

We arrived at the Outer Banks at around 3:30 and decided to head straight to Jockey’s Ridge to check out the sand dunes. You all– this place has to be on your bucket list. It is amazing! They really could film a movie about being lost in the desert there, that’s what it feels like. You’re surrounded by giant hills of sand and it is incredible. Being that it was off season and a Friday at 3:30 there were hardly any people there so we just let the kids loose, including me.  They had so much fun — activities included “sledding” down hills, sand angels, races, and “find the pirate’s treasure”. Back story on that last one– little man REALLY wanted to find a buried treasure there in the dunes, because, well, sand.  So my Dad buried his lip balm and marked an X on top of it. When my little guy found it he was ecstatic and even offered to share “his” lip balm with my Dad, much to his chagrin but it was so cute they went with it.

Come on guys, let’s go!

Apologies for the quality of most of the pictures- for some reason, maybe due to the last minute nature of our trip, Mom and Dad didn’t charge the batteries to our fancy camera before heading out to the Outer Banks.  They took a couple of pictures and wha wha wha…out went our camera. They had to rely on our iPhone for photos – which compared to Mom’s blackberry she had in 2007 takes amazing pictures, but, you know, technology.

Since it is the off season we didn’t have many people out there on the dunes with us.  In fact, once we got over the main rise it was just us and sand, so my parents decided to let me free range a bit.  Boy was I excited to be off leash!! It is a 5 hour car ride for us to get to the Outer Banks so I had a lot of pent up energy.  My energy displayed as I deftly flew over the ridges belied my 8 years. My run of choice is the “wild man”- where my front paws go flying in a ‘V’ formation as I tuck my back legs up under my butt and run as fast as I can, tongue hanging out of the side of my mouth and eyes wild.  Dad has seen it referred to as having the “zoomies”, but I prefer “wild man”, especially since I know what Mom is talking about and will sometimes display my athleticism on command.

Sometime during our fun I started to get that funny feeling in my tummy and, being a dog without shame or concern of soiling myself, I decided to get down to business right there in the dunes.  Thank goodness we had our Earth Rated Dog Waste Bags with Poop Bag Dispenser.  I am a huge fan of this product, and my Dad’s research attempt to buy the best biodegradable dog bag dispenser definitely paid off.

First of all, Mom would forget her head as the saying goes, and this attaches to my leash so she has no excuse for forgetting. Unless she forgets my leash….hmmm maybe they need to get several of these for all of the backup leashes they have for me.  I digress. So it is extremely handy because it is right there. Second, the bags Biodegrade within 1 year!! I am all about protecting our environment and minimizing packaging and plastics that go into our landfills and stay there, so this gives my family and me peace of mind.

Back to the bags– from the company:

“Our green-colored bags contain an EPI additive which help them to break down unlike traditional plastic bags. A similar technology is used in most dog waste bags labeled as ‘biodegradable’ however, due to the updated U.S. Federal Trade Commission regulations, as applied to our industry regarding biodegradable labeling standards, we are unaware of any bag manufacturer that meets the requirements for biodegradable dog waste bags that ensure degradation in a landfill environment within the one year time frame required by the FTC.

As an alternative to our green-colored bags, we offer our white-colored, certified compostable bags that are approved by The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). These bags are vegetable starch-based, unscented, meet the ASTM D6400 guidelines and can be disposed of in a municipal compost environment where pet waste is accepted.”

We will also buy the white ones now that I am loving this dispenser because I’m all about the composting.

So not only are the bags awesome, but the holder also is recyclable.  Again, from the company —

“Our goal is to offer a durable dispenser that customers can refill as needed. Should the time come when you need to say goodbye, please feel free to add it to your recycling bin. To verify whether recycling facilities accepting #5 plastics are available in your area, please click here. In the event that they are not, please contact us to return the dispenser to us for recycling.”

Score!

Finally, if you have human children in addition to your furry children, they make excellent storage bags for kids’ shoes.  Mom used them to hold my buddy’s shoes while he ran on the dunes. And, of course, you can use them for smelly diapers too. I know I’m contradicting my family’s eco friendliness with the revelation that we used disposable diapers but considering Mom used to gag at the smell of poop she has come a long way. I, on the other hand, relish the smell and wish they would have used cloth.

Back to the bags– using them is so easy– just unroll, tear one off like you’re shopping for produce, flip inside out on your hand, pick up the poo, let the bag go right side out and tie a knot.  Dispose in the closest trash can. Thankfully there was one near the entrance to the dunes.

The only downside with these is like any plastic bags that have to fit in a storage contraption they are a challenge to open if your fingers are dry. Mom has the same problem in the grocery store and think it would be pretty tough to not have them that way and have them all neatly rolled so she’s willing to overlook that.  The only other potential challenge is it says not to keep them past a year and not to store them in sunlight or humidity because they could start to break down and then you’d end up with poop on your hands. Just make sure to use them up quickly by going lots of places if that concerns you. Doesn’t concern me of course!

In summary, these are a wonderful little invention that makes my Mom feel a lot less guilty when she needs to put my poo in a bag since she knows it won’t be around for 50 years or at risk for causing problems for wildlife.

What a wonderful start to my vacation!

All in all it was a great afternoon at the dunes. unfortunately the rain started to roll in so we didn’t get as much time as we would have liked – it was a mad dash to the car. But I’m happy to say we avoided a faux “paw” by having our disposable doggie bag dispenser on hand!

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Lighting up the Scenery at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse