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Archive for June 17th, 2010

Land of (doggie) disenchantment

Add New Mexico to our list of states with tiny, paw-unfriendly, less than inviting pet areas at their highway rest stops.

Land of Enchantment? I think not, at least not for dog owners whose otherwise pampered pets are restricted to gravel pits in which to pee and poop. Signs say that dogs are not allowed on the rest area’s grassy areas.

New Mexico may have its dog friendly pockets, and far nicer facilities elsewhere, but this rest area outside of Albuquerque — like similar ones we saw in North Carolina and Texas — isn’t one of them.

Interestingly, the other side of the rest stop had an area for livestock, with dirt instead of gravel, far larger and, unlike the dog side, with a source of water.

Near the human rest rooms was a sign that asked, “Do you approve of this rest area?” with buttons to push for yes and no. My long answer is a question: how much trouble would it be to designate one of the many large patches of unused grass for dogs, and supply some poop bags? Probably cheaper than the electronic sign. As you might guess, I pushed no. Five times.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” click here.)

Alien-ated in New Mexico

If you’re guessing Roswell, New Mexico, you’re absolutely right.

Ace and I finally made it out of Texas yesterday, and as far as Roswell, that land of UFO myths — or covered-up alien visits, if you prefer.

It’s a town of many motels, only a handful of bars and numerous aliens — from statues like this one in our motel lobby to inflatable models that blow in the breeze in front of downtown storefronts.

It’s also a growingly popular retirement spot and, if the waitress at the bar and grill I visited knows what she’s talking about, a town with only one vagabond (not counting me).

After telling me, with emphasis, that Roswell is a friendly town, she filled me in on the only resident who appears homeless. He’s an older gent, who spends his days pushing a shopping cart through town, digging through people’s trash in search of treasure.

Curious, she followed him home one day — only to find he lived in a house nicer than her’s. Turns out he takes all his gathered goods to the Salvation Army — or maybe it was Goodwill, I don’t remember — and donates it.

Roswell is also home to a UFO museum, which is soon to start building new quarters, and a McDonald’s shaped like an UFO.

Space aliens are to Roswell what crabs are to Baltimore.

It was our first stop in which we didn’t check for dog friendly motels first. Instead, we pulled into town and walked into the Frontier Motel, which for a $10 non-refundable deposit, declared Ace welcome.

We chose it because it was a good old fashioned motor court, where you can pull your car right up to the door of your room, allowing us to do some much needed reorganization.

Perhaps they weren’t the classiest accomodations in town — upholstered furniture on the front porch was a clue it might not be a five-star facility — but, despite its rough edges, it was fine.

And while I think there might have been some aliens lurking in the room, there were no bugs.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” click here.)

Napa Valley restaurants welcoming dogs

Looks like we’re going to have to add Napa Valley to the “Dog’s Country” list of places to stop.

Two Napa Valley restaurants have started welcoming pooches on the patio — Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and GO FISH wood-fired grill and raw sushi bar in St. Helena.

At GO FISH, recently named one of the top 10 seafood restaurants in America by Bone Apetit — I mean Bon Apetit — well-behaved dogs are invited to join their humans under the large canvas awnings and leafy branches of mulberry trees of the 100-seat veranda. GO FISH is located at 641 Main Street in St. Helena.

Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, located at 1327 Railroad Avenue, also in St. Helena, is welcoming dogs on the patio, too, and dogs visiting either restaurant will be greeted with a home-made natural (of course) dog biscuit and a bowl of fresh filtered (of course) water.

Both restaurants were created by Chef Cindy Pawlcyn — that’s right, PAWlcyn — a long time pet lover who currently has two brown labs, Lucy and Cole.

Heiress leaves mansion, $3 million to dogs

Gail Posner, the daughter of corporate-takeover king Victor Posner, has bequeathed her $8.3 million Miami mansion and a $3 million trust fund to her dogs, the New York Post reports.

Also named in the will were seven personal aides, including bodyguards and housekeepers, who were given a total of $26 million — and the right to live rent-free in the mansion while caring for the animals, according to court papers.

The 67-year-old heiress died in March.

Posner had three pets, including a Chihuahua named Conchita that she once called “one of the world’s most spoiled dogs.”

Gail Posner’s only living son, Hollywood screenwriter Bret Carr, has filed a lawsuit claiming his mom was drugged and “brainwashed” by her aides into leaving so much to her dogs.

In a 2007 interview, Posner admitted to buying a $15,000 diamond-studded Cartier necklace for Conchita. and once considered buying him his own Range Rover.

Posner changed her will in 2008, after she was already dying from cancer, and added the vast sums for her pups and workers.

The case is reminiscent of that of hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, who left $12 million to her Maltese, named Trouble, while snubbing two of her grandkids. A judge later knocked the amount the dog would receive down to a mere $2 million.

(Photo: Miami Herald)

Roadside Encounters: Charlie

Name: Charlie

Breed: Golden Retriever

Age: 7

Encountered: A rest area in Middleofnowhere, Texas.

Headed: To California

From: Raleigh, North Carolina

Travel habits: Sleeps a lot

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s Harley

Thunder in the Hills Biker Church, on the southern edge of Kerrville, Texas, was closed when Ace and I rode by yesterday.

So we snapped a picture, said a few praise Harley’s and were on our way.

Actually there are quite a few biker and biker-friendly ministries, so it’s not that surprising to find one in the Hill Country of Texas, which draws motorcyclists like vultures to roadkill.

This one — headed by Pastor Matt Fox, a mechanic during the day — holds an Easter rally every year. Fox told the Kerrville Daily Times that the events are aimed at the “outlaw” biker world and are an outreach of the Texas-based Tribe of Judah, an organization of motorcycle ministries.

“Worshiping God doesn’t always mean a suit and a tie,” he said.

(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

Fun with geologic formations

Let me apologize for this one in advance.

Normally, we try to avoid being sophomoric, but I’ve spent nearly a week in Texas, home of George Bush, and after meeting so many good old boys and traveling so many miles through its parched flatness, the mind plays tricks on a man. One can get inordinately excited by the slightest change in terrain

That said, here’s a butte:

And here’s a beaut: