Monday, April 21, 2014

Travelin' Jack's MAIDEN VOYAGE LAUNCH----Up Up and Away!

 UP up and away in a Beautiful Balloon!  That's my song today....and I am singin' it loud and clear!  It's MY day!  What day would that be you ask?'s the MAIDEN VOYAGE LAUNCH!  A big deal in MY dog-diary!  Because it is one more thing I'm gonna dogcomplish on my pawsonal BUCKET LIST!

And it is a very special day at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum!  See we are launching our 1st ever MEMBERSHIP DRIVE for the foundation....and we want a LOT of new members!  Cuz this helps the Educational programs for the Kids......(me included) and wonderful exhibits for folks from all over the world to enjoy.  It's VERY important.

So what did we do to 'pup-are' for the Big Day?  Well we gathered up a whole lot of special folks.....mainly MAIDENS.....get it....for the MAIDEN VOYAGE!  Pretty doggone clever, eh? 
(Jack Trivia fact:  A Maiden Voyage is the 1st balloon flight). 

And 2 of the "MAIDENS" on this flight will be MOI-Travelin' Jack and Ms. Dana Feldman-Deputy Secretary from ABQ City Cultural Services.  Thanks for flyin' with me Miss Dana!  ALWAYS good to have a buddy on board for a new adventure! 

But whoa now....we're not the Only Maidens for this flight!  We have a VERY special MAIDEN PILOT....Miss Savannah Bradley!  We're going up in the air with a 14-year old gal pilot!  Pretty doggone cool, eh?  She is one talented gal.  A balloon Pilot at 14 years old!  Now that should be in a record book if ya ask me!  She comes from a ballooning family--4th Generation!  Pretty special that she is taking us up  on our adventure in the air!
 But I doggress......the day is Young!  And I see some action on the Lawn at the Balloon Museum!  They are unfolding the balloon in preparation!  YAH!  (PUP SCRIPT here....glad I am a special guest so I don't have to do this hard work!)
 And now the balloon is UP.......I'm ready with Miss Dana along with City of Albuquerque Cultural Services Secretary, Ms.Betty Rivera...who gave the Opening Remarks ad Welcome!  Thanks for coming Ms. Betty! 
 Time to jump on BOARD!  Here we are!  All of us ready to fly!  I have my Aviator Doggles on....and Jill is another Maiden on board along with our Museum Curator, Merilee Schmit Nason to the right.  Miss Dana in the back center and our Pilot Savannah......assisted by Pilot Casey from Rainbow Ryders.  BTW.....Rainbow Ryders Balloon Company is THE OFFICIAL balloon Company of the Balloon Museum Foundation AND the International Balloon Fiesta!  They are TOP DOG when it comes to hot air ballooning.  Of course.....Travelin' Jack would ONLY go up with the BEST! Here's more info on them.

We even got the Media to come out for the MAIDEN VOYAGE LAUNCH!  That is the cameraman from KRQE TV there shooting us live as we........
 took off into the sky!  A few of the onlookers watched us LIFT OFF! 
 And we are OFF!  In the care of Miss Savannah-Our Pilot Extra-ordinaire!
 WoW!  LOOK at that view would you?  That is the Balloon Museum below us!  Now this is what I call a 360 degree view! 
 Am I a lucky dog or what!?!  How many dogs do you know that get to fly in a hot air balloon!  Not too doggone many...that's for dog-sure!  I had my own special spot on the balloon basket deck.  And they had little foothold windows I could watch out while we were flying!  Now THIS is FUN!........
 And before we could blink a dog-blink....our magical ride in a balloon was over.  We were landing.  And I was the 1st one out of the basket.....cause I am The VID (Very Important Dog).
 My job make sure they deflate the balloon properly.  I take my job very seriously!
 And NOW I am watching for the CHASE CREW.  In ballooning world that means the Vehicle that CHASES the balloon on the come pick you up after the ride is over.  And I think I see them!
 YEP...there they come.  That is a Rainbow Ryder van......look at those other balloons in the background.  They are flying today as well!
 But now it is time to call it a WRAP!  Get it (they are wrapping the balloon up!  HA-Another one of my hilarious Bulldog jokes!).  Now please note here.  I am NOT lifting that balloon.  No-sir-dog-a-ree!  I am a Prima Dogga....I'll just let those folks do all the work and I'll watch from the sidelines.
OK....I think you got her in the BAG guys!  Good Job!  Let me just make sure we get that balloon smashed down good inside so we can close up the balloon bag!  OKee-Dokee-Doggee!  Think I got it! I've done MY job!
OK....nnw here's a bit more Trivia for you folks!  This is a RISTRA on the side of this balloon Basket.  It is a symbolic ristra.  The Anderson and the Abruzzo Families always took a ristra up with them when they flew.  It started with the 1st Transatlantic balloon crossing with Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo.  That is who our FABULOUS Balloon Museum is named after!  THAT is why it is called the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum! 
And NOW you know  the rest of the story!  You are welcome!
 But back to work.  My job is not quite done.  Supervisor Jack on duty.....watching them load the basket on the trailer!  I think you got it guys!  Good job!
 And here is our team!  Flyers, Pilots and Chase Crew!  Wow.....we done doggone good!

 Back to the Balloon Museum.  Think I'll ride with Miss Merilee...the Museum Curator!  Gotta make sure she gets back to the Museum okay!

 And WOAH......what is this here?  Why the celebration is not done YET!  No siree!  We are back at the Museum....for the Celebratory Post Flight Action!  Champagne Anyone?  Mimosa?  I'll have some bubbly water please!
 AHA!  Now THIS is another amazing dog-scovery!  Our very own Cake!  Savannah and I got to be "THE  ICING ON THE CAKE"  dog-literally!
Here's more info on Cake Fetish!
 See us in the balloon Basket?  That's me on the left and Pilot Savannah on the right!  PRETTY PAWSOME if ya ask me!  Our cake artist friends at CAKE FETISH made this special cake for the MAIDEN VOYAGE LAUNCH!  Sweeeeet!  (tee-hee!)  This is such a big cake I think I'll share it with our friends here at the Balloon Museum!
Like these two cuties who came to Spring Break Family Day!  You can have some of my cake.....AND a picture with me too!
 But back to the celebratin'  CHEERS! Here's to a Doggone  Grand MAIDEN VOYAGE LAUNCH!
 And the final celebration!  I get my very own FLIGHT CERTIFICATE!  Now NO ONE can doubt my canine adventure in the sky!  Thanks Miss Savannah!  Next time I go up in a hot air balloon, will you be my Pilot again?  I LUV YOU!

 OK...the MAIDEN VOYAGE LAUNCH is over...but my work has just begun!   NOW we officially LAUNCH our Membership drive!  And I have to work hard at the Spring Break Family Day to make sure ALL my new these two gals....become members at the Balloon Museum! 

But let me just say this.....I make sure my BARK is sincere......
 I JOINED up!  Here's my membership form....all filled out and ready to go!  Yup-Pup!  I am a "BONE-IFIED" member of the Balloon Museum Foundation! 
ARE YOU??????? If BETTER join up pretty fast!  Or I'll hafta come get  you!'s easy and it's inexpensive!  And it's TAX DEDUCTIBLE (whatever that means...I'm a dog so I don't do taxes!).  How can you become a member you ask?

Well......just come by the Museum Gift Shoppe and we'll sign you up on the spot!  Or you can call us at 505 880-0500 and we'll  send you a Registration form......or you can go on-line at and sign up there!'s EASY and it is a VERY good thing  to do!  I dog-guarantee it!

And that is how I spent my day!  Pretty doggone exciting eh?  It's a great thing to be Ambassa-Dog of the Balloon Museum....I do love my job! 


Monday, April 7, 2014

TAKE 5--Travelin' Jack's TOP TIPS for a Pet Friendly Hotel

Travelin' Jack're FAV Pet Travel Expert.  Today, I want you to take 5........

What does that mean dogxactly you ask?  Well let's start here.  We ALL know that I LUV to travel.  AND equally as much, I LUV to stay in nice hotels.  So let's take 5 minutes (or so) and review some Top (5) Tips for Pet-Friendly Hotels.

FIRST OF ALL....RESEARCH!  Sit down at that computer and take 5 minutes (or so) to research PET FRIENDLY HOTELS.  There are many things you need to remember to look for when doing this research. Here's Travelin' Jack's PRIMER on pet friendly lodging research.

1) What is the Pet Rate?
2)  Are there a limited number of rooms availlable for traveling pets?
3) Are there restrictions on the pet?  (size, # of pets, breeds etc)
4) What is there outside setting like for pets?  (concrete parking lot or plenty of area to roam)
5) Are there special amenities for the visiting Pet?  (very dog-portant in my opinion)

In my wanderings around the of my FAVORITE pet-friendly places to go is the LODGE AT SIERRA BLANCA in Ruidoso.  They hit a Homerun in all these areas. 
So for starters......TAKE 5 Minutes  and check out their website.

THEN.........TAKE 5 MINUTES and watch my TV segment about pet-friendly the Lodge at Sierra Blanca.  You'll LUV my expert advice...and my top tips....and of course (goes without barking).... my good looks....ENJOY.
But BACK to the subject at paw---
(HA-get it?  One of my fabulously funny bulldog jokes.  BACK....I'm lookin' BACK at the Lodge! TEE-HEE)

But BACK to The Lodge At Sierra Blanca in Ruidoso.....and why I-Travelin' Jack give it my prestigious 5 PAWS RATING. 
I LUV their cozy comfy interior lobby.  Pretty darn snazzy if yas ask me!
 But...hey's what I'm barkin' about!  A special treat for ME!  From GM Steve himself.  We all know that I AM dog-portant, however, it must be noted here....ALL registered visiting dogs to the Lodge at Sierra Blanca get a special welcome treat!  (ANOTHER TIP)  Always register your pet when you make your reservation...that way they KNOW to get a welcome treat ready upon your arrival).  Now that is what I-the Pet Travel Expert- like to brag about around the dog park.  And they EARN those bragging points!      OK, we've checked out the snazzy interior....time to mozy on up to our suite in the Lodge at Sierra Blanca.  Think I'll get a bit of assist here.  JILL----SERVICE puleeze!  Will you drive me to my bed? THIS is what I call a sweeeeet bedroom suite! ALL the things a travelin' dog looks for (well maybe people too!).  Large room to stretch out in....a comfortable bed, sitting area, TV.....and that's JUST the bedroom!  The suites here come with a kitchen and an over-sized ensuite bath with BIG bathtub to soak away the day's drive!  Now THAT is what I call a top-dog hotel room. BUT.....there's something else! 
 A room with a view!  I LUV my own personal balcony to watch the action on the lawn.  The Lodge at Sierra Blanca has both  ground room floors and an elevator to the upper rooms....for those finnicky dogs!  I'm OK either way, because I love to ride an elevator! 

But hey...time's awastin'  What's that I spy from my balcony view?  Time for some outdoor research...which brings me to my next Travelin' Jack TIP

THE EXTERIOR of the property.  It's very important.  I don't know a single pup who wants to have to walk around a cement parking lot.....NO sirreee.....  
 we dogs like our hotels to be pet-friendly OUTSIDE too!  Grass, nice seating areas.....maybe even a cozy fire from which to watch the here at the Lodge at Sierra Blanca!  Yup-Pup!  This is NICE!
Speaking of NICE...check this out!  The Lodge at Sierra Blanca is surrounded by The Links Golf Course...with walking trails surrounding both the lodge and the course.  Hmmmmm....maybe I'll take a few drives here....but NO....WHAT is that over ther that I spy?

It's a DOG PARK!  Right behind the Lodge at Sierra Blanca!  Now THAT is what I call an absolutely dog-fabulous deal....for all us visiting and local dogs. 

Think I'll take an off-leash romp here thank you very much! After playtime in the dog park, think I'll head back to the Lodge for a little nap....but WAIT A DOGGONE MINUTE!  . 

 I'm stoppin RIGHT here!  Whoo-Hoo....I hit the Dog-JACKpot!  Don't you agree?  That was pretty doggone nice of the resort to set this up for me and my 4-footed canine buddies!  THANKS Lodge at Sierra Blanca!  LUV this amenity!  Tee-Hee!  Think I'll take hit the bed and dream the night away in these comfy quarters....BUT.......

I'll be dreaming about my complimentary Breakfast tomorrow morning!  

 YUM.....I'd like an omelette with LOTS of MEAT....smothered in New Mexico Green Chile of Course!  Now THAT is what I call a delicious way to end a stay at the Lodge at Sierra Blanca!

So there you have it...right from the pup's mouth!  A Pet Primer with Top Tips for choosing your pet-friendly hotel.  And let me whisper one more thing to you!  Sometimes, you don't even need to have a reason to travel.....just choose to get outta town to a posh resort---like the Lodge at Sierra Blanca.  It will be the bee's knee's....or something like that! 

Take advantage of that Spring Break Special they are offering!  You will be luxuriating in Springtime fun and comfort at the Lodge at Sierra Blanca. And ALL these are reasons why they are MY dog-personal pick for a great pet-friendly hotel property!