Friday, April 29, 2016

Magic Mountain Mania

Brandan knows me too well.  He said I would jump on getting passes to Magic Mountain and I did.  They had a sale and I took the bate.  So far we have had the passes for three days and we have been two of them.  The kids are loving being so close to all of these amusement parks.

Day one was started with a lot of line time. There was the line to buy the annual parking pass, then the line to buy the annual pass, then the line to put all of our information in the computer for each pass then finally we got to stand in the line to enter the park.

We entered the park and found the first ride we could.  I promised my daughter that it wouldn't be that bad.  I had to apologize later.  It was an intense track of twisting and turning that she wasn't prepared for.  There may have been tears shed.  The ride was X2 and here you can see a video of what she didn't love from a video we found off YouTube.  Keep in mind that the video doesnt do the ride justice at all.  We also rode Superman Escape from Krypton, Ninja, Tatsu and finished it off with Roaring Rapids.  We got so wet in the last ride we decided to go get a choco taco and then we went home.  That's the magic of the passes, we love to stay for 4-5 hours and not feel like we need to drag on to get our value from the passes.

The park crowds were awesome with most lines being 15 minutes or less.  I cant think of a time in Disneyland that we could ever let the kids get this far and still be able to see them.

We rode most everything we walked by but the hit of the day was Superman.  It was getting warmer and the cooled tunnel part of the line was awesome.  It also made you feel like you were walking right into the movie.  The ride was a quick blast that had us all thrilled.

The front of the ride was pretty cool too!

The second day the crowds were even better with some rides having no lines at all.  We even rode one ride twice with out getting off because there was no line behind us.  We can now say that we were once the only three people on a roller coaster for one full ride.  It was magical.  We rode the new Revolution VR ride first.  It was a typical roller coaster but we had special VR glasses that showed an interactive pilot game.  I wont ruin it for you but it was a one of a kind experience.  We also enjoyed Batman the ride, Gold Rusher, the Flash Speed Force,  the Swashbuckler,  Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth and Jet Stream.  The Jet Stream was like a log flume ride but fast.  The drop at the end was huge!  We got wet but not drenched.  
The food there has been fun too. The kids want to try all the different kinds of Dippin Dots they have.  I want to refill my 2016 free refill bottle 100 times this year.  We all have our favorite treats and this park can meet all of our wishes.  
I'm sure we will be back a dozen more times this year.  Its literally a 10 minute drive from the door of our home to the parking lot.   Ill try to get more pictures then.  I was too busy having fun to keep a camera in my hand.  When we finally get settled in here we will break out our GoPro and give you a more visual experience of our adventures.  On to the next adventure. See you all soon. 

XOXO Misty


Monday, April 25, 2016

Beach Trip

  With a cool breeze tickling our hair and mild ocean waves rolling over the warm sands we were introduced to the Pacific Ocean. Until now I had never visited one of California's beaches. It's just never been my cup of tea. But with an empty house to sit in (our furniture is still in Utah) you look for any excuse to leave and it happens to be that we live an hour from the beach.
  Something else we learned about the beach is that an overwhelming amount of them don't allow dogs. This seemed odd to me after I considered how many dogs I've seen in the local grocery stores and shops.  Well, we have a dog and like the rest of us he's been cooped up in a hotel room for two weeks and is in need of an escape. Enter Harbor Cove.
  Harbor Cove is a beach that has an abundance of activities for your enjoyment. From snorkeling, swimming and volleyball to surfing and shopping this place has it all and they are dog friendly. Yup, Fido can accompany you while you splish and splash and he doesn't even have to be on a leash (even though he should be.)
  We spent our time watching surfers fall off their boards and combed the rocks for muscles and starfish. We spent time playing peekaboo with a shy crab before Jeep The Adventure Dog got scared of the waves and we had to retreat to the safety of the car. Up to that point I think he had been having a good time. We'll try again another day I guess.
  Harbor Cove is an access to Channel Islands National Park as well. There are five islands that must be accessed by boat (duh) and each island gives breathtaking views while you hike, kayak, or scuba around them. Here you will also find an abundance of wildlife to view from sea lions to dolphins and even whales. I'm still in the research stage of that excursion but I'll get back to you when we decide to go.
  Well that's all for now, folks. We'll keep exploring while you keep reading. Have a good week and I'll see you Friday!

Brandan





Friday, April 22, 2016

Finally Some Relief

  First I need to thank Misty for handling Tuesday's post. I think she covered it quite well. So well in fact that I just may have to put her to work more often. Hey, that's the price of talent, Jack.
  Second, I'm happy to say that we've found a house and if all goes well we should be moving in this weekend. It is a huge relief to have a place that the kids can run and the dog can roam. These last two weeks have been a test of everyone's patience and these four walls have been closing in on us. We hope to travel back to Saratoga Springs in the next couple of weeks to load up our things into a Uhaul so that we can actually be "moved in."
  We've chosen the Santa Clarita Valley as our home away from home. We're away from the big city of Los Angelas but close enough that the commute in to work doesn't take half the day. We might even get to see a few stars in the sky up here. I'll have to check. I know there aren't many in L.A.
  The best part of having a home is that I can get my camera and computer gear here so I can get us back on track traveling and writing some articles. We've talked a bit about the places that we want to visit and now we can get on with it. Thanks for sticking with us through our transition. Based on what I keep hearing from the family I think you can expect an extensive story about Magic Mountain in the very near future.
  Well I hate to keep it short and simple once again but things are a little slow. I'll be back next week with some more interesting things from southern California.

Brandan

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

California Dreamin' 2

Hello y'all.  Brandan gets the joy of working nights this week so you get the joy of hearing from me instead.  I promise to return him to you by the next post.  He is definitely the writer in the family and I know my place on the support team.

We love to travel to California so now that we live here I am going to do my best to treat this like one long vacation.  We have a list of places we would like to see while were here and I thought I would share them with you.  So here is our list of top places we would love to see while were on our extended vacation. 


Its like the ultimate car show in one awesome place.  One of the things we're most excited to explore in this beautiful state is the car scene.  This is the cherry on the top of an entire state of car excitement.  April is even Back to the Future month so I guess this will be one of our first stops on the list.  


In the middle of the big city of Los Angeles is a tar pit covered in history.  You can visit here and step back in time.  You can see the excavation sites they are still working on.  Absolute magic!


I'm guessing that a couple of our precious weekend days will be spent here.  This place has so much to offer.   The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a day of learning in its self. Beyond that there is a historic carousel, an arcade and musical performances.  If that wasn't enough, its the home to the end of the Historic Route 66.  This place looks like loads of fun. 


This historic journey has been on our travel bucket list since before we knew we had a travel bucket list.  We love cars, we love history and we love adventures.  Its also something that we want to get to soon.  Its an old road and time has a way of wearing away at history.  There are parts of the road that are no longer travel worthy due to the ticking of time.  I'm not sure that we will run the entire journey in one trip but we will for sure get the end portion checked off our list.  


We're looking for a home in Valencia Ca so we would be silly to not take advantage of the thrilling adventure right in our own backyard.  This is an annual pass kind of place for sure.  Its an entire park full of ways to twist your stomach and thrill your excitement. 


In 2016, Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town will celebrate its 75th anniversary.  Its the perfect year to get reacquainted with this place. We haven't visited this gem in a long time.  I'm not sure we were even blessed with our little mini me when we last visited.  If she was here then she was a tiny one. I faintly remember chasing a toddler through the park.  Having a teenager and a preteen its been while for sure.  


Stars and science exploding in educational fun!  Visitors to this place can look through their massive telescopes and and visit exhibits.  Here is something unheard of in the area.  This treasure offers free admission and FREE PARKING! I am so excited to visit here. 


I would be fooling myself if I didn't think one of the most exciting things to me on this list would be the magic of Disneyland.  We really love it here.  There is a magic in the air that is indescribable.  Brandan and I have always made an effort to get to Disneyland about once a year and often more than that.  Now we can explore the park and sleep in our own bed that night.  Its a home away from home to me.  

9- The Beach

I didn't pick one because I plan to visit all of them.  From the dog beach for our fur baby Jeep to the beaches where we can put our snorkeling gear to good use, I am going to explore them all.  Brandan isn't the water lover that the kids and I are but we are hoping to get it in his blood and get him addicted too. 

I know that we have missed a million places here.  Its a new area and there will be new adventures around every corner.  I plan to make the most of every moment and fill our memories up with happy family fun.  I cant wait to jump in and explore.  First step is to find a home and explore from there. 

XOXO
Misty 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Life On The Road

  Wow! What a first week. I explained earlier this week about how we got a little bit of a rough start upon our arrival in California and it's still not great but we're managing it okay. It's been a difficult adjustment and until we find a permanent place to call home I think things are pretty much as good as their going to get. Fine. We'll deal with whatever comes our way.
  There are many options when choosing a temporary place to stay while on the road. A standard hotel room is fine but you can plan on eating out for most of your meals and if you care about how your waist line then this may not be a good option for you. There are hotels with small suites containing kitchennettes allowing you to cook your own meals which allow you to watch what you eat and give you the feeling of home even if it is minute.
  Short term rental apartments or condos are also an option but it's a big commttment. Short term is typically no less than three months so if this is the option you go with, plan on being there awhile. Around here the cost of renting a place is going to be expensive. They expect first and last months rent along with a security deposit which seems to average about $9000 up front so if you're looking for a long term place you'll need $18,000 to go this route. Ouch.
  So what have we done? We chose the extended stay room with a kitchenette. With the cost of food and the need to eat a bit healthier this was an easy choice. We have four of us to feed so it just makes sense for us. They also allow the dog to be here with us so no need for a long time sitter.
  There really is no easy way to make a move like this on such short notice. Housing is going crazy down here and it wasn't possible to find a home in just a few days. You need to be in town and ready to go with all of your credentials and money at the ready. The competition is fierce.
  Having a dog, working long hours and major traffic leaves little time in the evenings to do much. I think we're all starting to feel trapped in our tiny space so we are looking forward to the weekend to get outside for some fresh air. Heck, we need to do something so I have something to write about other than our misfortunes.
  Well that's it for this week. I'll be back on Tuesday with more from California. Have a fun and safe weekend in your adventures.

Brandan

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

California Welcome

  Well, we have arrived in California and as much as I wish it were an easy trip the universe has a way of keeping things interesting. We've struggled for the last two weeks to pack up our home and make the minor repairs it needed to be put on the market. School and work took up our days while the packing and repairs took up our nights. Combine that with our trip to Moab and somewhat short notice of the move made the month of March rather crazy. The most frustrating part about it all is that in the end we didn't finish all of the things that we needed to complete before we left and this caused us to leave without seeing everyone we wanted to say goodbye too and it leaves us ten hours from our incomplete projects.
  We put all of this behind us Sunday morning and tried to keep an upbeat attitude as we left early in the morning. Making good time we decided to swing in to see our grandparents in St. George, UT (my grandfather had just had an operation) and after an hour we pushed on. Our travels continued to be good until we were just south of Las Vegas, NV. An accident near the Nevada/California border had all three lanes of I-15 southbound backed up past Jean, NV. Normally the drive from Jean to Baker, CA takes around an hour. It took us three. To rub salt in the wounds every gas station and rest stop from Jean to Barstow had no parking and horrible lines for restrooms. I can tell you that I have never seen so many cars pulled over for side of the road potty stops in my life. It's actually kind of comical now but it wasn't last night. With this being spring break for California we believe this helped add to the heavy traffic. It was a definate learning experience and in reality it makes a better story than just a boring ten hour drive (this drive ended after fourteen.)
  This is also my first hotel travel trip with a dog (no, we still haven't found a house yet) and when traveling with a pet for a long term stay severely limits your options. The positives are that we do have two beds (originally they only had one bed available) and a nice kitchenette so that we can eat in rather than waste money eating out. The negatives are numerous but the most annoying is the smells of corridors due to other people cooking odd foods and what I'm telling myself are burning inscence. It's a bit nasty but I know it's only temporary.
  We are now settling in to find a home and some kind of normalcy. Unfortunately housing is hot and a bit hard to find right now but we'll be patient. Tomorrow I start my new job and the countdown to going back home can begin.
  It's not all bad, folks but our adventures would be boring if I didn't fill you in on all the "fun" we're having. We know that we're having a bumpy start but it will get easier as time goes on and we're still excited to be here. Tune in Friday for a new update and the we'll be getting back to our travel adventures soon. Have a good week!

Brandan

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Fun Five Of Utah

  Well we're now under 48 hours until the big move to California and of course we're buried in boxes and cleaning here at the house. It's crazy how fast things have happened and I'm continually amazed at how much stuff we've managed to accumulate in our 14 years in this house. We are happy to be leaving this house because to be honest we outgrew it ten years ago but it's still bittersweet to be leaving and we in no way ever thought we would be going to California but here we are.
  For my last post from my Utah home for the next couple of years I've decided to list five places (that aren't Moab) that we enjoy visiting. These are in no particular order but have given us an adventure fix when we needed them. Please have a safe weekend and I'll see you on Monday from sunny, southern California!

Brandan


Thanksgiving Point- Located in Northern Utah county, Thanksgiving Point has multiple activities and buildings to visit. They boast the largest natural history museum in North America (although I'm not sure that still stands true) where you can view the Earth's history through fossils and bones. You will come face to face with the Utah Raptor, a giant turtle, and dueling T-Rex skeleton's. The new curiosity museum has a plethora of activities for the kids to participate in. From making there own stop motion movies, exploring dry desert climates, to climbing what I can only describe as a jungle gym to die for (it's huge!)
  They also are home to one of the finest golf courses in the state along with a small farm exhibit, gardens and they always have something special for Halloween and Christmas. to learn more check out their website http://www.thanksgivingpoint.org/http://www.cornbellys.com/
http://thanksgivingpointgolfcourse.com/


Upper Provo Falls- The Provo River runs down Provo Canyon. It's well known for it's easy access for tubing and fly fishing and the line of cars along the banks each summer speak for it's popularity. But if you trace it to it's source you will be treated to some beautiful water falls. This out of the way spot lends itself to some wonderful photography all year round.



Bryce Canyon National Park- If you've ever visited Utah you may have learned of our pride for our five national parks. Utah is a state full of beauty and I love each park but I have to admit that I really enjoy Bryce Canyon. The unique landscapes and vast colors are striking and make for great photos and hiking opportunities. If you're lucky enough to visit during a rainstorm you will be rewarded with even deeper colors to enjoy. Walt Disney used Bryce as an inspiration for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you should visit and see what inspires in you.
https://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm



 Bridal Veil Falls- Every state seems to have one and multiple countries do also. Water falls just naturally have a way of resembling the flowing veil of a gushing new bride so it's a common name but that doesn't take away their beauty. We return again to Provo Canyon for these falls and in this case the ease of access is a catch 22. Being just off the road and near Nunn's Park you won't find a Saturday during the summer when there aren't grundles of people around but if you want an easy going, paved "hike" with a big payoff this is your place. If you want more of a challenge you can take the steep hike up the side of  the falls. This gets you off the pavement and it will test your leg strength if that's what you're into.


Timpanogos Cave- We jump north one canyon from Provo into American Fork Canyon. This canyon has access to ATV trails, gold panning and fishing. The crown jewel of the canyon, however, is Timpanogos Cave. A challenging hike up the mountain brings you to the cave entrance where you leave the jagged cliff behind and enter into the center of the mountain. Inside you will witness stalactites and stalagmites the most famous of which is the Great Heart of Timpanogos. The temperatures in the caves are around 45 degrees year round so bring a jacket and the cave is only open from May to September and tickets sell out fast since only 16 people are allowed on a tour at a time so plan accordingly. https://www.nps.gov/tica/index.htm

For other fun things to do in Utah, visit these links:

http://www.visitutah.com/

http://utah.com/

https://www.google.com/#q=things+to+do+in+utah

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

With Spring Comes Greens

  Spring has sprung in Utah. That means that one day you get sunshine and warm weather and the next day you get snow and cold temperatures. It's just the way things work here. Either way for some of us the middle of March brings a certain draw to the outdoors, a yearning for fresh cut grass, and a need to rotate our cleats. Yep this post is about golf.
  With the Jeep Safari being in March and with our move to California in the forefront of our minds, golf has taken a back seat this year. For me that's pretty sad because I really love the game but until two days ago when I was packing my clubs up for the move, I really hadn't thought about it. But the weather has been great for it.
  Utah has some great golf courses. St. George is probably the most well known golf destination because it's the only place in the state that you can golf year round. I live in northern Utah though and even though we need to wait until March or April to play there are still some stellar courses to play up here.
  What I have never done however, is travel golf. I have a small group of friends that play the game and unfortunately we've never attempted to golf while on vacation. We have a wish list of course like St. Andrews (but a few of us don't like to fly so that will be difficult) and Pebble Beach but it's mostly just 19th hole wishful thinking but I'm now getting an opportunity to live pretty close to some of these courses and I'm excited about the prospect. The down side is that my friends aren't going to be there with me which means I'll have to find some substitute friends to fill in for awhile.
  There are a plethora of courses scattered across the world that are known for either beauty or history and some have both and if you and your significant other (or travel companions) like to golf then why not pack the clubs with your suitcase and head out on vacation?  I myself would find that very relaxing. Yes I do relax while playing golf even though my frustration levels are always high (because I slice the driver almost every time.) I love the sounds and smells of being on the course to me it's a great relief. Just shut off the phone and ignore the world for a few hours. Heck, isn't that why we go on vacation? I suppose just golfing at home is a little mini vacation if you think about it (unless you're golfing with coworkers, then it's playing at work and that's not okay. Just kidding it's fine.)
  Well we're still trying to get packed up so I'll keep this short. Below I've placed some links to a few of the courses in Utah that I like to visit so if you're in the neighborhood you should hit them up. See you on Friday for our last post from Utah!

Brandan

http://www.eaglewoodgolf.com/

http://slco.org/slcountyGolf/cRiverbend/index.html

http://www.sandhollowresorts.com/

http://www.wasatchgolfcourse.com/

 
The author (right) and his goofy brother (left.) Maybe both are goofy.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Well This Is Happening

  Spring is a season of change. The warmth of the sun brings people out of there homes to enjoy the outdoors. Grilled steaks, burgers, and hot dogs fill the air with their enticing aromas while the grasses green and the tulips bloom. Garages will be cleaned and sprinklers will be turned on (and most likely repaired.) These are all things that we look forward to as soon as winter takes them away from us. And like Spring, life tends to mix things up for us as well. Just weeks ago I was looking forward to bringing you coverage of our little adventures from my own "backyard" of Utah. However one of life's curve balls has been thrown at me and while I didn't expect it I did recognize it and will hit it out of the park.
  Next week will be our last week in Utah for about two years. My job is taking us away from our beloved home and we will be relocating to Southern California. On one hand it's sad to leave a place that I've never been away from. There will be a lot of things that I will ache to see and experience as the time passes, my friends, family, and favorite places are the hardest to leave. However, this is a great experience for us to bring you, my readers, new and amazing adventures that I otherwise wouldn't be able to do. I look forward to exploring what is to me the unknown and undiscovered. I've spent all of my life in Utah and to be honest I never really thought I would go anyplace else. But I think anyone can do something for two years. Right?
  Yes I'm already looking forward to the day I return but I'm excited for the adventures in between and I'm excited to bring them to you. Our plans for Yellowstone and the Rubicon trip are still a go and I will still be spending time in Utah but for the most part it will all be from California. It may be a little touristy at first as I hit the popular tourist attractions but it's the local and not as well known places that I can't wait for. You know, the places only the locals go. Those will be the articles I think you'll enjoy the most.
  Well that's it for this week. Things are really crazy here with the move but I'm still committed to bringing you articles during our transition. Thank you all that keep coming here week after week and thank you to the people that you have referred. Please stay tuned because things are about to get wild. See you next week. Get out there and find adventure this weekend!

  P.S.  I know what today is but this really isn't a joke. I even attached this cheesy photo of me with a box to prove it (or at least prove I have a box.)

Brandan