Friday, July 29, 2016

Good Eats at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Are we doing another food post? We are. We all need to fuel up between play stops.  Today we want to tell you all about the food we have discovered exploring Six Flags Magic Mountain and our best tips to getting it in.

As annual pass holders to Six Flags it made so much sense to get the Dining Pass.  You pay once and eat for the whole year.  You have a pretty good selection of Choices to choose from too.  While your at it you should get the Season Drink Bottles as well. Keep in mind that all of these expire at the end of the year.  You will still have your awesome drink bottle for memories but they will only fill it with water next season. We mark our cups with a little bit of ribbon to keep them easy to find in the park.  With out the passes the food is still relatively affordable for an amusement park.  Many of the dishes are huge.

My first tip is to not eat a huge meal then ride a roller coaster. It might be that I'm not 18 anymore or that this is just plain old logic.   I dread even feeling slightly ill on a roller coaster.  I do not want to be part of the worst memory ever for the family sitting behind me on the Goliath. I like to eat small and spread it out.  We tend to get snacks or meals and often share them or eat big when were done at the park for the day.

We love the boneless wings from High Octane Wings.  This place is located across the path from Full Throttle.  Full Throttle is an extreme ride and surrounded with extreme noise.  Its defiantely worth eating here but don't plan on having any meaningful conversations.  Pictured above are our top flavor choices in sauce.  We enjoy the Lemon Pepper, Garlic Parmesan, Spicy Orange and occasionally the BBQ though its not always on the list. I love it when the Lemon Pepper drips on to my fries and makes them extra flavored as well.  Yum!

If you are a BBQ lover then you want to run up to JB's Smokehouse BBQ.  We get the Tri Tip sandwich or the Pulled Pork sandwich both served with a huge handful of fresh made kettle chips.  The Chicken sandwich is okay too but were listing our favorites and it didn't quite make the cut.

Food Ect, has something for everyone.  We love to get a snack of chips and salsa when were not quite ready to fill up.  They also have pretty good Fish and Chips but they take a long time to cook up so we usually pass on them and get back to having fun.  There is also a Frozen Delight corner here that serves up Disneyland Famous Dole Whips and Dippin Dots.  Im still a bit bitter about Dole Whips branching out past their home in the Tiki Hut but that is a whole other story.

If you are looking for a snack there are little carts scattered through out that serve the normal park options but our choices here are the Churros or the Choco Tacos.

Did you know that there was an actual Johnny Rockets in the park? The menu is complete with the Rocket Single meal that comes with a cheeseburger, fries and onion rings or if you are looking for something sweet get one of their classic milkshakes.  Either way I was excited to see a familiiar place behind the gates.

Last but not least is Chopsix.  This is our number one stop at the park.  One meal can feed the three of us or two to feed the four of us.  The portions are huge!  If you arent doing a dining pass and want to keep your costs down, share a meal here.  It was hot and the lines were long so I forgot to get a picture but we did get a bit of video and I will post that below.  We like to get the Orange Chicken meal or the Orange Chicken and Teriyaki meal.  Both are served with both rice and chow mein and a fortune cookie to chase it down.

In the back of the park hidden by Apocalypse sits a hidden treasure.  Most of the time we've been to the park this gem hasn't been open.  Its kinda like winning the lottery.  We hit it big and got ourselves a Like it Sized Sweet Cream, Peanut Butter Perfection and Strawberry Blonde.  To be honest it was hot and I wore about a third of what made it into my mouth.  I should really we a bib if I'm going to eat ice cream in the heat.

This post wouldn't be complete with out a plug for their souvenir cups.  I think we have already established that I love my soda.  Its like a calorie hug and I really might be addicted.  I know its not good for my body but its so good for my soul.  There are lots of bad habits I can work on before I break up with this one.  We each have a blue soda cup.  We get free refills all season long.  They change their cups every year so as long as you have the one with the current year sticker on it, they will fill it up with no hassle.  On 110 degree days a Powerade or Diet Coke feel like magic.  The math works out pretty good too.  One cup is $23 but three cups are $20 a piece.  Its $4.79 for a large soda.  If you get the cup you have made up its value on your 4th soda.  Thats two trips for us if we only do a half day.  The pink cups are free refills for that day and $.99 for the rest of the year.  They cost between $16 and $13 to buy.  Most any place that has food will have these cups available as well. Keep in mind that Magic Mountain wont let you take these on most of the rides there but they do offer places to leave them while you ride.  You really want to make yours a little different then the ten others it will be sitting by.  A piece of ribbon, a magic marker or a piece of tape will help pick yours out of the lineup simple and fast.

Of course we made a video to go along with our adventures.  Its a fast watch and you can see the foods we are eating.  Check it out and plan out what you can eat before you get there.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Trip Back in Time at Bob's Big Boy

We love a good dose of history. When we found out that we were very near the oldest remaining Bob's Big Boy in the United States we had to stop by and visit. Located at 4211 Riverside Drive in Burbank, California, this place not only holds restaurant history but has had its place in a few notable films as well. There was an electricity to the place you have to be there to explain. It was like being a part of a secret club. The walls were decorated in a way that made you feel like you stepped back in time.  Back to the 1950's.  

   The Beatles even had their favorite booth there. There was a family eating in it at the time so we didn't snap a picture but you can read all about it here. When you go there to see the booth look for the plaque on the wall. There were many pictures on the internet that were not of the right booth. (Hint, its by a window not a jacket).

Just down from the Beatles booth is the table from the movie Heat.  Yes, We have walked where Val Kilmer has walked.

Even if the films weren't filmed in this exact Bobs Big Boy, you would need to live in a bunker to not be even vaguely familiar with the big boy himself.  He is an icon.  A happy little boy who loves himself a burger.  Kinda like our very own Brandan.

The menu was big enough to satisfy most anybody.  Jeremy had chicken and waffles.  I think it had a whole half chicken on the plate. Faith had a two egg breakfast with bacon and toast.  Brandan and I each had an "Original Big Boy Combo".  Bob's Big Boy is home to the original double decker burger. When you're  at a restaurant for the history it only seemed right to eat the historical burger.  It's not just an extra patty.  Its got an extra bun smacked in the middle with extra gooey sauce.  All but the two egg meal came with a salad for starters.  I love a great ranch dressing and this was one of the best I have ever had.

As a true soda lover I also need to point out that they use pebble ice.  The best of sodas all use pebble ice.  Take note if you are ever going to create the perfect soda, pebble ice.  Brandan treated himself to a milk shake and they did that one right as well.  Lets be honest.  It might not be the easiest place to go on if you are on any sort of diet.  The onion rings looked awesome though we didn't get any.

If you haven't figured it out yet, we love cars.  Brandan and I used to go find car shows in our high school years and dream about all the cars we would one day own.  Really I thought I would have an airplane hanger full of classic cars by this point in life.  Fast fact, we don't have an airplane hanger let alone the classic cars we would love it fill it with.  Life is funny that way huh?

Every Friday night Bob's Big Boy has a cruise night.  This show is frequented buy a car lover extraordinaire Jay Leno.  We showed up on a Saturday and missed the car show but I have no idea how they would fit it all in their parking lot.  It was packed without an event going on.  There was a slight wait to park the car at all.  They did have a car hop section but we knew we wanted to go in so we didn't check that part out.

All in all the place was fun.  It filled our stomachs and chased away some hangry that we were fighting.  We will go back at least once while we are on this California adventure.  It will probably be on a Friday and if I can twist his arm it will be without the kids. We will share a milkshake with two straws and he will ask me to be his gal.  It will be magical.


And here is our video quick trip of our Bob's Big Boy in Burbank adventure.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lesson's from the beach.

Earlier in the year we visited Harbor Cove and had our first taste of the Pacific.  We walked on a bit of sand, dipped our toes in the water and found a crab hiding in the rocks.  It was a breezy Sunday afternoon and it was fun.  It wasn't a real beach trip though. 

Once again Brandan was hard at work while the kids and I went off on an adventure to remember.  We drove from our house to Santa Monica State Beach.  It was two long hours in the car to reach our destination and we were determined to dive right in.  We had a blast, made some memories and learned some lessons we would love to share with you today.  

Lesson #1- Bring an umbrella.  Of course my first plan of attack was to check Pinterest for awesome beach ideas to make our first real beach day epic.  I saw this idea to make a beautiful tent from ropes, sticks and a couple of bed sheets.  I packed up our clever tent items and we hit the sand.  Guess what?! Its windy at the beach and instead of making a tent we created a kite.  Not as awesome as planned so we took it down and toughed out the sun.  I had a vision in my mind about reading a book with a cool beach breeze blowing over me while my kids frolicked in the waves.  That didn't happen either though. An umbrella would have been awesome!

Lesson #2- No inflatables.  I had no idea! We packed up our pool bag full of floating toys and hit the beach running.  The lifeguard very politely told me that was a no go.  Really he was very very nice about it though.  The toys we wish we had, Body Boards!  I didn't know what they were so I included a link that goes to Amazon.  I have no clue what makes a good or bad board so don't take this as a thumbs up for this product.  We've also heard them called boogie boards but when searching the internet that brought us to little electronic tablets.  These tablets also look cool, but not for the ocean. 

Lesson #3- Ziploc's are awesome!  I'm not a huge fan of leaving my valuables unattended.  I locked up the important stuff in the car but what to do with the car keys?  I packed them up in three Ziploc bags and kept them on me the whole time.  They came out perfectly dry and happy.  They are also great for bringing shells home and not getting sand all over in the car.  Thank you to whoever invented these little lifesavers! 

Lesson #4- Fitted sheets made the sand issue a lot easier.  All over the internet there are tips about fitted sheets and keeping the sand off your space.  It also keeps the sand contained in your car for the trip home.  When we were loading up there was no getting all the sand off our things.  We put everything sand decorated and wrapped it up in the sheet.  We tied up the corners and just like magic the mess stayed contained until we could shake it out over grass.  Magical!

Lesson #5-  Don't bring anything in you cant live with out.  I'm not a sunglass snob, I'm a connoisseur. I'll admit it.  I only love Oakley sunglasses.  When you find something you love, why get something else? That might be my guilt talking but I'm taking this a little hard.  While splashing in the ocean I found myself in the mercy of a bigger than me wave.  When I came up from the water I was short one pair of precious Oakley sunglasses.  I had to borrow my daughters non Oakley glasses to drive home.  This taught me two important lessons.  Don't take anything in that you cant live without.  The ocean swooped them up and somewhere out there is a mermaid rocking my beloved shades and looking fabulous. Number two, If I bought my kids Oakleys as well I would have had a pair to drive home in.  The positive side of this is that we will all be getting new glasses to block those bright sunshiny rays. 

The beach was awesome.  I loved even just watching the people play.  I understand now the draw to just find a place and be there.  On a cool breezy day I could have napped there for hours.  I will be going back armed with better beach toys, an umbrella and a book for sure.  I will also bring a waterproof camera because there was a million photos I wanted to take but I didn't want to risk my phone to the ocean gods that day.  I've posted a few we did get along with the kids quick trip take on the day. 

Id love to know, what is the best part about the beach to you?  I know we have a lot to learn here. 

Remember to fill your life with memories instead of dreams.  


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's Heeere! The Jeep Has Arrived

  It has been over three months since we pulled up stakes in Utah and moved out to sunny California. With the rush and the logistics of the move created a situation where our adventure vehicle of choice would have to remain behind. If you've been following the blog you will know that we did make it to Moab for the fiftieth Easter Jeep Safari in the little, gold brick and over the Fourth of July we were again reunited for a great trip up to Yellowstone National Park.     Yeah, we've had some great trips in our Jeep and we have really missed having at our disposal. California has some great places to explore and yes some of those places require four wheel drive. Well I can now say that as of last week the Jeep has found it's way to California and is itching for an adventure. We won't be waiting long for our first California adventure because we're just a month away from our Rubisemite trip. We'll be hitting Virginia City, NV to check it's rich history before locking in the hubs to tackle the legendary Rubicon trail. After that we'll swing by Bodie, on our way to Yosemite National Park. It should be a great trip but we have a few modifications to make before we leave.
  We have to fit four of us and our stuff into what is really a cramped space so we'll have to come up with a way to carry our cooking utensils, bedding and food. This Jeep is set up for Moab where a small cooler and a sack is good enough for a day of fun. This trip however will be a little different. We're working out whether or not to splurge on a new ARB fridge or just continue on with a cooler? Do we keep our tool bags or do we put in some drawers? Oh, so many decisions.
  Of course that isn't the only trip we plan to take. I continue to research the area and I've found a lot of areas worth exploring. I'm thinking a summer trip up to Big Bear is in our future. Later in the year I think an overland trip through the Mojave may be in order and as soon as I get back to Utah we're planning a trip to Ouray, Colorado. It's a place I've been wanting to go for a long time and I don't want to put it off any longer.
  Yes our Jeep is the perfect vessel to take our family into back country. We've had it in some of the most beautiful places on Earth and in some to the most difficult terrain the off-roading world has to offer. It isn't the first Jeep we've had (it's actually the fifth) and it probably won't be the last. I'm not trying to tell you that you're adventure vehicle of choice needs to be a Jeep but I am telling you that they are versatile, capable and a whole lot of fun.
  Stay tuned for our future adventures and don't forget to get out there and have one of your own, no matter what vehicle you use to get there. See you Friday!


Friday, July 15, 2016

Yellowstone Part 2

Old Faithful
  On Tuesday we talked about our recent visit to Yellowstone National Park, a trip we like to take over the Fourth of July holiday. I could go on and on about what I like about being in this part of the world but for anyone that's been there knows, it would be very difficult to fit all there is to love about Yellowstone in just two posts. So we'll veer off just a little bit.
 Sometimes you need to explore more than just the scenic things inside the park. The town of West Yellowstone, Montana is a fun little place that I recommend you spend a little time in. Yes, it's just another tourist trap with little shops selling everything from t-shirts and camping supplies to cowboy hats, belt buckles and burritos from a bus (true story.) I challenge you to find another town that you can buy rocks, geodes and vinyl records in the same store (also very true.) She's not a big town so go ahead and set aside a couple of hours to browse.
  If you like history and museums then you're in luck here also. West Yellowstone has a self guided walking tour that takes you through town and tells the stories of some of the buildings and important sites in town. It was a little late in the day for us to do the entire  loop during this trip but I'm definitely going to put that on my list of things to do. I just like that kind of stuff. Also there is the Yellowstone Historic Center that tells of the history of the area which involve trappers, stage coaches, and harsh winter living. You can check it out at
  I had no idea that when I crossed the threshold of the Grizzly RV Park that I would single handedly change the course of our diets. After we checked in I happened by a small soda cooler. Inside this cooler I saw a bottle of huckleberry soda with a strange lake monster staring at me. Now anyone who spends time in these mountain towns knows about huckleberry, it's everywhere. You'll find huckleberry candy, jelly, soda, ice creams and even pancake syrup. Well I had never let myself get sucked in to the huckleberry craze...until now. I mentioned in passing that maybe I would like to try this soda but afterward I walked away, once more successful at avoiding the temptation of the huckleberry. Well someone bought said soda pop and a few of us tried it. Withing two days we had bought out all the RV park had, half of what the general store in Mammoth Hot Springs had and even compared it with other brands sold throughout West Yellowstone. It was an obsession with us all. I'm not big on soda so I'm pretty sure that I've already drank my years allotment of soda for the year. Of course this is just part of the weird fun our group finds when we travel. It makes for good stories. But if you go, don't let yourself get sucked in. Just kidding go for it. Go all in.
Mesa Falls
  One more little secret I'd like to let you in on. There are other sites to see in this area besides Yellowstone that are just as scenic and some of them are a little dirty. Okay, mind out of the gutter people. I just meant that there are a plethora of dirt trails tailor made for your ATV, UTV and four wheel drive vehicles. We kept it simple on this trip and crossed the border into Idaho to visit Mesa Falls.
  The falls are at the southern end of Island Park and up the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. It's only a few miles up the road which makes it worth cruising over to.
  If you're a fly fisherman than you'll want  to grab your rod and jump in at Henry's Fork and boaters will want to head over to Henry's Lake. If you want to see the creepy remnants of an earthquake from the fifties then you should look into Quake Lake. The lifeless trees stretching above the still waters really is eerie when you know the story of how a earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale shook the area with enough force to cause a massive landslide. The force caused by the slide created a wind strong enough to blow trees, rocks and unfortunately people a mile or more down the canyon. 28 people, campers on vacation, lost their lives that August day in 1959. Some bodies were never recovered and are presumed to still be buried in the rubble. There is a memorial and a visitor center at the slide site that tells the story of  the people that lived through it. It's amazing to see how much the scars left behind from the earthquake are still visible to this day.
  The Yellowstone area is one of my favorite places anywhere. I love to be there and I hate to leave it even when the crowds are too big for my taste. There is a lot to see in a large area, some of which I haven't shared with you yet. I guess you'll just have to go see it for yourself and maybe, if the stars align, we'll see each other. Have a great weekend guys.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A 4th Of July Tradition :Yellowstone

  Ah the Fourth of July, America's birthday and a reason to fire up the grill and cook up some burgers and dogs (not that we really need a reason.) Millions of folks get together with family and friends to catch up, have some grub, and light off fireworks well into the night. It's a great time. But we choose to spend our 4th of July celebrations away from home. In fact we like to spend our nations birthday by visiting the world's first national park, Yellowstone.
  Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872 but it has always been a special place. It's sheer beauty and geothermal features make it one of the most treasured places on the planet and 3.4 million visitors a year can attest to that. It certainly brings us back year after year. For some reason this place never gets old to me. I love being in these mountains and it if difficult to leave each and every time. The temperature is right where I like it and the weather usually isn't too bad. This year however, it seemed to want to rain right when we were cooking dinner. Every day, like clockwork. That's okay though, we were prepared for the weather because that's just part of the game.
Juvenile Bald Eagle, Yellowstone NP
  We set aside three days to explore the park this trip which, again, wasn't enough time but we made the best of each moment. In total we had ten of us together for the first time in eleven months. Two of us flew in from Chicago, four of us came in from California, and the rest of the group was in Salt Lake City where we all met. From there we loaded up our motor homes and rolled down the highway for the six hour trip to West Yellowstone, Montana. Our final destination was the Grizzly RV Park which almost literally is a stones throw away from the West Gate of Yellowstone and makes for a great viewing spot for the 4th of July fireworks show. You can't imagine how nice it is to just pull a chair out next to your RV and enjoy a great fireworks display without fighting the crowds afterward. If you're looking for a convenient location with a friendly staff make sure you look this place up.
   So what was good? The park's wildlife did not disappoint (it never has) and we were able to get plenty of photos of American Bison, massive bull Elks, and deer. The bear remained elusive to us this trip, which was a disappointment to my daughter but them's the breaks. The highlight though was the chance to get within fifteen yards of a juvenile Bald Eagle, a symbol of America. Outside of an aviary I had never gotten that close to a Bald Eagle. He perched himself on a rock just off the road and allowed a large, photo snapping crowd to gather at his feet. I  think he sat there for fifteen minutes before flying off leaving the crowd to focus on the cow Elk and fawns that had squeaked past us when our backs were turned.
  Old Faithful is still reliable and we arrived five minutes before it went off which was very convenient. We noticed that the Mammoth Hot Springs were dryer than they were the last time we were here, in fact I'm not sure I've ever seen them this dry but it was still a beautiful site to visit.
  And what was bad? The people. Okay so this is a catch 22. Having people in the park brings in money for the parks, which is good. But people in the park brings traffic. We had to be very patient trying to get parking spots at each and every site we stopped at. We had to resort to getting into the park a little earlier than normal in order to get ahead of the crowds. That again is a catch 22 because although you beat the crowds you may not get to see these sites as well as you would later in the day. This is because the cool air of the mornings and the warm waters of the park create a lot of steam. This alone is really cool to see but it can be really thick and will cover all of the features of the sites. This is the exact reason I don't have any colorful photos of the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. Too much steam.
  Recent, tragic incidents have plagued the park this year and after this visit I can see why. People just don't seem to value their safety. The ranger at the entrance hands each driver a newspaper, a map and a flyer. My guess is that those papers are tossed aside in the excitement of being in the park and no one bothers to read them. The flyer gives you information on how far away you are suppose to be from certain animals (you know the ones that want to kill you) yet you will constantly see people trying to get closer and closer to the wildlife. It's a site to see in and of itself. Luckily no one was injured or even chased around while we were there but I was within ear shot of a really good lecture that a ranger was giving a large crowd observing a Bison from across a small river. Not five minutes later the Bison was on our side of the river and the ranger was ushering people back to their cars. This is a common sight around the park and unfortunately incidents happen from time to time.
 Come back Friday as we wrap up our Yellowstone trip and look forward to our upcoming adventures. See you then. In the meantime you can see our daughter Faith's video report on her time in the park below. See you Friday.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Lesson In Logistics

  We've just returned from a great vacation in one of my favorite places on Earth, Yellowstone National Park. Of course we'll be covering that adventure here on the blog soon but I bring it up now because of the complexity involved in getting there. You see, we planned this trip prior to knowing we were going to be moving to California for two years. We were faced with trying to figure out how we were all going to get from Valencia to Wyoming and still spend as much time as we wanted in the park.
  With only five days to get there, site see, and get back driving was out of the question considering that it would take over sixteen hours to drive there one way. Also we had to find the time to shop for our supplies, load up the motor home and hook up the Jeep to tow up there. My vacation days are being saved for our next adventure that will take us a week so using more time was out of the question and the cost of flying the four of us to Salt Lake City, where our motor home is, just wasn't in the budget. So what did we end up doing? Let's just say if I can help it, we won't be doing anything like this again.
  We chose to have Misty and the kids drive to Salt Lake on there own and I would fly in to Salt Lake the night before we were to leave for Yellowstone. On Wednesday at 4:30 am they loaded up and left for home. At the same time I headed in to work. As long as they didn't have any issues (and they didn't) they would arrive in Salt Lake around the same time I would get off work in L.A. We were able to keep in touch throughout the day via phone so I got to track their progress to ease my worried mind. She left a day early in order to have a day to take care of the shopping and stuff but another reason was because I didn't want to be in a stupid plane while my family was on the ground and then there be an issue. If something were to happen while I was at work the worst case would be me leaving to come to the rescue (or sit on the side of the road with them at least.) As it were, all was well and I boarded a plane Thursday night and we were reunited and ready for our adventure.
  The problem came when it was time to return to reality and head back to California. We had to do everything in reverse for the trip back. I would leave Salt Lake at 11:00 pm (after a delay of about an hour) and Misty and the kids would drive back the following day. I can't explain it but I had a really hard time saying goodbye to them this time. It had been easy the first time, a kiss goodbye and a see you tomorrow. But this was different somehow. I felt horrible that I wasn't going to be with them this time. I should be there for them all the time and I shouldn't be leaving them to fend for themselves but that was just the way it had to be. After a couple hours of sleep I headed in to work and as soon as I could I was on the phone to find out where they were. Turns out they had left early and were already four hours into the trip. Long story short, they arrived fine and I got home from work like it was just another day.
  Our next adventure is taking us to the Rubicon trail. I've mentioned this trip in previous posts and we're all getting really excited about it (we're just a few weeks away.) But the logistics on this trip have become an issue as well. I still have a Jeep in Salt Lake that needs to be here in California for me to prep for the trip and I have no way of going to get it myself. We have a plan but I won't get into now. I want to save that as part of that trip report.
  If I have any sort of advise to give you folks out there it is to plan, plan ahead, be flexible and.....don't live in two states at the same time. That crap just sucks.
  If you're interested in a kind of preview of our trip to Yellowstone we've posted a video of the West Yellowstone, Montana fireworks display from the Fourth of July on YouTube (see link below.) The first of many videos we'll be rolling out as promised. The move has really caused me to get behind in my plans but they're coming. I'll see you next week!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday 2016 USA!

  It's the 4th if July here in the good ol U.S. of A and we're all celebrating. Folks across the country are out enjoying the outdoors, having backyard BBQ's, and lighting off fireworks. There simply isn't a more patriotic time of year.
  With a controversial election coming up it's easy to be filled with worry, anger and frustration but today that stuff doesn't matter. We're all Americans and for today at least we are united. 
 This country has seen tough times and great times, war and peace. We've made some great accomplishments and shall have many more to come. So let's wave our flags with pride today and enjoy the party. Happy Birthday America!