Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Wizarding Windows of Harry Potter

In Universal Studios Hollywood there is magic.  Hidden in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are windows.  Not just any windows though, these windows are magical and you can be part of that magic.  In the stores selling wands from the movie you have two options.  You can buy a replica wand for $39.95 and pretend that you are part of the magic or for a small bump in price to $47.95 you can buy an interactive wand. Yes, interactive.  You can be part of the magic in eleven awesome windows hidden throughout the magical land.  

When you buy an interactive wand you get a map to the magic complete with the spell instructions.  The spells are simple.  Find the spot on the ground.  It is marked with the spell as well of you don't have a map handy. Say the words, move the wand in the right pattern and hope that you have magic running through you. 

Some of the windows are hard to see so we've created a cheat sheet so you know what you are looking for. 

1.  Honeydukes- Revelio
A chocolate frog peeks out of his box to croak a hello.

2.  Three Broomsticks- Incendio
In the window the lanterns glow with magic.

3.  Dogweed and Deathcap- Herbivicus
A purple flower blooms right before your eyes.

4.  Madam Puddifoot's- Locamotor Plates and Arresto Momentum 
This is a two part spell.  With Locamotor Plates you can make the plates of pastries spin.  With Arresto Momentum you can stop the spinning.

5.  Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop- Finite Incantatem
This is one of the hardest to see.  There is a quill quickly and loudly quilling away. You can stop the quill in its tracks and stand it upright perfectly still for a moment.  The noise stops as well.

6.  Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment- Alohomora
There is a chest locked up tight.  With this magic you can open it without the key.

7.  Gladrag's Wizarding Wear- Descendio and Ascendio
In the window you see a dress.  With these two spells you can move the measuring tape up and down.

8.  Dervish and Banges- Locomotor Music Box
This might be my favorite. Its a relativly quiet corner in the park.  There sits a beautiful music box.  When you cast the spell the music box will move and play for you.

9.  Spintwiches- Wingardium Leviosa
This store sells quidditch supplies.  With this spell you can activate the magic and make the quaffle move excitedly in its box between two bludgers.

10.  Ceridwen's Cauldrons- Silencio
This magic is for the ears.  When you cast this spell the cauldron keeps bubbling away but the sound stops.

11.  Dominic Maestros- Ventus
In the window you can toss the music pages all about like musical confetti.  It really is quite satisfying to see them all fly.

There is always a line for these windows.  Its so fun to step back into the magical world and be part of it all.  Get here early for your best bet at trying all of them with out a wait.  We like to break it up with a ride or two between the bunch. 

Universal Studios is one of our favorite places but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has pushed it over for us.  We love love love it.  This time we tried the ride that makes everyone sick and it was so smooth.  It didn't smell like vomit at all and the trash cans weren't lining the exits.  I'm not sure what they did but just like magic they fixed it.  

Here is our video of with magical windows. Which one is your favorite? 

If you are enjoying our adventures, subscribe to our blog and be the one of the first to enjoy a trip with us.  

Thank you for being a part of our memories. 

{hugs} Misty


Friday, August 26, 2016

Five Things Friday: Yosemite National Park

Happy Friday everyone. Yesterday was a super huge day for all you nature lovers out there.  Our dear friend the National Park Service had its 100th birthday.  On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service and created the department that would manage all the amazing parks we have today.  One day I would love to say that we have visited them all but we still have a long way to go.  Thankfully the NPS works very hard to preserve these parks in their natural condition so they will be there more many generations to come. To celebrate we are dedicating this post to the beautiful  Yosemite National Park.

1. Did you know that you could stay in a cabin right in the park?  We rented a cabin from The Redwoods of Yosemite and it was one of the best experiences of my life.  We visited the park all day and when we returned to our rooms at night we were still all together.  That is a trick with ten of us on this journey.  We cooked our meals there, we played horseshoes in the yard and we laughed and enjoyed each others company in a private but spacious home.  This has definitely changed my ideas about the ideal ways to stay in national parks.  We never had to leave the magic until we were on our way home.  It does help if you think that your fellow adventure buddies are the most incredible people ever like we do.  

2. Yosemite is a popular place.  By popular I mean there will be a lot of people.  Parking can be tricky to locate, camp spots fill up early and have your patience handy.  One day we were there we attempted to go to the Yosemite Valley Visitors Center and after two loops by we gave up.  The parking was so full they closed the lot off.  Be an early bird and beat the crowds or use their free shuttle system.  

3. Yosemite is filled with history.  Yosemite is a beautiful place.  If you go just for the beauty you will not be disappointed.  If you go with a love for history you will be overjoyed.  The Yosemite Valley Visitors Center is full of things I never knew about this park.  It covers the animals you might find in the area and the pioneer history of the early park days. I learned some of the cultural history of the native Miwok and Paiute people who lived in Yosemite in the Yosemite Museum tucked next to the visitors center.  Behind it hides a replica village that on the day we were there was being used in a traditional ceremony.  Out of respect for the sacred practices photography was discouraged.  Across the street is a cemetery dedicated to casual park visitors, Native Americans and people who played an important roll in the park.  Behind the visitors center is a theater.  Go see a film and it can take you places you might not see unless you plan to backpack the park for an extended time.  I could write a whole book on the history of this place but I think its best left to be discovered.

4. Yosemite has giant trees!  I mean giant like in the biggest I have ever been around in my life.  While we were able to see a few of these giant trees the biggest and best of them are closed until the summer of 2017.   The Mariposa Grove is the home of Giant Sequoias.  Like drive your car through size.  Its a trip we will be taking after this section opens up.  There are other places in the park to see these huge trees but this place is supposed to be the best.  If you choose to go before the summer of 2017 just know that you will miss out on this local gem.  Here is a picture of an example the kids are standing next to.  You can count the rings to learn the age of the tree, or you can just be amazed at the size of the thing.  Either way really cool right? 

5.While you are waiting for the the Mariposa Grove to open up Id suggest you wait a little longer and go in the spring instead.  Yosemite is home to a ton of waterfalls that are fed by the melting snow.  We went to the park in August and the falls were nearly dried up.  Peak run off occurs around May to June.  Planning your trip around then would make for the best waterfall viewing experience.  Check out THIS link to see the falls as they might be when you visit. 

We loved the scenery as we drove through the park, but I'm sure you don't want to watch hours of film out our front window.  We compromised.  You can take a super quick trip through the roads of Yosemite in our video A Zip Through Yosemite below with our time lapsed adventure.  While we're at it, thank you for watching our little adventure videos.  If you want to know when these are posted you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and you will be notified as soon as we upload them.  

Thank you for being a part of our adventures.  The best part of the memories is in the making of them.  Get out there and find your adventure. When your done, send us an email.  We'd love to hear all about it. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016


The Rubicon  Trail, California
  For avid off-roaders there are two names that each one of us know well. One is Moab, the mecca of four wheeling. The other is Rubicon, the granddaddy of them all.
  There are plenty of national parks to choose from when planning your family vacation but one name seems to crop up over and over in my research, Yosemite.
  So what do you do when you want to do visit one of the most famous off-road trails and one of the world's most popular national parks? You plan an epic road trip with like minded folks which is exactly what we did and we called it Rubisemite.
  Four rigs and ten people set out to meet up for a week of fun starting in the little mining town of Virginia City, Nevada. Two rigs left Salt Lake City and two of us left southern California and incredibly we arrived at the center of town at the exact same time. We had planned a day and a half here and during that time we explored the old buildings and browsed the shops that now occupy them. Stories from exploding churches, out of control fires and camel racing await those that choose to visit Virginia City but those stories are for another day.
Virginia City, Nevada
  The next few days would find us traveling the Rubicon Trail. We had heard many tales, watched countless videos and read a lot of articles over the years as we waited and dreamed of tackling this trail and it didn't disappoint. The smell of the pines and the crisp, clean morning air gave us a sort of comfort as we were battered and beaten for two days. We gained a new respect for this trail and walked away feeling accomplished. There were a few negatives about our experience on the trail but overall it was a fun trail that I can't wait to share in more detail over the coming weeks.
  We were planning on spending a day in South Lake Tahoe but the Rubicon's relentless nature caused us to take longer than expected and we needed to make some repairs and take care of some housekeeping before continuing further into the road trip. I guess we'll have to make a return trip when we can spend more time in the area. Until then, Tahoe you seemed to be a beautiful place.
Bodie, California
   Next up was Bodie. The remnants of this once bustling mining town have withstood the elements for over 150 years. With over 100 building still standing it is one of the largest ghost towns still in existence in the United States. It also seemed to be a pretty popular stop for tourists since the parking lot was full after we pulled in and people seemed to walk through every photo you tried to take. We spent over two hours at this location and still didn't see it all before we had to go. The harsh conditions of boom towns became easier to relate to when a small storm sped through the area kicking up pelting sand and large rain drops that had all of us looking for cover but not before we got to take some cool photos of Bodies' remains.
  Bodie was just a quick detour along our path to our final destination of Yosemite National Park. It's amazing how such a short drive you can go from a high, dry desert environment to an even higher, dense forest of tall trees. We rented a cabin that would fit all of us which for one was a surprise that we even attempted such a feat and two how successful it was. A four bedroom cabin that is inside the park boundaries was our home for three days and it ended up being where we spent most of our time.
  Filled with people and dry waterfalls, Yosemite turned out to be the hardest part of the trip. We didn't realize just how busy this park would be. We couldn't even find a parking spot in Yosemite Valley on the first day of our visit so we stopped in to view Bridal Veil Falls before heading back to the cabin for some horseshoes and grilled chicken. After the sobering lesson of the day before we got into the park early so that we could park and explore the visitor center and the surrounding area. Another problem we had was that due to California wildfires the entire valley was filled with a light haze that ruined our photo ops of the valley. I don't want to give the wrong impression, I did find Yosemite to be a beautiful place but there  were lessons learned here that I'll take into account the next time I choose to visit.
  Whew! That was quick glimpse of our trip and kind of a preview of what's to come from us here at Route To Adventure. I'll get into more detail with these locations over the coming weeks so stay tuned. Of course don't forget to tell your friends about us if you like what you see here and we can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

Thanks again,

Friday, August 19, 2016

That Time We Met Dolphins

 When taking a cruise there are multiple activities or excursions as they are called aboard the ships, for passengers to embark upon. The excursions of course vary depending on what part of the world you have chosen to travel to. You'll want to see glaciers, gold and whales while traveling to Alaska. The Colosseum, Pompeii and Pisa are very popular during a Mediterranean cruise. And while traveling to the Caribbean you'll want sandy beaches, snorkeling and sting rays.
  We chose to meet dolphins on one of our excursions while on a cruise to the Caribbean when we made berth in Grand Caymen. This of course was done under some protest from the grumpy Gus of the family (yours truly) but as his son really wanted to swim with these very large porpoises who was he to get in the way?
    While I didn't really want to swim with the dolphins I did find them interesting. They have an extreme intelligence that at times will astound you. This particular venue had you swimming in ocean water with only a very low rock border to break waves and keep you on the property. Why the dolphins don't make a break for freedom is beyond me. I assume they like being hand fed their meals as opposed to hunting for it because that would be the only thing keeping me around. Free food, easy food, what's not to love?
  Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances not everyone in our group was able to actually participate in the swimming portion of the encounter, so three of us jumped at the chance to just meet the dolphins while the rest went ahead and swam with them. Which meant we were all happy in the end. The boy got to swim with dolphins while Dad just had to shake hands and make out with them a little and that really isn't a comfortable thing to do either. I mean we had only known each other for a few minutes and I don't remember any alcohol being involved but I do remember she tasted like salt water, at least I think it was a she.
  Joking aside, it was a fun experience that while I think could have been made a little better (they seemed very unorganized and were late picking us up from the dock) I'm glad that we all got to do it. Will I do it again? Eh, not sure. At this time I don't think so. Some things just need to be experienced once but I'm not ready to say that I'll never do this again. I like to keep my options open and I still have others that I travel with that like this kind of thing.
  Well we're off for another adventure. We'll see you on Friday!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Five Things Friday: The National Parks Service

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana
  If you've been reading our blossoming blog for very long then you probably know that we like to learn things as we travel. Sure the destinations we visit are fun regardless of where it is but to us, knowing the history of a location is just as important. I for one have a ball researching a location prior to our arrival because I think it helps me to appreciate what it is that I'm visiting. Knowing the backstory brings you closer to the location and makes just a little more special to be there.
  So keeping in mind that I like to learn and I also like to inform, we're going to try to pass on a little information from our travels that hopefully help teach or inspire you to follow in the footsteps of our adventures. We're calling this Five Things Friday. The idea is to pass on to you five things that we learned or experienced that we find interesting and hope you do too. To start it off I'm revisiting the 100th anniversary of the National Parks System that is being celebrated this year. We have a few ideas for Five Things Friday to sprinkle throughout the weeks and we'll see how you good folks like it. So let's get to it.

1. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary the United States Mint has created three limited edition coins for people to collect. A five dollar gold coin, a silver dollar and a half dollar featuring images from the NPS logo to famous park scenes are represented on the coins and proceeds from the coin sales will go to the National Parks Foundation to help fund projects in the future.
  I just learned about these coins literally two days ago and I may just have to pick some of these up. If you want to learn more about the coins click here.

2. There are 58 national parks in the U.S. scattered throughout 27 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Somoa. The first was Yellowstone National Park Created in 1872 by President Grant.

3. According to the NPS, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park with 10,099,276 in 2014. They also totaled the total amount of visitors from all the parks since 1904 and came up with a whopper of a number-12,949,516,004. It's easy to say that national parks have always been pretty popular.

4. Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska stands as the largest National Park boasting 13,005 sq miles. What makes this park unique is that this park seems to be tailored for the true outdoors man. You won't find organized campgrounds here but you will find opportunities to kayak, hike, hunt, fish, ATV trails and more. If you make it to this park make sure to stop in the town of Kennecott where the remnants of one of the world's richest copper mines resides. I've seen this in documentaries and television shows and it is a place I plan to visit if I can ever manage a road trip through Alaska. Learn more here.

5. Crowded. After visiting Yellowstone over the 4th of July it is my opinion that the Find Your Park campaign and the heavy advertising for the 100th anniversary have been a massive success. We have visited Yellowstone over the 4th multiple times over the years and I have never seen it as busy at it was this year. I've been hearing a lot of grumbling coming out of Yosemite over the last month as well and I'd be lying if I wasn't a little nervous about our trip there next week. But that's okay. It turns out I'm about four hours away from my temporary home here in California which is like me going to Moab from Salt Lake. So, when the crowds leave in the fall I can go back and experience the park when it's a little quieter.

  Well I hope you liked the first edition of Five Things Friday. Let us know if you want to see more articles similar to this in the comments or you can let us know on Facebook or Twitter if you'd prefer. Don't forget to get out there and find your own adventure this weekend. Stay safe. If you need help finding your park visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm.


Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Packing For The Road

  Since the launch of this blog we have had quite a few adventures to write about. Each one has had it's own unique itinerary and sites to see. However they have been pretty straight forward as to what we've packed. We've taken day trips with a cooler of drinks and a full tank of gas. We've packed the motorhome with food and clothes and headed for Moab and Yellowstone and we packed up the suitcases and stayed in a hotel outside of Disneyland in Anaheim. Again, all of this is pretty easy to plan for but there is still one more big trip that I've mentioned here that we are currently getting ready to venture on and that trip is what we've referred to as the Rubisemite trip. Yeah I can hear you saying, "Rubisemte? What the heck is that?" It's the combination of Rubicon and Yosemite. Confusing? Not after I explain it.
  Being involved in the off road community we've heard of the legendary (there words, not mine) Rubicon trail. It's well regarded and important not only to people that have Jeeps but historically as well. I don't want to get too in depth because I'll be covering this in future posts but I bring it up because the trail requires multiple days to traverse it which means we're going camping.
  Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular NP's in he United States and no one in our group has ever been there. So, it only made sense for a group of Utahn's to pack up the Jeeps and head out to California but we wanted to make this more than just driving twelve hours to do a rocky, dirt road. No. That would be too easy (we'll see.) We decided to mix sightseeing with our off roading which leads us to figure out how to pack for such a trip so I figured I'd talk it over on the blog.
  So how do you pack for a vacation? I think each trip is different and depending on how many people you are traveling with will dictate what you take with you. For instance, if you have a family of four and you plan on taking a week long vacation you're going to have a few suitcases with you. If that family wants to take a day to go snorkeling are you going to pack your own snorkel gear? Probably not if you're jumping on a plane to get to your destination but if you're driving and have some extra space you might (I would because the thought of renting a snorkel makes me gag.) But if this family is planning on spending multiple days at the beach maybe they do stuff their own gear in a suitcase before boarding the plane. They just have to figure out if it's worth the weight and the sacrifice of bag space.
  On a trip like Rubisemite we plan to do a pretty equal share of cooking and dining out for eight days. Obviously when we're out on the trail we'll be preparing all three meals a day which I think is great. I really hate spending hard earned money on eating out. It's easy while on vacation and it does afford a break for those that cook for their families but it's expensive while on a trip that's already costing a thousand or so dollars. But I at the same time I like to take in the local dining locations that are unique to a location.

   We'll shop for the first half of the trip locally to allow us to have enough room in the coolers this will get us through the camping part of the trip and back to civilization. The second half of the trip we're trying something a little different for our group. We rented a cabin near Yosemite that will fit all ten of us. There we'll have the freedom to cook if we want or eat out. So before we leave South Lake Tahoe we'll hit a store there and finish shopping for the rest of the trip. Yes it may be more expensive and a slight inconvenience but there really isn't a lot of room in the back of a Jeep and when you've got tents and sleeping bags packed for everyone space is at a premium. This is our way of easing the pressure.
  Of course along with our day to day gear (clothes, sleeping gear, food) I also have all of our camera gear to bring along which really robs space. I'm lucky on this trip because not all of us have four people in their rigs. This allows us to share some space so that we can bring everything we need. I would almost leave my clothes home if it meant getting our camera gear in the Jeep. I just have to have it. How else would I be able to bring you guys content? I'm planning on putting out some good videos from this trip to share on YouTube so stay tuned for that. I will change my clothes though, in case you were concerned.
  Well I've got some packing to do so I'll stop rambling. I do want to thank my wife for picking up the slack for the last few posts while I've been busy with work. She does well for me. While I'm at it I'll thank all of you who keep coming back and reading our disconnected thoughts each week and I'll invite you to our YouTube channel where we have slowly started to roll out some quick videos while we work on our longer works. Stay safe out there and I'll see you on Friday with a slight change in format. Stay tuned.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Beach Days and Beautiful Memories.

Hello world.  I have a confession to make. I have lived in Utah my whole life until now.  I am and forever will consider myself a Utahn.  Its a real thing, I promise.  I get the mountains.  They are beautiful, they are quiet, they are alive with wonder and exploration.  I get the peace you get when you are on a hike with your family and you can only hear the wind rustling through the aspens.  I get the desert.  Its warm and huge.  You can get on an ATV and go forever.  I understand the magic of the red rocks of southern Utah. I get the magic of the caves, the lakes and the ice cold winter runoff streams.  I get the people.  I had no idea that those from Utah were so unique.  They are and I love it.  Did you know that when you hike in Utah everyone there is your friend?  Say hello to each and every one of them because that's the right thing to do.  If you are on a mountain trail and you feel that rush of joy that only the cool mountain breeze can provide, you share that joy with everyone! Its magical.  In Utah you can experience all four seasons in one day and for the most part you are prepared for it.  We're a different sort but it is such a part of who I am.  I also love a good mud puddle of any kind and splash in them when ever I can.  That was your friendly warning.

I have a home in California and I am 100% dedicated to finding the beauty of this place.  Living in Utah my whole life I learned early on the beauty there.  California is a dream destination for so many people.  They even talked about it one Sunday in church.  They asked why anyone would ever live anywhere else because the weather is perfect.  We were told that we can see 75 degree days in December.  Instead of an ice castle we could be building a sand castle on Christmas day.  Why would anyone not love that?  We're still exploring and learning what this beautiful state has to offer.

Funny story.  I got lost twice in the last two weeks here.  See, when you are driving in California you are on the road with millions of other people.  Most of those other people know where they want to be and so they are there ready to make their move.  Freeway switches come up fast and I miss exits from time to time.  In Utah I just look for a familiar mountain and know which direction I want to go.  I've learned that I need a map system with me at all times if I leave my little city.  I don't have a very strict schedule generally so I just roll with the punches and get home when I get home.  It's just not a super confidence builder to turn a 45 minute drive into a two hour adventure.  This week our adventure took us to a new place so I broke out that map and followed it turn by turn.  The address I had to the beach took me right to the sanitation treatment plant.  The smell was awesome.  There was even a dead fish stuffed in the fence to add to the ambiance of it all.  I've learned to trust the map but check it twice.   The beach was just around the corner from there and we found it with no trouble.

We went to Carpinteria State Beach about an hour and a half north of us.  Even with the sanitation department detour we made it easily in that time.  The drive took us up part of the PCH which was crazy cool.  I would love to be passenger instead of driver one day on that road.  The ocean has so many things to look at.  There is something called a Seal Rookery that we passed on the map that I'd love to go see one day.  I think that a Seal Rookery is a place that seals go and have their babies but it's a new concept to me so it will be a new adventure one day soon.  We could also see oil rigs out in the ocean.  It was my first time seeing one of these outside of a movie.  You know, like the one in that movie Armageddon with Bruce Willis.  Good movie, definitely worth watching.  We were told to get the tar balls off of us with lighter fluid or baby wipes.  TAR BALLS! Lets be honest here, I still have a few small spots of tar on me that I didn't scrub off well enough.  It wasn't noticeable while we were there, just after we got home and cleaned up. I'm easily excited by these little quirks so I left them to show Brandan, who wasn't as impressed.

I guess I thought that every beach was basically the same.  I learned that some have bigger waves than others.  Some are sandy and some are rocky.  Some are warm, some are smelly and some are in a category all on their own.  Disney's private island, Castaway Cay,  spoiled me a little bit.  It is beautiful white sand that is perfectly clear and warm.  Snorkeling there was one of the best memories ever. I'm sure that is a lot of what heaven must be like.  Carpinteria State Beach is alive with animals.  We had a seal playing ten feet away from us.  I was told its a great beach to see dolphins playing in the morning.  There was even a big sign to drag your feet to avoid stepping on sting rays.  The beach is surrounded by camping areas and it was packed solid on a regular old Wednesday afternoon.

We picked up some body boards like we were planning and spent most of our day learning how to use them.  Turns out you don't just float along the waves.  There is a technique to it that I didn't quite get down well.  Our little miss is a natural at anything and had a few good waves take her in.  We also got tossed around pretty good.  The water was the color of a milk shake as it crashed on the beach and we had sand everywhere.  I'm still trying to get sand off.  I showered well but I am still finding it on my skin.  I'm not sure we will ever get it all out of the car.  I am sure we will never get it out of our house.  I think if we started to save it all up we could make a beach of our own one day.

We have a lot to learn about beaches.  We have a lot to learn about what makes a great beach.  We have a lot to learn about what to do at each beach.  People jog there!  I can barely walk there and some people are out there running.  It seems like running the wrong way on an escalator to me but to each his own.  Some people sit on the beach and watch the water for hours. Some people just play on their phones.  I think part of the fun beaches have to offer is that there is something for everyone.  There is an entire shore line full of different kinds of beaches and we are going to do our best to explore a lot of them.

For now we are beach newbies.  We are learning the ways of the waves.  Each trip out we learn a few more little tips and tricks.  For example, baby powder is supposed to be magical for getting sand off.  I have no idea how well it works but I will have some next time I go to the beach.  We would love some tips or even just your favorite beach.  Do you have a favorite beach destination we should check out next?  Hit us with a comment and let us know what our next beach destination should be.

Beauty is where you look for it, everyday is a new blessing, and literally there is sand everywhere.  Until the next memory in the making we will say goodbye for now.  See you soon!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Do you want fries with that?

There is a museum for everything.  Well, maybe not everything but definitely things I never knew there were museums for.  This week we stopped at one of those.  I know last week I mentioned that we weren't talking food anymore for a while.  I guess I lied.  I didn't mean to.  When I said it I was absolutely sure that we were not going to talk about any kind of food.  I'm sorry.  I really really am.  We weren't talking about food until we bumped into this little gem.  The McDonald's in North Hollywood California.

When you hear the word Hollywood you think all the glamour of the stars.  Things that glimmer and are made of gold.  You think fancy dresses and sleek parties.  That's what I thought at least.  Its not really like that.  Its a regular old city with regular old things right up until you stop in and check out this place.  It wouldn't be fair if I didn't warn you that this isn't the nicest McDonald's in the world.  Ordering was a struggle due to language differences but we were fed and no one died.  I call that a success.  Check out their Yelp reviews if you really want to dig in deep.  Lets just leave it at that.

Richard and Maurice McDonald left their native New Hampshire for the dream of making it big as Hollywood producers.  Lucky for us their dream never came to be and they settled for opening a tiny drive-in restaurant in San Bernardino, California on May 15th, 1940. They started as a slow cooked for hours BBQ with a 25 item menu.  The drive-in featured female carhops in majorette boots and short skirts serving customers in their parking lot.  After World War II they realized that 80 percent of their sales came from basic hamburgers.  They gave the place a complete overhaul over a three month closing and what came from this was the beginnings of what we know today.  They focused on speed, lower prices and volume.  Obviously that is a great working model because it became a hit.  A sales man named Ray Krok visited San Bernardino in 1954 to see why the McDonald's could possibly need eight of his Multi-Mixers capable of making 48 milkshakes at once for just one location. Seeing the potential in the business Krok bought the rights to franchise the restaurant across the country and in 1955 his first McDonald's opened in Des Plaines, Illinios. In 1961 Krok purchased the company in whole from the McDonald brothers for 2.7 million.  Things weren't exactly smooth between the brothers and the salesman.  The brothers kept the original San Bernardino restaurant to the annoyance of Krok and renamed it "Big M".  To gain his revenge, Krok opened a McDonald's around the block and eventually drove the brothers out of business.  

In the heart of North Hollywood on 6309 Lankershim Blvd is a McDonald's that celebrates the history that has been over 75 years in the making. While I wouldn't call it an official museum it offers a step back in time to memories we all have from childhood.  Officer Big Mac and Ronald McDonald welcomed us into the store on the main floor and it was just a taste of what they had to offer.  

As you round your way up the stairs to their play land it opens up like a mini museum of McDonald's history.  The characters I remember from my childhood were all there to spark my memories alive again. 

There were even characters I didn't remember.  I have no idea where this pirate guy came from but he looks like he fits in as one of the group. No matter what happens in life Hamburglar will always be my favorite. 

The walls are decorated with aged posters, pictures, memorabilia and news clippings chronicling the humble growth of a mega star restaurant. 

  While they didn't find success in the movie business of Hollywood they changed the fast food world forever. 

Jim Gaffigan has this bit about everyone eating at McDonalds but no one will admit it.  Its kind of a guilty pleasure.  Its not on any healthy meal plan I have ever had, but its affordable, fast and part of our history.  Just for fun here is the link to Jim Gaffigans take on McDonalds. It is so worth watching.  That's just my opinion but I think all of his stuff is magic.  Its one of those YouTube rabbit holes we fall into and hours later we have no idea where our time has gone.  Magical.  Watch it below and you can thank us later.