Friday, December 30, 2016

Automotive Art

 Just about everyone has there idea of what art should be. For some art is a painting of a simple woman that lacks a proper smile while for others a sculpture of a guy deep in thought. Perhaps photography is your art of choice. But what if you were to take everything appealing about those artistic variants and meld them together? What would you get? Well the fine arts crowd may not agree with me (and they probably wouldn't be reading this article anyway) but I would say the result would clearly be the automobile.
  Yes the automobile. That thing you rely on everyday to get you to work, the grocery store and soccer practice. They come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of comfort  and styles. Some are low slung and quick and others are large, boxy and carry a large family. Despite their differences they all started with an idea that was put to paper as a sketch. From a sketch a clay mold is sculpted, shaved and molded into what will become an automakers next big thing. Some of these automobiles will fade into history with little thought from anyone. But some will live on forever, coveted by car enthusiasts for all time. So what happens to these special cars? Well a select few will make it into someone's collection and for an even smaller number they will make it into a museum and one of these museums can be found on the west side of Los Angeles, California and it's called the Petersen's Automotive Museum.
   If the name Petersen sounds familiar it's probably because you've read one of their multiple magazines. "Hot Rod," "4 Wheel and Off Road" and "Bowhunting" magazines are just a few examples of what Petersen's has brought us which is interesting enough but at the auto museum you get to see these feature worthy cars in person. From the dawn of automobiles to the cream of the crop they're here under one roof. A few of our favorites were the 1915 Ford Model T, a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, and my daughter's favorite the 2015 MClaren P1. Yeah she's got expensive taste. But there's so much more to see here. Custom built cars from Boyd Coddington and Chip Foose are on display and are true pieces of art.The detail and skill that went into building these cars is amazing.
  If movie cars are your thing then you would be excited to see some true icons at the P.A.M. The Ford Thunderbird from Thelma and Louise is here as well as the Plymouth Fury known as "Christine" from the film of the same name. Thanks to Stephen King's novel and the film we'll never look at this car the same way again. The Delorean from Back To The Future is also there and just a few feet from it is the Batmobile from 1989's Batman film. For fans of these films it's fun to see them in person for sure.
  During our visit they had a large display of Bugatti display that opened my eyes to their history. I had only heard the Bugatti name a few years ago and had no idea where they had come from so I was truly surprised to see displays of not only cars but art work as well. Jewelry, furniture and even musical instruments from the Bugatti family are  carefully displayed among their cars. Of course the car everyone wants to see is the Chiron. With nearly 1500 horsepower and a 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds the Chiron is definitely one of the most exciting cars on display at the Petersen's Automotive Museum.
  As is the case in any museum there is something here for every taste. Classics and moderns, customs and electrics, primitive to technological marvels all in the same building. If you get bored in this museum then you just don't love cars. If you've never thought of the automobile as a work of art I hope a visit to Petersen's Automotive Museum changes your mind. I would set aside three hours to explore the building and a friendly heads up you won't be able to take any bags or backpacks through the museum so you'll have to leave them in the car or check them at the security desk. Don't forget your camera though you won't want to leave without pictures. To learn more check out their website  https://petersen.org/ . And to get a quick peak you can check out our Quick Trip video below.

Brandan




Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Gifts That Promote Travel

  Christmas has come and gone and now we're all looking forward to the new year. I'm sure some of you got exactly what you wanted under your tree while some of you didn't but that's okay because it's the thought that counts. At least that's what I'm told anyway.
  When it comes to what the children want I would go out on a limb and say that a common gift requests parents hear about from children have something to do with some type of electronic device. "Mom, I want an... insert apple device of your choice here." Or, "Santa I want a video game." I'm sure you get the picture. Well it's been no different around our house this year and to the kids' surprise we refused to give them electronic devices this year. No we decided that we needed to cut the cords and get a little more exercise into our daily lives. We wanted our best gift to not only get them off the couch and out of the house but we wanted it to fit in with some of out travel as well. So what was this magical gift? Golf clubs.
  Yes golf clubs. It's a game that I love and have wanted to share with them for years and it seems now is the time to finally do it. But what does golf have to do with travel? Well if you're a golfer you already know the answer but for those of you that aren't here is my opinion. Golf courses have been nestled into some of the most beautiful sites the world had to offer. Think of Pebble Beach in California, Augusta National, Georgia, Royal Birkdale, England or almost anywhere in Hawaii. Yes friend, golf travel is a thing and I'm going to introduce it to the family. 
  It will take some time to get them ready (and me for that matter) because as anyone that's taken a swing will know, golf isn't easy. It is however extremely fun and there is nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass in the morning as you walk through some of the most picturesque vistas around. I have visited some great courses with awesome scenery and it would be criminal not to share those locations with my family. 
  Yes it's wishful thinking that my children will love the game of golf as much as I do but it's important for me to at least introduce them to the game now because I wish I had started playing earlier in life. Either way I'm going to continue to dream about visiting golf courses across America and Scotland with friends and family. By the way, with all the practice I'll be getting with the kids it will make it easy for me to make sure the boys in my "grown up" foursome will have to work a little harder in 2017 to beat me. Heh, heh, heh. See you on Friday, folks.

Brandan 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Adventures In Gold Panning

  Our adventures take us to all kinds of places. Sometimes we find ourselves breathing cool, crisp mountain air with only the sound of trees swaying in the wind while at other times we find ourselves in a crowd of noisy people waiting in line for a roller coaster. But we do like to find a little local flare when we get to our locations and it seems that an odd trend has emerged over the years. 
  You see, you don't travel to as many old mining towns as we do and not try your hand at a little gold panning. It just isn't right. Trust me. So we have stopped into these little tourist traps in Alaska and two different locations in Montana.
 So how do they work? They all seem to be the same. You purchase a bag of dirt and they supply the tools to pan it. Of course the bags are "salted" which means every bag has some gold flakes and other stones placed in the dirt for the customer to find and while that may be thought of as cheating but if you want people to keep visiting your operation they had better find something in that bag of dirt. It's the experience you're buying and that's the way you should look at it. Anyone can experience what it's like to pan for gold without having to experience the repeated failure that is the reality of panning for gold. There's no cold river water to chill your feet and all the large chunks of rocks have already been classified prior to your own panning. 
  Now you're not going to get rich playing with the "salted" bags but you'll get enough to make a good souvenir and for some it may even become a gateway activity that could provoke future purchases of gold pans and metal detectors so do this at your own risk but if it gets you out of the house then it's a win, right?
  This may not be something that interests everyone but if you find yourself in a small town and have an hour to kill then I say go for it. It actually is fun to gently wash the sand away to reveal that tiny, shiny metal. 
  We here at Route To Adventure want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and as always stay safe in your travels.

Brandan

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Feeling The Christmas Spirit

  I'm sure most of you have noticed that it is now less than a week before Christmas. Some of you are still trying to find that perfect gift for that special someone while others have been done shopping for weeks and are now ready to relax for the holiday. Yes shopping can be stressful and at times it can even damper our spirits to the point that we may dread the holiday season. However, if we forget the stresses of shopping it's possible to find the beauty of Christmas and you won't have to travel far to enjoy it. In fact it's so easy to see you'd be hard pressed to miss it.
  Yes we all have that one neighbor that has spent his entire life waiting to emulate Clark Griswald (am I aging myself with this reference?) Yup, he's spent an entire months salary on colorful lights and Santa Clause cut outs complete with reindeer and has now plastered them throughout his yard. Now you have to close all the window blinds in the house just to sleep at night. The electrical hum emanating from the house reminds you of the substation down the street and you decide to keep the kids indoors just in case the radiation is harmful.
 Now the lights are flashing and dancing in strange configurations that don't make a lot of sense.  A sign he just put up in front of house tells you to tune your radio to 87.3 or something and out of curiosity you do to find out why. Because music! Yup the strange flashing light show is dancing to the music on the radio. You're not sure if it's cool or not but it doesn't matter because you're trying to figure out how the heck he got his own radio station. But cancer causing radiation and dancing lights are the least of the problems because if you build it, they will come and now they're here. Cars. Not just one but a line of them that bring traffic to a crawl as they follow one another bumper to bumper into your cul-de-sac with cameras and cocoa expelling "oohs" and "aahs" for hours on end and blocking your driveway when all you want to do is go to pick up a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.
 Now glaring at him from your front window you imagine strangling him with his own Santa scarf. In your mind you'd be the neighborhood hero. The man that put an end to the "holiday hell house." Yep everyone would be singing your praises even as the cops loaded you in the backseat of their squad car with hands clasped in irons. At that thought you stop and realize that you've completely missed the point of the holiday. You know you've acted like a jerk all month and ignored your own family and responsibilities. You are the Grinch in Whoville and while your heart isn't going to grow three sizes there is a slight change that overcomes you. That guys house is beautiful and although it's over the top it has brought joy to all those who have come from far and wide to view it. In a way it will bring joy to you too. A sly smile crosses your face as you revel in the thought of the enormous power bill waiting in that son of gun's mailbox.
  Well I had a little fun at some people's expense today but be aware that I do see the beauty in Christmas lights and encourage those that choose to set them up to continue doing so every year. We here at Route To Adventure wish you all a warm and merry Christmas. 

Brandan        

Friday, December 16, 2016

Getting Down In Grafton

  The passage of time helps us forget the painful, the funny and the best of our memories. Paired with Mother Nature time will also erase the evidence of our own history. The speed at which the effects of time can reclaim nature's space is actually quite impressive. Photos of places like Chernobyl or the Titanic wreck site remind us of how fragile mankind's creations really are. But when the right people come along a rusting classic car can return to it's former glory days and crumbling buildings can be brought back from near collapse to fresh, museum quality exhibits. The Grafton ghost town is an example of this.
   Grafton is hidden by the small town of Rockville, Utah just south of Zion's National Park. It was founded in 1859 by Mormon settlers for the purpose of growing cotton and was originally called Wheeler. Nature interfered with the town on more than one occasion in the form of flooding which at one time washed most of Wheeler away. The town was moved and renamed Grafton but the floods continued and the threat of attacks by Native Americans eventually led to the downfall of the town.
  Today the town is famous from Hollywood films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Arizona Kid among many others. Grafton is also considered by some to be the most photographed ghost town in the United States. 
  Of course none of this would be possible without the restoration of the town. In 1997 the Grafton Heritage Partnership began improvements on the few remaining buildings, farmland and cemetery in an effort to preserve the site. Thanks to the GHP we were able to visit the site to take photos for ourselves and to enjoy an afternoon with a little local history. Despite being under 24 hour surveillance and just a short distance from Rockville you still get the feeling of isolation and the lack of noises feeds the sense of loneliness and an occasional tumbleweed passing by will send you over the edge. 
  After letting the creepy feelings pass you can settle in and enjoy how peaceful the setting really is and get to photographing and exploring. The doors to the buildings are locked but that isn't a reason not to visit. A peak in the window allows you to see the work that has been done to revitalize the structures. Had this work not been done there may not be anything here but fallen blocks and foundations to be forgotten by people and reclaimed by nature but for now this historic site is in good hands.

Brandan 
       

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Walk of Western Stars

   The dust has cleared, the gun barrels have cooled and the outlaws are behind bars or maybe six feet under. Either way the hero has mounted his horse, tipped his hat and is riding off into the sunset while "The End" creeps on the screen and the audience applauds another fun filled adventure movie set in the "Old West." 
  The now classic western films were extremely popular during the 1930's and well into the 1970's and produced names like John Ford, Roy Rodgers and John Wayne. At one time these were some of the biggest names in Hollywood but the years pass, times change and with it the stars fade away. But there is a place where the history of these western film stars is not only documented but honored in a big way. 
  Main Street in Newhall, California is lined with bronze plaques bordered with terrazzo and each one has the name of a western star. Here Jack Palance, Steve McQueen and Sam Elliot will forever be remembered in true Hollywood fashion. 
   Annually since 1981 the city has added new names to the walk during the Cowboy Festival held in April. We didn't have the opportunity to attend the 2016 event because we were in the middle of moving in but I think we'll be able to make an appearance next spring. If you think you'd like to see the Walk of Western Stars or if you want to attend the Cowboy Festival check out the sites below and we'll see you back here on Friday!

Brandan

www.cowboyfestival.org

 http://oldtownnewhall.com/about-old-town-newhall/walk-of-western-stars/

Friday, December 9, 2016

Walking in a Winter Wonderland.

Christmas season is here!  The lights, the sounds and the excitement bursting though the air.  Kids are rewriting their lists and making sure we know what they want to see under the tree.  Families are planning parties and sending cards.  There is music in the air every place you go.  This entire month is bursting with joy and I love it.  




This post is going to give you a small sneak peak at Thanksgiving Points Luminaria  and I will probably ramble on about sappy things holiday related.  I'm feeling the spirit and all the feels that go along with it.  At Thanksgiving Point they do things big.  The Museum of Ancient Life has one of the largest displays of mounted dinosaurs in the world.  If they do dinosaurs like that you can expect everything else to be done as grand as well.  



Luminaria is a walk through light display that will leave you in awe.  Its a mile walk through lights, hot cocoa and fire pits to warm your hands or roast a marshmallow for a s'more.  Tickets are about $20 a person so it can add up for a family.  Members get a discount and also people with groups of 20 or more.  If you really want an experience you can spend $149 and get the Weekender Package that includes a hotel room, a bottomless cup of cocoa and some other swag to remember your visit. 


The Grand Allee has 8000 lights covering the hill.  Each one making a tiny piece of a big picture.  The tree they decorated is 120 feel tall.  Each are only a small piece of what they have to show.  Music is in the air as you walk from experience to experience.  Its impossible not to crack a smile as you look at what they have done to deck these halls. 


Thanksgiving Point was a ten minute drive from our home in Saratoga Springs, Utah.  When we were ready to see something besides the walls of our house we could pop over and be amazed.  Its not as easy today now that we are 660 miles from the place.  These pictures were sent to us by my parents Steve and Teressa Rich who are great at helping us keep up on our home state loves.  They snapped these pictures with their cell phones as they walked through.  Enjoy these like we have and next year we can all plan to walk through together.  

I love that we all carry these little super computers in our pockets so that we can snap pictures and send them to our loved ones.  Snap a picture today and send it to someone you care about. Its easy to forget how blessed we really are. 

What are the cant miss Christmas destinations near you?  We would love to hear about them.



Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and make the most of your moments.  

🎔 Misty









Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Knott's Land of Fried Chicken and Roller Coasters

  When it comes to theme parks Southern California would be king. We have visited Disney and Universal on multiple occasions throughout the years. But there is another popular park that we seem to have neglected and for no real reason in particular. So what is this park? Knott's Berry Farm of course.
  Spread across 160 acres in Buena Park, CA, Knott's Berry Farm began as a berry farm by Walter Knott's family in 1920. They sold a variety of jam's, jellies, and pies from a roadside stand. The fruit stand grew into a fried chicken restaurant in 1934 that was so popular that the family built attractions on the property to keep the patrons entertained. Today Knott's Berry Farm still has a restaurant, still sells fruity jams and has 40 rides to entertain the masses.
  With family in from out of town we decided that we should stop in and check out the farm to see what we thought. Well we were surprised to say the least. I liked the western theme of Ghost Town where you feel like you're walking through an old western town. Here we found multiple little booths selling different types of trinkets similar to what you would find at a local farmer's market which complements the history of the land and it at least makes you feel like you're supporting the little guy even if you might not be. 
  Have you ever wanted to see a glass blower in action? Well get over to Knott's, they have one giving demonstrations every day. I would have never thought that I would see something like that in a theme park but it was a pleasant surprise to see those skills on display. They also had a wood carver who's tool of choice is a chain saw. Yup, horsepower and wood chips. What's not to love? 
  Ghost Rider, Xcelerator and Boomerang are headliners as far as the roller coasters go at Knott's and of the three we got to ride one. Yes the down side of theme parks can be the crowds which I didn't expect to be so bad since Summer is over but I was way wrong. Since it's the holiday's and it was a Saturday it seemed that everyone had the same idea about visiting the park on the same day. It happens which is a bit of a let down for those that flew in from the middle of the country but we made the best of it and we still got to ride plenty of rides and had a fun day together. The good news for us is that we can go back and try again to see more of the park and to experience it in it's entirety on another day.
  Although some of us seem to like Disneyland a little more than we should around here, Knott's Berry Farm is a nice break from the norm and is worth a visit if you're looking for something just a little different. To learn more you can visit their web site at https://www.knotts.com/ and we'll see you back here on Friday. Have a good week!

Brandan


Friday, December 2, 2016

One Year On

    Happy birthday! Or is it happy anniversary? Either way December 1st marked one year from launch day and we've had an adventurous year to say the least. We made a big (temporary) move to California thanks to the day job, which has opened up our travel opportunities and we have made to some great destinations.
  2016 was the 50th anniversary of the Easter Jeep Safari, an event that is near and dear to us. For the last 23 years we've attended this event and we don't look to be slowing down. What can we say? It's in our blood. 
  We've had many chances to visit Southern California's theme parks which the kid's love. Mickey and his friends are always there to wash away the home sickness that on occasion tends to sneak in to their minds now and again.
    We also had an epic road trip that took us through Nevada and California that took us to historic ghost towns and gave us the chance to cross off a bucket list off road trail. The Rubicon trail tested our vehicles and our endurance as we traversed it's lengthy path. It was a trip that we'll cherish in our memories and has raised the bar on our future adventures. 
  We also visited Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks. These two places contain some of the most beautiful scenery that you can possibly imagine. I've never been shy about my love of Yellowstone and like Moab, I'll continue to visit this place as often as I can. 
  I thank those of you who have found us and continue to read this blog. We'll be continuing to bring you our adventures throughout the next year wherever they may be. We have a few big trips planned that we'll reveal later on in the coming months and we have a lot of smaller trips that we'll cover as they happen. Don't forget to visit our YouTube channel as we continue to roll out more videos for a more visual side of our trips. Have a great weekend and we'll see you next week. 

Thank you for a great year.

Brandan