Who knew LA & Wrightwood could be so much fun?

Recently, my brother, Don, visited me in Los Angeles. We started off the week by trying the Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio’s ink.sack on Melrose Avenue. Delicious and

ink.sack_

inexpensive food! We were both very stoked.  My brother is a foodie and always has a list of restaurants he wants to try when he is in town. His choices never fail!

Next up were Make Music Pasadena and the Pasadena Chalk Festival. I don’t know if the music fest will be an annual thing, but it was pretty neat. There were a whole lotta bands. I won’t even lie and pretend I had a clue who any of them were. I had heard of Dengue Fever because their song One Thousand Years of a Tarantula was placed in a season finale of the show Weeds. It was a pretty awesome ending. We watched Dengue perform and then moved onwards to the food trucks around the corner so my brother could enjoy Nom Nom and I could nosh on a sandwich from the Lobsta Truck. Also there were the Grilled Cheese and India Jones trucks, but I can hit them up another time!  All of them have awesome food, I must say.

After dinner we were off to Dodger Stadium. It took us no time to get there from Pasadena.

Dodger-Stadium1
Sorry boys, I’m a White Sox girl!

What took forever was getting INTO the stadium. Geesh! The White Sox were in town playing the Dodgers.  We won!  Seeing baseball with my brother rules! Dodger Stadium is the 3rd oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Pretty cool! One odd thing was the organist played “Alone Again.” It’s weird, right? The other odd, but VERY LA thing is the special parking for Lexus owners.

Dodger-Stadium-parking
Well…..Excuuuse Me!

Since you know you are wondering, I’ll tell you: There were no incidents at all at the stadium. Everyone was well behaved and nice so don’t let the very unfortunate incident last year keep you from checking out the ballpark!

A few days later, we had dinner at Sweetsalt in Toluca Lake. Another Top Chef find by my brother. Service was amazing! Food was incredible! AND and and and … they have Macarons!! Holy S***!! I definitely scared the staff with my cookie obsession thing.

Finally, we hit an Angels vs. Giants game at Anaheim Stadium with another friend of mine.

Charlies-Angels-of-Anaheim-II
My brother’s “Charlie’s Angels” pose.

I love going to that stadium. It’s so efficient to get in and out!! Plus, the White Sox are usually there when they are in town, so I have learned to love that place.  And it was a great game!

The next weekend, my cousin, Lisa and I went whale watching with Newport Landing in Newport Beach. lisajenn_whalewatchingNo whales (I never ever see whales! wah!) but we did see dolphins, which is always cool and we definitely enjoyed the boat ride! Cousin time!

 

Last, but definitely NOT least was my trip to Wrightwood to enjoy their annual Mountaineer Days.

mountaineer-days

I had a fantasy that there would be a gaggle of cowboys, but knew that wasn’t what it was about at all. It’s a family-oriented event with stage coach rides, rock climbing, gold panning, cowboy reenactment shows, live bands and plenty of booths showcasing businesses in the local community. I talked to a few folks in the Chamber of Commerce booth. They love their town and were hoping I was going to stay a few days. Not this time, but most definitely in the future!  I checked out their local bookstore, Beverly’s Books. Of course, I bought a book called, “The Wild West”.  Buying books everywhere I travel seems to be my “thing.”

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I enjoyed the sweet greyhounds up for adoption and the adorable bobcat kittens

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My name is Cat. Bob Cat.

that normally reside at Forever Wild Sanctuary.                                                                  At Applewood Court, I bought some maple flavored fudge from a man with a kitten nose and whiskers painted on his face (he was probably VERY excited about that.)  Just as the cowboy show started, I had to hop on the stage coach to catch my ride. Reenactments are always SO cheesy and bad but I can’t stop watching and loving them!!!!

The Wrightwood Historical Museum was open, so I popped in to look at all of the pictures they have displayed. I loved the woman that was working inside and made sure to chat her up a bit about the history of Wrightwood. Sumner Wright is considered to be the “Father of Wrightwood,” though he was not the first IMG_1241person to live there. He ran his family ranch, Circle Mountain Cattle Company and also had an apple orchard! Don’t miss the goodies outside and in the back of the museum!  They have old signs from the town, a 1930s cabin replica and a few other fun things.

The hunger pains finally got me and I meandered down to Joe Mudd’s Pie & Coffee and Guitars, apparently. IMG_4152 I grabbed a sandwich and a fantastic slice of walnut pie to go.

I just had to take the 2 Highway home since I had never explored that way. And holy smokes! I stopped at least 80 million times to check out the scenery.IMG_1281It’s just beautiful! I took a ton of pictures and totally ate the walnut pie instead of saving it until I got home. oops.

Here is a shout out to a vendor in the video:

The hair pieces on the mannequin heads in the video are by Grace Design (909) 288-8288. She was really nice and the hair pieces were really amazing. Very tempting, but IMG_1230I’m too lazy to dress up well enough to warrant wearing one. The heads all have names on their necks so people can explain which design they like when they order! She is in Fontana.

 

 

Signing Off!!  – Jenn                                                                                                                                       IMG_1257

 

 © 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

Mansions and Ghosts in San Jose!!

On a road trip to Big Sur. . .we ended up in San Jose.  It just so happened that every hotel anywhere near Big Sur was booked and, naturally, we had not planned ahead.  Luckily for us, one of the only hotels available happened to also be one of the very coolest. We completely scored and stayed at the historic Dolce Hayes Mansion. Yea, we did that. We stayed in a mansion. Albeit, a converted to a hotel-mansion, but a MANSION! Yes, please!  Unfortunately, we arrived too late to dine, but did enjoy a glass of wine in the Coyote Creek Lounge, which was just a quick elevator ride downstairs..in the basement. bawhawhawhaw!! Actually, it wasn’t a creepy-ass place at all. I really liked it and am totally leading you on right now.

The next day, we wanted to be able to say we lounged at the pool of a mansion, so made the effort to relax (woa! that is SO an oxymoron!)  instead of rushing off, as we tend to do. For a little while, we were frou-frou heads in the fancypants hotel robes they provided. . . until hunger pains and ghosts called.

We had to check out the Winchester Mystery House™. The story of the house goes as such: Basically, a woman, Sarah Winchester (as in Winchester guns – pew! pew!!), lost her child and years later, her husband. She went to a spiritual advisor that told her to move West, buy a house and continue working on it 24/7 to appease spirits that allegedly took her family and would take her life as well.  There were hundreds of rooms at one point, crazy stairs and doors that lead to nowhere. Oh, and it is supposed to be haunted. Sounds like my kind of place! It would have been a lot of fun to check it out without the tour, but it wasn’t allowed, so we took the 1 hour tour, hoping to have a supernatural experience. The tour costs $30, which is a wee bit expensive (though I do understand there are costs to keep it open.) Our tour guide was super actor tour guide dude. He was VERY into his job. Sadly, we didn’t see any ghosts. (Figures!) But, ghosts didn’t come out to greet me at The Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado a few years ago, either. Soooo, maybe it’s just me. (Watch your backs, ghosts! I’m going to see one of you someday!)

This place is cool, historical (duh) and it is definitely worth checking out.

Do it!                                       – – –    Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

 

 

Alleged History in San Francisco

Oh! A Video!!

A long time ago, I visited Fisherman’s Wharf and bought a poster of The Cliff House and always wanted to see it. It was on the list for this trip. I could not wait!! We zipped on over and found it… and it did not look a damned thing like my picture. The structure I was hoping to see managed to survive the San Francisco earthquake, but a fire burned it down a year after that. (Yes. I know this little thing called the internet could have cleared this all up for me, but sometimes not knowing things like that cause you to experience all new things!) I was definitely disappointed about that. Big Duh to me.

The part that was extremely NOT disappointing, however, was the view!

Holy wow!

Look! I’m Alfalfa!

It was sunny and every color was so vivid it felt unreal. Another bonus was the wind. Something about the wind just makes me really feel alive. We had a few more places to see before the day’s end, so we left the lovely Pacific and wandered into the city.

Sara and I live in Los Angeles, which likes to tear down anything even vaguely historical, so we are always quite excited to see things that are a part of history. We went to China Town, had lunch and then took a stroll to 728 Montgomery Street. This was the site of the first meeting of the Free Masons in California. The building that is there now is supposed to be from the 1850s, last I heard. Wow. Bet it’s a cool building.

Yep. Our luck! Under construction!

Next stop was 750 Kearny Street. It’s a Hilton Hotel now, but it once was the site of saloons and gambling places during the gold rush! Come on! That’s freaking amazing! It is so incredible to stand there and think about what it was like during that time; how different it was. (Or was it?)

 

Unfortunately, by the time we were ready to see the Jackson Square Historic District, we were a bit tired. There are buildings there that are the only surviving ones from the gold rush. We should have gotten out of the car and waltzed around, but we didn’t. I am not sure which are and which are not originals, but believe me, I will return and find them. (p.s. It is on Jackson Street and between Montgomery and Sansome.)

We stayed in San Francisco for a few days (with many stories for another time), but the event that has kept me laughing more than anything, was seeing a gorilla chase a banana down Lombard Street.

Banana, Jenn, Gorilla

We caught up with them half way down the street to meet them. They were very nice and it made my day!

Bananas to One and All!

Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved – Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

The Benefits of the Salton Sea

I had read about the Salton Sea many times in years past. The photos made it seem unreal and amazing.  I think National Geographic, or something similar, posted an article about it right before one of our road trips.  I was so stoked! Salty decaying stuff!!!

What I expected was this: 

What we got was this:It smelled like Death’s Urinal.  Oh, did I mention there was a glory hole in the back of that shack? Yea. I had to run out of there before I un-ate from the stench, but Sara ventured in further for photo opportunities.  Her stomach must be made of steel.

There were actually people fishing in the water.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

 

So, it turns out that the Salton Sea is way bigger than I realized.  Not only were we at the wrong place, but we got there on a day the Visitor’s Center was closed, so couldn’t get directions.

Not sure why this area even HAS a Visitor’s Center, actually.

 

I am definitely bummed that I blew this site, but, we laughed our asses off (though my ass, apparently, ran after me and jumped back on) and had a blast anyway. Awe, look at us.. turning dirty-bird-shit-death-smell-shack-with-no-salty-decay into lemonade!

p.s. It wasn’t all that bad:

 

Hey! Look what we found

on our way out!!!

 

 

I’m outta here         ****POOF******         just like that

Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved — Copyright notice by Blog Copyright

 

 

Adventures in Death Valley, California

Beautiful mountains.. if you can see past the dork in the foreground. On another note.. Look! I can balance myself on my right foot!!!

Sara and I went to Death Valley, California. I was always intrigued with it because of the name.  I imagined it would be 150 million degrees all of the time and there would be spas and hot springs as far as the eye can see. . . or I’d see a lot of skeletons.

We went in the winter, so the weather was great. We stayed in a motel that had a pool, but it was chilly and we decided to take pictures of us acting like dorks around the grounds instead.

Grr!!! I am MOOOVING things!

That’s when we saw the bar.  It had a pool table and we love to believe we will become pool sharks. It hasn’t happened yet, though. In fact, I am fairly certain that we have managed to become worse pool players every time we try. The bar was empty when we walked in, so we played pool and looked out of the window, hoping to see an amazing sunset.  Eventually, a few other people showed up, one of whom was celebrating his birthday. He bought us drinks. I definitely like people buying me a drink for their birthday.

The next day, we decided to go for a hike in Mosaic Canyon. There was a sign at the start of it warning hikers that Side-Winders are present.  There is something extra friggen creepy about a damned snake that is fast and, oh, also travels sideways when it comes after you to kill you. That really, really freaked me out. So, I made sure to freak Sara out as well. For a few minutes, I debated being a total wuss and canceling the hike, but didn’t and am SO glad we went!  It has a very cool zig-zag shape.

Sara is all in the Zig and the Zag

You walk through it and don’t realize you are in it. Luckily, we like to take dorky pictures and accidentally figured it out. Or maybe it’s really obvious.  I was busy forcing Sara to record me channeling Oprah.  In the end, there was not one snake sighting! Yipee!

Sara and I are very into getting hotels at the last minute. We scored a room at Stovepipe Wells Hotel in DV, but I don’t recommend winging it. There aren’t a lot of places to stay and there is no cell phone reception. That could have been a very disastrous and panicky evening had we found nowhere to sleep.  However, we have yet to pay attention to our own advice. There have been many subsequent trips we chose to “wing it” during which we found ourselves driving for hours to find a hotel. Ooops!

Woot! Woot!

Signing off… Jenn

© 2012 Dart and Map All Rights Reserved — Copyright notice by Blog Copyright