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