Summer Road Trip Chapter II – Anaheim & Catalina

Anaheim, Calgary, Facebook, San Fran, Travel, Uncategorized

The Route

Calgary – Kennewick

Kennewick – Redding

Redding – San Francisco

San Francisco – Anaheim

The Stay: 3 Nights

The Nest: Hotel Indigo

The Miles: SF – Anaheim: 656 Kilometres / 2,730 Kilometres Approx

Anaheim/Newport/Catalina Island

Last time I was in Anaheim, I was in grade six when my grandparents took my sister and I to visit Disneyland. This is still today, one of my favorite memories with my family, and with Jen especially.   There are many times from that trip, that I can still recall so vividly that it’s as if it were just recent. The highlight of the trip then was going down Splash Mountain a total of ten times throughout our days at Disneyland. When I was there, I don’t recall a tonne of lineups for rides. I was really excited to head back to Anaheim. To me, it’s just such a beautiful, chill place… and of course, I have some of my fondest memories there.  Couldn’t wait to begin a new journey there with Amanda who had never been.

Day 1

Anaheim was one of the few destinations, where we actually had plans, with the baseball game that evening, and then Disneyland the following day, and our final day was a trip to Catalina Island. Day 1 comprised mostly of driving, as left SF in the early AM, then sat on the freeway in LA for another chunk of the day.  We eventually arrived at our hotel around 3:30, and almost then almost fought to the death over who got to pee first.  Once we settled that out, we settled in.  Our hotel was absolutely magnificent.  Top 5 hotels I have ever been too, no question, and location was excellent.

Several hours later Amanda was finally ready, and we were able to leave.  Part of what made our hotel so great was the location.  20 steps from a California Pizza Kitchen, and a PF Changs.  Two of my favorite Murican’ establishments.  After our fantastic meal at CPK, we were off to the Angels game.  The easy highlight of the trip for me, no question.  I hadn’t been to a baseball game since I was in SoCal last when I was 12 or so, we went to an Arizona v. SD Padres game.  So I was once again like a little kid.  A lost squirrel, if you will, completely overwhelmed.  The stadium was amazing, the beer was huge, cold and well priced, there were cool team stores everywhere. It was just cool. I probably ended up having a few more of those massive beers than I should have, but, it was great. I could have spent the whole week going to ball games. I wanted to sit in every different section possible.  Oh ya, and they gave us these wicked beach bags. Which we used every day on our holiday.  So really, this game made the trip.  We wouldn’t have had those bags otherwise.  

Day 2

The thing I hate most about holidays… is sleeping on them.  I can’t, I find it to be such a waste of time, so I am always up very early, and ready to go right away.  This I think is Amanda’s favorite travel habit of mine! There is just so much to always see, do, read about that you can’t do in your sleep!  Well, again, several hours later Amanda was finally ready, and we walked to disneyland.  I was a kid yesterday at the ball game, now it was Amanda’s turn to be a kid at Disneyland.  She was prettttttty excited, it was actually cool to see.  It was her first time in Disneyland, and I’m happy to be the one to have took her.  However, as ecstatic as she was walking up too and through the gates of Disneyland, the excitement vanished quickly.  Only a couple rides in.  We went on the Star Tours ride, which is a 3D simulator ride, that’s pretty rough, though pretty cool but a lot of people left the “Star Tour” feeling a little queasy.  Then we took advantage of our fast pass to Space Mountain.  I remember Space Mountain being this cool glow in the dark like roller coaster.  Well, I thought they must have changed it, because it wasn’t glow in the dark.  It was a pitch black roller coaster, and terrifying.  This roller coaster is flying, curling, twisting, flipping… In the complete black.  You couldn’t see a thing.  People were turning on their flashlights on their phones so they could see.  At the end of the ride, we just stopped.  The whole thing just kind of shut down for about 10 minutes, with the speaker coming on in a star trooper voice telling us to be patient blah blah.  Finally we got back into the dock, and got the hell out of there.  I have no idea still what happened, but something wasn’t right.  The ride shut down later that night.   After our bad experience on Star Tours, and then another on Space Mountain.  We weren’t really having it.  I was feeling a little off, and Amanda was feeling downright sick.  So we took a break, departed “Tommorowland” and had lunch.  

It took us awhile, but finally we were ready to go again and enjoy Disneyland, or try.  We just needed to get out of the “Tomorrowland” town. The rest was great, besides how fricking busy the whole place was. It was crazy, especially on a Wednesday; I was convinced it wouldn’t be too bad. Hahahah! Wrong. The one thing I remember about DL last time, was that oftentimes we just walked right up to the ride and got on, then got off, and walked back up and went again. If I recall, we had a 3 day pass, but I think we did every ride a few times each. Including Splash ten times, and Space Mountain a few times too… with lights on.  This was not the case this time, I think the shortest wait time we had in a line was probably 30 minutes without a fast pass, and the longest probably about an hour, even with fast passes, there were times we still waited 20 minutes or so to get on the ride. It was CRAY! We had to be pretty selective of what we wanted to do as an hour would go by, and we’d only get one thing done, by the time you wait, do the ride, and exit. Then, we’d usually have to find a washroom to pee, or get ice cream, or a pretzel or whatever other snacks. The ride I was waiting for all day was Splash Mountain, and of course the wait time for this was two hours, and I wasn’t doing that so we had to save it to the end before we left around 9:30. It was just as cool as I remember.

Day 3

Another early day, having to be at the Newport Catalina ferry terminal to board by 8:30am.  We predicted the traffic terribly, and arrived at the ferry around 8:50, then had a battle parking, so I parked in the only lot I could find, a two hour lot. Our ferry returned to Newport at 5:45, so two hours should…umm… cover it? The ship left at 9:00am.  By the time my parking war ended, I got to the boat at … ahh about 8:58pm.  Rumor has it, Amanda wasn’t thrilled with me.   After I harassed Amanda about getting sick on the kids ride, she got her revenge on me en route to Catalina as I barely stomached it. Along with the rest of the ship.  Though, in the beginning it was a beautiful trip, we saw many dolphins jumping in and out of the water, along with a few whales.  The dolphins was cool, I had never seen a dolphin before, so to see 15-20 of them alongside our boat was quite fascinating.  The rest of our time on the ship after that however… was horrible.   

Finally, we docked in Catalina, and I couldn’t be happier, I tried to hide from Amanda that I barely survived that, but, she knew right away. Might have been my ghostlike complexion. Not sure. Anyway, we went to this restaurant a couple on the boat had recommended, and it was great. Largest menu I have seen and fantastic food.  Well priced too which was a new thing for us on this trip.  

Catalina was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t even know it was a real place, I just thought it was a fictional land from Step Brothers. But, it was certainly real, and stunning. We walked along the beach for a bit, checked out some cool shops, then parked it on the beach, where I had a exceptional nap. Unfortunately, we only had the day there, and had to board the ship again at 4:30 and set sail home. I was terrified of going on this again, and thought I was going to vomit foresure. I changed our seating arrangement and sat outside, on the top and told myself the fresh air would help me. It did, the ride back seemed much, much better.   We arrived back in Newport around 6:00, and headed back to Anaheim for dinner at PF Changs, and then called it a day, and a trip to Anaheim as we’d leave to LA/El Segundo via Laguna Beach in the AM.

Final Synopsis

I absolutely love(d) Anaheim, and area. I would go back anytime, and for any length of time. There are so many beautiful areas all around. If I were to go back, I think I would probably go back without a trip to Disneyland, I think as an adult, it’s cool for a day, but the crowds of people were enough for me to be satisfied with going once as an adult.  Though, I’d maybe try California Adventure Park.  

If you’re going…

  1. If you haven’t done Disneyland, of course go for a day, but before you get too far… Create a plan of action.  Commit to lineups.  
  2. Absolutely go to an Angels game. No question.
  3. Catalina is also a must. I think it was $60 per person on the boat, and it’s awesome. Despite the hour to get there.
  4. Take a day for Newport Beach area, and as well Laguna

Next Time

  1. I’d certainly spend a few nights in the Laguna/Newport Area
  2. Go to more Angels games!
  3. Rest & Relax.
  4. More time at the beaches

And thats Chapter II on our journey!  After Anaheim, we detoured through Laguna Beach and headed towards LA.  I’ll have that for you soon! 

– B

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Summer Road Trip Chapter 1: San Francisco

Calgary, Facebook, Mozilla Firefox, San Fran, Travel, Twitter, Uncategorized, YYC

The Route

Calgary – Kennewick

Kennewick – Redding

Redding – San Francisco

The Stay: 3 Nights

The Nest: Hotel G – Downtown off Geary Street.

The Miles: Approx 2,072 Kilometres

San Francisco

Day 1

San Francisco has always been one of those cities on my travelling bucket list, having never been there before.  So it was a must visit for us when we began planning our trip in the winter.  

It was our first “real” stop of our trip, after staying a night in Kennewick, and Redding as a checkstop. 2,000+ kilometres later, and 20 hours later.  We had arrived at Hotel G.  Checked in. Left the truck for valet, for an excruciating $65/night.  We made it.  

The beauty and the beast with our holidays is we don’t really plan any activities, other than a few ideas of places we’d like to go, and things we’d like to check out. This works for us, because we’re more relaxed, not stressed out, rushing to get to somewhere.  You just kinda go. It also works because you get to see lots of things you otherwise would maybe miss if you had more structure. And, I hate structure.  It makes no sense.  

So, we walked. With a little handheld map, and a brochure from our hotel suggesting things to do.  We decided to head to the ferry building on the water, and check out the “Hidden Gem” of San Fran. The beast with not having any plans, or structure is often times transportation. We have no idea really where we are going or how to get there, and sometimes this can be a battle, and often turns out to be the only fight Amanda and I ever have.  San Fran has a pretty intensive transit system, with buses, trains, trolley cars and well…  everything but a flying karpet basically. And they call this the BART, the flying BART. – Bay Area Rapid Transit.   We knew where we had to go, but no idea how to get there. So I hopped on the first trolley car I saw. Apparently these things have designated stop, and pick up zones. Well, I am from Calgary so I didn’t know. I hopped on it, then hopped off it the next street when I didn’t think we were going in the right direction. The driver on the trolley car didn’t like my method, and let me know. So as he drove away after I had jumped off, I had to run back to get on. It was cool. I felt like an episode of full house, or one of those chick flick movies where the guy comes running after his girl on the trolley car.  

Anyway, we luckily… actually accidentally found ourselves at a BART Hub (I think) And, we figured out the train system well enough to get us towards the ferry building.  Well, it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be. And, the map I had told me AT & T Park was right around the corner, which I was way more excited about.  So, we stopped for supper on the water at this pretty restaurant that ended up just being far to hoity toity for me and if anyone knows me well enough, you know I get extreme anxiety at these places, stressed out and I hate them. Well, this happened. And, in turn, I get grumpy, irritable and very uncomfortable.   After this odd meal, I convinced Amanda to let me walk over to the ball diamond. It was awesome.  I was like a lost squirrel. I thought everything was so cool, and I took 500 hundred pictures, and proceeded to just take off, leaving Amanda in the dust…  Not my fault, she couldn’t keep up, there was so much to see! I looked back at one point, and pretty sure I saw her taking a selfie with a statue of a seal…  Apparently she asked me to take the picture but I was marveling at McCoveys Cove.   We then stopped at the pub at the park, and enjoyed a couple drinks and a snack. Amanda had some kind of pretzel, while I had a chocolate sundae with popcorn in it. It was again, cool. Then, we just aimlessly walked back in the direction we thought was our hotel. It was. Thankfully, and that was Day 1. Awesome. I still hate the Giants.  Go Cards.  

Day 2

Again, no plans, other than to sleep in and get some rest. So I woke up at 6:50am, and said LETS GO!, LETS GO!!! …  So we did. Once Amanda was ready, seemingly forever later. The San Fran AM routine began – Walk to starbucks, get a ham and swiss with a coffee. The weather wasn’t great, so we spent a bit of the morning in the mall wondering around my favorite place – Nordstroms. I found absolutely nothing, except an adult male reading the paper while an older fella who could hardly stand shined his shoes. And, this outraged me. Are you that special you can’t shine your own boots pal? Seriously. This was the only highlight of the AM.

Then we went back to Amandas favorite place, the BART, headed to the wharf, and then we walked, and walked. Along the wharf, we stopped at this little seafood joint right on the pier. Committed to trying seafood in San Fran, we shared a Dungeness crab. Yes. An entire crab. Typically Amanda is the world’s slowest eater, while I am the opposite. Well, I have never had a full crab placed in front of me so this thing took me about 90 minutes to crack up, dig out, and eat. While she sat there staring at me for half of that time as if she were a seasoned … Crab Meat Picker? I don’t know? But, it was fantastic. One of the better meals I have ever had. Full Crab – Crushed. Onto the next place, again no idea where that was going to be. We would just stop at something that looked sweet. So. Pier 39 it was. What a zoo! Here I thought this was like one little pier with a few stores and shops. Nope. This damn thing I swear had us halfway to Maui. It went on forever, and had the entire population of Hawaii, Japan and Texas on it.

We checked out some different shops, walked around, and just took in the experience. It was cool, except the lineups to piss. Not cool, and with this bladder, really not cool. While we were travelling to San Fran, I decided I was finally going to get the next tattoo I wanted, just a quick walk in would suffice. I wanted to go somewhere in Hollywood and get it done, but we came across this real cool place on the pier that was rated phenomenally and a hot spot for the SF Giants. So, of course. I had to.  If it’s good enough for the Kung Fu Panda… Good enough for me!  That ate up a huge chunk of our day, getting seven letters tattooed on my bicep. Amanda of course, completely supportive and waiting patientally the entire time.  This is one of a million reasons why I can’t wait to call her my wife. She is the only person I know who would patiently wait around for three hours while this happens, and not snicker once. Not once.  I couldn’t. After the tattoo, we just walked some more, went to a few more little restaurants for snacks and drinks, then we found the Rainforest Café… Which I had to drag Amanda into, promising her it would be cool. Well, forty minutes later, and I think about hundred dollars later, I had a hell of a time trying to get her out of there. Finally, I got her out of the kids restaurant and we went for a quick wine tasting, then waiting in the cable car line for the rest of the night, and hopped on that to call it a day, and evening.  By the way… I get that this is a tourist attraction for San Fran. But, they need to retire these things. They take forever, and are complete POS. Get rid of them.

Day 3

If you’re still reading this, thank you, and I apologize for your boredom.  

I have acquired this new liking to wine, thanks to a trip to Penticton with the fellas. So we decided we wanted to do a wine tour. You can go on actual tours that would take you through four or so wineries, but it would take all day, and cost a bunch. So instead… Of course. We did our own wine tour. Asked a few locals where to go, got suggestions, and we set off across the Golden Gate – Which was another extreme anxiety moment for me. It’s got to be one of the most fascinating structures on earth, no doubt… But, it doubles as the saddest, and I had a hard time going across it. Anyway.  We headed towards Sonoma Valley to check out some wineries, once in the Sonoma/Napa area, there were wineries, after wineries, after wineries. We checked out one right away, that was awesome – Viansa, and then drove around for hours just marveling at the fields, and trying to find the next one to go to. We headed into the Sonoma town, did some tasting there, had lunch and then went to the Sebastini winery, which is one of the oldest ones in the country, and probably one of the most profitable, if not the. So we did the tour as well, which was interesting, and had some tastings, of predominantly reds, which were all terrible and tasted like smoke. I hate red. Day 3 ended with us driving around some more, and some silence because we briefly got lost, so I got mad… But, we found our way to Golden Gate Park, enjoyed dinner and then called it another night, and a final chapter on our San Francisco journey.

Final Synopsis

Yes. I have pages reviewing what we did, and then a final review of it. I liked San Fran, it was really cool, much different than what I was expecting.  Though as cool as it were, I was perfectly content with leaving after the 3 days, I felt like we did a tonne, and almost everything I wanted to do except a Giants game, as they were out of town.  Not sure if there was much else in SF I would have wanted to do.  I enjoyed how unique the city was, everywhere you walked there was something to check out.

Things I didn’t like, it was very expensive, and at times seemed a little too intense for me. For example, driving home from the winery, as we were getting on the golden gate, I was going 105 KM, which was equilvalent to just over the speed limit where we were, and this vehicle two back was wailing on her horn, I had no idea it was to me, but when she eventually passed me in the other lane going mach II, she let me know it was me that was fucking up apparently. This still rattles me, and I think I got honked at a few more times, and even walking down the street, everyone hammers on their horn at other drivers.  I also didn’t find the people there the most friendly of sort, not that they were blatantly rude, they just weren’t as friendly as some other people in different places I’ve visited.  

I would go back to San Fran, but it wouldn’t be before I went to about ten other cities first, and I don’t think I would stay for too long. I’ll give it a B. I think I’d get bored if I had to stay there much longer, or I’d be broke.  

If you’re going…  

  1. If you like sports, go to AT & T Park, even if the Giants aren’t playing.
  2. Do the fishermans wharf walk, plan a whole day for this. Eat small at a few different places – end it with the sourdough clam chowder.
  3. Skip the expensive, exhausting winery tours. Do your own. Take some time and do the research, check with local people in the bar/wine business about good wineries, then just go on your own, and at your own pace.
  4. Cable Cars are stupid. Don’t waste your time.
  5. Oh, and don’t drive too slow!!! 

Next Time

  1. I wouldn’t go to SF again, unless the Giants were playing.
  2. I’m a bit of a geek, but, I’d like to check out the twitter offices, then zip to San Jose/Palo Alto area and check out Facebook, Apple and Google always interested in those sorts of things. Much to Amanda’s dismay.  
  3. Not screw up the Alcatraz tickets….  
  4. Save more money

That’s my wrap on our journey through San Francisco.  I’ll try to do a recap on each place we visited, I promise they won’t be as long as this one, will post Anaheim tomorrow!  

– B