Wine and Bikes

What do you get when you mix wine and bicycles?

Some shaky cycling! (on a bike path!)

To belatedly wrap up our Calistoga adventure I must relay our wonderful wine tasting experience in Napa Valley’s newest AVA (American Viticultural Area). As best as I remember it…

Calistoga is very small as compared to the town of Napa. I thought the best way to enjoy the wineries were via bike. And I wasn’t wrong! We stopped at the local bike shop, Calistoga Bikeshop, to inquire about their thoughts on the matter, a bike specific map, etc and was enlightened to the bike trail that runs through town. A nice, paved bike/walking trail that connects roads north and south of the main street of Calistoga. This is the recommended way to get to the wineries on either end of town rather than the way the cars go, Route 128/29, since there is no true bike lane on that road. Route 29 is narrow and people driving on that road have been wine tasting all day….

We only had one true day to go tasting and therefore could only feasibly hit up a few wineries anyway. This seemed the way to go. I grabbed a small backpack to hold my camera and small purse and we headed out on our mountain bikes. Sure enough the path was flat and paved. We passed a few families with strollers but that was it. We went about a mile south of town before we intersected with a road with three wineries.

My cousin had recommended we go to Sterling, if only because you take a ski gondola up the side of the hill to the winery. As it happened, the bike path spit us out right in front of Sterling, very convenient!

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There seemed to be many cars coming and going through their grand entrance so we headed to Clos Pegase, right down the lane.

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They had beautiful gardens and interior grounds, although this picture doesn’t really capture it.

We headed to the almost deserted tasting room – we had hit the wineries at a good time! – and started through their tasting menu. My original plan was to buy a bunch of wine and carry it back to my dad’s in SC and store it there. Once I realized I could have a case of wine shipped to him for a penny (from this winery, not all do this) I was sold! And once our pourer knew I was buying she kept pouring! And I kept tasting!

Where was Mike during all this? Right beside me, tasting, But as he puts it, after our pourer figured out who was in charge of buying the wine she kept my glass full and just gave him a few drops here and there for show. And when I realized I could save 20% on my case if I joined the wine club?? YES PLEASE!

So that’s the story of how we stumbled out of Clos Pegase as wine club members, a few bottles in my backpack and a case being shipped to my dad. (Presumably for safe keeping. I guess I’ll find out in a month or so…) And four bottles being shipped to my dad once a quarter.

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You may be wondering, we did stop at Sterling, but the queue was so long for the ski lift we didn’t bother. Oh well!

And now I know why the shirt I bought at the cycling shop says on the back “I Spit and Cycled Through Napa Valley”. No I didn’t. I “Sipped and Cycled”. But maybe I should have spit a few times….

Is that manure?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had booked us a couple’s mud bath and massage at Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa & Resort while in Calistoga, California. Neither of us had had a mud bath experience so hey, why not do it together?

Before I go any further I first want to say it was quite the experience and you should “do” the hot springs and a mud bath while in Calistoga!! It was a fun bonding experience, for sure! As a matter of fact, if you think there is any remote possibility of you being in Calistoga STOP READING NOW. Just go experience this yourself. I don’t want my post to color your possible decision as to whether or not to splurge on this unique spa adventure. However, if there is no way you’re ever getting to that part of the country, don’t like spa treatments in general or are just dying to read about our hilarious encounter… READ ON!

I don’t have any other Calistoga spas to compare to but the Golden Haven staff was great! We got there a little early so we could enjoy their mineral water pool and whirlpools before our mud bath began. We put our clothes in a little locker and donned our bathing suits and the robes they lend you and headed into the water. It’s billed as “pure, natural, mineral water…from the geothermal hot springs that run underneath” their spa. Ok, neat. But to me it was just a pool and a hot tub. Maybe with an unusual smell. (But not as unusual as Grandma’s sulphur-y smelling well water in West Virginia when I was growing up.)

When it was time for our appointment we were escorted to a couples mud room by our spa attendant, Bianca. In the mud room was an L shaped concrete tub filled with mud, a huge double shower and a double jacuzzi.

I know your first question, and yes, you get into the mud completely naked. Bianca assured us they filter out the mud and heat it to 160 degrees to “clean” it between each guest. But I’m not sure I buy it. Oh, I’m sure they do something to try and sterilize it between guests… But guys! It’s MUD! How clean can it be to start with???

Our instructions to get in the mud: strip, sit on the side of the tub and sling our legs over. It’s really thick, so once you’re on top of the mud you have to shimmy to submerge yourself completely.

I’ll admit I was envisioning “mud” like a smooth mud clay facial mask. This was not that. It was thick and lumpy with an interesting smell. Reminiscent of manure. Cow manure, to be exact – not to be confused with horse manure…. And it pretty much looked similar in consistency too. Once Bianca was out of the room Mike and I looked at each other then started laughing. Yes, we were going to strip naked and go for dunk in poo. To be fair, it was actually peat moss mixed with mineral water and some other things to be therapeutic. But it’s really hard to wrap your head around climbing into a steaming tub of liquid dung.

I sat on the edge, as instructed, swung my legs over and literally sat on top of the mud. It was that thick. I shimmied and shook, but I really had a hard time getting my boobies and shoulders covered! At some point you just give up and start slopping the mud over top of yourself to cover up. I was interested in being covered before Bianca came back in to further our “spa treatment”.

The spa has this down pat because no sooner had Michael and I giggled and wiggled our way into the mud, Bianca was back. She adjusted our back supports (aka, kickboards from your childhood swimming lessons) to make sure we were comfy and then painted a clay mask (yes, a smooth clay that I would have expected) over our lower faces and an ice cold compress on our forehead to keep us from overheating. We have 10-12 minutes to marinate and ruminate over our current situation.

Mike and I were laying foot-to-foot in this L-shaped tub-o-moss. (C’mon, let’s call it what it really is!) Eyes closed, I was quiet. Presumably because I was trying to relax since me and “quiet” don’t go hand-in-hand. Actually my mind was going a hundred miles and hour, wiggle your feet down in Julie, they’re floating up. Ooh, not too far! That’s HOT! Remember Bianca said there are heaters at the bottom of this thing. Don’t touch the heaters! But where are the heaters? She said they were too deep to actually touch? So why in the heck did she warn us about them? My boobs are cold. Is there still mud on my boobs? I peek an eye open to see I’m I’m still completely covered. Yep, I’m covered. But I smoodge a few handfuls of warm mud over my chest to keep it warm. My shoulders don’t seem deep enough. What in the hell is this supposed to be doing, again? 

I try wiggling my shoulders down deeper. I slowly roll the peat through my fingers. It’s slightly lumpy. Has very small bits of twigs in it. Yep, stills smells like manure. I try to relax and remove the notion of me and Mike sitting in big, hot tubs of poop.

Then I really get distracted and all I could think of for a few minutes was how I was sitting in a big, hot tub of poop, naked!!!

I try and clear my mind, a kind of meditation, if you will, to push out all thoughts of mud, poo, any lingering questions. And I just listen to the sound of the bubbling jacuzzi behind my head.

This whole time Mike has not made a peep. Finally he mutters, “I’m sweating balls over here. How much longer?”

Apparently that was our 10-12 minutes because Bianca reentered, brightly asking us how it was. We giggle. We admit we felt like we were sitting in steaming pile-o-crap. Seems we’re not the first to have that thought.

We thought getting in the mud was interesting…. Getting out…. Bianca instructed the easiest thing to do is rake the mud off your arms and chest then sling a leg over the side or just roll out. Then go ahead and get in the shower and rinse off. I’ll be back in in a few minutes to clean up the tub while you’re showering.

There is no dainty way to get out of a tub-o-poop. It’s heavy! I tried raking it off my arms and chest like she said but my legs seemed trapped by bags of quicksand. I opted for the lose-all-self-respect-and-roll-out-like-a-beached-whale technique. Although, I’m sure there wasn’t any technique involved. I was trying not to slop mud all over the floor but it’s impossible. She said she was coming back to clean up, right?!

I really have no idea how Mike fared with his extraction process. By the time I finally got up off the floor, yes, the floor – I sort of just plopped out – he was already standing, slinging the extra mud off himself.

Have I mentioned how much laughter was involved through this whole process so far? Really, if you can’t laugh at yourself or can’t stand to be laughed at, DON’T DO THIS! All it really is is a fully engaged comedy hour.

We got into the showers and we each had our own humongous 18″ diameter rain shower head. Interestingly, we each also had a hose with a garden sprayer on the end! This one:

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Yes folks, you do get mud in all your crevices…. Mike was facing away from me so I started rinsing off his back except I forgot to check the setting on the nozzle, and almost water blasted a layer of his skin off. He was trying to help me reach my butt crack but all I could get out was “Spray down honey, not up! SPRAY DOWN honey, not up!!!” He thought I was clean but when I raised my arm to rinse the sweat out of my hair he had to spray off a giant goop of mud that had hidden in my armpit. (How does one even hide mud in their armpit?!)

Were were laughing so hard it’s any wonder we got clean at all. Somewhere in the middle of this Bianca did come back in to clean up. I hope that’s not the first hootin’ and hollerin’ she’s heard from the behind the shower curtain! Although for her sake, I hope anything she has heard from other clients has from light hearted giggling and fun… not a couple trying to squeeze in a quicky, because, ew! MUD!

We still had TWO more steps to our mud bath. From the shower we got into the incredibly hot jacuzzi. They did provide ice water. And although a nice relief, I had to get out of the water after about 10 minutes. It was just too intense for me. Mike followed suit. We had about a 5 minute wait in our robes before Bianca was back for us again.

The last step of the mud bath is to take you to a small, dark room with two massage tables laid with blankets. This would be a familiar environment for any of you who frequent spas. It’s this step where the room has soft music playing, low lights and aromatherapy fragrances filling the air. We got all tucked up in the blankets by Bianca with a cold compress on our foreheads to allow us to slowly cool down.

Annnd, they leave you there for about 30 minutes.

They expect some, or most, customers to fall asleep. Neither of us did, but we were quiet. Bianca came back in to “wake us up” for our scheduled massage we had afterwards. Which was totally awesome!!!  But like a massage most of you have probably encountered before.

After our massage we were able to take a shower and then walk the quarter mile, in the starlight, back to our RV. That’s the best nights’ sleep I’ve gotten in a loooong time.

Mike and I did agree that, although we can’t see ourselves doing it again, we’re glad we did “do the mud bath” while in Calistoga. It’s a bucket list check off.

– Sat in poop….. check
– Blasted each other’s private parts with a hose nozzle….. check
– Damn near died of jacuzzi heat stroke….. check
– Paid to sleep in a strangers’ blankets….. check
– Laughed so hard through the process I *may or *may not have peed myself…. PRICELESS!

Wine, Wine, Wine, OH MY!!

At some point it is our intention to head back to the east coast for the summer. It makes sense we’d want to take a different route back east than the one we took to get here, right? Growing up on the east coast we’re both spoiled with interstates and expressways everywhere. Even though I have lived in the ‘burbs my whole life I have never lived further than 10 minutes from a major interstate. We could jump in the car and be anywhere in no time flat.

Not so out west. See the map below? Getting back east from California can really only be done on a few routes. All the southern ones we’ve done getting out here or during the kids summer vacation. Mike said he’s not interested in going through Las Vegas again. Only because we’ve “been there, done that”. He wants something new.

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He knows I love wine – so he suggested we head north to wine country for a short stint then head back via a northern route, then perhaps I-80 or I-70.

I believe my exact words were “HELL YEAH! Don’t have to ask me twice!”

I started doing research on where to RV in Napa Valley. Finding RV spots isn’t exactly as easy as booking a hotel. I found places in Napa and Calistoga. I wasn’t familiar with Calistoga but I was able to make a reservation online rather than having to wait to call for “regular workday business hours” since I was doing this all on a Saturday. I didn’t have a few days to wait to call on Monday see if there was availability since we had to leave our current campsite on Monday. So we are living here at Calistoga RV Park during our time here.

Now this, folks, is livin’ life by the seat of your pants! 😉

I knew nothing of Calistoga before we got here. It’s at the north end of Napa Valley so we had an opportunity to drive through Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena and then to Calistoga. We essentially toured Route 29 through the valley. But what I didn’t know, until a friend of mine heard we were staying in Calistoga and clued me in, is that Calistoga is known more for their natural hot springs than wine!

Sure enough, this cute little town has a plethora of spas. I read this in the history section of Calistoga pamphlet.

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So, it’s the Saratoga, New York of California! Kinda…

Of course I booked us a spa treatment!!! Tonight we have a couples mud bath then massages at Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa & Resort. I’ve had a lot of different spa treatments (a lot paid for by a former employer for product research!! No, really! True story!) but I’ve never had a mud bath. This will be interesting. We sit in a mud bath, rinse in a hot mineral water shower then get wrapped in blankets. Hmmm…

From the website:
“The combination of clay, peat and hot springs mineral water in the mud bath relaxes muscles and joints, detoxifies, and leaves the skin soft and renewed.   While you relax, your attendant will apply a clay facial mask and a cold compress.  The mud bath will be followed by a hot springs shower and refreshing soak in your private jacuzzi that uses the natural hot springs water that comes from the geothermal aquifer under our spa. You will next be escorted to one of our blanket wrap rooms.  Here you will relax, cool down, and maybe even drift off to a blissful sleep.”

When I booked our reservation I was told we should bring our swimsuits because we also have access to their hot springs pool.
“As you enter the pool area on cool days, a blanket of steam rises from the waters – an inviting sign for you to come in and enjoy the warm hot springs. The pool is heated by our hot springs mineral water, which emerges from the ground at between 140-150 degrees.”

I CAN’T WAIT!!! *jumping up and down in excitement*

As if that’s not enough to immediately fall in love with this quaint little town, we had a blast just strolling Lincoln Avenue (aka: the main drag) last night. We’re going out again today so I hope to get some great photos… but this town was settled in the mid-1800’s. Lincoln Ave. is lined with historic buildings housing shops, restaurants and spas. We decided to grab drinks and appetizers at a few places and just walk around.

What an adventure!

First stop, Hydro Bar & Grill. A glass of wine and their Thai Curry Mussels. They were delicious! Even if I couldn’t figure out why they added toasted sesame oil to the dish.

Next we hit up Pacifico Restaurante Mexicano. I know, I know. We’re in wine country and we just went into a Mexican place and yes, I ordered a margarita. But hey, I figured I’ll get my share of wine in the next few days! We had shrimp ceviche, chips, salsa and guacamole.

HOLY GUACAMOLE, BATMAN!

It was all delectable! The salsa was freshly homemade, as was the guac. And the ceviche…. mouth watering and a good sized portion too! Since we were at the bar during happy hour the ceviche was only $5!!!! A cereal bowl full of it!! I’m not used to getting that much ceviche in an order nor paying so little for such good eats!

And to top it off – we ran into three guys at the bar from Ithaca, NY! Cornell grads!! One lives out here in California, the other two were out for their annual visit from Manhattan! I will say they were looking a bit worn… We did meet them while trying to do a tequila shot. I say “trying” because the third friend didn’t even attempt to get it down. Talk about a glazed-over look in his eyes! They explained they’d been enjoying each other’s company since Tuesday. And by “enjoying” I mean they’d been drinking the Napa Valley out of wine and spirits for the past three days.

Oh, but our fun didn’t end there! We strolled a bit and hit up the brewery at the Calistoga Inn. The bartender, and I’m assuming brewmaster, we at the bar and we chatted them up. They gave us the scoop on Calistoga, where to go, what to do. So friendly! And wouldn’t you know it, the brewmaster is originally from Rochester, NY!  And then the guy next to Mike struck up a conversation with him and he is from Long Island! We ran into more New Yorkers last night than Californians!

I had an amazing glass of wine here, the first of many, I’m sure. Only 200 cases made, and now, Calistoga Inn is the only place left where you can get it! :-/

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At some point during our chattiness with these guys, a gentleman sat next to me, and quietly ordered a beer and an appetizer. I finally pulled him into our conversation and noticed his European accent. He’s from Switzerland! And when I asked what brought him here to the US? THE CIA!

The Culinary Institute of America, of course!

We finally decided it was time to head home. We had about a 1/2 mile walk ahead of us. As we were walking by a restaurant I stopped to look at the menu and a couple passing by mentioned the place had great pizza. The next thing we knew we had been standing and chatting at the corner of the street with them for a bit. They too, had been to Golden Haven for a mud bath! After about the third or so cross walk sign all four of us finally made it across the street and kept on chatting.

Joe and Erica are from Reno and raise labrador retrievers. But Joe has an IT past and Erica interacts with SAP at work (and isn’t in love with it) so we essentially stood on the sidewalk for probably an hour 1) pitching our IT services 2) explaining how we work and full time RV. They were in love with it! It’s so fun to meet people who want to do this RVing thing too!!! They even invited us to stay at their place in Reno next time we’re out that way!

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Telling people you live in an RV is a great conversation starter!! (or stopper, depending on the kind of people you’re talking to.) And you get to meet the most wonderful people along the way from ALL OVER!

Things you don’t consider before living in an RV….

When deciding to live full-time in an RV some people take years to plan and prepare. Sometimes it’s because it’s a couples’ retirement plan. Or they have little kids and need a solid plan to homeschool them on the road. Not us. We bought a camper for fun, almost on a whim. Within 2 weeks we were talking about living in it seasonally. Another few weeks after that we had decided it wasn’t worth the money to keep our brick and mortar home. Full-timin’ it is!!

There are the obvious things you know are going to be different from living in a “house” as opposed to living in a “camper”. Smaller space, toilet and shower work different and there may be some planning of facility use along the way. Cooking is a bit cramped and baking is definitely a pain in the butt. (Casseroles are all but out of our menu since I can’t get the damn things to cook evenly, let alone all the way through. Which perplexes me since the oven is about a tenth of the size of one in a home. I guess it doesn’t hold heat for crap…)

But when you’re living and working in an RV…. let me give you some background.

I’m, according to all therapy guides, an only child. My little brother and I are eleven (yes, 11) years apart. Professionals would describe us each as two, single children. We really grew up apart. Just about the only thing our childhoods have in common are the same parents and suburbs. We didn’t even grow up in the same part of the country!

Michael, on the other hand, is the fifth of seven. Yes, 5 of 7. I cannot even comprehend. Not only that, he grew up out in the country. Where your mom says “get outside and run around the house until it’s dark or I call you in for dinner.” That kind of country. Where your graduating class was forty kids. Yes, 40. And 10 of them were cousins. (You can’t make that up…)

If you know anything about psychology, or kids…. you might already have figured this one out. I know how to entertain myself for hours on end. I did it most of my childhood. No one required I be quiet about it. I actually had TWO invisible friends! (Mike gets a kick out of that.) Just so long as I stay busy and out of everyone’s hair.

Mike cannot entertain himself. He requires other people to participate with him. However, when he’s working he can concentrate like a lion ready to pounce.

You see where I’m going with this…..

Currently Mike is trying to work out a software bug. I’m done with work for the day. In my mind I’m leaving him alone to do his thing. I’m entertaining myself. Like, watching tv, singing kitty cat songs to the cat. (don’t you judge me!) Hell, I might even be having a full conversation out loud. With myself. I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve done that my whole life. It’s how single kids get along alone.

Did I mention “our” office is our “living room” sofa?

Do you know anything about software coding? Like, as in, it’s preferable to have complete silence?

In a “house” the obvious solution is to have a space dedicated to an office. For Mike, preferably sound proof. In a camper? That’s not really an option.

So now I’m getting “honey, I love your kitty cat songs but I can’t really concentrate.”

Shit. That was a good song I was singin’! And the cat wasn’t even fighting to get away this time!!

And “honey, I really do love your kitty cat songs. I really do! Just not right at this moment.”

So now I’m blogging about this, if anything, just to keep my pie hole shut until he’s done. But I hope you got a little laugh out of “things you con’t consider before living in an RV”.

So Cal and Lovin’ It!

Disney was nice but we headed to San Diego to do a triathlon!!! A few months back we were interested in doing another triathlon so I started looking for one while we were in Phoenix in March. However I couldn’t find one that had an outdoor swim that early in the season. (by outdoor swim, I mean in a lake or other body of water. I did find some that had you doing laps in an indoor pool before you headed out on your bike. We weren’t interested in that.) I finally stumbled across a tri in San Diego after we were scheduled to be in Anaheim. We were in!!

Our last tri was in January in Naples, Florida. I will dispense with the excuses and just say, we did not train for this triathlon. I do not endorse this at all. Luckily it was a short swim and bike (250 meters and 10 miles, respectively) before the usual 5K run. Our Naples race was a 750 meter swim and a 12.1 mile bike ride with the 5K run (3.1 miles).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with triathlons, there are many different lengths. You may be familiar with the Ironman, which is the equivalent of an ultra-marathon! The distance we do is called a sprint. For comparison, a full Ironman distance is 2.4 mile swim (3.86km), 112 mile bike ride (180.25km) and a marathon run (26.2 miles/ 42.2km). You will never catch us doing an Ironman, or a half-Ironman for that matter. And if you read me mention the Irongirl… that’s just a sprint series for women only. Don’t be confused!

The tri was at South Shores Park at Mission Bay in San Diego. I booked us an RV spot at the opposite end of the bay at Mission Bay RV Resort, the closest place I could find. It literally is an asphalt parking lot – exactly what we try and avoid – but there is a definite California vibe here that even Mike loves! So much so that we extended our reservation for two extra days! It sits across the street from the water and beach and a park. There’s been a Hawaiian festival going on in the park the whole weekend we arrived!

We got up early, donned our tri suits and squeezed into our wetsuits, lucky they still fit! We got in that bay salt water and tri-ed out little hearts out. Sometimes it’s just knowing there’s free beer that the end that keep you going!

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But we did it! And we’re still walking with no major injuries!

But we were exhausted, COVERED in salt so we headed the few minutes back to our campsite to shower and rest.

Side note: that was the saltiest ocean swim we have ever done! Much more so than the Gulf of Mexico swim we did in Naples! You can’t see it in the pictures above but we had salt marks all over our suits and our skin, hair, eyebrows, everywhere, was crusted with salt!

After our nap we headed over to the Hawaiian festival to walk around and grab some much deserved grub! We thought it would be fun to take Indy with us since he’d been inside all morning by himself. It was a beautiful day, light breeze…. When we got there Michael took Indy to walk by the water while I stood in line to get us 2 big Hawaiian combo platters! There was rice and shredded pork, pork wrapped and cooked in some type of leaf, a soup with what looked like rice noodles and something that looked like salmon ceviche. A feast!!

We found an empty picnic table and, after shooing away the gulls and tying Indy’s leash to the table leg, we sat down to enjoy our meal. We had only been able to sample a taste of each item on our plates when we heard “DOG! Hey, loose dog!!”

Sure enough, Indy was sauntering away from us! Somehow, when we had our faces buried in our food, he had managed to get out of his HARNESS!! Mike casually got up and started walking towards him, calling his name, hoping he’d just walk back to us. We know that if you run after him he definitely runs away! But nooo…. that little pooper, once he realized we knew he was free, took off! And Mike followed, in his Crocs and socks!

I sat there dumbfounded, not exactly sure what to do. At least Mike had Crocs on that wrapped around the back of his feet. I had on the soccer slip-on style Crocs and running was out of the question.  Did I mention this park sits right on the edge of I-5?!? I tried not to panic. I kept telling myself that either Mike would get him or someone, with all these people at this festival, would grab him. He did run right for the parking lot. (right towards the interstate….)

Right about then I see Mike walking back through the grass, holding Indy by the collar. (which is separate from the harness he got out of.) I got up, unhooked the harness from the lead and took it to Mike where he was talking with some people who appeared to have helped him, and we harnessed him back up, explaining to the astonished crowd that THIS was the harness our Houdini dog got out of. No one believed it. (it’s quite a complicated harness!)  Seems Mike caught him because someone in the parking lot opened their car door and Indy ran up to them and tried to jump in! Figures…

We started to walk the 50 meters back to our picnic table when we saw it. The table – and our food – covered in gulls! We had just started eating. We had been starving and they were eating all our food!!! ($30 worth of festival food, might I add…)

UGH!

That was it. Indy was grounded. Time for him to go home.  When Mike got  back to the festival we started over with our food. But somehow it just didn’t taste the same when you still have the taste of fear of your dog running into traffic in your mouth…

Work and Disney. Yes, they can both happen!

Again, apologies for the long absence but we do  work. We have to fund this extravagant lifestyle somehow!

Last week we spent several days at a “nerd conference” in Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort Convention Center. I say “nerd conference” lovingly, because hey, WE were there! Proud nerds ourselves! The show was a conference based on the IBM hardware platform in which we make our money so we can’t complain!

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And yes, they served beer and wine at the reception – we didn’t sneak it in or anything. I promise!!

After several days of exhibiting we hit Disneyland and California Adventure. As you may already know, they are exceptionally smaller than Disney World in Florida, which is great if you don’t want to get overwhelmed. I have been to these parks several times as my best friend used to live close to Anaheim. Which is lucky since it seems Disney didn’t have their sh*t together this time around. The “happiest place on Earth” was quite the disaster.

Mike and I are roller coaster fiends. But that’s hard when you show up at Disney and the Matterhorn, Indian Jones and Big Thunder Mountain are ALL closed! I believe that’s all of their roller coasters, except Space Mountain! Lucky for them I had a 2-day park hopper pass for us so we were able to ride Big Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones the next day when they reopened. But I.J. seemed to be going down a lot… That always worries me….

My favorite ride in California Adventure is Soarin’ Over California. Although not a coaster, I just think it’s neat. I had been talking about it for weeks leading up to our trip! But it was down. Apparently it’s been down for months for refurbishment. Bummer…. But Cars Land is now open – that had been under construction last time I was there! So we headed over to ride Radiator Springs Racers!

Except a quarter through the ride…. it broke! And we had to get escorted off. At least in return they gave us Fast Passes to come back later in the day.

If this had been our first trip to the Disney Parks it would have been a huge FAIL! Luckily it wasn’t and we had a good time just walking around and people watching. If it were a Six Flags or other amusement park I wouldn’t have thought twice about all the hiccups. But it’s Disney!

For the RVers out there, we stayed at the Anaheim Resort and RV Park. It’s not an official Disney property. There doesn’t seem to be a Disney RV park in California. And it is a “parking lot”. But the staff is exceptional and the park is on the ART transportation route. That means you can buy cheap bus passes to get to the parks and surrounding attractions.

I may have poopooed Disneyland and California Adventure here because this one time it wasn’t up to par. Changing of the seasonal guard, maybe??? But it’s definitely worth a trip if you have kids and don’t want the brain hemorrhaging that is Disney World. Plus, California Adventure serves alcohol so you can walk around, wait in line, etc with a margarita, microbrew even a fancy glass of wine. And there are fantastic high-end restaurants and lounges.  One night we just had appetizers and drinks in the lounge at Carthay Circle in California Adventure, and it was to die for. 1920’s art deco-ish decor. Artfully crafted cocktails…. I had the Aviator.  Well worth it! Another night we had drinks before dinner at the Alfresco Tasting Terrace. Almost, but not quite, like you’re dining in Napa…