Things have been, well, normal for us, but bananas in reality.
Last you heard, we had moved to southern California, and AwesomeK was working in Funner, CA. Yes, Funner.
As much FUNNER as that was, we moved. To Las Vegas. Yes, that Las Vegas. The one where our dreams were dashed, slashed, and left to rot in the summer sun. Why in the world would be live here? What is wrong with us? The Land of Always Hot where Dreams Go to Die?
Because it is none of those things. We love Las Vegas, always have. We got married here. We feel right here. It also helps that K got a transfer to a casino out here. So here we are! Living in Vegas, Baby!
Which is not like you would think at all, really. First of all, Vegas is NOT just the strip. It really has a lot more to it, and a lot less at the same time. It feels more like a small town, with a giant tourist attraction plopped in the middle – that none of the “locals” go to. Ever. Whenever you mention the strip, all the locals sort of groan and roll their eyes, yet most of us are here because of it. We work in the casinos, or are supporting the people who do, yet we never go. Funny. The rest of Vegas is just, well, a town in the middle of the desert. There are Targets to shop in, grocery stores, pet food, vets, all the things. The only difference is almost everything is open 24 hours, and almost everything has a slot machine in it.
It is also the Land of Not Actually Always Hot, which was a shock. In the “winter” it gets to a nice and calm 60 degrees (Fahrenheit). The summer gets to an uninhabitable 115 or so, but the winter is nice. Seeing people in full down jackets, mittens, and hats while there is a light breeze is a treat, something to remember when the sidewalk is melting in the summer.
So here we are. Cats, people, all living in Vegas. So far so good…
What else have we been doing? Other than working and living? Well, Saucy G has been working on a book. A couple of books. And short stories. And other things that have fanciful words in them. So this begs the question, if she was to share her fictional writings, should she do so on this blog? Or should she create a new website? What to do! What do you think?
Anyhoo, that is the brief and abridged update on what has been going on for the last six months. These last few months, years, have been crazy! Stick with us, though, and we will get back into the swing of adventures, writing, and what nots!
Happy New Year from Las Vegas, the Land of Not Always That Hot, where Dreams go to Thrive!
Life is often its own adventure, with ups, downs, and a lot of things you don’t expect.
Life for the Duo has been a roller-coaster adventure over these past few months, but we think we are headed to a slightly more awesome ride – with less whiplash and more “aw man this is rad!”
We just saw the Anniversary of our Launch Day, of the day we found out our home was stolen, and of the day it was found – ransacked and in shambles. These past few weeks have been emotional and sad, remembering all of our great promise, and feeling our devastation all over again. Losing everything is not as much fun as it sounds, and it is really hard to describe to people. It would be easier to tell them that our home burned to the ground, at least then they might understand the total and complete destruction that losing the RV was for us. Most of the time we get a lot of, “Oh bummer, sorry your RV got stolen. At least you could just go home,” or, “Oh, did you have anything important in it?” The other thing we hear a lot is, “Well, at least it was covered by insurance, right? Just get it repaired and head back out!” If only any of these statements were true, and it were that easy! We would have hit the road ages ago! Sadly, however, it is a little (a lot) more complicated than that.
Insurance barely covered repairs, and even then they didn’t cover all the repairs. That, coupled with the fact that repairs took SIX MONTHS, took a big chunk (all) of our emergency money, travel money, living money, and some of everyone we knows money. Not to mention that the place were the RV was being repaired LOST our TRAILER. Just….POOF, up in a puff of smoke. There was also the pesky fact that someone STOLE OUR HOME AND ALL OF OUR THINGS. That is something even we have a hard time grappling with, still. We go to watch a movie, or read a book that was in the RV, or look for a cooking utensil, or a shirt we remembered having…and have to remind ourselves that if it was in the RV (and it was), that is it gone. A year later and it still kicks us in the teeth. Clothes? Gone? Bedding? Nope. Pots and Pans? Outta here. Starting from total scratch is scary, and very expensive.
We had to buy all new furniture, bed, bedding, clothes, stuff for cats, suits for Awesome K to job hunt in, TV, an entire kitchen of stuff, ALL. THE. THINGS. Sometimes, when people look at us blankly, I want to tell them to look around their house, then imagine that ALL of it is gone, and they have to start over. Not only did we do just that, we did it in a completely alien location! We were both from Denver, and we landed in Sacramento, thanks to some AMAZING friends of ours who let us stay with them until we could get on our feet a little bit.
We did just that. Awesome K got a job in Sacramento dealing poker, and Saucy G started working on her biggest project – a fictional novel! While we waited for the RV to get repaired, we explored Northern California as much as we could, with the (tiny) budget we had. We went to the Winchester Mystery House, which, by the way, is the greatest house ever! We took one of our Mews, Matilda Pants, to the beach where The Birds was filmed (luckily we didn’t see anything too scary). We even added a member to our Mews Staff! Saucy G spent her birthday in San Francisco, which is one of the greatest cities in the world (just make sure you go hungry)!
However, we quickly learned that Sacramento was not the town for us, and we started looking for better opportunities. Sacramento was also where we said our final goodbyes to the RV.
Unfortunately, due to lack of finances, the inability to get finances for travel, and the Universe giving a CLEAR message that this was not the path for us, we were forced to sell the RV. We sold her to a wonderful charity that gave the RV to a single Mom in need of a safe place to call home for her and her child. We sold the RV for 1/3 of what it was worth, which was a huge bummer, but it went to a great cause and a wonderful woman. If you see the RV (last time we saw her, she still had our crest on the back) give her a wave for us, but please do not disturb her new charges.
Even though she went to a good home, it was like losing her, and our dreams of traveling, all over again. It was the final goodbye to the life we had planned on for so long. There were a lot of tears, and some swear words, but we knew it was for the best.
After saying our goodbyes, we moved from Sacramento…which brings us to our NEW New AwesomeSauce HQ! The duo has landed in GORGEOUS Oceanside, California! Our first moments driving into our new city brought us flowers, a view of the ocean, and a renewed sense of adventure!
Awesome K has a job with one of the local casinos (in Funner, California. Yes, Funner is a real place!), doing what he does best. Saucy G is still working on her first novel, and the Mews have settled in nicely. There are a lot more breezes, trees and flowers in Oceanside, and 100% fewer fleas, which is a big plus for them. The weather here is always amazing, and we are just mere moments (about 20 of them) from the beach! We can literally go to the beach whenever we want! Saucy G grew up in a “landlocked” state, and had only been to the beach a handful of times, and only on rare special occasions, so being this close is mind-boggling!
Miss Matilda Pants feeling sassy
Mister Archer Funnyfoot feeling sassy
Lady Lana BoBana, and Cass (Fluffer) enjoying a wonderful ocean breeze
We have even saved some pennies and gone on a few (small) adventures, and hope to go on more soon. Cost of living is pretty high in Oceanside, apparently EVERYONE wants to live in perfect weather near the ocean, so our adventures are a wee limited – for now. That doesn’t stop us from trying, though.
Our most recent adventure took us back to Las Vegas! Now, you may be asking, “Why on EARTH would you go there? After all that happened?” Because we love Las Vegas. We were married in Las Vegas, and we weren’t going to let one mean nasty person ruin the city that we love. So we went to “take it back” for ourselves. We went to the Flamingo and saw our brick (You can see our brick, too! We are the AwesomeSauce Duo, with our wedding date of 10/31/15 on it), we checked out the World Series of Poker (although we didn’t play in any events this year), and we relaxed by the pool. We might have avoided Bally’s, but other than that we had a wonderful time in the city we love.
After Vegas we haven’t really been up to much. We go to the beach, we check out the sights, and we plot and plan our next adventures.
Through a lot of luck, and careful planning, we were able to get tickets to the San Diego ComicCon this year! You can check us out on Thursday and Sunday of the Con. We are also going back to Midsummer Scream for the whole weekend, which will be amazing. They say the Elvira, Mistress of the Dark will be there this year!! Saucy G is a HUGE fan, and is super excited for the chance to see her in person. Also, if we are lucky, and can get our hands on some tickets, we are hoping to go to this years CatCon in Pasadena!
So, that brings you up to speed on where we are at. It has been a helluva year, but we are still Awesome! No RV? NO PROBLEM! We may not have an RV, but that doesn’t mean our adventures have stopped!
Thank you for sticking with us through this crazy year. Now it’s time to put the past behind us, and focus on an awesome future! We will be back soon with new adventures, new posts, and all things awesome!
(Want more frequents updates on the AwesomeSauce Duo and the Mews Team? Check out our Facebook Page!)
Adventure comes in many different ways. By plane, train, RV, it all starts with walking out your front door. If you adventure by boat it doesn’t mean you can’t ever go by plane. If you start out with an RV it might not mean you continue that way.
Sometimes you get a very clear message (or messages) from the universe that your current path is the wrong one.
After months of discussion, crying, juggling finances, juggling cats, crying, having MORE things stolen, and finally sleeping like a baby (waking up every few hours crying), we have come to a very difficult decision.
Due to our current financials, and the health of the Mews, we have decided to sell the RV. This was by no means an easy decision, and it in NO WAY means we are hanging up our feathered caps. We plan to have a Brick and Mortar HQ, and travel to awesome destinations all over the globe, we just won’t be doing it with our house in tow. We will still see and do all the things!
In fact we already have big plans…like Seattle in March, plans for Arkansas, Florida, Wisconsin, Texas, and even Las Vegas (we can’t miss the World’s Series of Poker!). It is sad to say goodbye to the RV we barely knew, but that won’t be the end of that dream, either, as we plan to save our pennies and start over in a few years (depending on the Mews, and the Universe of course).
We want to thank you for your never ending support and love. We would be lost wanderers without you!
Stay tuned for our latest and greatest adventures, tips, tricks, and updates!
Have you ever dreamed of a house filled with mysterious secret passages, doors to other worlds, ghosts, and a history that is almost beyond belief? Do you wish there was a place with sprawling gardens, gorgeous arches, and more rooms than you could shake a stick at? Wish no longer, this magical house on the edge of reality exists, and you can visit it any time you want!
The house, of course, is the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California.
There is nothing like this incredible mansion anywhere else in the world, and has something for everyone. The Duo has dreamed of visiting the house for as long as we could remember, so when we were gifted a year longSkeleton Key Club membership, we jumped right out of our skins! Not literally, of course, skin sort of jumps with you, but you get the idea. We couldn’t wait to get to San Jose to see the house in person, and who better to go with us than AwesomeSauce members, The Doctors of Awesome! The Doctors Awesome are our Brother-From-Another-Mother The Quiz Doctor, and his amazing and brilliant wife, The Brain Doctor. We headed out from our HQ to the Mystery House.
The Winchester Mystery House was built by Sarah Winchester, wife of the Winchester Rifle heir, “William Wirt Winchester, son of Oliver Fisher Winchester, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut and manufacturer of the famous Winchester repeating rifle.” – http://winchestermysteryhouse.com/sarahwinchester.cfm. After the death of her husband, and their small baby, Sarah did what any rational woman would do, she consulted a medium in an attempt to contact the love of her life. She, however, received a very different message. The medium told her to head west, ALL THE WAY West, and start building a house, and never, ever stop. The house was to appease, and perhaps trap, the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifles, and construction was to continue 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, forever. If construction ever stopped, Sarah would suffer and die. Being a woman of INCREDIBLE means, 2,777 shares in the Winchester company, and a thriving fruit business, Sarah was bringing in $1,000 a day, with no taxes. $1,000 A DAY. That is a ton of money now, imagine what that was in the 1800’s! Or, plug it into an inflation calculator, like we did, and it comes to roughly $24,000. $24,000 a day.
With her incredible daily income, Sarah moved from Boston to San Jose, bought a tiny unfinished farm house, and started building. Not only did she hire workers for her ethereal project, she housed them and fed them, and paid them twice what the going rate was. If they didn’t want to live on the property, she would buy them housing in the nearby town. So, free room and board, plus twice the daily rate of pay, it is no wonder she was well liked by her staff – so well liked it is said that some of them remain on the property to this day, working and tending the garden. Construction proceeded as instructed by the medium, and even the ghosts themselves told Sarah how to proceed, through seances and spirit boards. One of the rooms constructed was dedicated to communication with the ghosts, and is one of the most interesting rooms in the house – with an entrance, but no exit. That isn’t a riddle, the door you enter from you cannot leave through, as it only opens one way and locks behind you. You have to leave through one of a few secret passages in the walls, this was to keep Sarah from being followed by the spirits, confusing them so that they couldn’t track her down in the house. This is just one of many secrets in the house.
So far the current caretakers of the house have found 160 rooms. We say so far, because there are rumors that there are more, yet undiscovered rooms in the house. “At the time of her death, the unrelenting construction had rambled over six acres. The Sprawling mansion contained 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens. Carpenters even left nails half driven when they learned of Mrs. Winchester’s death.”-http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/sarahwinchester.cfmAs far as they know so far, that is. Construction halted after Sarah passed away in her sleep on September 5, 1922, and it wasn’t until 1973 that construction started again. The house is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and every day there is construction and repair happening on the house. The house requires 20,000 gallons of paint to cover the exterior, and as soon as painters have finished, they have to start from the beginning again!
The house is open daily for tours, and they often have special tours available, like haunted candlelit tours in the dark, or the Spirit of the Holidays during the winter. We couldn’t WAIT to get inside, and with our fancy Skeleton Key Club Membership, we get to tour the house for free! So of course we took the deluxe tour, featuring inside and outside tours. We brought The Doctors, getting them discounted tickets with our membership, which is awesome, and we headed into the sprawling Queen Ann Victorian mansion built for ghosts.
We grabbed our tickets and met in the courtyard next to the little cafe. Yes, you can come, sit, and spend a day at the Mystery House without taking a tour, if you felt so inclined. If our HQ was closer, we would be there right now! We met our tour guide, and proceeded into the house. We would love to share with you pictures we took from inside the property, but there is currently a movie being made about the house, and photos of the interior are proprietary. We aren’t even sure we are allowed to tell you how incredible it was, but we will do our best. The House lives up to all the hype, being grand, gorgeous, and mysterious.
We were treated to sights of staircases the ended in the ceiling, a staircase leading down that ended in a staircase leading up again, doors to windows, windows to doors, and doors leading to oblivion. One door on the second (or was it the third? Fourth?) floor leads you to outside, with no landing, just a nasty drop to your demise, or a bad owwie at the very least. Don’t worry, you can’t accidentally step out the door, it is clearly marked now. The house was ahead of it’s time in many ways, with indoor plumbing, hot water, and electricity. One of the first rooms on our tour was a huge bathroom and shower, luxurious by today’s standards and mind boggling for the 1800’s. The bathroom, one of 13, has 13 sinkholes in the sink…just one of the many times the number 13 sneaks it’s way into the house.
Remember when we mentioned that Sarah continued to commune with the dead, getting advice on how to proceed with the construction? One of the rooms on our tour was this small room, with the story that “When Mrs. Winchester set out for her Séance Room, it might well have discouraged the ghost of the Indian or even of a bloodhound, to follow her. After traversing an interminable labyrinth of rooms and hallways, suddenly she would push a button, a panel would fly back and she would step quickly from one apartment into another, and unless the pursuing ghost was watchful and quick, he would lose her. Then she opened a window in that apartment and climbed out, not into the open air, but onto the top of a flight of steps that took her down one story only to meet another flight that brought her right back up to the same level again, all inside the house. This was supposed to be very discomforting to evil spirits who are said to be naturally suspicious of traps.” We entered the room through the entrance with no exit, and left through one of the secret passages, whether or not we were followed is still a mystery.
On the second part of our tour we were shown the grounds, and learned more about the practical side of the house. During her time there, Sarah had sprawling orchards of plums, walnuts, and apricots. She ran a successful fruit business, only adding to her bajillion dollars from the Winchester shares. The gardens are incredible, with four fountains, and some of the most beautiful roses in the world. Trees from all over the globe, and Mrs. Winchester’s favorite, daisies. The grounds boast 13 palm trees lining the old driveway to the carriage house and car garage. Sarah Winchester was one of the first people in San Jose to have a car, and a photo of her in the car is one of only two pictures with the heiress.
Our tour guides through the house and the grounds were remarkable! They could answer any questions, had a vast knowledge of the house and history, and were truly in love with their jobs. It was wonderful to see the caring that the guides showed, still in awe of this remarkable house and gardens. It’s hard not to be in awe of such a grand haunted estate with such a rich history.
Adventure Pro Tips:
Be sure to check ahead of time to verify hours and tour times. As of this writing, tickets could be purchased online 24 hours in advance, and at the box office day of.
We STRONGLY recommend the Grand Estate tour, touring the mansion and the gardens. This tour, however, is roughly 2 hours long. While well worth it, it is best to plan ahead. Wear comfortable shoes, and be ready for some walking! If you don’t want to do the walking tour, there is an audio tour. Children 5 and Under are not allowed behind the scenes for safety reasons.
There is, of course, a gift shop! In the gift shop there is not one, not two, but three penny squish machines! If you want a great souvenir that only costs .51 cents, be sure to bring some change and squish a penny! Squished pennies are a fun keepsake, and most places have at least one squisher.
Have fun! This is the only house like this in the world!
SOLID 4 of a Kind (Quads). This is an exceptional tour, and well worth the drive, and the dollars. It can be a little steep if you are not a member, and not everyone enjoys walking through history for two hours. We loved it, and we are sure you will, too.
We took November off to focus on NaNoWrimo and writing a novel (or starting several), and are finally back to share with you all of our adventures!
“But you have been gone a lot longer….”
“month. Where have…”
NaNoWriMo was successful, in that we are now “in the habit” of writing, which is great news for you! Blog posts! Snippets of Saucy G’s books! So much excitement!
Let’s start by CATching up on what has been going on here at AwesomeSauce HQ.
The last time you heard from us, Awesome K had attempted to go get the RV from Camping World Las Vegas, and was met with a “missing” trailer. Well, there is no update there. The trailer is gone, never to be seen again, and we still don’t have the RV. Awesome K is hoping to go pick it up in the next couple of weeks, but we are skeptical.
HQ has had some big changes, though! We had a company meeting, and it was decided that we were one Mews short. We interviewed many qualified and wonderful candidates, narrowing it down to a few exceptional potentials. It was only after we consulted The Universe that we were able to find, and hire, our latest Mews!
Please give a warm welcome to Castiel Baggins! Cass, also known as Cassieopealliow, Mr Kitty Cat Cass, Baby Kitty, Toasted Marshmallow, Mr Baby Pants, and, of course, Cassanova. Just look at him!
Cass is currently interning under Archer Funnyfoot in Public Relations, and is cross training in Human Relations. We have not yet determined which department he will head, as we are waiting for him to get a little more comfortable being here at HQ.
Earlier we mentioned NaNoWriMo. What is that, you ask? “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.” – NaNoWriMo.org. It is a chance for budding novelists, and seasoned pros, to sit down and start a new challenge. The goal is to start a brand new novel, and write at least 1600 words a day. That will get you to the 50,000 word goal, and it gets you into the habit of sitting and writing every day. Of course you can write more or less words per day, the end goal is the same.
Saucy G sat down for her first NaNoWriMo attempt, and did pretty darned well! While she didn’t hit her 50,000 word goal, she got darn close with 30,000! She also got a great start on a memoir (which is rebellious for NaNoWriMo), and a modest start on her first novel. We will feature snippets from both from time to time, so keep an eye out for a Saucy G Original (SGO)!
We have a few adventures to catch you up on, like San Francisco, LA, and, of course, the Winchester Mystery House…plus some sweet stuff in the future, like Napa, Seattle, and a few other awesome surprises!
That is a lot of stuff to do! We better get to it!
The world is filled with beautiful poems, quotes, songs, and images of the ocean. Nothing anyone says, nothing anyone sings, will ever capture the wild and true beauty of the sea. The way the air fills your lungs, salty, cleansing. The way the sand feels in your toes, soft and rough, smooth and sinking. The water when it rolls over you, washing away life and replacing it with infinity. There is nothing so marvelous, so captivating, so healing as the ocean.
If you have never been to an ocean, please – if you go on no other adventures in this life – go to the ocean. Go to the beach. Sit in the sand. Let the tide roll over your toes. It will roll right into your very core, and you will be forever changed.
The Duo needed an ocean fix, so they headed to one of the most famous beaches in the world, Santa Monica!
Granted, this is VERY touristy, so if you are looking for something that is a lot more beach, and a lot less people, WORRY NOT! One of our stops was at Carlsbad Beach, and it was glorious. A long stretch of beach, not a lot of people, and very impressive waves. There is parking near the beach, and an easy path to walk down to get close to the water. This is an excellent beach for having a relax, going surfing, or going for a gorgeous beachfront walk.
During our stay in Southern California, or SoCal, we went to Santa Monica twice, and both times were AWESOME! The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most famous spots in the world, featuring roller coasters, live performers, incredible food, fun shops, an aquarium, fishing, swimming, surfing, the LAST STOP of Route 66… the list goes on and on! One of the shops, the Oatman Rock Shop, claims to be the oldest shop on the pier! Worth a look sea…er…see if you want to pick up some fun 60’s style stuffs. On both our trips, we ate lunch at the delectable Albright. It was soooo good the first time, we went back on our second trip. If you love clam chowder you NEED to try the bread bowl they have. A delicious delectable delight, you won’t be disappointed! The prices were reasonable, the beers were cold, and the atmosphere was awesome!
Walking along the pier is an experience in itself. You never know who, or what, you are going to see performing on the pier! While we were there we saw face painters, jugglers, temporary tattoos, a singing goth 60’s gigolo, and “Rock and Roll Jesus” singing Sublime songs, just to name a few. The acts change periodically throughout the day, and no two days are the same!
Taking up a large section in the middle of the pier is Pacific Park, featuring roller coasters, a full boardwalk, and Awesome K’s favorite – funnel cake. Funnel cake as large as your head. Seriously. While we did enjoy the funnel cake, we did not get a chance to ride any of the rides, or play any of the games. However, if you are looking for a boardwalk adventure, this is the place!
Just a short walk away from the Pier is one of the most well known beaches in the world, Muscle Beach! This is where anyone who was anyone went to work out. Today you can still find plenty of outdoor exercise areas, as well as volleyball pits, bicycle rentals, and some of the best people watching out there! There were a handful of people working on their fitness, which was neat to watch. We would have joined them, but we were still sticky from the funnel cake – which that statement alone should tell you how often we would work out on the beach.
Do you love Geocaching? Of course you do! So does Saucy G (poor Awesome K can’t seem to get into it)! While cruising the beach, there were some super sweet caches to be had. One that bumped it’s way into her Top Five Favorite Caches was “Lord of the Rings.” Not only is this a fun play on words – as the exercise rings are close by, but this was the first one involving a secret code! If you are a geocacher, and are looking for a fun – albeit easy – cache, be sure to check out the caches around Santa Monica and Muscle Beach. “What is Geocaching” you ask?! Oh adventurer, you are in for a real treat now! Geocaching is an adventure all of its own! Our words won’t do it justice, but the basics are that there are real hidden “caches” all over the world, and one in space, that are hidden for you to find. They are EVERYWHERE, and range in difficulty from 1 to 5 based on the terrain, and the type of container it is. All the caches have a log book for you to sign, and some have hidden treasures in them! If you have a smartphone, you can download a free app that helps you on your hunt – turning it into a GPS as well as your traveling log book. If you have questions, feel free to ask us, or check out these fun videos on YouTube “Geocaching Basics” and “Etiquette“, but like we said – your best resource for your new favorite hobby will be the website. Best of all, it is completely free!
Other not to be missed attractions on/near the Pier is the Loof Hippodrome Carousel, and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. The Carousel is located inside, near the Soda Jerks, and is said to be one of the oldest around. We can’t back that statement up with facts, but it sounds cool. It IS on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is the #3 Historic Landmark in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium can be found sort of under the pier, just follow the signs. It is NOT in the Soda Jerks hall, which one might be lead to believe. Just head down the stairs behind the Jerks, and you should see signs for the Aquarium. It is pretty neat inside, with lots of interactive areas letting you pet and love on Santa Monica sea life! Just be gentle, and listen to the guides as they help you meet some of the locals. The main goal of the Aquarium is to Save the Bay, and help bring awareness to what trash, water wasting, and other nasties can do to our sea friends. While we were there we met some other fun Santa Monica locals, animals! A local wildlife rescue was visiting, and brought with them some of their friends to help bring awareness to who, and what, live around us! It is a neat little aquarium, and worth a visit, and help us all HEAL THE BAY!
One of our beach days was dedicated to hanging out on the beach and swimming. No sight seeing, no stress, just beach. It was exactly what we needed! We packed up some waters, a couple little snacks, our towels, and we were off! There may be no better way to unwind than by sitting by the waves. It was a little crowded, even for a Tuesday, but we did go in July, so there’s that. It was still really easy to find a spot, even getting there at noon! We were right near the water, no one in front of us, and we had plenty of room to relax. There seem to be “two beaches” at Santa Monica, one to the left of the pier, and one to the right. It seemed like to the right of the pier was WAY busier than the left side, so we opted to relax on the left.
Our relax day was so wonderful! Everyone, at least once in their lives (but hopefully A LOT more then just once) gets a relaxing beach day. Awesome K brought along his own castle building kit, but opted to give it to a little girl instead. He sat, read, and relaxed in his chair while Saucy G spent pretty much the entire day in the water. One of her most favorite things is to swim, although she is no Simone Manuel! Saucy G did her best to stay afloat, and even rode a small wave or two! One of her next goals is to become a certified diver, like her Old Man before her (the Incredible Old Man was one of the first ever certified diving instructors in Los Angeles!), or at least be able to go diving. The Old Man was, in fact, a Super Hero, so diving like him might be impossible – but that is a totally different EPIC story!
If you are in Southern California, be ready to spend at least one day, if not two, at Santa Monica Pier and the surrounding beaches. There is a reason they are some of the most famous beaches in the world! Enjoy your walk on the Pier, get some great food, stick your toes in the ocean, and breathe in that wonderful ocean air. Take a minute to look, really LOOK at the ocean. Hear the waves. Feel the salt in the air. You’ll be glad you did!
Adventure Pro Tips:
1. Never go outside without sunscreen! This is especially true at the beach. Whether or not you get in the water (although if you are not at least wading in the water you are a silly person), reapply the sunscreen throughout the day. Nothing ruins a great day at the beach like finding out you look like one of the lobsters!
2. BRING PLENTY OF WATER! It is easy to get dehydrated while playing, and swimming in the salt can suck a lot of moisture out. Be sure to keep your insides as wet as your outsides get.
3. Forgot your umbrella? While we were there, we saw a few people walking the beaches selling umbrellas, sand castle kits, and body boards. The prices seemed reasonable, so we bought an umbrella for the day. Whether you buy one there, or bring one with, a beach umbrella is a must! That little bit of extra shade keeps you cool, and keeps you from burning. Please still follow tip number 1, though.
4. While we didn’t see any nefarious business, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Make sure to keep you purse/wallet/monies someplace safe. Our chairs came with hidden pockets for wallets, which was handy. We recommend either leaving valuables at home, or only bringing enough with you for beach day. No need to be swimming with stacks of cash, fish don’t accept that, or credit cards. Just keep it safely secured, and you should be fine. This article has some great ideas for keeping your valuables safe while you build your tribute to Game of Thrones out of sand!
5. Going to Santa Monica Pier and can’t find parking? Pier parking full, and the only other advertised parking is for $40? Don’t get sand in your socks, we found the spot for you! This site helps you find the parking, and lets you know the costs up front…but if you are like Saucy G that info means nothing to you without a picture, so here ya go!
If you take Ocean Ave south east-ish (middle bottom on the right of the picture), past The Lobster, you can turn right onto a road that takes you to the huge parking lot. The parking is cheap, and it is right on the beach! Don’t get scammed! You can also turn right on Seaside Terrace, turn right on Appian way, and that will get you there. The two times we went we parked here, saving us time, money, and a lot of hassle.
6. While walking the Pier it may be tempting to hunt for Poke` whatevers, or to stare at your phone in some other fashion. You are at the BEACH! There are wild and crazy things happening around you! Please look up and look around, it’s worth it! Yes, there are Pokes to be caught, and eggs to be hatched, but try not to walk into or over other people in the process.
7. Bring two pairs of shoes. Flip flops and sneakers. That way you don’t get sand in your sneakers, and you don’t get burns from your flip flops. Or just wear sandals, but make sure they are comfortable. Walking in warm sands can be difficult, and hot! The $15 flip flops sold on the pier are worth it in a pinch, but not very comfortable.
8. The beach on the south side of the pier, or left of the pier, is the less crowded for a beach day. You are not as close to the parking lot, but it is a VERY easy walk under the pier, and there is a lot more room!
9. Did we mention sunscreen?
10. Funnel. Cake. One serving is enough for at least two people, so save your pennies and just get the one. Did we mention bringing water? Anything and everything on the pier will be priced for tourists, so plan ahead and bring your own bottle of water.
AwesomeSauce Rating: Full House. There was a distinct lack of kittens, and we are pretty sure that Santa Monica beaches are not animal friendly, so no swimming puppies either. The prices can be a bit high, and it can be a wee crowded, but what does one expect of a main tourist spot in the middle of summer? Honestly, this place is amazing, and everyone should check it out at least once, maybe twice. Muscle Beach is a sand dollar throws away, and if you play your cards right, your trip could be free! Nothing beats the ocean, and walking on the sand in the surf. THIS needs to be done by everyone as much as possible.
Groupon may be one of the best tools in any travelers arsenal. Not only can you find amazing deals on just about everything, you can also find tickets to events and attractions you might not have otherwise known about!
One night we were chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool, when we started cruising Groupon for something to do…
That’s when we saw it. A MidSummer Scream! A convention for horror, Halloween, and everything in between. Ghosts! Horror movies! Haunted Houses! REAL Haunted Houses! ALL HALLOWEEN ALL THE TIME! So, of course we had to go to that!
We opted to go on the final day (remember, the final day of a convention or show is the best day, you get the best deals!), for the deals, and for the panel discussions. We were able to find a schedule online, and saw that one of discussions was going to be about the Winchester Mystery House! Saucy G has ALWAYS wanted to go there, hearing legends of it from her parents, and Awesome K had always wanted to go. He spent a lot of time in that area growing up, but never made it to the house.
HOLY CRAZY PANEL, BATMAN! That discussion was AMAZING! We got to see pictures that no one else has seen, we learned the history of the house, and Sarah Winchester, AND we got some super sweet insider info! We learned about a few psychics who have come through the house, a couple of ghost hunters and their adventures, and we got to hear about a particularly interesting seance that happened in the house recently, performed by James Van Praagh! The best part was at the end, everyone who attended the panel was gifted a YEAR LONG MEMBERSHIP to the new Skeleton Key Club!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, ALL the exclamation points are needed). Now the Duo can go to the Winchester Mystery House ALL THE TIME! FOR FREE! Plus discounts on the gift shop (which is, of course, filled with all sorts of fun stuff), as well as discounts on tickets for friends! So, if you want to go to the coolest house ever built AND have an adventure with the DUO, now you can!
After the panel, at the Winchester Mystery House booth, they were selling shadow boxes that contained actual relics from the house! The only had a few, and they were WAY out of our budget, but they were incredible! One in particular had blue tile, some crown molding, and a piece of wallpaper, all original from the House, for around $400. Saucy G may kick herself for the rest of forever for not getting that. Such a gorgeous box, an amazing bit of history, and it might even be haunted! If you happen across a this shadow box, let Saucy G know, she might be able to scrape up some cash. Or trade you. Or beg and cry at you. That sounds fun, right?
After enjoying our incredible panel, we hit the floor at the Midsummer Scream!
The entire show floor was covered in a fog. Screams echoed through the halls. A zombie shuffled by, a bag brimming with delights from the underworld. Slender Man stood tall and opposing, while a couple of rotting nurses took a selfie with him. It was perfect! The only way this event/day could get better would be haunted kittens.
This was the first annual event, so the show floor was not as jam packed as it could have been, but what was there was quality stuff. In addition to the Winchester Mystery House, there were several exhibitors and panels about haunted houses, make up artistry, and how to get into the horror business professionally. One entire section was made into a haunted house, but we might have been too scared to go in. From all the screaming, it seemed pretty awesome, though. There was an area where you could have Halloween effects and makeup done, which also looked AMAZING! A lot of booths were mini room escapes, promoting their larger attractions (like the game on your phone, but in real life. We NEED to do that one time). There were also a lot of booths dedicated to paranormal investigations, a horror museum, a vlog about scary baking (which we are following, because she is a delight), all sorts of cool and kooky things to purchase, and…..HAUNTED KITTENS! KITTENS!!!
Ok, so the kittens PROBABLY aren’t haunted, but as we all know, kittens and cats DO keep bad demons away from your house, so everyone should have at least two (for demon hunting, and to keep each other company). The actual booth was dedicated to cat and kitten adoption, and awareness of the perils of being a black cat*. Saucy G MIGHT have lost her mind a little bit, kittens and horror all mixed together like this. IT WAS EPIC! And this was just on SUNDAY! (This is also the reason there aren’t a lot of pictures taken by the duo. Too much awesome makes for a forgetful photographer).
We didn’t go Saturday, but we wish we could have (Long Beach was a little far from Altadena, AND we didn’t really know about it until it was too late to plan ahead)! On Saturday night there was a Halloween Ball, with only the greatest band of all time….OINGO BOINGO! OINGO….BOINGO!
All in all it was probably one of the coolest events we have ever been to, other than Nerd Mecca of course. Although it is definitely on par with Nerd Mecca…this had all horror all the time, goth makeup, and haunted kittens. It is really hard to top kittens. If you are in the Long Beach area, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this screaming good time next summer! Don’t forget to check for discount tickets on Groupon! (This blog was not sponsored by Groupon, but if they do sponsorships, let us know).
AwesomeSauce Rating:Royal Flush. There were kittens! Horror icons! We won year long admission to the Winchester Mystery House! It does not get better than this, unless we went to the Fest for free. Or got paid. Seriously, this event was one of the best ever in the forever ever, and you NEED to check it out next time! We will be there!
Don’t live near Long Beach, but are dying for some devilish delights of your own? Fear not! Click HERE for a list of some horrifying haunts coming to your area!
*Black cats are the hardest to get adopted, due in part to the stigma and superstitions behind them. During the month of October, it is especially dangerous to be a black cat, as they are often targeted for some nasty tricks. There doesn’t seem to be a concrete answer as to why they are less likely to be adopted. In fact, in some cultures, black cats bring about the best of luck!
We, Awesome K and Saucy G, were sitting around, minding our own business one Saturday evening in Altadena/Pasadena. Nothing much was going on. Then BAM! WHAMO! KABOOM! A figure descended from the Heavens! This magnificent creature from the Ether bestowed upon us TWO FREE TICKETS TO COMIC CON!!!!
For those of you who are unsure as to what just happened, let us attempt to explain. The San Diego Comic Con is sort of a Nerd Mecca. For 46 years, the San Diego Comic Con has brought together everyone in the comics industry for a mega convention. It has gotten exponentially larger over recent years – and has started to include movies, TV shows, books, and all things that are considered “nerdy” or “geeky” or just straight up AWESOME! Everything from video games, to Game of Thrones, to Emily the Strange, to Lego’s. All the things that this Saucy G LOVES. ALL. Comic Con is often the place to premier new and cool stuff, as well as a place to meet the stars of your favorite Nerd-dom, and to get your hands on all sorts of rare and exclusive swag. To be able to go to this epic event is a quest for many a nerd/geek/gamer/comic-lover/etc. The San Diego Comic Con is the King of All Cons. All other Comic Cons (Denver, Salt Lake, etc), aspire to be the San Diego Comic Con. Hence the “Nerd Mecca.”
Tickets to get in, however, are often expensive, and often sell out almost instantly! We didn’t plan ahead, and when we found ourselves in SoCal (Southern California, or SoCal as the cool kids call it) during Comic Con, we knew we were out of luck. That is, until the Nerdy Angel arrived and handed us two free passes (please refer to the above photo)! Not only were we getting in free, we were getting in an hour early! We could have a quick look around before the throngs of people came crashing through the doors.
Comic Con is HUGE! In recent years it has become too large for the Convention Center that it is in, and has started spilling into the streets and local businesses, which is awesome. If you were a business owner near the San Diego Convention Center, Comic Con has to be the equivalent to the retail Black Friday – for a week straight. It must be especially awesome to have a company come to you and rent your ENTIRE BUSINESS for the week of the Con. We saw one restaurant completely taken over, and turned into a hub for an upcoming TV show. One local hotel lobby was turned into the Hall of Faces from Game of Thrones! Every where you looked in San Diego, there was something related to Comic Con, and it was glorious.
Inside the main convention center there was a TON of stuff to see. If you are ever planning on going to Comic Con, you really should at least go for two days. One day to take it all in, one day to really focus on what you want to focus on. Honestly, your best bet, even it if is the most expensive, is to go all four days. A day to take it in, a couple days to catch all the different events and panels, and finally a day for shopping. We always recommend shopping on the last day of an event, as most of the dealers are VERY willing to make deals in order to not pack and haul out as much stuff. Don’t be afraid to ask for a Last Day Discount! Planning ahead for something like Comic Con is a must. Many exhibitors will have “exclusive” free gifts, or items only for sale at the Con, or other rare items, and if that is something you want in your collection – having a game plan going in is a must. (Click Here—->cci2016_exhib_hall_map <—For a Map)
We, however, were just excited to be able to go! We didn’t really have any plan at all, except to see everything we could.
Like wide eyed children on Christmas morning, we journeyed up and down the aisles in sheer awe and wonderment.There was SO MUCH TO SEE!
Meandering was a little difficult, as other people had VERY serious agendas. It got a little intense at a few instances, with people pushing and some yelling. It resembled Black Friday in this regard, too, with people pushing and shoving and doing whatever they needed to in order to get “the thing” that they were after. Again, plan ahead people.
Some of the highlights of the Con were the hidden gems we found. Tucked in between two larger booths was a small table with two ladies surrounded by art. The artist, one of the two ladies, was modestly describing her work. We picked up some small postcard size pieces of art (we are going to order larger pieces some day, when we have a place for art), got her autograph on each one, and made a real connection with an amazing artist!
Another amazing exhibitor was the Steam Crow Monster Scouts! If you ever run into a Monster Scout we HIGHLY encourage you to chat with them, get the back story, and learn more about this awesome community. Awesome K and I are both learning how to be scouts, and are hoping to earn some badges soon. Yes. Badges. Real life badges. This is a real scout group focused on the love of monsters! It is pretty amazing. They have camp outs, activities, and all sorts of amazing things. AND YOU CAN EARN REAL LIFE BADGES! Saucy G is obsessed with earning achievements, finding a real life achievement earning opportunity, in one of our favorite fields (monsters), is beyond awesome! Please pop on over and learn about becoming a Monster Scout!
Saucy G loves horror movies. The cheesier the better. She had an extensive horror movie collection that The Thief stole from the RV, and is often something that stings the most. A couple of the booths at Comic Con were HORROR MOVIES! Troma made an appearance, which was a delight to see, but the real gem was Full Moon Horror. If you haven’t seen the first Puppet Master movie, featuring William Hickey, you should. You are in for a real treat! That is, of course, if you like horror movies. Like most horror series, they eventually get…a little..ah…crazy. Crazy, cheesy, fun. The guys at the Full Moon booth heard the sad story of Saucy G’s movie collection getting stolen, and gave her a HUGE DISCOUNT on their movies! She ended up with the Puppet Master movie collection on BluRay, two plush dolls, and two bobble heads! AMAZING! Thank you again, Full Moon, you really made a horror movie fan’s week with your generosity!
SAM AND MAX! Saucy G was too Starstruck to tell him how much he impacted her youth
There were also HUGE spaces for the “larger” favorites. DC, Marvel, Dark Horse Comics, Game of Thrones, Star Wars…Too many to name. One of our favorites was the “American Gods” booth. “American Gods” is one of Saucy G’s favorite books, written by one of her favorite authors – Neil Gaiman. “American Gods” was picked up by Starz, and we can’t wait! We waiting in what was actually a pretty short line, comparatively, to get a picture and an exclusive key chain. While in line we were treated to the teaser trailer that was released for Comic Con, which was pretty awesome!
We saw some of the costumes for the upcoming “Rogue One, a Star Wars Story,” which was pretty amazing. Wandering around, we ran into the Walking Dead, which was a little scary, but awesome.
Going upstairs and into a different part of the convention hall, sort of by accident, we found where there were all the autographs happening! Stan Lee was setting up to start signing autographs – but tickets to it had sold out WAY WAY WAY in advance – we aren’t kidding about planning ahead. Like, months ahead. In a booth at the end of an empty line was a beautiful woman, signing a couple of autographs, sort of no big deal. It was the talented and wonderful Nichelle Nicols of Star Trek fame. Saucy G REALLY wanted to go say hi, and say what a huge inspiration Nichelle was in her childhood, but she chickened out. If you are out there Nichelle, and happen to have read this, know that you are loved and that there is a nerdy girl out there who thinks you are the bees knees – but was too star struck to stop by your signing.
So classy, so lovely. If only Saucy G wasn’t as wusspuss
All in all, it was a mind blowingly amazing day. Saucy G is still in shock a little that it happened! It is hard to remember everything we saw and did, there was so much, and we ended up walking about 10 miles total that day! We are sure that we have forgotten something, so this may get edit updates as we think of things we saw and did. Truly one of the best adventures ever. Ever. In the Forever Ever!
Let us leave you with a few closing tips…
PLAN AHEAD! Tickets go on sale at the beginning of the year, ish, so if you want to go be sure to find out exactly when they go on sale, and be ready to buy. THIS PAGE should update as it gets closer to ticket time. Also, be sure to get the list of speakers, events, and signings in advance, so you know what to do and where to be, and when.
Be Ready to Walk! No joke. Wear comfortable shoes, and be ready to walk all over the place. We aren’t joking in that we walked about ten miles that day, and that was just one day!
Save your pennies! If there is a booth selling stuffs, and you can hold out until closing day, do. MOST booths and exhibitors will make deals with you on closing day. Although, it never hurts to ask for deals earlier in the show, too. Worst case they say no, and you pay full price. Best case you get a sweet deal!
BRING YOUR CAMERA! Everyone has a camera in their phones, but don’t forget you have it, either! You never know when you might see a star on the exhibitor floor! Or if you just want to take a sweet picture of your favorite exhibitors booth. Be sure to ask, however, if photos are ok – some booths have exclusive stuff for Comic Con eyes only. You also don’t want to miss all the AMAZING costumes people are wearing! Again, ask if it is ok if you take a picture – remember these are still real people. Most will say yes, and most will probably pose for a cool shot!
Have fun! Remember, this is the coolest event ever. Stay positive, have fun, and remember that other people are there to have fun, too. Try to not yell at people, or get snippy and rude. Be nice, have fun!
ROYAL FLUSH! Are you silly? What else would it be? Spades Royal Flush, with a jackpot bonus. A Royal Flush, while playing with kittens, eating your favorite foods (and they won’t make you gain weight} while listening to your favorite jams, hanging out with your favorite people. Mecca. Royal Flush Mecca.
A HUGE HUGE HUGE THANK YOU to Morgan and the Team at Diamond Select Toys for giving us the best day ever. This was on of the best days of Saucy G’s life, easily top 10. Thank you thank you, a thousand times thank you! It means so much to us to be a part of the show this year. THANK YOU DIAMOND SELECT TOYS!
Here at AwesomeSauce, we have some pretty incredible family and friends. You should know, you are in that group!
There is Mama AwesomeSauce (AwesomeK’s Mom). Santos is the Head of the AwesomeSauce Fan Club. Sir Christopher is our official Mews Knight, and Protector of the Realm. Mr Hart is Head of Nerd-istics.
We may not have ever mentioned, however, the incredible Pants’. Mr. Fancy Pants (AwesomeK’s brother), is a world-class photographer, and is currently working as a Digital Strategist for Four Kitchens, which is one of the coolest sounding jobs ever. Ms. Smarty Pants (the Worlds Greatest Sister in Law) is literally a Rocket Scientist. Which isn’t intimidating at all. Her mind-blowing resume includes working at MIT, Ball Aerospace, and she is currently doing amazing space stuff with Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Yup. Our Sister in Law works at JPL. Again, not at all intimidating.
Our adventures landed us in sunny and fabulous Altadena, California, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from JPL!
What is JPL, you ask? One person there described it as the “Disneyland for Nerds.” Which is pretty accurate, actually. If you are unfamiliar with JPL, we recommend you watch the movie “The Martian” with Matt Damon (you could probably read the book, but as we have not actually read the book yet, we cannot say one way or another if JPL is featured. They probably are…). Poor Mr. Damon gets stuck on Mars, and the top scientists in the world have to figure out how to get him home again. Where does NASA go to find these top scientists? JPL! Who works there in real life? Ms. Smarty Pants! So…Ipso-Facto-Presto-Changeo, that makes Ms. Smarty Pants one of the world’s top scientists! Which she is. Which is slightly intimidating. If you want a REAL history of JPL, you can check that out HERE. Needless to say, some of the top scientists in the world are at JPL.
The Worlds Greatest Sister in Law, Ms. Pants, blew our minds recently by taking us on a personal guided tour of JPL!!! It truly is the Disneyland for Nerds. It was…hard to put into words just how truly Awesome it was. The campus itself is HUGE. JPL might as well be its own town. There are streets running through the campus, each named cool names (no we won’t tell you what), multiple cafes and cafeterias, two gift shops, at least one museum, their own fire and police departments, and SO MANY SCIENCE PLACES! All they need is on-campus housing, which they might have, but we weren’t privy to that information. We got a tour of the museum, and watched a quick movie about how JPL came up with, and executed, the Mars landing for Curiosity. We saw a cube of Aerogel – the worlds lightest solid – that was used to collect meteor dust on the Stardust Mission. The best part of the museum was that we got to see some of the projects that Smarty worked on! Actual space missions, like Kepler and Maven. Her official super amazing space missions are: GOES-R (and the computer they used was named Zuul. THAT is how awesome she is!), Deep Impact, Spitzer Space Telescope, WorldView 3, MAVEN, TSIS, NPOESS, Kepler, OTB, and LADEE.
On our tour, we saw replicas of Curiosity, the Mars Rovers, and SMAP – the Soil Moisture Massive Passive that unfolds in space, and calculates the Earths moisture levels! We got a good look at what the wheels of Rover looked like, because they use 3D printed versions of them as sign post holders, which is pretty rad.
The Worlds Greatest Sister in Law then took us over to the COMMAND CENTER! We got to see the door to Launch Command, and look through a window. Which was AMAZING! Then we went up some sneaky stairs and got to see where the Deepspace Network was! There were a ton of screens and huge monitors on the wall (yes, like in TV), all monitoring different satellites and missions. You could see data coming in and data going out and sort of what was happening! That area is manned 24 hours a day, always collecting and sending data, monitoring missions, and doing a whole lot more stuff we aren’t allowed to talk about here. IT WAS AWESOME!!
The next stop was to sneak a peek into one of the Clean Rooms. Everyone that goes into a Clean Room has to wear what was affectionately refered to as a Bunny Suit, which consisted of a mask, hat, coat, and booties in this case. They can be full suits with full masks sometimes, like a clean hazmat suit. The clean room we went to was not the “cleanest” of the clean rooms, which was evident from the Bunny Suits, and this room was allowed to have 10,000 particles (of whatever there are particles of…here is a technical site that explains stuff) per cubic foot of air. For some perspective, there are usually 1,250,000 particles in a cubic square of air. Some cleaner clean rooms can only have 1000, or 100 particles per cubic foot! The temperature and moisture are also closely monitored, always kept cool, and there must be a certain amount of humidity so that static electricity doesn’t build up and fry the electronics. The air is circulated through filters in the ceiling, pushed through the room, and collected at through more filters in the floor. In her past, Smarty has worked in a clean room – and was a little nostalgic remembering her time there, until she remembered how uncomfortable the full hazmat type bunny suits are.
We didn’t get to see the official workspace of Smarty, but she DID point out her building! It was large, brown, and had no windows. There, she is currently working on the Mars2020 Mission! Each piece of a satellite, or Rover, or mission, usually has its own team. There are teams for Every. Single. Piece. The drill and drill bits that drill into the ground, that collect samples to analyze. The camera on the drill. The arm that the drill is on. The wheels, the windows, the everything. It is truly awesome!
On our walk we noticed a group of young men huddled in a corner, under a tree. Smarty chuckled and said that was one of many Pokemon Go gyms. Apparently there are a few gyms, and spots, on the JPL campus! The greatest minds in the world, huddled together on a break, training their Pokemon was a fun sight to see. Turns out rocket scientists are just like everyone else! Well, almost.
Speaking of work, after our AMAZING tour, the Worlds Greatest Sister in Law had to grab a very quick noms, then was off to a super secret mission meeting. We squeezed her (but not until her eyes popped out, she needs those for science), thanked her profusely, then we parted ways. We did a little shopping in the super cool JPL/NASA gift shop, then headed on our way.
If YOU want to get onto a tour of JPL (granted, not a personal guided tour from Smarty), just click this LINK to find out more! Be sure to plan WELL in advance, as tours are usually booked at least six months out.
We want to give a HUGE thank you to Ms. Smarty Pants, the Worlds Greatest Sister In Law, for the personal tour of the Disneyland for Nerds! Getting to be at JPL was the tour of a lifetime, and we couldn’t be more impressed! Thank you!!!!
AwesomeSauce Rating: ARE YOU KIDDING?! This is the Spades Royal Flush. This is the best of the best.
Adventures hardly ever go according to plan. That is easily an understatement when it comes to ours, but lets not get into that here.
Due to circumstances (STILL looking at you, Thief. May you step in cat barf every morning…) beyond our control, we found new ways to adventure in Vegas! We found ourselves in a Casino Hotel on the Strip, which is fancy, AND expensive.
Adventure Pro Tip: If you are thinking of going to Vegas, and will have access to a car (which is a good idea and a bad idea), then it is best to stay OFF the strip. There are a plethora of other options, and some even have a shuttle service to the Strip.
When we go to Vegas, we usually stay in a Caesar’s Entertainment Property. We have had decent luck with comps, and they are familiar territory. What are comps, you ask? WELL! What a wonderful and weird world you are about to embark on! First off, whenever you go to a casino, make sure you get a Players Card. You can get one at any Customer Service Desk, or they can tell you where to go to get one. You will need a photo ID, so they know you are you. They will ask for a mailing address – you are welcome to decline – or you can give them one. We always give them a mailing address, because they will send fancy coupons in the mail! As far as we know they don’t sell your address to anyone, but don’t quote us. These fancy mail coupons will offer COMPS! Comp is a lingo way of saying complimentary, or comepleaseplayhere. Sorta. The fancy mail coupons usually have comps for free buffet, some free “slot play” where they give you fake money on slot machines that you can turn into real money, or table play, which works the same. Fake money to possibly earn real money. The best comps are when they offer you a free stay! These are becoming more and more scarce, but they do still happen.
To earn these magic comp points, you use your players card at EVERY SINGLE THING in the casinos. Buying an overpriced coffee? Make sure to ask for points and give them your card. Eating dinner? Grab those points! Of course, the easiest way is to use your card whenever you play. You can put the card in all the slot machines, and leave it in during your play. You can also earn points (maybe?) playing table games and poker. Be sure to hand them your shiny new card so you get credit for your play. The card itself can also be used to redeem points at buffets, gift shops, and sometimes on your hotel stay.
WHEW! SO, after your not-so-brief comp tutorial, now you are ready to find a place to stay! As we mentioned, we usually stay at a Caesar’s Property, because of the magic comps, and what nottery. However, this year we had a CAR! Traffic can be mildly terrifying on the Strip, but the rest of Vegas is pretty easy to navigate, and opens up a whole new realm of places to go, places to stay, and ways to adventure. After we left the Strip, we went to our very first Air BnB, just a ways off the Strip. It was amazing! Well, it was different, and cheaper, and amazing in that we had never stayed at an Air BnB before.
Air BnB is a fancy new way to stay places. You can rent almost anything from a person, from a couch to crash on all the way to a penthouse suite. If a person has a space available for you to stay, they advertise on Air BnB. We found some interesting listings, to say the least. Luckily we found a place that allowed our Mews, was less expensive than a Casino Hotel, was a private space (not crashing on a couch or a spare bedroom), and was inside a gated community. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good for a week. (A coupon for you! A coupon for me! Hooray! www.airbnb.com/c/genevieves161)
With the freedom of our little tiny car, and the Air BnB all set up, we set out to adventure a wee bit! We were still a bit shaken, not stirred, about our recent defilination (Saucy G decrees that this is now a word. Defilination – When something has been defiled recently, in the past tense, to an extreme. You’re welcome), so we kept to places we were somewhat familiar with, or that seemed safe. We also stuck pretty close together, and not just because our car is the size of a Matchbox.
One of the things we were able to do was to check out Casinos NOT on the Strip! The Orleans is probably the closest to the Strip, and the nicest that we found. If you like slot machines, this place has A TON. There is also a decent sized poker room, LOTS of table games, and a who slew of other things to do! They have a bowling alley, movie theater, kids areas, and lots of different food options. We heard from a reliable source that their laundry service is also very reasonable. They DO NOT, however, allow pets. So, keep that in mind when traveling with your own pet crew. With the re-introduction of UBER to Las Vegas, you can also grab a quick ride from there to the Strip, if you were feeling so inclined. This really is a nice one-stop-shop if you are planning on a stay. Clean, nice, we give it a solid Flush (rating based on the fact that we did not actually stay there, and cannot speak for the rooms. Also, the whole No Mews for Yous policy is a bummer). (Here is an Uber Coupon for you, and one for me! Hooray!! https://www.uber.com/invite/genevieves489ue)
Another place we checked out was Arizona Charlies. This is a local favorite, so we had to see what there was to see. If you are a smoker, this is the place for you! Also, if you prefer low lighting, this will also be high on your list. The slot machines were ok, and the people were VERY nice. The poker area was…well…it left a lot to be desired. Poker, however, is not their main focus. If you want Bingo, then look no further! Charlies has the biggest, brightest, and wildest Bingo Hall Saucy G has seen in a while. It is very clean, well lit, seems to be smoke free, and there is a game every odd hour, so you never have to wait long to get into the action. The Bingo Hall is located on the second floor, next to the 24 Hour Buffet. If Bingo is your Bag, then Charlies is for you. The dining there also surprisingly spectacular! At Ron’s Steakhouse they have (or had, hopefully it is still there when you go), an incredible three course steak dinner deal for $27.99. You get an appetizer, then you get a starter of salad or soup of the day, then you can choose from a few different steak options. Sides can be added for an extra fee, that might be $2? THIS is a hidden steak gem, and is not to be missed. Reservations not necessary, however they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, opening for dinner at 4pm to 9pm the rest of the week. Ron’s Steakhouse gets a Flush with a Straight Flush Draw. Arizona Charlies (without rating Bingo, and Ron’s is a separate rating) gets a high Pair. The smoking, poker area, slots, and lighting left a lot to be desired. Like we said, though, the people are SUPER NICE, so they get the higher rating.
Finally, we decided to go to a place that was literally calling our name…the ADVENTUREDOME! The Adventure Dome is located inside Circus Circus, which is a whole different world of entertainment. If you have kids, and don’t mind crazy crowds, Circus Circus might be worth a look. Above the main slots area is a whole area dedicated to kids. It is JAM PACKED with carnival games, arcades, a McDonalds, and everything a kid could want. It is very camping (camping = Where do you sleep, when you go camping? In Tents. Intense. Camping is the AwesomeSauce way of saying something is intense. Again, you’re welcome), and very loud. The arcade was pretty sweet, with a lot of different games. Most games were $1 to play, so keep that in mind. We didn’t play any carnival games, so we don’t know their prices. The most notable thing at Circus Circus, however, is the live circus acts that go on above the gaming area. They have high flying acrobats, jugglers, a hula hoop lady, and they all perform above your head as you play. Shows are generally every half hour, but worry not. They will announce when they next show will begin, so you won’t miss a thing. Now, lets get to the meat and taties part of this adventure, The. Adventure. Dome.
AHHH! TIGER! *Not a real tiger
This is amazing, and I need him in my house
This place is AMAZING! Granted, it is not the largest theme park in the world, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in awesome. We highly recommend you get the All Day Pass. The All Day Pass covers most of the rides there, and if you plan on riding rides, it is the best deal. It pays for itself after three rides, basically. It does not cover mini golf, but we got a coupon for a substantial discount when we got our passes. It also does not cover the Sponge Bob experience, which we were ok with. Probably the best part about the Adventure Dome was that there were virtually no lines. At all. We went on a weekday, so that probably had something to do with it, but it even with school being out the lines were almost non existent.
The rides. Oh the rides. Turns out AwesomeK is a bit of a rollercoaster junkie, which is awesome. If you want to see a grown man light up like it’s Christmas and you just gave him a puppy, take AwesomeK to rollercoasters. The first ride we dared was the Canyon Blaster (spoiler video HERE). It is a wee whip-lashy for Saucy G tastes, but it was AWESOME! It took two late 30s somethings, and turned them into giggling, screaming kids again. That right there is worth the price of admission! The second coaster, which is conveniently located at the exit of the Canyon Blaster, was the EL LOCO! There are no words, really. It was, well, Loco. This is probably one of the best coasters Saucy G has been on! Not at all whip-lashy, and it has all the things you could want in a ride. Upsidedowns, corkscrews, screams, all the things. It was AMAZING!!! THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS! LOUD NOISES! *ahem* Anyway, El Loco is not to be missed. If you go, and only pay for one coaster, make it this one. Adventure Dome also has the “take you straight up in the air, then drop you like a silly” ride, which is always a favorite. The going up was scarier than the coming down, and the up is VERY high in the dome, which is pretty sweet. They have other standards, such as the swingy boat thingy, the ride that takes you up then flips you upside down a few times, the one that is all the spinny, on a spinny, which has more spinny (too much spinny for Saucy G), and a few others. There is also a great kid area, with less camping rides for smaller folks.
That guy can’t believe how awesome Canyon Blaster is
They have a couple of theater style adventure rides, which (we think) are also covered in the All Day Pass. One of which was the “Pacific Rim” attraction. Rarely will we ever give a very negative review. To each is own, and everyone likes different things. We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, so unless something is so awful and should be avoided at all costs, we do our best not to be negative. The Pacific Rim attraction is one of those rare exceptions. Please, please do not do this. Learn from our adventure. The “ride” is the only real wait we encountered at the Dome, which had us a little excited. Saucy G really enjoyed the film, so this was going to be, hopefully, a highlight of the day. No. NO! First you wait in line, and watch a clip from the movie. Cool. Gets you excited. Right on. When it is your turn, you get filed into a small dark room. OOOH! EXCITING! THEN! WITHOUT WARNING! Nothing. Nothing happens. One small TV, which is awkwardly placed so that only two people can really see it, plays the same clip of the movie you just watched while waiting in line. After the clip is over, you wait in awkward silence, in this closed off black room, for what feels like an eternity. Finally, when you are almost done contemplating all of life’s mistakes that got you to this point, you are ushered into another small room with seats. You buckle yourself in and wait. Finally a projector that is in much need of repair begins to play a scene from the movie. You are supposed to feel like you are in the giant machine, fighting a beast from the depths of the ocean – possibly another dimension – but instead you are assaulted on all angles. You view is not that of the cockpit, but rather you are just watching the movie. The platform you strapped yourself to starts to move and jerk in what, we can only assume, is supposed to be in time with the good guy’s machine. Instead it just jerks you around sort of willy nilly. The hectic jerking could make anyone nauseous, which is the only thrill of the ride. Will I barf everywhere? Will I get a migraine? Who knows!
After being tossed around like a rag doll, while a broken projector plays a scene from the movie, and the speakers crackle with the familiar sound of brokeness, the ride stops. You are then ushered out, and back into the world. You didn’t even save humanity from the beast! At all cost, please please please avoid the Pacific Rim attraction.
Other than the complete assault on the senses from Pacific WhyGodDidIRideThat, the Adventure Dome gets a SOLID Full House. SOLID. Almost Quads. Absolutely worth it. Great family fun, and not TOO pricey. They might even have a Groupon available, or other such coupon, so keep a keen eye out.
There you have it. Our Post RV Apocalypse Adventures in Las Vegas! Overall it was a lot of fun, and we didn’t die! We will, of course, be back to Vegas. Next time probably without the Mews, and hopefully with less loss up front. Hope you enjoyed! If we missed something, if you have adventure tips for fellow travelers, or want to let us know what you think – please comment!