The Winchester Mystery House

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.

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An aerial view – we didn’t take this picture

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 long Skeleton 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.

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Not the graves of the family. These are graves of guard dogs that lived on the grounds

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.

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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.cfm As 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! 

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Even now the work never stops

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. 1853.jpg

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.

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The Red Umbrella for House Tours

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. 1857.jpg1858

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. 1860

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Have fun! This is the only house like this in the world!

AwesomeSauce Rating:

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.

 

Want to learn more? Check out:

WinchesterMysteryHouse.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Mystery_House

 

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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.

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NASA even has their own hand sanitizer! 

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

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AeroGel – Gas? Solid? Yes

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. SMAP-animated.gif

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!!

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We didn’t take this picture, but here you get the gist

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.

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Space Poke’

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.

 

Lost in Las Vegas

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.Total_Rewards_2.35162852_std

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.

 

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Brand New From the Dealership

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.

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.

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!

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NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Turn back now!

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!

Stay tuned for more posts from your favorite Duo!

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Our very first Official Full Timing Stop was the Cripple Creek KOA in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

I don’t think there is a way to convey just how much we loved it! We ended up added a day to our stay, because the park was so nice. Now granted, we had literally nothing to compare it too, but still. It was lovely. The views from the “Worlds Highest KOA” are incredible to say the least. Coming from Denver/Lakewood we had some pretty great views, but nothing really compares to being at 10,000 feet. The lack of “light pollution” was incredible! It was the first time anyone on the team had seen stars in ages! The evenings were cool, almost chilly, which was a delight for the middle of June, and the temperature during the day was very pleasant.

In addition to having not seen stars in ages, it had also been ages since Saucy G was up a mountain, so to speak. She grew up at 7,000 feet, but had been in the city for too long. Luckily no one got sick, but it definitely winded us whenever we did anything active.

*Adventure Tip: When heading to higher elevations, remember to drink LOTS of water! It is very easy to get dehydrated when the air is thin, and dehydration can lead to nausea, dizziness, and worse. Please remember to also take it easy on yourself when out and about! Your body is being starved for oxygen, so don’t feel bad about taking breaks to catch your breath. If you DO get sick (such as headache, exhaustion, sick to your stomach, etc.) be sure to keep warm, try some Tylenol for a headache, hydrate, rest, relax, and you should be ok. If you still feel gross (like a bad hangover) see a doctor, get some oxygen, or go to a lower altitude. Altitude Sickness sucks. Dying from it sucks worse, so keep an eye on yourself and your adventure mates.

Being our first ever stop, we had really no idea what we were doing. Sure, we had read all the forums, and watched all the videos, but having never done any of it ourselves, we were a little (a lot) nervous. Luckily, we happened to meet Tom from KOA! He was AMAZING! Not only did he answer a barrage of questions, he also took the time to come to our site and show us a few things. He also introduced us to a couple of other full timers (who, conveniently, were parked behind us, and next to us), just in case we had more questions. In hindsight, they MIGHT have placed us there on purpose, closer to other full-timers, so we wouldn’t be adrift in a sea of unknowing. If that was the case, we have Tom to thank for that, too. Everyone was SO NICE! Our neighbors across the way checked in on us, without making it look like they were checking in on us, a couple of times throughout each day. It was really comforting to know we weren’t alone, and it was nice to meet other full timers so quickly! Little did we know that you sneaky RVers are EVERYWHERE! Which is awesome.

no idea

What else was there than the amazing KOA you ask? Did we do anything other than revel in our awesomeness of being on the road? Why yes, yes we did.

Cripple Creek was the site of a great “salting” hoax (adding gold to soil to make it look rich), and was primarily used as a pasture after that. Then BAM! Actual wonderful gold was found, and the town became a mining town, as so many were once upon a time. It was a rough and tumble mountain town, with taverns, a brothel, and gold in them thar hills. So much gold, in fact, that the mountains near Cripple Creek are still being mined for gold today! Cripple Creek was the location of the famous “independence load,” one of the largest gold strikes in history!

Saucy G wanted to try panning for gold, but since we didn’t know the laws, and if it was restricted or not, we decided against panning. Instead we hunted down riches in a way we are familiar with, POKER!

In addition to being a town filled with history, mining tours, and a super sweet train ride, Cripple Creek is also one of two gambling towns in Colorado. On the main street through the city, you can find casinos on either side, boasting slots, table games, and our favorite – poker. If you are looking for a poker game, we highly recommend the Midnight Rose. There is a current high hand promotion, a bad beat, and they offer tournaments on a regular basis. Once in a while they will have a promotion where if you play a certain amount of hours (three? It might be three. You should check for yourself just in case) you get comped a room for the night That’s a sweet deal, if you ask us.

Awesome K and Saucy G both sat at the tables, and got some action. We found that it was like stepping into a house game, everyone knew everyone, and everyone played basically the same hands. If you can figure out what the hands are, you are in good shape to make a decent amount of money. What hands are they? That is something you get to find out for yourself! No need to give away ALL the secrets here! The slots are a lot of fun, too. There are pretty much all the games you could want (Saucy G is partial to Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Wonka (surprise surprise, she’s a nerd)), and the table games are all available. Awesome K loves nothing more than finding an empty craps table, and he was lucky enough to find one. A couple monies ahead later, and we were feeling pretty good about our trip.

On our last night in Cripple Creek, we headed down to the “Down Under” buffet, which Saucy G thought was clever because it is literally down under one of the casinos (the Midnight Rose). It was a nice spread, lots of fresh and good looking choices. In addition to the normal buffet fare, there were crab legs, a prime rib station, and a fresh pasta station! The pasta station was a wee busy, which is to be expected if you ask us. Pasta = delicious. (Pasta also = carbs = fat = sad face. Little known fact, though, when you eat pasta at a casino, the carbs don’t count. THEY. DON’T. COUNT), so Saucy G wandered off When she came back, the poor lady running the station was still overwhelmed, but was nice enough to talk Saucy G through the pasta process. Becoming overwhelmed herself, G asked the Pasta Lady to “make her favorite.” Happy that pasta was in the meal forecast, G went back to the table to nom some prime rib. After a while (who knows how long, one does not count time when waiting for fresh foodstuffs in a casino), the pasta was delivered. A tip was given (of course, because anyone who makes your food and/or delivers your food deserves a tip. They make pennies, so you should give them dollars), the Pasta Lady was thanked profusely for the food, and the pasta was admired. For a brief moment. Then it was devoured. DEVOURED. It was SO GOOD! Fresh spinach, delicious bacon, green peas, onions, white sauce, what isn’t there to love?

cat past

Little did we know, poor Pasta Lady had had a heck of an evening. People were rude to her, some were down right mean. She was working as fast as she could with her two little skillets, but deliciousness takes time. Something some people forgot, apparently. Kindness was non-existent in her evening. Which is unfortunate.

Saucy Rant: Though you are the center of your universe, you are not the center of everyone else’s. Sometimes things take time and patience. I know you are hungry. You had a bad beat at the poker table. The slots took all your money. Your sweetheart nagged you, and work sucks. Or perhaps it is the opposite. Perhaps the world is the mollusk of your choice, and you are very important! Very busy, much to do. NOTHING excuses nasty behavior to others. Perhaps the food is too salty, then you kindly, and preferably without making a scene, mention that the food might be a bit salty. I bet the person cooking it would make you something more to your liking. Perhaps your food took a while to get to you. What you might not have noticed is that there were four or five people who ordered ahead of you, and even though the station looks empty of customers now, there is actually a backlog of orders. You do not need to berate the person cooking the food. The world can be a hard place to handle. Please don’t make it harder by taking your frustrations out on another life. A little patience, and kindness, can go a LONG way. “Be Excellent to Each Other.” /end rant

We made it a point to let our server know just how much we enjoyed our dinner, especially the pasta, in hopes that maybe he would relay it to her, and boost her evening a bit. Awesome K has many years of experience in the food industry, and he understands just how rough it can get, so we wanted to let her know she was appreciated. Luckily our server happened to be the manager! He let the Pasta Lady know how we felt, and he relayed to us that it “made her night.” Which, in turn, made ours.

So, if you happen to head to the Midnight Rose, and you go to the Down Under Buffet, tell the Pasta Lady we said hello, and be sure to try her incredible dishes. Even though it might take a bit, it is well worth the wait. Say hi to Jon for us, too! He is a pretty darned good manager, and a heck of a server (he will recommend the cheesecake to you. DO NOT TURN IT DOWN! SOOOoooooooOOOOoooo Good! Remember, also, a little kindness can go a long way, especially for the people who prepare and serve your food.

All in all, it was a pretty epic way to start our RV adventures!

AwesomeSauce Ratings:

Cripple Creek KOA: QUADS – Tom and everyone there was absolutely wonderful. The site was level, the views were amazing, the price was right, and it is close to adventure while still giving you enough distance for a quiet, star filled night.

Midnight Rose Poker Room and Casino: Full House. Sally is probably one of the best dealers around. She is knowledgeable, keeps the game going, and is fun. There is usually some action, and decent tournaments. Table side food and drink service.

Down Under Buffet: Full House. The food was good. The buffet was fresh. The Pasta Lady is awesome – her creations are worth the wait. There can be a bit of a wait, but such is life. We went on a Friday night, so the prices were weekend prices. Service was excellent, and the cheesecake was marvelous.

Cripple Creek Adventure: Quads. We will definitely be back, next time we cruise through Colorado, and we HIGHLY recommend that you check it out. Whether you enjoy gambling, hiking (which there is a TON OF), history (there are a couple of cool little museums, a train ride tour, and an underground mining tour), a not-to-be-missed playhouse, or just getting away from it all, Cripple Creek is an excellent choice. Of course we love the KOA, but if you are not RVing, or want a break from your house on wheels, we also highly recommend the Midnight Rose hotel. We have stayed there in the past, and were pleasantly surprised – AND you might be able to get your room for free if you play enough poker! Be sure to check with the poker desk for details and current promotions.

*- We are not at all licensed medical people. DO NOT take what we say as official medical advice. We speak from experience, and a Google search of WebMD. If you feel ill, or have questions, please consult a licensed physician. We cannot be held liable for any medical, mental, financial, or otherwise unnoted…um…stuff. So. You’ve been warned. Seek a professional.

(None of the pictures in this post were the work of the AwesomeSauce Team)

AwesomeSauce Rating System

In our posts you will see us use a rating system that has terms like “Royal Flush,” or “High Card.” We are using the 10 kinds of winning hands of poker to help us rate experiences, places, foods, and everything else.

Here are the 10 hands of poker, and what they mean to us (as far as rating, not necessarily in playing);

High Card – 1 out of 10. This is abysmal, and literally (almost) anything beats this. This is bad, and you should feel bad. There are no kittens. Anywhere. Ever.

One Pair – 2 out of 10. Not great. Probably not going to be worth it, but if everything else sucks it might seem ok. There was a kitten here at one time. No longer. You missed it.

Two Pair –  3 out of 10. Meh.

Three of a Kind –  4 out of 10. Not bad, could be a winner. Maybe this is free coffee with decent creamer, or a coupon for tacos. Someone mentioned that there might be a kitten around.

Straight – 5 out of 10. A coupon for better tacos. A pleasant surprise, often a good hand. You saw a kitten when you got it, you were told that you could hang out with the kitten later if you played your cards right. Heh.

Flush – 6 out of 10. Not only is the coffee free, but they have the fancy creamer you like, which is awesome. Water pressure could be how you like it. Usually a win. Most often a good choice.

Full House – 7 out of 10. BAM! The free coffee is delicious! There might even be some free breakfast with real eggs – not weird powdered…… eggs. This is a win for sure. You got to play with the kittens, and give them kisses.

Quads (four of a kind) – 8 out of 10. OH SNAP! Things are getting serious now. The water pressures is perfect. Temperature is how you like it. The tacos are free and maybe some of the best tacos you’ve had in a while. There are kittens around, playing and being super cute. Sometimes they run over and give you love.

Straight Flush – 9 out of 10. It’s the best coffee you’ve ever had, and it’s free. There are kittens frolicking around, AND you can squeeze them. Tacos are all you can eat and they are amazing. Temperature? Perfect. Water pressure? Perfect. You don’t think it can get better!

Royal Flush – 10 out of 10. Impossible to beat. There is no better rating/hand, which makes it so rare. The rarest and highest of these would be the Royal Flush of Spades. Nothing in the world will ever beat this. Ever. This is like snuggling kittens while eating ice cream, drinking the most delicious of beverages, while also eating pasta and all the things, while not getting fat. There is a handsome/gorgeous person ready to cater to your every need. Perhaps with a fan. The temperature is a perfect 72 degrees. You don’t have to work tomorrow, your bills are paid, and you have all the money in the bank. The bed is the perfect firmness, the pillow is cool on both sides, and did I mention kittens?