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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: travelbug on June 30, 2012, 10:50:37 PM

Title: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: travelbug on June 30, 2012, 10:50:37 PM
HI
for our "we have paid off our mortgage-hooray" we are doing a semi-anit-mustachian thing and travelling to the USA for a holiday.
We do have to attend a conference for our business so the airfares are paid for alread, we have just added another three weeks to have fun.
We are visiting LA, driving between LA-SF stopping at Santa Barbara, Cambria, Monterey (2 nights each), San Francisco, Las Vegas (conference).
Just after some great advice on where to eat/see/do in these places if you could please.
THanks

C
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: Jamesqf on June 30, 2012, 11:26:47 PM
What time of year?  And what are your interests?

Summer into mid-fall, I'd suggest driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite Nat'l Park.  Cross the Sierra via Hwy 120 (the pass is closed by snow in winter, which can be as early as October), then south on 395 along the east side of the Sierra Nevada, then east around Bishop.  If you like wild country and/or hiking, a trip into the White Mountains is worthwhile.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: travelbug on July 01, 2012, 02:13:22 AM
Hi we are coming in October, the 7th and leaving November 4th.
We have two small children, aged 2 and 5, with us so anything we do will have to be cool for them too.
Thanks
C
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: Worsted Skeins on July 01, 2012, 05:29:00 AM
South of SF there are a couple of lighthouse hostels. Gorgeous view! We stayed in one when our son was younger. You can cook a simple meal which is usually appreciated after being on the road.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: mm1970 on July 01, 2012, 09:10:58 AM
October should be a good time to be in Santa Barbara (where I live), hopefully not too hot (September is our hottest month).  What do you like to do?

We have a list of things that we show people/ take people to depending on how long they are here.  For short (1 -2 day trips), we take people to the Mission (nice rose garden, great view, nice history, large lawn), the Courthouse (again, just a great view of all of Santa Barbara), and of course, the beach/pier.

If they are here longer, we may drive them to wine country, up over Highway 154 (which goes over the mountains).  Weather and roads permitting, we will drive them along the top of the mountains too for a bit.  If you like wine that is a great day trip.  It's a pretty drive even if you don't like wine, and the other side of the mountains have Solvang (a cute little Danish-like town).  Also there's some local watering holes along Paradise road on the other side of the mountains that are fun.  October the river will be dry as a bone, but there should still be some water in the watering holes I think.  We also have some nice front-country hikes, a couple are pretty easy and can be made short (thinking of the little ones here.)

What kind of foods do you like to eat?  We don't eat out much, but we do have favorite places for burritos (Los Arroyos), sandwiches (South Coast Deli or 3 Pickles), pizza (Taffy's), burgers (The Habit), health food (The Natural Cafe), smoothies (Blenders), etc.  Plus we've got some nice little grocery stores too.

Also for the kiddos, we have a small zoo, a Natural History museum, and a ton of parks with various play structures.

I agree with jamesqf if you can do the drive through Yosemite from SF to Vegas.  We spent spring break this year in SF and then Yosemite, and basically did that drive (without the 395 portion since we were coming right home).
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: Jamesqf on July 01, 2012, 11:14:09 AM
October is a nice time of year to do the Yosemite-395 route, barring a really early fall snowstorm.  You'll get fall colors in the mountains (not like the East Coast, more patches of golden aspens among pines).  It's also cooler for the stretch through the desert to Las Vegas.

Can't really help with kid suggestions.  Have heard mention of an "Exploratorium" in San Francisco as good for kids, but I think it's aimed at older ones than yours.  Also Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: mm1970 on July 01, 2012, 08:17:01 PM
October is a nice time of year to do the Yosemite-395 route, barring a really early fall snowstorm.  You'll get fall colors in the mountains (not like the East Coast, more patches of golden aspens among pines).  It's also cooler for the stretch through the desert to Las Vegas.

Can't really help with kid suggestions.  Have heard mention of an "Exploratorium" in San Francisco as good for kids, but I think it's aimed at older ones than yours.  Also Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Oh yeah, there was a little kid's museum just across the Golden Gate bridge that we took our kid to when we were visiting friends.  I think our son was 3 and theirs was 2, and they enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: travelbug on July 02, 2012, 06:26:07 PM
Hi
thanks everyone, some great tips here.
Due to time constraints and only being able to leave our business for a month we are flying between SF and LV so Yosemite will unfortunately have to wait until our next visit. I did try and book places to stay there when we were considering it as an option early on but most places, that were under one million dollars per night, were booked out already.
But I will note the Santa Barbara stuff as we have two nights there, we are spending two nights in each place on the West coastal drive, 8 nights SF, 5 nights LV. (and 7 nights in LA/Anaheim when we arrive in the USA)
We are happy to just see and be. Our children do not need constant "entertainment" and , for us, being in the USA is a novelty so even going to a diner is an experience.
I do want to go to a Trader Joes and a whole Foods if we can, or something local and similar. (also...a Walmart!! DH has never been inside one and I think it will blow him away)
But we don't really drink, we love good food and are leaning towards the paleo style of eating; lots of veggies, fruit and no grains if we can help it.
Beaches are great, walks, seeing the real essence of a place is the key to how we travel I think.
Thanks
C
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2012, 06:42:59 PM
I do want to go to a Trader Joes and a whole Foods if we can, or something local and similar. (also...a Walmart!! DH has never been inside one and I think it will blow him away)

All three of those are available here in Vegas.  Most of the Wal Marts are open 24 hours.  (Then again, so is almost everything else.)
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: Jamesqf on July 03, 2012, 12:38:13 AM
Beaches are great, walks, seeing the real essence of a place is the key to how we travel I think.

Too bad, because you're SOL at both the LA and Las Vegas ends of the trip.  Nothing real in either place :-)

The drive up the coast highway between San Luis Obispo & Montery (Big Sur, it's called) is extremely scenic.  Not a lot of beach, as I recall (it's been a couple of decades) but lots of little pockets with rocks & tide pools. 

Santa Cruz might be a place you'd like, lost of funky little places &c.  Also a couple of parks with redwood trees, which are worth seeing.

One thing to be aware of along the coast: it's probably going to be cold and foggy, though October is probably the best month.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: madgeylou on July 03, 2012, 05:59:17 AM
big sur is amaaaaazing! definitely stop and do one of the (very short and not that challenging) hikes through the wildflowers along the coast -- the entrances are right on the PCH, and it's one of the most breathtaking things i've ever seen.

in san francisco, the exploratorium is great fun! as is just walking around and looking at everything -- SF is gorgeous! if you'll have a car while you're there, you can drive up the coast a bit, too. mendocino is lovely, about 2-3 hours up the coast, so within range for a day trip. you can get white chocolate candy with fresh raspberries in at the mendocino candy shop, then turn around and drive back. i don't normally just "go for a drive" on vacation, but the PCH north of SF is worth it, i think...

5 nights in vegas seems like a lot to me. i like it there, but am ready to get out of that town in 48 hours usually. as a mustachian-type person, it's just kind of weird and it hurts my brain after a while, but it is really something to behold. get off the strip and head down to old vegas -- it feels a lot moree special -- and see if you can take a swim in the golden nugget pool. there's a shark tank in the pool with you, and a slide that runs through it!

you're going to have a wonderful time! enjoy!
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: arebelspy on July 03, 2012, 10:25:56 AM
The drive up the coast highway between San Luis Obispo & Montery (Big Sur, it's called) is extremely scenic.

I agree with this.  I went to college in SLO.  Make sure you drive up highway 1 (on the coast) instead of the 101.

Too bad, because you're SOL at both the LA and Las Vegas ends of the trip.  Nothing real in either place :-)


5 nights in vegas seems like a lot to me. i like it there, but am ready to get out of that town in 48 hours usually. as a mustachian-type person, it's just kind of weird and it hurts my brain after a while, but it is really something to behold. get off the strip and head down to old vegas -- it feels a lot moree special -- and see if you can take a swim in the golden nugget pool. there's a shark tank in the pool with you, and a slide that runs through it!

Man, you guys are doin Vegas wrong.  Get off the strip!

We have some amazing outdoor experiences.  Check out Red Rock.  Lake Mead.  Valley of Fire. Mount Charleston.  The Hoover Dam.

Biking, camping, hiking.  Lots of great Mustachian activities. 

The strip is fun, too.. but when you don't get off the strip, you can't actually experience Vegas, just casinos.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: ShavenLlama on July 03, 2012, 02:44:17 PM
Here is a link to Westways, a magazine put out by the Auto Club in SoCal:

http://www.calif.aaa.com/westways/2012/07-08/Pages/index.aspx (http://www.calif.aaa.com/westways/2012/07-08/Pages/index.aspx)

It looks like you can check out a bunch of the archives too. Lots of ideas on fun stuff to do!

Where are you staying in Anaheim? I would LOVE to recommend some fun, REAL (Jamesgf, :P ) stuff to do! I assume you'll be hitting Disney, but if you'll have any spare time while in OC there are some other areas you'll have to check out. And we've been pretty warm right into November the last couple of years, so the beach might be fun.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: mm1970 on July 03, 2012, 06:48:43 PM
Hi
thanks everyone, some great tips here.
Due to time constraints and only being able to leave our business for a month we are flying between SF and LV so Yosemite will unfortunately have to wait until our next visit. I did try and book places to stay there when we were considering it as an option early on but most places, that were under one million dollars per night, were booked out already.
But I will note the Santa Barbara stuff as we have two nights there, we are spending two nights in each place on the West coastal drive, 8 nights SF, 5 nights LV. (and 7 nights in LA/Anaheim when we arrive in the USA)
We are happy to just see and be. Our children do not need constant "entertainment" and , for us, being in the USA is a novelty so even going to a diner is an experience.
I do want to go to a Trader Joes and a whole Foods if we can, or something local and similar. (also...a Walmart!! DH has never been inside one and I think it will blow him away)
But we don't really drink, we love good food and are leaning towards the paleo style of eating; lots of veggies, fruit and no grains if we can help it.
Beaches are great, walks, seeing the real essence of a place is the key to how we travel I think.
Thanks
C
Santa Barbara has 3 Trader Joe's (one down near the beach, one "uptown", and one in Goleta.  And an uptown Whole Foods, which I gather from other places I've been is a "mini" Whole Foods (1/2 the size or less of normal ones).
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: travelbug on July 03, 2012, 08:56:51 PM

5 nights in vegas seems like a lot to me. i like it there, but am ready to get out of that town in 48 hours usually. as a mustachian-type person, it's just kind of weird and it hurts my brain after a while, but it is really something to behold. get off the strip and head down to old vegas -- it feels a lot moree special -- and see if you can take a swim in the golden nugget pool. there's a shark tank in the pool with you, and a slide that runs through it!

you're going to have a wonderful time! enjoy!

I know!!! 5 nights is aaaaages and I have been to Las Vegas before pre -children, so I understand that it's not the best place for a family, but that's where the conference for our business is and we want to stay together as a family. We are splurging here as our business is paying for the accommodation so hopefully the children and I will chill our around the pool for afew days as it's the final week of our four week trip.

And I do want to explore around Vegas as well like arebelspy suggests. We will not do Grnad Canyon this time as I think the children are too young but there seems to be some amazing desert scenery around and maybe Hoover Dam...

ShavenLlama (cool name btw) yes we are doing Disneyland. We ummmed and ahhhed about it but have decided to go. We are staying at Park Vue Inn due to the location.

I would love some recommendations for the OC area please.

Thanks for all the Whole Foods and Trader Joes tip too. I will stock up with real food as often as I can.

Any other places to eat/buy food/ see/ enjoy?

C
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: grantmeaname on July 05, 2012, 12:03:59 PM
While I've never been, I've actually heard really good things about the Strip for a family vacation. If you're not there to gamble, there's cheap entertainment, cheap food, and cheap lodging. Maybe it'd be worth checking out if any of the cool archetypal Vegas attractions like Cirque d'Soleil are performing while you're in Vegas.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: twinge on July 05, 2012, 12:36:51 PM
One of my earliest and most vivid childhood memories is from a family trip when I was about 3-4 years old was going to see rock formations in Zion National Park in Utah, which is a little less than a 3 hour drive from Vegas.  I don't remember much else of our month long road trip out west but the towering stone monoliths there...I don't know how mobile your 2 year old is, though, and how the trails are.  My family growing up was of the belief that as long as you knew how to walk you had to hike endlessly (or so it seemed). 

On my last business trip to Vegas I went to this "Neon Boneyard" where the old Vegas neon signs live in essentially an old parking lot--http://www.neonmuseum.org/the-collection/neon-boneyard (http://www.neonmuseum.org/the-collection/neon-boneyard)--there's a little non-profit going trying to restore some of Vegas' neon history.  I found it fun to wander around and look at broken down neon signs from different time periods.  I didn't have my kids with me on that trip though--and I don't think you would want your kids being around all these tempting bright colored structures made of dangerous materials :).   

So, my suggestions may be bust for a family trip.  BUT, I second the mention of SFs Exploratorium.  It is PERFECT for your kids' ages. 
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: Jamesqf on July 05, 2012, 12:41:25 PM
And I do want to explore around Vegas as well like arebelspy suggests. We will not do Grnad Canyon this time as I think the children are too young but there seems to be some amazing desert scenery around and maybe Hoover Dam...

Valley of Fire State Park is scenic (or was ~25 years ago) and not too far a drive from Las Vegas, though it may be a bit too much like home for Australians.  Zion National Park is a longer drive, but worth it if you have the time.

Death Valley is also reachable, but IMHO is likely to still be too hot in October.
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: ShavenLlama on July 09, 2012, 05:08:11 PM
Although Huntington Beach and Newport Beach are closer to where you're staying, I want you to google "Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach." It's a small bay, so the waves usually aren't very big, and even if it's too cold to go in the water you can put your water shoes on and go for a little walk along the rocks on the South border of the bay, which takes you around to a smaller bay where the kids can look at starfish and mussels, and there are some really awesome photos to be taken. Go around low tide. I've taken 3 of my neices and nephews, ages 3.5-10, and they LOVE it.

Don't go to any Wal*Mart stores in the Anaheim area. Trashy people, nasty attitudes, messy overcrowded stores, screeching kids. Holy crap, the kids in those stores.

For food, you have to go to Jaegerhaus, about a 5-minute drive from your hotel. It doesn't look like much on the outside, but it's a cute little family run German place where a white haired granny greets you at the door and will take your picture if they find out you're from out of town. Not a very impressive beer selection, but they serve some exotic meat like elk, rabbit, and waterbuffalo. "What do you want for dinner, honey? Bambi, Thumper, or Pumba?"

You'll have to eat some Mexican food while you're around, too. My favorite place is about 7-10 minutes from your hotel, but there are only about a million places to choose from. Check out Taco Adobe near the Orange Circle, or if you want fancy try Gabbi's in the Circle. Honorable mentions are Anapelco's and Taqueria de Anda (locations all over). Orange Circle itself has a bunch of shops and antiques stores (maybe not so good for little kids), and you can walk around the neighborhoods directly to the East of the Old Town shopping area and check out some really pretty homes in the historic district.

Pop any of these names into yelp.com (http://yelp.com) for directions, reviews, and pictures. None of these places will require freeway driving, although if the freeway doesn't bother you it may save a few minutes of driving.

Perhaps not very Mustachian recommendations, but it is the OC!
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: travelbug on July 10, 2012, 06:53:13 PM
Cool
thanks so much everyone,
I have bookmarked many suggestions from your posts and look forward to our trip. (and eating real mexican food; YAY!)

C
Title: Re: Aussie traveling to the USA; any cool mustachian tips for us?
Post by: follicular on July 11, 2012, 05:31:12 PM
If you are really daring and have some time....the drive to/from LV and the grand canyon, Arizona, beside being awesome in beauty, allows you to see what I believe to be the MOST GLORIOUS GEOLOGIC WONDER IN THE WORLD...my humble opinion. It's about 300 miles each way but....how cooperative did you say the kiddies are??