Final Descent of Alaskan Airlines Flight from Portland to the Hollywood Burbank Airport

Why am I posting this? Why not! I rarely have such a clear view on such a beautiful day through a window over the wing of the aircraft that is actually pretty clean. So I filmed it. Blue skies on a clear, crisp, Sunday morning in the San Fernando Valley.

Living in the Conejo Valley, all else equal, it is much easier to fly into and out of the Hollywood Burbank Airport (technically Bob Hope Airport - but I call it Burbank Airport) over the Los Angeles Airport anytime. But if usually is more expensive than LAX, with some exceptions.

In this instance, I needed a last minute flight to Portland to watch the Newbury Park High School Cross Country team compete in the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland. I preferred a direct flight. A direct flight on Delta from LAX was $750 round trip. I was determined not to pay such a ridiculous fare for a 2 1/2 hour flight.

Thankfully, Priceline has some great deals, including a non-stop flight on Alaska out of Burbank as well as two nights at the Embassy Suites and 2 days of car rental, for $200 less than Delta was offering out of LAX.

In any case, it was well worth the trip the NPHS XC team, winners for the first time of both the CIF Southern Section Division II title as well as the California State Division II title in 2018, It finished 6th overall in this prestigious event, teeing off for some even greater performances in the coming years.

To support Newbury Park High School Cross County in its annual travel, supplies and equipment needs, please consider giving a donation at bit.ly/DonateNPHSXC.

The Power of Social Media - Case Study: Getting Myrtle the Turtle Back Home

On Friday night, May 19, 2017, the Weathersfield School (@GoWeathersfield) Twitter page tagged @ConejoJoe asking that I share a photo of a turtle found at the school.

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 I retweeted the post on my Twitter page.

I retweeted the post on my Twitter page.

And then I decided to also to post the photo on the CVG Facebook page, which at the time had over 13,000 followers and a lot more interaction than Twitter.

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Sure enough, comments started rolling in with suggestions…non-profit animal rescue, “we can give him a home,” “I remember someone posting a missing turtle on a neighborhood board,” etc.  There were 18 comments and 14 shares. Not viral, but apparently enough to get the attention of its owner, Paula Nathan, who at 9:10AM the next day posted:

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Given the turtle was found literally across the street from the owner’s home, without social media, perhaps signs posted around the neighborhood would eventually have reunited the owner with Myrtle the Turtle. But with the social media’s help, Myrtle’s owner was able to connect quickly with her turtle.

Building Pacific Coast Highway Around Point Mugu in 1923-1924

 Point Mugu before and after creation of a narrow road around it in 1924.

Point Mugu before and after creation of a narrow road around it in 1924.

According to the California Highway Commission in the October 1924 issue of “California Highways,” perhaps the most dangerous and difficult piece of construction work on the California state highway system at that time was the 3800 feet of grading AROUND Point Mugu.

For those driving Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County past Mugu Rock, there are clear signs of this old route that took automobiles on a precarious route around Point Mugu.

 Peaking through the fence towards the old road around Mugu Rock.

Peaking through the fence towards the old road around Mugu Rock.

The new and still existing route was created by blasting a massive hole through Point Mugu to create Mugu Rock in 1937 to 1940.

The work to complete this section of the Oxnard to San Juan Capistrano PCH route was authorized by a bond issue in 1919.

The project averaged 60 workers who moved 108,000 cubic yards or rock at a total cost of $108,500 (heck, that would be the cost of a pool addition and new kitchen remodel today). The cut around Point Mugu ranged from 40 feet on the ocean side to 115 feet on the high side in creating the narrow, short-lived roadway.

The California Highway Commission ended its article by stating “…along this piece of rugged coast line the Old Pacific is recognized as an arch enemy to whom we must trust as little as possible of our costly highway.” Sheesh, that was not a particularly optimistic statement!

Rolling Pin Donuts in Camarillo Captured in Oil Painting by Local Artist

 Rolling Pin Donuts in Camarillo (Artist: Linda Dark)

Rolling Pin Donuts in Camarillo (Artist: Linda Dark)

Long-time Camarillo resident and artist Linda Dark enjoys capturing local scenes in oil paint. Rolling Pin Donuts has operated at 2153 Las Posas Road since 1992 and has quite a loyal following at this stand-alone location. Dark has lived in Camarillo since 1978 and recalls it was previously called Donna Lee Donuts.

Have a donut craving? Rolling Pin is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. You'll want to stop by for sure after checking out their creations at www.facebook.com/RollingPinCamarillo.

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 Rolling Pin Donuts on Rainy Day (Artist: Linda Dark)

Rolling Pin Donuts on Rainy Day (Artist: Linda Dark)

Today is the 50th Anniverary of The Release of "Hey Jude" by the Beatles

Fifty years ago today, August 26, 1968, the Beatles released the song "Hey Jude."

The song was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon and McCartney.

Originally "Hey Jules" in support of John Lennon's son Julian during his parents' divorce, "Hey Jude" was the first single released by the Beatles' record label, Apple Records.

Seven minutes, 11 seconds in length, Hey Jude was one of the longest singles ever released at that time. It spent 9 weeks at number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the longest of any Beatles song.

The single has sold over 8 million copies in the U.S. placing it in the top 50 selling songs of all time, topped by just one other Beatles song, "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Counting Crows in the Conejo Valley and Nearby Communities

Counting crows. Maybe not literally, but figuratively, in the skies of the Conejo Valley, Simi Valley and beyond. We see the crows in the hundreds flying west in the morning and east in the evening ever so frequently here. These fellows were seen from the Conejo Valley Plaza, Moorpark and Janss Roads, the night of August 9, 2018.

Speaking of birds, the Conejo Valley Audubon Society hosts birding activities year-round.

Exploring the Coca-Cola All You Can Eat Right Field Pavilion at Dodger Stadium

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I've been a Dodger fan my entire life, having been born and raised in the Los Angeles area and moving to the Conejo Valley in the mid 1990s.

When I was a kid, my dad would take us to the game a couple times each season. We sat in the cheapest seats and on our way there would stop by McDonald's or In-N-Out Burger and bring food into the stadium.

Today, while still fans of the Dodgers, we rarely go to games. Just too many other things going on in our life. But I decided it would be fun to take the kids on a Saturday night this Memorial Day weekend.

BUYING TICKETS ONLINE

Plenty of tickets are available, but I had moderate sticker shock at the prices. The cheapest seats on the Dodgers ticketing website were $28 + $6.50 "Convenience" fee (whatever that means) and a $5.10 "Processing" fee. It certainly would be nice if all online ticket sellers just have one "all in" price that clearly shows the total price.

I was amazed at how terrible the Dodgers' ticketing website is, compared to other sites like StubHub and SeatGeek. They make you run Flash and don't provide a view from the seats like the other sites do.

In any case, I reviewed multiple alternatives to the Dodgers' ticketing website and went with StubHub. StubHub adds a service fee and a fulfillment fee to ticket prices. These fees vary based on event and ticket type. For the Dodgers game, the service fees were in the 23-25% range and fulfillment fees were $2. Factoring these fees in, StubHub still had the best overall prices for comparable seats out of the options I looked at.

PICKING THE SEATS

I was taking three kids to the game and my cheapest alternative were seats way, way up high in the Top Deck or Reserve areas. I didn't really want to be that high up, so I looked at the alternative of the bleacher seats. 

I'm not a fan of bleacher seats as they are just that - long benches with numbered seatbacks - no individual seats. I'm that guy who is annoyed the entire flight on a plane where the guy next to me's arm intrudes on my space. So bleacher seats probably are not the best idea for me.

But on second thought, we're only talking two to three hours and the kids would enjoy it. How bad could it be, right? So I decided to look at seats in the Coca-Cola All You Can Eat Right Field Pavilion. They were about $20 to $25 more than the seats in the Left Field Pavilion, but ALL YOU CAN EAT sounded like a fun option with the kids.

 The bleacher seats make you feel closer to the action IMO than the seats in nosebleed land.

The bleacher seats make you feel closer to the action IMO than the seats in nosebleed land.

THE ALL YOU CAN EAT PAVILION

If it were me and a buddy, I would not sit in the Coca-Cola All You Can Eat Pavilion because, well, I'm not big into gorging myself. But hey, I was with the kids, and thought it would be fun to just let em at it and not worry about cash. And indeed it was fun.

A few things to note. We are not talking about a gourmet selection in this deal. We're talking Dodger Dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn and non-alcoholic beverages (soft drinks, iced tea and water). No ice cream, churros, cotton candy or beer (though those were available for sale). And no pizza, hamburgers or other food items. One pizza vendor walked by around the 7th inning; I suppose he was desperate to unload them at that point.

Is the All You Can Eat Pavilion worth it? Well it comes down to numbers. If you were to consume one Dodger Dog (cost is $6.50), one bag of peanuts ($5 estimate) and one drink ($6 insanely expensive), you are consuming $17.50 of Dodger Stadium cuisine. Throw in one other item, like another hot dog or nachos, and you've pretty much broken even on the deal. 

Two of the three kids with me "broke even." So I had to personally make up for the third kid's under-consumption. Indeed I was hungry on the drive from Thousand Oaks to Dodger Stadium, so I was prepared for the challenge. In fact, I went for a run that morning to ensure my metabolism was raring to go.

My take: 3 Dodger Dogs (really closer to 2 1/2 as I couldn't finish the 3rd one), 1 iced tea (refilled once), 2 bags of peanuts (I brought one home) and 2 bags of popcorn. Ignoring the refill, I think I devoured about $46 retail value in food.

Of course consuming all that salty food might make one thirsty. I woke up the next morning with a very dry mouth. And I certainly got my money's worth the night before so it was worth it. Kind of.

I had fond memories of Dodger Dogs going back to my childhood. They were great back then. But these Dodger Dogs were lukewarm at best and had kind of a metallic taste to them. I find the hot dogs at Costco, for $1.50, INCLUDING drink, to be more fulfilling.

The popcorn I thought was actually pretty good for pre-bagged popcorn. The peanuts were quite salty. The nachos were meh, not particularly good, according to the kids. 

THE BLEACHER SEATS

They weren't that bad. It was fun. The crowds were pretty mellow and there were a lot of families/kids out there.

There is zero room between your legs and knees and the row in front of you, but thankfully we didn't experience too much back and forth of people passing by as we were seated towards the middle of the row.

Great view of the field. We had to twist our necks a bit to see the big video screen, but it wasn't too bad.

There's nowhere to place your food and drinks, so you have to kind of balance the food in a tray on your lap. There's no cup holder for the drink. I placed my iced tea under the bench, where it was soon joined by trash. In fact, the amount of trash left by attendees was jaw dropping.

 Quite a mess under the seats of the bleacher benches.

Quite a mess under the seats of the bleacher benches.

My back was a little tweaked by the end of the game, but I survived. Though the Dodgers lost, the game was entertaining, as was the between-inning on-screen shenanigans. It was a fun night out.

GETTING THERE AND PARKING

I decided to use the Waze app to tell me the best way, factoring in traffic conditions, to get to Dodger Stadium. Without the app, the natural way I would go would be the 101 east to the 134 east to the 5 south.

Waze informed me that I would get there 12 minutes faster from Newbury Park via the 23 north to the 118 east to the 5 south to the 134 east to the 2 south to the 5 south. Yep, a bit out of the way, but it worked like a charm. A very stress-free drive, with minimal traffic.

Going home was much more direct - 5 north to 134 west, then 101 west. If you find yourself in the right-hand lane on Stadium Way coming out of Dodger Stadium, you will be forced to go on the 5 south. Whoops, wrong way! But if you do find yourself in this situation, not to worry. Continue on the 5 about half a mile and take the Riverside offramp, turn right, then you'll soon see a 5 north onramp.

Parking at the stadium is $25. DO buy a parking pass on the Dodgers ticketing website in advance for $15 to save yourself $10. www.mlb.com/dodgers/ballpark/transportation/parking

 Was fun catching a Justin Turner home run in the 4th inning.

Was fun catching a Justin Turner home run in the 4th inning.

IN SUMMARY

  • Dodger Stadium is just 40 to 60 minutes from the Conejo Valley and is a fun entertainment option for the entire family.
  • Plenty of seating options are available. The Coca-Cola All You Can Eat Right Field Pavilion is a great option if your family enjoys Dodger Dogs, popcorn, peanuts, nachos and soft drinks.