Daily Archives: September 1, 2013

Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 3: Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

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Well, hello everyone!

It’s time again for another recap of my coast-to-coast trip! 🙂

Catch up on part 1 here  and part 2 here in case you missed it.

Our next stop…

July 6-9: Orlando, FL  {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 1: Orlando, FL}
July 9-11,14-15: Los Angeles, CA {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 2: Los Angeles, CA}
> July 12-13: Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P )

July 16-19: Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
July 20, 26-27: Seattle, WA
July 21-23: Spokane, WA
July 23-25: Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

On our 3rd day in LA, my hubby’s aunt and uncle took us for a road trip to Las Vegas!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Before heading to Las Vegas, we dropped by Boulder first to check out Hoover Dam! It was about a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas.

On the way, we passed by Lake Mead which offered some lovely views from the road.

Ja on the RUN

We didn’t go on the Hoover Dam tours due to time constraint. I’m sure it would be awesome to know more about the history and to see what’s underground. The tour lets you go underground and walk thru the whole power plant. Sounds pretty interesting.

Ja on the RUN

I was in awe of this enormous bypass that connected both sides of the canyon. It was the first thing I saw as we reached the dam.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

This was my first real glimpse of the dam. It was really neat. I had only seen this place before in pictures and they don’t do it justice. This thing is massive in person! I felt so small the moment we arrived at this place.

I first heard about this place from my parents when I was still in the Philippines. I was busy in med school and couldn’t join them when they visited. I’ll admit it though, when my parents mentioned about this part of their Vegas trip, I was like, really? A dam? That’s lame.

Well boy was I wrong! The scenery was astounding! I gave myself a bonk in the head for thinking it was nothing. I definitely recommend to include this place on your “must visit” checklist.
Ja on the RUN
Ja on the RUN
I was even able to time travel between Arizona and Nevada. Thank you. LOL!

Ja on the RUN

It was a different time on the Arizona side than it was in Nevada. Arizona is in the Mountain Time Zone, while Nevada is in the Pacific Time Zone. To add to the confusion, Arizona does not use Daylight Savings Time. Interesting! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The rock discoloration indicates the former water level and shows that large quantity of water has been lost in the past couple of decades.

Ja on the RUN

In the pic below, I was wondering there what would happen if you let a rock roll down the dam. I was sooo tempted to do that. LOL!  I was also holding my phone so tight like crazy. I was too scared I’d drop my phone while taking pictures. YIKES!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Another new thing I learned that day, that gigantic bridge, the Hoover Dam Bypass, was only recently completed in 2010. My next thought was – it would be amazing to run a race here. I googled it online that night and found this – Hoover Dam Marathon. Cool!

Ja on the RUN

This place is beautiful. We could just stare at it for ages! It’s amazing!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

I was so impressed that a “Hoover Dam selfie” had to be done! LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We made our way to the Hoover Dam bypass to see what the dam would look like from up there!

This bridge connects Arizona and Nevada.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

If you walk towards the middle of the bridge, you get this kind of view (pic below). When the bypass wasn’t built yet, the cars had to wind down the road and cross the dam to get to the other side.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

This is definitely a well worth the short trip before heading to Las Vegas. I’m glad we went ’cause we enjoyed the “dam” thing! LOL! 😛

Then, we headed to Las Vegas. It was my first time there along with Tammy and Paul, and my husband’s second time.

Well, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas because I’m going to share every amazing second we spent in Sin City!

Ja on the RUN

Hoover Dam drained our energy and made us hungry. We first checked out Vegas style buffets for an early dinner.  I’m not a buffet fan but I figured I had to try one in Vegas!

We went to Carnival World Buffet in Rio Hotel. We had to wait for a while to be seated ’cause there was a long line. This buffet place must be one of the best since it seemed popular.

Ja on the RUN

And finally we were in. This buffet place is huge. I’m actually still in the process of recovering from the effects of eating so much from this trip. LOL!

The food was separated by continents and each continent section had specialty food from each part of the world, like Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean,  etc. The food was greasy, fattening, and deep fried. In other words, it was delicious! LOL! I actually enjoyed the farmed crab legs and shrimps the most! There was also huge salad bar and fruit section! Oh, and the desserts and gelato section, that was AMAZINGLY GOOD! The price was $50 per head which was pricey but that was already expected in Vegas.

Even this souvenir mug agrees! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The buffet restaurant is located inside Rio Hotel. We parked at the roof deck level at one of the parking lots at Rio, which had a beautiful panoramic view of the vegas hotels. Pretty awesome! My hubby’s aunt and uncle said that they would go at this parking lot and watch fireworks on fourth of July. Nice!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

After our super-duper stuffed full of delicious food dinner, we hopped in the car and headed to Freemont Street. When we arrived, the Beatles show was on. They say every night on the hour, they play music and have a light show on the ceiling.

Ja on the RUN

It was pretty cool. It felt like you are sort of outdoors and sort of indoors. Since the place was packed, we only stayed for just half an hour and then decided to roam around the Vegas strip.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

You probably should think twice going to Vegas in July, unless you enjoy sweating profusely. This city is in the middle of dusty desert and IT WAS SO HOT! And if you’ve never been to Vegas, you don’t realize how much walking is involved! And it’s not just a straight shoot down the street walk. There were lots of stairs, escalators and bridges which resulted in lots of zig-zagging to get to where you want to go.

After a very HOT walk around the strip, we made it to Caesar’s Palace where we spent most of our time.

Ja on the RUN

We spent a lot of time wandering through the stores. They have every expensive store you can imagine here. From Gucci to Celine, YSL, Chanel, Hermes, Christian Louboutin and more! It is definitely a designer lover’s heaven! And it just goes on and on and on!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Then, we headed to the hotel’s casino and played the slot machines.I find the slot machines aren’t as cool as they really look. Haha!

Then we went to Bellagio and hit the roulette tables. My husband and I lost $100 in just two minutes. Gone, right away, and just like that! LOL! I realized I have no luck in gambling. Plus, I found the table games intimidating. I guess that’s how it is when you’re really not a gambler.

After our failed attempt of trying our luck in gambling, we decided to sit, grab some cocktails and relax for a bit.

We stayed so long in the Bellagio Hotel that we missed the fountain show outside. I heard awesome things about it.

Ja on the RUN

We continued to walk some more, hopped across the street (and by ‘hopped across the street,’ I mean took a series of four escalators and multiple pedestrian bridges over 6 lanes of traffic) until we became pretty exhausted and decided to pack it in for the night. We drove back to LA the next day. 🙂

It was really cool to finally go to Vegas. It is definitely like a big adult theme park. Although we really didn’t have much time there, it was still a blast. We actually did a lot in one day!!! 🙂

My husband and I had a fantastic time with Paul and Tammy. They were awesome traveling buddies. We talked about going on another trip together …soon! Yay! Though I didn’t come away with any winnings, I came away with memories that will last a lifetime. 🙂

Well, that’s a wrap for now! I have few more recaps coming! Stay tuned! 🙂

Xoxo, Ja

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 2: Los Angeles, CA

{Part I here}

Hi all!  Hope you’re having a great day!

Gosh these past few days have just flown by. Since I had been eating like there’s no tomorrow during our month long vacation, I’m back to working out and running again! Yup, back to our normal routine and I have so much catching up to do!

Ok so here’s a recap of our next stop…

July 6-9: Orlando, FL  {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 1: Orlando, FL}
> July 9-11,14-15: Los Angeles, CA
July 12-13: Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P )
July 16-19: Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
July 20, 26-27: Seattle, WA
July 21-23: Spokane, WA
July 23-25: Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Los Angeles, CA

After our fun trip to Orlando, we flew to La La Land next. 🙂

I’ve been to L.A. several times long time ago before I even moved to the U.S. During my vacation from school in the Philippines, my family and I would fly to the US for vacation and California was one of the places we would visit. I had a lot of fond memories back then. After many years, it was nice to visit LA again. Going back this time with my husband and friends was definitely exciting. New set of people, new memories! 🙂

We landed at LAX late at night and starving. Our first stop in Cali…

In N Out Burger!
ja-ontherun.com

Hmm …fast food, while on vacation? Sorry, but it had to be done. There wasn’t much open  in Palmdale after 10pm. Plus I had to try this fast food chain from all the hype I’ve heard. I got the double cheeseburger which was ok. I don’t exactly know what I’m missing here but in all honesty, it was just a burger. There wasn’t anything too special about it or maybe the built up expectations from all the rave reviews let me down. People seem to love it as if this would be some blow your mind, can’t live without, amazingly delish burger. But …it’s not. I’m sorry to those who loves it but for me it was just an average burger. It’s decent, but no more, no less. (*sorry* :|) Well, at least I got to try it …and that’s enough for me. 🙂
Related: Great American Bites: Is In-N-Out Burger overhyped?

What do you guys think of In-N-Out Burgers?
Do you love it? Or do you think it’s overrated?
What’s the best burger place you had so far? Please do share! 🙂
– For me, nothing has yet beaten Wham! Burger. It’s the best I ever had so far!

We stayed at my husband’s aunt’s place in Palmdale. We slept right away after having our “most overhyped” dinner and woke up early the next day – too early because our body clock was still used to Eastern Time. 🙂

I loved the time difference though. It seemed like I was a legit morning person there. Haha. My husband and I would be wide awake by 5am and ready to roll. 😛 So, what did we do wide awake early dawn?

Ja on the RUN

We went for a run.

Hubby and I would go venture out her aunt’s neighborhood streets.

Ja on the RUN

And during our runs we discovered this scenic route that goes up to the desert mountains.
I was pretty amazed of the desert-y landscape you get in the Southern California.

Ja on the RUN

As we reached the top of these desert mountains, we were greeted with
a gorgeous sunrise and a nice view of the neighborhoods of Palmdale.

Ja on the RUN

There’s no better way of touring a new city than running it.  🙂

Ja on the RUN

Then, I had a deep conversation with this dog after our run. I was telling him about this beautiful place I went to. He’s been living in Palmdale all his life and had no clue where that place was. LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We started off our first two days here meeting up with friends and family. I have a couple of friends and relatives who live in California and one of the things I looked forward to coming to LA was reuniting with them. Since this was only a short visit and our schedule was pretty hectic, we only managed to see a few of them.
(TO THOSE WHOM WE DIDN’T GET TO SEE, NEXT TIME WE VISIT, WE’LL MAKE SURE TO MEET UP WITH YOU. :))

On our way to visit friends and family we had to go through a lot of LA traffic. It’s endless! I lived in the city when I was in the Philippines and I think the traffic in LA is just as crazy as there already. I am not used to it anymore. I would sometimes complain here in Cincinnati about our “traffic” which isn’t bad. After seeing LA’s, I have nothing to complain about! Nothing! LOL!

Ja on the RUN

First, we visited one of my best friends back in the Philippines, Aiko.

Ja on the RUN

Her babies are are too darn cute! Aiko moved to California with her family a few years ago. It was definitely fun seeing and catching up with her and her super kind family. 🙂

Next, hubby and I met up with our dear Godparents. 🙂
(Remember the story about the origin of my name? I wrote about it here.)

Ja on the RUN

Gave them personalized Cincinnati Bengals beer mugs. Gotta represent! 🙂

 They knew we don’t get much Filipino food here in Ohio so they invited us for dinner and prepared delicious Filipino food for us. Awww-some!!!

Ja on the RUN

I had to save my appetite the whole day for that. It’s been quite a while since I had good Filipino food. I can only cook the simplest ones (like adobo) but other Filipino dishes are just too meticulous to make so I don’t cook them. LOL! 🙂

Soo good! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

My favorite was the pancit palabok (bright orange dish in the middle). It’s a Filipino noodle dish with shrimp sauce topped with cooked shrimp, boiled pork, crushed chicharon, and hard boiled eggs. It was very tasty that sure relieved my hunger and cravings. I had a couple of servings of that! So good! Oh and the crispy pata! That one was good too! Mmmm. Creating this post is now making me hungry! LOL!

Our friends, Tammy and Paul arrived that night too. They flew in from Houston to join us on this trip. I was beyond excited when I learned that they were joining us! Our trip was even more memorable with them! We definitely had an awesome time together! 🙂

My husband left for a bit to pick them up at the airport, then back to our Godparent’s place with them.

Ja on the RUN
They too enjoyed some good Filipino food for dinner! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

It was awesome catching up with all of them that night.
Great food, great company, what more can you ask for?! First few days in LA – definitely a thumbs up!!!

Ja on the RUN

The next day was our trip to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, which I will have to recap on a separate post. 🙂

Before heading to Nevada that day, my husband and I talked about bringing Tammy and Paul to that scenic place we discovered in Palmdale. We just had to bring them there. It was too beautiful for them not to see. 🙂

So we woke up early and we took Tammy and Paul for an early morning desert run and stroll. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

We didn’t stay out too long. We headed back home after a few hours, ate breakfast, freshened up, and prepared our stuff for our trip to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. We were so excited!

Stay tuned for a separate recap solely dedicated to our adventure in Nevada! 🙂 This post is just all about LA! 🙂

We stayed in Las Vegas overnight and headed back to LA the next day early morning. I told you, our schedule was hectic! We got back in LA and planned to roam around the rest of the day! 🙂

We went to grab some lunch first at a Filipino fast food chain, Jollibee.

Ja on the RUN

I was actually amazed as to how popular this fast food chain was there. They have Jollibee everywhere in the West Coast!

Ja on the RUN

Since my husband and I are so deprived of Filipino goodies here in Ohio, we splurged a little bit here. 😛

Ja on the RUN

Halo-halo 🙂 – so good!

ja on the run
Peach Mango Pie, a dessert made out of baked flaky pastry
filled with mangoes and peaches – YUM!!!

Ja on the RUN

Filipino sweet spaghetti!

My husband got the Amazing Aloha burger which he devoured right away before I could even take a photo of it. That burger was actually featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show <– must watch! …must watch! 🙂

My husband’s uncle and aunt actually took time off from work for us so they can drive and tour us around. Aren’t they amazing?! They were such awesome hosts! They took us around downtown LA, to Beverly Hills and a little tour of some stars’ homes. Yeah, tourist stuff! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

We visited Venice Beach per Paul and Tammy’s request. They have never been and were ecstatic to play in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

It was already late in the afternoon, a little chilly and gloomy. The water was freezing cold, but we enjoyed playing with the waves and walking around on the beach.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

After numbing our toes to cold water, we decided to walk around a bit on the the strip along the shore. There were mini amusement parks, restaurants, and shops around the area. There wasn’t really much to see actually. The street was lined with small shops selling pretty much the same things; clothes, jewelry, and souvenir items. For me, Venice Beach is something I’d go visit just to see, but I wasn’t moved enough that I’d need to go back again. 😐

We had a quick dinner at a Korean restaurant, Genwa, went home and called it a day! 🙂

Ja on the RUN
Onto our last day in LA, we did more tourist stuff!

We had breakfast first at this diner, Crazy Otto’s!

Ja on the RUN

I LOVE this place! I love their decor of license plates all over their walls. I love the ambience, it’s very homey and their food is delicious! I ordered the Chorizo and Egg and was HUGE!!! They have great service too! I love everything about that place. 🙂

Leo’s uncle made everything so convenient and possible for us when we were there. They made sure we hit all of the “Hollywood Must Sees”!

First we headed down to Hollywood Blvd to look at the famous hand prints in the cement and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

The boys are a big fan! 🙂

We also went to Griffith Observatory to get the best view of the Hollywood sign.

Ja on the RUN
Ja on the RUN
You’d also get a nice panoramic views of the whole city from up there. I remembered this place being too crowded when I first went here years ago. Good thing it wasn’t as busy this time. :). We were able take a lot of pictures without other people photobombing our pics. LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on theRUNThe Observatory itself is beautiful, and so were the views. I remembered going to a planetarium here before and they have like an open telescope in the dome to view stars in the sky. We were obviously there during the day, so we missed that, but I’m sure that would be a cool experience with them.

And of course Universal Studios Hollywood! 🙂

I said hello to this place once again. It was like a travel down memory lane. First time I went here was when I was in high school and I remembered the Jurassic Park ride being my favorite back then. It was pretty much the same when I rode it this time. They still used the same mechanical dinosaurs that spit on you and when you look another way, you get spit at from another. Haha. I thought that was pretty funny and entertaining.  I liked it because the ride is pretty lame at first and you won’t expect the big drop at the finale. Of course this time, I knew about it already and that we would end up soaking wet. It was still fun though. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The crowd that day made us so thankful we got the Front of Line passes. We didn’t have to deal with waiting in long lines in the heat of summer days …of CALIFORNIA!!! We got to do literally everything at a good pace. Front of Line passes are definitely the way to go! 🙂 It definitely saved us a lot of time and got pretty much done early. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Along with In-N-Out, Randy’s is another LA staple. Arriving at Randy’s, we were greeted by this huge donut on top of the place. That was actually very appealing! It makes you wanna get some doughnuts! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

I got the apple fritter which was delicious! That was actually a great way to cap off our long, fun day! 🙂

So that about wraps up our time in LA.

All in all we had a great time exploring the city and spending time with wonderful friends and family. This visit with my husband and friends was definitely a complete different experience from my previous visits.  It was fun, fun, fun!

Bless you for getting to the end of this. That was uuber long! I wanted to get everything of LA into this post. 😛 Stay tuned for the next part!!!

Much love,
Ja

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