The Great Baseball Ride: Game 7; Anaheim Angels and More Route 66.

“Grantland Rice, the great sportswriter once said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.’ Well Grantland Rice can go to hell as far as I’m concerned.”

– Gene Autry, Actor and former owner of the Anaheim (California) Angels.

We woke up this morning in Kingman, AZ.  Kingman is a growing town of 30k people, and is a great Route 66 stop.  Along the portion of the route that goes through the town you’ll find all of the things you would associate with a Rte. 66 town – old motels, signs, paintings, and cars from a past era. One such Route 66 treasure is the Ramblin Rose Motel, our overnight stop. Inexpensive, charming, and clean, all we need in lodging.

This morning, none of the Route 66 stuff interests me as we have to fix the problem with our check engine light, and I don’t yet have an appointment.  It’s about a 5 minute drive from our overnight stop to the Kingman, AZ Honda dealership, and I am eager to get their just prior to the service department opening at 8 am.  Without an appointment, and needing to get out of town ASAP to make it to Anaheim for the game that night, being first in line is key. I’ll save you the drama. It was an O2 sensor, I did nothing, and the light shut off after leaving the dealership. [update 6.26.19, the light hasn’t come on since. I guess ignoring problems can sometimes make them go away]

We pack up, say goodbye to the Ramblin Rose Motel, and head further down Route 66, taking in all of the above mentioned charm.  Eventually the Route meets up with I-40, and we head towards California. We continue to be in awe of how beautiful the landscape is along this journey; majestic mountains everywhere.  

The drive from AZ to CA is beautiful.

All through western California, I notice that I am getting low on gas.  Having never driven this area before, I don’t know what to expect as far as services go, and naturally, rather than playing it safe, I push it.  We make it to the town of Ludlow just in time and we pull up to the only service station available; Chevron.

We don’t have Chevron’s in Minnesota, and if I am being honest, I have not had good experiences there as we’ve traveled.  They always seem to be the highest gas of anywhere we go. True to form, we pay the highest fuel price we ever have; $4.89 per gallon. Total fill cost for our Honda Fit is $47. Ouch! We usually pay about half that. They had a monopoly in the area, and they took advantage.

We soldier on into California with the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, CA on our minds.  This place is one of three remaining Tipi motels in America (we saw the other in Holbrook, AZ). Again, these motels were the inspiration for the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie Cars (a favorite of ours).  We had wanted to stay there, but the two bed occupancies were all sold out. We settle for some pics and move on.

Wigwam Motel, Rialto, CA.

Next stop is to find our motel.  We booked the Howard Johnson in Orange, CA (near Anaheim).  After enjoying some of California’s famous traffic, we pull up to our overnight.  This is our second HoJo stay of the trip. The first one was a couple nights ago in Flagstaff, and we have been happy so far.  That happiness continued was the room is large, and the decor was updated.  

Game time.  Angels Stadium is only about a 12 minute drive (if that) from our hotel.  Keke pre-bought tickets and parking, and when we pulled up we realize that she bought Premier parking.  We were ushered to the front of the lot, one row back from the stadium. For some reason she is embarrassed, must be that German-Lutheran Midwest upbringing that seems to want to avoid anything “fancy.”  I, on the other hand, think it is fantastic (must be my Norwegian-Lutheran Midwest upbringing). Soren typically wants me to carry him at the games, so a shorter walk doesn’t bother me at all! Premier parking is $20 at that gate, although I think we paid some extra fees buying it online. Most places charge that or more for basic, or the cheapest parking. 

Fancy-pants Parking

The stadium is quite beautiful.  I am told it is the fourth oldest in the league and that it used to be the home of the L.A. Rams.  Evidently, when Disney bought the team from actor Gene Autry, they made some renovations. I am assuming the rock fountain and home run fireworks/torches (which scared the crap right out of me while I was chatting with an usher) in center field are a part of those renovations. 

We paid $5 a ticket (before fees) for obstructed view seats on Stubhub. I didn’t realize how obstructed the view would be. We pretty much couldn’t see anything in right center and over to left.  That would not do, and since the attendance was light, we moved to better seats in the right field bleachers. That ultimately wouldn’t do either, as we sat in front of a little league team that were desperate to get Mike Trout to look at them.  We love kids and were glad they were having fun, but we also love watching a ballgame in reasonable peace. Ultimately, we moved to the 400 level behind home plate, where the views were perfect, and the Little Leaguers were few and far between.

Hall of Famer Rod Carew…

I had seen a place called Chronic Tacos.  This is a local establishment that has a couple of spots in Angel Stadium.  This is right up my ally as I love to experience some of the local cuisine, but we don’t have the time to explore the city like we would like in our stops.  I see chicken helmet nachos on the menu and that is all she wrote. Good food and a souvenir for Soren is a two-fer. It is a solid $18 spend. A souvenir cup of soda for $7.50 to help my family that can’t handle spice, and I am on my way back to my seat.

Chronic nachos are the real deal, no tiny souvenir helmet here!

As far as local beer, I chose Firestone Walker out of Paso Robles, CA. I had their 805 and it was a good choice; I’d recommend.

The game itself was great, the home team won, and Mike Trout, the feature attraction, did what Mike Trout does; a single and a homer and a couple of runs scored.  It was a good day to be a Halos fan, but I was pretty bummed as Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (baseball’s heir apparent stud) took the day off; we would have loved to see him perform.  

Mike Trout, Keke Judge, Soren Judge, and Debby Judge.

Exhausted and a bit chilled (I thought southern California was supposed to be hot), we head back to the hotel happy to have had another eventful day on The Great Baseball Ride. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *