Off Topic: A Trip Report from Catalina Island

May 31, 2012

So, I realize that traveling has nothing much to do with the theme of our blog. 

But it is our blog, which means we can post about whatever the heck we want, right?

I mean that is the point of having your own blog.

And today, I felt like writing about my trip to Catalina Island ... hope you enjoy this little break from the norm.


We headed to California to see Grandma and Papa or if you ask #2, Meemaw and Peepaw ... I have no idea where she came up with that.  As part of the ritual out there, Hubby and I sneak off for a day of child free vacationing and the grandparents take over all child rearing for the day ... and by child rearing I mean stuffing my children full of sugar and then buying them light up shoes. 

This particular trip, we snuck off to Catalina Island.  And can I just say that I really would like to move there ... I am already packed!  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  We had a great time. 

You take a ferry over.  The trip takes about an hour.

There is a bar on the boat.  Allegedly, they serve the World's Best Bloody Mary.  It has a spicy green bean in it, that was apparently fabulous.  Wade loved it.  I about coughed it up it was so spicy and I like spice.   If you are curious about the green bean, you can buy your own jar at Trader Joe's. 

The sea was a little rough on the way over.  There was a lot of puking going on.  Thankfully, not by us.  Or near us.  I am a bit of a joiner ... now on to happier topics ...

They drop you off at the dock and you are free to roam about the beautiful island. 

We had a few hours before our zip line tour started, so we decided to do this thing called  Urban Adventure Quest.  It is basically a trivia game that you download to your smartphone.  This is what you will look like while you are playing:

The game doesn't come with the really cool hat.  But I'll tell you where you can get it later.

We did the Catalina Island Walking Tour version.  Each question has some sort of clue to where to go on the island and then once you find your destination, you must answer a trivia question.   For example, one of the clues led us to this mural:

Once we found it, we had to compare it to the picture they sent us on the phone and find 5 differences.  Each correct answer scores you points and much like this blog, the person with the most points at the end earns ... what for it ... wait for it ... nothing!  It is like a mini Amazing Race without the physical challenges.  You can pause the game and stop for drinks (not that we would ever do that, but you can) and no points are deducted, you just go at your own pace. 

After grabbing some lunch, we headed to the zip line. The Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour was excellent and it was soo soo much fun.  Our guides were Kris and Daniel and they were awesome.  Well versed in the history of the island and both had excellent senses of humor.  The give you a little safety talk first.  Well, actually they weigh you in first.  But I thought I would gloss over that because who wants to be weighed in while on vacation and after drinking, I mean eating, lunch.  But apparently they have these rules and you know, they don't want the line to snap or anything. 

Back to the safety talk.  They teach you how to get in the cannon ball position which is the main zipping position as well as an excellent ab workout, how to do a starfish to slow down if you are "coming in hot" as hubby liked to say, etc etc.  Then they put you on a bus and send you up the hill.

Here we are, Zip Ready!

Here is the view of the first zip line.  They call it the baby   It is only 500 feet long.  10 to 12 seconds of zipping. 

I had no fear going into this.  I don't have too much of a problem with heights and love roller coasters, so I was ready.  But then, when they hook you up and you are about to step off into nothing, well, it might have been a little scary. 

And there might have been a little screaming involved.  But I didn't win an award or anything for my screaming.  Really.

And away I went.

And it was awesome.  You felt like you were flying.  And it was crazy fun.  The longest line is over 1,000 feet long which meant almost 30 seconds of zipping. 

You get to see the island from lots of different views and it is gorgeous.  Our guides gave us bits and pieces of historical information on the island.  For instance, that circular building in the distance is the Casino that was never actually a casino in how we know the term ... it was a huge dance hall.  Could hold all the people on the island at once when it was constructed.  Now they show movies there.

We also learned how the Buffalo ended up on the island and that the females are on birth control pills to help control the population.

These are just random buffalo, we didn't actually see any - but there are tours that will take you to look for them.  Originally 14 bison were brought over to film scenes from The Vanishing American (as a side note, all the scenes shot for the movie on the island were cut).  And then it was determined that it was too expensive to take them back, so they just left them. 

And then they started breeding (darn buffalo). 

For awhile, they shipped buffalo to the mainland when there were too many roaming the island.  But apparently the Buffalo didn't travel well, (remember that puking I mentioned earlier?) so that was nixed.  So now, they just take the pill and their numbers stay right around 150 to 200. 

Back to zipping ....

Does anyone feel like singing Tom Petty's Free Fallin' right now?? 

There are a total of 5 zip lines ranging in distance from 500 to a little over 1,000 feet.  The tour takes about 2 hours and is well worth it.  Our guides were fantastic and we loved it!

We spent the rest of the trip enjoying the scenery, eating dinner, wandering the island, and having ice cream.

Getting our Wiki Whacked at Luau Larry's.

The drink comes with the hat.  You totally have to buy a drink if it comes with a hat, right?  Especially if you can get a picture of your husband in said hat.

There is a ton of stuff to do on the island.  You could beach it for the day in a cabana at the beach club, rent a golf cart and sight see, take one of the other many tours -- there are Jeep tours that take you inland looking for wildlife, kayaking, snorkeling, snuba, scuba, there is even a yellow submarine.  Someday we will get back and try some of these others - but I highly recommend trying this one, well worth the money!

A fabulous day was had by all ... if you get the chance, I highly recommend a trip over!



  1. I thought the bloody Mary was watery and gross. I'm not sure who started the rumor that it's awesome....but, no.

    1. Clearly you did not have them made by the world famous Linda :)

  2. Hi, came across your blog from tripadvisor. You say the zip lining tour takes 2 hours- does that include the whole safety talk + transport to the top and all of that? Or is it just the actual flying part? Thanks!

    1. Yes, that included everything! We had 8 in our group (I believe they take up to 10 at a time) and from our reservation time to the time we returned our helmets was 1 hour 50 minutes.

      It was great fun, hope you get a chance to try it!

      Let me know if you ha any other questions!


  3. The team at Urban Adventure Quest thanks you for writing about your Catalina Quest in your blog. Catalina is a great place to relax and do something a little different. It seems like you had as much fun playing it as we had creating it. We hope all your readers will try a Quest in their own favorite city. Use Promo Code: HALLIE for 15% discount.


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