Tag Archives: entertainment


Apparently, if you’re not from the flawless, beautiful, picturesque state of perfection known as California, you don’t have real beaches.

My California friends don’t seem to realize that there are other people around the country (and world) that live quite contently even though they don’t permanently reside in California.  These people go about their day walking the dog, going to work, and hanging out with friends.  They sometimes have to put on a light jacket, but they still find happiness in life! INCREDIBLE!

Some Californians refuse to accept this.  Such arrogance was shown when I told one of my Golden State friends that I was going back to Michigan to celebrate the 4th of July on the beach.

“You know that’s not a real beach right?”

I’ll show you what a real beach is. Cue the video:




The Ultimate Road Trip Planner Internet Resource Guide


The Ultimate Road Trip Planner Internet Resource Guide

Where are all the good road trip planning resources?!

Recently, I was trying to plan a road trip up north and I realized something strange. There weren’t many road trip resources online.  At least not many good ones.  Or ones that have been updated since 1996.  But I felt like something had to be out there.  So I scoured the web, asked around in forums, and tried to find the best road trip planning resources on the web.  After a more thorough search, there were actually quite a few that I would deem “good.” And not just websites, but there were also tools, apps, and people/brands contributing to the road trip and travel lifestyle.

Since I’m weird and can’t just put everything in a bookmark folder (the easy thing to do), I decided to take all the resources I found, and put them together into one neat, easy-to-read, organized list.

I call it:


Below, broken into categories, are the top resources online to help plan your ultimate road trip.  As new ones pop up, I’ll be sure to update this list.  If you know of other resources that provide readers with awesome road trip and travel content, feel free to suggest them in the comments below!

Let’s begin:

road trip planner

THE OBVIOUS: These are the big resources you should already know about.  But if you don’t, start using them now.  They’ll make your travel planning a whole lot easier.

  • Yelp – Crowd-sourced reviews for businesses and attractions.
  • Lonely Planet – Travel guides! Make sure to check out their Thorn Tree travel forum.
  • Expedia – Book hotels, flights, cars, and more.
  • Kayak – Book hotels, flights, cars, and more.
  • SkyScanner – Find the cheapest flight. Can also book hotels and cars.
  • AAA – Roadside assistance and travel services for its members.
  • ZipCar – Rent a car.  Able to pay by the hour.
  • Air BnB – Rent out a room, home, or apartment from local hosts.

road trip planner

WEBSITES: This next section is websites.  I tried to keep it to resources that have the best information on cool places to see, routes to take, and general road tripping tips.

Oh, and most of these resources are for U.S. road trips only.  Sorry, everyone else in the world.



Updated regularly, Roadtrippers features great places to visit from the strange to the beautiful.  They have a fantastic trip planner, but their articles also give readers thorough information and inspiration about the most scenic driving routes to the scariest ghost towns. Roadtrippers is king.



RoadTrip America is another good all around website.  Full of travel tips, routes, interactive maps, and forums, it has your bases covered for your road trip needs.



Although it looks like they haven’t updated their website since 1996, don’t be too quick to dismiss them. Roadside America also has some great content.  You’ll find some of the best offbeat attractions here.  I especially like how you can sort your search by state.



Another website that may be going for the pre-Y2k look. Planning Fun Road Trips offers tips, planners, and best ofs.  This site will get you up to speed quickly if you’re planning your first road trip.



If you have national parks in your road trip plans, you’ll want to remember this website.  The NPS has information on every national park in each state with the information you need from park fees and hours to maps and suggested itineraries.



Just what the title says- a fantastic page that links to all of the tourism websites for each US state and territory.  Pick a state and find things to do right away.



When you first open up Atlas Obscura, it’s evident that the people behind it like to explore and like to have a good time.  I like the fun, personal vibe of the website and I like that it’s easy to navigate.  What are you looking for? Ghost towns in California? Atlas Obscura will give you a list of places to visit, a map of where they are, and then a personal article about that location.  Whenever I visit the site I usually stumble across some pretty bizarre and cool places to check out.  Atlas Obscura is a new find I’m very excited about!


Are you looking for trip advice, trying to find a travel partner, or just itching to read a cool road trip story?  Reddit has got you covered. Here are some of my favorite subreddits for road trips and traveling.


road trip with stops

TOOLS: Here’s a list of the online tools that will help make your money-calculating and route-choosing worries go away.



Punch in your estimated or actual costs for rental prices, gas, hotels, and daily budget, and the road trip calculator will come up with your total.  It’s a simple way to see where most of your money is going and whether or not you can squeeze in another night of travel.



Discover America’s road trip planner is one of my favorites.  Not only does it allow you to plot a point from A to B, but it lets you add and subtract attractions that are on the route.  For example, if you’re taking a trip across the country, you can “turn on” museums and campgrounds and “turn off” shopping centers and airports.  You can even turn on Instagram photos so a person’s travel photos will pop up along your route.  Add any attraction to your itinerary straight from the map.  Discover America’s road trip planner is definitely worth trying out.



If you’re looking to road trip all 48 states in one go and you want the perfect route, look no further.  Randy (great name!) Olson created the most optimal and efficient route using an algorithm.  The trip makes stops in each state at a national park, historic site, or other interesting landmark.  Check out the link above to read more about the algorithm and chosen attractions.



There are some people who just want a basic, printable, easy-to-read trip planner.  Although rare in the age of smart phones with maps and travel apps, this is a basic route planning site that lets you choose a few route options (favoring scenic routes, avoiding tolls, estimating fuel costs, etc), press submit, and receive a bare-bones itinerary.  It’s old school, but if that’s your thing, take a look at this resource.

blogs for road trips

BLOGS: Of course this section will naturally be more subjective, I tried to choose blogs that not only inspired and entertained, but also provided some type of informational content.  

Here are some of my favorite blogs to check out:



California Through My Lens gives readers a taste of California through the eyes of Josh, a man “addicted to adventure.”  It’s incredible how many places this one guy has visited in California.  All of his guides and articles are full of detail and include fantastic pictures. If every state had someone as awesome as Josh road tripping and sharing cool places, the states wouldn’t need tourism websites!  If you’re heading to California, check out CaliforniaThroughMyLens.



Not exactly a “road tripper,” but I’d say he has enough travel under his belt to give you some awesome advice and travel inspiration.  Matt is what I would call a “travel hacker” – someone who finds the cheapest, easiest, and most efficient way travel.  He has a range of articles from Africa travel tips, to best gear, to how to save money for a big trip.  Nomadic Matt is another travel blogging king.



Instead of having a midlife crisis Rick and Sandi are on a midlife road trip.  They’re traveling the world, checking things off their bucket list, and driving around in a Weinermobile (well, not always. Unfortunately).  Adventurous, fun, and they don’t take themselves too seriously.  Their website is full of good information, but it’s definitely more on the entertainment side!



Wandering Earl is one of the most popular travel bloggers on the internet.  He set out on a three-month trip to Asia and hasn’t stopped traveling since.  He blogs about his adventures and struggles, offers tips and information, and even has his own resource books and tours. This guy is making a living off being a permanent nomad and there’s plenty to learn.



Brooke is another blogger who travels the world full time.  And although you may take one look and say “Oh no, just another pretty girl traveling the world,” she’s built a pretty impressive online presence.  Her website is full of quick tips, reviews, and travel stories. And she’s amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on her social media accounts.  Her content is geared more towards girls in their teens and twenties, but even if you don’t fit that demographic, you can still probably find something you relate to.



I like Liz.  No, I don’t actually know her.  But it looks like she hustles, and I respect that.  Her website is about her own adventures around the world.  She’s been doing it for years and her articles give her readers tips, advice, and personal anecdotes about travel.  So, no, not exactly road tripping, but I’m confident you’ll be inspired by her drive, her excellent writing style, her travel stories, her photographs, and her rad sense of adventure.

best apps for road trips

APPS: Remember when people used to use real, paper maps? No? Me neither.  I can’t imagine getting around without the map app in my phone. Although some of the apps built in the name of convenience are just plain ridiculous, some of the ones built in the name of travel are just plain awesome.  

Here are some of my favorite travel apps:

  • gas buddyGAS BUDDY – Find the cheapest gas station nearby.
  • iexitiEXIT – Tells you what’s at upcoming exits on your route.
  • troverTROVER – Instagram/Pinterest style photo-travel app.  Great for finding hidden gems in big cities or interesting places along the way.
  • roadtrippersROADTRIPPERS – Find cool places, plan trips, save itineraries.  Great interface and easy to use.
  • field tripFIELD TRIP – Be notified automatically when you get close to something cool.  Find food, drinks, historic spots, and unique attractions just by being nearby.
  • yonderYONDER – Choose an outdoor activity you’re interested in, choose your location, and find places where you can do that activity around you.  Connect with others and share tips and photos.
  • day oneDAY ONE – A nicely designed app for journaling.  Record the cool things you see or do on your road trip. Add pictures too.
  • road trip liteROAD TRIP LITE – Great app to track your car mileage and fuel economy.
  • yelpYELP – Find any type of restaurant, attraction, or even a mechanic based on category and location.  Read reviews and see pictures from other users.
  • tripitTRIPIT – Tripit take all your travel plans and confirmation emails (hotel and car reservations, for example) and creates a neat itinerary saved in one place.
  • RV ParkyRV PARKY – RV PARKS AND MORE – Find RV parks, campgrounds and more with the RV Parky app.  It also shows what amenities are at each site such as electricity, water, picnic tables, price, etc.
  • butuBUTU – Unfortunately the app hasn’t been updated in awhile (I almost didn’t put it on the list), but I like how you just tell it where you are and it will suggest where you should go and what you should see.
  • maps.meMAPS.ME – Offline maps.  Download the map of your destination, and then use it when you don’t have wifi or data access.
online road trippers


Do you like knowing where people are and what they’re doing every second of every day? Follow these people on Twitter then. Oh, and there are some brands that give good travel information on this list, too.
Mentioned in the sections above:
YouTube Travel Vloggers:


Fun Instagram accounts that deal with travel (in no particular order). Get inspired.  These photos are sweeeeeeeet!
  • philstockbridge
  • chrisburkard
  • jordanherschel
  • kev_alvarez
  • thesamgraves
  • californiathroughmylens
  • funforlouis
  • mrbenbrown
  • when_in_roams
  • worldwanderlust
  • abekislevitz
  • deeque_
  • jodyjohnston
  • mike_pgregory
  • talking_tree
  • matadornetwork
  • youngadventuress
miscellaneous road trip tips

MISCELLANEOUS: This section is for the resources that don’t really fit in the other categories.



Do you like watching those food travel shows? Want to visit those same restaurants?  TV Food Maps has put together a website that lists every restaurant organized by show.  You can also explore by state or location and create your own road trip!  A great resource for the serious foodie.



Just looking for good places to eat on the road?  Road Food helps you find great local restaurants nearby.  My favorite section is the Self-Guided Eating Tours.


And that’s it!

The Ultimate Road Trip Planner Internet Resource Guide.  As I mentioned above, I will continue to edit this list as I find more or better resources.

If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments section below. If you already use some of these resources, I’d love to know which ones. If you hate any of these resources or just want to complain, also feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

Go trip yourself!

-Road Trip Randy

Salton Sea Road Trip: 4 Things you Absolutely, Undoubtedly, No-Question-About-It, Must See at Salton Sea Before You DIE

Salton Sea Road Trip: 4 Things you Absolutely, Undoubtedly, No-Question-About-It, Must See at Salton Sea Before You DIE!!

Wasn’t that such a Buzzfeed-esque/clickbait title? I feel like I could have perhaps pushed it a little further by adding “OMG!” or “…You won’t believe #4!”

Anyway, if you don’t want to read about my Salton Sea road trip, just watch my video of it here.  It’s short, upbeat, and gives you the gist of things:

That’s all.  Thanks for reading.

Just kidding.  I guess since you’re still reading you want to know the four things you absolutely, undoubtedly, no-question-about-it, must see at Salton Sea before you die.

Salton Sea is about three hours southeast of Los Angeles and used to be a top vacation destination for Californians.  Over time, the sea has slowly shrunk, and died, turning the once pristine beach community into a smelly ghost town.

1.  The Big, Smelly, Great Sea

The shrinking sea that smells like rotten eggs is definitely a must.  Different locations have different amenities.  If you go to the Salton Sea Recreation Area ($5) you’ll see a nice-looking beach*, with beautiful picnic tables and a visitor center.  You’ll also see piles of dead fish.  Or a fish on a stick!

*only from afar

Salton Sea Recreation Area

Salton sea palm trees

Salton Sea dead fish

If you go to Bombay Beach (free), however, you’ll first enter a town where you’re unsure if there’s anyone left living there (there are).  It’s tiny, but fascinating.  A few houses and trailers are in okay condition, while others are completely abandoned and falling apart.  The beach itself follows the latter. Rusted machinery, a pier, and random furniture litter the shoreline in each direction.

Salton Sea Bombay Beach

Salton Sea Bombay Beach 1

Salton Sea Bombay Beach 4

Salton Sea Bombay Beach 3

Salton Sea Bombay Beach 5

salton sea history

2.  Niland

If you follow the coast of the sea down to the southern tip, you’ll find the city of Niland.  Niland is a town that also looks like it is abandoned, yet isn’t.  It takes about 30 seconds to pass through, and there’s a gas station, a motel, a restaurant, and a broken pay phone.  We tried to stay at the motel, but there was no answer when we arrived.  Luckily, the restaurant we tried for lunch not only answered, but they were serving lunch until 2pm, and provided edible food.

Salton Sea niland cafe

Salton Sea niland pay phone

3.  Slab City/East Jesus

If you love hippies in the desert making art out of junk, you’ll love this place! The hippies also provide free tours in East Jesus.  Definitely go there.  The art is literally made out of junk.  I wasn’t being rude.  The rest of Slab City is unique too, as I was never quite sure what I was looking at.  Again, you’ll find trailers, “homes,”  art installations, and communal gathering areas for those individuals who enjoy living off the grid.

Salton Sea East Jesus 6

Salton Sea East Jesus 5

Salton Sea East Jesus 4

Salton Sea East Jesus 3

Salton Sea East Jesus 2

Salton Sea East Jesus 1

4.  Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain is probably the most popular stop for people visiting Salton Sea.  It’s, in my opinion, the most impressive piece of work in this area as it was created by one man, Leonard Knight.  Salvation Mountain is a hill that’s been painted in colorful Bible verses and Christian sayings.  There are rooms, passageways, stairs, and painted cars and trucks to explore.  Knight died a few years ago, but many people volunteer to keep the site from turning into the rest of the area.

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Although my Salton Sea road trip was an enjoyable one and I find the abandoned/post-apocalyptic theme of the area fascinating, it was also kind of depressing to see.  Everything is dead or dying, and you’re essentially driving through a barren wasteland.  The remains of what used to be an exuberant and thriving community are found everywhere.  You can find homes that still have food in the pantry as though, one day, everyone rushed out and left for good.

empty road

To end on a less depressing note, I might be getting a new camera lens soon.  And last night, I ate six slices of pizza.

Go trip yourself!

The Perks of Being a Production Assistant in Hollywood

Since my life currently consists of spending 12-14 hours a day at a studio,  I thought I’d take a few minutes to write about my life as a production assistant in Hollywood.  Yes, production assistants (PAs) are the lowest on the entertainment industry totem pole, and yes, you’ll see a lot of articles floating around about how terrible it is to be one.  But being a PA isn’t that bad, and it certainly has some great perks.

I’ve been a set and office PA (working for the team that films the show/movie/commercial) and a Post PA (working for the team that edits and finalizes the show/movie/commercial) on many different projects since moving out here.  The PA duties vary from project to project, but essentially, you’re the assistant to everyone you work with.  You do whatever they ask, with a smile on your face.  Sometimes it’s getting lunch for the team, setting up chairs, printing out documents, and making DVD copies.  Other times it’s driving two hours away to get a producer their favorite salad.  As a PA, you have to expect you’ll be asked to do anything.  But here are the perks:

Getting to go on all the studio lots and sets for free

As a PA, you’ll either work on or be asked to drive to any of the major studios around Hollywood.  You just have to flash your drive-on pass at the gate and go right in.  It’s fun to see the general public waiting in line for a tour or sitting on the tram, knowing they paid a small fortune to see something you get to see every day.  Also, you pretty much have free roam of the entire lot.  On any given day you might see your favorite actor walking around or your favorite show being filmed.

Look, a fake street corner! And yes, even I paid for a studio tour one time.  Anyone recognize the show/town?
Look, a fake street corner! And yes, even I paid for a studio tour one time. Anyone recognize the show/town?

Working with major talent (celebrities)

Even better than just seeing, you might get to directly work with major talent, too.  They’re certainly just normal people, but it’s still fun to interact with them, if allowed.  As a PA, you might be in charge of keeping their trailer tidy or walking/driving them to the stage.  Sure, you may get a few divas, but most of the actors are very professional and nice.

Catered lunches and unlimited crafty

Many times lunch will be paid for by the production.  Sometimes, as a PA, you’ll be the one running out to get it, but a free meal is a free meal.  It gets even better when lunch is catered.  They spare no expense to feed top-level talent and crew.  Health nuts, vegans, and junk-food enthusiasts will all be pleased.

Crafty, or unlimited snacks, is another perk.  If someone can’t wait for lunch, there’s usually a whole kitchen, room, or table filled with candy, chips, fruit, cereal, desserts, etc, that’s available for anyone to eat at any time of the day.

Getting to watch your TV show/film on the big screen in a private theater

This is a perk that would mostly only apply to Post PAs.  Once an episode/movie is close to being finished, it gets played in a huge, private theater for important people to make notes and to finalize sound.  The producers and editors will sometimes bring along a PA just in case anyone needs anything.  Many times you just get to sit back, relax, and watch an advance screening of a TV show that everyone else will have to wait another two months to see.

Wrap Parties

Wrap, which means the production has finished filming, usually follows with a wrap party.  If you worked on the production, you’re invited to the party with all the cast and crew.  Unfortunately, when you’re a Post PA, and they film in another state, you can’t go.  You sometimes get the invite, but sadly you just have to throw it away.  As a set/office PA, you can definitely go.  I’ve heard the wrap parties can be quite a blast, but unfortunately, I’ve never been to one.  All of the productions I’ve worked on so far either didn’t have one or I was a Post PA working in another state.  Someday I’ll get to take advantage of this perk!

Wrap Gifts

When a show finishes, the producers or director (or people way more important than you) may give the crew a gift as a way of saying thanks for all of their hard work.  This can be anything from a shirt, to a watch, to amusement park tickets.

Being privy to show information before the public

Many times PAs have access to scripts and early cuts.  It’s always funny to see the public’s reaction to things you knew about months ago.  I love reading reviews, fan theories, and incorrect spoilers about shows I worked on.  Of course, you’re not allowed to share any of the information you know, so no one knows that you know, and therefore, you’re not special. But at least you know you know.  8)

So the next time you hear a PA complaining about their job, remind them how good they have it -unless they just drove two hours for a salad.  That’s just cruel!

Is that New York City?!?!
Is that New York City?!?!                                                     No.

Road Trip Randy Blog Update

Hello! I feel like it’s been awhile.

I also feel like this how every undisciplined, cliche writer on WordPress starts a post.  And then repeats the routine every three months.  See you in January?

Personal Updates

I just wanted to take some time to let you know Hollywood is eating me alive.  I’m currently PAing on a gig that usually goes 12-16 hours a day, six to seven days a week.  I’m not complaining.  This is actually quite common in my industry.  And it’s fun at times.  But it’s a big change from my last show which was only 11 hours a day, five days a week.  I had so much free time!!  Anyway, my current gig will take me through mid-December.  The good news is I’m making lots of money (GoPro Hero4, anyone?). The bad news is I don’t see how I’ll have time for road trips anytime soon.  Maybe I’ll try to do a Sunday day trip if I’m not too exhausted.  Or maybe I’ll write a post about my job.

I also bought a new night stand.  And black socks.

Blog Update

I’ve made a few changes to the blog. If you didn’t notice, I don’t blame you, but just pretend you did.  I added a nice new “Video” tab on the top navigation bar with some videos you probably haven’t seen yet. Check ’em out.

I’ve also added a Facebook Page (see right column).  If you like reading my stuff, please show me some love by following me on there or one of my other social media pages:

I have 60 WordPress readers, which means 54 are probably spammers. So there are at least six of you who are real.  Let’s connect.