All Mancation Articles Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:39:25 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb (Man Tripping) 10 Awesome Iowa Mancation Ideas Iowa? Seriously? Yes! Honestly this quiet midwestern state known for corn more than anything else is probably not high on your list of places to go for your next mancation.

It wasn't for me either, but a cross country road trip last year from Chicago to San Diego caused me to take a moment to reconsider Iowa and all the stuff that it does offer for a group of guys looking for an adventure.

As I drove through I saw signs for places like towns named Manning and Manley, the World's Largest Truck Stop, John Wayne Birthplace, Maytag (home of the worlds greatest blue cheese!), Templeton Rye distillery, a farmer creating revolutionary new breeds of hog that are starting to be recognized as the best in the world, a rapidly growing craft brewing scene, the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Museum and more. So, I started wondering what else was here waiting for guys in Iowa.


I discovered more than can be featured in this article, I encourage you to visit Travel Iowa and explore there as well. 

John Wayne in True Grit

John Wayne Birthplace

John Wayne (or Marion Robert Morrison as he was born)'s birthplace is in Winterset, Iowa and the museum there has accumulated one of the biggest collections of John Wayne memorabilia in the world. Each May, the museum also hosts the John Wayne Birthday Celebration - May 23-24, 2014. The celebration is very much a collection of "western" traditions including a rodeo, western swing dance, and cowboy mounted shooting demonstrations. However there are also historical discussions about The Duke, a marathon of his films, and of course tours of his birthplace.

John Wayne birthplace home

If you can't visit this year, you should plan for next year's Birthday Celebration which will mark the opening of the brand new John Wayne Birthplace Museum 


John Deere Factory tours at multiple locations in Iowa and Illinois

John Deere Factory Tours

John Wayne might have shown us "How the West was Won" but John Deere folks are the ones that did it one farmer at a time. A tour of their factory and visit to their museum is the perfect opportunity to inject your adventure with a bit of extra testosterone as you watch these giant machines come to life or as John Deere says, "See where giants are born". Since these are tours of real working factories the tour schedule is highly subject to manufacturing schedules.

There are actually several John Deere Factory Tours that are available. However, we recommend that you contact them directly for availability: Harvester Works in Moline, IL(309) 765-8000, Tractor Cab Assembly Operations in Waterloo, IA (319) 292-7668, Engine Works in Waterlook, IA (319) 292-5347, or the Des Moines Works in Ankeny, IA (800) 450-2670.

Additionally, the John Deere Headquarters in Moline (across the river from Davenport IA) is also open for visitors to their display floor featuring 2,200 pieces of memorabilia across 1,400 acres of land where you can sit in the operator's seat and pretend that you are down on the farm with both antique and modern farming equipment.

Hunter with buffalo from Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch

Buffalo Hunting

Anyone can hunt deer but how about going after some big game like actual Buffalo! While this animal may have been hunted to near extinction 100 years ago it is now a carefully managed species that you can hunt in certain places such as the Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch can provide the thrill of hunting these massive animals. Each hunt is preceded by a Sioux "smudge feather" ceremony and after taking your bull guests will perform the "sacred Crow 'tobacco' ceremony" to honor and help guide the animal to the "Great Spirit Herd" and culminates with the blood marking ceremony in which you honor the bull.

Buffalos in the snow Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch

While most of Iowa is open prairie and corn fields, these buffalo hunts take place on foot through heavy, hard wood timber, brush, creeks and some open meadows. Rifle hunters can expect 70-125 yard shots and bow hunters can expect a 25-35 yard shot with time.

Hunts are offered as a complete package including lodging and meals in an 1870 ranch home and take place year round, but prime season is Mid-October through early March.

Iowa Speedway Camping Series NASCAR race

Iowa Speedway

If auto racing is what you need to get your motor running, Iowa Speedway has 3 race weekends this year with Nationwide Series races as well as Indy Car. The speedway 7/8 mile tri-oval track, designed by NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace, is often referred to as "The Fastest Short Track on the Planet" and located only 30 miles east of Des Moines. Even outside of race weekends the track plays host to driving schools such as the Richard Petty Driving Experience so it makes a great year-round destination if you have a need for speed!


Iowa Wrestling Museum - NCAA exhibit

National Wrestling Hall of Fame Waterloo

There are two National Wrestling Hall of Fame locations - one is in Stillwater OK, but the other is in Waterloo Iowa and celebrates the influence of wrestling great, Dan Gable. With exhibits ranging from exploring President Lincoln's influence on wrestling to an exploration of wrestling as part of ancient history, the modern Olympic games, and the NCAA, there is something for any wrestling fan. (unless you are looking for the more theatrical style of wrestling popularized by people like Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon)


Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Ever wondered about the history of the trucking industry or wanted to check out some historic "big rigs"? This will be your dream destination. Located at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott Iowa, this is the home of the worlds largest truck stop and the dream of it's founder Bill Moon. His passion for collecting antique trucks and trucking memorabilia ultimately spawned this museum. 

The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum collection now features more than 100 trucks with 60 of them currently on display.

Field of Dreams movie site

Field of Dreams Movie Site

25 Years ago, Kevin Costner made a small cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa the center of the entertainment world with the release of Field of Dreams. Lucky for us that field is still available to visit - just as it was at the end of the movie. If you can't visit it actually, the site has provided a virtual tour as well. We personally can't think of a better thing to plan a mancation around than playing catch on one of the most famous ball fields in the world though!


If you want the ultimate experience though, you need to visit the site on July 6 this year for the "Ghost Players" event. Still need more Iowa baseball? Don't miss the Bob Feller Museum, the Iowa Baseball Museum of Norway, or stop by the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Class A Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

Maquoketa Caves State Park

Climbing Up, Crawling Under, and Floating Through 

If natural adventure is more of what you are looking for, Iowa also offers plenty to stir your soul - under the ground caving at the Maquoketa Caves State Park,

Backbone State Park

or above ground with rock climbing adventures at Backbone State Park.

Charles City Whitewater

Additionally, whitewater adventures await you in Charles City ranging from kayaking to tubing.

The Surf Ballroom

A Visit to the Surf Ballroom

For music fans, the Surf Ballroom and Museum in Clearlake, IA is a "must visit" destination. It is famous as the site of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson's last performance before the tragic plane crash the next day in Feb. 3, 1959, an event inspiring Don McLean's famous "American Pie" lyrics referring to it as "the day the music died".


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame designated this a historic landmark in 2009 and each year on Feb 2, they host a "Winter Dance Party" tribute commemorating the famous last show, followed by a memorial service the next day.

Templeton Rye Distillery Tour

Templeton Rye Distillery

Last but certainly not last - I am sure you are familiar with Templeton Rye, "The Good Stuff", but did you know that it was from Iowa? or that it is considered to be Al Capone's drink of choice during prohibition? Probably not, but you can learn even more when you visit the Templeton Rye Distillery in Templeton, IA. 

Templeton Rye whiskey lables

While modern Templeton Rye was brought to market in 2006, it's history goes back all the way to the 1920's when residents of this small Iowa town (including the founders families) decided to become bootleggers. 


"Standard" distillery tours are held Monday-Friday but one saturday per month, Templeton Rye Co-Founder and Master Distiller, Keith Kerkhoff leads a tour starting at 10 a.m. Reservations are required. Tours cost $5 to reserve a spot and all guests receive a free shot glass to use in the tasting room.

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:41:03 +0000
Introducing JagerBonds I am sure that Jagermeister has played a role in at least a few guys weekends over the course of your life - from sports weekends to ski trips to shots on a ski during Oktoberfest Jager is one of those drinks that is larger than just a spirit - it sometimes sets the spirit for a great night. To help capture and share that essence the company created an app appropriately titled "JagerBonds" that collects the photos from you and your friends and compiles them together into an fantastic digital memory of the evening - all by simply connecting with your Facebook and Instagram feeds.

To help share the excitement of the JagerBonds app, the company asked me to create a JagerBond and share some information about the mobile app with you. While this is a sponsored post, all opinions are mine.

For those of you who have always wondered, the name Jagermeister comes from the German word for "master hunter". The spirit was created by a passionate hunter as a strong drink to toast achievements and seal bonds amongst strong men. 

Those who have tried Jager are familiar with the distinct flavor of this spirit that is unlike anything else. This is because it's recipe contains a mixture of 56 herbs, blossoms, roots, and fruits from around the world and then aged in oak casks.

Our goal tonight was to watch a fantastic night of baseball - and we were blessed with a night ending in a Padres win over the LA Dodgers!


To help capture the night, we downloaded the JagerBonds app from Google Play (it is available on the App Store as well as Google Play), installed it on both of our phones and connected it to our Facebook and Instagram accounts. It's as easy as that!

Our evening started off with a street party outside of PetCo Park where there is no shortage of bars dishing up libations and people celebrating the start of baseball season!

Unfortunately - several of these early photos did not make it because we both rebooted our phones due to wonky internet access and didn't realize that we needed to start the app back up again :(

However - in spite of this, we were able to create a fun video ...

Click on the image below to visit the page to view our JagerBonds video:


5 Tips for Creating a Perfect JagerBonds Video:

1. Grab a bunch of friends! more people means less spamming of your individual account followers and adds more diversity to what's ultimately compiled in the video.

2. Pick the perfect soundtrack! Are you heading off to a night of line dancing or hitting the bars in Mid-Town? Make sure you pick the right music. Jagerbonds features 

3. Play around with camera angles! Make sure you try some different angles - if the entire video is just selfies that's sorta' lame!

4. Do something fun. Jagermeister is a great drink and JagerBonds is a fun app - but both suck if you use them sitting at home on the couch, so go out and have a great night!

5. Drink responsibly! Nobody wants to see an ambulance in their JagerBonds video.

Still not convinced that you need to at least give JagerBonds a try on our next guys night out or guys weekend? Here's their video that shows it in action!



FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are mine.

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Thu, 03 Apr 2014 20:52:00 +0000
Want to Win a Trip to San Diego? Baseball season is finally here and so it's time to welcome the boys of summer back home from their spring training camps in Arizona and Florida.

To make things even better, the San Diego CVB is offering a contest where you can win air fare, hotel and tickets to a Padres game! Check out some photos from our visit to Petco Park on Sunday ...


]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Thu, 03 Apr 2014 04:55:14 +0000
Spring Drinks to Start the Season Right Spring is here and that means it's time to get your drink on. Our friends over at 2 Gingers, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden sent over their picks for some great spring cocktail recipes.

Skinny Ginger


2 parts 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey Diet Ginger Ale Lemon Wedge Lime Wedge

METHOD: Pour the 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey into a pint glass with ice. Top with diet ginger ale, followed by a wedge of a lemon and lime.

Sweet and Spicy Tea Recipe


by Zac Matthews, Mixologist

INGREDIENTS: - 2 parts Knob Creek® Rye - 2 parts Southern Style “Sweet Tea” (*recipe below) - ¼ part Fresh Lemon Juice - 1 part Prosecco

METHOD: 1. Combine Knob Creek® Rye, sweet tea and lemon juice into a shaker with ice. 2. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. 3. Float Prosecco on top to finish. 4. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

*Southern Style "Sweet Tea"

INGREDIENTS: - Black Tea - Simple Syrup

METHOD: 1. Prepare a fresh pot of black tea per instructions. 2. Combine freshly brewed black tea with an ample amount of simple syrup (to taste).

Basil Hayden's Bluegrass Punch

Basil Hayden’s Bluegrass Punch


4 parts Basil Hayden's ® Bourbon

8 parts Blueberry Juice

8 parts Passion Fruit Juice Sparkling Wine or Club Soda

Fresh Mint Leaves


METHOD: 1. Add Basil Hayden's, blueberry juice, passion fruit juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake. 2. Top with club soda or sparkling wine Blueberry Ice Ring Freeze one bag of frozen blueberries with water in a bunt cake pan. Dip frozen ring into hot water for a few seconds to unmold. Place in punch bowl with blueberry side up.

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Wed, 02 Apr 2014 23:04:46 +0000
Explore The Secrets of Tequila at CasaMagna Puerto Vallarta Just in case you needed another excuse to play in the sun down in Puerto Vallarta, the CasaMagna Marriott sends word that they have launched a new tequila appreciation program titled Secretos de la Familia and they are one of the few resorts in the world where agave azul is actually grown on the grounds and used for making their very own tequila.

According to the General Manager, the resort boasts an enormous library of this spirit including 114 tequilas regularly available by the glass and a Tequila Sommelier who hosts regular tasting classes for the guests.

These things combined have enabled this 4 Diamonds resort to recently be awarded the Agave de Oro by the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico and the so they launched their program Casa Magna Secretos de la Familia to expand on this experience.

CasaMagna Tequila Varietals

Secretos de la Familia Features:

Tequila Sommelier - serves as an ambassador of Mexican customs, culture and traditions as well as serves as the resort's resident expert on Tequila, a spirit which is native to the region.

Tequila a la Carte - More than 60 brands and 114 different varietals are available at the CasaMagna Marriott and stored in their prized Tequila Vault so they are available across all of the resort's various dining options.

Weekly Tasting Classes - The CasaMagna Tequila Sommelier conducts weekly tasting classes at the Tequila and Cigar Lobby Bar. This includes the history of tequila including its mythical origin as the drink with Mayahuel the goddess of tequila and Quetzalcoatl her lover as well as the modern state of the tequila industry and it's processing technology.

In-Room Tequila Video - the entertainment system in each room also features a video exploring the tequila culture and traditions at the CasaMagna Resort.

Harvesting Tequila on the Resort Property
If that's not enough, the resort itself offers a fantastic opportunity for guests to relax and enjoy the Pacific sun and warm sandy beaches.
CasaMagna Marriott Resort in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

The resort features 433 guest rooms including 29 suites, multiple resort pools including an indoor pool and a heated outdoor infinity pool.

Mountain Biking in Puerto Vallarta

For those looking to explore more active recreation opportunities, Puerto Vallarta offers a wide variety of options ranging from mountain biking to fishing expeditions. In fact the resort is only a short walk from marina where many of the sport fishing boats are based.

Puerto Vallarta Golf Course
If that's not enough, Puerto Vallarta has a large number of golf courses including the Marina Vallarta Golf Club. There is also a surprisingly well developed nightlife scene downtown but you will have to take a short cab ride to those nightclubs and restaurants when you visit here on your next mancation.
]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Thu, 27 Mar 2014 07:41:00 +0000
Wrigley Field South - Cubs Park in Mesa AZ While the Cubs are the perennial underdogs, having not won a World Series in over 100 years, their home in Chicago is one of the most iconic sports stadiums in the whole world. In previous years, the Cubs have played at Hohokam Stadium, shared with the Oakland A's but this year they opened up the season at their very own stadium "Cubs Park", affectionately referred to as "Wrigley Field South".

As someone who has enjoyed numerous games at Wrigley I can say that even though it is someone that should be on the bucket list for any sorts fan, the park is an absolute dump. From obstructed views to cramped bathrooms and nets installed to keep concrete from falling on people's heads it is one of those places that should probably just be shut down - if it wasn't for the antique charm and sense of history that radiates from every square inch of the facility.

A few years ago, I heard that they were building a new facility in Mesa and so I was extremely excited to see what the designers would do to bring that charm to Arizona. Luckily I was not disappointed, the new Cubs Park is a fantastic facility that brings the spirit of Chicago south to Arizona but doesn't entirely turn it into "Cubs" theme park.

Cubs Park Wrigley Field sign
While not quite a "theme park" the stadium definitely is a tourist destination more so than just a stadium for baseball. To that end, one of the coolest things you can do here is have a personal message on a replica of the iconic Wrigley Field sign and have your picture taken in front of it.
Cubs Park stadium in Mesa Arizona
While dramatically smaller than the original Wrigley Field, Cubs Park does much to bring the architectural elements from Chicago down to Mesa, including the light stands, the scoreboard, the brick wall behind home plate and even the overhead shades.
While smaller than the original, the new Cubs Park is actually the largest in the Cactus League with a capacity of 15,000 seats.
Also of key importance under the Sonoran sun is that more than 60% of the seats have shade but of course, if you want the full sun experience the lawn is always uncovered.
Unfortunately there was no ivy covered outfield walls at Cubs Park
Unfortunately there is no ivy covered walls in the outfield but that might be a lucky thing since running into an ivy covered brick wall isn't nearly as safe as one covered in foam padding. The cynic in me also thinks that it may simply be to allow for more advertising space. You can decide which is reality :)
However, as someone who has enjoyed attending numerous games at the "friendly confines", this does feel like home. 
Cubs Park in Mesa, AZ
One of the greatest things about this stadium though is that you can get super close to the action for a fraction of the cost it would require in Chicago. 
Cubs logo at Cubs Park
Despite the fact that they are working hard to make this a replica version of Wrigley Field the iconography is distinctly Arizona inspired as you can see from the logo on the field as well as other places in the park such as the gates.
Awesome beer vendor hat
At the end of the day though it is still a ballpark with crazy beer vendors, hot dogs and other treats.
Old Style beer is still served at Cubs Park
This of course would include (at least for a few weeks) Chicago's famous "Old Style" beer. Like Wrigley itself, this beer is terrible but I was extremely impressed that the would have it here since drinking an ice cold can of Old Style is one of those experiences that you MUST try at a Cubs game, whether you are in Chicago or Mesa.
Unfortunately this tradition seems to be under attack as the Cubs have signed a deal with Budweiser that would mean eliminating the beer from the parks. Only time will tell but for now at least - drink up!
Windy City Dog at Cubs Park
One tradition that is certain to continue at Mesa is the that they will be serving Chicago-style favorites like like Chicago-dogs, deep dish pizza and even beef sandwiches. For those of you who once lived in Chicago there is even an actual Portillos in Tempe right outside the park and one in Scottsdale now too!
Cubs Park scoreboard and video screen
At the game we attended, there were a lot of people from Chicago and frankly Phoenix is a GREAT escape for Chicagoans after a long winter. To remind them of exactly how nice it was they shared the local vs Chicago temperature on the video screen :)
Palm Trees at Cubs Park
Again, while Cubs Park brings the very best of Chicago to Mesa, this is absolutely an Arizona stadium and as such, it was a little strange going to a cubs game while first walking through a beautiful row of palm trees.
Cubs Park is just the beginning though. Like over in Peoria how they are building out the commercial space around the park, that is already underway in Mesa as well to create not just "Wrigley Field" south but an actual "Wrigleyville" south with shops, bars, and entertainment to help turn a game at Cubs Park into more than just a place to spend a few hours watching baseball. 
We can't wait to see how that develops!
]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Mon, 24 Mar 2014 04:39:12 +0000
Guys Weekend at Talking Stick Resort & Casino Scottsdale Arizona is a fantastic destination for a mancation and while we visited here for Cactus League Spring Training - especially since it is right next to Salt River Fields, it is a solid year-round destination.

There is obviously no shortage of world-class resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona and so it might be tough to decide which one will be the perfect spot for your next mancation.

Talking stick is a 4 diamond casino resort that has an on-property golf course, walking distance to the latest Top Golf location, an entertainment venue with acts ranging from Rob Thomas and Collective Soul to Dennis Miller and Tim Allen. It is also home to the Arizona State Poker Championship and if that isn't enough - even cool enough that even NFL Players want to take their buddies here for a round of golf as I found out during a twitter conversation with Philadelphia Eagles veteran,Mark McMillian.


From ManTripping

Exploring the Hotel Room

I may have been biased in the past about "Indian Casinos" because frankly a lot of them are just glamorized bingo halls that exist only to extra money from visitors in an ironic historical turning of the tables. While ultimately a casino exists to make money this is more Vegas-style and focused on delivering an experience vs "just a place to gamble".

Our room was a "Deluxe King" though like any resort there are a variety of options including a 1,500 sq ft 3-bay suite.

From ManTripping

As such, I was completely amazed by how fantastic the room was - it absolutely deserves the 4 Diamonds rating and was possibly one of the nicest rooms I have ever stayed in (with a couple exceptions - the feel of the linens didn't match the rest of the room's quality and the walls were unfortunately a little thing so you could hear your neighbor's bathroom door slide open/shut).

Toilet and Shower Bathroom at Talking Stick Resort
In addition to an awesome bathroom, the room comes equipped with a fridge, Keurig machine, complimentary bottled water, free WiFi, and a 42" TV with exposed HDMI inputs so you can connect your xbox or laptop to watch movies or play games etc.
From ManTripping

Casino and Poker Room

The casino floor features 240,000 feet of gaming space featuring 50 table games and 800 slot machines available 24-7 as well as the "The Arena", Arizona's largest poker room.

Keno is also available till 11pm on weeknights and 24 hours on Friday-Sunday.

From ManTripping

Dining and Entertainment Options

Talking Stick features a variety of restaurants and bars on site ranging from coffee and sandwiches to the fine dining restaurant, Orange Sky located at the top of the hotel tower on the 15 floor, offering 360 views of the valley.

During our visit, we chose to dine at the Wandering Horse Buffet and enjoy some king crab legs and lobster claws.

We didn't get a chance to take in a show but The Salt River Ballroom features bands ranging from Rob Thomas and 311 as well as comedians like Tim Allen, Lisa Lampanelli, and Dennis Miller. 

If dance clubs are more your style, there is also club Degree 270 on the 14th floor of the resort with everything you'd expect from a top dance club including VIP bottle service.

From ManTripping


There is no shortage of great golf courses in Phoenix but it's always nice to have a course at the resort vs having to drive all over. Accordingly Talking Stick Golf Club features two courses designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

The North Course (Par 70) with broad angular holes with slightly crowned greens and close-cropped approaches and the South Course (Par 71) featuring tree-lined fairways and raised greens offering a more straightforward style of play.

From ManTripping

Even better than that is the fact that Talking Stick will soon play host to the latest location of Top Golf and remarkable concept that mixes golf and entertainment. It is an absolute MUST VISIT during your visit.

We loved the Top Golf location in Chicago so we can't wait to visit here soon!


Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

Last, but certainly not least - Talking Stick Resort also features Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies and a free shuttle to / from the resort.

Even beyond Spring Training in Scottsdale, the field plays host to a number of other events including the Arizona BBQ Festival on April 5, an Oktoberfest celebration, and the Arizona Taco Festival on October 18 and 19.

Thank you Talking Stick and Visit Scottsdale for helping with providing accommodations during our visit to Talking Stick Resort.

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Sun, 23 Mar 2014 04:21:55 +0000
Spring Training Baseball Peoria Style! Ah, I've arrived in "Phoenix" for my first experience exploring this magical time of year called "Spring Training". My first stop is in Peoria where I quickly learned that while the Cactus League is based in the "greater Phoenix area", each town is different and has different things to offer. On this trip, we decided to try two different ways to experience Spring Training, so we started in Peoria Arizona - home to the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.

Peoria Arizona is located in the north west side of greater Phoenix along Rt 101 between Surprise and Glendale.

While it plays host to the Padres and Mariners, it is also a short drive to Surprise Stadium - home of the Royals and Rangers, Camelback Ranch - home of the, Dodgers and Angels, and Maryvale Baseball Park, home of the Brewers.

From ManTripping

Our home base for this leg of the trip was the Peoria Comfort Suites. It has a fantastic location, right off the highway and a short walk from the stadium and very close to a variety of restaurants including an IHOP.

From ManTripping

While there is virtually no such thing as a "cheap hotel" during spring training, the Comfort Suites rack rate for this weekend was $199 / night, so for a suite consisting of a king or two queen beds and a sofa bed, that is fairly affordable if you are looking to pack the room with you and a few other guys. The room also features a fridge and microwave as well as free Internet and a basic breakfast in the morning so it really is a great home base for your spring training guys weekend.

From ManTripping

To hammer this point home, we actually met a group of guys in the parking lot who had been coming to spring training in Phoenix for 30 years! While they haven't been staying at the same place all this time they had some great stories to share about how easy it was to meet current, hopeful, and past players and personalities. This included even having drinks one time with Chicago's own Harry Carey!

While things have changed over the years, this spirit of openness still exists here during Spring Training and you never know who you'll meet or what stories you'll be able to bring home.

From ManTripping

When most people think of Cactus League Spring Training they probably think of the more popular areas such as Scottsdale, Mesa, and "Phoenix" itself. What we learned though after driving around is that while it's all metropolitan Phoenix, each area has a pretty distinctive flair to it. Peoria is less developed and so it is also less expensive, but it is still pretty well situated depending on what games you will be attending.

While the area around the stadium already features several hotels, bars, restaurants etc. they are actively developing the area around the stadium to make it an even bigger and better attraction in the next few years.

From ManTripping

Right next door to the hotel is the Peoria Sports Complex which is home to the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres. Opened in 1994, the stadium seats 11,000 and has separate club houses for the two teams. 

From ManTripping
Most of the Spring Training stadiums feature an extensive lawn area - perfect for a picnic or just to get some cheap tickets and stroll around while drinking your beer and chatting with friends :)
From ManTripping
While many of the players you will see at Spring Training are from the minors or may never even play again, you will see veterans like Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians).
Of course, the game is really only part of the experience of any baseball game and so let's explore the food!
Unlike over at Cubs park or one of the single-team stadiums, it is a challenge to bring a taste of San Diego to the Sonoran desert, but they did a pretty good job - from BBQ tri-tip sandwiches, garlic fries, and craft beer they did a great job. 
While they also have the typical American lagers, Four Peaks was pouring four of their beers in the outfield and the stadium also had other craft beers on tap including Magic Hat #9.
From ManTripping

On the Thursday that we attended our first game (Padres v Rangers) it was not a packed house at all so there was lots of opportunity to walk around and check out different seats. 

From ManTripping
As I mentioned above, baseball is more about the experience of going out to the park with your friends and to that point, Peoria Sports Complex actually has a mini field inside the stadium (right behind the stands) for the kids to play baseball. I am told that it is not uncommon for MLB hopefuls and former players to show up and guest pitch for these games.
From ManTripping
Close and relaxed access to the players is really one of the greatest things about Spring Training for any mega fan and Peoria Sports Complex designed an alley that the players exit the field from that is perfect for fans to engage with the players to get autographs. While some players like Austin Adams (#73 below) has now been assigned back down to the minors it is just as likely that some new hot player may start here in Spring Training and one day be the next MLB star.
From ManTripping
We had an AMAZING time in Peoria - thank you very much Visit Peoria for helping us find a room at the Comfort Suites and tickets for the Padres / Rangers game.
Peoria may not be as well known as some other parts of Phoenix, but it has a lot to offer and should be on your list of potentially base-camps for your Spring training guys weekend plans! 
We are heading to Scottsdale next for a different take on Spring Training, so stay tuned!
]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Mon, 17 Mar 2014 05:30:00 +0000
Our Favorite Irish Cocktails and Drinks Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Sure you can grab some green beer and corned beef but let's celebrate differently this year with some Irish whiskey and drinks inspired by our friends from the Emerald Isle!

It really doesn't matter if your beverage of choice includes Guinness, Irish Whiskey, or even Vodka, the following are a few unique Irish cocktail recipes to help you enjoy St. Patrick's Day in style.


 Ready to dive in?





St. Patrick's Day Cocktails with Irish Whiskey

First up are a few delicious libations from the fine folks at Bushmill's Irish Whiskey ...

Bushmills Irish Whiskey Cocktail - Irish Honey Smash @ManTripping

Bushmills Irish Honey Smash

1.5 oz of Bushmills Irish Honey
2-3 Mint Leaves
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 Pieces of Lemon
1 oz Water

Drink Recipe Preparation: Muddle the lemon, mint, water, and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add Bushmills, shake, and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish w/ a sprig of mint and serve.

Bushmills Irish Whiskey Cocktail - Honey I'm Home @ManTripping

Honey, I'm Home

1.5 oz. Bushmills Irish Honey
Lemon Wedge
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Ginger Beer

Drink Recipe Preparation: In your mixing glass, add Bushmills, bitters and ginger beer. Shake, stir and strain over ice.

Bushmills Irish Whiskey Cocktail - Irish Old Fashioned @ManTripping

Irish Old Fashioned

1.5oz Black Bush
1/2oz simple syrup
2 dashes of orange bitters
1 orange rind

Drink Recipe Preparation. in your mixing glass, add your black bush, simple syrup, orange bitters, and stir over ice for about 30 seconds.

When you're done, strain this into a fresh glass of ice, and garnish with an orange rind. Enjoy.


2 Gingers Irish Whiskey

The maker of 2 Gingers - Irishmen from Minnesota Kieran Folliard sends this cocktail over as well.

2 Gingers Irish Whiskey Cocktail Recipe - Big Ginger @ManTripping


2 parts 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey
Ginger Ale
Lemon Wedge
Lime Wedge
METHOD: Pour the 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey into a pint glass with ice. Top with ginger ale, followed by a wedge of a lemon and lime.

Delicious Guinness Cocktails:


Guiness Cocktail Recipe - The Gentleman's Mojito from @ManTripping

The Gentleman's Mojito

1 oz. Black Bush
3 oz. Guinness Draught
3 lime wedges
3-4 mint leaves
3/4 oz. agave syrup (1:1 ratio of water to agave)

Muddle limes, mint and agave together in a shaker. Add ice and Guinness, hold cap on tight, and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and garnish with a mint sprig

Guinness Cocktail Recipe - The Black Tie Affair @ManTripping

Black Velvet

½ Flute Champagne
½ Flute Guinness Draught

Pour the Guinness Draught into a clean/polished champagne flute. Top up the glass with the champagne, being careful to ensure there is no overspill.



Irish Inspired Coffee and Espresso Drinks

Our friends at Illy sent over these recipes created by Master Barista Giorgio Milos to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

illys Irish Coffee recipe from @ManTripping

illy's Irish Coffee

Illy created this recipe 14 years ago in Italy and it has been a festive favorite served in many of their cafes. Irish coffee is made using illy espresso lightly sweetened with raw sugar, gently stirred into warm Irish whiskey, finished with lightly whipped cream and a dash of cocoa powder.

Ingredients: illy espresso, Irish whisky, granulated sugar, heavy cream, coffee beans, cocoa beans & cocoa powder

6 oz (180 cc) FREDDO GLASS


1. In a small steaming pitcher, add 1 1/2 oz (45 cc) Irish whiskey.

2. Add 2 tsp granulated sugar.

3. Heat the liqueur and sugar for a few seconds using the steam wand on the espresso machine. Pour into serving glass.

4. Prepare 2 oz (60 cc) espresso and add to serving glass. Gently stir.

5. In a small bowl or mixing cup add 2 oz (60 cc) heavy cream. Lightly whip so that it is still a liquid.

6. Starting at the edge of the glass slowly pour/float 2oz (60 cc) heavy cream on top of the coffee.

7. Garnish with two coffee beans and a dusting of cocoa powder.

espresso cremosa cocktail with Irish Cream recipe from @ManTripping

Espresso Cremosa Cocktail with Irish Cream


1. Fill a cocktail shaker 1/2 full with ice.

2. Prepare 1 oz (30 cc) espresso and add to ice.

3. Add 1 1/2 oz (45 cc) vodka.

4. Add 1/2 oz (15 cc) coffee liqueur.

5. Add 1 oz (30 cc) Irish cream.

6. Shake vigorously several times in a back and forth motion.

7. Strain into a cocktail glass.

8. Starting at the edge of the glass slowly pour/float 1 oz heavy cream on top of the coffee.

 Irish inspired Lavender Mint Latte recipe from @ManTripping

Lavender Mint Latte


For a minty treat, enjoy illy espresso with warm frothy milk and hints of lavender and mint.

Ingredients: illy espresso, fresh, cold whole milk, lavender syrup, peppermint syrup


1. Prepare 2 oz or 60 cc (2 shots) espresso in a 3 oz pour pitcher.

2. Pour into serving glass.

3. Add 5 oz (150 cc) of cold whole milk, 3⁄4 oz (25 cc) lavender syrup and 2⁄3 oz (20 cc) peppermint syrup into a steaming pitcher.

4. Steam and froth.

5. Pour milk over coffee, holding back froth until glass is filled 1" (2.5 cm) from top.

6. Top with a thin layer of froth, about 1" (2.5 cm).

Optional: Garnish with a mint leaf.

 Cafe Mocha Menta Panna recipe from @ManTripping

Caffe Mocha with Menta Panna

illy espresso with warm chocolate milk, topped with a heavy peppermint cream.

Ingredients: illy espresso, chocolate sauce, fresh cold milk, peppermint syrup, heavy whipping cream. Optional: cocoa powder or fresh mint leaves


1. Prepare 2 oz (60 cc) espresso into a 3 oz pour pitcher

2. Mix 1 oz (30 cc) chocolate sauce and 8 oz (240 cc) fresh, cold, milk into a small steaming pitcher

3. Steam chocolate sauce and milk using the steam wand on the espresso machine.

4. Pour espresso into serving glass.

5. Fill the glass with warm chocolate milk, holding back any froth.

6. In a small bowl or mixing cup add 2/3 oz (20 cc) peppermint syrup and 3 oz (90 cc) heavy cream. Lightly whip, being sure to maintain the liquid form.

7. Starting at the edge of the glass slowly pour/float 3 oz (90 cc) heavy peppermint cream on top of the coffee.

8. Optional: Drink can be garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder or fresh mint leaves.


St Patrick's Day Inspired Vodka Cocktails


ZING Vodka Amazing Luck recipe from @ManTripping

AmaZING Luck from ZING Vodka

1.5 oz. ZING Vodka
5 Cucumber Chunks (approx 1 oz. juice)
1 Basil Leaf
Splash Lime Juice


Muddle cucumber and basil. Add ingredients and shake served up.
Garnish: Cucumber
Glass: Highball Rocks or coupe


Irish Happy Hour Favorites from TGI Fridays

Not to be left out, our friends at TGI Fridays reminded us that even though St. Patrick's Day is Monday - they have great Happy Hour Specials as well!

Irish Rita from TGI Fridays @tgifridayspins and @ManTripping

Irish Rita 

· 2 parts Jameson Irish Whiskey

· 1 part Tripe Sec

· 4 parts Margarita Mix

· Shake and strain over fresh ice.

· Garnish with a slated rim and fresh lime wedge


Green Beer

· Pour 12 oz beer into a Pilsner Glass

· Add 2 drops Green Food Coloring



]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Fri, 14 Mar 2014 08:25:22 +0000
Small But Mighty - Meet the Toyota i-ROAD This isn't going to be the car you take with you on the next ski trip, and frankly I doubt there is room for your clubs either - but what the Toyota i-ROAD does promise is a new style of urban transportation that raises the bar for those who have thought about getting a scooter.

The three-wheeled vehicle features an electric motor and measures 33.5 inches wide, 56.9 inches high, and 92.5 inches long. While not much wider than a two wheeler, the i-ROAD delivers a fully enclosed cockpit and room for two people (or space in the back for groceries or gear for the gym etc.).

The i-Road currently is more of a concept car than something actually in production, but I'd love to see it rounding the corners in my neighborhood sometime soon.

To give you a better idea of what the i-ROAD looks like in action, check out the video from the recent road test:


As you can see from the video - one of the cool unique features of the i-ROAD is that it tilts like a bike when you turn, personally I think that looks pretty cool and I'd love to try one of these things out when it finally arrives on our shores!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine.

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Tue, 04 Mar 2014 13:09:35 +0000
A Guys Guide to Having fun Weekend in New Orleans Of all the cities in the United States, it's hard to find a better mancation or guys weekend destination than New Orleans.

The Big Easy – which deserves its nick-name, by the way – boasts some of the best restaurants, music clubs and bars in the world, all in a fun, eccentric, party atmosphere.

Guys who like fishing and golf will be amazed at the opportunities for outdoor recreation during the day.

There's so much to do, you and your buddies might have to make the New Orleans trip an annual ritual.



Drinking is what people probably think about most when they first consider New Orleans, so let's get this out of the way. New Orleans has no shortage of bars - be them high class hotel bars, dive bars frequented by locals, and everything in between.

New Orleans Bourbon Street at Night

There is more to the New Orleans bar scene than Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, but that's probably where you'll start ...

Among the sights and sounds you'll find there is Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, a bar housed in a building erected in 1732. The building, which may have been the headquarters of pirate Jean Lafitte's smuggling operations, is filled with history and the unique energy of Old New Orleans. Soak it up here at the Blacksmith Shop, and enjoy a frozen daiquiri or hurricane by candlelight; at night the bar is lit entirely by candles. While mostly a tourist attraction it is worth visiting once to say you have been there.

While still in the French Quarter there are two daiquiri shops you have to visit: Bourbon Heat and Jesters.

Bourbon Heat New Orleans

Word of advice though - watch out for "buy one get two free" specials at Bourbon Heat. On a recent visit two of us somehow ended up with six drinks in front of us and a bartender who offered to add extra shots to make them even stronger (btw they were already pretty loaded but who turns down a freebee?).




Jester's is worth visiting as well - if for nothing else than this rancid concoction called "The Jester". It looks like antifreeze and doesn't taste much better but it is supposedly the strongest daiquiri in New Orleans and who am I to argue? For those of you who are interested - the Jester Daiquiri Recipe includes: Strawberry Kiwi mix with Everclear and 151 dark rum.

Jester Daquiri

Its a tradition that I have to have at least one every time I am in town and I encourage you to try at least one!

For those looking for a something that the local's enjoy but won't share, you should take a walk to Frenchman Street and visit Port of Call. Don't come here expecting to walk right in as it is always PACKED but if you don't mind sitting at the bar or waiting upwards of an hour it is a treat worth the wait. Make sure you order a Neptune's Monsoon - it is as delicious as it is dangerous as are the other tiki drinks served here. Plus, since we are "outside" the tourist area and this bar is predominantly locals the prices are moderate and the pours are strong.

While at Port of Call, don't forget to eat. While not extensive menu - they only make four things Fillet, New York Strip, Rib Eye, or Hamburger - they make them well.  The burgers are among the best in the world (or it could have been how strong the drinks were!), so I'd recommend starting there and adding a baked potato with everything


Sausage from The Gumbo Shop



New Orleans exists at the intersection of soul food, seafood, Cajun spice and Creole inventiveness. Choose from the fried chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House, the muffalettas at Central Grocery, the famous chicory coffee and beignets, pralines, home-cooking at Mother's, and many, many more. There are so many delicious, distinctive options that it can get overwhelming.

Acme Oyster House - Raw Half Shells

One place you don't want to miss is the Acme Oyster House at 724 Iberville Street, near Royal. Come here for oyster shooters, raw oysters on the half shell, fried oyster po boys and best of all, the Oyster House specialty: chargrilled oysters. These are big fresh oysters with a grilled topping of hot sauce, cheese and a touch of garlic, served with a sliced baguette to soak up the delicious juice. Crawfish etoufee is also excellent, as is their gumbo served in a bread bowl with sausage. The French Quarter atmosphere is busy, bustling, loud and exciting.

Cigar Factory New Orleans


Before you leave the French Quarter, take a break at the Cigar Factory on Decatur. You can watch cigars being hand-rolled and enjoy a smoke on their patio, taking in the colorful characters all around you. Crescent City Cigars around the corner has a great selection of boutique cigars and a walk-in humidor. Pack a box to bring home with you.

Green Door


If you don't go to New Orleans for the food and drink, you go for the music. New Orleans, home of the Jazz Festival, has some of the best blues and jazz clubs in the world. Preservation Hall is all about the music: no food, drink or bathrooms, just awesome jazz. For more of a nightclub experience, check out the Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchman Street. There's always a great band, an eclectic crowd, lots to drink and a piano in the bathroom.

Uptown Angler

Fishing and Fishing Charters

A day on the water can cure what ails you, whether it's too much food, drink, partying or jet lag. Several frequently changing companies offer fishing charters, which will take you out for a day catching redfish, spotted trout and whatever else is in season. Uptown Angler can outfit you with gear and or organize a guided Louisiana Redfish charter. You can buy a non-resident fishing license online.

TPC New Orleans


New Orleans isn't as famous for its golf as it is for its decadence, but maybe it should be. Its TPC Louisiana championship golf course is consistently rated as one of the top public golf courses in the country and is the only PGA Tour stop in Louisiana. Designed by Pete Dye, this beautiful course incorporates the natural Louisiana landscape into its fairways and bunkers. Don't pass up the chance to golf in these incredible surroundings during your New Orleans adventure.

Carnival Sunshine in New Orleans

Extend the Guys Weekend with a Cruise

While New Orleans is great for a guys weekend or a mancation, it is also rapidly becoming one of the hottest cruise ports in the United States. This is made even more obvious with the fact that Carnival is moving the Carnival Sunshine (it's most recently updated ship - formerly Carnival Destiny) to New Orleans.

Whatever your goals and desires are, there is some much to do in New Orleans that it is difficult to contain it in just one article.

What's your favorite New Orleans travel tip?

]]> () Mancation Blog Mon, 20 May 2013 16:57:24 +0000
Favorite Margarita Recipes and Tequila Cocktails Are you celebrating National Margarita Day on Feb 22? While there are plenty of bars where you can celebrate we wanted to create a list of some of our favorite recipes provided by friends at our favorite Tequila brands including: CRUZ, el Jimador, and others.

National Margarita Day for 2014 is February 22, and regardless of whether you prefer it frozen, on the rocks, craft, or classic this is a great excuse to grab the guys and head off for a guys night out.

The margarita originated at the Rancho La Gloria Hotel located between Tijuana and Rosarito in Baja California however the "classic" margarita as we know it today was created and popularized by Hussong's Cantina in Ensenada Mexico in 1941 by Don Carlos Orozco when he mixed equal parts of tequila, Damiana and lime then served the drink over ice in a salt-rimmed glass. The name came from the fact that the person he was serving was Margarita Henkle - daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico.

While there are numerous other accounts for the the origination of the margarita, the important thing is that over the past 70 years it has evolved into a drink that has been interpreted by a variety of bartenders around the world and remains one of the most popular cocktails ever created.

The here are a few of our favorite margarita recipes ...

Seven Peaks Margarita recipe from @TequilaDonJulio and @ManTripping

Seven Peaks Margarita

1 1/4 oz Tequila Don Julio Añejo
1/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 Ginger Slice
1 Apple Wedge
1 Persimmon Wedge
Apple and Persimmon Fan for Garnish

Muddle ginger, apple and persimmon with the lime and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
Add Tequila Don Julio Añejo and Grand Marnier to the shaker with ice and shake well.
Double strain into double rocks glass filled with ice.
Garnish with an apple and persimmon fan.



Key Lime Raspberry Margarita

1 cup Laughing Glass Cocktails Margarita
1½ cup orange liquor
½ cup frozen raspberries
1 cup key lime juice
1/3 cup superfine sugar

Blend until raspberry seeds have disappeared, pour into a chilled, salt rimmed glass.


cruz citrus margarita @mantripping


tres agaves organic margarita @mantripping


spicy raspberry margarita with el jimador @mantripping


scotch bonnet pepper margarita @mantripping


classic Partida margarita recipe @TequilaPartida and @mantripping


Ruby Red Grapefruit margarita recipe @TequilaPartida and  @mantripping


Pineapple "Pina" Margarita recipe by @TequilaPartida and @mantripping

More recipes will be added over the next few day!

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Thu, 20 Feb 2014 13:17:31 +0000
Cactus League Spring Training Guide It's that time of year again - after a long hard winter the "boys of summer" are getting warmed up again in Arizona and Florida. If you have ever dreamed of experiencing professional baseball up-close then this should be on your bucket list.

Known as the Cactus League for it's home base in the greater Phoenix area, and for almost 60 years it has played host to a number of teams at various venues with Scottsdale pretty much a perfect center point between all of them.

With these teams spread out across 10 different stadiums it is critical to pick a "home base" since if you are making this pilgrimage you are probably going to see more than one game each day so you want to stay somewhere that is easy access to everything.



 Getting Around Phoenix During Spring Training

As you can see from this map, Cactus League spring training is clustered around Scottsdale, but it is really quite spread out across the greater Phoenix area.

Luckily it should only take about 30-40 minutes to cross the city, but if you plan to stay in Scottsdale, the town has organized a series of free trolleys that connect various resort areas.

Cactus League Stadiums Map @ManTripping

Click here for the interactive spring training facilities map.


Cactus League Baseball Teams

Cactus League Arizona Spring Training @ManTripping

Click on the links below for ticket info and facts about each team's spring training facilities. One of the fun things about Spring Training stadiums is that while you are obviously in the heart of the Arizona desert, each stadium tries to bring a piece of home down there with them.

Additionally, while this is SERIOUS stuff - the games here tend to be more fan oriented and have fun activities similar to what you might find at minor league parks during the regular season.


Arizona Diamondbacks

Chicago Cubs

Chicago White Sox

Cincinnati Reds

Cleveland Indians

Colorado Rockies

Kansas City Royals

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

LA Dodgers

Milwaukee Brewers

Oakland A's

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers


With these teams spread out across 10 different stadiums it is critical to pick a "home base" since if you are making this pilgrimage you are probably going to see more than one game each day so you want to stay somewhere that is easy access to everything. 

Scottsdale offers a great spot to stay since it is the home of a number of resorts and hotels as well as being "the home" of the Giants, Diamondbacks and the Rockies as well as being an easy drive to Peoria, Mesa, Phoenix. Even the Indians out in Goodyear, AZ are only a 40 min drive from Scottsdale.

Spring Training Packages in Scottsdale

Firesky Resort Pool @ManTripping

FireSky Resort & Spa

Stay in a luxurious resort just minutes away from Scottsdale Stadium and Salt River Fields. FireSky Resort & Spa’s spring training package is aptly named “7th Inning Stretch.” Upon arrival, enjoy a flight of craft beers from local favorite, Four Peaks Brewery. Bring your complimentary bag of peanuts to munch on during the game. Afterward, bring your game ticket to Taggia and receive 20 percent off coastal Italian fare at the restaurant and lounge. Room rates start at $225 during the month of March.

The W Scottsdale

Just a brief walk from Scottsdale Stadium, the W Scottsdale offers a younger hipper luxury experience. Take advantage of the hotel’s “Spring Training Package,” which includes “slugger swag” including two cocktails each night of your stay and Cracker Jacks and peanuts upon your arrival. Plus, you’ll get a baseball to bring to the games and practice fields for autographs. Pricing starts at $323 per night Feb. 26 through March 30.

The Hermosa Inn

This may be a better destination if you are bring the girls so they can do their thing during the day and you do your thing with the guys before meeting up at night as the Hermosa Inn is a beautifully romantic hotel that offers a “Play Ball Package”. From Feb. 22 through March 30, The Hermosa Inn will offer spring training fans 10 percent off the best available rate, a Hermosa Inn baseball hat, a game schedule, two drink tickets to The Last Drop Bar, and sunscreen. Forget buying peanuts and Cracker Jacks at the game; The Hermosa Inn has you covered.

Omni Montelucia Scottsdale

The Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is offering three different spring training deals for every type of fan. The “Major Leaguer” package offers fans suite accommodations, two tickets to their choice of spring training game, hand-rolled local cigars, $50 credit to CENTRO and roundtrip transportation to and from the airport for prices starting from $899. Starting from $1499, “The Perfect Game” adds on to the “Major Leaguer,” also providing guests an in-room specialty bar and a poolside cabana. And when folks stay for three nights at the resort, they’ll get a fourth night free and $50 credit to CENTRO when they ask for the “Home Run” package.

Other hotel deals are available on the Experience Scottsdale Spring Training Site.

Insider Tips for the Ultimate Spring Training Experience

Spring Training Legacy Trail @ManTripping

Take a walk through Scottsdale's Spring Training Legacy Trail featuring various restaurants and bars hosting memorabilia from the past half century of baseball history as well as hotspots where aspiring players are known to hang out.

Visit the Charro Lodge at the Scottsdale Stadium. It is a private facility within the stadium but offers a VIP experience with patio-style seating, all-inclusive food and drinks and of course a fantastic view of the game from right next to the Giant's bullpen. Passes are $80.

The Chicago Cubs new stadium in Mesa is the newest and largest ballpark in the Cactus League but it is designed to bring the spirit of Chicago's famous Wrigley Field to Arizona including authentic Chicago-style hot dogs and the still-to-be-built "Wrigleyville" neighborhood concept featuring shops ad a Sheraton hotel. On-field features of the park include a replica f the Wrigley Field Marquee where fans can pose for a photo, a green scoreboard with the Wrigley Field-style clock.

Visit Bogey's at The Boulders Golf Club and you can order dogs paired with beers from various teams home states including: the Chase Field Diamondback Dog - a foot-long all-beef hot dog covered in chorizo sausage, nacho cheese, and tortilla strips. The "Coors Field Rockies Dog - a foot-long Hebrew National dog with grilled peppers, sauteed onions, and sauerkraut. Finally, the AT&T Park's Tres Agaves Dog is a street-cart dog wrapped in bacon and dressed in a spicy chipotle mayonnaise with grilled onions, jalapenos and cucumber pico de gallo.


More Resources for Planning a Cactus League Spring Training Trip:

Experience Scottsdale Spring Training Site

Cactus League Site

Visit Arizona Spring Training Site

MLB's Official Spring Training Site 

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Wed, 19 Feb 2014 13:09:24 +0000
10 Amazing Natural Places You Must Visit in California California is an amazing state with astonishing natural beauty that is sometimes overshadowed by the urban centers of San Francisco, LA, and San Diego. To experience the true majesty of California though you need to pack up the car and go exploring! 

The following are a few of our favorite natural places that you MUST visit ...


Lavender Fields on Mt Shasta

Lavender fields grow across the state but they are especially common in Northern California. This is a great place to take a hike in the summer.

Mount Shasta's unique shape is because it is actually a the dormant volcano who's last eruption was in in 1786 - so you are probably pretty safe taking a hike here and enjoying the spectacular natural beauty of the mountains and fields of wild flowers.






Let's explore more amazing natural places in California!

 Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park @mantripping

Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park contains a multitude of amazing natural wonders, so it was challenging to pick just one for this article, but Mirror Lake is a short 2.4 mile hike that offers spectacular views of Half Dome reflected in the idyllic still waters of the lake.

 Crystal Clear Water at Lake Tahoe @mantripping

Crystal Clear Water at Lake Tahoe

Located on the California / Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is a pristine mountain lake surrounded by some of the best ski resorts in the world.

While it would be easy to assume this is just a "Winter Paradise" the lake's spectacular crystal clear water beckons visitors in the summer as well for kyaking, fishing, and other water sports.

Redwoods National Park @mantripping

Redwoods National Park

Redwoods National Park contains some of the most scenic hiking trails in the entire world and a lush carpet of lush green vegetation towered over by the tallest trees on Earth. While most people associate it with the forest, the park also contains 40 miles of pristine coastline supporting a diverse collection of wildlife.

Death Valley @mantripping

Death Valley

Located just over the border from Nevada, Death Valley is part of the Mojave Desert and contains the lowest elevation in North America - 282 feet below sea level! It also holds numerous temperature records including the highest air temperature - recorded at 134 F on July 10, 1913.

This harsh climate creates an amazing opportunity to witness barren wide open lands as well as natural wonders such as the "Racetrack Playa" where stones seem to be moving by themselves across the desert floor.

Bumpass Hell, Lassen Volcanic Park @mantripping

Bumpass Hell, Lassen Volcanic Park

The Bumpass Hell trail located in Lassen Volcanic National Park takes visitors to the largest hydrothermal area in the park with features including boiling mudpots, steaming ground, and fumaroles. It is named after an early settler who burned his leg after falling into a boiling pool of water - so be careful here and stay on the trail!

Tufa Towers at Mono Lake @mantripping

Tufa Towers at Mono Lake

Geologists refer to these towers of limestone as "tufa", a series of formations that occurred originally underwater over hundreds of years as calcium mixed with carbonates in the lake around springs in the lake bed. Over the years, the water levels in Mono Lake have dropped and exposed these formations as water began to be diverted for irrigation starting in 1941.


Vineyards in Napa Valley @mantripping

Vineyards in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is known world wide as the home of some of the finest wines in the world, but it is also an amazing natural wonder featuring rolling hills and amazing vineyards touched by the sun and rustled by gentle breezes.

]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Tue, 11 Feb 2014 12:37:30 +0000
Getting Ready for Game Day with Super Recipes from Pillsbury Rumor has it there is a big game this weekend - people have told me it is held in a Giant stadium and that it might even be a Super game! So we are getting ready for snack time here at Man Tripping central with a bit of help from our PR friends. First up is Pillsbury where we started tonight with a test of their new Pillsbury Pizza Crust Dough. 


While it comes in three varieties (Classic, Thin Crust, and Artisan Whole Wheat) we chose to start with the classic variety - and decided to make two recipes. Classic Pepperoni and to add a bit of uniqueness we added SPAM to the second one.

Ingredients for Pizza

Before we get into "my" creations - I just want to say that the folks over at Pillsbury who sent me these dough samples have a lot better creations and they are a lot better chefs than I am (or ever will be). So I encourage you to hop over there and check their stuff out too.

Ready to Bake

Classic Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza:

Take the Pillsbury pizza crust dough out of the fridge and "pop" the container the same way you would if you were making biscuits of crescent roles.

The dough unrolls nicely into a rectangle that is the perfect width for a standard cookie sheet, so unroll it (but grease the sheet first!).

Next, you will spread it out to make it a bit thinner in the middle and a bit thicker on the outside of you want a nice classic crust. 

Then spread on the pizza sauce, sprinkle mozzarella, and arrange the pepperonis to taste and your aesthetic abilities.

Place the Pizza in the pre-heated oven at 425 for about 9-12 minutes and when you take it out you will have a delicious, golden brown pizza with a fantastic crust.

Warm Golden Pizza Crust

Pepperoni and Spam Pizza:

To kick things up a notch, I also added SPAM to one of the pizzas.

Because I like trying things differently (and maybe to see how well the dough would work if I was a REAL pizza chef), I pushed the dough together into a ball and tried spinning it around and then pushing it out into a circle.  Sadly this dough didn't do that well ... but I was able to take my circle of dough and still make a delicious SPAM and Pepperoni Pizza from it.

To do so, follow the recipe guidelines above, but grill your spam before placing it on the pizza next to your pepperoni. 

For those of you who have never experienced SPAM - it adds a sort of bacon-like flavor to the pizza but the biggest thing is that it is something no one has every had before coming to your Super Party and that's something important when talking about the game on Monday!


]]> (James Hills) Mancation Blog Mon, 27 Jan 2014 11:00:11 +0000