Tripping out at home


A big orange air balloon is about to take off while crowd watchesHuntington Beach resident Alison Whitcomb used to hop into her car and hit the road nearly every weekend.

“If gas prices continue to rise as they have been for the past couple of months, I’m going to have to find a new hobby,” Whitcomb said.

On average, Californians are paying $4.21 per gallon for regular unleaded gas, 40 cents above the national average of $3.81, according to the daily Fuel Gauge Report from the Automobile Club of Southern California. At this time last year gas was $3.09 per gallon.

Whitcomb is fine with hanging out close to her house this summer.

“I live five minutes from the ocean. It’s beautiful here,” she said.

Considering the hefty cost of filling a tank, there are many options other than road trips.

One getaway is spending the day fishing at Irvine Lake, a great day trip for anyone who loves the outdoors.

Located near the city of Orange, Irvine Lake is about 17 miles from Santa Ana College and offers both bank fishing and boat fishing.

Trout and catfish are among the varieties of fish stocked weekly. The seventh annual V-Drive Regatta and K-Boat Challenge takes place June 17 – June 19 and the annual Blues Festival June 25. “You can do more than just fish at Irvine Lake,” tackle shop employee Mel Flegal said.

Or you may want to think about visiting the Bowers Museum. Located less than five miles from SAC, the Bowers Museum is home to thousands of artifacts and paintings, with ongoing exhibits ranging from its Pre-Columbian collection to the Ancient Arts of China.

The museum will feature Masterpieces of the Price Collection June 18 through July 17. The collection will display some of the best scroll and screen painters from the Edo period in Japan. The Bowers Museum offers discounted tickets with a current student ID.

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Orange County Great Park is another local choice. Built on the site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, the Great Park is nearly twice the size of New York’s Central Park and has a lot to offer visitors, with most attractions open Thursday through Sunday. Take a ride on the Great Park Balloon with its views of the surrounding landscape.

Ascending to a height of 400 feet, the balloon accommodates 25 to 30 passengers. Rides are free to park visitors, but sign up when you first arrive. While you’re there, check out the vintage aircraft at the Museum of Heritage and Aviation, and take a spin on the Great Park Carousel.

During May the park offers a Star Gazing program on selected evenings and a farmers market every Sunday. For more information, and weekly programs, visit the website.

“Finish with a picnic lunch on the Great Lawn. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day, ” David Chase, visitor center employee, said.

With a little planning you can enjoy your vacation. 


BONUS / The Shell gasoline station on Bristol Street and Memory Lane is offering a 10 cent rebate for Ralph’s shoppers.


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Price sign of Shell gas station on Bristol Street and Memory Lane

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