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Coastering in SoCal -- Part V

Author: USRoadTripper
Email: usroadtripper@yahoo.com (More Trip Reviews by USRoadTripper)
Date of Trip: September 2006

The last credit left in the park was Timberline Twister, so we headed off to Camp Snoopy. This area seemed a little haphazard, but was very shady, which was great! Kevin stopped for a frozen drink, then we got in line for the coaster. This was the first time that I almost hadn't fit into a coaster I was trying to ride! Kevin fit just fine (he was straddling the lap bar) but I wasn't able to fit when tucking both of my legs onto one side of the car. So I got out, they sent the train, and when the next one came around, I was able to fit by straddling the lap bar. Whew!

As we wandered, we saw some caves with suspension bridges leading to them. We both thought "Cool! Like Tom Sawyer's Island!"...uh, no. The cave was only a few feet long, and had nothing in it. Lame! They also had a very carnival-y looking Ferris wheel, which looked very out of place for such a large park.

We were pretty much done with the park by this time, so we started back towards the front. We passed the Butterfield Stagecoach along the way, and since the line was pretty short, we decided to ride. We only had to wait through one "cycle" which was good since the ride has such an insanely low capacity. I thought it was a pretty interesting ride, though not one I would ever wait very long for! They also had a funny "Rules for stage riders" sign just before you enter the stagecoach!

When we left, we saw that the train was just about to leave, so we decided to ride that also. Everyone else was seated in the open sided car just behind the driver, but we decided to sit in the front section with the driver, despite it's being closed in with windows. That was a really good decision because since we were the only two up there, we got a private lesson about the history of the train The Galloping Goose. The front originally had a gasoline powered car attached to it, but it now runs on deisel per the modern codes. There were also photos of the train when it was in service as a real train, which was very interesting! The train conductor was awesome...you can tell that he's really into his job, and loves what he does.

Being completely done with the park, we scooted out the front gate with about half an hour left before park closing. We decided that since everyone and their mother raves about the Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant, we wanted to try it out for ourselves. There was only one large group in front of us when we arrived, but not everyone in their party was there, so we got to go ahead of them. We were seated towards the back, next to what appeared to be an outdoor patio that was now closed in.

I got the fried chicken as my entree, and got chicken noodle soup as my appetizer. The soup was great, though it was exactly like what they serve at the Mr. Gatti's I have been to numerous times near SFKK. Does Mr. Gatti's buy Knotts chicken soup, or do they both buy from someone else? Hmm...the mystery continues. Kevin got the rhubarb soup, which he said was great too. I took a little bite, and having never tried rhubarb before, I thought it was pretty good.

When the entree arrived, I really was expecting it to be better. I got three HUGE pieces of chicken, which was way too much to finish (I finished one and a half pieces). But the chicken had barely any flavor...the batter was very flavorless, and there was very little of it at that. Any average piece of KFC chicken would have been more flavorful. And the mashed potatoes were abysmal! Ugh, they were like drywall paste! Not one bit of seasoning in them...no salt, no butter, no nothing! Ugh! Couldn't eat more than one bite of them. Even the rolls had no flavor. Would it kill them to brush some butter over the tops of them?

But then the waitress did something that really didn't sit well with me. She came back to the table and asked if we were full, or something to that effect. We said yes, and she reminded us that dessert was included in the price, and that she could box it up to go if we wanted. Since I'm so picky, I was just gonna ask for ice cream for dessert, which isn't something you can really take with you. And we were heading straight to the airport when we left, so we wouldn't really have time to eat anything later. So I said that I'd rather eat it then. So she stressed again how she would be more than happy to box it up, but again I said that I'd rather eat it there. So she walked away for a bit, then came back and said something like, "So I'm boxing up your dessert to go?"

Now, I know that any restaurant wants to put through as many people as they can in a day, but this insistence on us taking our dessert to go was extremely rude in my opinion. I had to tell her that we wanted to eat it there three times before she asked us what we wanted! It really felt like she didn't care if we'd enjoyed our meal or not...she just wanted us out the door as quickly as possible so she could seat another table. Needless to say that once she brought us the dessert (which was great, and just about my favorite part of the meal), she didn't return to the table.

A native southern Californian friend of mine described the Mrs. Knotts restaurant as a tradition, and I can respect it as such. But since I'm not from California, I can almost certainly say that I won't be back. The food was very average, and the service was sub-par in my experience. Kevin seemed to enjoy his entree (chicken and dumplings) much more than I did, so his opinion is probably different. I'd rather eat another bowl of the awesome potato and cheese soup than go back to Mrs. Knotts!

Leaving Knotts, we headed back towards LAX. We took a brief detour while I tried to find the Randy's Donuts, but wasn't able to find it quickly. I dropped Kevin off at the arrivals gate, and bid him a sad farewell until December.

Continue reading Part VI

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