California Roots Reggae Festival Shuttle 2015

california roots reggae festival

The BusBank is proud to announce that we will be offering transportation to and from Monterey, CA for California Roots Reggae Festival in May of 2015.

We will be offering service from the following locations:


  • Santa Cruz 11AM & 1:30PM = $55 / per person / round trip (Location Costco: 220 Sylvania Avenue Santa Cruz, CA 95060)
  • San Jose  11AM & 2:00PM = $60 / per person / round trip (Location:  San Jose Caltrain Station)
  • San Francisco 9AM & 3:00PM = $75 / per person / round trip  (Location – San Francisco, CA – Civic Center Plaza)




  • Los Angeles $175/ per person / round trip (Location: Los Angeles Plaza Park 607 South Park View Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057)
  • San Diego $175/ per person / round trip (Location: Balboa Stadium 1405 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101)
  • Sacramento $145/ per person / round trip (Location: Cesar Chavez Plaza Park)
  • Tahoe City, CA $195/ per person / round trip (Location: Watson Cabin Museum.  560 North Lake BLVD)
  • Las Vegas $195/ per person / round trip (Location: Mary Dutton Park 1146 N 8th St)


Tickets can be purchased on our Eventbrite page here; Eventbrite - California Roots Festival Shuttles 2015

Save the world by attending Portland’s Chocolate Fest

portlands chocolate festWhen you’re talking about chocolate, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.

Sure, your tummy may start giving you signals that it’s reaching critical mass, but it’s merely a suggestion. Because…chocolate.

Sure you can binge at the market or discover your kids’ Halloween stash, if you haven’t done so already. Or, an even better idea is to head to Portland, Ore., Jan. 23-25 for Chocolate Fest, an annual gathering of some of the world’s top chocolate makers.

The event at the Oregon Convention Center is considered the Northwest’s largest celebration of this super sweet treat.

It’s also a perfect way to benefit the World Forestry Center, a non-profit advocacy and education group that has been organizing the event since 2006.

The WFC was created in 1964 to provide awareness of environmental sustainability concerns and to offer a global perspective about trees and forests, including challenges facing them.

However, the group’s mission, though important for the very survival of our planet, sometimes ran the risk of being not being listened to. But once chocolate became part of the message, it made conservation topics much easier for guests to “swallow” and an easier tool by which the organization can raise money to continue its valuable work.

The point is often made here that even the world’s chocolate supply could be impacted by global forestry concerns. The cacao tree, which chocolate is processed from, is increasingly threatened in some parts of the world by increasing development and deforestation. Fewer cacao trees in the world could ultimately lead to less or lower quality chocolate, or perhaps higher prices for a limited supply.

So if this isn’t a critical reason for you and your friends to buy a ticket to the festival, we don’t know what is!

Over the three-day festival, about 10,000 visitors learn all about modern chocolate making methods, all the way from the tree to the gift box or bar to your belly. Every visitor can sample a large range of chocolate products created by local, national and international makers. This could be everything from sauces to powders to garnishes to fudges to caramels to just about anything else imaginable.

If you find a favorite, you can vote on it for the annual “People’s Choice” award.

Besides many treats from the fine chocolate makers, the event includes resources for those in the chocolate business themselves, who can learn about advances in the cocoa grinding process, testing equipment, quality control, storage and other preservation methods.

Representatives from restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and distributors will also be present, making it quite the comprehensive, chocolaty affair.

Along with dozens of chocolate-related companies, the Chocolate Fest includes representation from a variety of wineries and distilleries that will be happy to offer tips on ideal pairings for your next social gathering.

We recommend hitting Chocolate Fest with your fellow chocolate-loving friends. Everyone can sample different delicacies and share their favorites. Visit The BusBank for tips on putting a group trip together.

Photo credit.


Lowcountry Oyster Festival lets you slurp to your heart’s content

low country oyster festivalOysters are one of the foods that there’s not much middle ground on.

You may be among that group of gourmands who can’t get enough of the slippery, salty shellfish. Or maybe you’re among those who think the lot of them are better off staying underwater – if they don’t disturb you, you promise not to disturb them.

These mollusks are said to have aphrodisiac properties, and boost virility more naturally than blue pills or those other pills on TV where they take baths outside. Fans also say they have more flavor than clams, mussels or other shelled critters.

Those who love them say there are so many ways to ingest them beyond basic slurping and frying methods.

If your curiosity is piqued, then you might be interested in checking out the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, an annual appreciation and eating event in South Carolina that’s considered the world’s largest event of its kind.

For the past 32 years, the Charleston Restaurant Association has organized this gathering that includes a nice variety of oyster-centered dishes prepared by participating restaurants and chefs.

In 2015, it takes place Jan. 25 at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, a beautiful, tranquil location which was also the recent site of the wedding of Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.

Organizers promise to bring in more than 80,000 pounds of oysters for the enjoyment of the expected 10,000-plus guests.

Besides being an enjoyable way to celebrate the humble oyster, the event has turned into a significant fund-raiser for local health- and education-related charities, including the Ronald McDonald House, Hospitality Heroes, Hollings Cancer Center, Shriners Hospital for Children and Charleston County Schools Science Materials Resource Center.

Even if you don’t particularly care for the “special/acquired” taste of oysters, there’s still plenty of fun to have, such as taking part in a shucking contest, enjoying local and imported beers and wines, or simply listening to music and watching others eat themselves silly. Heck, there’s even an eating contest where you can cheer on your pals as they try to eat their weight in mollusks.

Or, as some of the local chefs may tell you, just because you absolutely detest one manner of oyster you’ve tried to force down in the past, maybe you might find you like them prepared in another manner. Cover them with enough condiments or blended with other ingredients, and they might even be “not too bad after all.”

Or, even after sampling many of the delicacies in the Food Court, you may still decide to stick with your “anything but oyster” diet, which means more for those who do dig them.

Taking a trip to the Lowcountry Oyster Festival can be a great group activity for oyster lovers and non-oyster lovers alike. Compare notes on your favorite dish. Send the kids to the Children’s Area where they can try different foods or create some oyster-related activities.

For information on putting together a bus trip to the festival, visit or The Bus Bank.

Photo credit.

Ultra Music Festival Shuttle Bus Tickets!


ultra music festival shuttle

Are you heading to Ultra Music Festival March 27-29 and in need of reliable and affordable transportation to and from Bayfront Park? If so, look no further and let The BusBank help by providing you with convenient, safe, reliable and most importantly affordable shuttle bus transportation.

Last year was our first year running this shuttle, our riders all provided us with valuable feedback and we’re using that to make for a more enjoyable experience for all! This year we will be using GPS tracking on the buses and providing you the customer with a unique tracking URL so that you can monitor where buses are and figure the best time to get to your pick up location.

Eventbrite - Ultra Music Festival Shuttle 2015

Starting March 27th at 3pm we will be offering a continuous shuttle service throughout Miami Beach picking up festival goers at 3 centrally located pickup points that are within easy walking distance of the area’s major hotels.

Ultra Music Festival Shuttle

Pick-up/drop-off points are as follows:

  • 413 Washington Ave (4th St. & Washington Ave.)
  • Catalina Hotel and Beach Club
  • Best Western Atlantic Beach Resort
  • American Airlines Arena

Hours of operation will vary by day:

  • Friday March 27th from 3pm – 2am
  • Saturday March 28th from 11am – 2am
  • Sunday March 29th from 11am – 2am

The drop-off point for Ultra Music Festival will be at the American Airlines Arena which is only blocks from Bayfront Park.  A walk that should take no more than 10 minutes.

As the festival wraps up or simply when you are ready to leave Ultra, head back to the American Airlines Arena and board the next available shuttle to your hotel. Our goal is to get you promptly back to your hotel so that you can get ready to head out to the clubs or an after-party in a reasonable amount of time! Booking a ticket on our shuttle service is sure to alleviate the stress and headaches of hunting down a cab when the 75,000 concert goers flood out of Bayfront Park around midnight.

We offer varying ticket prices and options depending on how many days you plan on enjoying Ultra Music Festival.

These competitive prices will save you money and headaches when you consider the price of hiring a cab, should you even be able to find one (who will probably end up charging $30/person anyways) or paying to park your vehicle within walking distance ($50-100 a day).

Do the smart thing and reserve your shuttle bus tickets with The BusBank today!

A winter trip to Ohio should include Hamilton’s IceFest

hamiltons icefestSince 2000, Hamilton, Ohio, has been officially been called the “City of Sculpture.”

This means the local government and business community both do much to welcome artists and install sculptures in noticeable public areas. There’s even a nonprofit which has been given the mission of making sure this promise to the people is fulfilled.

Any time of the year that you visit Hamilton, you can see all sorts of excellent sculptures, from bronze realistic looking pieces of people enjoying the community to more abstract creations showing various curves and squares. There are also impressive sculptures of wildlife, colorful mobiles, fanciful furniture and even historic figures.

To see all the sculptures, download a map from the non-profit’s Web site and see how many you can track down. If you need to stop and ask for directions, that’s OK too – it gives you a chance to experience the area’s hospitality and maybe give the locals a challenge to see how many sculptures they know.

In the winter, the whole concept of sculptures gets real fun.

Mark your calendars for Jan. 16-17, 2015, the city’s 37th annual IceFest. It’s a popular celebration of a medium that allows impressive sculpting but also needs to be carved in a hurry. Too much pondering of the form locked inside the block of ice, a la Michelangelo, can result in a puddle of water.

At the same time, even the best ice sculpture may only last a few days or even a few hours if it’s in a warmer environment. To get all philosophical, maybe ice is the best kind of art — something that is transient but memorable.

That’s enough of that fancy-pants art talk – the IceFest is really all about good times with fun people!

Each year, organizers bring in 200 blocks of ice, about 40 tons altogether.

The theme for 2015 is “Hamilton Goes Hollywood,” so expect to see creative sculptures based on favorite characters or scenes from our favorite films, or maybe favorite Hamilton images larger than life.

One of the favorite events is the competition carving contest, where up-and-coming sculptors can show off their skills. Entries in past year’s competitions have included everything from people to animals.

There’s a Technicolor Ice Walk, where you can check out blocks of ice that has been turned different colors.

And a favorite non-ice event is the Human Dog Sled Races, where people-powered sleds mush their way around Courthouse Square.

IceFest is as much for the locals as it is for visitors – thousands of people come into town for the weekend festival. It’s a perfect opportunity to get outside in the fresh air and see a creative community in action.

Another unique treat for 2015 is that people can order ice bricks for $30 apiece and inscribe someone’s name on them. These will be stacked in front of the courthouse and could be a nice memento from a special trip.

For tips on putting a bus trip together to visit IceFest, visit BusBank.

Photo credit.

Quilt Week 2015 -A Quilter’s Paradise

Quilt Week 2015

Have you ever wanted to make quilt for a friend or family member? Do you already make quilts for friends and family?  If either of these questions, fit you, you should check out The American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week.

Quilt Week has grown from 2 locations in 2014.  Quilt Week 2015 is in 7 cities throughout the year starting with Albuquerque, New Mexico in January 14-17 and ending October 3rd in Des Moines, Iowa.  Each Quilt Week is a place to learn from well know instructors and authors about regardless of your skill level.  Daily workshops on various quilting topics ranging from quilting technology to design. Additionally, a hundreds of quilts of various sizes are available to view. The Merchant Mall carries different

Quilt Week is great for charter bus groups and group travel groups.  Special discounted rates on tickets along with bus parking is available for groups. Tour groups receive name badges with tour group and member names. Special items for tour groups include show books for attendees and a exclusive QuiltWeek tote bag.

Get a group, charter a bus and head to one of the 7 seven locations Quilt Week.  To learn more about Quilt Week Group Information, click here and keep in mind that The BusBank is the easy way to charter a bus.

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International Sportsmen’s Exposition gets people fired up about the outdoors

international sportsmen expoThe average sportsman or sportswoman faces a challenge in winter. Fall hunting season is over and there’s still a few chilly months until spring fishing openers.

Some heartier souls venture to cooler climates or even other hemispheres to get their fill of pulling in big ones or bringing down big game when things slow down here, but these options usually take quite a lot more time, effort and money than simply grabbing your gear and heading into the woods or to a favorite local waterway.

Instead, this time of year, we see another fun aspect of the outdoor culture: the dreaming.

You start by imagining what the next season could be like, what treats you can bring home for your family and what gear you need to make it happen.

Part of the fun is comparing notes with your buddies, hearing their intentions and, or giving each other qualified advice or sharing past success stories – or even lamenting the ones that got away.

Even better is getting the guys – and the girls – together to go check out what new products are on the market to improve one’s odds in the outdoors, or at least make things a little more comfortable, whether you’re walking through the brush or sitting on the bank.

A favorite West Coast opportunity to get people excited about the outdoors is by attending the International Sportsmen’s Exposition, which takes place in Sacramento Jan. 8-11.

Yes, it’s a retail show, but to many California, Oregon and Nevada residents who make the pilgrimage each year, it’s THE retail show.

More than 600 exhibitors pack the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds and more than 100,000 people attend.

Along with checking out new, fun products, there’s also the opportunity for some hands-on activities for all ages, including a fly casting pond, various theaters where you can watch the best sportsmen movies, an aquarium, a kayak pond and all sorts of other activities.

You can learn from experts things like better casting or elk bugling, and even some exotic skills like tips on how to call hogs or train dogs.

It’s an opportunity for vendors to show what’s nearby such as camping and hunting options in Northern California, plus some dream hunting and fishing vacations in the rest of the U.S., and even the world. Have you ever dreamed about a big game safari to Africa or a fishing trip to New Zealand? You can find them and more.

We can’t guarantee that visiting the Sportsmen Exposition will scratch that itch for some outdoor fun that builds up in the wintertime. In fact, attending it may even make things itch even more! But at least you and your friends will have created some great memories from the show and can start counting down the days together until you can get out and play.

For more details on the show visit or for tips on putting together your own group trip there, visit The BusBank.

Photo credit.

Holiday visitors go wild for Phoenix’s ZooLights

Arizona’s official motto is “Ditat Deus,” which is Latin for “God enriches.”

The founders of the beautiful Southwest state certainly had the divine on their minds when seeing the natural beauty here – the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, desert, and noble cacti.

These days, there seems to be a variation on that motto – how about “Thank God I’m here and thank God I’m warm again.”

That’s because Arizona has become where more and more snowbirds come to roost every winter. Some East Coast retirees will tell you they prefer Florida for their golden years, but Arizona does have a great deal of charm to offer – namely warm winters.

Of course, warm is relative, as an Arizonan may break out the sweaters when the temp drops to 60, while a Minnesotan may break out the tank tops.

Whether you’re an active senior, a family or a single guy/girl, AZ is the perfect refuge when you’ve simply had enough of cold and snow. Taking long strolls without bundling up, or comfortably sit on the porch and watch a sunset. Arizona has plenty of things to see and do, including activities you may not be able to do back home where everyone is buried under blizzards., like go to a rodeo or a celebrate Christmas with the air conditioning on.

One favorite holiday event that draws people throughout the area is the ZooLights. Though the Phoenix Zoo is pretty cool any time of year, through Jan. 11, 2015, there are fun additions in the form of more than 700 lighted displays.

The displays work out to be 3.8 million lights, and organizers have tried hard to come up with especially unique creations that you may not see at any other holiday display, let alone a popular zoo.

For instance, most displays have some kind of an animal theme or a tie-in to a current zoo exhibit, like lions, peacocks, or spiders. There are also plenty of unique designs such as illuminated palm trees.

In addition to the fanciful lighted displays, ZooLights has other fun activities for families, such as the opportunity to touch a stingray, camel rides, and the chance to meet a special Galapagos tortoise that’s said to talk, and a giraffe that also has things to say.

Visitors can watch “The Polar Express” in a special 4-D theater at the zoo – along with seeing and hearing the classic children’s movie, the theater sometimes fills with fog, snow, and wind further enhancing the sense of wonder and magic.

You also can watch a sculptor painstakingly transform 300-pound blocks of ice into some kind of animal sculpture for the occasion.

For 2014, ZooLights organizers have added longer hours, plus two new “Music in Motion” performances, which feature a colorful light show set to music.

Overall, ZooLights is an enjoyable event which could be even more fun with friends or family members along for the ride. Check out The BusBank for info about booking your own Zoo trip.

Midway Utah’s Ice Castle is a frozen masterpiece

Before we talk about our destination, let’s talk about the movie “Frozen.” Some people simply love it, some hate it, and some loved it once, but that love is now covered in a thick, frosty layer of cynicism and annoyance from hearing that same blessed song over and over and over.

But there’s also a fourth group –opinions may vary wildly about the movie and the soundtrack, but you have to admit that Queen Elsa had herself a pretty sweet home.

Her ice palace was tall, elegant, colorful and appeared to be well-engineered and structurally sound. Though it would be a bugger to get in and out of, and you might see some seasonal spikes in your heating bill, it would definitely be a great place to call home.

So, since that place is already occupied, is there a way to see other ice castles?

The answer is yes, thanks to a California resident who decided to make the best of his relocation to Midway, Utah, by making something fun for his kids.

His first year, Brent Christensen enhanced a backyard skating rink by creating a 20-foot ice slide, digging out an ice cave and building an ice tower. He chipped out rooms, “planted” icicles which would grow into interesting formations, and used cardboard for support and shaping.

The next year, he started the effort earlier, ditched the soggy, pulpy cardboard, and made the castle bigger and better. People began taking notice, and before long, a stream of neighbors began to stop by. As the structures grew, he also began hiring locals to help create these impressive ice sculptures.

Today, the Midway Ice Castle is a popular attraction for the whole region, drawing thousands of visitors each season.

The Midway Ice Castle usually opens to the public in December, and how long it remains open is up to Mother Nature. Some years this part of Utah doesn’t see a full thaw until April, and other years, like 2013, the castle had to be shut down earlier because of an unseasonably warm February.

The completed castle now takes up 1 to 2 acres. Visitors from across the region enjoy wandering through and admiring the cool – literally — construction.

Each year, Christensen and other employees start planting their icicle farm in the fall, so they’ll already be partially grown by the time castle construction officially starts.

Last year, the organizers included a “Frozen” theme, complete with an Elsa look-alike who wandered around the location like she owned the place.

The concept of the ice castle and the innovative construction method has become so popular that Christensen was asked to design similar structures in Colorado, Minnesota and New Hampshire, and these communities also enjoy becoming tourism destinations.

People planning to visit this year’s Ice Castle are encouraged to car pool or take a bus. Parking can be limited, especially in the downtown Midway area.

Check out The BusBank for information about group excursions to the Ice Castle.

Drive-through decorations attract visitors to Arkansas


Enchanted Land of LightsMore than one person has suggested that Christmas might be a lot easier to enjoy if it took place in the spring or summer.

After all, you can certainly still declare a special time of gift-giving, shopping, and family traditions any time of the year. But if all the fun and frivolity took place during warmer seasons, you wouldn’t have to contend with all of that unpleasant ice, snow or general coldness.

Because face it – as much as we like singing along about how delightful winter wonderlands are, it sometimes can get frightful to deliberately spend time out in them.

That’s why community Christmas parades move a faster pace than their summer counterparts. Or there doesn’t seem to be a lot of lingering at events like tree lightings or downtown gatherings.

It’s also why the Enchanted Land of Lights and Legends has become such a hit.

For 18 years, this festival has become one of the largest more holiday destinations in Arkansas, and receives more than 100,000 annual visitors. The event runs through December and features more than 240 lighted displays. But here’s the best twist: you don’t have to get out of your vehicle to see a single one.

Lights and lighted displays have been carefully and precisely arranged along 170 locations in 1.3 miles of Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Regional Park. It’s the equivalent of a buffet of holiday cheer for everyone’s enjoyment, especially since, like buffets, it’s not the best time to think about exercise.

That means, since you don’t need to perform any walking whatsoever in the winter weather, you can take a family trip in a car or RV to see the creations, or arrange a bus trip to collectively ooh and ahh with a bunch of your friends, classmates, church members or co-workers.

Pine Bluff is southwest of Little Rock on U.S. 65, and an easy drive except in crummy weather.

The decorations include favorite holiday items like giant toy soldiers, Santa’s sleigh pulled by a bunch of tiny, shiny reindeer. In some spots, there are decorations on both sides of the road, making it fun for people looking left or right, or the opportunity to turn around at the end and check them all out again.

Taking the tour through the Enchanted Lands is free, but you can get a cool souvenir ornament if you donate at least $10, have your name or your family’s name listed as a donor for gifts over $25, and receive even more recognition from visitors if you come aboard as a festival sponsor. Or save your money for the next buffet, since we were just taking about them, weren’t we?

The event was named Arkansas’s Festival of the Year in 2000, and received the state’s “Classic Award” in 2006, which is given to state programs that continue to grow and do well after being in existence 10 years.

If you want to check out the festival yourself, aboard a warm coach with comfy seat, consider checking out The BusBank.

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