California: Perfect Environment
Favorite thing: One of the great positives about California, especially Palm Springs, is that in January, February, and March, the weather is delightful.
Each day Allan and I would walk for an hour or more. The photo that I've selected for this text shows how beautiful it was in January on a typical morning walk.
Note the beautiful flowers, the manicured grounds, and the great Palm Trees. By March, I had lost about twelve pounds from all that walking, and from the looks of this photo, I needed to lose it.
Fondest memory: The nicest time to visit the Desert Communities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, Indio, La Quinta, Cathedral City, and Desert Hot Springs is during the winter.
The temperature ranges between 70-85 degrees with little rain and lots of sunshine! Also, since this is the most active time for an influx of tourists, there are many wonderful activities available such as art shows, festivals, concerts, Film Festival, Follies, Street Fairs, Golf Tournaments, and Village Fest.
I highly recommend visiting the Desert during the winter months!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Theater Travel
Afraid of Heights? Don't Ride the Tramway!
Favorite thing: An exciting adventure while visiting Palm Springs is to ride the PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY; it is quite a trip. Y
ou travel across two and one-half miles of cable, soaring from the warm desert sands to the cool mountain air at the beginning of the 13,000 acre Mt. San Jacinto State Wilderness. This Wilderness park is full of hiking trails (they claim 54 miles) and it has eleven primitive campgrounds.
The Valley Station is located on the north edge of Palm Springs.
There are two 80-passenger tramcars, and the ride is so smooth, but if you have a fear of heights, it will certainly frighten you.
Fondest memory: I think that the best part of the ride is seeing the desert, the forest, and the mountains.
It is really quite breathtaking; somehow, it makes you feel small in the whole scheme of the world.
Take Tramway Road of SR111 and go three and one half miles up the hill to get to the Valley Station.
- Adventure Travel
- National/State Park
Favorite thing: Laguna Beach is an interesting area and town. It is somewhat of a tourist mecca; yet, it maintains a certain charm.
The area is a good place for golf, for fishing, for fine dining, and for shopping.
At Dana Point Harbor you can do whale watching, shop, or eat. In the town itself, there are many fine places to dine, lots of shops, and landmark hotels.
This is an art community with many Art festivals, studios, and art students.
Some places of interest:
Pottery Shack has been around for 65 years.
1212 S. Coast Hwy
Sportfishing and Whale Watching at Dana Wharf
34675 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA
Friends of the Sea Lion Marine Mammal Center
It rescues and rehabilitates sick and injured marine mammals, then releases them back to their natural environment.
Open daily 10 am-4pm
Professional Theater with performances year round in Laguna Beach.
Len Wood's Indian Territory, Inc.
305-D North Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach, CA
Nation's largest gallery of antique Indian art.
Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano
Historic Spanish adobe Mission, landscaped gardens, and courtyards.
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA
American art museum with focus on art of California
Crystal Cove State Park
8471 Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA
Miles of bluffs, beaches and tidepools, canyons and wilderness campgrounds
Newport Harbor Nautical Museum
151 East Pacific Coast Hwy
Three museum galleries, nautical gift shop, and waterfront dining.
Fondest memory: This area has beautiful sunsets, lovely beaches, lots of art, whale watching, excellent dining, and friendly people.
I highly recommend it.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
A Tradition While in Laguna Beach, California...
Favorite thing: You just cannot visit Languna Beach, California, without at least stopping by the famous Hotel Laguna. It is situated on its own private beach, and it is right in the heart of the city.
They have 65 guest rooms, two of which are Mini-Suites. They serve you complimentary continental breakfast and deliver the Los Angeles Times to your door on Monday through Saturday.
They provide a chaise lounge, umbrella, beach towels, and a wait staff to serve lunch or cocktails from the Beach Club menu.
This is an old European style hotel that does epitomize "California Riviera."
The hotel has several places to eat.
We ate in the restaurant called "The Terrace". Most of it is outside overlooking the private beach. We had shrimp and salad and drinks. It was quite lovely. There is also a small Bar area with comfortable furniture to relax and enjoy a cocktail with a view.
Fondest memory: They are most famous for the formal dining room called "Claes Restaurant/Wine Cellar"
There is a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. This restaurant is a local favorite, especially the Sunday Brunch.
The brunch has assorted bakery goods, many salads, fruits of the season, California Rolls, French Toast, Mexican Scambled eggs, Maryland Crab Cakes, Eggs Benedict, Angus New York Steak, Chicken a la Provencal, Wild Mushroom and Spinach Frittata, Alaskan Lingcod, Rock Shrimp and Crab Omelette, Mediterranean Bouillabaisse (crab, mussels, clams, fish, shrimp, and lobster in tomato Tarragon), Hawaiian Onaga, and California Eggs Benedict.
A real FEAST!
We had no camera with us at the hotel, but this is a photo of Allan and I the day we ate there.Related to:
- Food and Dining
PAPA SMURF MUST ACCOMPANY YOU
Favorite thing: PAPA SMURF was a gift from Sharon from Tasmania. She stayed with us while on her journey of a lifetime through Canada and the States.We also met up again in L.A. We were told that PAPA SMURF who resembles Hansie, was to accompany us on our travels. Thanks Sharon. It was a pleasure getting to know you.
Traveler Discount Guide - Very Handy
Favorite thing: Similiar booklets to this one, you can pick up just about every where in most hotels, shops or you can find this one at IHOP or Denny's restaurants. It contains loads of hotel discount coupons for hotels all over California and Neveda. It has very helpful maps too to locate where each hotel is located at that has an advertisement in it. It has a internet site to check out information and there is another one that you can print out Room Saver Coupons.
Get a CopyRelated to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Celebrate in Style
Favorite thing: While in Palm Springs, Allan and I celebrated Valentine's Day by seeing BILL COSBY at one of the area casino's in their huge auditorium.
Before we went to that show, we ate in downtown Palm Springs and enjoyed a romantic dinner for two, via candlelight.
The food was excellent, live music was soothing, and each woman received a red rose for Valentine's Day.
Fondest memory: The Bill Cosby Show was so well done. It's amazing how Bill commands respect and attention. I don't think that he plans what he is going to say until he is up on the stage. He makes everyone laugh without being cruel to others, without being "potty mouthed", and without being racist.
It is so refreshing to listen to someone who is genuinely funny in such a wholesome manner.
After the show, we stayed about an hour at the Casino. I won about $20.00 playing, of all things, the nickle slots!
The photograph was taken with an old Poloroid before we left. We had some of our favorite wine and saluted the value of love.Related to:
- Casino and Gambling
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Arts and Culture
My first steps in Pacific Ocean.
Fondest memory: When I took this picture was my first trip to the United States and it is also the furthest away from Thailand I have ever been. I spent my first day in northern Los Angeles in an area called the San Fernando Valley. One of my first excursions in this large metropolis was a trip through Malibu Canyon and a drive down the Pacific Coast Higway. I've included many of the photos from my trip to the beach here in this travelouge.
Favorite thing: Because of its almost perfect climate, scenic location on San Diego Bay, and miles of sandy beaches, San Diego is known as "America's Finest City."
In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay and claimed the area on behalf of the King of Spain. He called the new territory San Miguel. In 1602, Sebastian Vizcaíno explored the area and renamed it San Diego de Alcalá. Up until 1769, however, there was not any sort of Spanish settlement. That changed when Father Junípero Serra established the first of a string of missions along the California coast. Over time, a small town grew up around the mission.
During Spanish, and then Mexican, rule, San Diego remained an unimportant outpost far from the center of power in Mexico City. It only gained importance during the Mexican-American War, when a major battle was fought near the town. San Diego eventually fell to American forces, and the treaty ending the war ceded California to the United States. In 1850, California was admitted into the Union, and San Diego was incorporated as a city.
The city began to grow in 1885 when the transcontinental railroad reached it. With easy access by train, people began moving into Southern California for its climate. San Diego went through periods of boom and bust, and even lost population on a couple of occasions.
It was not until the First World War that the city's fortunes were assured. The military established several bases in the San Diego area, and in 1919 the United States Navy chose San Diego as the home base for the Pacific Fleet. Thousands of sailors and Marines passed through San Diego during the Second World War. After the war, many returned and settled in the city, mainly because of the climate they had grown accustomed to when they were stationed there. Since then, the population and economy has continued to expand, and now, San Diego is the center of a contiguous metropolitan area (which includes Tijuana, Mexico) of about 4,950,000 inhabitants.
Favorite thing: We drove from the Pacific North-West down to California, by way of Nevada (places unknown to us until then and still unknown to us today...)
Anyway, at one point we had to stretch our legs and Mount Shasta seemed like a good place to do just that. I posed for posterity, holding an unlikely bottle of ... water.
Then we got back in the van and played Neil Young again... and Californication, of course!
We're headin for SoCal my man! don't mind the detours! I'm hell bent on seeing the desert and those three whining teenagers in the back screaming "When will we ever reach Six Stars (or Flag Parks whatever)?" don't intimidate me -- I tell my sister "Relax, pretend we can't hear them here in front of the van..."
Tonopah Public Library
Favorite thing: We made it to Nevada by now. I'm starting to miss my friendly connections... so I head for the Public Library while the rest of the gang explores Main Street.
Later, when we all meet up, they're bored and say "There's nothin to do here!" while I'm exhausted from answering the emails.
Goes to show you, a virtual connection connects you!
The lady here at the Tonopah Public Library was kind and welcoming. I think I had free Internet access, I can't really remember and I don't really care. All I know is, that lil house was too cute to ignore! Outside was like an oven anyway so why not go in and cool off?
At Jim Butler's place
Favorite thing: In Tonopah, go straight to Jim Butler's. He has a motel with a POOL! so the teenagers will leave you alone while you go bar-hopping.
Mind you, we went bar-hopping and it was WORK! But we had our whole life ahead of us and we didn't mind. So, if you're looking for a tip as to where to eat, walk up or down main street to the main loung/restaurant in town. The place was full but felt empty. The bar was strewn with empty bottles and sticky beer, quasi-dried up.
We politely waited to be shown to our places, a few minutes. Nothing happened so we walked up and sat at the bar, along with the men who looked like they were fixtures there.
The harried waitress finally took notice and took our order for beer. She brought two bottles... when she saw our discomfiture, she said "What? did you gals want glasses?"
Just to bug her, I asked for two glasses for myself. She got them from the sink full of glasses...
All this time, we were making sure the Hostess had our name down in her book for dinner reservations. About an hour later, I heard my name called "Bingo! Bingo! Table ready for Bingo!" I have used B for Bingo since my first passage in Amsterdam, my real name was just to hard for them to manage. We had great ribs. The teens joined us and had burgers... what else?
Scotty's Gate, Death Valley
Favorite thing: I wanted to stop in Reno and check out the marriage rules, but my travel mates were not interested. They would have liked to stop in Reno for the gambling, but I was not interested.
We drove on to Death Valley and stopped for another leg stretch at Scotty's Castle. There's a story about this Scotty, he was quite an excentric etc. Well we just walked around his grounds and sweated and marvelled that he bothered to build this temple to his ego out there. The gates to the main house were something to behold, as you can see.
An archicultural tip
Favorite thing: Time to make a contribution to culture, archi-culture, er, architecture. Even in Death Valley Desert, you can see some Doric or Corinthian columns, and imagine you are sitting under some shady roof, on some cold stones, listening to Socrates and drinking it all in, the meaning of life, of heat, of sweat, where is my deodorant, etc.
I *had* to get up from those stones, even in the shade, they burned! But I would not leave Scotty's Castle before showing off my biker's T-shirt from UTAH! no sir!
Tip: great Ice Cream is sold somewhere on the grounds! Now drive further into the desert.
Stovepipe Wells Village
Favorite thing: Happily drive along through Grapevine Canyon, go pass the mouth of Titus Canyon, and start paying attention when you see lots of sand dunes. Nearby, turn right and go forth (don't multiply) to look over the grounds at Stovepipe Wells Village. It's an OASIS!
Check in for the night, they have a POOL. Just about the only water you'll see for days.
I'm joking but seriously, this is the best place I know if you're going to lose your car keys in the sand dunes at sunset. We lost those car keys that night, really, and the Stovepipe Wells Motel people were the best. They nurtured us and let us phone our friends around the world to tell our story! The next morning, they sent one of their men out with us to look for the keys, in the sand dunes.
The place looked so different at sunrise...
but I spotted the keys and off we went. Goodbye Stovepipe, hello Zabriskie Point, hey there Artists Palette (oh you are so beautiful!), wow! look at that Panamint Range! and hello Sequoia Forest, hello mosquitoes...
Great location, plush and luxurious hotel. Very comfortable, quiet room with a huge bath, king bed,...more
The Magic castle hotel is a great place to stay. It looks small at first view but its rooms are on...more
This is a nice, comfy hotel on the bluff overlooking Pacific Beach. Great views. No restaurant, but...more
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