We took the Blue and Gold Ferry to SAUSALITO a village of art galleries, quaint shops and waterfront restaurants with views of San Francisco across the bay. Hans and I strolled around town and stopped in an ice cream parlour for a double-dipped butter pecan waffle cone ice cream.mmmmmm good. We stayed for a couple of hours and then took the ferry back to Fisherman's Wharf.
While visiting the Mammoth Lakes area we went to see the DEVILS POSTPILE which can only be accessed by shuttle Bus at the Main Lodge area. The columns of basalt were formed 100,000 years ago when a lava flow slowed and began to cool and crack. Temperatures deep within the lava bed were uniform enough to produce six-sided columnar joints, an ideal configuration within a cooling mass. The Postpile is located 10 miles past Mammoth Mountain Ski Area's Main Lodge, on Hwy 203. A user fee, which includes the shuttle bus, is $ 7.00 per person.
Click to enlarge the photo so you can appreciate just how huge the Devil's Postpile really is. It certainly dwarfs Hansi who is standing in the right foreground.
If you have the opportunity, then by all means visit Joshua Tree National Park. It is open year round and most busy in April. The park is really two deserts that come together, The Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed it a National Monument in 1936; in 1994 it was named a National Park. More than a million people a year visit this park and no wonder. It is a place of immense beauty.
It was named after the Joshua tree commonly found in the Mojave Desert. It really has a "grotesque appearance", but many birds, mammals, insects, and reptiles depend on it for food and shelter.
Wildlife abounds in these deserts. The Kangaroo Rat, with its large hind feet and cheek pouches, is a sight to behold. Tarantuas live in burrows here. It is the largest desert spider and feeds on insects.
The funny-looking Roadrunner bird is designed for desert life. They do not use wings but, instead, their powerful legs.
The Bobcat with its short, powerful body pounces from ambush on birds, rabbits and other rodents. It is a shy cat.
Burrowing Owls can be seen frequently. It feeds on insects, reptiles, and rodents at dusk.
Of course, the skilled Coyote survives these deserts. It eats everything: insects, snakes, fruits, nuts, lizards, grass. turtles and carrion.
Golden Eagles, Jackrabbits, and the Sidewinder rattlesnake also inhabit this park.
It's famous for its awesome rock formations that attract hikers from all over the world. There is a wildlife sanctuary, campgrounds, horse and hiking trails, and much vegetation to enjoy.
Headquarters in Twentynine Palms. Take Route 62 through Morongo and Yucca Valleys. $10.00 per car 7 days a week.
Photo is not mine.
While in Palm Springs for three months, we had plenty of time to visit museums. Here are the ones that we visited and enjoyed:
1.Palm Springs Air Museum has a large collection of flying WWII airplanes. I loved this place because it is a tribute to American Veterans and their planes. There are photographs, artifacts, and tours. You learn a great deal there.
745 Gene Autry Trail
Palm Springs, CA
2. The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is located on the Village Green in Palm Springs. It is dedicated to the history (past, present, and future) of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs. We saw artifacts, artwork, and photographs.
219 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA
3. Palm Springs Desert Museum
We went here twice because it has changing exhibitions. There is great art, natural science, and performing arts. Besides galleries, there is the Annenberg Theaters. The location of this museum is outstanding. It is at the base of the soaring Mt. San Jacinto in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.
101 Museum Drive
Palm Springs, CA
4. Moorten's Botanical Garden is an arboretum that is designed into geographical regions of native habitats displaying thousands of varieties of desert plants. I knew very little about desert plants, so I learned a great deal that day. Our daughter Jill was visiting us from Chicago, so the three of us enjoyed browsing through the exotic plants.
1701 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA
5. Desert Holocaust Memorial
This is not a real museum; it is an outdoor memorial to holocaust victims. It consists of seven large bronze figures in a circular row of trees that symbolize life outside the concentration camps.
San Pablo and Fred Waring Drive
Palm Desert, CA
There are many more, but these are the ones we visited.
The same day that we visited the Queen Mary, we toured the Scorpion Submarine, which is docked next to the Queen Mary.
You are able to buy a package tour of the two sites.
This Russian submarine was built in 1972 and was active until 1994. The clerk at the Time Share where we stayed had served on an American Sub, and he told us that the Scorpion was a carbon copy of an American submarine which he was on. He feels that somehow the Russians got the plans to our sub and copied it vertabum.
The sub held 78 crew member (only 2 showers and 3 toilets!). They stayed at sea up to three months. After touring this CRAMPED interior, I cannot believe that they were able to endure. They had 27 bunks that were shared by 54 crew member in three shifts per day. Just imagine, all they did was their duty, maintanence of the sub, and sleep/eat.
You have to be able to climb steep ladders, go through very small hatches, and walk narrow corridors with low ceilings. Keep that in mind.
There is a short movie that precedes the self-guided tour.
1126 Queens Hwy
Long Beach, CA
Monday through Friday 12n-6pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Note: I have no photo of sub so used one of me at Long Beach
Solvang is a quaint little town with a Danish theme. I just loved this little place as it was so cute. To get to SOLVANG take U.S. 101 to Highway 246 and turn east. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Death Valley National Park is not the barren wasteland that that many envision. Although extremely dry, this fragile ecosystem is home to a variety of animals and vegetation. The park offers some spectacular scenery and landscapes. It is the home of Badwater Basin. With an elevation of 282 feet below sea level, Badwater is the lowest point in North America. This park is a great place to explore. But you may want to visit from late fall to early spring to avoid the scorching summer sun.
Nevada City, located in the scenic Gold Gountry, is a Gold Rush Era town that dates back to the1849. Today, it still retains its historic look and feel. Its population of about 2,800 is only a fraction of the 10,000 who lived and worked there in 1850 during the mining heyday.
This beautiful town is a pleasure to visit. Its historic downtown, centered around Broad Street, is a great place to stroll. Many of the old buildings still survive and remain in use today. Restaurants, shops, and even wine tasting rooms occupy the downtown. Nevada City is located in a picturesque spot in the foothills with great hiking and camping available in the nearby wilderness.
Nevada City is located off Highway 49 near Grass Valley.
The Native American Museum is very interesting at the entrance to this park with artifacts in excelllent condition. I didn't go into the park but spent the time it took my friends to take the gondolla ride, visiting the museum. It was a free tour for me but I think to view the trees is $11.
Several authentic ghost towns dot the old mining areas of the state. The largest is Bodie which has been designated as a State Historic Park. Over 170 buildings remain in a state of "arrested decay". It is a great place to explore. However, Bodie is a bit out of the way.
Here are directions to get to Bodie: From U.S. 395 take State Route 270. Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on an unpaved road to Bodie. It may be impassable in winter. When in doubt, call the Park in advance at (760) 647-6445.
Mono Lake is a beautiful out of the way spot east of the Sierras at Lee Vining, California. Mono Lake covers over 65 square miles and is over one million years old. Streams have long carried salts and minerals into the lake. As water is evaporated, the salts and minerals are left behind. Since the lake has no outlet, the salinity of the water is high. In fact, Mono Lake is far more salty than ocean water. Mineral deposits called tufa protrude vertically from the lakes serene shores. This scenic lake was seriously threatened due to water diversions from its tributaries to the Los Angeles area before a compromised was reached. The lake remains an important nesting ground for a variety of birds. Beautiful hiking trails can be found in the area. The ghost town of Bodie is also nearby. This peaceful spot is a nice place for a getaway.
Just a quick tip on a particular hiking trail in Sequoia National Park: If you camp in one of the camping areas, there is a hiking trail that is next to a river. The sign will read something to do with a waterfall 2.7 miles. Save yourself the time and don't do the waterfall. The scenery between the trailhead and the waterfall is gorgeous (as pictured here), but if you go just to see the waterfall, you are wasting your time. It was a very big disappointment. It was more like your bathroom faucet, and that's being generous.
This is the main street of this small community on highway 49 in the Gold Country.
It's a very charming little town but it is becoming a little too touristy...lots of trendy bed&breakfast places, expensive antique stores and too much traffic on the week-ends.
I would recommend visiting the town during the week. Don't forget to go off main street and drive or walk through the back neighborhoods.
Cambria is known (or sold) as the "village of the artists".
This is still fully to be demonstrated, because it appears me as not artistic at all.
The point is actually, that I LIKED IT A LOT.
Just outside the Highway 101, heading north and before getting the route towards the coast and the Pacific Coast Highway, there is a tiny (and THIS is a surprise) road that brings to this lovely, small, peaceful village.
Not to sleep in, but deserving a visit. This is Cambria
This coastal highway winds along the scenic miles of California's coast. Both beaches and the rugged coastline can be seen. This is definitely the long way, but you can always pick a few stretches to hit the road. Some good choices include stretches near Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, Muir Beach in Marin, Jenner in Sonoma County, and Mendocino. Enjoy the drive.
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