Browsing Category "California"
Iron Horse's tasting "room."

“California Champagne”

By     |    Aug 14, 2012
Posted in: Bars, Booze, Beer, Etc., California, Wine     |    No Comments

We first visited the Sonoma and Napa Valleys in 2006 — we loved Sonoma, but Napa, not so much. Anytime we leave a wine region, we feel like we’ve missed tons of great stuff, or we find a favorite wine after the fact. Happily, we were able to return to Sonoma to visit some new/missed favorites — Korbel Winery and Iron Horse Vineyards. But first, a digression on wine place-names. […]

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Fog rolling up over the hills along Tomales Bay.

Highway 101/ Route 1 Live Up To the Hype

By     |    Aug 13, 2012
Posted in: California, Drives     |    No Comments

It’s true: driving Highway 101/Route 1 is as awesome as everyone says it is. You could make an entire vacation out of driving the 101 from Seattle to San Francisco (just veer off the 101 on the 1 in northern California). Wait, you should make an entire vacation out of driving this road. View Larger Map The road follows the coast closely, sometimes too closely for comfort, except where some […]

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Oysters at Cafe Reyes.

Goodbye, Oysters

By     |    Aug 13, 2012
Posted in: California, Food     |    No Comments

After we turn in towards Sonoma, it’s all east from there on out. We’ll say goodbye to the Pacific … and its oysters. Sad day. Of course, it’s going to be tough to be more awesome than Indian Pass in Florida or Willapa Bay in Washington. Those places were amazing. And cheap. But as we headed south, we were leaving ‘cheap’ far behind. Here are your options for oysters in […]

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More rare than real boobies in California: a good deal along the coast at Mattole Beach.

Camping in California? Avoid the State Parks.

By     |    Aug 10, 2012
Posted in: Best Of, California, Parks     |    No Comments

Honestly, they’re just embarrassing. As a state, California should be embarrassed by its parks. They’re shit. They’re just too expensive. Yes, people pay the fee, but they pay grudgingly, because there’s no alternative. They’re not nice-expensive, not cleaner than other parks (they seem dirtier), not packed with amenities in some awesome way. Hell, most have pay showers instead of free showers. They’re expensive in the I-think-I’m-getting-ripped-off-but-I-don’t-know-what-else-to-do way. They’re terrible. In […]

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Last look at the lighthouse.

Hiking to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse on the Lost Coast

By     |    Aug 9, 2012
Posted in: Best Of, California, Parks     |    No Comments

Some people call this California’s Lost Coast. I prefer to think of it as the Saved Coast. Plenty of this section of California’s coast has been tied up by ranching and grazing for generations and is closed to public access, but there are also long, lonely stretches of coast in the public domain. Together, the King Range National Conservation Area and the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park cover about 50 contiguous […]

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This is one of the 'good' roads.

The Lost Coast of California

By     |    Aug 9, 2012
Posted in: Best Of, California, Drives     |    4 Comments

Between Ferndale (to the north) and Rockport (to the south) along California’s Pacific coast there’s basically nothing. No real towns, no housing developments, no reality TV stars, hardly any roads even. Sure, there are things marked as roads on the map, but they’re just paved strips of pavement in reality. They’ve been washed out and earthquaked and patched too many times to be anywhere close to smooth. We’ve been on […]

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Tall Tree from the base looking up.

The Redwoods of California

By     |    Aug 8, 2012
Posted in: Best Of, California, Parks     |    No Comments

If you want to see some big trees, aim for the Avenue of the Giants in Northern California, a road created so that through-traffic isn’t stuck behind gawking tourists on the 101 (my theory, since it mostly parallels the 101). The Avenue of the Giants is a great road, but the best road goes perpendicular (to the west) and into Humboldt Redwoods State Park. You don’t have to pay a fee to drive into […]

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A Death Valley Pupfish male (upper left) and two of his females.

Happy Monday from the Salt Creek Pupfish!

By     |    Mar 19, 2012
Posted in: California, Parks     |    No Comments

Hello, Salt Creek Pupfish here, just wanting to wish you a Happy Monday! I’d be willing to bet that your Monday will be happier than mine, because even though I may mate a few times today, chances are good I’ll be dead in a month … or maybe I’ll be dead this afternoon. I’m also only the size of a paperclip, and I’m scared of shadows. I only live in […]

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P1130281 (Small)

Death Valley in Black and White

By     |    Mar 16, 2012
Posted in: California, Parks     |    1 Comment

I only took black and white pics in Death Valley this time through. Got a couple good ones. I think B&W is more forgiving of tough exposures, but I still managed to only really like about 10% of the photos I took. Here are my favorites: Let me know if you want any of these for your walls. Besides framed 14″x10″ prints for $99, we’re going to start doing unframed […]

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Paul on the moon.

Goodbye for the Third Time, Death Valley

By     |    Mar 16, 2012
Posted in: California, Nevada, Parks     |    No Comments

We went back to Death Valley for the third time, a place we said we wouldn’t visit again on this trip, at least until we got a more rugged version of our Toyota Sienna (lift kit, anyone?). But it was a place that I still thought about, endlessly, and I’m so happy we had a chance to return. We managed to find plenty of new things to see, along with […]

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