“California Champagne”

“California Champagne”

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 …

Highway 101/ Route 1 Live Up To the Hype

Highway 101/ Route 1 Live Up To the Hype

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 …

Goodbye, Oysters

Goodbye, Oysters

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 …

Camping in California? Avoid the State Parks.

Camping in California? Avoid the State Parks.

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 …

Hiking to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse on the Lost Coast

Hiking to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse on the Lost Coast

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, …

The Lost Coast of California

The Lost Coast of California

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 …

The Redwoods of California

The Redwoods of California

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 …

Happy Monday from the Salt Creek Pupfish!

Happy Monday from the Salt Creek Pupfish!

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 …

Death Valley in Black and White

Death Valley in Black and White

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 …

Goodbye for the Third Time, Death Valley

Goodbye for the Third Time, Death Valley

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 …

Eureka! I have found a gold mine ghost town!

Eureka! I have found a gold mine ghost town!

Eureka Mine is a tiny dot on the grand Death Valley map. It’s located off Emigrant Canyon Road, a small, in-and-out road whose primary purpose is to take hikers to the trail to the highest point in the park, Telescope Peak, and to take tourists to …

Death Valley’s Gower Gulch Loop Hike through Golden Canyon

Death Valley’s Gower Gulch Loop Hike through Golden Canyon

The first time we were in Death Valley, we tried to do the Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch Loop hike. We tried, but didn’t succeed, because the beginning of the hike, the Golden Canyon portion, is on the tourist must-do list. It was so busy the last …