.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

A Day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari (1)

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is found near Escondido, California, about a half hour’s drive northeast of San Diego and its world famous San Diego Zoo.  
I’ve visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park about a half dozen times in the past 35 years and really enjoyed every visit.  When we first came to the park decades ago the place was known as San Diego Wild Animal Park, but in 2010 the name was changed because some people were apparently getting it and the zoo confused.  This is not the zoo — it’s where you can go on a (sort-of) safari.  But at either place you’ll have the chance to see a large quantity and variety of …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 3, 2020: Snow Plant, California

Snow Plants, Yosemite (2)

The only place I’ve ever seen snow plant is on the western (wetter) slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, especially in Yosemite National Park.  It’s hard to miss seeing snow plant if its there, as it’s bright red and stands out against the melting snow and tree litter in which it grows. 
Some interesting facts about snow plant:
1) It’s a bright fleshy red plant (herb) of the Indian-pipe family, usually 15-30 cm (under a foot) tall
2) It grows in high-altitude conifer forests of California, Nevada and Oregon (generally between 1000 – 3000 m altitude)
3) It derives its nourishment from soil fungi attached to the roots of pine trees, and does not need sunlight to survive
4) It usually pops out in late …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 7,2019: Conservation Carousel, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari (56)

My wife and I share an affection for carousels.  She’s in love with carousel horses (we have one standing in our entryway).  I have a greater interest in a larger variety of carousel animals.

So you can see from these images that the lovely carousel in San Diego’s Zoo Safari Park really appealed to me.  It’s themed “conservation carousel” and contains 60 mostly rare and endangered animals that can take you for a ride.  An appropriate menagerie of critters for this terrific family travel-friendly destination.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Remarkable Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park 6-90 017. Congress Trail

Going back through my travel records, I was surprised to find that it’s been almost 20 years since I last visited Sequoia National Park — my, how time flies.  I’m glad I spent a lot of time exploring this park during the 1980s and 1990s because it’s a special place.

Sequoia NP was about a 4 hour drive from our home in Southern California (under ideal traffic conditions– often more like 5 or 6 hours) and was one of the easiest to reach natural destinations near us, so we visited it almost every year.  The park spans over 400,000 acres so it’s impossible to see it all.  It’s part of the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve (1976).

What’s so special about the park?  Lots, to be sure …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 7, 2018: Unbearably Lake Tahoe

05 Lake Tahoe, California (19)

An art form I enjoy, which has seen growing popularity these past few decades, is chainsaw carvings.  As the name implies, the artist uses chainsaws of different size to work a piece of dried raw wood into the final carved piece.  The carvings are often large and heavy.  The wood is then generally stained or painted and sealed with varnish or polyurethane to protect the art.  

While driving around Lake Tahoe this past summer — a beautiful scenic drive that’s highly recommended — we came across several homes on the California side of the lake that had some fine examples of carved bears.  I thought they were quite good and stopped to get some photos.  Not sure if all the ones …

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California / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, July 6, 2018: Flying A Service Station, Truckee

04 Truckee Ca (36)

I’ve previously discussed my visit to the small town of Truckee, which rests on California’s eastern Sierra Nevada slopes and which you can read about at this link.  The town has a nicely preserved historic core, with lots of buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

My favorite building in Truckee was this old Flying A Service Station, which brought back memories of many like it I’d see when I was much younger, under a variety of banners like Texaco and Sinclair’s.  Most of these old buildings have been torn down and replaced by large self-serve fueling outlets, each with an attached convenience store.  These new structures may be efficient but they lack the intimacy …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Truckee, California

01 Truckee Ca (17)

Situated slightly north of Lake Tahoe and a little west of Reno, I’d driven past this small city on route I-80 many times.  But it was not until this past summer that I actually stopped and explored it.  The day of our visit was dry and hot and the sun intense as it can only be at high altitude, the heat draining our energy; still, we took our time, stayed hydrated and enjoyed visiting Truckee.

The town’s original name was Coburn Station, after one of its saloon keepers.  It was renamed ‘Truckee’ after a Paiute chief named Tru-ki-zo. This friendly chief greeted the first Europeans migrating to California and legend has it that he rode toward them yelling, “Tro-kay”,  Paiute for …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 22, 2018: Views of Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, California (1)

Lovely Lake Tahoe!  It has been described as the “gem of the Sierras” and it’s hard to argue with that.

Its statistics are impressive.  Lake Tahoe is situated in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at 6,225 ft (1,897 m) and straddles the California/Nevada border.  At 1,645 ft (501 m) deep, it is the second deepest lake in the United States  — only Crater Lake in Oregon is deeper at 1,945 ft (593 m).  It holds more water than any lake in the US, excluding the five Great Lakes.

And the scenery is spectacular.  As are the hiking opportunities around the lake!

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

 

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