.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, January 20, 2017: Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

030 Monterey Bay Aquarium. Kelp Forest

The finest aquarium I’ve had the privilege of visiting is in Monterey, California.  Built alongside the old sardine canneries of Cannery Row (a site immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novella of the same name), you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the underwater world when you visit.

There’s dozens of great exhibits, but there are two that are my favorites — the jellyfish, and this one, the Kelp Forest tank.  I’ve spent a lot of time watching this latter tank because there seems to be no end as to what’s going on.   A giant shape approaches in the tank, only to be broken into thousands of individual sardines as the school splits apart.  The moving light and shadows of the kelp, the sharks …

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.All Trips / California / Food / North America / Southwestern USA

Roadfood — the best “American” food out there!

005 El Campeon Mission San Juan Capistrano.  Carnitas

When many people think of “American food” they envision fast food — McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and the like.  These have their place — inexpensive, reasonable meals, quickly served and widely available.  Those who have traveled with children know how handy stopping at a McDonalds with a play gym can be.  Fast food is successful because people support these restaurants.  That said, except when needing a quick meal while traveling, I rarely eat at fast food chains.

That’s because I enjoy reasonably priced, family-run restaurants which prepare great food, of which there are thousands in the United States.  You might find some of these by searching “Yelp” or “TripAdvisor”, but by far the most useful website for me is

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“Pic of the Week”, August 28, 2015: Surf and Turf

01 Newport Beach Crystal Cove State Park

I love spending time in Newport Beach, one of the Orange County beaches in Southern California.  A major reason for this is beautiful Crystal Cove State Beach, a 3 mile stretch of natural beach just north of Laguna Beach.  I’ve walked the length of that beach many times.

One time while walking along the cliffs overlooking the beach we came across this artist who was doing a rather nice job painting the rugged coast.  The middle photo below shows his subject matter.

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, August 28, 2015: Surf and Turf
.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Palm Springs’ Amazing Air Museum!

California, Spring 2009  107a.  Palm Springs Air Museum

The Palm Springs Air Museum is located on the north side of the Palm Springs Airport.  The Air Museum is housed in an expansive structure that includes the two main display halls and hangars, a theater, gift shop, research library, flight simulator and education center.  It’s website indicates it’s been rated by CNN as one of the top 14 Air Museums in the World. The museum provides an up-close look at the legendary fighters and bombers of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  The warm, dry desert climate is ideal for preserving planes, so in this regard the museum is well situated.    What’s most amazing is that most of these planes are flight-worthy (27 flyable aircraft), making

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“Pic of the Week”. March 20, 2015: Death Valley National Park, California

2014 27a July 4, 2014  Death Valley

One of the most unique landscapes in North America is to be found in Death Valley National Park, in eastern California.  It’s among the hottest and driest places in USA, but the park has some amazing landscapes ranging from magnificent sand dunes, to salt pans, to colorful mineral deposits.  Many areas of the park are actually below sea level.

This is definitely a place to visit in winter (from late fall to early spring).  Wild flowers are in bloom.  Days are pleasant although nights will be chilly (so bring a warm coat).  The terrible heat of summer is extremely unpleasant, even dangerous, and best avoided.  A mechanical break down of your car in July could turn into a harrowing experience.

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”. March 20, 2015: Death Valley National Park, California
.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

A hike up Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs

California, Spring 2009  026.  Tahquitz Canyon Waterfall and Oasis

It’s a great time of year to be visiting the desert regions of the Southwestern USA.  The weather is warm and pleasant, the wildflowers are in bloom, and the oppressive heat of summer is a distant memory.  This is the time of year to go on a hike in the Mojave and that’s what we’re going to look at today: a walk up tranquil Tahquitz Canyon just outside of Palm Springs, California.  This is one of several canyons in the area, each with its own character, each awaiting exploration!

Centuries ago, ancestors of the Agua Caliente Indians settled in the Palm Springs area.  They adapted well to life in the desert and developed a complex network of communities …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

California’s 17 Mile Drive: Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach

076 Seventeen Mile Drive, Pacific Grove 5-2014. Monterey Cypress

There are a lot of famous road trips in the USA, like California’s Pacific Coast Highway and Montana’s Going to the Sun Highway.  One of the best known drives in America is scenic 17-Mile Drive (actually distance depends on how you enter and leave) which extends from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach.  17 Mile Drive leads you through a quiet neighborhood, into a forested area (including some rare stands of monterey cypress), along a rugged stretch of the Pacific Ocean and past the notable “Lone Cypress” tree.  The drive takes you by some of the best golf courses in the country, including world-renowned Pebble Beach, and some of the views you’ll …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

John Steinbeck Country: 3) Cannery Row, Monterey, California

006 Cannery Row 05-2014

“Cannery Row…is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.”
 John Steinbeck, from his novel Cannery Row’
 

Wow!  With a beautifully written introduction like that, who wouldn’t want to visit this place?  Cannery Row is my favorite novel by American author John Steinbeck.  It may not be his best book, but it’s the first of his I’d read and the one that made me a fan.  Published in 1945,  Cannery Row is set in Monterey, California during the Great Depression, near a waterfront street lined by sardine canneries.  The book’s setting is secondary to the narrative and the many colorful characters Steinbeck develops.  Steinbeck wrote a sequel to Cannery Row, called Sweet Thursday, some 10 years later, a much less interesting novel in my opinion (as …

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