Channel Islands National Park, Part 1…Camping and Kayaking

After multiple phone and email conversations with friends and family, all who said GO!  You will be sorry if you don’t!” I boarded the Island Packers boat the next morning bound for Santa Cruz in the Channel Islands, knowing if I couldn’t quit stressing over needing to address the Winnie repairs, I could always come back early. Continue reading

Oh Hi to Oh No!

Just 15 miles inland from the coastal town of Ventura is a cool little “mountain valley” town, Ojai, pronounced “OH hi.”  The little town is nestled in the Ojai Valley, surrounded by 5,000 ft tall mountains…well, “mountains” according to coastal standards.   Wikipedia describes it best, “The city’s self-styled nickname is ‘Shangri-La’ referencing the natural beauty of this health-and-spirituality-focused region.” Continue reading

Ventura Highway in the Sunshine…

Hanging around north of LA waiting on my upcoming Channel Island getaway has given me time to explore the area, specifically Ventura County’s cool and “mostly affordable” (at least by SoCal standards) Regional Parks.   But there are a couple of tricky rules that could potentially cause a snag. Continue reading

A Presidential Library, Hollywood Style!

I always had a soft spot for the Reagans, but not for reasons one might think. Back in the early days, my Mom and Dad both bore a striking resemblance. Their heights and weight were an exact match to the Reagans. Dad had thick wavy brown hair and could fill out a suit and tie with panache, while Mom had the 80’s “brown football helmet hair,” Continue reading

Putting Politics Aside for History

I have a terrible memory, as I am reminded every time my 87 year old mother prefaces a bit of family history with “You don’t remember???” I can’t remember much about any of my “formative years.” But what memories I do have are vivid. For example, I still remember exactly where I was on August 8, 1974. Continue reading

The Swallows Have Left the Building

I write a lot about music here on the blog.  It’s always been an important aspect of my life, providing a continual soundtrack running through my head since I was a pre-teen.   But I really marvel when one song can be so influential as to change an entire perspective of a place in history.  Such is the nature of San Juan Capistrano. Continue reading

If I Can Just Get Off of that LA Freeway…

“If I can just get off of that LA Freeway without getting killed or caught.” Yep. Another song lyric – written by Guy Clark, made famous by Jerry Jeff Walker, circa 1972, for those who might not recognize it. A popular hit from my University days in Austin, hanging out at the Armadillo World Headquarters.

Anyone who knows anything about Los Angeles knows there is no “LA Freeway” per se. Everyone speaks in idioms of numbers these days, all proceeded with a “the.” Continue reading

Walking the Wild through the Wilderness

Back in February while camped in the middle of Anza Borrego State Park, I came across a news article that President Obama had just signed 1.8 million acres of southern California wilderness into National Monument status; Mojave Trails National Monument, Sand to Snow National Monument, and Castle Mountains National Monument Continue reading

Forecast Calls for 96° and Snow

Where can you sit poolside and bake in the 90+ degree sunshine in a lounge chair one day, and hike in snow the next without ever packing a bag?  Why, Palm Springs, CA, of course!

I say my goodbyes to Jim and Gayle in the Joshua Tree south boondock, with plans to meet up further north this summer.   We are off to pursue our mutual passions Continue reading

Pilgrimage to Mecca

Mecca Hills, California that is, not Saudi Arabia. Hhhmmm, wonder if that blog title is gonna get me any extra traffic.  😉

While having a beer with the Jacumba Hiking Club, one of the members mentioned a “must do” hike in the nearby Mecca Hills which he called “Mecca Hills Ladders” hike.   It sounded so intriguing that I didn’t want to chance it to memory.  Continue reading