Our last few urban stops were short and stressful due to the difficulty of finding overnight parking, but we needed to make sure our visit to Portland was under better circumstances so we could give it a fair evaluation as a place we might call home. By appealing to our network of friends via Facebook, Read More →

Immediately upon entering Oregon, we found a different culture. A family spending a sunny afternoon playing at the beach had a bucket to pick up trash and leave the shore cleaner than they found it. A man walking on the side of Highway 101 also appeared to have a bag of collected trash. A simple Read More →

When dinosaurs roamed the earth during the Jurassic Period 150 million years ago, a group of conifers thrived in forests covering what is today Europe, Asia and North America. As the climate became cooler and drier, these conifers were restricted to just three geographic regions and the three redwood species we know today evolved from Read More →

San Francisco was on the short list of places to settle at the end of our trip, and I had expected to spend some time there visiting friends and getting to know the city before continuing north. We did visit a couple friends, having dinner at my grad school friend Mary’s apartment in Menlo Park Read More →

“From the margin of these glorious forests the first general view of the Valley used to be gained – a revelation in landscape affairs that enriches one’s life forever.” – John Muir During the gold rush of 1849 miners invaded the acorn orchards and game lands of the native tribes living in the Sierra Nevada. Read More →

At the cave tour in Carlsbad Caverns we met a young couple on a similar trip as us, only headed the opposite direction. On their recommendation we decided to take surfing lessons in San Diego and headed there from Joshua Tree. Our first evening there we took a night-time walk on Mission Bay path to see the Pacific Read More →

Second to the Joshua Tree itself, the fascinating sculptures and gravity-defying piles of rocks are one of most prominent features of the landscape in Joshua Tree National Park. The land looks as if a giant moved rocks into piles, leaving vast swaths of land boulder-free with towering stacks of stones scattered about, many sculpted into artistic forms. Read More →

I was surprised when the ranger at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center recommended the “Prison Camp” campground for our stay in the Coronado National Forest. Despite the unappealing name, we headed there because of its location on the trail we planned to hike. An interpretive sign at the campground explains why the campground is called Read More →

First day, December 31 Our first campsite was Gravel Pit #1, a few miles upstream on the Rio Grande from Rio Grande Village, where we were booked for three nights. The ranger who helped us plan our itinerary promised that the Gravel Pit had nice sites, despite the unglamorous name. She did not lie. We Read More →