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 →

After inspecting the seashore from the town nestled in the middle of California’s Lost Coast, it was time to explore the mountains that rise up from the coast. These mountains are the reason that this stretch of prime waterfront land is “lost” (to development). From Shelter Cove we drove up the winding mountain road that I 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 →

Last year’s Rim Fire, named for the “Rim of the World” vista point in Stanislaus National Forest was the largest recorded wildfire in the Sierra Nevada. An illegal campfire set by a hunter started the blaze that burned for over two months and consumed over 400 square miles of forest in the Stanislaus National Forest Read More →

Trails through the Sierras connect Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks to Yosemite National Park, but to drive there one must go through Fresno. We drove into Fresno planning to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot and head into Yosemite in the morning. From what I had heard, every campsite in Yosemite is reserved months Read More →

The proposed hiking plan that led us to Idyllwild, CA was a very ambitious 11 mile, 4,400 foot elevation change round-trip to the peak of Mount San Jacinto. While we love challenging hikes, the trailhead for this hike was 6 miles down the highway and we also love not driving the van in the middle 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 →

Many people have recommended Joshua Tree National Park to visit, so we drove here from Flagstaff. The 340 mile drive was the longest we have driven in a day in months. It was tiring but we made it to nearest campground just as the rangers were closing up. By this point in our trip we Read More →