Finally, I am ready to write the post about the final stop on our 9+ month van-traveling adventure. It is very, very late in coming, but as I mentioned before, it is hard to recap those final few stops. But today (December 23rd), we are once again in the van, parked in a National Forest, 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 →

After our tasty post-hike dinner, we drove out of the beautiful, forested Sierras into the hot desert lowlands below, and stayed the night in the Modesto Walmart parking lot. The cars, concrete, noise and street lights were harsh after nearly two full weeks in the quiet serenity of Yosemite National Park. The following morning I 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 →

When we visited San Diego my friend who lives there was out of town, so we agreed to meet for a hike on Mount San Jacinto, east of Los Angeles, the following weekend. Mount San Jacinto State Park has two campgrounds and the adjacent San Bernardino National Forest also has some campgrounds. Out of all Read More →

A friend described Sedona, Arizona to me as a place with red rocks and a “new agey” culture. And that is exactly what we found, from Red Rock State Park to the several “Crystal Vortex” shops in the tourist area. We spent  an afternoon hiking at Red Rock State Park before camping at Dead Horse Read More →

From the Petrified Forest National Park, we headed into Flagstaff for errand day, after which we planned to camp in Sedona. We arrived at Red Rock State Park only to learn that camping isn’t allowed there! We spent a couple hours walking on the trails at that park before heading off to nearby Cottonwood where Read More →