Traveling? Check out, and get, those recommended vaccinations!

If you’re traveling, get your shots!

I’m not just talking about malaria, tuberculosis shots and others required for trips to Thailand and the like. I’m talking about needed vaccinations if you’re in a certain risk group. Vaccines that can stave off the flu, meningitis, pneumonia, shingles and the like (see www.cdc.gov for a good list).

On June 30, I came down with, first, incredible toothache, in an upper left molar. Saturday and Sunday, between stabbing pains every six seconds, all I could do was dream of getting to the dentist and having a tooth pulled or root canal the following Monday.

Despite popping a dozen and a half ibuprofen over the weekend, by Monday the pain had moved to general jaw pain and in the roof of my mouth, lip, upper lip and lower cheek I was starting to pop out in what I thought were “fever blisters”.

I saw my dentist, first, and he, along with my Kaiser Permanente Doctor, suspected either bacterial or viral infection. At Kaiser, the tests came back confirming shingles, the adult continuation of chickenpox.

I now am three weeks and two days into this bout with the zoster shingles virus. And it’s been a variety of “shades of miserable”. From toothache, earache, jaw-ache and continuing headaches and facial swelling, most of my month of July has been “down the toilet”.  Not much sleep, little appetite (though I have lost 12 pounds) and low energy.

I finally appear to be coming out of it (normal duration is 2 to 4 weeks, though symptoms can last far longer), and I am thankful that this didn’t happen to me in the midst of a long trip we have planned later this summer.

Worst, upon my second appointment at Kaiser Permanente, I was given a list of “recommended and received” vaccinations. Of about eight of them recommended to me by KP, the only one that was recommended (upon my turning age 60) that I did not have was shingles. I never got around to it. Big mistake.

So if you’re in a risk group (in particular if you are 60 or older) or have other recommended vaccinations – get them! Don’t risk a well planned vacation – ruined. If you don’t, you might want to get trip cancellation insurance and prepare for a miserable time!

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Stockton/San Joaquin County, CA “hidden gems” list, Part II

 

The Stockton Empire Theatre anchors the southern end of the Miracle Mile in Stockton, and is home to a long stretch of quaint shops and gourmet restaurants.

Richmaid is a vintage diner on Cherokee in Lodi, the perfect place for breakfast or a lunch stop on your tour of the Lodi/Woodbridge Wine Grape Appellation!
This demonstration/teaching vineyard is part of the Lodi Wine and Visitor’s Center in Lodi!
UOP’s campus is a great place for quiet cycling, and, the location of the San Joaquin Bike Fest, coming on Saturday, Sept. 27 (detail at www.sjbikefest.org).
DeRosa University Center on the University of Pacific campus is the center of student activity, and a great place to bike or walk for a cool drink or snack!

In our working careers, my spouse and I have lived in five interesting cities (Spokane, WA, my wife’s hometown, San Mateo, Sacramento, Toledo, OH, and Stockton).  We lived in each of those cities for 2.5 years or longer, and upon departure from the first four, realized that, of their great sights and scene-stealers, we had probably only seen 50 to 75%.  What a shame, we now reflect – and have vowed not to let that happen again. 

Hence, we resolved not to miss those stellar attractions in Stockton and San Joaquin County – those places you would take guests to show off your hometown.  Why not start your own list, and check them off as you visit them?  Along the way, you’ll come to appreciate and understand our fine community all the better!  This continues our “must-sees” of Stockton and San Joaquin County, an article that ran last Sunday in the Record and can be found on my blog.

Last week we shared highlights of the Haggin Museum and Victory Park, the Downtown Stockton waterfront, the San Joaquin Delta and the Micke Grove Park/Zoo/San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum. For kid’s activities we suggested the Stockton Children’s Museum and Pixie Woods at Lewis Park,

Here is the second half of our list of “Stockton/San Joaquin County’s hidden gems”:

Miracle Mile, shops and restaurants: The Miracle Mile, on Pacific from Harding Way north to the University of Pacific campus and Calaveras River, was Stockton’s original suburban shopping center. Today it is resurgent as home to scores of quaint, walkable shops and some of the city’s finest restaurants.  Stroll the Mile on a Saturday and stop for food or drink at favorite places like Centrale, Whiskey Barrel Tavern, CoCoRo, Mile Wine Company, The Ave, Valley Brew and many more.  Not to be missed on the Mile is the Stockton Art League’s Goodwin Gallery, located at 1902 Pacific Avenue, a non-profit gallery supporting local artists at this location for 13 years.  For insights, www.stocktonmiraclemile.com. 

Lodi/Woodbridge wine country and varied wineries: Start in west Lodi at the Lodi Wine and Visitor’s Center at the corner of Lower Sacramento and Turner Road.  From there, fan out to visit some of more than 80 local wineries that have put wine tourism on the map over the last 25 years.  Throughout the season, a variety of festivals of wine, chocolate, music, good food and more offer many opportunities to tickle your palette!  Check the summer music festivals at Jessie’s Grove Winery or fun reviews at McConnell Estates Winery.

During your tour, stop for breakfast at Richmaid on Cherokee Lane, or lunch in downtown Lodi (one of the Valley’s gems of reborn downtowns).  You’ll find reliable choices such as Lodi Beer Company, Rosewood Grill and School Street Bistro all on School Street.  For more info on Lodi’s wines, www.lodiwine.com, or www.visitlodi.com.

University of Pacific campus: For theater, performing arts, sports, provocative lectures, adult education, bike trail convergence, UOP’s beautiful Ivy-League-like campus was the site for the filming of a dozen or more great Hollywood movies (like Raiders of the Lost Ark).  It’s a compact, walkable and bikeable campus (the Calaveras Bike Trail runs along the north edge of the entire UOP campus).  Stop at Burns Tower for a parking pass and a campus map, tour the shady campus, and stop for a drink or snack at the DeRosa University Center. 

During your tour, stake out the locations of the Long Theatre, Faye Spanos Concert Hall, Spanos Center and other key venues for future returns for theatre, performing arts, sports and more.  Info, www.pacific.edu.

Ethnic dining: Stockton is blessed with dining diversity like no city closer than Los Angeles, so get creative in your culinary tastes!  My list could offer scores of good choices, but downtown is rich in diversity (Cancun, Casa Flores, King’s House, On Lock Sam, Yasoo Yani, Bottley’s Barbecue, more, see www.downtownstockton.org), as well as the Miracle Mile (Suzy’s Mexican, Saigon, CoCoRo, New Wok Inn, Siamese Street, see www.stocktonmiraclemile.com) and many more throughout the city.  With such culinary and ethnic dining diversity, why not skip past the national chains and eat local?

Cultural celebrations: Throughout the year, our city and county offers up scores of celebrations of our cultures and many ethnicities.  The Stockton Obon Festival is one not to miss, on Saturday, August 2 at the Stockton Buddhist Temple, stocktonbuddhisttemple.org.  Soon to come are the Fiipino Barrio Festival, Aug. 9/10, Reggae Fest on the Delta at the Breadfruit Tree, August 23, the Greek Festival at St. Basil’s Church, Sept. 5, the Lodi Grape Festival, Sept. 11, the Record’s Family Day at University Park, Sept 20, San Joaquin Bike Festival, Sept. 27 and many more. 

While you are enjoying local entertainment, don’t overlook Wednesday night free concerts in Victory Park through end of August, the monthly free movies at Weber Point, classic films presented monthly at the Bob Hope/Fox CA Theatre, wonderful theater staged at Stockton Civic Theater and more. Immerse yourself in our many community celebrations and learn more about your neighbors!  Go to www.visitstockton.org for a comprehensive list of community events and cultural celebrations.

Please offer up your own “don’t miss short list” and send them on to me (tviall@msn.com); I’ll  visit many of those “musts” and include some in a future article or blog.  For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel. 

Happy travels in the west!

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Teardrop and other tiny travel trailers; frugal travel in high style!

 

Author's spouse Susan poses near our Scotty teardrop, every bit as comfy around the campfire as our giant motorhome neighbors. Picture from Pinnacles National Park.

Teardrop galley with two burner built-in stove for quick cooking.
Galley paired with custom tent added to double the teardrop’s covered “living area” footprint, with Ocean Cove, CA in background near Jenner, CA.
Galley detail on one of many teardrop trailers we have seen in our travels!

We are gearing up for a three week trip with our little teardrop camper that will take us to Crater Lake National Park, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, over to Spokane, through Idaho, into Montana to Glacier National Park, then up to Alberta, Canada to take in Lake Louise, Jasper National Park and other incredible places. 

With our circuitous route, we’ll take in two family reunions along the way, see several sets of friends in Oregon and Washington, log about 3,500 miles – and spend $500 on gasoline and, maybe, $350 on lodging.  Not bad for a three week tour into wonderous country!

You might wonder “how do we do that”?  Well, pulling a fully-loaded teardrop trailer adds about 850 lbs, and does cut our gas mileage down to about 28 MPG (but, compare that to folks pulling giant fifth-wheels behind behemoth diesel pickups getting 8 MPG).  And, the trailer fits into many camping sites too small for the giant rigs, offers wonderfully comfy sleeping quarters, and we can cook with the best of the giant motorhome owners.  We added a receiver to the back of our little trailer, so several bikes are always with us, as well.  The sun shines as brightly on our campsite as it does for the larger rigs, and our campfire and picnic table is just as rustic.

On the lodging end, we don’t duck the chance to spend a few nights with friends along the way, which we will do in the Portland and Spokane area.  For other nights we search out federal campgrounds (national parks, national forests, etc.) and with our federal Senior pass, we get half off all campgrounds (and free admission to all national parks in the US, including all nine in CA!).  So, a $36 site drops to $18 (the discount does not hold in Canada, however).

I’ve been retired, now for 20 months, my wife for 12 – long ago, we made a pact to do a lot of traveling in the US and Canada the next several years.

In the last year, we have toured all the way to the end of Long Island (and bought a classic teardrop trailer in West Virginia, towing/camping in it the balance of the trip), toured Gettysburg and the C&O Canal into Washington D.C., and took a fall trip up the coasts of CA, OR and WA, and across British Columbia. 

In the deep winter, we drove up to Whitefish, MT, toured into Glacier National Park (eerie in frozen splendor) and experienced 40 below zero in West Yellowstone!  We spent three weeks touring the Grand Canyon, taking in spring training games in Phoenix and visiting pals in Yuma.  Along the way, we have visited eight of the nine national parks in California (only lacking Channel Islands NP; we’ll get there someday!).

We want to see the US first, Canada second, before flying off to see Europe and other far-flung destinations. Not that we don’t want to travel the world – but we know we can see much of the US and much of Canada and spend a lot less money.

For meals, we prepare many of our own in camp; the pictures above show many of the “kitchen detail” built into many of these small, teardrop trailers.  If we are not dining at our campground, we don’t “go cheap”, for we like nice restaurants and appreciate a quality meal.  But, about 12 years ago (both of us feeling like we eat too much and desiring to lose a few pounds) we began sharing a salad and a main entry.  We can add an inexpensive bottle of wine, and get out with a bill in the $60-$80 range.  Perfect!

We currently own two small trailers, a three-year old 58 Serro Scotty teardrop reproduction model, and an original 64 Scotty Sportsman, a bit larger though needing a fairly intensive rebuild.  We can tow the teardrop with our Focus, and we get lots of comments in the campgrounds, parked among the “big boys” – giant fifth-wheels towed by huge diesel pickups.  Guess who gets four-times better mileage?

So, take a think about “small trailering”.  You can find slightly used teardrops trailers and their kin on eBay or Craig’s List, and sold new locally at places like Pan Pacific RV in Lathrop, CA.  In addition to teardrop trailers, modern pop-up campers offer all sorts of options that can sleep a family of six in most of the creature comforts offered by those giant fifth wheels!

On Friday, we will return with the second half of our article on Stockton and San Joaquin County’s “hidden gems”!  For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel.  Happy travels in the west!

 

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Stockton/San Joaquin County’s “must see” list, Part I

The Stockton Children's Museum has long been a favorite destination for kids and families, just off the downtown Stockton south channel waterfront.

Huge wind art is visible on Stockton’s Deepwater Channel, behind the Stockton Ports Ballpark.
A small piece of the San Joaquin River Delta, with Mt. Diable in background, is visible from a sunset dinner at the Garlic Bros. deck in Stockton.
Giant clamshell dredge bucket dwarfs kids at the San Joaquin Historical Museum!

 

The Stockton Empire Theater anchors a resurgent portion of the Miracle Mile, complete with great restaurants and walkable shops.

Perhaps you have seen my Sunday travel articles in the Record or travel blogs over the last six months; in retirement, my spouse and I have worked to take our travels seriously.

In our working career, we have lived in five interesting cities (Spokane, WA, my wife’s hometown, San Mateo, Sacramento, Toledo, OH, and Stockton).  We lived in each of those cities for 2.5 years or longer, and upon departure from the first four, realized that, of their great sights and scene-stealers, we had probably only seen 50 to 75%.  What a shame, we now reflect – and have vowed not to let that happen again. 

Hence, for Stockton and San Joaquin County, as well as Northern California, we have resolved not to miss those stellar attractions – those places you would take guests to show off your hometown.  Why not start your own list, and check them off as you visit them?  Along the way, you’ll come to appreciate and understand our fine community all the better! 

Here is the start of our list of “Stockton/San Joaquin County’s hidden gems”:

Haggin Museum and Victory Park: The stately Haggin is one of the west coast’s prime museums and art collections and has anchored Victory Park for 82 years.  First Saturdays offer free admission, and Second Saturdays offer up special programming targeting families with kids.  Sunset Magazine has called it one of “California’s undersung gems”; it’s museum role focuses on the city’s history from founder Captain Weber, to more modern leaders like Benjamin Holt (inventor of the Caterpiller-type tractor), Tillie Lewis (the “Tomato Queen”), and Stephens Brothers wood boat builders.

Among its art collections are scores of paintings by 19th and 20th century American and European artists, and breathtaking panoramas of the Yosemite Valley.  Ongoing special showings of art make the Haggin experience one that varies by the month  For insight, www.hagginmuseum.org.

Kid’s activities: Put both the Children’s Museum, downtown Stockton and Pixie Woods at Lewis Park on your list for fun for kids of all ages.  The Childern’s Museum (http://www.childrensmuseumstockton.org) lets the kids play on a fire engine, fly a helicopter, prowl in a police car and discover so much about the world they reside in.  At Pixie Woods (www.stockton.gov/pixiewoods), take a boat ride on the Pixie Queen Paddle wheel steamer, ride the rails on the Pixie Express Train or join scores of families on the carousel.  Lots of animals, too!  The special Christmas in July event, Saturday, July 19 makes for a special opportunity to visit!

Downtown Stockton waterfront from the Ports Ballpark and Stockton Arena on the north side to  Weber Point, the Cineplex/Hotel Stockton at the head of the Channel out to the Children’s Museum and Morelli Park on south channel, this is the heart and soul of Stockton.  Once the Gold Rush port to the Mother Lode, it brought miners, merchants and helped build an agricultural empire second to no other in the US.  Take in the view with a walk or bike ride, rent a kayak out of the new Stockton Marina, and take in a Ports or Thunder game or an event at Stockton Arena or historic Bob Hope Theatre (just two blocks from the Hotel Stockton).  For more info, www.downtownstockton.org.

San Joaquin Delta: A great place to start a tour of the some of the 1000 mile waterways of our vast  Delta is with a sunset dinner on Garlic Bros. deck.  The San Joaquin Delta stretches all along the west side of the city (and many waterways stretching into our city).  Other places to gather Delta inspiration are to take Highway 12 west out of Lodi, and tour the Delta Loop, just past Bouldin Island, or Hwy. 4 west (extension of Charter Way in south Stockton).  Explore some Delta back roads, count how many historic draw bridges you cross, and watch the varied agricultural bounty, as well as boats or big ships all along they way.

Micke Grove Park/Zoo/San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum: This is one of our county’s relatively undiscovered gems, a huge park set amidst towering Valley Oaks, that contains the Zoo, and the San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum.  History comes alive at the San Joaquin Historical Museum. With eight large exhibit buildings packed with Native American, pioneer, Gold Rush and agricultural history, and four historic buildings including the Charles Weber Cottage dating to 1847 and the Calaveras School, 1866, it’s one of the state’s best historical museums; info: www.sanjoaquinhistory.org.

Within the large park you’ll also find the stunning Japanese Gardens, the Fun Town Amusement Park and the Micke Grove Zoo (www.mgzoo.com), surrounded by lots of picnic areas placed amongst the oaks. The zoo features a special Lorikeets exhibit through Sept. 21. The park offers so many options in addition to the zoo and museum, you’ll spend a long day, or return, time-and-again.

Our next installment will complete our short list. Yet to come are these “must sees”:

Miracle Mile, shops and restaurants

Lodi/Woodbridge wine country and downtown Lodi

University of Pacific campus.

Ethnic dining throughout the city and county.

Cultural celebrations and festivals.

I hope you will offer up your “don’t miss short list” and send them on to me (tviall@msn.com); I’ll  visit many of those “musts” and include some in a future article or blog.  For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel.  Happy travels in the west!

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Frugal travel…close to home!

 

Giant clamshell dredge bucket always amazes kids; it's a staple of the San Joaquin Historical Museum at Micke Grove Park.

Stockton’s waterfront and new Stockton Marina, viewed from behind the Stockton Ports Ballpark.
University of Pacific’s DeRosa University Center is the place to finish a walking or biking tour of this lovely campus!
Enjoy the San Joaquin Delta, its waterways, boats and a great sunset, with good food, off the Garlic Bros. Restaurant deck!

I’ve been retired, now for a year and a half, my wife for a year – we made a pact to do a lot of traveling in the US and Canada the next several years, emphasizing seeing the country and not spending a ton of money.

We also think that it makes sense to see the US first, Canada second, before flying off to see Europe, the Balkans, and other far-flung destinations. Not that we don’t want to do it – we’re currently thinking of an Italian two-week visit sometime next year – but we know we can see much of the US and much of Canada and spend a lot less money.

However, mindful of the fact that in our working careers, we lived in four other cities (Spokane, Susan’s hometown, San Mateo, Sacramento and Toledo, OH) and upon departing them, realized we had only seen half or 2/3s of those cities highlights and scene-stealers, we have made a pact to see our city and county’s top attractions!  My next blog will list insights for our own top 10 favorites; I hope you will add your thoughts and send them along to me!

The nice thing is that “seeing local” means you can do so inexpensively.  Everything on our list is within 30 miles of our home, so short day-trips can take in several unique destinations.  More than a few can be seen by bicycle or on foot.  They all make for a great “Staycation”, and will fine-tune your tourism talents next time you have guests in town!

Don’t forget that daypack (containing a small first-aid kit, snacks, water bottles, binoculars, camera and the like).  If you have something like that prepared, it’s all the easier to zip out the door and go exploring!

Here’s our own short list of local “Must sees”; what’s yours?  Hope you will add to the list (and we will get out and see some highlights we have yet to visit).

Stockton, greater Stockton’s “hidden gems”:

Haggin Museum and Victory Park

Micke Grove Park/Zoo/SJ historical Society,

Pixie woods, Children’s Museum for kids

Downtown waterfront from Ports Ballpark/Arena on the north side to Cineplex/Hotel Stockton out to Morelli Park on south channel (and Ports or Thunder games; events at Arena or Bob Hope Theatre)

Garlic Bros. deck for summer sunset dining on the Delta, and the San Joaquin Delta

Miracle Mile, shops and restaurants

Lodi/ Woodbridge wine country and varied wineries

University of Pacific campus, theater/performing arts and/or  sports, community involvement.

Ethnic dining in varied locations, like downtown Stockton (Cancun, Tio Pepe’s, On Lock Sam, Yasoo Yani, scores more), many more throughout the city;

Cultural celebrations throughout the year (with VisitStockton.org as a good source for planning)

I hope you will offer up your “don’t miss short list” and send them on to me (tviall@msn.com); I’ll  visit many of those “musts” and include some in a future article or blog.  On Friday, you’ll see lots of detail on these destinations!  For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel.  Happy travels in the west!

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Warships, tall ships and historic watercraft of the Bay Area: Part II

The 301' Balclutha, a three-masted, square-rigged schooner dating to the 1880s, and the Eppleton Hall, a steam tug boat, are just two of the many historic ships anchored at the Hyde Street Pier!

The Hyde Street Cable Car turnaround is just a block up the street from the Hyde Street Pier. Here cable cars are turned on a hand-powered turntable and loaded for the trip back up Hyde Street!
USS Pamponito, a World War II fleet submarine, sank six Japaneses ships and damaged four others; the sub and the Jeremiah O’Brien are anchored for tours at Pier 45 in Fisherman’s Wharf.
The SS Jeremiah O’Brien is one of only two surviving Liberty Ships of the 2,710 built in World War II to supply Allied troops with “beans, bullets and black oil”; Rosie the Riveter and many American shipyard workers could construct one of these ships in 60 days!
The Ferry Building opened at intersection of Market and The Embarcadeo in 1898, and unitl the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge opened in the 1930s, was the world’s second busiest transit center!
The Ferry Building’s 600′ vaulted nave is home to specialty shops and all manner of restaurants!

The Hyde Street Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building; three of the best places in San Francisco to see big ships up close and personal.  You’ve probably been to the first two,  but have you been to the Ferry Building since its renovation 11 years ago?  Well, locals know it for great food, good drinks, a wonderful farmers market and stunning maritime scenery right off the ferry docks. 

Hence, let’s again set sail for more deep-water adventure.  We’ll start in the morning to beat the biggest crowds on San Francisco’s north Embarcadero, where the Hyde Street Pier and Fisherman’s Wharf are side-by-side.  Find an all day parking lot for “early-in rates”, you can use the Embarcadero historic trolley to cruise the waterfront, all the way to the Ferry Building or even to AT&T Park.  Cycling is another option, with well-marked bike lanes all along the waterfront.

Until the completion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, in 1936 and 1937, respectively, the Hyde Street Pier was the principal ferry departure point for vehicle and passenger traffic to Sausalito and Berkeley, and were part of US Hwy. 101 and Hwy. 40.  The Ferry Building linked San Francisco to Oakland, Alameda, Vallejo other other destinations.  The ferries ran regularly as part of the Golden Gate Ferrys, a part of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

For historic ships, the Hyde Street Pier can’t be beat in California. It’s home to  the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha, 1914 paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall, 1890 steam ferry Eureka, 1895 schooner C. A. Thayer, 1891 scow schooner Alma, 1907 steam tug Hercules, 1890 San Francisco Bay Ark, 1915 steam schooner Wapama and many smaller watercraft.  A $5 fee covers a seven-day pass to enter the vessels, with supervised kids under 16 free.

Most noticed due to her three masts and size is the 301’ Balclutha, a three-masted square-rigged schooner launched in 1886 by a shipyard in Scotland, which carried a crew of 26 men to handle her 25 sails.  This stately ship carried coal around Cape Horn (tip of South America) from Wales and Australia to San Francisco to fuel American railroads and steamships, later serving as a part of the Pacific lumber trade, as a salmon packet and appeared in the Clark Gable movie Mutiny on the Bounty.

Other ships of unique interest are the Eppleton Hall, a 100’ steel tug built in 1914 in England, featuring two side paddle-wheels, each powered by a steam engine.  This ship was designed to move ocean-going coal ships on the River Tyne, with the two engines/paddlewheels allowing for high-maneuverability. 

You also can’t miss the 299’ steam-powered ferry the Eureka, launched in 1890 and designed to carry 2,300 passengers and 120 autos.  Built identically on both ends, the design saved precious time as the ship did not need to turn-around while making its back and forth trips.  The 1891 scow schooner Alma, with flat bottom and modest draft, delivered all types of goods throughout the Bay and Delta long before roads, bridges and trucks took prime position (the Alma hosts afternoon sails with a Ranger on selected summer afternoons).

Hyde Street Pier is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, so take the time to prowl through the many exhibits in the museum-proper, just a block up the hill from the pier.  On your way to the museum, you’ll pass by the Hyde Street Cable Car turntable, where the historic cars are turned by hand for their return up Hyde Street.

Just two blocks east is Fisherman’s Whart, where the two World War II ships are tied up at Pier 45 for public tours and viewing.  The USS Pampanito is a World War II fleet submarine, which served on war patrol from March, 1944 until April, 1945.  It sank six Japanese ships, damaged four others and rescued 73 Allied prisoners of war.  While the submarine force was credited with sinking 55% of Japanese ships in the war, 23% of the submarine force was lost, numbering 52 ships and 3,500 fighting men.

Further down the pier is the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, one of only two remaining of 2,710 “Liberty Ships” constructed during the war.  These ships were built of identical parts by “Rosie the Riveter” in plants across the US.  The ship was our answer to Hitler’s U-boats, built to haul “beans, bullets and black oil” to our troops around the world – faster than Germany could sink them.  Both the Pamponito and Jeremiah O’Brien charge fees to enter the ships (see web sites below for detail).

While at Fisherman’s Wharf, take time to enjoy the Wharf area directly between the Hyde Street Pier and the two warships.  It’s more “old school” than newer shops that have proliferated to the south and east; you will also be able to see the commercial and sport-fishing fleet that still ties up as they have for more than 160 years.

To complete your waterfront tour, hop the Embarcadero trolley and head south east to the Ferry Building. A 245’ masterpiece that opened in 1898 and was extensively renovated in 2003, this grand building was once the second busiest transit terminal in the world (until the two bridges opened in the 1930s). 

Today it’s home to a grand assemblage of good restaurants, shops and the famous Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, which operates Saturdays from 8 AM to 2 PM, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Complete your waterfront tour with a snack from one of the many Ferry Building eateries, then take the Embarcadero streetcars back to your starting place!

How to get there: Fisherman’s Wharf is 90 miles from Stockton, about 1.75 hours.  Take Interstate 5 south to Tracy, I-205 west to I-580 and continue across the new Bay Bridge (the concrete sections were made in Stockton); once in San Francisco, take the first exit to the right (Essex Street), follow the signs to the Embarcadero, then go left to Fisherman’s Wharf. (take your binoculars!).

What’s nearby: San Francisco Maritime Museum is just a block from the Hyde Street Pier, as is the Hyde Street Cable Car turntable and (across the street), the iconic Buena Vista Tavern.  The two warships are right in the thick of Fisherman’s Wharf, with fishing boats, many restaurants and plenty of tourist attractions.  Just two blocks further east is Pier 39, wildly popular with tourists; and heading southeast down the Embarcadero, the Ferry Building and lots more ships of the sea!

What to take: Good walking shoes, bicycles if a cyclist, snacks, drinks, sunscreen, a good map or GPS unit, camera and binoculars!

More info: For historic craft at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, go to http://www.nps.gov/safr/ or call 415-447-5000.   For the USS Jeremiah O’Brien, http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/ and the USS Pampanito, http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm/, both docked at Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 45 in San Francisco. For fees to tour the Pamponito or Jeremiah O’Brien, see the web sites.

Next week, we will take a look even closer to home, examining the “Top 10 List” of destinations in Stockton and San Joaquin County not to be missed (and, we’ll ask for your suggestions to add to the list!)

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel; to contact me, tviall@msn.com.  Happy travels in the west!

Stockton Footnote: Stockton has both a long history in historic ship-building, and can lay claim to at least one warship of historic consequence!  The USS Lucid, a 172 foot, Aggressive Class mine sweeper, built in 1953 in New Orleans and identical to three other mine sweepers built in Stockton, is currently being refurbished here in Stockton.  For insight, www.stocktonhistoricalmaritimemuseum.org.

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San Francisco waterfront by bicycle (or, foot, trolley) from AT&T Park to Golden Gate Bridge

View from The Ramp's outdoor deck, where huge cargo ships are usually moored just offshore for work by the next door shipyard. The Ramp's breakfasts, lunches, views and Bloody Marys cannot be topped on a sunny day!

USS Pampanito, World War II fleet submarine, on display at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Cyclist peddles past the Ferry Building, on well-marked bright green bike lane separating her from traffic on the Embarcadeo.
Cable car at the foot of Hyde Street, just a block up the hill from the Hyde Street Pier!
The Balclutha, historic 1886 three-masted square-rigged schooner, at Hyde Street Pier.
Cyclists peddle past public art at Chrissey Field.
Golden Gate Bridge is stunning from any angle, this shot taken near Fort Point.

Today’s post is primarily a short sharing of the bikability of San Franciso’s stunning waterfront!  Over the past few weeks, I have been working on a two-part series on the tallships, warships and historic watercraft of the Bay Area.  In the process of working on those articles, my wife and I were reminded how bike-friendly (and, crowd-dodging with bikes) is the City of San Francisco.

On our last visit to the City, we took our two bikes and parked about a mile south of AT&T Park, where street parking can be had, for free, for two hours.  Our car-drop spot was also a half-block from our favorite SF waterfront restaurant, The Ramp (known mostly by locals, you won’t find it by accident)!

From The Ramp, we peddled north along the Bay waterfront, past several commercial boat yards, and up to AT&T Park.  Here, we joined the Embarcadero, and peddled along well-marked bike paths beside traffic.  We took a stop at the marvelous Ferry Building, locked our bikes to the bayside rail with scores of other bikes, and took an ice-cream break at one of the many eateries and shops in the Ferry building (renovated in 2003, it is a mecca for both locals and tourists seeking food and drink). 

After our respite, we continued north along the bike trail, well-marked in bright green in many places, past Pier 39 (too crowed with tourists in our book), to Fisherman’s Wharf where we toured the World War II ships the USS Pampanito and the SS Jeremiah O’Brien.  From there, it was just two more blocks to the historic Hyde Street Pier and its array of more than eight historic watercraft, highlighted by the 1886 three-masted schooner, Balclutha.

From there, one can continue though Ft. Mason, over to the Marina District, on past Chrissy field and all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge and it’s historic Civil War-era Fort Point.

This route takes you right past the Hyde Street Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building; three of the best places in San Francisco to see big ships up close and personal. 

If you aren’t into biking, you can take much of this waterfront tour by hopping aboard the Embarcadero trolley which connects AT&T Ballpark north to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Complete your waterfront tour with a snack from one of the many nearby eateries, then hop the Embarcadero streetcars back to your starting place!

How to get there: The Ramp Restaurant is 92 miles from Stockton, about 1.75 hours.  Take Interstate 5 south to Tracy, I-205 west to I-580 and continue across the new Bay Bridge (the concrete sections were made in Stockton); once in San Francisco, take the first exit to the right (Essex Street), follow the signs to the Embarcadero, then go right to AT&T Ballpark, then south on 3rd Street.  The Ramp is located at 855 Terry Francois St, San Francisco, CA 94158 • (415) 621-2378.  Street parking for no charge for cyclists, up to two hours.

What’s nearby: Just about all the attractions of SF’s waterfront, from the ballpark, to fireboats, the Bay Bridge, art on the waterfront, the Ferry Building, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and Hyde Street Pier, Ft. Mason, the Marina District, Chrissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge.  For a seven mile bike ride, the scenery cannot be beat!

What to take: Good walking shoes, bicycles if a cyclist, snacks, drinks, sunscreen, a good map or GPS unit, camera and binoculars!

More info: For historic craft at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, go to http://www.nps.gov/safr/ or call 415-447-5000.   For the USS Jeremiah O’Brien, http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/ and the USS Pampanito, http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm/, both docked at Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 45 in San Francisco. For fees to tour the Pamponito or Jeremiah O’Brien, see the web sites.  The Ramp Restaurant is located at 855 Terry Francois St, San Francisco, CA 94158, (415) 621-2378. 

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel; to contact me, tviall@msn.com.  Happy travels in the west

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Warships, tall ships and historic watercraft of the Bay Area

The USS Hornet looms large over our tour group (L to R, Tom Wilson, Tom Garing, Rick Dubin and author Tim Viall).

Kids can get a lesson in piloting a huge aircraft carrier in the Hornet’s bridge, guided by docents, many of them former crew members (photo courtesy Carri Stever).
The Hornet’s flight deck, as seen from the bridge, saw Jimmie Doolittle’s squadron of B-25s depart on secret mission to attack Japan in World War II (photo courtesy Carri Stever).

 

At right, the Cape Fear, a supply vessel that carries barges, is largest of the ghost fleet, at 880 feet in length with 100 foot beam; it stands as silent sentinel over five other old Navy ships.

L to R; the Triumph, an ocean survey vessel built in 1984, and two 1943 Coast Guard bouy tenders, lie quietly at anchor, part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet
The Green Mountain State is one of 18 old Navy and Coast Guard ships that stand “at the ready” in Suisun Bay.
San Francisco’s Hyde Street Pier is home to eight historic ships, like the Balclutha, and 1886 three-masted schooner (at left).

Some as long as three football fields, these mighty ships helped win World War II and Operation Desert Storm, shipped goods all over the world, ferried passengers and hauled hay in San Francisco Bay – they are the warships, tall ships and historic watercraft of the Bay Area.

The USS Hornet is a World War II air craft carrier and floating museum in Alameda, the Cape Fear is part of the “ghost fleet” (the National Defense Reserve Fleet) in Suisun Bay; the Balclutha is an 1886 schooner tied up at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco Bay.  They make up part of more than two dozen warships and historic watercraft around the Bay Area.  All can be seen for little or no money, and all are within a 90 minute drive of Stockton.

So, let’s set sail, starting with the USS Hornet in Alameda. Sure to please youngsters and boat-lovers alike, a tour of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier also includes almost a dozen other newer Navy ships moored nearby and thousands of pleasure boats in Alameda marinas.

 

On April 2, 1942, the USS Hornet (CV8), an aircraft carrier based out of Alameda, led a task force fleet of carriers and destroyers on a top-secret mission to Japan.  On April 18, Lt. Colonel Jimmie Doolittle led a flight of 16 B-25 bombers on a daring mission over Japan, hitting targets in Tokyo, Yokohama and other cities, a remarkable victory and the first strike on Japan’s mainland since the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese that brought America into the war.   Doolittle, a native of Alameda, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his leadership.  This ship was sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz in October, 1942.

The Kearsarge was renamed the USS Hornet (CV12, the ship on display in Alameda) and would continue the fight in WWII.  The Hornet would anchor its place in history again, when on July 24, 1969, President Richard Nixon and other dignitaries would stand on the Hornet flight deck when the carrier recovered astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and their spacecraft Columbia after Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon.

The USS Hornet (CV12) is open for tours at the Alameda Navy Ship Yard in Alameda.  Also on display are newer Navy ships like the USNS Cape Henry, recently at anchor across the pier from the Hornet, a unique “at the ready” Navy cargo ship with a diagonally-cut stern, so it can immediately tie-up at piers around the world and disgorge its military cargo. 

The USS Hornet is open for tours at the Alameda Navy Ship Yard in Alameda.  Also on display are newer Navy ships like the USNS Cape Henry, recently at anchor across the pier from the Hornet, a unique “at the ready” Navy cargo ship with a diagonally-cut stern, so it can immediately tie-up at piers around the world and disgorge its military cargo. 

While in Alameda, we also took the time to walk through several marinas.   Alameda, an island in the San Francisco Bay and immediately adjacent to Oakland, is home to several thousand private yachts and sailboats.  It’s a kid’s and boat-lover’s paradise! 

From Alameda, tour over to the Carquinez Straights/Suisun Bay area, where about 20 of the National Defense Reserve Fleet remain.  Once numbering in the hundreds, this mothballed fleet of old Navy cargo and specialty ships now number about 18; with the others having been retired – most of them scrapped.  The remaining ships offer a ghostly presence, anchored side by side, about a mile east of the I-680 bridge across the Carquinez Straights.

One can get a good view from the shore, but you will need good binoculars or a friend with a boat to see a close-up view.  We launched a friend’s 22 foot powerboat at the Martinez Marina, and motored east about two miles, where we spent several hours prowling around the old ships.  Most appeared in “near ready condition”, for potential use in wartime or in a national emergency. 

Typical of the ghost fleet was the Cape Fear, the largest at 880 feet in length, 100 feet across the beam, built in 1971.  This ship is a LASH ship (Lighter Aboard Ship) barge carrier, designed to carry, launch and service its own fleet of barges – well suited to military cargo transport and a ship that was used in Operation Desert Storm.

We toured past 18 vessels, ranging in age from two old Coast Guard buoy tenders made in 1943, to a number of cargo ships dating to the 1960s to 80s, and the newest, the Triumph, an ocean survey ship made as recently as 1984.  Most of these ships appeared in good condition, ready to go back into use if needed.  The most decrepit of the mothball fleet have been hauled away since 2008, most scrapped for their metal in the US or other countries (after a number of environmental groups sued the government to end its pollution of the Bay and Delta).

San Francisco’s historic ship inventory is also deep, with the Hyde Street Pier featuring eight historic ships of varying age and former use, such as the Balclutha, a three-masted, square-rigged 1886 tall ship that carried goods around the world.  Just blocks away are the Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien and the USS Pampanito, a World War II submarine, moored at Fisherman’s Wharf.  We will feature more on these ships with our second installment, next week!

How to get there: The USS Hornet Museum is just 54 miles/one hour from Stockton, located at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, Alameda, CA.  From Stockton, we went south on Interstate 5, west on I-205, west on I-580, west on I-238, north on I-880 to eventually reach the Alameda exit.  From Alameda, it’s about 45 minutes to get a closeup view of the ghost fleet in Suisun Bay; we took Hwy. 24 east out of Oakland, go north on I-680, cross the Carquinez Bridge (you will see the ghost fleet off the right side of the bridge) and exit just over the bridge to get down near Suisun Bay (take your binoculars!).

What’s nearby: Close to Alameda is Jack London Square, across the estuary from Alameda and featuring its own dose of history, scenic boat-viewing and numerous restaurants to choose from. Across from Suisun Bay are   The quaint towns of Martinez and Benecia are, respectively, on the south and north sides of the Carquinez Straights and offer history, nifty old downtowns and great restaurant choices.

What to take: Good walking shoes, bicycles if a cyclist, snacks, drinks, a good map or GPS unit and your camera!

More info: For the USS Hornet in Alameda, http://www.uss-hornet.org/, (510) 521-8448.  For more insight into the ghost fleet in Suisun Bay, go to www.marad.dot.gov.

Next week, we visit the tall ships and historic craft at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, and the SS Jeremiah O’Brien (a Liberty Ship, http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/) and the USS Pampanito (a World War II submarine, http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm/), both docked at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel; to contact me, tviall@msn.com.  Happy travels in the west!

And, as a sidebar: Stockton has both a long history in historic ship-building, and can lay claim to at least one warship of historic consequence!  The USS Lucid, a 172 foot, Aggressive Class mine sweeper, built in 1953 in New Orleans and identical to three other mine sweepers built in Stockton, is currently being refurbished here in Stockton.  For insight, www.stocktonhistoricalmaritimemuseum.org.

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Stockton, greater Stockton “must see” list…what would you add?

 

DeRosa University Center on the University of Pacific campus is a center for the university, offers good food and drink, and, right on the Calaveras Bike Trail as a side benefit!

Downtown Stockton’s waterfront, such as this view from behind the Stockton Ports Ballpark looking over the marina, is not to be missed!
The Steamboat Bridge, crossing Steamboat Slough on the Delta near Walnut Grove, is representative of the scenery and interesting places on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta, just miles from Stockton!
It’s hard to beat dinner and a sunset on the Garlic Brothers’ deck; good food, nice weather and one looks out over pleasure boats and a few miles of the 1000 miles of Delta waterways!

Perhaps you have read some of my travel blogs or Sunday travel articles in the Record newspaper over the last five months (I have become the paper’s “community travel blogger”) and achieved an “every Sunday in the news pages” position that I did not expect.

Over the next several months, I would like to do an occasional series on “vacations close to home”; and I would appreciate your thoughts on “must sees if you had friends or relatives visiting for a few days”.

So, what is your “top 5, or top 10 list” of favorite places or events to take visitors to when they arrive in our town?  To get you started, here is my list – what would you add?

Stockton’s, or, Greater Stockton’s “hidden gems” (in no particular order):

Haggin Museum and Victory Park

Micke Grove Park/Zoo/San Joaquin Historical Society,

Pixie woods, Children’s Museum for kids

Downtown waterfront from Ports Ballpark/Arena on the north side to Cineplex/Hotel Stockton out to Morelli Park on south channel (and Ports or Thunder games; events at Arena or Bob Hope Theatre)

Garlic Brothers. their outdoor deck for summer sunset dining on the Delta (and sharing the Delta story while there)

Miracle Mile, the ambiance that comes with those cute shops and restaurants

Lodi/Woodbridge wine country and varied wineries

University of Pacific campus, theater/performing arts and/or sports (and, right on the Calaveras Bike Trail, a good place to bike to!)

Ethnic dining in varied locations, like downtown (Cancun, Tio Pepe’s, On Lock Sam), many more throughout the city;

Ethnic and cultural celebrations throughout the year (with VisitStockton.org as a good source for planning)

I hope you will offer up your own ”don’t miss five (or, 10) list” and send them on to me (send to tviall@msn.com).  I will visit most of those “musts” that I have not already seen, and include many of these in a future article(s).

And, if you would like to be quoted in the upcoming article(s) and/or blogs, please include your phone number and I will give you a call!  Many thanks.

Coming up this weekend, we explore the big ships/war ships of the San Francisco Bay Area, like the USS Hornet aircraft carrier in Alameda and the “Ghost Fleet” in the Carquinez Straights. 

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel; to contact me, tviall@msn.com.  Happy travels in the west!

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Redding celebrates as the Sun Dial Bridge reaches 10th anniversary!

Couple poses under the Sun Dial Bridge's delicate filigree of cables spanning the Sacramento River in Redding.

 

The approach to the iconic Sun Dial Bridge in Redding shows off its modern and airy structure.
Shasta’s old stores and hotels are mere skeletons, preserved in Shasta State Historic Park!
Western Star Masonic Temple, dating to 1854, is oldest Masonic Temple in CA, and anchors Shasta’s Main Street, Hwy. 299.
Weaverville is a quaint and historic Gold Rush town, just 40 miles west of Redding.
Trinity Lake, normally brimming with water, is down 100+ feet due to the drought; old dredge mine tailings are visible in this photo near lake’s north end.

Celebrate with Redding; its iconic Sun Dial Bridge marks 10 years; Turtle Bay Exploration Park makes for great vacation destination!

For years, Redding was the last big city when headed up Interstate 5 on the way to Mt. Shasta, Portland or Spokane.  Our only reason to exit the freeway was to get gas or find food.

All that has changed in the past 10 years as this “Gateway to the Shasta Area” has added world-class visitor amenities and an iconic bridge that celebrates its 10th anniversary in the next two weeks.  Redding, with the Sun Dial Bridge, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Sacramento River Trail for bicycling and walking –as well as the languid Sacramento River – now draws thousands of visitors each week.

A side benefit is that so many other nearby attractions are just an hour or so away, including Sierra and Cascade  mountain range scenery, Shasta Dam and Lake, Mt. Shasta, Lassen Park and the Trinity Alps Wilderness.  Toss in Gold Rush history and you have a destination worth a several day or week-long visit, just three hours north of Stockton.

Just off I-5, Redding offers up the stunning Turtle Bay Exploration Park, complete with museum, art gallery, forest camp, wildlife exhibits, an amphitheater and the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens.  The park has something for young and old, explains the history, cultureand peoples of the Redding area.  And the world-renowned Sun Dial Bridge adds to the park’s luster! 

The bridge, designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, is a technical and artistic wonder.  Linking both sides of the Sacramento River and the two halves of the park. It opened just ten years ago. The bridge is an actual 220 foot-tall sun dial, accurate at summer solstice.  The slender sun dial tower holds up this marvelous steel and glass suspension bridge with filigree cables, all designed to leave a light footprint spanning the river. 

For the two weeks leading up to the 4th of July, the town celebrates the Sun Dial Bridge anniversary with a host of events culminating on July 4.  They include dance and music on the bridge, the Sundial Music Fest, eves of June 22-25, Brews by the Bridge on June 27 (brew festival), a family float and race on the river, and evening music, food and fun at the Civic Auditorium, both on June 28, and Redding’s Freedom Festival on the national holiday (for details, go to: www.turtlebay.org).

Across the bridge is a 90 mile network of walking and biking trails, presenting days of exploration options.  Cyclists can tour on paved trails all the way to the Shasta Dam or go east or west along the scenic Sacramento River (offering plenty of fishing options, from shoreline angling to guided float trips).  And, stop off at the Shasta Sate Historic Park, just six miles to the west off the Sacramento River Trail. 

The old town of Shasta was, in the 1850s, one of the bustling boom towns on the way to the Trinity gold fields, a bit further to the west.  When gold ran thin, this old town faded away, but much of its old grandeur is preserved in the state park.  Stroll the boardwalk and the ghosts of gold miners walk with you.  The Shasta Museum tells the story of the city and its explosive growth in the Gold Rush; the old Masonic Lodge, still in use, is the oldest in the state! 

Thirty miles further west on Hwy. 299 is another quaint town, Weaverville, and from there you are less than an hour from Trinity Lake and the spectacular Trinity Alps Wilderness Area.  Campgrounds surround these old towns and both Redding and Weaverville offer a host of inexpensive to more pricey motels/hotels.  Boating, fishing and wilderness exploration bring thousands of additional visitors each season.

Chose to explore the mountains to the east – spectacular Lassen Volcanic National Park is just 45 miles away on Hwy. 44.  Go north 10 miles to the always stunning Lake Shasta (though, in the throes of a three-year drought, the water level is down about 100 feet, taking a bit of the glamor away from lake views).

The Sun Dial Bridge and Turtle Bay Park have helped Redding bring its residents and visitors “back to the river”.  With 300 days of sunshine and a long summer, Redding has added to its reputation as a vacation destination.  Plan a long weekend visit, or a week’s vacation and enjoy the many exciting options in nearby N. California.

What’s nearby: Shasta Dam, Lake Shasta and Mt. Shasta to the north, Weaverville and the Trinity Alps Wilderness area to west; Lassen Volcanic National Park to the east.  Redding is truly the Gateway to the Shasta area, northern Sierra and Cascade ranges and some of our state’s most beautiful scenery!  The area offers a wealth of campgrounds, motels, restaurants, Gold Rush history and quiet backroads.

How to get there: From Stockton, it’s three hours and 206 miles; go north on I-5 for 205 miles, take Redding’s Hwy. 44 exit, then go west one mile to Turtle Bay Exploration Park.

When to go: Redding is a year-around vacation destination, though mid-summer can be very hot; late summer and early fall are best choices (and, late September, early October offer superb fall foliage tours).

What to see while there: The Sun Dial Bridge and the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, hiking and biking trails that fan out in three directions and the Sacramento River!

What to take: Good walking shoes, bicycles if a cyclist, snacks, drinks, a good map or GPS unit and your camera!

For more info: For more insight into Redding’s attractions, go to www.visitredding.com, or call 530-225-4100/1-800-874-7562; for Turtle Bay Exploration Park and the Sun Dial Bridge, www.turtlebay.org, 800-887-8532 or 530-243-8850; for info on the walking/biking trail system, www.reddingtrails.com; for Shasta State Historic Park, www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=456; (530) 243-8194.

Next week, we explore the big ships/war ships of the San Francisco Bay Area, like the USS Hornet aircraft carrier in Alameda and the “Ghost Fleet” in the Carquinez Straights. 

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: http://blogs.eSanJoaquin.com/valleytravel; to contact me, tviall@msn.com.  Happy travels in the west!

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    Tim Viall

    Viall is a local travel writer; he retired in late 2012 after almost 10 years as executive director of Stockton's Emergency Food Bank and six years with the Downtown Stockton Alliance. Before that, a 21-year career in daily newspapers helped shape ... Read Full
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