Author Archives: Tim Viall

Five cool places to beat summer’s heat, close to home!

Pinecrest Lake, just off Hwy. 108, attracts big summer crowds to its cooling waters.

Caples Lake, near Kirkwood on Hwy. 88, is a favorite fishing and camping destination. Pinecrest Lake, just off Hwy. 108, attracts big summer crowds to its cooling waters. Big Sur’s Bixby Bridge dates to 1937 and allows access to the rugged coast. Five cool places to beat summer’s heat, close to Stockton and San Joaquin [...]

Posted in Central California, Northern California, Sierra Nevada | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big trees, gold rush towns, summertime resorts and high alpine lakes – it’s Highway 4 in the high Sierra!

Lake Alpine is a high Sierra gem, just above Bear Valley Resort on Hwy. 4.

Lake Alpine is a high Sierra gem, just above Bear Valley Resort on Hwy. 4. Huge redwood trees reach over 250 feet tall in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Historic Murphys Hotel anchors quaint Main Street in downtown Murphys, CA. Find big trees, gold rush towns, summertime resorts and high alpine lakes – take Highway [...]

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Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; side trip to Grand Canyon North Rim

A couple tales in the other-worldly view of Canyonlands, with the Green and Colorado Rivers in distance.

Author and spouse Susan pose in front of Landscape Arch, spanning well over 300 feet with its delicate arch. Arches Park visitors trek fo Sand Dune Arch on short, flat trail through slot canyon. Our Horsethief Campground, maintained by the BLM just outside Canyonlands, was scene of several evocative sunsets.  John Wesley Powell pioneered the [...]

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Spectacular Utah: awe-inspiring Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef National Parks

Hoodoos by the thousands, carved by water and wind for eons, line Bryce's canyon walls.

Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon NP. Ascending The Wall trail amongst rock escarpments and strange Hoodoos. Tourists hike up Grand Wash in Capitol Reef NP.Bryce Canyon. Spires climb skyward from Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. Watertank holes, up a dry wash from Grand Wash in Capitol Reef NP, is site where I slipped and [...]

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Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, star attractions in southwest UT.

Hoodoos, the lofty spires along Cedar Breaks red rock amphitheater, are visible and reming us of the hoodoos that make Bryce Canyon such a popular attraction.

Another view of Cedar Breaks lofty amphitheater, offset by cloud formations. Cedar Breaks National Monument’s red rock amphitheater is three miles across, and almost a 1/2 mile deep. From the observation points on the rim drive, well above 10,000 feet, temperatures can be cool during summer! View in Zion National Park, where the Virgin River [...]

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St. George, Utah, base camp to Utah state, national parks and outdoor adventure!

Jenny's Canyon is the reward for a short hike in Snow Canyon State Park, UT.

Top, Washington County Courthouse in St. George dates to the 1860s; bottom, red rocks are a staple of a tour through Snow Canyon State Park. Jenny’s Canyon is the reward for a short hike in Snow Canyon State Park, UT. Brigham Young’s winter home, in the 1870s, in St. George, UT. Make St. George, Utah, [...]

Posted in Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Stockton and San Joaquin County with out-of-town guests!

Sunset, with Mt. Diablo in distance, graces the outdoor dining deck at Garlic Brothers Restaurant in north Stockton.

  Giant wind-art adorns the Joan Darrah Promenade behind the Stockton Ports Ballpark on the Stockton Deepwater Channel. A tour group admires the Fox California/Bob Hope Theatre, circa 1930, in downtown Stockton. The Haggin Museum graces Victory Park and features huge art collection as well as Native American and pioneer Stockton history exhibits. Exploring Stockton [...]

Posted in Central California, Northern California, Stockton/San Joaquin County | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frugal travel across the US, Canada, the world: Affordable Travel Club and Evergreen Club

The Elk River and Canadian Rockies were just north and east of the Marchant's home in British Columbia.

David and Nancy Marchant, of Baynes Lake, British Columbia, were our first Affordable Travel Club hosts. Judy and Ward Lowrance, who introduced us to the Affordable Travel Club and invited us to split a house-sitting assignment in Seattle. A natural bridge slowly forms in Zion National Park, our destination in a week or so! Frugal [...]

Posted in Alaska, Canada, Eastern, Canada, Western, Central California, East Coast US, Europe, Hawaii, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, United States beyond! | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pedaling the American River Bike Trail and rides in your hometown!

Rider heads east past Hagen Park on the American River Bike Trail, with river on right side of photo.

Friends help Rich Fowler ride 75 miles on his birthday on the American River Trail. Performance Bike Saturday morning rider group gathers outside the store prior to their ride in north Stockton. Shadow rider on Weston Ranch bike trail (Matt Beckwith photo). Full moon riders gather on a balmy evening in downtown Stockton. Long, Slow [...]

Posted in Central California, Northern California, Sacramento/Capitol region, Stockton/San Joaquin County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

High Sierra adventure; Hwy. 108, Sonora to Sonora Pass offers fun and adventure!

Pinecrest Lake, at almost 5,700 feet, attracts crowds of both swimmers and fishermen to its clear, cold waters.

Pinecrest Lake, at almost 5,700 feet, attracts crowds of both swimmers and fishermen to its clear, cold waters. Relief Reservoir shines its azure blue waters about 2.5 miles up the trail from Kennedy Meadows Resort. The high Sierra, looking northeast from Sonora Pass; great hiking from this vantage point! Horsemen and pack animals from Kennedy [...]

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    Tim Viall

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