Author Archives: Tim Viall

California’s national historic districts and monuments make the state special!

Pt. Reyes Lighthouse bathed in sunlight on a windy day.

Old Fort Point, tucked under the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge.The Balclutha, left, and Eppleton Hall at Hyde Street Pier. Mountain biker charges down a Ft. Ord singletrack trail. Ft. Ord wildflowers come in many hues on the old army base. Old windmill offers contrast from Carrizo Plain NM wildflowers. Explore some of [...]

Posted in Central California, Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Stockton/San Joaquin County | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pick Six: Top national parks in California and surrounding states

Yosemite Falls thunders, with our '64 Scotty trailer in foreground.

Yosemite Falls thunders, with our ’64 Scotty trailer in foreground. Couple admires Grand Canyon from rim near Moran Point Our top six picks: The top national parks in California and surrounding states This week is National Parks Week, with admission to all national parks and monuments FREE through the 29th! Californians are blessed by close [...]

Posted in Central California, Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sierra Nevada, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Teardrop and tiny travel trailers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Local travel; explore your history and what makes the city great!

Huge harvester, a wonder of wood and iron, was pulled by a 20-horse team in Valley fields.

Kids exercise their artistic talents at the Haggin. The Leyendecker Gallery is a popular art exhibit. This classic Stevens wooden runabout helps the museum tell Stockton’s story as a boat-building center over the last 170 years. The Yokets Village is part of the museum’s Native American gallery. Huge harvester, a wonder of wood and iron, [...]

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Backroads: the wild East Bay, alive with wildlife, hiking, scenery, history!

Spouse Susan ascends the Hardy Canyon Trail in Round Valley Regional Preserve.

View from Mt. Diablo, looking west from Northgate Road. Wildflowers just off the Hardy Canyon Trail in Round Valley Preserve. Hikers descend from the native oaks in Round Valley Regional Preserve. Spouse Susan ascends the Hardy Canyon Trail in Round Valley Regional Preserve. Backroads in the wild East Bay, alive with wildlife, hiking, scenery, history! [...]

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Roadtrip: Mokelumne River; wild and scenic river, wildflowers, history and quaint towns

California poppies blanket a hillside above the Mokelumne River just above Hwy. 49 in late March.

The hills along Electra Road are alive with California poppies and other wildflowers. Old homestead dating to late gold rush days along Middle Bar Road. California poppies blanket a hillside above the Mokelumne River just above Hwy. 49 in late March. Mokelumne River; wild and scenic river, wildflowers, history and quaint towns Recent spring rains [...]

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California’s Riviera; fun and sun in Orange County, “on the cheap”!

Big Mountain Railroad in Disneyland provides plenty of thrills in scenic setting!

Balboa Island Ferry links the island to Balboa Peninsula for a short 3/8 mile journey. Corona Del Mar State Beach is a popular spot for sun-seekers and surfers, just south of the Newport Beach Harbor. Orange County is just south of Los Angeles, providing 40 miles of sunny coastline! Big Mountain Railroad in Disneyland provides [...]

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Interstate 5 blues; creative cures for a monotonous five hour drive

Old windmill is surrounded by wildflowers on the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

Beat the Interstate 5 blues; creative cures for a monotonous five hour drive If you are a California resident, you’ve probably driven Interstate 5 south to the Los Angeles Basin many, perhaps even scores, of times. You likely have your favorite gas or reststop, maybe ventured to Harris Ranch for a burger and a drink, [...]

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Gold Rush history lives on in ghost town gems along the Mother Lode, CA Hwy. 49

A replica of Sutter's Mill stands at the site of California's gold discovery in January, 1848.

Discovering ghost town gems along the Gold Rush Highway, CA Hwy. 49 Recent rains have cast our Sierra foothills in a verdant shade of green, perfect for exploring our state’s gold rush legacy. I always suggest starting in the place of gold’s discovery, just 80 miles northeast of Stockton, at the tiny town of Coloma [...]

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

Wildflower blooms, wildlife and scenery in the California desert!

Wildflowers bloom in perfusion in february in northeastern part of Death Valley.

Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Parks offer wildflower blooms, wildlife and other-worldly scenery Tired of chilly mornings and frosty windshields? Use the late winter/spring to take a road trip to the California desert for wildflower blooms, exotic wildlife and stunning scenery. Our destination includes two stunning national parks, Death Valley and Joshua Tree, and several [...]

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Dodge Ridge re-opens on Friday, March 2; Bear Valley also celebrates big storm!

Family takes in the view in Boulder Canyon off Dodge Ridge's Chair 8.

Dodge Ridge re-opens for the season on Friday, March 2; Bear Valley also receives huge snow fall Dodge Ridge Ski Resort will reopen on Friday, March 2.  Wednesday evening delivered a significant storm with three feet of new snow expected by Friday evening. With this significant snowfall, Dodge Ridge will have a majority of terrain open with [...]

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