Author Archives: Tim Viall

Bucket list suggestions for your 2019 California travels

Wildflowers surround an old windmill near the entrance to Carrizo Plain National Momument, just a few hours south on Interstate 5 from San Joaquin County.

Back road’s discovery; Cosumnes River Preserve just north of Thornton and Lodi. Atlas Obscura is a fine guide to weird and wacky treasures both in California and much beyond. Wildflowers surround an old windmill near the entrance to Carrizo Plain National Monument, just a few hours south on Interstate 5 from San Joaquin County. Discover [...]

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

New Year travel plans for the frequent but frugal traveler

Visitors ogle Half Dome from Yosemite's Glacier Point. Yosemite makes a great place for a mini-vacation if you live in northern or central California!

The Marchants of Baynes Lake, British Columbia, Canada, were our first Affordable Travel Club hosts a few summers ago. Close-to-home mini-vacations, like exploring Rose Hill Cemetary in Black Diamond Mines Regional Park in the East Bay area of CA. The cemetery is final resting place of over 100 miners and their families from CA’s coal [...]

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California’s Riviera: where the endless summer lives on…

San Clemente Pier, home to surfers and Fisherman's Restaurant!

Balboa Island Ferry connects with a short hop to Balboa Peninsula. The brig Pilgrim lies at anchor in the Dana Point Boat Harbor. San Clemente Pier, home to surfers and Fisherman’s Restaurant! Visit California’s Riviera, where the endless summer lives on… Continuing on our quest to find nearby warm weather destinations for touring, camping and [...]

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California dreamin’… warm weather touring in Death Valley, Anza Borrego

Bighorn sheep, high above Anzo Borrego SP.

Harmony Borax Works old water tanker and borax wagons in Death Valley. The old Rhyolite railroad station stands sentinel over this large ghost town. Sand dunes and knarly trees grace a portion of Death Valley National Park. Bighorn sheep, high above Anzo Borrego SP. Spindly Ocotillo plant in bloom, following light rain. California Fan Palm [...]

Posted in Sierra Nevada, Southern California | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dodge Ridge, Tuolumne County prepare for coming winter!

Skier enjoys deep powder in the Sonora Glades of Dodge Ridge Resort Family enjoys a groomed run with spectacular view in Boulder Creek Canyon. Kids pan for gold, including grandson Hunter Blomgren (center), at Columbia State Historic Park The old roundhouse and turntable at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Engine #3 from the Railtown 1897 [...]

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

Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe; winter touring in Northern California

Vernal Falls in Yosemite, taken last January; again, no snow in a drought year.

Cross country skiers on road to Glacier Park, usually snowed in from December to March (photo courtesy National Park Service). Our Scotty in front of Yosemite Falls last January; note, no snow in the valley. The Truckee Hotel is just north of Squaw Valley; and provides overnight accomodations. Rangers lead a snowshoe tour along Lake [...]

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Our national parks in dead of winter; a once-in-a-lifetime must-do!

Old Faithful Geyser thunders into a winter sky at dusk; with three visitors to watch and one lone coyote.

Trumpeter Swans in Yellowstone’s Firehole River near Old Faithful area. Buffalo and calf, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Park. Lake McDonald Lodge, closed in winter, marks end of the Going to Sun Highway. Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, taken from Going to the Sun Highway. Spend the night in a caboose at the Issac Walton [...]

Posted in Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

California coastal touring in fall, winter; Big Sur to Morro Bay!

Bixby Bridge, circa 1932, is a fixture on the scenic Big Sur Coast.

McWay Cove in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is highly photographed. Ragged Point Resort in Big Sur offers beautiful gardens. Hearst Castle’s Casa Grande mansion is quite the place. Sunsets are often spectacular at Morro Bay! Horseback riders enjoy a sunny afternoon with Morro Rock and Bay in background. Take a California coastal tour this [...]

Posted in Central California, San Francisco Bay Area | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Touring the “Mile-High City” of Denver and central Colorado

Denver's popular 16th Street Mall is lined with shops, restaurants and brew pubs!

Author, under the Rocky Mountain High Dispensary sign (Colorado an early state to allow recreational marijuana sales) The Blue Bear, a true photo op, at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center (photo courtesy of Visit Denver). The archway to the lovely and historic downtown of Golden, in foothills of Rockies above Denver, a gold rush town and [...]

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Best road trips for Fall color in Northern California and the Central Sierra

Aspens turn bright yellow, dusted by light snow, near Ebbett's Pass on Hwy. 4.

Sierra mountainside is alive with yellows and oranges, off Hwy. 88. Ironstone Vineyards, just above Murphys, offer yellows, ochres and reds during the fall. Aspens turn bright yellow, dusted by light snow, near Ebbett’s Pass on Hwy. 4. Oranges and reds dot this Sierra mountainside near Tuolumne Pass. Plan a road trip for best Fall [...]

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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