Author Archives: Tim Viall

Road tripping; touring historic Route 66 in bite-size pieces…old highway celebrates 90th birthday!

The Foothills Drive-in Theater sign is all the remains of the iconic drive-in theater in Azuza, CA that fronted on Rt. 66; the sign is now part of Azuza Pacific University.

Road tripping; touring historic Route 66 in bite-size pieces… The fabled ‘Mother Road’ turns 90 this year! I was first exposed to Route 66 in the summer of 1962, when my mother packed me and my two brothers in the back of a Ford station wagon, towing a Nimrod tent trailer, and set off from [...]

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The ‘endless summer’ continues, from Santa Monica to San Clemente, California

Santa Monica's lively pier on a hazy summer morning (and end of old Rt. 66).

Endless beaches and the ‘endless summer’ continues, from Santa Monica to San Clemente, California We’ve been visiting Southern California every year for the past 20 years or so. From frequent forays with kids and grandkids, mixing in camping, bicycling and good food, we’ve located favorite spots for the beach scene, family activities and laid back [...]

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Carrizo Plain National Monument, Pinnacles National Park and Fort Ord National Monument make for exciting tours!

Wildflowers are exploding on the Carrizo Plain in golden and purple hues!

Carrizo Plain, Pinnacles and Ft. Ord; wildflower explosion all through central and coastal California We had been up-and-down the state of California on Interstate 5 dozens of times, but never turned off near Buttonwillow to see the Carrizo Plain National Monument just an hour to the west. But several friends had recently posted photos of [...]

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National Parks week is this week…and, get a deal on a Senior Pass!

Wildflowers cover the hills in Carrizo Plain National Monument (BLM photo).

We are a couple of days into National Park Week, April 15–23- still time to visit nearby national parks like Yosemite, Pinnacles, Death Valley, Joshua Tree NPs and nearby national monuments like Ft. Ord NM near Monterey, Carrizo NM just west of Buttonwillow and many others. So, get out this weekend, or, plan your trips [...]

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Seattle, WA; exploring the city on the cheap…

Seattle's Space Needle, downtown, Mt. Rainier and Elliott Bay from Kerry Park.

Seattle, WA; a frugal traveler’s guide to doing the city on the cheap… We first honeymooned in Seattle 47 years ago and have repeatedly returned to this classic city by the bay. From the serene waters of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east, Seattle offers a [...]

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Cheap thrills; touring Seattle’s Elliott Bay and Puget Sound via ferry boat!

Two ferries, one departing, one arriving, at Anacortes Ferry Terminal.

Cheap thrills; exploring Seattle’s Elliott Bay and Puget Sound via ferry boat! From our first visit to Seattle some 48 years ago, we have loved the Washington State Ferry System. Stately, oceangoing fairies, cruising the serene waters of Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains to the west and Seattle and the Cascade Mountains to the [...]

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Dodge Ridge, Bear Valley celebrate an epic winter with late openings and special events!

Dodge Ridge, Bear Valley celebrate an epic winter with late openings and special events! With a big winter bringing almost 40 feet of snow to Bear Valley and Dodge Ridge Ski Resorts (closest ski resorts to home for residents of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties), here are updates sent along by the two resorts: Dodge Ridge’s [...]

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Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park; wind-swept coast, old-growth forest, glacier-covered peaks!

Cape Flattery's rugged sea spires stand sentinel, even during rainy days, looking to southwest.

Wind-swept coast, old-growth forest, glacier-covered peaks make Olympic National Park a special place! Our mid-March coastal destination was the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park. We took the Washington State ferry from Edmonds (we are housesitting for a month here), across to Kingston, then headed west towards the first piece of the national park, Hurricane Ridge [...]

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Jaw-dropping Chihuly Garden and Glass anchors the Seattle Center; Space Needle, MoPOP nearby!

This colorful art installation towers over visitors in one of the galleries.

Chihuly Garden and Glass anchors the Seattle Center; home to Space Needle, MoPOP, Monorail near downtown Seattle Imagine, a life-size Glass Forest with ghostly blue and pink light glowing from the trunks. Picture a Sealife Tower, 15 feet tall exuding iridescent primary colors emulating the sea floor and Puget Sound. Turn into another gallery and [...]

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LaConner and Skagit River Valley; waterfront, seafood and spectacular colors of daffodils and tulips!

Daffodils in spring bloom frame an old barn (photo courtesy Pam Headridge).

Prior to our departure to the Seattle area, the majority of our Seattle friends all told us “you must visit the LaConner/Skagit Valley area to see the daffodils and tulip fields”. The Skagit River area was settled thousands of years ago by the Swinomish tribe on the banks of the river; along the west side [...]

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    Tim Viall

    Viall is a local travel writer who retired in late 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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