August 12, 2014

New View from the Bay

During a summer weekend in August, we were invited to Ride The Ducks at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. On the tour, I learned Duck vehicles are actually amphibious landing craft designed during WWII. Who knew they would end up entertaining families with quacking whistles? While cruising around famous San Francisco neighborhoods and attractions, we used those whistles to alert pedestrians of our presence. Some were startled but not amused. 

The Duck turned into a boat near China Basin, just south of the Giant's ballpark. As a Bay Area local, I was impressed to see construction and growth in south San Francisco neighborhoods. From the Duck, we had front row views of ships in port, the San Francisco skyline, and the baseball stadium. 

July 27, 2014

Los Cabos, Baja California

Los Cabos is the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. I was hesitant about the location considering the reputation of Cabo San Lucas as a party destination, but we were confident about the coastline's natural beauty and decided to go exploring. We stayed on the Pacific side at the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Resort, and took day trips to Todos Santos, Santa Maria Beach, San Jose del Cabo, and a snorkel tour out beyond the famous arch. Believe it or not, we were pleased by everything. The resort provided much needed afternoon A/C (hot hot hot time to travel!), the people were especially nice, and the scenery and towns were colorful and relaxing. I think Cabo needs a re-marketing mission. It's time for perceptions to move beyond squid row!

July 12, 2014

Lassen National Park

In mid-July I took the kids on a solo mission to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Given we live in the Bay Area, our usual outdoor excursions are directed toward Tahoe or Yosemite. This trip, I specifically wanted to explore farther north. What we found did not disappoint. Lassen was less crowded, more pristine, more accessible, and more peaceful than more popular destinations. The park is about 50 miles west of Redding, and it takes about an hour to drive from end-to-end. I would describe it as a mini-alpine version of Yellowstone, with similar geothermal features and devastated areas. Wildflowers were prolific. Maybe they should consider naming it Wildflower National Park - it might attract more visitors!

We stayed just outside of the park in a cabin at the Shingletown KOA, and drove into the park for day hikes. For families, I would recommend the Loomis Museum/Visitor Center and Jr. Ranger Program, Summit Lake for a dip, Kings Creek for a meadow walk, and Bumpass Hell for a moderate hike to the central features of the park. 

June 26, 2014

Camping in Tahoe and Eastern Sierras

Even though camping trips take many days to pack for, and many days to recuperate from, they can be well worth-while. After five days of outdoor activities on lakes, boulders, bikes and fire pits, we were quite invigorated. A special highlight for me was seeing the trail marker for the PCT up on Sonora Pass. It's quite a view up there!

June 18, 2014

Universal Studios Tour

We enjoyed a kick start to summer with a trip to meet friends at Universal Studios Hollywood. A hit was the Universal Studios Tour, which takes you on a tram ride through the back lots. Sets of Jaws, War of the Words, Psycho, the Grinch and King Kong are all there for your viewing amazement. Do you like this shot of me and the girls? (Kidding! ;)