A Place of Refuge
From the coast of San Diego, I drove northeast through the Mojave Desert, and passed through Las Vegas as fast as I could! That said, I couldn't make it into Utah in one day so I took advantage of the cheap casino hotels in Mesquite, Nevada to spend one night in comfort mode. When I arrived it was 112 degrees; too hot to use the pool but I enjoyed the a/c in the fitness room, and put $1 in a slot machine. Yes, they got an extra dollar from me but only because the game was called, "Twice the Monkey"!
During my June visit to Utah, I didn't make it to Zion National Park, and woe is me, I was feeling a bit deprived. So, it was time to pitch the tent again, and for the first time on this trip, I winged it and showed up on Friday morning to the first-come, first-served campground. Success! I spent 4 glorious days in Zion, and while it was hot (90's), I was early to rise to it. I biked, hiked, and attended multiple Ranger programs. I also discovered a new sport, canyoneering, though I think I need to be a better swimmer before I find time for that!
Every view is stunning at Zion, and while it's getting tougher to name my top 3 national parks, southern Utah is absolutely one of the most amazing regions in America. I've now rolled into Colorado where I'm at my 2nd of three stops; that update to come in a few days!
Note to Barbara from Beijing: please send your email via my Contact page & I'll be in touch!
Ooh-la-la, San Diego!
In just a 2-hour drive south of LA, the temperatures dropped about 20 degrees, and the people seemed so much happier to be alive! My original plan was to be in San Diego for my birthday at month's end & treat myself to a room at the Hotel Del. That became a laughable idea when the cheapest room was $600/night!
I had just 3 nights in San Diego but if I had a million dollars, I'd live here part-time. I stayed in Point Loma, originally the Portuguese neighborhood but there wasn't a malassada in sight! That said, I loved the city which is incredibly bike & ped friendly. I never moved my car, and played tourist as much as possible by bike, then spent my final afternoon hours lounging by, and swimming in, the Pacific. This is my final destination West, and the turnaround point to begin my Eastward adventures.
Note to my hostel compadres from Switzerland, Germany, Quebec & Poland: Thanks for the warm welcome, the great conversations, the sharing of meals. Hope to hear from you!
Who in their right mind would go to Los Angeles in August? Trust me, no one!
During my 4-day visit to see a friend of 30+ years (!), it was over 100 degrees in the city, so strolling the streets of the city did NOT seem appealing to me! Luckily, I was in a lovely neighborhood (Westwood) near UCLA, and was able to visit the 7-acre botanical garden on campus. It was shady, quiet, and almost cool! With 3 years of conversation to catch up on, we spent a great deal of time chatting but we also had a little party time.
From here, it was a bit of San Diego, Nevada for a night, and I'm now camping at Zion National Park. Will write soon.
A Fun, Beachfront City
Santa Monica, a place that almost defies description. Ocean and mountains, bike path and amusement park, artsy and upscale, without the attitude of nearby locations. My plan was to play catch up with Joey & Chuck after many, many years. We did just that over a relaxing cup of coffee, a walk along the park & pier, and a great salmon dinner. This is a fun city to hang out in, and I am feeling pretty lucky to have spent a couple of days there!
I spent 3 nights in the lovely coastal town of Pescadero, California. I chose this location (50 miles south of San Francisco) because I wanted to stay in the hostel housed in the historic lighthouse keepers quarters on the edge of the Pacific. When I arrived, I was stunned by how beautiful this area is, then biked for miles each day to enjoy it.
In the 1600's, Spanish mariners charted the area and named it Whale Point; they were followed by Azorean Portuguese in the early 1820's. The Duarte family remains more than 120 years later. In 1853, a ship out of Boston, the Carrier Pigeon, ran aground, and the area was renamed Pigeon Point in her honor.
I could have easily spent a few more days in this lovely place but it was time to move on to Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and San Diego (my current location). Stay tuned for updates!
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover