Thursday, April 30, 2009

San Francisco

San Francisco on a Thursday begs for a trip down Stockton Street in Chinatown. Lanterns dance in the wind over head.

Got tea?

Boats bob as they catch wakes from ferries at Fisherman's Wharf.

Sun and marine layer fog take turns covering The Golden Gate Bridge.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Terraces Winery

Notice the baby grapes at the top of the picture.

Great flag.

Keep that Balsamic safe...

These are random photos from The Terraces Winery this past week-end.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Does anyone know what this is?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Locke, California

When traveling to a new part of the country or looking for a week-end day trip, search out small interesting spots.

Locke, CA, is one of those spots. Many years ago this Chinese town was just a wide spot off the delta. Today, it's still a wide spot off the delta. But people, from bikers to tourists, search it out and head to Al the Wops for a steak sandwich.
And it's worth the side trip.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bags, Totes, and Retired Airplane Seats

With Earth Day only a day behind us, think about these recycled fashionable totes. Then think about the weight of your suitcase you are using now.
Seattle cyclist Eli Reich decided to make stylish waterproof packs out of a material he knew well...recycled bike tire inner tubes. Check out for his haversack, selling for $98.
Remember Virgin Atlantic Airlines? A British design firm has taken coach class upholstery, stripped it, dry cleaned it and then turned it into limited edition bags. Take a look at the Lydia purse for $94 at
Vinyl exhibition banners from Barcelona are turned into chic totes by a trio of eco conscious Colombian designers. The Marbella bag at $90 can be found at
What does this have to do with traveling? Well, if each passenger carried a suitcase that was just 5 pounds lighter every aircraft in the sky would save 18,000 gallons of fuel annually. Think about it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Skyline Park...more photos

Weird tree bark...shiny, mahogany colored bark, smooth to the touch

Weird roots...along some of the trail roots poked through the hillside and into the air

Many caves and hidden spots...signs for mountain lions, wild pigs, turkeys, and deer are everywhere. But, only the turkeys poked their heads up...and they didn't even pose for a photo shoot.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Skyline Wilderness Park

Saturday started hazy with a marine layer over Napa...good for the start of a 5 mile hike.

Lake Marie Road wound through peaceful grasses, trees, and remnants of old stone buildings. Supposedly there is a fig tree that is over 100 years old. The somewhat rocky trail offered a moderate hike with sun and shade, as the day quickly warmed up.

Sharing the trail with mountain bikers and horses poses a small problem on some of the steeper curves. Patiently waiting for us to pass, the horses eyed our snacks of apples.

California wildflowers are abundant along the trail.

The final destination of Lake Marie. For a slightly different view on our return trip, we followed the Marie Creek Trail. Bushier and more narrow in spots, it's still a moderate work out.
If you're in the Napa area this is a good park with plenty of trails of varying lengths and terrain. There is a $6 park fee.

More streams, birds, and photo shots were available on our return trip. This was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Preston Castle

Did you know about this castle in Ione, California?

The "Castle," built in 1890-1894, is the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Mother Lode. It was built to house the Preston School of Industry, established by the State Legislature as a progressive action toward rehabilitating, rather than simply imprisoning, juvenile offenders. Doors of the 120 room "Castle" closed in 1960 after new facilities were completed.'s impressive.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


On a visit to wine country in Amador County last week-end we stopped by a local deli/market to buy lunch. You can save a few dollars picking up a lunch and eating in one of many vineyards.

Crusty bread and tomato spread complimented our Sangiovese and Zin wines.

These Zin vines produced the wine we were drinking. What a view...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Strawberries

There is no travel tip associated with these berries...just the hint of summer to come.
Less than 2 miles away is a strawberry farm and these followed me home. I have a feeling many more will be coming.
By the way...they are better tasting than they look.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Summer Traveling

I'm working on an Ebook (to be out soon) about traveling this summer. Tips for families, traveling smart in this economy, useful packing tips, week-end trips tips, and a whole lot more will be included in this guide.
If you want to share any tips you may have...please let me know at
Stay tuned...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter Weekend

No travel tips today. It's raining in northern California...and that 's a good thing.

Have a Blessed Easter.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

National Parks of Southern Utah

The national parks of southern Utah each have their own bragging points. And the best time to visit them is May. Bryce Canyon is loaded with photogenic spires known as hoodoos; Zion offers imposing cliffs and lush hanging gardens; Capitol Reef has brilliant, colorful canyons and odd rock formations; Canyonlands wins in terms of overall size; and it's pretty obvious what Arches is offers.

Much of Bryce Canyon is more than 8,000 feet high, and in early spring you'll probably have to deal with snow and mud. Tourists flock to southern Utah in summer, so May is a good bet for smaller crowds, drier terrain, and more predictable weather.

One of the prettiest and most popular trails at Bryce combines parts of the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden trails (2.9 miles total) for great photo ops of delicately eroded hoodoos. You're more likely to spot mule deer, elk, and dozens of bird species in the forest on the 8.5-mile Riggs Spring Loop. At one point the trail opens to spectacular views of the Pink Cliffs on the southern edge of the park. Hiking doesn't have to stop when darkness falls; the sky is clear enough for full-moon walks, sans flashlight.

The terrain over at Zion is varied, with soaring cliffs, narrow canyons, and emerald pools. While it's warm in May (often in the high 80s), you won't encounter the three-digit temps of midsummer. To cool off, scamper up to Weeping Rock—the quarter-mile trail is shady, but steep in spots. In a grotto area, water continuously "weeps" down tall sandstone walls that are overgrown with hanging gardens. Real adventurers can take on the Zion Narrows, hiking in and along the Virgin River in a 1,000-foot crevasse. The water should be gushing and extra chilly in May; ask a ranger about flash flood dangers and water conditions beforehand.

When planning your trip for May...consider one or all of our National Parks in the Southwest.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Languages and Time Zones

Suppose you want to talk to someone in a different part of the world. And, suppose you want them to be awake and vertical.

You can see the time and date in any city instantly at This site can also help you find a time and date for a conference call when you're dealing with multiple places.

Did you know there are 6,912 living languages in the world? I'm not sure who counted them but if you want information, check out

Let me know how many you want to learn to speak.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reynold's Family Winery

Reynold's Family Winery in Napa produces wines worth tasting.

Spring is here and the buds are coming out.

View from the tasting room.

What an ideal spot to have a picnic, with vineyards in the background.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Del Dotto Caves and Winery

When looking for a unique wine tasting experience, look no further than Del Dotto Caves and Winery at 1055 Atlas Peak Road in Napa.

In 1885 Chinese laborers hand dug a 350 feet of wine caves with picks and shovels. Today those limestone walls protect these great wines. Humidity and temperature keep the barrels of wine at their best.

Wander through caves filled with barrels. Better yet...taste wines from those barrels. You won't find any dump buckets on this "tour". If (and it's hard to believe) you need to dump your wine, just throw it on the floor in between the barrels. You won't hurt the walls.

What a way to spend a Saturday...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Friday Images

Would you believe these odd looking vines produce some of the best Zinfandel wine, called Old Vine Zin? Since I'm tasting some this weekend I'll include photos next week.

Happy Friday...have an awesome weekend.