"WELCOME TO MY TRAVELS" SteveOSF's Profile
After benefiting from the reviews here and other sources, I decided it was time to contribute and hopefully help some other travelers. Virtual Tourist seems to be a great place to share experiences and photographs with other travelers. I started by adding tips and pictures from my most recent travels, in an attempt to keep information current and relevant. I hope you find these pages interesting...
So far, I’ve been enjoying Virtual Tourist. It provides an opportunity to preview places before I go and enables me to learn from the tips posted by other members. In addition, I like writing about my travels and Virtual Tourist has provided a means for me to share the information to those who might be interested in my reports. I enjoy traveling and snapping pictures along the way. I appreciate the ability to show others some of the scenes that I’ve witnessed. I hope others will enjoy my photographs and find my tips useful.
The past year and a half has been busy for travel. In that period, we toured through New England with an aggressive schedule, took a road trip through California and Nevada, and journeyed to South Dakota. I've described those three trips in detail below. Our most recent adventure was north to Alaska, visiting Seattle and Victoria for good measure. In addition, we made a fair amount of short weekend trips to nearby places. I've added pages for many locations from those trips as well as other journeys. I plan to continue to write tips and post photos from some of my recent trips before attempting to add pages for older exploits.
At the bottom of this page, I'll try to briefly summarize the locations for which I have prepared pages. As a native San Franciscan I have primarily lived within the San Francisco Bay Area. A lot of opportunities for interesting trips are close by within my home state. So you may note an abundance of pages about California in my portfolio.
These pages are dedicated to Sylvia, my partner in travel and in life!
In April 2007, we decided to hit the road and check out a few places that we never before visited, as well as visit a familiar spot or two. We rented a car for the journey and left the San Francisco Bay Area headed south to San Simeon. In the morning we checked out the extravagant Hearst Castle. San Simeon offered some nice views of the Pacific Ocean. We spent some time in the evening to enjoy a nice dinner in the coastal town of Cambria.
The next morning we crossed the center of California, taking Highway 46 through Paso Robles, past small towns like Lost Hills, through Bakersfield, before taking a brief pause at Lake Isabella, and eventually stopping for the night at Ridgecrest.
On day four, we reached Death Valley National Park where we spent two nights at Furnace Creek Ranch. The names of places in Death Valley have a recurring theme. For instance there is Death Valley itself, Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Badwater Basin, Devil’s Golf Course and so on. Hot, bad, and satanic is the theme to the names, but this may give a false impression as to the beauty of the park. Actually the park is quite scenic. The desert landscape is far more varied than I had imagined. We enjoyed some nice hikes and had plenty to do for the two nights that we stayed in the park.
Our next destination was Las Vegas, Nevada. After An extremely brief rest along the way at Amargosa Valley, we arrived in Downtown, Las Vegas. Although I had been Downtown in the past, I had never stayed in a downtown hotel. Downtown provided a nice contrast to the Strip. We did venture to the Strip to see a fantastic show called “Ka.” We even took a day trip out to Boulder City to tour the impressive Hoover Dam.
Still with money in our pockets, we ventured north up Highway 95 for another long leg of our trip. We passed the desert towns of Beatty, Goldsfield, and Tonopah, before cutting over Highway 6 for Lee Vining, California, where we spent two nights. Lee Vining is on the shores of picturesque Mono Lake. We explored the lake and made a visit to the ghost town of Bodie, which is now encompassed in Bodie State Historic Park.
Unfortunately, Highway 120 over Tioga Pass to Yosemite was still closed due to snow, so we have to wait to take that scenic drive. Instead we traveled north and chose Highway 89 and pushed our way over Monitor Pass. This was definitely the road not often traveled. It was a winding highway, with steep cliffs, and deep drop offs just beyond the shoulder of the roadway. Guardrails were far from abundant, but as we climbed over the 8,314 foot pass, the views were fantastic. Once we traversed the pass, we dropped down and intersected Highway 50 south of Lake Tahoe.
We meandered our way over to historic Auburn. We spent one night in this Gold Rush era town, before hitting the road for home the next morning and resuming the realities of our everyday life. The trip proved fun and interesting. We visited some diverse places along the way.
In September 2006, we took a trip to New England to see the fall colors and some historic sites. We hit four states in ten days. The pace may have been more like a race rather than a vacation, but we managed to see a lot in that short period of time.
We arrived in Boston in the evening and took the “T” to our hotel downtown. In that first evening we dined at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the oldest continually operated restaurant in the United States. This place had excellent seafood. The next morning we took a walk on the “Freedom Trail”, and visited sites like Paul Revere’s house, Faneuil Hall, the Old North Church, the U.S.S. Constitution, and Bunker Hill. The following day we hit the Boston Museum of Fine Art, which was followed by lunch and drinks at Cheers.
We then ventured south and checked out Plymouth on our way to Cape Cod. We spent the night in Chatham, near the southeast point of the Cape. The next day we visited the Cape Cod National Seashore and hiked at Fort Hill near Eastham. We snuck in some wine tasting at the Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod, before we continued our tour of the cape by visiting places like Provincetown and North Truro, the home of Cape Cod Light. In the early evening, we stopped for a sandwich in the town of Sandwich. We then ventured to the north where we turned west. After crossing of bulk of Massachusetts via the "Pike”, we spent the night in Williamstown, at the northwestern portion of Massachusetts.
The next day we headed up scenic Route 7 into Vermont and traversed scenic Route 100 as well. We diverted to see covered bridges at Bennington. At Manchester we toured Hildene, the home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of President Lincoln. We settled down at Manchester for the night, still somewhat spent from the long drives of the previous day.
We continued north the next day. Near Hancock, we took time for a hike in the Green Mountain National Forest. We stopped for the night in Montpelier, the capital of Vermont.
It was now time to head back to the Atlantic. The weather worsened as we drove east. Rain hurled from the sky as we reached the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We took Route 302 through the Crawford Notch. We were disappointed that the rain prevented any hiking. The rain may have dampened the fall colors, but when it combined with the scenery of the Crawford Notch, the result was spectacular. The route took us past places like Fabyan, Bretton Woods, Bartlett, and North Conway.
We continued on through Maine despite the severe storm. We reached the coast at Portland, then veered south reaching Wells before nightfall. We spent the night at this coastal village.
The next day we were back in Massachusetts. We visited witchy Salem. Then were off to see where the revolution started at Lexington and Concord. We spent our final night in New England at Woburn, which is just north of Boston. The next day we were boarding a somewhat delayed flight for home.
In September of 2007, we traveled to South Dakota. Landing in Rapid City, we quickly made our way to the Black Hills. We spent six nights in the southwestern potion of South Dakota.
We first visited historic Deadwood, as well as its sister city of Lead. We had a drink in the Bullock Hotel, ate dinner at the Social Club restaurant above Saloon Number 10, and gambled in the Franklin Hotel. We paid a visit to Boot Hill and saw the final resting places of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.
We traveled to Keystone via a scenic highway. Keystone became our base camp for visiting Mt. Rushmore, as well as for our pilgrimage to the massive Crazy Horse Memorial. We took the 1880 Train for a ride to Hill City.
We next journeyed to Custer State Park along another scenic road. Then we were of to the Badlands National Park and spent a night at Wall, home of the infamous Wall Drug. After a final look at the Badlands, we returned to Rapid City. We cruised through the wildlife park, “Bear Country U.S.A.”, and also made a short visit to Fort Hays, a film set from “Dances with Wolves”. The next morning, we were headed for home.
Bantry was my occasional travel companion. He left this world in October of 2009 at the age of 11. He had suffered from severe arthritis. He traveled with us whenever he could. His trips were limited to road trips only, so his travel map only showed two states as being visited. Some hotels allow dogs, so that made travel with him a little easier. But for Bantry, camping in National Forests was the way to go. National and State Parks discriminate against dogs by not allowing them on the trails. So to my four-legged hiking companion, the forests were king. Unfortunately, as he aged, hikes on forest trails face other limitations.
Glacier Bay is simply stunning.
California contains some distinct regions as detailed on my page that describes the state.
Alameda in the San Francisco Bay Area is home to the U.S.S. Hornet Museum.
Auburn is a historic Gold Rush Era town that is right off Interstate Highway 80.
Benicia is on the Carquinez Straight.
Big Sur is a small town on an exceptionally scenic portion of the Central Coast.
Bodie is the mother of all ghost towns. As the town is completely encompassed by Bodie State Historic Park, please see my Bodie State Historic Park page below for tips and information.
Bodie State Historic Park was established to preserve the fantastic authentic ghost town of Bodie, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It may not be a common destination, but it is a great place to visit.
Boonville is a small town in the heart of the Anderson Valley Wine Country.
Cambria is a charming town on the Central Coast just south of San Simeon.
Carmel is an upscale community on the Central Coast near Monterey.
Dardanelle is located in the picturesque Stanislaus National Forest.
Davis in the Central Valley is home to a campus of the University of California.
Death Valley National Park contains some surprisingly diverse and scenic landscapes.
Guerneville is located 70 miles north of San Francisco, on the banks of the Russian River.
Hearst Castle State Historical Monument located in San Simeon is dedicated to preserving the famous landmark that was once the mansion of publisher William Randolph Hearst.
Jenner is at the mouth of the Russian River.
Lake Isabella is located near the southern portion of the Sequoia National Forest.
Lee Vining is a scenic spot on the shore of Mono Lake.
Lost Hills is a small town whose multitude of oil wells present a surreal contrast to the surrounding Central Valley farmlands.
Mare Island was once a navy base.
Martinez is an industrial city in the S.F. Bay Area.
Mendocino is on California’s northern coast.
Monterey is a beautiful spot on the Central Coast.
Nevada City is a historic and picturesque Gold Rush Era town in the foothills.
Natural Bridges State Beach is a small but diverse State Park near Santa Cruz.
Pacheco located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, hosts the California Grand Casino.
Pacific Grove is a charming town on the Central Coast near Monterey.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a nice park on the coast that hosts a redwood forest.
Ridgecrest is mostly a military town that makes for a good stop on the way to Death Valley National Park.
Russian Gulch State Park has ocean and forest scenery near Mendocino on the North Coast.
San Francisco is a great city to visit with many attractions and fine dining. It is a wonderful location from which to explore much more of California.
San Simeon located on the Central Coast is home to Hearst Castle.
Smartville is an out of the way spot in the California foothills.
Walnut Creek resides in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area and is complete with a real downtown and an abundance of great restaurants.
Colorado is a scenic state is traversed by the Rocky Mountains.
Telluride is a former mining town turn resort town.
MAUI is a beautiful island to visit.
Lahaina is an old whaling town on the west coast of Maui.
Ulupalakua is located in Maui's Upcountry where you can enjoy wine tasting.
Wells is a small town on the Atlantic Coast.
Eastham on the outer portion of Cape Cod offers some great hiking.
Lexington is the birthplace of the American Revolution.
North Truro features wine tasting at the Truro Vineyards, as well as a historic lighthouse.
Plymouth is where the Pilgrims settled.
Provincetown is located at the tip of Cape Cod.
Salem is the place of the famed witch trails.
Williamstown is an old and quaint university town.
Amargosa Valley is a convenient place to rest between Death Valley National Park and Las Vegas.
Boulder City near Las Vegas is home to impressive Hoover Dam.
Las Vegas, the Gambling Capitol of the World, is loaded with nightlife.
Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World, is a gambler's gambling town.
New Hampshire is home of the scenic White Mountains.
Bretton Woods is located where the Crawford Notch cuts through the White Mountains.
North Conway where a historic railroad can take you through the White Mountains.
McMinnville is a small town that is home to a great aviation museum that holds Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose.
Hill City is the home of a historic steam railroad that you can ride through the Black Hills.
Canyonlands National Park is an exceptionally scenic national park.
Bennington is home to several covered bridges.
Washington is in the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle is a nice city to visit.
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