Things to do in Yosemite

Yosemite Valley View - photo by BigFrank

Yosemite Valley View - photo by BigFrank

Yosemite packs in so much jaw-dropping beauty that it makes even Switzerland look like God’s practice run. In America’s third largest park, the heights are dizzying, the mist from the falls drenching, and the majestic silhouettes of El Capitan and Half Dome striking against the crisp blue sky.

Lonely Planet

Temperature in August: max 32ºC (90ºF) – min 12ºC (53ºF)

Meadow-carpeted Yosemite Valley is 7 miles (11.2 km) long (…) hemmed in by some of the most spectacular chunks of granite Nature has wrought anywhere on earth. The most famous are the monumental El Capitán (7569 ft – 2,3 km) and Half Dome (8842 ft – 2,69 km). (…) You’ll have great views of both from Valley View on the valley floor, but for the classic foto head up Hwy 41 to Tunnel View.

Yosemite Falls is considered the tallest in North America, droppin 2425 ft – 739 m in three tiers.

Any aspiring Ansel Adams should lug their camera gear along the 1-mile paved trail to Mirror Lake early or late in the day to catch the ever-shifting reflection of Half Dome in the still waters. The lake all but dries up by late summer.

(In Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias) the star of the show is the Grizzly Giant, a behemoth that sprang some 2700 years ago. You should arrive early in the morning or after 6pm.

California, Lonely Planet.

Things to do in Yosemite

  • Hike the Half Dome Trail (for example), one of the most spectacular trails in the world (27.4 km round-trip) and/or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Trail (6 mi / 9.6 km round-trip).
  • Horseback riding. There are two-hour ($59), half-day ($79) and full-day ($119) trail rides. Custom guided trips are also available.
  • Overnight backpacking trips to truly live nature.
  • Be careful with bears.

http://www.caladventures.com/IncredibleAdventures.htm

http://www.yosemite.national-park.com/camping.htm

Wildfires !!

We should check this maps before leaving San Francisco, there are already some wildfires around :(

http://www.fire.ca.gov/index_incidents.php

The map updated on July 18th: Statewide Fire Map (07/18/08 – AM)

Things to do in Death Valley

Death Valley Sailing Stone

Death Valley Sailing Stone

Death Valley is the lowest, driest and hottest valley in the United States. It is the location of the lowest elevation in North America at 85.5 m (281 ft) below sea level. It holds the record highest temperature in Western hemisphere and world’s second highest…

Wikipedia

… and we are going in the hottest month of the year: August, average max of 46ºC and min of 29ºC. Let’s stay the night there, what a great idea! Remember that most RV rentals don’t insure you if you go through Death Valley. The actual hottest place in the world is El Azizia, Libya.

2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the National Park Service in Death Valley. For years people bring their tents and watch the glorious sunsets and the spectacular starry skies from the desert. There are many campgrounds, download the Visitor Guide (PDF) for more info and safety recomendations.

RV information:

  • RV Hookups are available only at the concession-run Stovepipe Well RV Park and the privately owned Furnace Creek Ranch Resort and Panamint Springs Resort.
  • On the rest of campgrounds: Only one RV per campsite. Generator hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

As in all National Parks, a $20 fee per vehicle has to be paid. Since we will be going at least to Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Yosemite, we can consider buying the National Parks Pass for $80 one year worth.

Things to do in Death Valley

  • Dye. Of heat, dehydratation, rattlesnake byte
  • Break down the RV with no insurance.
  • Camp and enjoy the beauty and loneliness of the desert at night. Stargaze.
  • Watch desert wildlife: kangaroo rats, coyotes, sidewinder rattlesnakes, tarantula, scorpions, black widow spiders…
  • Hike through the hottest spot in the world at that hour, see desert landscapes such as Devil’s Golf Course, Zabriskie Point, Racetrack Playa, Eureka Sand Dunes, Badwater, and many many more…
  • Go to Scotty’s Castle ($11, lame IMAO)

Sources

Things to do in San Diego

San Diego

San Diego

Its superb coastline, near-perfect climate and Mediterranean facade make it the quintessential Southern California beach city, but there’s no chance to develop ennui. The smorgasbord of museums, zoos, animal parks and beaches will have you wondering which way to run next.

Lonely Planet

First of all … There are now only 10 days left in the californicatemeter countdown !

This is not going to be a huge list like the SF one, but this place is also awesome. Besides, Tijuana is really close !

  • Gaslamp Quarter
    The focus of the city’s nightlife…

    Gaslamp Quarter

    Gaslamp Quarter

  • Downtown
    The central business district of the city, downtown is also a hub of nightlife and has many attractions.

    San Diego

    San Diego

  • Pacific Beach (PB)Mission Beach
    Two popular beach communities with plenty of shops, restaurants, and nightlife, alongside a man-made inlet known as Mission Bay, home to Sea World.

    July Fourth

    Pacific Beach - Madness : July Fourth

  • La Jolla
    An upscale beach community that’s almost a separate city from San Diego. UCSD is also close.

    La Jolla Beach

    La Jolla Beach

  • Tijuana
    Usually used as a quick escape from moral norms.

    Tijuana

    Tijuana

The United States State Department has issued a travel warning for all border areas of the United States and Mexico. Rival narcotics gangs have increased violent activities against each other and against non-involved citizens.

Wikitravel

Pedestrian border crossing sign

Pedestrian border crossing sign

If somebody has time and money …

Things to do in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon can be an utterly transcendent experience even for those who never delve beyond the scenic viewpoints. The immensity of the canyon’s scale, the intensity of its colors, and the shadows at sunrise and sunset all scream for superlatives.

Lonely Planet

As the “ultimate American travel destination”, the Grand Canyon has hundreds of tourist alternatives. Of course you cannot just walk in and see it, there are fees for everything:

  • $25 entrance by private car
  • $12 by foot or bike

And then the price of the tour you choose, if you choose any.

There are two ways to approach the Canyon: the remote North Rim and the more accessible (and therefore more crowded) South Rim. Both areas have several options for camping, as well as hotels and restaurants. Expect all of these facilities to be overflowing with visitors during the busy summer season.

Wikitravel

Things to do in Grand Canyon

  • Hiking tour
    Hiking is the most popular and accessible activity within the park. Riding a mule down into the canyon is a time-honored park tradition. Rides are offered year-round from the South Rim along the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails. Guided raft trips down the Colorado often sell out a year in advance.
  • Sky Walk tour
    With $80 per person “The Grand Canyon Skywalk” is the glass bridge offering highest vertical drop. You won’t be allowed to take a camera with you but you will have a chance to pay another $20 for the one they’ll take of you.
  • Helicopter ride tour
    Helicopters take off from Las Vegas, Boulder City, Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix or from Grand Canyon’s private airport. These are the main companies that provide helicopter rides in Grand Canyon:

    Prices range from $200 to $400. There are so many different tours and opinions that there should be a entire post for this!

  • Other tours
    There are lots of different tours and combinations: mule ride, bike trails, bus tour, boat tour, picnic, Hualapai representations, etc. You can find more information here.

Other things to do in Grand Canyon

Things to do in State Route 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles

California State Route 1

California State Route 1

State Route 1, often called Highway 1, is a state highway that runs along a large length of the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. It is famous for running by some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road.

Wikipedia

Amongst the major cities that Highway 1 passes by are:

  • Beach Cities (includes Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach)
  • Long Beach
  • Santa Monica
  • Oxnard
  • Santa Barbara
  • Lompoc
  • Santa Maria
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Morro Bay
  • Hearst Castle (not a city but marked as a control city)
  • Carmel
  • Pacific Grove
  • Monterey
  • Watsonville
  • Santa Cruz
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Pacifica
  • San Francisco
  • Golden Gate Bridge (not a city but marked as a control city)
  • Mill Valley
  • Stinson Beach
  • Fort Bragg

Things to do in State Route 1

Things to do in “The” Orange County

There are now only 14 days left in the californicatemeter countdown !

Since “July 31st” is getting really close, today it’s time to write something about “The O.C.”. I absolutely love this area, beaches, shops,  tranquility, bars…

After living there for about 9 months this is what I like the most !

  • Newport Beach
    • Need to buy something ? Fashion Island
  • Balboa Island
    • It is pretty cool to take the ferry ride to the island, it is also pretty cheap (around a dollar if i remember well).
  • Huntington Beach (Surf City, USA)
    • Great place to walk around and/or have some beers !
    • There is also the International Surfing Museum
  • Laguna Beach
    • Absolutely beautiful+wonderful town close to the beach. It is just lovely.
  • San Juan Capistrano
    • One of the most interesting “Missions” in California. The oldest building in California ?
  • South Coast Plaza (link)
    • Don’t call it a mall, please. It is a shopping resort!

If somebody has time and money …

  • Disneyland

Now it is time for some pictures.

Sources