24 May 2016: Travel Tuesday!

24 May 2016: Travel Tuesday!

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another
must wait till that other is ready.”
– Henry David Thoreau

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Moonstone Beach – Cambria, California

For Travel Tuesday: Where do you want to go? VAMOS A LA PLAYA!

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Sentinel Beach – Yosemite Valley, California

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Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

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Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park – Big Island Hawaii

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Hana Bay – Hana, Maui, Hawaii 

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Venice Beach – Venice, Los Angeles, California

LET’S GO TO THE BEACH!

All photos copyright 2010-2016 JoshWillTravel

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Malibu Beach – Malibu, Los Angeles, California

 

The Vault Gallery in Cambria, California

The Vault Gallery in Cambria, California

Down on Main Street in Cambria, on the ground floor of the historic Bank of Cambria building is The Vault Gallery. It’s a really cool art gallery with lots of cool art!

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The Vault Gallery in Cambria, California

We wandered into the space, housed in the restored and historic brick building built in 1928, on an overcast Sunday afternoon while walking around downtown Cambria.

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The Vault Gallery in the Historic Bank of Cambria Building – Cambria, California

Vault Gallery sign

The Vault Gallery on Main Street in Cambria, California (not my pic)

The Vault Gallery is a large “U-Shaped” space partioned into smaller spaces by walls and art pieces on display. There are paintings and sculptures and other types of fine art exhibited and available for purchase.

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Laylon, the Owner of The Vault Gallery in Cambria, California

Enter through the front door and then left into the gallery. The paintings on the walls of the reception area, a front office work desk, a smaller room filled with art, and a shelf of handcrafted items (jewelry, small ceramic pieces, etc.) from local artists greet you along with the the owner, Laylon.

Walk farther into the gallery and you will see more beautiful paintings on the walls, fantastic glass art sculptures, the larger ceramic pottery pieces and other special works of art created by a community of artists that has called the Central Coast of California home since before the 1950’s.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

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CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

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CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

Some of Michael Courville’s other work! Click on Pic to See Larger Pic!
Pics from The Vault Gallery’s fb page, these pieces have been sold:

NOTE: We took some good pictures of some of the art pieces. It was impossible to photograph everything and we were enjoying the work as well as “documenting” it. Pictures of art don’t do the art justice. We always recommend you experience the artwork first-hand in person to fully experience the artist’s creation and intent!

From The Vault Gallery’s facebook Page:

The Vault Gallery was Estab. in 1991. Celebrating 25 years representing 45 established artists in Plein Aire-Contemporary-Sculpture -Assembledge.

Gallerist Laylon’s career in the art business has transcended over 30 years. In 1991, after moving to Cambria from Carmel, CA, she saw a “For Rent” sign on the old Bank of Cambria building and established The Vault Gallery. After almost 22 years, the gallery has thrived with outstanding painters, photographers, and sculptors that reside on the Central Coast. The works of the over 30 artists represented reside in the two side by side locations and an outdoor sculpture garden completes the harmony.

The represented artists are some of the most recognized Plein Air painters in the country. They are members of Oil Painters of America and the California Art Club.
Photographer Arthur Tress, a resident of Cambria, just finished a three month retrospective at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Artist Tracey Sylvester-Harris was selected as the feature artist in an upcoming film starring Ed Harris and Annette Bening. The luster glass creations of Carl Radke, a gallery exhibitor for 18 years, has found homes for his lamps in restaurants, homes, hotels, wineries, and corporate offices.

We hope you enjoy visiting our gallery and invite you to explore our newly launched website. 

The Vault Gallery – 2289 Main St., Cambria, California 93428
805-927-0300 http://www.vaultgallery.com http://www.facebook.com/thevaultgallery
Mon-Sat 10:30am-6pm, Sun 11am-6pm

Unless otherwise noted, all photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

Our Periscope videos from Katch are now on YouTube:
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Moonstone Beach – Cambria, California

Moonstone Beach – Cambria, California

Saturday Evening and Sunday Afternoon at the Pacific Ocean in Cambria.

THIS BLOG IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

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Pacific Ocean View, Big Sur, California (not my pic)

We have combined the pics from previous blogs and added new pics into this one.
This Blog was just UPDATED April 9, 2017.

Hearst San Simeon California State Park owns and controls most of the waterfront property along the 20-mile segment of Highway 1 north of Cambria on the Central Coast as well as Hearst Castle and the surrounding land. There are thirteen different beautiful, uncrowded and remote “hidden gem” beaches in northern San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County between Cambria and Big Sur.

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Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

Moonstone Beach is a California State Park and part of Hearst San Simeon State Park. It runs along Moonstone Beach Drive and parallels Highway 1 in Cambria. The shoreline is made up of brown sandy beaches and coves separated by rocky headlands. On the beach, there are a number of natural ocean tide pools filled with marine life, and in the park there are easy hiking trails and an abundance of natural flora and fauna.

NOTE: Dogs are allowed on-leash on the trails and the boardwalk, but not on the beach!

SATURDAY EVENING

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Marine Layer Rolling In Over Cambria and the Pacific Ocean on Saturday Evening

Moonstone Beach was the end of a long road trip from Ashland, Oregon. We left in the morning without a destination and arrived in Cambria at sunset. The marine layer and heavy fog had rolled in as we were coming down Highway 46 from the mountains, so there were gray skies and it was chilly outside the car when we reached the ocean.

NOTE: Read the previous Blogs about our Spring 2016 Oregon Roadtrip, Historic Cambria, the Vault Gallery and the Bluebird Inn in Cambria (see the links below)

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Sunset at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

We parked the car at the Beach next to the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk. The marine layer was over the ocean and there was only a thin line of orange on the horizon as the sun went down over the ocean, but it was really beautiful as we watched the sunset.

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Sunset at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

The one and a half mile long boardwalk runs the length of Moonstone Beach along the bluff top and walking it is a great way to experience the beauty of the Pacific Coastline.

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The Boardwalk at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

There is easy access to the sandy beach via stairs down from the bluffs and there are many wooden benches along the Boardwalk to just sit and enjoy the view.

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Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

As the sun set, we called and found a room was available at the Bluebird Inn. We had a very nice dinner at Robin’s restaurant and went for drinks afterwards at the Cambria Pub and Mozzi’s Saloon and then stayed the night at the motel.

Read the Previous Blog! (RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”)
Saturday Night at The Bluebird Inn Motel in Cambria 
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3gi

NOTE: There is not much to do after 9pm in Cambria. There is no real nightlife, except for a few bars and restaurants that stay open late.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

After a good night’s rest and the morning breakfast buffet at the Bluebird Inn, we spent the early part of the day walking around downtown Cambria exploring historical sites and visiting shops and galleries (Read our previous Blogs).

Read the Previous Blogs! (RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”)
Sweet Offerings Confectionary in Cambria, California! http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3ik

It was still overcast, so we decided not to drive north to Big Sur. Instead, some time after noon, we walked back to the car at the motel and then drove down to Moonstone Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

Moonstone State Beach in Cambria, California

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Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

SEAGULLS!

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Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

 

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Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

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Moonstone Beach – Parking Lot and Picnic Area

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SQUIRREL! “Hey, nice marmot!”
They Have No Fear! Please DO NOT feed the wildlife!

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SQUIRREL! No Fear! Please DO NOT feed the wildlife!

This little squirrel tried to “panhandle” us in the parking lot!
It came right up (not even 3 feet away) and posed for these pictures exhibiting little fear of people and obviously looking for some food from the tourists…
PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, consisting of small or medium-size rodents. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs.

That word “squirrel” first specified in 1327, comes from the Anglo-Norman esquirel which is from the Old French escurel, the reflex of a Latin word sciurus. This Latin word was borrowed from the Ancient Greek word σκίουρος, skiouros, which means shadow-tailed, referring to the bushy appendage possessed by many of its members.

The California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi), is a common and easily observed ground squirrel of the western United States and the Baja California Peninsula. “Beechey’s Marmot” (named after Frederick William Beechey, an early 19th-century British explorer and naval officer) is common in Oregon and California and its range has relatively recently extended into Washington and northwestern Nevada.

California ground squirrels live in burrows which they excavate themselves. Some burrows are occupied communally but each individual squirrel has its own entrance. They readily become tame in areas used by humans and quickly learn to take food left or offered by people. They spend most of their time within 82 feet of their burrow and rarely go further than 160 feet from it. The squirrel’s fur contains a mixture of gray, light brown and dusky hairs; the underside is lighter, buff or grayish yellow. The fur around the eyes is whitish and around the ears is black. Head and body are about 12 inches long and the bushy tail an additional 6 inches.

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Squirrel! No Fear! Please don’t feed the wildlife!

 

TRAVEL ALERT!
Highway 1 IS CLOSED! Pacific Coast Highway from Cambria to Big Sur!

 

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HIGHWAY 1 NEAR BIG SUR IS CLOSED DUE TO STORM DAMAGE!

There are currently temporary closures on Highway 1 after winter storms damaged the coastal road again. The highway north of Big Sur has reopened but a full closure due to landslides (Paul’s Slide) near the town of Lucia will continue for at least four to six more weeks. The highway continues to deteriorate at Mud Creek near the town of Gorda as slide activity continues. It is currently closed there and it is also closed at Ragged Point, 24 miles north of Cambria. They remain closed to travelers according to Caltrans as of April 4, 2017. Caltrans completed demolition on the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge just south of Big Sur Station on March 20 after the bridge failed in mid-February and is planning to build a replacement bridge. Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, the only road that cuts through the Santa Lucia Mountains from Highway 101 and allows access to Big Sur, reopened in late March.

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Big Creek Bridge and Cove – Big Sur, California (not my pic)

Moonstone Beach at Hearst San Simeon State Park
6216 Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria, CA
Free parking along Moonstone Beach Drive and in the park parking lot.
NOTE: Bring a sweater or jacket! It can get cold, even in Summer.

Read the Previous Blogs!
(RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”)
Master Blog! Spring Roadtrip 2016 to Ashland Oregon! http://wp.me/p3dhVM-35M
Seagulls! Moonstone Beach in Cambria http://wp.me/s3dhVM-seagulls
The Bluebird Inn Motel in Cambria 
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3gi
Historic Downtown Cambria, California http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3yI
The Vault Gallery in Cambria, California http://wp.me/p3dhVM-4lQ
Sweet Offerings Confectionary in Cambria, California! http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3ik

Hearst Castle website: http://www.hearstcastle.org

All Photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

Our Periscope videos from Katch are now on YouTube:
RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW OUR YOUTUBE PAGE!>
The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP3QQfRTfD-2eABWVd-JwQ

RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>

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Pacific Ocean at Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California

 

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Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California


Travel Answers: San Francisco! Yosemite!

Travel Answers for San Francisco and Yosemite:

Q: What’s a great day trip from SF that’s not wine country?

A: Great Day Trip from San Francisco?

Drive south on beautiful Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. Stop along the way in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Davenport and/or at Ano Nuevo State Reserve and see the Elephant Seals.

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Visit the beach and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, shop the Pacific Garden Mall, and check out the University of California, Santa Cruz (arboretum, performances, museums & special collections at the McHenry Library). Tour the campus, there are great views of Monterey Bay, art installations and walking paths/roads through the meadows, pastures and redwood forest on the hill (just stop and get a visitor pass at the main gate).

There are plentiful beaches, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, wineries, clubs and other performance venues in Santa Cruz and in the nearby communities of Capitola, Aptos, Felton & Bonny Doon.

Check out the world famous Mystery Spot and Lighthouse Field State Beach! The Evergreen Cemetery est. ~1885 is one of the oldest in the bay area and state and it’s now a tourist attraction.

Return to San Francisco via Highways 17 (880) to San Jose and the 280 or 101 freeways back to the city sometime after sunset.


 

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Best 3-day weekend trip from San Francisco? Looking for something outdoorsy that would be a good use of weekend summer trip. Ideally somewhere warm enough for sun, swimming & shorts. Probably for a small group (either 2 or 4 ppl).

A: 3-Day Trip from San Francisco? People have already recommended Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey and Santa Cruz to the south. Marin, Napa, Vallejo, Mendocino, and Lake Tahoe to the north. So how about going east to Yosemite National Park? Yosemite, Merced, Mariposa are all within driving distance and only a few hours away. Just make sure to make a reservation! http://www.nps.gov

Half Dome - Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome – Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Best airport to fly into for a week at Yosemite?

I’m planning a fall trip to Yosemite and trying to figure out which airport to fly into: Sacramento, Fresno, San Fran? I’m coming from New York so I have some airline options. I’m most concerned about which airport will have sufficient car rental options and flights at all hours.

A: If you’re flying in from NYC, you’re going to have to land in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland or Los Angeles. Each has it positives and negatives, so base your decision on the cost of airfare and then determine the best mode of transport from your destination city.

Rent a car (get unlimited mileage plus insurance) or take Amtrak (train and bus combo) from Los Angeles or San Francisco/Oakland. The bus will take you right into Yosemite National Park and drop you at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and it’s both less expensive and cleaner than driving! www.amtrak.com/san-joaquin-train

The drive from Los Angeles is about 6 hours, and you’ll travel the 5 freeway to interstate 99 through Bakersfield, Fresno and the Central Valley to interstate 41 into Yosemite.

The drive from the Bay Area is about 4 and 1/2 hours (could be longer with traffic) on highway 580 through San Leandro and Livermore to highway 205 through Manteca to interstate 120 into Yosemite.

NOTE: If you’re driving in the Sierra Mountains in the Fall, be prepared for rain and snow at higher elevations, some roads may require tire chains (sometimes a problem with a rental vehicle).

There are also tour companies that have chartered buses that will take you into the park, or backpack/bus adventure travel companies like Green Tortoise from San Francisco that include more than just transport: www.greentortoise.com/adventures/yosemite-national-park-tour-3d.php

NOTE: If you’re going to take a chartered bus, make sure the company is CA state licensed and check their safety and consumer record before buying a ticket!

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Most impressive staircases you’ve ever seen?

I recently saw some of the craziest staircases in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Where else in the world has cool, winding, or even weird staircases? Want to plan some trips to see them..pictures would be awesome, thanks!

A: In Yosemite Valley there is a stairway to the top of Vernal Nevada Falls that was carved out of the granite rock. You can start at the bottom of Vernal Falls and climb 2000 feet to the top of Nevada Falls and the rim of the valley.

“Climb along nature’s giant staircase, where you are rewarded with close-up views of two waterfalls and numerous geologic features (depending on how far you choose to hike)…Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer (hence the name for this trail!).”

Follow the Mist Trail 0.5 miles up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps! Continue on to the top of Half Dome if you have a permit (and “weather permitting”).


Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Where was your favorite backpacking destination? Out of all the places in the world, where was your favorite backpacking destination and why?

A: My favorite backpacking destination: Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in northern Yosemite National Park. Picture a valley just like Yosemite except there are no other people, no cars, no shuttle buses, no buildings… just an amazing wilderness all to yourself. It’s a long day hike uphill to reach the Tiltill Valley, but it’s worth the trip!

The trailhead begins at the Hetch Hetchy parking area, and it’s a rugged uphill trek past the reservoir and into the backcountry (be sure to get your permits at the ranger station and be aware you are in “BEAR COUNTRY” – problem bears are relocated to this area of the park).

p.s. I don’t recommend backpacking solo, you should always have at least one travel buddy when you are in the backcountry!


Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: How many days would I need to explore most of what Yosemite has to offer? I’m planning on going there some day and I would like to know how much days would I need to explore most of what the National Park has to offer! Thanks.

A: How many days in Yosemite National Park? It depends on how much of the park you want to explore. If you just want to see Yosemite Valley, you should allow at least three days. You should add more days if you want to really see everything! It also depends on how active a hiker you are because there are great things to do and day trips with varying degrees of difficulty you can experience. Ride the Shuttlebus and walk the valley, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, picnic at Yosemite Beach, hike to the top of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley, climb to the top of Half Dome or El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Village and the Ansel Adams Gallery and be sure to check out the The Ahwahnee Hotel.

Accommodations in the park range from tent and camp sites, RV sites, covered campsites, tent cabins, and hotel rooms. You need to make reservations for any of the concession vendors a long time in advance at nps.gov and there are lots of rules and regulations you need to be aware of before and during your visit.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY!

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

There are other areas to see within the park or just outside: Tuolumne Meadows, Mariposa Grove and the Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees, Wawona Point (and historic hotel), skiing at Yosemite’s Badger Pass in winter), Bass Lake, Oakhurst, and many others. You should allow 1-3 days or more for each area depending on how active a hiker/camper/skier/snowboarder you are.

If you want to experience the backcountry as a backpacker/camper you should plan 3-14 day trips. there are great areas in and around the park. I’ve been to the Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Loop and down the South Fork Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, both of which were excellent backpacking trips! Be sure to learn the necessary skills and the park rules and regulations before entering the wilderness.

You are also close to Lee Vining, Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake State Preserve which are near the east entrance to the park.

See also John Muir Trail and the Yosemite Park website nps.gov for more info.


 

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: You have a day to explore Yosemite. What do you HAVE to see?

I love everything about being outdoors, especially around water. I like hiking, but I don’t get too extreme. Viewpoints that are hidden/will make me never want to leave would be loved.

A: What to see in Yosemite Valley? Everything!

Ride the Shuttlebus, walk the valley paths and bridges, raft or inner tube down the river, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, Picnic at Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, hike to the top of any of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley or to the top of Half Dome, climb El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Villageand see the Visitor Center and the Ansel Adams Gallery, shop at Curry Village and be sure to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel. See my other answers for more.


Wawona Hotel - Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Hotel – Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Places to stay in Yosemite? If anyone is familiar with places to stay IN the Yosemite Park… I am trying to decide between a few places… Curry Village, Yosemite at the Falls & Wawona Hotel. From what I gather there aren’t bathrooms in Wawona Hotel (not so thrilled with that idea). Any advice, please on these 3 places?

A: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is the best place to stay, unless you can afford the Ahwahnee Hotel. It’s centrally located in Yosemite Valley near Yosemite Falls and a couple shuttle stops (almost walking distance) from Yosemite Village. The accommodations are “motel quality” but nice enough considering you won’t want to be inside very much.

Curry Village is near Half Dome, and on the shuttle route. The accommodations are mostly tent cabins with shared facilities and some full cabins with private facilities.

Both Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village have a “cafeteria” style restaurant, a “hamburger stand”, a bar/restaurant and mini-market/gift shops. Yosemite Lodge also has a nice sit-down upscale restaurant.

The Wawona Hotel sits up on the rim of the valley about a 45 minute drive from the valley floor and the village. It’s a very nice historic hotel, but not really convenient if you want to be in the valley. There are cabins with private facilities and they are very nice if you don’t mind walking outdoors to get to the main building (more of a problem in winter). Wawona is great if you want to ski at Badger Pass Ski Area, visit Glacier Point or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwoods.

There are Ranger led nature talks available and other entertainment at all three locations. Yosemite Village has a market, a Visitor’s Center with an Indian Village and interpretive programs, the Ansel Adams Gallery, the post office and more restaurants and gift shops.

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Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)





 

 

WIN BEN STEIN’S MONEY!

I am reposting an old Geocities blog story because someone brought it up on facebook. It’s not really travel related, unless you’re coming to Los Angeles to be on a gameshow, but it’s a good story.  I have the episode on videotape somewhere.

Win_Ben_Steins_Money

I was a contestant on “Win Ben Stein’s Money”.

I won some (although not all) of Ben Stein’s Money!

Here is the recounting of my game show experience:

I’ve never been on a game show before, or even tried out for one.  I grew up watching gameshows, first the daytime ones with my grandmothers (The Price Is Right, Truth or Consequences and Jeopardy) and then afternoon (Match Game) and evening ones (Beat The Clock, The Joker’s Wild, Hollywood Squares, Name That Tune and the new Jeopardy) as I grew up.

I’ve been a fan of Ben Stein’s since before his appearance in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and often read his articles in Penthouse while I was growing up (yes I read the articles).  So when Comedy Central gave him a game show with “Jimmy The Sports Guy from KROQ” as his sidekick I had to watch.

In case you’ve never seen the show, it’s a “hip Jeopardy for the gen-x generation” although it appeals to intellectual types of all sexes, races and ages.  Ben Stein is the host and Jimmy Kimmel is the sidekick and co-host.  The show is broken down into three rounds: the first, three contestants compete to answer questions, the player with the lowest score at the end of the round is eliminated; the second, two contestants and Ben Stein (who now becomes a player) compete and the player with the lowest score is eliminated; and the third and final round is the “BEST OF TEN TEST OF KNOWLEDGE” where the remaining contestant competes against Ben, both are asked the same ten questions and the highest score wins.  If the player beats Ben he wins $5000.

So the procedure for getting on the show:

1. visit http://www.futility.com and get the number to call to be a contestant.

2. Call and leave your info on the hotline.

3. Wait a while.

4. Be ready because they’ll call when you least expect it and give you a ten question quiz (and it’s not easy) on the phone.

5. If you pass the phone quiz you’ll be invited down to KTLA and there you’ll be given a thirty question written test.

6. Then they’ll explain the procedure for you and if you pass the written test, you get to stay and audition for the game by playing in front of the contestant reviewers.

7. Wait a while.

8. If you’re right for the show, they’ll call you and let you know that you’ve made the “contestant pool” and you’ll be asked to tape sometime in the near future.

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9. Wait a while.

10. Eventually they’ll call you with a taping date and send you a contestant information packet in the mail.

11. Wait a  while.

12. When your taping date arrives they ask you to arrive at KTLA at 11:15am and be prepared to go until 7pm because they tape three or four shows a day when they tape.

I arrived at 11:15 on my taping day (after having to reschedule once and then being rescheduled once because Jimmy had decided to leave the show) and we waited until a little after 11:30 on the curb at the guardshack to walk to the stage.  We were taken upstairs to the green room and filled out paperwork (rules, waiver, release and W-2).  They reviewed the rules with us and explained the procedure for the game (including the rules in case of a tie or a technical problem).  The we sat and waited.

They came in a picked the first three to play and the rest of us waited and watched the game on closed circuit tv.  They were taping four shows on my taping day so there were thirteen people and the contestant coordinators in close quarters for a while.  The first three contestants taped the first show.  When they came to pick the next three, they picked me to play against a guy about my age and an older woman

We were miked with radio microphones, the contestant wrangler walked us down to the set, the audience was loaded in from the first taping, and the stage manager gave us instructions.  We got to test the buzzers and then we waited for Ben to come down to the set.  When he arrived he greeted us, his competitors and wished us luck.  Because of Jimmy’s sudden departure from the show, they have a new co-host/sidekick a sexy and funny woman named Nancy…but she was still learning the game and the workings of the show (it was only her third day!) so it was a little rough.  She reviewed our intros and we were ready to go.

Nancy Pimental and Ben Stein

Nancy Pimental and Ben Stein

I did well in the first round and was in the lead when it ended.  In the second round Ben smoked both me and the older woman, but because I was in the lead I won and got to face Ben in the final round.  I let Ben go first and he scored a four.  The ten questions were hard.  But I too scored a four and tied Ben!

During the second and third round I had a nice conversation with Ben about his writing and the show.  After I tied him, Ben congratulated me and thanked me for wishing him good luck (he told me that it was “very sportsmanlike”).

The show will air next season, sometime after April.  I get paid 120 days after it airs…so I’ll see the money next summer.

All in all I had a great time!  I spent about eight hours total between the audition and the taping, met Ben Stein, made it to the final round and went head-to-head with him, tied him and won some of his money!  Not bad for a day’s work!

Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

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They gave all the contestants a t-shirt and I got to keep my question and answer card
(the scribbles are Nancy Pimental’s notes for asking the questions):

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26-JUN-13: Giant Sequoia Redwood Tree

Giant Sequoia Redwood Tree

Giant Sequoia Redwood Tree

Giant Sequoia Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, CA (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

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Pic of the Day 13-MAY-13: Central Park, New York City, NY

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – Central Park, New York City, NY

“This sculpture is for children and meant to be climbed on!”

Alice in Wonderland - Central Park, New York City, NY (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Alice in Wonderland – Central Park, New York City, NY (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Alice and her cast of storybook friends found their way to Central Park in 1959, when philanthropist George Delacorte commissioned this bronze statue as a gift to the children of New York City. Inspired by the zany characters of the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland, the sculpture was also meant as a tribute to his late wife, Margarita, who read Alice to their children. Engraved around the statue are lines from his nonsensical poem, The Jabberwocky.

The sculpture is a favorite among children, who love to climb atop it and explore its varied textures and hiding spaces. Through the years, thousands of tiny hands have literally polished parts of its patina surface smooth.

Created by the Spanish-born American sculptor José de Creeft, the piece depicts Alice holding court from her perch on the mushroom. The host of the story’s tea party is the Mad Hatter, a caricature of George Delacorte. The White Rabbit is depicted holding his pocket watch, and a timid dormouse nibbles a treat at Alice’s feet.

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http://www.centralparknyc.org/visit/things-to-see/great-lawn/alice-in-wonderland.html

Contact me at  joshuawwilletttravel@gmail.com to plan your next trip to New York City!

14-MAR-2013: California – Highway 58 Landscape

California Route 58 between the 5 Freeway and the 101 Freeway west of Buttonwillow is a winding mountain road through a thinly-populated area. This section of SR 58 passes through the Carrizo Plain, known for its scenic beauty and geological features, including the San Andreas Fault.

CA Highway 58 - Nowhere, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

CA Highway 58 – Nowhere, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

The Carrizo Plain is home to 13 endangered species including the San Joaquin Kit Fox, the Giant Kangaroo Rat, and the California Condor. The California Valley Solar Ranch is a 250-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in the Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley constructed on 4,365-acres of former grazing land.

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