Firestorm & Murder in Southern California!

Firestorm and Murder in Southern California!

The morning after the election…. are we any closer to saving our democracy? It wasn’t a “Blue Wave” but the gains were significant in the face of REPUBLICAN GERRYMANDERING. Now I’m waiting for Mueller and the indictments and someone to call for impeachment. Let the public see Trump’s tax returns. Investigate the many ethical violations of his cabinet members and staff. Have a real Congressional investigation into his campaign’s collusion with PUTIN and RUSSIA.

And the Twitter Troll is GUILTY of another crime today (Obstruction):
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And so the Midterm Elections are (almost) over. The Democrats gained many seats and reclaimed the House of Representatives! No more political ads! And a few of the scumbags who have been there too long are finally out of office! Wednesday’s TV news was a day of post-election coverage and political speculation as Donny couldn’t wait to fire Attorney General (and angry elf) Jeff Sessions, and now what will it mean for the FBI’s “Mueller Investigation”?

Wednesday ~11:30pm: News of another MASS SHOOTING in Thousand Oaks!

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A guy walks into a bar….. and kills 12 people. NO JOKE.
No one is safe. No place is safe. Live your life accordingly.

The Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks College Night is attacked by a lone gunman armed with a legally purchased semi-automatic handgun. Shooter kills 11 people at the nightclub and 1 first responder before killing himself (according to the news). 13 Dead, more injured.

12 HOURS LATER: The shooter was white. The shooter was an ex-Marine who served in Afghanistan as a machine gunner and lived with his mother in Newbury Park. The shooter was cleared after a mental health evaluation as NOT BEING A DANGER TO HIMSELF OR OTHERS….. He was a “quiet guy who kept to himself” and he killed 12 people without warning. Someone screwed up BIGTIME! Oh, and the media is having a non-stop coverage orgy of this tragedy in Los Angeles.

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13 HOURS LATER: Tribute to fallen hero, tribute to first responders, tribute to victims, father crying over news of dead son, eyewitness accounts and survivor stories, TV experts and grief counselors, and what you can do (give blood, vigil tonight, etc). Thoughts and Prayers again.

I never hung out at the Borderline during my time in Thousand Oaks. I was an El Torito guy. I know many people with ties to T.O. and today they are dealing with a mass murder in their town. Every local channel has had non-stop news coverage since midnight. Time for more “thoughts and prayers”.

Thursday Afternoon: And now there’s a fire in Newbury Park, and the 101 freeway is closed in both directions in Agoura, and the wind is really blowing……..

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“And we do want to warn you this video is graphic” = we are going to show it as many times as we can and you’re going to watch it. The ghouls at KTLA News have now gone 24 hours on “the Massacre” with a short break for Fire coverage and sports.

And the fire’s growing fast. Camarillo Springs is on fire too now. The embers are blowing and hitting homes and burning RVs now.

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And Oak Park is ON FIRE, homes are burning north of Kanan Rd and it could jump Kanan and burn many more. Winds blowing 40-50 mph in places and It could jump the 101 and burn all the way to the Pacific! The 101 is closed. They are now ordering everyone out South of the 101 all the way to Mulholland! The Paramount Ranch is in danger!

Friday 2:30am: They are now ordering everyone out South of the 101 all the way to Mulholland! The Paramount Ranch is in danger! Ventura County Fire Station 37 is ON FIRE at Kanan and Upper Ranch Rd north of Thousand Oaks. The fire is threatening homes in Agoura Hills.

Evacuations from Sunset Hills to Mulholland, Lindero Cyn to the 23 fwy north of the 101! Westlake blvd to Las Virgenes south of the 101! Homes are burning on E. Hillcrest Dr in Thousand Oaks. Power outages in Malibu. Morning winds coming too. It’s really really bad.

Friday 8am: And the fire jumped the 101 this morning and is burning through the canyons. Malibu now is under a mandatory evacuation order! *URGENT SAFETY MESSAGE* Fire has jumped the 101 fwy near Chesebro and is headed to Ocean Mandatory Evacuations, 101 Fwy to the coast between Las Virgenes Cyn /Malibu Cyn Rd. to the LA County line. Imminent threat! Malibu lakes residents must leave area immediately.

It’s a MAJOR DISASTER! The fires are out of control and still growing! Many homes and fantastic places have already been destroyed.

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NOTE: TIME FOR A RANT ABOUT LA COUNTY DISASTER PREPAREDNESS!
Good thing it wasn’t “The Big One”. The initial response was slow allowing it to spread quickly. Once it spread there weren’t enough resources to fight it. Homes were left to burn because they were protecting other structures. PCH and the 101 were jammed, showing there is no master plan for an emergency of this scale.

Emergency info was uncoordinated. Evacuation centers filled up quickly and Pepperdine University had students shelter in place (requiring resources to protect them and the campus). Large animal owners were unprepared to evacuate their animals! If you own a horse, you should be required to have a trailer for it and have an emergency plan! There should have been a real firebreak on both sides of the freeway to prevent the fire crossing into the canyons. Its not like this hasn’t happened before.

There are currently 5600 US troops sitting at the border waiting for the “Caravan Invasion” months away. The CA National Guard should be trained for fire fighting and available immediately for firestorm emergencies like this. The amount of dead and dry brush is also a problem since they don’t have an adequate budget or regular schedule for controlled burns, deforestation, or building proper firebreaks year-round.

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Paramount Ranch burned again today. Obviously, the Fire Management and Loss Prevention Programs (Federal, State, County and City) are a TOTAL FAIL. There are not enough resources and there wasn’t any planning for fighting this type of firestorm event.

Western Town at The Paramount Ranch in Agoura was destroyed around noon:

Fire is now south of Mulholland and heading for Malibu.

Mandatory Evacuations were ordered! “Get out of Malibu!”

And Pacific Coast Highway was jammed, all lanes going to Santa Monica, then closed.

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Evacuation Traffic on PCH between Malibu and Santa Monica (photo by KTLA) this morning.

Friday 5:45pm: Fire is moving into West Hills and towards Woodland Hills and the San Fernando Valley!

Saturday 1:20am There is an ominous quiet in the SFV tonight…. and there is no news after two days of non-stop murder and fire.

Saturday morning 8:30am: It’s cold and clear outside in the SFV. Here’s a pic from Zen Gesner in Malibu. He stayed with his father who refused the mandatory evacuation and fought the fire. Zen and a few friends stayed all night instead of evacuating, and they saved the house and a few of the neighbor’s houses from the flames!
Visit Malibu, where the fire meets the sea:

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Malibu Beach On Fire! (photo by Zen Gesner)

Saturday 5pm: The fire burned through the canyons yesterday afternoon and last night. the flames reached the Pacific Ocean after jumping Pacific Coast Highway fueled by high coastal winds and wind generated by the heat. Entire neighborhoods were destroyed in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Oak Park, Agoura Hills, Agoura, Malibu, Topanga Cyn, and West Hills.

THE FIRES ARE STILL BURNING! It has grown to 70000 acres. The 101 Ventura Fwy remains closed between Calabasas Rd and Lindero Canyon. Kanan Rd and other canyon passes remain closed between the freeway and Pacific Coast Highway, which is also closed from Sunset Blvd to Las Posas Rd. as Malibu remains on fire.

The winds died down and then shifted, and now the air quality is UNHEALTHFUL TO DEADLY today. The Santa Susana radioactive storage site burned early on Thursday, so the air may actually be dangerous and toxic! Particle masks are recommended if you have to go outdoors. Everything smells like smoke and burned houses.

HIGH WIND RED FLAG WARNING! Strong wind is expected tomorrow through Tuesday when “the Santa Anas” return.

Originally Posted Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at 5:45pm
And now back to your regularly scheduled program……

AND THEN THIS TODAY FROM THE TWITTER TROLL OF THE UNITED STATES:
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California Professional Firefighters President Brian K. Rice issued the following statement following the President’s tweet.:
“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.
“At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires.
“At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.
“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.
“Natural disasters are not “red” or “blue” – they destroy regardless of party. Right now, families are in mourning, thousands have lost homes, and a quarter-million Americans have been forced to flee. At this desperate time, we would encourage the president to offer support in word and deed, instead of recrimination and blame.”
California Professional Firefighters represents more than 30000 front line firefighters and paramedics in California.

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READ THIS! Former National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis’ message regarding Trump:

READ THIS!

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From the Association of National Park Rangers (US)
Former National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis’ message regarding Trump:
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This morning former Director Jon Jarvis made this statement about recent events involving the National Park Service:

“I have been watching the Trump administration trying unsuccessfully to suppress the National Park Service with a mix of pride and amusement. The NPS is the steward of America’s most important places and the narrator of our most powerful stories, told authentically, accurately, and built upon scientific and scholarly research. The Park Ranger is a trusted interpreter of our complex natural and cultural history and a voice that cannot not be suppressed. Edicts from on-high have directed the NPS to not talk about “national policy”, but permission is granted to use social media for visitor center hours and safety. The ridiculousness of such a directive was immediately resisted and I am not the least bit surprised. So at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta should we not talk about his actions to secure the rights to vote for African Americans in the south, or is that too “national policy”? At Stonewall National Monument in New York City, shall we only talk about the hours you can visit the Inn or is it “national policy” to interpret the events there in 1969 that gave rise to the LGBT movement? Shall we only talk about the historic architecture of the Washington, DC home of Alice Paul and Alva Belmont or is it too “national policy” to suggest their decades of effort to secure the rights of women can be linked directly to the women’s marches in hundreds of cities last weekend? And as we scientifically monitor the rapid decline of glaciers in Glacier National Park, a clear and troubling indicator of a warming planet, shall we refrain from telling this story to the public because the administration views climate change as “national policy”? These are not “policy” issues, they are facts about our nation, it is how we learn and strive to achieve the ideals of our founding documents. To talk about these facts is core to the mission of the NPS. During the Centennial of the National Park Service, we hosted over 300 million visitors (now that is huge) to the National Parks and most came away inspired, patriotic and ready to speak on behalf of the values we hold most dear. The new Administration would be wise to figure out how to support the National Park Service, its extraordinary employees and their millions of fans.”

—————————————————————

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

JOIN NOW! You don’t have to be a park ranger to “Like” what they stand for – or even to join ANPR as a full-fledged member! The have categories for park employees, students and park supporters. http://www.anpr.org (RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”)

NOTE: A freeze on federal government hiring was instituted on January 24, 2017 by executive order. The memo, which does not apply to military personnel, states that “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances”

Trump put a freeze on federal government hiring, and it could seriously impact the National Park Service and the need to hire thousands of seasonal rangers and other employees for the summer! Beyond seasonal positions, there are many permanent positions that parks are trying to fill and people who have already been offered permanent jobs but haven’t begun working… this will definitely affect the visitor experience and park safety!

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Waimoku Falls – Haleakala National Park in Hana-Maui, Hawaii

DON’T LET THEM SELL OUR FEDERAL LANDS
TO THE LOGGING, MINING & OIL COMPANIES!

PROTECT THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT!
CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL! (NOT A HOAX)

http://www.sierraclub.org
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“O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties. Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! G-d shed his grace on thee.”
– America the Beautiful
from a poem written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893
(after a visit to Pikes Peak in Colorado)
music composed by Samuel A. Ward

Pikes Peak, named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike, is one of the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains in North America. The 14,115-foot mountain top is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles southwest of downtown Colorado Springs. The summit of Pikes Peak is a high alpine environment with a polar climate due to its elevation. Snowfall is possible year round at the top and thunderstorms are common in the summertime. Pikes Peak, above 14000 feet, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

http://www.nps.gov
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JoshWillTravel in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias – Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite, California

JoshWillTravel in Yosemite National Park (Wawona Tunnel Picture Point)

 

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30000 Hits! THANK YOU! http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com
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30000 Hits! THANK YOU! Another Benchmark!

Many thanks to our loyal readers and all the “drop-in” visitors since February 2013!

There are almost 600 Previous Blog Posts (BLOGS) archived for your enjoyment!
Use the Search Box at the top of the page or just read though (there’s an “Older Posts” link at the bottom of the page) to find fun and interesting stuff.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! More to come!

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Best “Weekend Getaway” From Los Angeles?

Best “weekend getaway” from Los Angeles?

Here’s a Q&A from another saved draft. This is a Travel Blog.

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Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: My mom is coming to visit me in Venice for a week in April and we want to getaway! We’re looking for a destination to relax, hit up the spa, wine taste or have a great meal, do some boutique shopping, and maybe go for an easy hike? Since this will be for 1-2 nights, would like to keep it within 3 hours (one way). Out of all the amazing places, if you have to pick 1 destination for a visitor to see, what is the best destination for a weekend getaway from L.A. and why?

A: A fantastic Spa Weekend “Getaway” that meets your description can be experienced at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. It’s a beautiful full-service, luxury four star resort just north of Los Angeles with free self-parking.

The hotel has an amazing spa and pool facility with all the amenities. There’s fine dining on-site and in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura, Moorpark, Malibu or the Pacific Palisades (and the hotel also provides a shuttle that will take you to the beach).

Watch the sunset and enjoy a cocktail on the deck at Moonshadows Malibu or have an amazing $u$hi meal at Nobu Malibu. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the Saddle Peak Lodge, Cafe Firenze or one of the many fine restaurants nearby. We’ve heard about (and seen pictures of) the fabulous desserts at CHOCOLATINE Café French Pastries.

There is great easy hiking nearby in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. We recommend the Paramount Ranch (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” filming site), Malibu Creek State Park (“MASH” filming site) or Point Dume State Beach.

There are also some nice wineries to visit nearby: Malibu Wines, SIP Malibu, Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, Cornell Winery & Tasting Room and others are open to the public.

Horseback riding, shopping of all kinds, beach activities, nightlife options and more are all available locally. The hotel also offers cooking classes, other educational programs and fun activities.

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Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Good hikes in LA or surrounding areas?

Q: I have done a few in Malibu and Hollywood but looking for more ideas!

A: A great place to hike in Los Angeles is the Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills and other trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Park entry and parking are free! Topanga State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Rocky Oaks Park, Stunt Ranch State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, Temescal Canyon Park and Point Dume State Beach all have great hiking. Entrance fees and parking vary by location.

To Paramount Ranch: Exit Kanan Rd off the 101 freeway, turn left towards the beach, just past Agoura Rd make a left on Cornell Rd and drive to the park entrance. Park near the Ranger Station and enter through the Western Town film location.

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Paramount Ranch Park in Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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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)





 

 

Paramount Ranch Map with RPFS Locations!

Paramount Ranch Map with RPFS Locations!

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Paramount Ranch Map

Paramount Ranch Map with RPFS Locations!

I posted a photo album from my recent visit to the Paramount Ranch on facebook and added a map with locations from the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in the 1980’s. A couple requests were made for a higher resolution pic, so here it is. I labeled it from memory and “best guess”, and the labels on the map are in the general vicinity unless there was an actual landmark.

Washing Well foreground, Twilziwop and DAW/SOB on the hillside

Washing Well foreground, Twilziwop, DAW/SOB & Children’s Dell on the hillside (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

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First time in L.A.? Want the local experience?

First time in L.A.? Want the local experience?

San Fernando Valley #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I’m going to run down the beautiful San Fernando Valley for you. Here are some attractions, Points of Interest, good restaurants, and fun things to do. This list is nowhere near complete and things are constantly changing!

Don’t say there’s nothing to do and nowhere good to eat in the San Fernando Valley! Also, you”ll probably find a celebrity sighting or three if you get lucky.

San Fernando Valley #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Let’s start at Universal City, CA: Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal CityWalk with lots of places to eat/drink/shop on the hill, Firenze Osteria (Fabio from “Top Chef”) Italian restaurant,

Universal CityWalk (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

North Hollywood: Television Academy, NoHo Arts District and it’s many theatre companies, The Federal Bar, Circus Liquor and the giant clown sign on Cahuenga, Los Angeles Valley College, North Hollywood Park, Tiki No Bar, Joe Peep’s Pizza, Bar One: a craft beer bar, Krua Thai restaurant,

 

Atwater Village: Atwater Village Theatre, The Village Bakery & Cafe Proof Bakery, Canele Restaurant,

Burbank: Warner Brothers Studios, Disney Studios, Burbank Media Center, Bob’s Big Boy, Johnny Carson Park, Market City Caffe Italian restaurant, Smoke House Restaurant, Burbank equestriain center, Pickwick Bowl, Colony Theatre, Ribs USA, Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse – Burbank,

Glendale: The Americana at Brand Shopping Center, Autry Museum, Griffith Park, Forest Lawn (there are two cemeteries, one near Griffith Park and one in Glendale), Jax Bar & Grill, Griffith Park and the Observatory, Griffith Park Travel Town, Los Angeles Zoo, Tam O’Shanter restaurant, Damon’s Steak House, Mori Teppan Grill, Billy’s Deli – Glendale, (continue east on the 134 freeway to Eagle Rock and Pasadena)

Sun Valley: Hansen Dam Park, Georgio’s Pizza and Sports Bar,

Studio City: CBS Studio Center, The Village restaurant, CA DEL SOLE restaurant, Black Market Liquor Bar, Spark Woodfire Grill, Vitello’s Italian Restaurant, Loteria Grill, Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery, Fryman Canyon, The Six Restaurant, City Wok Chinese restaurant, Henry’s Tacos, Art’s Delicatessen & Restaurant, Firefly Studio City restaurant and bar,

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks: Sherman Oaks Galleria, Sherman Oaks Castle Park, Casa Vega, Westfield Fashion Square, Smoke City Market bbq restaurant, Delmonico’s Steak and Lobster House, Café Bizou restaurant, Blu Jam Café, The Getty Center, Skirball Cultural Center, Bamboo Cuisine Chinese restaurant, Valley Inn restaurant,

Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

Van Nuys: Van Nuys Courthouse and historic district, Lake Balboa Park, Puro Sabor Peruvian restaurant, Swiss Chef restaurant, Salsa And Beer Mexican restaurant (Papas &Beer), Sepulveda Recreation Center, Japanese Gardens, Woodley Avenue Park,

Lake Balboa Park - Los Angeles, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lake Balboa Park – Los Angeles, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Encino: Encino Commons, Okumura Sushi Restaurant, Sushi Hirosuke, Larsen’s Steakhouse, Versailles Cuban restaurant, Taj Mahal Indian restaurant, Balboa Sports Center, Los Encinos State Historic Park, Benihana Japanese restaurant, Yamato’s Japanese Restaurant, Aroma Bakery Cafe, Encino Velodrome,

Oh yeah, we're gonna have sushi. Sushi at Okumura! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Oh yeah, we’re gonna have sushi.
Sushi at Okumura! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tarzana/Reseda: Tarzana Village, Le Sanglier French Restaurant, Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen, Sushi Ichiban Kan, Bea’s Bakery, Superwok Chinese restaurant, Las Fuentes Mexican restaurant, Sol y Luna Mexican restaurant,

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Northridge: Northridge Fashion Center, California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), Pacific Theatres Winnetka 21, A & W Seafood Chinese restaurant, Brent’s Deli, Mandarin Deli Restaurant (soup dumplings), (continue northwest on the 118 freeway to Simi Valley)

 

Woodland Hills: CA: Warner Center, Westfield Topanga Mall, Yang Chow Restaurant, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurant, Pierce College: Farm Center, Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse, My Brother’s Bar-B-Q, (continue west on the 101 freeway to Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks)

Drive Topanga Canyon south over the Santa Monica Mountains to Topanga State Park, Saddle Peak Lodge, and down to the Pacific Coast Highway for access to Malibu Beach,

Drive Mulholland Drive from Cahuenga Blvd to the 405 freeway at Sepulveda or vice versa. Great views of the valley day or night!

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

OTHER UNIQUE EATS (multiple locations):

In-N-Out Burger in North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and Woodland Hills

Katsu-ya in Encino and Studio City

Cheesecake Factory in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills

Cupid’s Hot Dogs in Northridge and Tarzana

Tommy’s Burgers in North Hollywood and Van Nuys

Solley’s Deli in Van Nuys and Woodland Hills, Jerry’s Deli in Studio City and Encino

Mulberry Street NY Pizzeria in Encino and Sherman Oaks

El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills

Zankou Chicken in Tarzana and Sherman Oaks

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito in Woodland Hills, CA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There are numerous public and private Golf Gourses, Tennis Courts and Country Clubs in and around the valley.

The Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There are also numerous city parks, bike paths, small dog parks and urban garden areas. The rehabilitation of the L.A. River is an ongoing project.

 

 

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area http://www.nps.gov/samo has 500 miles of trails and spans 153,075 acres, the world’s largest urban national park!

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley at night (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley at night (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Travel Answers about Yosemite: Best Camping Sites in Yosemite Valley?

Yosemite National Park: Best camping sites in the Yosemite Valley area?

Sunrise on Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Sunrise on Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Hi, I am looking for a camping site around the valley area. We are going to visit in mid June for 2 nights and are looking for a good spot to camp. Thanks!

A: Do you have a reservation? Most of the campsites in Upper, Lower, and North Pines Campground for summer are “sold out” before May! If you don’t have reservations, you can try to get a campsite in the valley on the day you are there, or there’s “Backpacker’s Camp” (Camp 4) which is “first-come/first-served”.

From the National Park Service website:

“Yosemite National Park has 13 campgrounds, of which up to seven are on a reservation system. From April through September, reservations are essential and even the first-come first-served campgrounds often fill by noon from May through September.

Campground Reservations

Reservations are required from about March 15 through November for Yosemite Valley’s car campgrounds and summer through fall for Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Wawona, and half of Tuolumne Meadows. Campground reservations are available in blocks of one month at a time, up to five months in advance, on the 15th of each month at 7 am Pacific time. Be aware that nearly all reservations for the months of May through September and for some other weekends are filled the first day they become available, usually within seconds or minutes after 7 am!”

Here is the link to the nps.gov site:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm

If you can’t get camping in the valley, there are campgrounds in the park on the rim (about an hour from the valley) and just outside the park as well.

Yosemite Valley (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

—————————————————————————————————–

And a Follow Up Question:

Q: Hey Josh! Thanks so much for the super insightful answer. I found out that as you said, most campsites are fully booked. I found availability in the following: 1. Camp Wawona, 2. Silver Lake Campground, 3. Soquel Campground, 4. Crane Flat Campground. Do you know any of these ? Any thoughts? Thanks, Yaniv G. 

A: Check and see if Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite Valley is still available!

Camp Wawona is on the rim near the Wawona Hotel, Yosemite’s Badger Pass, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Glacier Point. Wawona is also close to Oakhurst which is a real town with markets, laundromats, restaurants, etc.

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

Giant Sequoia Redwood Tree – Yosemite, CA (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Soquel Campground and Crane Flat Campground are farther away.

See my other Yosemite post for Hotels in the Valley.

 Half Dome - Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome and Yosemite Valley, California – Spring 1985 (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome from across the valley - Yosemite, California (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

Half Dome and Yosemite Valley, California – Fall 2011 (copyright 2011 Joshua Weisel)

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Vamos a la playa! (Let’s Go to the Beach)

Vamos a la playa!  HAppy LAbor DAy!

Kanan Road to Malibu..

Kanan Road Tunnel through the Santa Monica Mountains to Malibu (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Kanan Road Tunnel to Malibu and PCH Highway (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A beautiful Labor Day Monday morning drive to the beach and back:

101 Freeway north

101 Freeway north

Kanan Road exit

Kanan Road exit (note the Highway Patrol giving someone a ticket)

Kanan Road

Kanan Road and Agoura Road

Kanan Road

Kanan Road to the beach

View of a cloud covered ocean from Kanan Road

View of a cloud covered ocean from Kanan Road

Tunnel Vision!

Tunnel Vision! Kanan Road to the beach.

Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean from Kanan Road

Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California

Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway (sunny on one side of the road, foggy on the other)

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University in Malibu, California

Malibu Canyon Road  back to the 101 Freeway:

Malibu Canyon Tunnel to the San Fernando Valley

Malibu Canyon Tunnel to the San Fernando Valley (Pink Lady Art RIP)

Tunnel Vision!

Tunnel Vision! Malibu Canyon to the 101 Freeway.

101 Freeway South

101 Freeway South

As I was coming back, Labor Day traffic was getting pretty heavy and there were five L.A. Sheriff cars going the opposite way to the beach on Malibu Canyon Road.

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Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Lee Vining, CA – Happy 4th of July Weekend! (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

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