Return to Ashland, Oregon and Oakland, California in May-June 2019

Return to Ashland, Oregon and Oakland, California
May – June 2019

Ashland visitor map 1

Ashland, Oregon Visitor’s Map

It’s been a year (and a half) since we planted my father’s body in the ground in Southern Oregon. The headstone unveiling, after a year of mourning, is a Jewish tradition, so we returned to Ashland for the dedication, to see family, and to take care of a little business.

Dad 1

Lee Weisel RIP

NOTE: We started this Blog Post in June after we got back and now it is October.
It is finally time to finish and publish it as promised. There are a lot of previous Blog Posts about Ashland, Oregon! If you are interested in more travel and tourism info, you should search for them using the SEARCH BOX or checking out The Archives.

ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon!
Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon via I-5 north
Thurs 10:15pm – Fri 8:25am

“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hand’s wet on the wheel
There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel”

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We have found the drive from Los Angeles is much better at night. Interstate 5 between The Grapevine and Sacramento and Sacramento and Redding is a long flat drive through the Central Valley of California. There are a lot of “big rig” trucks and only two lanes most of the way, which makes for slow tourists trying to pass, and that creates dangerous situations when other drivers “can’t wait” and do stupid things. So, there are not a lot of tourists if you drive after 9pm, most are asleep for the night, and the truckers have restrictions on the hours they can drive, so many of them have to stop and rest. And that means less traffic, less stupid drivers, fewer cops and better road conditions if you don’t mind driving at night and the bugs on your windshield. Also, the heat and sun can be terrible during the day (even with air conditioning) so there’s that too.

Sunrise at Lake Shasta

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Sunrise at Lake Shasta, California

If the timing is right, you will get a beautiful sunrise sometime after you pass Redding! Sunrise on Mount Shasta, or coming through the Siskiyou Pass, is a fine experience. There are nice places to stop along the way if you get tired: rest stops, motels, casinos and trucker rest areas along the highway (both commercial and off-ramp/road-side turnouts). We like to drive straight through, stopping only for gas and rest breaks, if we’re doing it at night. We pack food, drink and a change of clothes. Our car is prepared for roadside emergencies, and we have the enhanced auto club coverage with 100 miles towing for our long road trips.

Breakfast at the Morning Glory Cafe in Ashland, Oregon!

We arrived in Ashland early morning and decided to stop for a big breakfast at the Morning Glory Cafe. We like the place but it can get very busy. Free parking next door at the M-otel. We parked, stretched, and then we got a seat at the counter without having to wait and enjoyed our food.

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The Morning Glory Cafe in Ashland

On The Menu: Belgian Bacon Waffle with walnut butter, marionberry jam and maple syrup, fresh orange juice and coffee

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After breakfast we drove to the motel and tried to get an early check-in, but no luck. So, we went thrifting/antiquing for a couple hours. We drove to Medford and back, made a few stops, and drove to The Ranch. We hung out until it was time to check-in, then drove back to the motel and moved into our room.

Family stuff all weekend and then Dad’s headstone unveiling on Sunday afternoon.
Most of the family activities were small and personal and we didn’t take pictures. We had family dinner at The Ranch on Friday, dinner at Beasy’s on The Creek in Ashland on Saturday, and a post-ceremony gathering at The Ranch after the unveiling on Sunday.

Our accommodations for the weekend:
Comfort Inn in Ashland, Oregon – 3 nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Breakfast and Free WiFi included

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Comfort Inn in Ashland, Oregon (at exit 19)

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The room was spacious, clean and equipped with a fridge and microwave. There was also a large “Jacuzzi Tub” in the room, set in a weird space adjacent. We were told it was the only room with this kind of tub. There was also a skylight in the weird space, and there was no way to cover it or block the light from the rest of the room, which was a problem because we like it dark. We got some black trash bags and tape from the front desk and tried to jury rig a “blackout” shade, but it was not very successful.

We could have moved to another room, but it was also graduation weekend for the local high schools and Southern Oregon University in Ashland, so everything was booked solid on Friday night everywhere in Jackson county, so we just decided to go with it and enjoy the tub.

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Bubble Bath in the “Jacuzzi Tub” at the Comfort Inn

We stayed here last year for the funeral weekend and it was a pretty good “no frills” option, convenient to roads that lead to The Ranch. And yes we were invited to stay at the house, but we would be surrounded by family, and without private space, so we spent the additional money for the motel room and “peace of mind”.

The Comfort Inn has a nice daily Breakfast Buffet served in a large dining room next to the lobby. The start serving the hot breakfast early and it’s a pretty nice spread with good options. And they also have FREE coffee all day and night.

On The Menu: scrambled eggs with bacon or sausage, Mexican egg scramble, waffles (make them yourself), fresh fruit, cereals, milk, juices, coffee, tea, bagels, bread for toasting, mini-croissants, donuts, muffins, yogurt and more.

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View of the Rogue Valley from The Ranch

Family Dinner at The Ranch on Friday night

After checking in, cleaning up, and taking a short nap at the motel, we drove back to The Ranch and had a nice dinner with the immediate family. After dinner we stopped at the market, bought provisions for the weekend and a bottle of Mister Bubble, and then returned to the motel and took a long hot bubble bath in the in-room “Jacuzzi Tub”.

We slept and woke up early on Saturday. After enjoying the breakfast buffet at the motel, we went back to bed. We woke up, got ready and went up to The Ranch to be social, and then went into Ashland, and then up to Medford, before returning to the motel to clean up and get ready for dinner.

Dinner at Beasy’s on the Creek on Saturday night

The family went out to dinner at Beasy’s on The Creek in downtown Ashland. It was Dad’s favorite restaurant for entertaining, the Chef/Owner is a good friend, and we had his “Bilbo Baggin’s” Farewell Party for all his friends there. It was a great meal but there was a lot of emotional stuff happening at the table during dinner.

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Chef Rob in the Kitchen at Beasy’s on The Creek in Ashland, Oregon

On The Menu:
6oz filet with 2 prawns, broccoli, potatoes au gratin, clam chowder, bread and butter, wine, a coke, and pot du chocolate for dessert.
Pressed pinot noir red wine with dinner.

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“Surf & Turf” Dinner at Beazy’s on the Creek in Ashland, Oregon

After dinner we went back to the motel and tried to sleep, but we couldn’t. Too much stuff going on in our head and not tired/insomnia. It was a long night at the motel. We finally fell asleep for a little while and then hit the Sunday breakfast buffet. We hung out until it was time to caravan over to the cemetery for Dad’s headstone unveiling.

It was a truly beautiful day and the weather was absolutely perfect. There was a gathering of family and close friends at the gravesite, and the Rabbi performed a brief service to dedicate the headstone. It is a Jewish tradition to wait a year (and mourn the dead) before placing the headstone at the grave. And so, we gathered and the headstone was unveiled, and it was a very emotional afternoon. Then after the service we went back to The Ranch for a reception and celebration of his life with more food and drink.

After the reception we went back to the motel and took a nap, and when we woke up we hung out until we got hungry. We drove up to Medford to the In-n-Out Burger (the first one in the state) and got some late-night food.

Dinner at In-n-Out Burger in Medford, Oregon on Sunday night

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In-N-Out Burger in Medford, Oregon

Got that In-n-Out Urge! Also, there aren’t a lot of late night options on Sunday in Ashland, so two Double-Double cheeseburgers and a chocolate shake was a terrific choice for familiar and inexpensive comfort food after a long and emotional day.

 

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In-n-Out Double-Double Cheeseburger

We returned to the motel, took another hot bath in the “Jacuzzi Tub”, took a hot shower, and tried to sleep. When the morning came around we woke up and enjoyed the breakfast buffet again. We packed up our stuff and loaded the car and checked out of the Comfort Inn at noon on Monday.

Family stuff is just exhausting! Our brother flew in Saturday morning and left on Sunday afternoon. Our east coast aunt left on the early morning flight to New York from Medford with a layover in Denver. Our sister left on a later flight Monday for Los Angeles with a layover in San Francisco. And our other aunt and uncle (and their caregiver) left Tuesday around noon on a flight to Phoenix, Arizona.

We moved to The Ranch for the next two nights (Monday and Tuesday) after my brother, sister and east coast aunt had left town. We checked out of the motel and moved into our east coast aunt’s guest room, which used to be my father’s office. It was weird being in the space and sleeping in a bed located where his desk once was, and there were still remnants of his office stuff and the same pictures on the wall to add to the weirdness….

We stayed around the house and there was an afternoon nap, before we went out to dinner in downtown Ashland.

Dinner at Lark’s Kitchen at the Historic Ashland Springs Hotel on Monday evening

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The Historic Ashland Springs Hotel (from an earlier visit)

We went out to eat again with our aunt and uncle (and their caregiver) and stepmother at Lark’s Country Kitchen in the Historic Ashland Springs Hotel. Our aunt and uncle wanted a good burger. and they have a good burger on the lunch menu, also available “off the menu” at dinner on request. We called and confirmed this and made an early reservation. There is no theatre in Ashland on Mondays, the stages are dark, and the OSF has the day off, so there was no pre-theatre dinner rush to worry about. We enjoyed a wonderful relaxed dinner in the dining room with a nice view of Ashland’s main drag, also less crowded on Monday, but alway good for people watching.

On The Menu:
Fried chicken breast with bacon gravy, mashed red potatoes, and sub asparagus for collared greens. Sea Smoke Southing pinot noir red wine and a coke to drink.

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The fried chicken breast was excellent! And everyone enjoyed the burgers too. After dinner, we returned to The Ranch and tried to sleep. It was another long night.

Tuesday was a “take care of business” day. We had a mission to document the details of the Music Master Tape Library and go through a few boxes of Dad’s family photographs. It took all day to complete the tasks, and we had leftovers from the weekend for dinner, packed most of our stuff, and went to bed early.

Ashland, Oregon to Oakland, California on Wednesday morning 8am – 1:30pm

We woke up very early, loaded the car, had a quick breakfast sandwich, and hit the road headed south on Wednesday morning with our friend’s house in Oakland, California as our afternoon destination. It was another beautiful day and the drive was pretty easy. We stopped for gas in Santa Nella and missed the I-505 intersection at Winters. So we had to go further south (80 to 680 to Walnut Creek) to go east into the Bay Area. The “detour” added a little extra time, but it was another beautiful day, so we didn’t mind too much. There was a little traffic coming into Oakland, but it was a really nice drive.

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Mount Shasta, California (from the I-5 freeway)

NOTE: WATCH OUT FOR THE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL!
There were a lot of cops on the road during the daytime. They drive marked cruisers, Ford Mustangs and SUVs, as well as unmarked cars (white and blue spotted this trip). Watch your speed, watch your mirrors, and watch out for hidden speed traps!

Wednesday Afternoon in Oakland, California (well, actually in Piedmont)

We arrived at our friend’s house and parked around 1:30pm in the afternoon. And after a quick stop there to refresh and relax, we decided to go afternoon day drinking at a local bar within walking distance and then have something to eat TBD nearby in the neighborhood.

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Kerry House in Oakland, California

First stop was Kerry House, a divey neighborhood bar with cheap drinks, on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.  Asked if they had “fresh cream” and ordered a White Russian (aka “a caucasian” made with vodka, coffee liqueur and fresh half&half) when the bartender said yes. Then we waited while the doorman went to the corner store and bought small cartons of milk and half&half, so yes it was fresh! We also had some chips and our friend had a couple of Cosmopolitans (vodka and cranberry juice).

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We offered to take our friend out to lunch or dinner, whatever they wanted. The sushi restaurant didn’t open until 5pm, and with our day drinking and another stop at the nearby coffee house for an Italian espresso with whipped cream, we could have gone there. Instead it was decided that we would cook dinner for our friend, so we went to the local market and bought some good food to prepare and consume at her house.

On The Menu: Chef JoshWillTravel did a great job!
Big Thunder Ranch BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs and steamed broccoli for dinner
with pita chips and hummus appetizer to start

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Big Thunder Ranch BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Steamed Broccoli

We prepped the food and put the ribs in the oven to cook for an hour and a half.
Then we had a little nap during the Basketball Game which was being played in Oakland.

Final Score: Toronto Raptors 123 – Golden State Warriors 109 (series tied 1-1)

After the game was over, we enjoyed a very nice dinner and hung out until 11pm.
Then we hit the road again for another long night drive to Los Angeles. Because of traffic (caused by the game and construction) we had to go north to go east to go south and we added some extra miles, but probably saved some time by following Google Map back to I-5 south.

“No more speed, I’m almost there
Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care”

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TunnelVision!

Oakland to Los Angeles, California
Wednesday night 11pm – Thursday morning 5:30am
Antioch Bridge $6.00 Toll Fee (crossed it around midnight leaving the Bay Area)

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Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Photo of the Antioch Bridge

The least-traveled and probably least known of the region’s toll bridges, the Antioch Bridge, is a steel plate-girder automobile/bicycle/pedestrian bridge that crosses the San Joaquin River. The Antioch Bridge links Antioch with Sherman Island in southern Sacramento County, near the city of Rio Vista.

Once we reached the I-5 south it was an uneventful drive, with a stop to fill the gas tank and empty the bladder and a rest stop to stretch and use the restroom. There was a lot of construction work and one bad traffic accident ( a car went off the highway and into a deep ditch off the elevated road) and we were pretty sure there were fatalities as we passed. Another obvious reason to ALWAYS DRIVE SAFE and PAY ATTENTION!

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Incident on the I-5 Freeway South on Thursday Morning

We arrived in the San Fernando Valley just before 5:30am and as we reached the 405 freeway north, there was already “stop and go” traffic at the 101 intersection, so we exited and took surface streets home, with a quick stop at our PO Box to pick up the mail.

Comfort Inn – Ashland, Oregon

Morning Glory Cafe – Ashland, Oregon

Beazy’s On The Creek – Ashland, Oregon

In-n-Out Burger – Medford, Oregon

Lark’s Country Kitchen (at the Ashland Springs Hotel) – Ashland, Oregon

Kerry House – Piedmont Av, Oakland, California

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A Very Cool Thrift Store Find! San Francisco History!

Very Cool Thrift Store Find!

San Francisco History!
The Condor and Big Al’s on Broadway
Original photograph signed by Bob Kreisel and rescued for $2

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Original photograph signed by Bob Kreisel

The Condor   Where It All Began
The birthplace of the world’s first topless & bottomless entertainment
Topless – June 19, 1964   Bottomless – September 3, 1969
Starring Ms. Carol Doda   San Francisco, California

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The Condor Club and Big Al’s are located at the corner of Broadway and Columbus Avenue in the North Beach district of San Francisco. The Condor Club opened in 1964. The large marquee sign featured a cartoon image of Carol Doda with red flashing lights on her breasts. Carol Doda’s 44DD breasts were dubbed “the New Twin Peaks of San Francisco” and were insured for $1.5 million with Lloyd’s of London.

NOTE: The other famous clubs on the block are Roaring 20’s and the Hungry 1 Club.

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Carol Doda (August 29, 1937 – November 9, 2015) was the first known topless entertainer and a cultural icon of the 1960’s. She made history on June 19, 1964, when she bared her breasts and performed in a topless “monokini”. The club went “bottomless” on September 3, 1969, and remained full nude until 1972 when it became illegal to serve alcohol in full nude clubs.

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Carol Doda danced at the Condor Club until 1985 and died in 2015. Her only arrest happened in 1965, when police raided the club on April 22. She was arrested along with Pete Mattioli and Gino del Prete, the owners of the club on indecency charges. They were all found not guilty. She retired as a stripper in the 1980s but continued performing, and she also owned Carol Doda’s Champagne and Lace Lingerie Boutique in San Francisco until her death from kidney failure in 2015.

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Broadway and Columbus in North Beach, San Francisco (at night)

The original Condor Club closed in 2000. For a time it was a sports bar (and still is), and then a restaurant and a performance venue. The current Condor Club reopened in 2007 as “San Francisco’s Original Gentlemen’s Club” with a new neon sign.

“You know what’s funny about The Condor? 1) It’s not really a strip club until 6 pm, and 2) it has two entrances: one for the strip club, and one for a pretty unremarkable sports bar with big-picture windows facing Columbus St, a decent-enough draft beer selection, and live music. The two are separated by a small door frame with a velvet curtain drawn, so if you’re new and you make your way in through the Columbus entrance, you might not even put two and two together that you’re in a strip club. And, since we’re in the middle of North Beach, it’s exactly the kind of place a hapless tourist could wander into.” – Lauren Sloss in 2014

Big Al’s (the adult book store) closed in 2009. It is now a sandwich shop and cigar store. They kept the name and the neon sign.

Both clubs are San Francisco landmarks and an important part of the history of the city. The strip clubs of North Beach have been seen in many films and TV shows, featured on postcards and in travel and tourist brochures for over fifty years.

Bob Kreisel

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This bio was on the back of the photograph

The Condor Club560 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133 415-968-8678 http://www.condorsf.com

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Happy Chinese New Year 2017!

恭喜發財! Happy Chinese New Year 2017! 新年好呀!新年好呀!

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“May all your wishes be fulfilled”

THE YEAR OF THE RED FIRE ROOSTER! 祝贺大家新年好!
(or Chicken, referring to barnyard fowl of either sex)

Roosters have these five virtues:
Literary skills, military prowess, courage, benevolence and trustworthiness

Roosters have these personality traits:
They are observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, talented and
trustworthy with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work

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Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year 2017!

The Spring Festival begins on Saturday, January 28 at midnight.
The first day is for welcoming the deities of the heavens and earth.
It is tradition to light fireworks and firecrackers, burn bamboo sticks
and make as much noise as possible to chase off evil spirits.

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FIREWORKS! GUNG HAY FAT CHOY!

NOTE: The lunar year of the Rooster starts on January 28th.
The “Start of Spring” is February 3rd according to the Chinese solar calendar.

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The first day is also a time to honor family elders and visit the oldest and most senior members of the extended families (parents, grandparents and great-grandparents).

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For Buddhists the first day is also the birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva, the Buddha-to-be. They also abstain from killing animals and meat consumption on the first day.

People walk under a Chinese Lantern display during a Chinese New Year eve celebration at Chinatown in Manila

People walk under a Chinese Lantern display during New Year’s Eve celebration in Chinatown Manila, Philippines  February 18, 2015 (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

“May you realize all your ambitions”

According to ancient Chinese superstition, lighting fires and using knives is considered bad luck on New Year’s Day, so all food is usually cooked beforehand. It is also considered bad luck to use a broom during the New Year’s celebration.

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FIREWORKS! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

Usually the best way to avoid bad luck is to wear red, but because the fire element for 2017 is RED, do not use red in your clothes and accessories! Red colored stones like ruby, garnet and pink topaz should also be avoided. Instead, use colors that complement red and the fire element. Earth colored items (browns or yellows) are most suitable. Purple and lavender colors will also be lucky. Amethyst and topaz will bring luck and success.

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Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

NOTE: There are 13 lunar months instead of 12, and 384 days in 2017. To keep the Chinese lunar calendar within half a month of the traditional solar calendar, there’s a leap month (a second lunar month 6 starting July 23rd) in The Year of the Rooster.

The Chinese Zodiac:

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The Chinese zodiac is a recurring 12-year cycle. Each year is represented by one of 12 animals. Sorry Roosters, those in their birth-sign year will supposedly have bad luck.

NOTE: You will need to work hard and be patient to achieve your goals this year! Maintain a positive frame of mind. Meditation will help keep you calm and serene.

“May your happiness be without limit”

祝贺大家新年好! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL! 恭喜發財!

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The San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade is the oldest and largest celebration outside of Asia, and the largest Asian cultural event in North America. Over 100 groups participate in the annual Chinese New Year Parade held since 1958. It is attended by ~500,000 people and watched by another 3 million television viewers.

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FIREWORKS! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY!

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The inverted character fu is a sign of coming blessings



Happy Chinese New Year 2016!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year 2016! Year of the Yang Red Fire Monkey!

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Chinese New Year 2016 (according to the lunar calendar) begins on the New Moon on February 8th. Chinese New Year is celebrated by millions of people all over the world in countries and territories with Chinese populations, including the United States, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius and the Philippines.

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Chinese holidays and events for 2016:
1st January Friday – New Year’s Day National holiday
2nd January Saturday – New Year’s weekend Common Local holidays
3rd January Sunday – New Year’s weekend Common Local holidays
7th January Sunday – Spring Festival Eve National holiday
8th January Monday – Chinese New Year National holiday
9th January Tuesday – Spring Festival Golden Week holiday National holiday
10th February Wednesday – Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
11th February Thursday – Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
12th February Friday – Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
12th February Friday – Spring Festival Golden Week holiday National holiday
13th February Saturday – Spring Festival Golden Week holiday National holiday
13th February Saturday – Spring Festival Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
22nd February Monday – Lantern Festival Observance
8th March Tuesday – International Women’s Day Observance
10th March Thursday – Zhonghe Festival Observance
12th March Saturday – Arbor Day Observance
20th March Sunday – March equinox Season
4th April Monday – Qing Ming Jie National holiday
1st May Sunday – Labour Day National holiday
4th May Wednesday – Youth Day Observance
1st June Wednesday – Children’s Day Observance
9th June Thursday – Dragon Boat Festival National holiday
20th June Monday – June Solstice Season
1st July Friday – CPC Founding Day Observance
11th July Monday – Maritime Day Observance
1st August Monday – Army Day Observance
9th August Tuesday – Double Seven Festival Observance
17th August Wednesday – Spirit Festival Observance
10th September Saturday – Teachers’ Day Observance
15th September Thursday – Mid-Autumn Festival National holiday
22nd September Thursday – September equinox Season
1st October Saturday – National Day National holiday
2nd October Sunday – National Day Golden Week holiday National holiday
3rd October Monday – National Day Golden Week holiday National holiday
4th October Tuesday – National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
5th October Wednesday – National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
6th October Thursday – National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
7th October Friday – National Day Golden Week holiday Common Local holidays
9th October Sunday – Double Ninth Festival Observance
8th November Tuesday – Journalists’ Day Observance
21st December Wednesday – December Solstice Season
25th December Sunday – Christmas Day Observance

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People walk under a Chinese Lantern display during a Chinese New Year eve celebration at Chinatown in Manila

People under a Chinese Lantern display – Chinese New Year eve celebration Chinatown in Manila Feb 18, 2015 REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

 

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Sunday Sunsets (30 Photos) at 70mph! CA-OR Road Trip‬ continued! (Part 4)

Sunday Sunsets at 70mph

California – Oregon Road Trip‬ continued! (Part 4)

This is a TRAVEL BLOG! Even more Select Pics from the Highway – August 2015:

This is a series (but not in order) of 30 photos.

Taken with a Blackberry camera (from a moving vehicle at ~70mph)

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

Sunday Sunsets

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NOTE: These pics are not in exact order. The route there was I-5 north from Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon. The route back was I-5 south to 505 to 37 to 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, through San Francisco to Highway 1 south to Santa Cruz and then south to Castroville and back to the 101 south to Los Angeles. There was also a brief detour from the 101 at Solvang to the Chumash reservation and back on the way home.

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

There were so many beautiful moments along the road, driving for hours with only the miles ahead before reaching my destination. For those of you who may have concerns, I’m very careful when using the camera while driving and never take pictures if it is unsafe.

Don’t try this. I’m a professional. Take pictures while driving at your own risk, don’t endanger anyone else…and make sure you get great pictures.

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel – http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

Road Trip! Select Pics from the Highway (part 3)

California – Oregon Road Trip‬ continued! (Part 3)

This is a TRAVEL BLOG! Even more Select Pics from the Highway – August 2015:

Taken with a Blackberry camera (from a moving vehicle at ~70mph)

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 – California Aquaduct

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north – Fresno and Coalinga

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway – Welcome to Cowtown! (Coalinga)

NOTE: These pics are not in exact order. The route there was I-5 north from Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon. The route back was I-5 south to 505 to 37 to 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, through San Francisco to Highway 1 south to Santa Cruz and then south to Castroville and back to the 101 south to Los Angeles. There was also a brief detour from the 101 at Solvang to the Chumash reservation and back on the way home.

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 37 – Black Point, Novato & San Rafael

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 37 – Race Day!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 37 – Black Point & Novato

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 – Santa Nella

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Pacifica Tunnel

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

There were so many beautiful moments along the road, driving for hours with only the miles ahead before reaching my destination. For those of you who may have concerns, I’m very careful when using the camera while driving and never take pictures if it is unsafe.

Don’t try this. I’m a professional. Take pictures while driving at your own risk, don’t endanger anyone else…and make sure you get great pictures.

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel – http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

 

Road Trip! Select Pics from the Highway (part 2)

California – Oregon Road Trip‬ continued!

This is a TRAVEL BLOG! Here are more Select Pics from the Highway – August 2015:

Taken with a Blackberry camera (from a moving vehicle at ~70mph)

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

NOTE: These pics are not in exact order. The route there was I-5 north from Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon. The route back was I-5 south to 505 to 37 to 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, through San Francisco to Highway 1 south to Santa Cruz and then south to Castroville and back to the 101 south to Los Angeles. There was also a brief detour from the 101 at Solvang to the Chumash reservation and back on the way home.

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north – Buttonwillow!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north – cool cruising mobile

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north – cool panel truck

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 – south of Sacramento

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north – Sacramento Water Tower

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

There were so many beautiful moments along the road, driving for hours with only the miles ahead before reaching my destination. For those of you who may have concerns, I’m very careful when using the camera while driving and never take pictures if it is unsafe.

Don’t try this. I’m a professional. Take pictures while driving at your own risk, don’t endanger anyone else…and make sure you get great pictures.

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel – http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway – Junction 80

 

 

‪Road Trip‬! Select Pics from the Highway (part 1)

‪California – Oregon Road Trip‬!

This is a TRAVEL BLOG! Here are Select Pics from the Highway – August 2015:

Taken with a Blackberry camera (from a moving vehicle at ~70mph)

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway: Freeway Entrance

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 south: Juice and the open road

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 south: Speed Limit 70mph

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north: Central Valley

NOTE: These pics are not in exact order. The route there was I-5 north from Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon. The route back was I-5 south to 505 to 37 to 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, through San Francisco to Highway 1 south to Santa Cruz and then south to Castroville and back to the 101 south to Los Angeles. There was also a brief detour from the 101 at Solvang to the Chumash reservation and back on the way home.

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 south

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 south

Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco – 101 south into the city

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from San Francisco: Golden Gate Park Sign

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway 5: Sacramento Water Tower

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north: Sunday Sunset

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 south: Saturday Sunrise

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 south: Leaving Oregon

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 south: Lake Shasta Bridge

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 1 south: Santa Cruz Lighthouse

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from Highway 5 north: Sunday Sunset

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

There were so many beautiful moments along the road, driving for hours with only the miles ahead before reaching my destination. For those of you who may have concerns, I’m very careful when using the camera while driving and never take pictures if it is unsafe.

Don’t try this. I’m a professional. Take pictures while driving at your own risk, don’t endanger anyone else…and make sure you get great pictures.

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge! August Road Trip to Oregon!

Fog!

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin county to San Francisco on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

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Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Well, it was a beautiful day in Marin with great weather and blue skies. San Francisco was totally “socked in” in the fog as soon as you hit the Rainbow tunnel. I love that the tourists still walk the bridge with almost zero visibility.

There is still a toll to enter the city from Marin, and they don’t take cash or have toll takers! You have to pay by “fasttrak” or by credit card online, otherwise they’ll invoice you…. F*CKERS! (another reason to hate San Francisco)

I have returned from my August 2015 Road Trip to Ashland, Oregon. On the return trip, I decided to cut over to the coast on Saturday afternoon through Marin and San Francisco and take Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Cruz.

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Beach on the Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

Pacific Ocean south of Pacifica on Highway 1

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

MORE TO COME!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

Road Trip - Rest Stop at Sunset on Saturday

Road Trip – Rest Stop at Sunset on Saturday

 

 

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)