Southern California Coast

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“To me, everything outside of Los Angeles is the ‘south,’ including places like San Diego. It’s sort of like the saying, ‘Everything is God.’ Indeed it is.”

– Buzz Osborne

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“Well, when I was a kid, I grew up in San Diego next to the ocean. The ocean was my friend – my best friend.”

– Robert Ballard

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“The San Diego region in many ways is defined by our relationship with the ocean. It’s our front yard and a beautiful playground for families and visitors. It should be clean, safe, and inviting.”

– Scott Peters

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“People actually enjoy it when it rains in San Diego because we never get it. It’s a nice change of pace. When you live in Southern California, everybody says, ‘It’s so expensive there.’ I tell them, ‘It’s just a very expensive weather tax.'”

– Steve Finley

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Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “

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Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise
Bring your alibis

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San Diego Sunsets

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“…time can be slowed if you live deliberately. If you stop and watch sunsets. If you spend time sitting on porches listening to the woods. If you give in to the reality of the seasons.”

― Thomas Christopher Greene, I’ll Never Be Long Gone

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“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”

And a little later you added:

“You know– one loves the sunset, when one is so sad…”

“Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?”

But the little prince made no reply.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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“Because I can count on my fingers the number of sunsets I have left, and I don’t want to miss any of them.”

― Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

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“Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.”

― Richard Paul Evans, The Gift

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Ahhh, the ocean…the waves….the sunset!! An awesome, must see location. You will not be disappointed. Beautiful views. People out walking, running and bike riding. Enjoyable and relaxing.

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“A sunset is the sun’s fiery kiss to the night.”

― Crystal Woods, Write Like No One is Reading 

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“And I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.”

― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

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“Oscar Wilde said that sunsets were not valued because we could not pay for sunsets. But Oscar Wilde was wrong; we can pay for sunsets. We can pay for them by not being Oscar Wilde.”

― G.K. Chesterton

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“The setting sun burned the sky pink and orange in the same bright hues as surfers’ bathing suits. It was beautiful deception, Bosch thought, as he drove north on the Hollywood Freeway to home. Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story.”

― Michael Connelly, The Black Echo

Colorado National Monument

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Colorado National Monument (locally referred to as The Monument) is a National Park Service unit near the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone, and even granite–gneiss–schist, rock formations.

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When John Otto first saw the rugged red rock canyons south of Grand Junction in 1906, it was love at first sight. The following year he wrote . . .

“I came here last year and found these canyons, and they feel like the heart of the world to me. I’m going to stay and build trails and promote this place, because it should be a national park.”

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The area was established as Colorado National Monument on May 24, 1911. Otto was hired as the first park ranger, drawing a salary of $1 per month. For the next 16 years, he continued building and maintaining trails while living in a tent in the park.

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Otto spearheaded fundraising campaigns, collected signatures for petitions, and penned newspaper editorials and endless letters to Washington politicians in support of national recognition for the ancient canyons and towering monoliths of his adopted home.

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This is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests on the plateau.

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There are magnificent views from trails and the Rim Rock Drive, which winds along the plateau.

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Nearby are the Book Cliffs and the largest flat-topped mountain in the world, the Grand Mesa.

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The park became more well known in the 1980s partly due to its inclusion as a stage of the major international bicycle race, the Coors Classic. The race through the park became known as “The Tour of the Moon”, due to the spectacular landscapes the race passed through on Rim Rock Drive.

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Just another day at the office!

Telluride, Colorado: Part 2

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“Well, we have this place in Telluride, Colorado. It’s somewhere I can just get away and relax and think.”

Joe Cocker

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“There is no such sense of solitude as that which we experience upon the silent and vast elevations of great mountains. Lifted high above the level of human sounds and habitations, among the wild expanses and colossal features of Nature, we are thrilled in our loneliness with a strange fear and elation – an ascent above the reach of life’s expectations or companionship, and the tremblings of a wild and undefined misgivings.”

― Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

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“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”

― John Muir

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“I’d never really experienced the West before moving to Colorado. The East Coast, where I grew up, has a lot of big cities, like Boston and New York, and is more densely populated, and I instantly fell in love with the big open spaces of the West, where you can see not just for a few miles but for a few hundred miles.”

Tyler Hamilton

“We lived in Colorado, and my parents were outdoorsy mountain people. My father would always say, ‘Go out and don’t come back until you have something to show me.’ Which meant he wanted me to come back with a scraped knee or an injury. When I went out to play, I felt like I’d better get hurt. “

Jessica Biel

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Colorado and Wyoming are America’s highest states, averaging 6,800 feet and 6,700 feet above sea level. Utah comes in third at 6,100 feet, New Mexico, Nevada, and Idaho each break 5,000 feet, and the rest of the field is hardly worth mentioning. At 3,400 feet, Montana is only half as high as Colorado, and Alaska, despite having the highest peaks, is even further down the list at 1,900 feet. Colorado has more fourteeners than all the other U.S. states combined, and more than all of Canada too. Colorado’s lowest point (3,315 feet along the Kansas border) is higher than the highest point in twenty other states.

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“I love Colorado. The mountains are so passionate. They just make me want to run to the top and yell obscene things to the valleys below.” ~ Ardith”

Author: Jocelyn Davies

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“I just love all this,’ Walt says. ‘The sights, the smells, making the effort and pushing yourself and getting something that’s really hard to get. I’ll fly on a plane and people will look out the window at thirty thousand feet and say, ‘Isn’t this view good enough for you?’ And I say no, it’s not good enough. I didn’t earn it. In the mountains, I earn it.”

― Mark Obmascik, Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled–and Knuckleheaded–Quest for the Rocky Mountain High

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“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”

― John Muir

Telluride, Colorado: Part 1

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Telluride is located in a box canyon at an elevation of 8,750 feet in an isolated spot in Southwest Colorado. Steep forested mountains and cliffs, some with elevations reaching over 13,000 feet, surround it on all sides.The town is a former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River in the western San Juan Mountains. In1889, Butch Cassidy, before becoming associated with the Hole-in-the Wall-Gang, robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride. This was his first major recorded crime. Today, Telluride is known for being home to one of the greatest ski resorts in North America, in addition to hosting a variety of popular festivals including the Telluride Film Festival, Bluegrass Festival, and Mushroom Festival. I love the place because of its unparalleled ambiance, and the awesome mountain scenery and the opportunity it provides for photography and outdoor recreation.

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As a career ski bum who’s lived in Telluride for 25 years without a trust fund, my resume is lengthy and diverse. Along with the usual retail and restaurant jobs, I’ve taught at the high school, worked in festival production, guided peak ascents, coached young athletes and served on town council. It may appear that I have a touch of occupational ADD, but I tend to downplay the one common thread in my working life. It isn’t glamorous—and I’m certainly squandering an expensive college education—but the truth is, I keep body and soul together by painting Telluride’s multi-colored Victorian houses.

-Lance Waring – Telluride Ski Bum

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In the late 1960s, I ended up in Telluride, Colorado. It wasn’t like the country club that it is now. It was very raw.

Lance Henriksen

The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.

Joseph Wood Krutch

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A crystal clear Colorado sky opens above us, a blue so deep it makes you dizzy. The occasional bright white wispy cloud dances across the firmament, punctuating the deep blue vault of heaven stretching over this paradise.”

― Neil M Hanson, Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America

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Colorado is an oasis, an otherworldly mountain place.

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The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?

– J. B. Priestley

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CALIFORNIA – Santa Cruz

Welcome to Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County is located on California’s Central Coast, 65 miles south of San Francisco and 35 miles north of Monterey. Situated on the northern side of the Monterey Bay and rimmed by redwood forested mountains, Santa Cruz County has 29 miles of beaches and 14 state parks.

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Santa Cruz is one of America’s surfing capitals, complete with its own museum devoted to the sport, and a beach whose waves are known all over the world.

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I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, and the whole lifestyle revolves around the beach. My parents met surfing, and the beach was a major part of our daily lives.

Marisa Miller

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I went to UC Santa Cruz, overlooking the Bay of Monterey and Santa Cruz, in 1969. Back then, the city was part-hippie, part-surfer, but mostly retired chicken farmer.

Clive Sinclair

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I live in Santa Cruz. I moved here in 1974 and couldn’t leave.

Ellen Bass

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Santa Cruz is blessed not only with natural wonders, but also with gifted souls who can fashion nature’s bounty into man-made treasures.

Clive Sinclair

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Just up the coast from Santa Cruz lies Half Moon Bay, a coastal city in San Mateo County, California. It’s an idyllic enclave and truly the perfect place to spend some time away from the big city.

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Growing up in northern California has had a big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors. When I lived in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day.

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Just off the Half Moon Bay coast of California, winter storms and underwater geography combine to create some the world’s biggest and most dangerous waves. The Mavericks Surf Contest gives the world’s best surfers a chance to pit their skills against the big ones that can rise over 50 feet high, but this contest has an interesting twist.  No one knows when it will be held until just 24 hours before it starts.

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The big waves come in winter, and around the end of each year, the official waiting period for the Mavericks Surf Contest begins. When conditions are right, organizers call a field of 24 surfers (who have been pre-selected) to tell them when the Mavericks Surf Contest will begin.

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“I like to go for a little drive up the California coast.”
Author: Colin Farrell

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“In California in the early Spring, There are pale yellow mornings, when the mist burns slowly into day, The air stings like Autumn, clarifies like pain – Well, I have dreamed this coast myself.”
Author: Robert Hass

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If you are looking to surf in North America then head on out to California – there is great surf all the way down the coast. It is worth the trip to catch the big wave surfers riding the mountains of Maverick’s during the huge winter swells.

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“Soon it got dusk, a grapey dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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“The setting sun burned the sky pink and orange in the same bright hues as surfers’ bathing suits. It was beautiful deception, Bosch thought, as he drove north on the Hollywood Freeway to home. Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story.”
― Michael Connelly, The Black Echo

California – The Pacific Coast Highway

Stretching 650 curve-hugging, jaw-dropping miles along the ruggedly beautiful central coast of California, Highway 1 is one of the most scenic roads in the country.

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This is the road driving was invented for-the road where car commercials are filmed. On the Pacific Coast Highway, you don’t crack your window for a bit of air, you roll it down all the way to feel the wind blast through your hair like a lighthearted tornado.

You can get a taste of what makes the road so famous on a short trip from San Francisco.

From the City by the Bay, it’s a 30-mile drive through redwood groves and past sandy beaches to your first stop, Half Moon Bay. The small town is home to some of the best surfing in the world and the international Mavericks competition, held when winter waves get big enough.

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An exhilarating driving experience, this twisting, cliff-hugging route along the central California coast takes about five hours to complete at a leisurely pace. Designated an All-American Road—among the nation’s most scenic—the drive encompasses both the Big Sur Coast Highway and the San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway.

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Also known as California State Route 1, the PCH was built in 1934 and took 15 years to complete. 

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For the most dramatic scenery packed into less than half the mileage, set your sights on the Central Coast and a journey of about 240 miles from Monterey south to Santa Barbara.

Driving the route from north to south is ideal, as you’ll be on the ocean side of the road the entire way, allowing unobstructed views of the jagged coastline below.

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The road winds high on the cliffs, with the crashing surf below. Many of the beaches you’ll see are inaccessible or require serious hikes in, making them all the more enchanting.

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South of Carmel is where the route really reels you into its splendor. And while you never know when that ubiquitous coastal fog is going to lower a curtain over the views, when it lifts it’s as if Oz is being revealed.

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One of the most famous photo-ops along the way is the Bixby Creek Bridge, one of the tallest and longest single-span concrete bridges in the world.

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If I’m in Malibu driving up and down Pacific Coast Highway, my ‘2000 Heritage Softail Harley Davidson is what I usually like to ride.

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Pacific Coast Sunset

“Sixty three sunsets I saw revolve on that perpendicular hill – mad raging sunsets pouring in sea foams of cloud through unimaginable crags like the crags you grayly drew in pencil as a child, with every rose-tint of hope beyond, making you feel just like them, brilliant and bleak beyond words.”
― Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler