Tag Archives: California

Northern California Road Trip

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

With great coastline to the west, miles of vineyards in the center, and four national parks to the east it’s easy to overlook northern California as a travel destination. That would be a mistake.

We’ve put together a short road trip that hits some great, and mostly overlooked, spots in the Golden State. Our itinerary round trips from Sacramento but, if you have the time, a great alternative is to keep heading north and attach Southern Oregon destinations – Ashland and Crater Lake – into the mix.

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Authentically Out of Place and Time

Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley, California

Castello di Amorosa

The world is better for eccentrics; the artists, entertainers, scientists and imaginers who see things no one before ever did and, by virtue of their vision, take the world in a direction it never previously knew existed. Eccentricity is also the reason you can tour an authentic 12th-century Tuscan castle in California’s Napa Valley.

Quibblers will no doubt deem the previous sentence a non sequitur. A Tuscan castle cannot, by definition, exist in California. Nor can this particular castle, completed in 2007, be described as 12th century. Yet, in important ways, it is both those things, and authentically so.

So what gives?

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Harmony California

When I see signs like this one in Harmony, California, I always wonder if they update it for every birth or death in town. I also kind of wonder how a town this small manages a winery whose tasting room accommodates more people than does the local housing.

Yup, Smog

LA Smog

Countless hours wasted in gridlock isn’t the only problem with millions of cars on the road. So too is the way they have of making otherwise beautiful coastal areas look like downtown Beijing.

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All Roads Lead to the Beach

Torrey Pines, Coastal Cliffs

Torrey Pines Nature Reserve

That’s at least what our helpful campground host informed us while pointing out nearby locations on her San Diego map. And while the comment is true only in the same sense that all roads everywhere eventually lead to a beach, we nonetheless found ourselves repeatedly back at the water’s edge regardless of where we originally intended to go.

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